New AGI executives inducted
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana’s private sector policy advocacy group, has inducted newly elected executives into office to manage its affairs for the next two years.
Nana Owusu-Afari, Chairman and Chief Executive of Afariwaa Group of Companies, who succeeds Mr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi as President of AGI, was sworn-in alongside five other National Council Members.
Twenty-five other executives made up of Regional Presidents and specific industry leaders were also sworn into office at the AGI’s Investiture Dinner in Accra on Thursday.
Nana Owusu-Afari, who until the investiture was the Vice President in-charge of the Large Scale business sector of AGI, called on government to move the pre-production taxes on the manufacturing sector to post-production as was done for manufacturers within the country’s Free Zones enclaves.
He explained that such a measure would be a bold attempt by government to address the serious cash flow limitations faced by the manufacturing sector and thereby create a level playing field for industries in the country.
Nana Owusu-Afari reminded President John Atta Mills of a Memorandum of Understanding he signed with the AGI in April 2008 to implement reforms that would create the enabling environment to make Ghanaian industries competitive in the face of the influx of cheap foreign products into the country.
“We have unswerving faith in President Mills and the commitment he has already made to revitalize industrial growth in the country. We trust that under this agenda, a lot will be done to re-energize industry in Ghana,” he said.
He said Ghanaian industries continued to face challenges of high cost of doing business, high inflation rate and the lack of access to funds, and promised to commission a study that would determine efforts to achieve and sustain single digit inflation which would translate into lower interest rates in the business community.
Nana Owusu-Afari called on members of the AGI to embrace new, innovative trends in manufacturing and utilize modern technologies to ensure efficiency and competitiveness in the sector.
He said in view of the great patronage received by Ghanaian goods in Burkina Faso and Liberia, AGI would collaborate with the Ghana Export Promotion Council and Ghana Missions in those countries to establish warehouses to ensure all-year-round availability of products to meet their demands.
Nana Owusu-Afari said AGI would in addition, engage all stakeholders to join hands in the ‘Buy Made-In-Ghana’ Campaign to build a strong customer base in the country.
He announced that as part of this campaign, the AGI would organize a Ghana Industrial Week, to coincide with the Africa Industrialization Day celebration to reward industrialists in the country.
Nana Owusu-Afari spoke about youth unemployment, saying it was having a devastating effect on the country and called on government to expedite action on the AGI Small Medium Enterprise Charter to enable the SME’s to expand and employ more hands.
He noted that AGI remained committed to its core values, and commended Mr Oteng-Gyasi for providing a great leadership which had positioned the Association to make significant strides in the development of industries, and pledged to lead the new team to continue the good work.
Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry said government had set up a Tariff Advisory Board to deal with the issue of dumping of foreign products.
On loans at reasonable rates, Ms Tetteh said government was working to change the EDIF to an agricultural fund to provide loans at affordable rates to the private sector to ensure competitiveness of the local industries.
She said government was also putting in place vital infrastructure to enhance productivity.
Ms Tetteh talked about the oil revenue saying it would not solve all the problems of the country but would make available more resources for development.
Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) said last year had been a challenging one, but expressed the optimism that this year held much prospects for the country and industry in view of the relatively stable nature of the cedi and the lowering of inflation.
He said BoG would continue to implement tough but prudent monetary interventions to ensure the stability of the economy.
Mr. Oteng-Gyasi who is also the Managing Director of Tropical Cable and Conductors Limited, said the AGI had witnessed four years of dramatic improvement under his leadership, increasing paid up membership to 60 per cent, raising subscription revenue by 230 per cent, while total income for 2009 was over GH¢900,000.
He called for ‘fresh thinking’ in the management of interest rates and exchange rates, as well as a review of the mechanics of inflation measurement in the country.