‘Create environment to grow existing industries’

BY: Biiya Mukusah Ali
• Mrs Afua Gyamfua Owusu-Akyaw addresssing the meeting in Sunyani
• Mrs Afua Gyamfua Owusu-Akyaw addresssing the meeting in Sunyani

Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regional branches of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) have called on the government to create an enabling environment for the growth of existing industries as part of the implementation of the “one-district, one-factory policy”.

They made the call at the 2nd quarter general meeting for the year at Abesim, near Sunyani.

The meeting, organised on the theme: “Overcoming development challenges of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions,” brought together chief executive officers (CEOs) and managers of the sector from the two regions.

It provided members of the association with new strategies, skills and knowledge from their various stakeholders to overcome the developmental challenges facing the industries in the two regions.

SMEs constitute a greater percentage of businesses in the country; however, high cost of credit and interest rate charged by the formal banking institutions are eventually passed on to consumers.

Government intervention

The Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regional Chairperson of the Association, Mrs Afua Gyamfua Owusu-Akyaw, urged SMEs to make good use of every intervention the government would put in place to help grow their industries.

She entreated them not to solely rely on the government, even though governmental interventions were key to industrial growth.

Mrs Owusu-Akyaw thanked the AGI members for their contributions and support towards the association and urged all of them to be “participants and not spectators,” by contributing to discussions aimed at developing strategies to curb the myriad of challenges facing their industries.

AGI challenges

The Head of Centre for Business Development (CBD) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Mr Samuel Yaw Akomea, indicated that erratic and expensive utility bills, multiplicity of taxes, high cost and unstable inflation and over-reliance on import duties were some of the challenges facing businesses in the country.

He mentioned the lack of financial literacy-credit reference bureaus, street addresses and national identification cards, lack of transparency in business operations and collateral, especially for women, among others as problems confronting SMEs in the country.

Mr Akomea urged managers of industries to manage human resource through proper selection processes and interviews to ensure work efficiency.

For his part, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, said the government had started the process to implement the “one-district, one-factory” policy with several industries identified, while some entrepreneurs had made commitments to finance them. 

He entreated the AGI to join hands with the government to ensure the overall success of the policy.

“Government will continue to play its role by putting in the necessary measures to create the enabling environment for SMEs to take advantage of the business opportunities within the economy,” he stated.