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19.09.2005 Business & Finance

PSI on Garments making progress

By Statesman

MINISTER for Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives, Kwamena Bartels (pictured), on Friday inspected a garment factory being established at a cost of $1.3m (about ¢12.2 billion) at Effiduase near Koforidua under the PSI.

Bearing the name Maagrace Garment Industry Limited, the factory, which is wholly Ghanaian owned, will produce ladies' and gents' wares for export to the American market under the aegis of African Growth and Opportunity Act. The Chairperson of the company's Board, Comfort Owusu-Agyeman, who took the minister round, said the company would employ 700 workers, with 80 percent being women, when it starts operation by the end of this year. She said the machines and fabrics are ready in Accra awaiting transportation to Koforidua for installation and production.

Mrs Owusu-Agyeman told the Minister that the carting of the machines and materials, and demand for collateral for loans from the banks were some of the major problems facing the company.

Mr Bartels assured her of Government's readiness to assist in the early completion of the factory.

He said his ministry was making available ¢1bn to support in that direction. He said he was highly impressed about the amount of work done so far, declaring that it is going to be “the most beautiful factory outside the capital city.” When completed, the Minister said, it would be the single largest employer in the New Juaben area and therefore needs government support and encouragement to ensure early completion.

“This is really impressive and I hope the project will be completed in two months.”

He announced that two similar factories were being built in Kumasi, saying that some would be established in Sekondi Takoradi and Cape Coast in due course.

Stressing the need for the establishment of more of such factories, the minister said for example that recently his ministry received an order for the manufacture of four million 'T'-shirts for export to the US in three months. He said in order to meet the deadline, the ministry farmed them out to five different companies in different locations. Mr Bartels said “it is important for us to build capacities to be able to satisfy and meet the demands” On the cotton industry, he said, “we have a problem there,” explaining that America is subsidising its cotton industry by 47 percent. “We are fighting them to remove the subsidy.”

Mr Bartels announced that new varieties of cotton are being introduced to Ghanaian farmers. He said the PSI on Cotton is currently relying on imported fabrics for its operation to meet international standards.

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