Accra, Aug. 29, GNA - Piccadilly Biscuit Limited has inaugurated a nine billion cedis plant and introduced a new digestive biscuit with the same ingredients as imported ones but costs less. Ghanaian skilled technicians assisted with the installation of the plant that took about 10 weeks.
Inaugurating the plant on Monday in Accra, Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector and President's Special Initiatives, said the initiative showed that if the conditions for investment were right higher levels of expansion and innovativeness could be pursued.
The Minister, who also launched the new digestive biscuit under the name "Piccadilly Classic Digestive", noted that biscuit importation into Ghana grew by 141 per cent in 2003 and it had been speculated that this would increase further.
He expressed the hope that with the arrival of Piccadilly, there would be a reduction in the importation of biscuits and check alleged smuggling of biscuits into Ghana. Mr Bartels urged the company to envisage penetrating the West African market saying: "ECOWAS is an opportunity waiting to be tapped for the export of biscuits."
He said with the reduction of the secondary reserve ratio for the commercial banks by the Bank of Ghana, funds were now available to the private sector and that "there should no longer be the cry that Government is crowding out the private sector."
Mr George Clottey, the Company's Board Chairman, appealed to the Government to consider some form of incentives and protection from unfair competition from imported products to save the biscuits industry from collapsing.
He said the Company would strive to be abreast with research and development to ensure their prominence in the biscuits industry in view of the stiff competition from local and particularly cheap imported products.
Mr Haytham Bou Debs, Managing Director of the Company, said the expansion programme increased the labour force by 30 per cent, which had enable it to achieve three tonnes per hour production capacity. He said at present the Company had about 600 workers and hope to employ about 400 more shortly.
Dr Samir Aziz Eid, a Consultant to the Company, said Piccadilly Limited aimed at excelling in the production of good biscuits that would equally match international standards for the Ghanaian and ECOWAS markets.
"The realisation of this vision will undoubtedly translate into further expansion of the current facilities which would generate more jobs for Ghanaians both directly and indirectly."