Establish special scheme to support local production - Mahama urges government
The Former President, John Dramani Mahama, has called on the government to establish a special scheme that can support the development of local capacities for the production of selected items to replace imported alternatives.
He said the way to go was not to shut off foreign exchange access to the importation of such items.
The former President explained that the country might experience massive price increases fuelled by shortage if there was no complementary effort to produce selected items such as rice, vegetable oil, toothpaste, fruit juice, bottled water and ceramic tiles locally in the short term.
“If you do not produce enough locally but shut down forex access to these items, it will lead to an increase in prices, and such a well-intended measure may result in higher prices of these items,” former President Mahama said at the eighth Ghana CEO Network Business Cocktail in Accra last Thursday.
This year’s cocktail session was on the theme: “A cost of living crisis: What does inflation really mean for Ghanaian businesses?”
The event was attended by more than 200 topmost Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and captains of industry from various sectors of the economy to interact and share ideas on how best to promote their businesses in the coming year.
It is an initiative of the Ghana CEO Network, in partnership with accounting and advisory firm Deloitte, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) and the University of Ghana (UG).
Mr Mahama, who was the special guest of honour at the event, noted that the key lesson from the recent trend in inflation was that the country needed to focus more on local production of import substitutes and also support the transformation of the food security system.
He said there was an urgent need to bridge the self-sufficient ratio of rice production, together with other staples within the shortest possible time.
That, Mr Mahama added, was because it was estimated that the country imported almost $3 billion worth of food products into the country every year.
He said that was important to ensure food security, promote local production and preserve foreign exchange that could have been spent on imports.
“We must also explore ways to promote greater local production of import substitutes and diversify our exports. The market created as part of our regional integration effort should provide such opportunities.
“I am sure as businesses, most of you are considering the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the potential it offers for businesses,” he added.
The Director of the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Professor Peter Quartey, underlined the need for businesses to be intentional to mentor more young people.
That, he said, would help them grow and take over the mantle of leadership and inject fresh ideas that could accelerate institutional growth.
“The young ones are very brilliant with regard to information technology, and so businesses must mentor them to ensure they impact positively on institutional benefit,” he said.
He said businesses at this difficult time must show commitment to provide the best and comprehensive customer service to their customers.
“As businesses, we must seek the growth and development of our staff. At this time that transportation cost is so high, businesses must allow some of their staff to work from home in a creative way so that they can survive on their income,” he added.
Maximising professional goals
The CEO of the Ghana CEO Network, Ernest De-Graft Egyir, said there was the need for business executives to meet on a unique platform to explore avenues for their mutual benefit.
“And so this initiative will offer an opportunity for business executives to break out of their shell and to maximise their professional goals,” he said.