President John Dramani Mahama has challenged the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Association of Ghana Industries to steer entrepreneurs into the manufacturing sector of the economy.
President Mahama gave the charge during the inauguration of the Intelligent Metering and Energy Solutions (IMES) Ghana limited, a meter assembling plant at premises of IMES at Amrahia along the Oyibi-Dodowa road, adding that Ghana could produce cables, transformers, meters, and other similar products.
“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,” the President said.
He 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 directed the Electricity Company of Ghana and others to halt importation of electricity inputs such as cables, and transformers.
However, he acknowledged the difficulties in going into manufacturing for businessmen and entrepreneurs but noted that 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, he said, must work together to transform Ghanaian entrepreneurs into manufacturing, while Ghana is positioned as an alternative for investors looking outside China for light manufacturing as was being done in Ethiopia.
He lauded IMES Limited for the location of the company outside the urban and industrial areas, adding that 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.
President Mahama explained that the introduction of the intelligent meters by IMES Ghana was vital to sustainable power generation as it would address the issue of power losses through theft, which was a major challenge for the ECG eventually contributing to high tariffs.
According to him, this 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 aims 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.
Dr Donkor 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.
He lauded the indigenous ownership of IMES, adding that “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.
“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.
“Ghana will not just become an assembling nation, but Ghana will become a country where the citizens fully participate in equity ownership of enterprises.”