Western Region is industrial powerhouse of Ghana — Trade Minister

Dr. Ekwow Spio-GarbrahEntrepreneurs in the Western Region should take advantage of many resources available coupled with industrial free zones to expand their businesses, Mr. Ekow Spio-Gabrah, Minister of Trade and Industry, has said.

He said the region was the industrial powerhouse of the country in view of its natural resources and vital national installations such as the Aboadze Thermal Plant, Atuabo Gas Plant and Takoradi Port that had created a conducive environment for business.

He therefore, appealed to entrepreneurs to go into strategic partnership and engage in equity investment to boost their businesses and sustain the national economy.

Mr. Spio-Gabrah made this known at a stakeholders’ forum in Takoradi to discuss some challenges facing the business community and the way forward.

He expressed regret that Ghanaian industrialists had failed to take ownership of the national economy and said it was time Ghanaian entrepreneurs identified potential business opportunities and invest in them to make Ghana economy self-sustainable.

The Trade Minister said there were two industrial parks near Sekondi and Shama and manufacturing businesses that intend to export 70 percent of products and sell 30 percent on the domestic market would enjoy tax free package and urged them to take advantage of this opportunity

He said there are large tracts of arable lands in the region that are fertile for cultivation of rubber, palm nuts, sugarcane, cocoa and other cash crops and appealed to entreated local entrepreneurs to invest in such crops to feed the important factories such as the Komenda Sugar Factory, Bonsa Tyre Factory, Ghana Rubber Estate, Norpalm Plantation and West Africa Cocoa Mill.

He said cocoa production reduced by 20 percent to 450,000 metric tons has affected the government revenue target and cocoa companies that depended on cocoa beans for production suffered financial losses.

Mr. Spio Gabrah also advised small-scale businesses to upgrade their knowledge in marketing and sales as well as financial management and logistics by utilising the Enterprise Development Centre, especially those who want to venture into the petroleum sector so that foreigners did not benefit from the oil and gas industry at the expense of Ghanaians.

Most of the participants who are owners of businesses expressed their frustration over frequent power outages that are collapsing their businesses.

They accused the Electricity Company of Ghana of failing to adhere strictly to the 24-hour load shedding schedules, thus making most businesses incur losses.

They also complained about porous entry points thereby allowing the influx of cheap Chinese products onto the Ghanaian market and eventually crippling local businesses. —GNA

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