Need for national consensus on manufacturing industry – Obeng
Mr Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), on Wednesday expressed concern about the dwindling nature of Ghana’s manufacturing industry and called for national consensus to reverse the trend.
He said Ghana’s economy was now depending on the service sector which had now overtaken agriculture as the leading contributor of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
“Ghana’s economy would expand to reflect in people’s pockets if the country engages actively in secondary production which would enable Ghanaians to earn higher incomes from high-value activities,” he added.
Mr Obeng made the observation in an address read for him at the opening session of a two-day seminar on “Industrial Technologies for Business”, organised by the Institute of Industrial Research (IIR) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Accra.
The seminar aimed at initiating broader research and technology transfer collaboration on specific research objectives with the private sector and researchers from other institutions.
It is expected to promote commercialisation of research findings and technologies for business and improve the quality and output rate of scientific findings from the institute.
He underscored the critical role of research, saying it was an important parameter in the transformation of an economy from primary commodities to secondary production.
Mr Obeng noted that Ghana was still heavily dependent on extractive industries in terms of income and employment, with very little manufacturing value-addition and stressed that no country had succeeded in achieving a sustainable industrial growth without the element of research carefully factored into the indices.
He said government was determined to reverse this trend and transform the nation’s economy from largely dependant on extractive industries to an industrialised country.
Mr Obeng said currently global market forces and competition demanded strict adherence to high standards in quality as well as innovations to break into new markets and all these could only be achieved through the application of science and technology research.
He cited instances where countries such as India, China, South Korea and Malaysia had applied research to grow their economies, knowing what to produce to satisfy both the needs of their people as well as world market demands.
Mr Obeng said Ghana had benefited a lot from various research findings in the agricultural sector to increase productions through high crop yields and disease resistant crops and in the sanitation sector by the creation of bio-sanitation facilities for safe human waste disposal.
However, he expressed worry over Ghanaian research scientists spending their energies, time, and monies to come out with findings only to attract dust on the shelves.
Mr Obeng commended the CSIR-IIR for the seminar and indicated that it would promote better interaction and collaboration between research scientists, the business community and entrepreneurs, while giving the beneficiaries of research the opportunity to review and take decisions on potential areas of investments.
Dr Essel Ben Hagan, Director of IIR, explained that the seminar was to showcase the technologies generated by the Institute ready for transfer and create a forum for research scientists to present various research outputs on “Challenges in the Cassava Industry and Interventions in the Small and Medium Scale Palm Oil Production.”
Other topics to be discussed include “Investment opportunities in the Salt Industry in Ghana, Potential of Employment Generation and Wealth Creation in the Ceramic Industry and the Financing of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises”.
Dr Hagan said it was IIR’s vision to drive national development and global competitiveness in industry through scientific and technological research and developing relevant cutting-edge technologies, materials and offer services that would attract both local and international applications.