The security services and the Kumasi Shoe Factory

Soon after independence, the Nkrumah regime as part of its import substitution industrial policy established the Kumasi Shoe Factory, to produce foot wear to meet the needs of the Ghanaian market and the West Africa sub-Region as a whole.

By 1961, Ghana Industrial Holding Company (GIHOC), Footwear Company Limited, had come alive in Kumasi, producing quality footwears which were highly patronised in the country.

The company, otherwise known as the Kumasi Shoe Factory ran into difficulties and virtually collapsed in the late 70s, apparently with the overthrow of first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah and subsequent lack of interest by succeeding regimes to maintain it.

Thankfully, the factory has been revived through a joint partnership between the government and a Czech based company, Knight Ghana Limited, under a new name Defence Industrial Holding Company, with the Ghana Armed Forces being the majority shareholder.

The company has been given a new mandate to produce foot wears for the security agencies, companies and schools but especially to the Ghana Armed Forces that “owns” the company.

The Times has been made to understand that the company has been revived and capable of delivering on its mandate to produce locally made foot wears to promote the policy of “Buy made in Ghana goods” aimed at encouraging the consumption of locally produced goods and services.

This is to save the country from the colossal foreign exchange that we use to import items that can easily be produced locally.

More significantly, the idea is   to restore the confidence and trust in local manufacturing companies to expand their businesses, create job opportunities and put moneys in the pockets of Ghanaians.

We are aware that the revamped company still faces some challenges. And this came to the fore when the   Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul at the meet-the-press held in Accra last week, blamed the woes of the company on inefficient management.

The General Manager of the company, NII Konney Laryea also held a counter press conference to bring to light some of the challenges of the company, discounting the position of the minister.

Mr Konney is reported to have said at the press conference that, “It is a fact that all the government agencies, including the Ghana Police, Ghana National Fire Service, Prison Service, the Immigration Service and even the Ghana Armed Forces still order their boots and shoes from China and India.”

He added, “The absence of a definite policy to compel the security agencies to patronise their products should be blamed for the current state of the company…”

What is baffling is our high propensity for imports when we have established a factory to produce what we need? Can’t we do some research to come out with standards to meet the needs of the client who happens to be owner of the company? Can we have the policy in place to compel the security agencies, especially the Ghana Armed Forces to patronise its own?

Let’s avoid the blame game, we need to save this factory from another collapse; we can’t continue to go round in circles!

 

 

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