Daily Graphic-GSA-ISO Breakfast Summit: Nation must rally behind industrial hub agenda — Panellists
Panellists and participants in a summit on standardisation have made a clarion call on Ghanaians to rally behind the drive and agenda to fully position the country as the new hub of global manufacturing.
They maintained that with regulatory, infrastructure and other interventions already in place, what was now required was hard work to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the country was open and ready for large-scale investment in the manufacturing sector.
They said to accelerate the industrialisation drive, relevant state actors and stakeholders must work together to bring citizens on board in the shared vision.
The concerns of the stakeholders, which border on how the country can transform its manufacturing sector, dominated discussions at the maiden Daily Graphic-GSA-ISO Breakfast Summit in Accra.
The panellists and participants, who were drawn from the private sector, academia, regulators and policymakers, were contributing to the discussion on the theme: “Standardisation and industrialisation: Could Ghana be the new hub for global manufacturing?”
The discussion was led by four panellists, namely the Secretary General of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Sergio Mujica; the Secretary General of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), Hermogene Nsengimana; the Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Prof. Dodoo, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Seth Twum Akwaboah.
The event is one of the thought leadership initiatives by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), publishers of the Daily Graphic and five other newspapers, and the GSA to put a spotlight on key issues that can promote industrialisation.
Mr Mujica said Ghana needed a whole country's commitment towards delivering a full manufacturing agenda.
“I think Ghana is on the right path because it has already approved the national quality policy (NQP). But what is really important is to mobilise the whole country to work on the project.
“It cannot be a top-down approach. We need to mobilise everything we have to achieve the vision of Ghana becoming a hub of manufacturing in the world,” he said.
Mr Mujica, who was on a working visit in Ghana, explained that all the ingredients had been made available, and what was now required was hard work and a shared vision.
He added that it would not happen overnight, but rather over a long period of time through strong commitment and zeal to support industries, especially those in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) space.
Prof. Dodoo said regulatory agencies, such as the GSA, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and other state actors, had harmonised their operations to support the country’s industrialisation drive.
As a result, he said, the FDA periodically wrote to the GSA to demand standards for made-in-Ghana products that needed to be regulated.
Beyond standards for the automobile industry, he said, the GSA had also designed standards for the majority of the local products, including plantain chips, okra, and bitters.
“We have moved from just developing standards to developing pictorial standards.
But have we done well in promoting the standards?
I will say no because it has been difficult, and industries are required to be met at their point of need,” he said.
He said the trading community needed to build trust and accept that the job of standard regulators was to help producers to meet regulatory requirements.
Mr Akwaboah said a strong collaboration was key for industries to help drive the manufacturing hub agenda.
He said collaboration was crucial because there was a lot that went beyond the capacity of individual companies, and, therefore, an integrated arrangement must be prioritised.
“If we want to be ready and go global, we need to be competitive. Being competitive means we need to be able to produce to a certain capacity, and it also means that our value chain must be well developed.
“Without proper value chain, coupled with importation of about 80 per cent of the raw material, it will increase the cost of production,” the CEO added.