Tamale, Sept. 17, GNA - Mr. Prince Kofi Kludjeson, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, has said that industrialization was the pivot for the building of any nation, the absence of which the development of a nation cannot take place.
He said Ghana has since independence pursued a national agenda of industrializing the country through various programmes and policies to improve the living conditions of the people but these had not impacted strongly enough to place the country in the category of an industrialized nation.
Mr. Kludjeson was addressing members of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions and some stakeholders at a policy development workshop in Tamale on Friday.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a Germany NGO involved in enhancing democracy in Ghana sponsored the two-day workshop, which was to discuss how to develop a strategy for the development of the three Northern Regions that invariably had been identified as having great potentials for food and cash crop production as well as agro-processing development.
Mr. Kludjeson noted that despite the bottlenecks that had bedevilled the industrialization process, governments and industry operators were determined to ensure that the country achieved its industrialization goal as a means to create jobs and wealth to improve the lives of people.
He however, lamented that even though the regions have the potentials, the infrastructure development was woefully inadequate to support the utilization of these potentials.
He said: "we could develop the most advanced strategy to turn the potentials in real goods and services, but without the necessary infrastructure and support services, it would be an effort in futility." "For instance, good roads do not serve the three regional capitals and this is a disincentive for investment if even the government had given tax relief and holidays, investors would not be attracted to these areas."
Mr. Kludjeson noted that this situation had led to low levels of job creation, compelling the youth to migrate in search of better opportunities and creating social problems in the cities, especially in Accra and Kumasi.
He said in a bid to assist the three Northern Regions to develop, especially in the area of enterprise and industrial development, the AGI had taken the initiative in collaboration with other players in the private sector to promote the enterprises and enterprise related associations through advocacy and business support services.
Mr. Kofi Osei Ameyaw, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, speaking at the forum announced that in furtherance of the government development agenda, his Ministry has put in place a number of programmes aimed to forge stronger partnership between it and the manufacturing sector to revamp the sector.
"We are through these programmes seeking to help retool existing firms, financially assist distressed ones and set up new enterprises across the length and breath of the country."
He said some of the programmes currently under implementation were the Technology Improvement Programme, the Technology Innovation Centre for Capita Goods, the Special Purpose Recovery Trust and the District Industries Programme also known as the (Rural Enterprise Development Programme).
He said the Technology Improvement Programmed (TIP) was aimed at conducting technology audit and retooling local industries to improve their productivity and enhance their competitiveness.
Mr. Ameyaw said so far, 45 companies have had their operations audited and the Ministry was in the process of awarding contracts to selected consultants to prepare business plans to enable these firms source for funds to retool their operations.
Another major programme with direct linkage to manufacturing was the Technology Innovation Centre for Capita Goods, which involves the establishment of a foundry, metal working and machine tool centre for the manufacture of machine tools, equipment and spare parts to support the industrialization effort of the country.
Mr. Ameyaw announced that the government of Ghana, through United Nations International Development Organisation (UNIDO) was looking for funds to establish the centre, while the government was also taking the initiative to engage through UNIDO consultants to prepare feasibility studies on this centre, which would be a public/private project. Similarly, the Ministry, in collaboration with the AGI and UNIDO was working out a package to support small-scale medium enterprises to expand their operations through the sub-contracting and partnership exchange programme.
This programmed would focus on outsourcing of non-core activities of large, local and international firms to local small and medium firms. Mr. Ameyaw said currently Guinness Ghana Limited had agreed to procure 400 tons of sorghum as part of its outsourcing programme to procure locally produced materials for its operations. He said the response to this opportunity had not encouraging, as they could only be supplied with 120 tonnes.
He said through the Special Purpose Recovery Trust Programme, a fund would be created to absorb the debts of distressed but potential viable companies and inject more capital into them to resuscitate and make them viable. The Trust would use the capital and pumped into the companies to acquire share that would eventually be off-loaded to the promoters of the companies when they are able to stand on their feet. He said commercially viable enterprises would be established in each of the districts throughout the country under the District Industries Programme (DIP). Sept.17 05