Inadequate support to the private manufacturing sector to stimulate growth in the past four years has adversely contributed to the steady rise in Ghana’s unemployment rate.
This was stated by Gilbert Aminongya, Acting General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU), Ghana, when he addressed the opening of ICU’s 9th Quadrennial Delegates' Conference in Kumasi.
“Many workers including our 65,000 members are yet to have a feel of the better Ghana agenda with regard to improvement in their salaries and conditions of service”, he observed. “Some of the factors that greatly contributed to the current situation in the manufacturing sector during the ending quadrennial were the unprecedented increase in utility tariffs coupled with the erratic power supply”.
The Union has therefore set forth to engage government, employers, organized labour and civil society to pursue the agenda of “buy local, secure jobs and reduce poverty” in the next quadrennial.
Mr. Aminongya believes the effective collaboration among stakeholders will ensure “Ghanaians as the target group develop the appetite for home made goods and services, thereby growing the private manufacturing sector”.
He however tasked local industries to rebrand to make their products attracted and competitive.
Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Anthony Fofie, cited the textiles industries as well as the poultry and rice sub-sectors as witnessing difficult times “because of the Ghanaian desire for foreign tastes”.
Whilst promoting the acceptability and use of local products, he emphasized that quality improvement be upheld to make local products attractive.
According to Mr. Fofie, the potential job creation avenues can be enhanced fully if Ghanaians are prepared to consume local products, including cocoa.
“Opportunities exist for the emergence of viable local cocoa-based industries if we would increase our consumption of cocoa products. Besides creating jobs, increasing incomes and enhancing livelihoods, consumption of cocoa products have been shown to promote good health and longevity”’, he noted.
The COCOBOD CEO enjoined the ICU to come out with strategies and approached that will engage workers and the general populace on the need to save the Ghanaian economy through increased purchase and consumption of local products.
Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh