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12.11.2005 Business & Finance

AGI calls for fair trade competition

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Tema, Nov. 12, GNA - The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has called on the government to come out with policies that would promote industrial growth.

It said instead of allowing the importation of cheap foreign goods into the country to the detriment of the local industries, government should rather promote fair trade competition between the local and foreign businesses.

Nana Owusu-Afari, outgoing chairman of the Tema Regional branch of the AGI made the call in a report at the annual general meeting of the AGI in Tema at the weekend.

He said the association is not deterred of competition and cited the establishment of the West Africa Cement (WACEM) in the country that is competing with the GHACEM rather than bringing cheap cement. He noted that most industries have folded up with some near collapsing, as a result of cheap foreign goods on the local market and entreated government to support local production to save the situation from escalating.

Nana Owusu-Afari, Executive Director of Afariwaa Farms said the situation is bleak in the poultry industry, as there were no day old chickens to rear for the Yuletide and stressed the need to produce local chicken.

In a speech, the Tema Municipal Chief Executive, Mr David Quaye Annan said the pragmatic economic policy of the government has stabilized the macro-economic variables.

This he said has created a more conducive environment for the development of a strong micro-economic base, which was the surest way to translate gains into wealth.

He said though the financial institutions were more than willing to do business with the private sector than before, businesses were still not operating at their optimal levels due to certain global policies that seem to undermine the effort of local industries. "Stiff competition posed by the aggressive industrial policies of the Asian tigers and the developed West and the requirements of the free trade policy of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have made many of the local industries less competitive," he stated. The MCE however, assured that government has not relented on its efforts to resuscitate the private sector, which has been widely recognised as the engine of growth.

He therefore, asked industrialists to feel optimistic of the effort so that they could reap the benefits because the creation of a ministry to oversee the development and promotion of the private sector is a clear manifestation of government's commitment.

Mr Annan observed that lack of requisite specialised skills was one of the biggest problems encountered in the industrial sector and urged the industrialists to invest in the development of the human capital base, as a away of ensuring improvement of their operations. Seven-member executives were elected with Mr Seth Quao, Managing Director of Crocodile Machetes Ghana Limited as the chairman, Mr Anthony Brobbey as his Vice and Mrs Leticia Osafo-Addo, owner of Processed Food/Spices, as the secretary.