A former President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and Chief Executive Officer of Tropical Cable and Conductor, Mr Tony Oteng-Gyasi, says domestic manufacturers are still losing out to their foreign counterparts following the unwillingness of mining firms and other companies to procure their raw materials locally.
The development is in spite of the availability of world-class substitutes in the country and a local content regulation that make it mandatory for these firms to source their produce from domestic producers, he said in an interview.
Speaking on how cheap imports, lax regulations and trade malpractices were undermining the growth of local industries, Mr Oteng-Gyasi said the disregard for the local content regulation was rampant in the mining sector, where the firms were largely allowed to import their raw materials, including cables, duty-free.
Using an example to buttress his point, Mr Oteng-Gyasi said sometime back when Nigeria was building its floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for oil production, the government at the time decided that although it was to be built in Singapore, cables to be used would be procured from Nigerian manufacturers.
“At least, I know one company that had to build a brand new factory to produce those kinds of cables, medium voltage (MV) cables. They produced the cables, shipped them to Singapore and installed in the FPSO.
“This is when you see a government that is serious with local content and that is the only way to develop your country,” he stated, adding that although the production of the FPSO was long completed, the new factory was still available, contributing to development.
Although a plus to the companies, Mr Oteng-Gyasi said the trend was hampering the growth of the manufacturing sub-sector and constraining growth in individual companies.
This translates into limited job creation, he added.
He blamed the practice on the inability of implementing agencies and the government, in general, to strictly enforce the local content regulation by whipping companies in line.
He, therefore, called for proactive measures to help reverse the trend to boost manufacturing.
“The Minerals Commission and the Chamber of Mines should strictly enforce local content rules,” he said.
He was confident that such an action would help inspire domestic manufacturers to invest for increased production.