President John Dramani Mahama has inaugurated the Intelligent Metering and Energy Solutions (IMES) Ghana limited, a meter assembling plant, saying Ghana could produce cables, transformers, meters and other similar products.
He, therefore challenged the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Association of Ghana Industries to steer entrepreneurs into the manufacturing sector of the economy.
The President stated: “We should not be a nation of shopkeepers; we should not be a nation of traders. Ghanaian businessmen and entrepreneurs should spread out and into sectors that are considered more risky, but that also give very good returns instead of just turning our money around in trading in goods and merchandise.
Speaking at the premises of IMES at Amrahia along the Oyibi-Dodowa road, President Mahama said the Ghanaian’s reliance on imported products was in essence exporting jobs out of the country to the countries where the goods were imported from.
He said his directive to the Electricity Company of Ghana and others to halt importation of electricity inputs such as cables, and transformers, as well as his launch recently of the Made in Ghana Campaign, were part of efforts to end the problem.
The President, however, acknowledged the difficulties in going into manufacturing for businessmen and entrepreneurs but said Ghanaians should not sit and wait for foreigners to come and set up manufacturing companies in the country.
The Chamber of Commerce and the AGI must, therefore, work together to transform Ghanaian entrepreneurs into manufacturing, he said, while Ghana is positioned as an alternative for investors looking outside China for light manufacturing as was being done in Ethiopia.
He also commended IMES Limited for the location of the company outside the urban and industrial areas.
He said the location of the company in Amrahia, would not only provide jobs for young people in the area, but will also cushion the factory from the brunt of the ongoing load shedding exercise since the area did not use much energy.
He urged businesses to endeavour to situate their factories in rural areas and not just focus on the industrial and urban areas.
President Mahama also noted that the introduction of the intelligent meters by IMES Ghana was critical to sustainable power generation as it would address the issue of power losses through theft, which was a major challenge for the ECG ultimately contributing to high tariffs.
This, he said will be done by preventing tampering with the meters as well as making the use of meters easier for consumers of power.
Dr Kwabena Donkor, the Minster of Power, said the Power Ministry was focused on ensuring local content and was working to extend local content and participation from the oil and gas industry to other sectors, including the power sector.
He noted that Ghana now had the capability to manufacture all cables used in rural and urban electrification, including developing capability to manufacture marine cables for the oil and gas sector, while the establishment of a transformer manufacturing company was in the offing.
“It is the expectation of the Ministry that within two years, we should be in the position to manufacture most of the transformers in addition to the cables already being manufactured locally,” he said.
“The local content policy does not end at just the utilisation of Ghanaian human capital but goes further to include local participation in equity holding,” he said.
“Ghana will not just become an assembling nation, but Ghana will become a country where the citizens fully participate in equity ownership of enterprises” he stated and lauded the indigenous ownership of IMES.