The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Exim Bank, Lawrence Agyinsam, has said all efforts must be put into ensuring that consumption of locally manufactured goods becomes the norm post COVID-19.
According to him, local producers have guaranteed the survival of Ghanaians as the world has partially closed its borders – with some halting the export of essential goods to rightly protect their own.
He is pushing for more to be done on changing the taste-preference of Ghanaians to switch from foreign produced goods to local ones – a move that would not only ensure the fortitude of the bank but liberate the country from foreign dependency.
“This is the time we have to make the difference. We have to learn from COVID-19 and ensure that we have changed our preferences and consume locally produced goods. This bank has invested huge monies to build new factories, support struggling factories and resurrect dead ones. All these monies will be recouped early to ensure survival of the bank if we all consume and use made in Ghana goods.
“During this COVID-19 era, our garment sector has risen to the occasion by producing local PPE; all of us, both home and abroad, are proud to be Ghanaians because the west is struggling with PPE and here we are producing them in the thousands.
“We have abundant hand-sanitisers, thanks to local producers. India stopped the export of certain items including drugs, and here we are rising to the occasion. Our pharmaceutical manufacturers are delivering because they got support from Exim Bank and others to expand and produce some essential drugs locally,” Mr. Agyinsam said.
He disclosed this during a meeting between the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) and top management of the Ghana Exim Bank.
Mr. Agyinsam added that the bank’s vision – to become a strong financial institution that will be a key engine in the development of Ghana’s export trade, facilitate cross-border trade and make Ghana a pillar in regional and continental trade – will be achieved in the shortest possible time if the campaigns to consume locally produced goods continue unabated.
He further revealed that GH¢57.8million was invested in five garment companies of the country way before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ghana. The investment was to help revive the textiles and garment sector and make it compete globally. This investment is yielding positive results as it has contributed to ensuring that these companies have the capacity to support the nation’s COVID-19 fight with PPE.
The sector, according to Mr. Agyinsam, has been noted as one with great potential to help reduce the nation’s unemployment rate and derive huge foreign exchange to support strengthening of the local currency.
The pharmaceutical sector has had some US$60million pumped into its operations to ensure the nation becomes self-sufficient in the production of essential drugs, and also to target the export market.
The agriculture sector has also seen a substantial investment from the bank. Players in poultry, shea butter, cassava, coconut, maize and sweet potato are among the many sub-sectors that have benefitted with funding from the bank.
“As I have demonstrated, two key investments of this bank – in pharmaceuticals and in garments – are ample demonstration that we have to be self-reliant; and that has given us the impetus to do more to make sure we at least motivate ourselves to support local industries.”
The Executives of PRINPAG led by its president, Andrew Edwin Arthur, promised to help the bank achieve its mission of facilitating the transformation of Ghana’s economy into an export one by supporting and developing trade between Ghana and other countries; making sure this is achieved by conscientising the public to understand and acceptt the importance of consuming locally produced goods.