September 6, 2018

Sub-standard imports must be blocked – GEF speakers

Speakers at the 7th edition of the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) have called on various regulatory bodies to strengthen their surveillance, intelligence and implementation systems if the country is to curb the influx of sub-standard goods and grow the local manufacturing sector.

Chairing the session on manufacturing, Catherine Krobo-Edusei – who is Founder and CEO of Eden Tree Limited, said the risk of non-compliance has become a major concern in recent times, particularly for local manufacturing firms.

When sub-standard products are allowed onto the Ghanaian market, manufacturing companies that are sticking to the standards are not able to compete and so soon find themselves out of business, she argued.

“We need to do something about the sub-standard imports that are coming in. We need our regulatory bodies to be on top of it,” Mrs. Krobo-Edusei said.

She further advised the Ghana Standards Authority to check local companies that are also not meeting the standards, since they are also producing sub-standard products.

On her part, the Acting Deputy Executive Director of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), Mrs. Anna Himbson-a panelist on the session, noted that the laxity in enforcement of rules and regulations in the manufacturing sector does not augur well for local producers.

Picture:The panel on manufacturing at the Ghana Economic Forum 2018 #GEF2018

“The strategic goals of most manufacturing companies are to manufacture products, operate profitably and grow their businesses in a stable environment. This is challenging enough especially in environments where the rules and regulations are not implemented or forced.

We cannot build a strong manufacturing base if the regulatory systems are not working. There are a thousand and one policies at our regulatory bodies, but to what extent are we implementing them?” she asked.

She advised that it also behoves civil society and interested stakeholders to put some pressure on government agencies such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which is supposed to ensure that it does whatever it takes to get the manufacturing systems working. “Until we speak out, government will not sit up,” she added.

The Acting Director for Services and Manufacturing at the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Mr Abdallah Z. K Banda, who stood in stead for Mrs Afua Asabea Asare, CEO of GEPA, enumerated services, free consultancy services, market/trade analysis, and guide the GEPA provides at manufacturing and services, for export, sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

He said, “after NBSSI provides the framework and support to a successful start of Ghanaian small and semi-large industries and firms, we (GEPA) guide these industries and manufacturers to export through relevant training and provision of trade/ market analysis of the concerned sectors and export-destination countries.”

“GEPA over the years have through local and international trade Fairs and promotion, identified markets/buyers for Ghanaian services and commodities…this in particular, have established some firms as number suppliers to buyers in the EU, the Asia, the Middle East and in American,” he added.

Through all of the above services, GEPA stimulates the awareness among the business community to get involved in international trade. GEPA believes, “it is the surest way to generate the much needed revenues for the economic development of the country.”

The discussants noted that if government fails to create an environment that ensures compliance to rules and regulations, it will be held responsible for those breaches in the long-term.

With this in mind, they said, compliance must be an ingrained part of day-to-day operations and therefore part of the organisational culture of our manufacturing industries.

Ghana ranked 111 out of 137 countries in the 2017-2018 edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. It scored 3.72 points out of 7 on the 2017-2018 report.

The Competitiveness Index in Ghana averaged 3.64 Points from 2009 until 2018 – reaching an all-time high of 3.79 Points in 2013 and a record low of 3.44 Points in 2010.

 

PICTURES: credit GEF2018

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