In the face of the influx of imported products on the local market, with its increasing competition, especially with the birth of shopping malls across the country, the Chief Executive of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr. Seth Twum Akwaboah, has said there should be a policy in place to ensure that malls commit to the sale of made in Ghana goods.
The growing establishment of modern shopping facilities, despite its attendant creation of employment for Ghana, is perceived could threaten the progress of the local manufacturing industry given the high sale of foreign products at these places.
But, Mr. Akwaboah, noted that notwithstanding the lack of expertise and technology by local producers to manufacture certain products now, goods produced in the country should also be given more space in the shopping malls than it is seen presently.
He said malls are a new trend of marketing goods, and should not be seen as a worry to local manufacturers but on the contrary manufacturers should make the effort to arrange with operators of shopping malls to shelf more made in Ghana products.
He asserted that this should be backed by a policy which will ensure that shopping malls devote a certain percentage of their space to the sale of local goods.
However, as this is being pursued, he also advised that given the competitiveness of the market, local manufacturers should strive to improve and sustain their quality, and reasonably price their products to encourage patronage.
The AGI boss who speaking in an interview at the backdrop of a sensitization workshop on the ‘Obaasima Seal’ for food and beverage producers in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, in Kumasi, reckoned that there has been some improvement in the policy rate of the Bank of Ghana, a major determiner of the rate of interest on loans, since the beginning of the year.
This, he expected should eventually drive down interest rates further, insisting that the marginal reduction being experienced with some banks is not significant enough.
“We think that when the signals are there that the policy rate is falling, the macroeconomic environment is becoming more stable eventually it must necessarily lead to a fall in the interest rates.”
He said ‘this is good for all of us when businesses are borrowing at a cheaper cost’ they can borrow more to undertake medium to long term projects, all of which will benefit the country immensely.
He was hopeful that the improvement seen in the macroeconomic conditions could be sustained to help bring down interest rates.
The ‘Obasima Seal,’ a new scheme introduced by the AGI and being implemented together with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), is aimed to standardize and certify the nutritional content of locally produced food products.
The initiative, which was started by the GIZ under the affordable nutritious food for women, and now being implemented by the AGI with the help of the GSA is geared towards the reduction of micro nutrients deficiencies through a commercial solution of improving micro nutrient intake among women.
The ‘Obasima Seal’ thus guarantees that all food products that bear it have gone through all the required processes to satisfy that it has the right nutritional values for the human growth and development as well as assuring consumers of the quality of the product.
The AGI believes that promoting the ‘Obasima Seal’ will further encourage the patronage of locally made products while also giving the products the much-needed international exposure. To obtain this high premium quality assurance seal, local producers are expected to go through some specified number of processes in addition to having the authorization of Food and Drugs Board to operate.
The technical advisor for the Affordable Nutritious Food for Women, GIZ, Daniel Amankwah, noted that the initial project, which begun some two years ago, set out to fortify one local project but ended up fortifying three.
He commended the commitment of the AGI to work with the GSA to continue with the sustainability of the ‘Obasima Seal.’