President Nana Akufo-Addo has expressed worry over the influx of cheap imported goods in most shopping malls and supermarkets in the country, to the disadvantage of locally produced goods, which constitute less than five percent of goods on sale.
The development, the president said at the opening of the Kumasi City Mall, weakens local producers while also deepening the low patronage of made in Ghana products.
President Akufo-Addo said: “We cannot create the hundreds of thousands of jobs for the masses of our young people if the sustenance of our economy is import dependent and import driven as well as being dependent on raw material exports.”
He insisted that the malls increase their intake of locally made products to be in line with government’s economic programme of adding value to raw materials in the process of rapid industrialisation.
He asked the owners and operators to pay attention to the low sale of locally produced goods increase the percentage sold, and engage local producers and entrepreneurs, including farmers.
Initiatives introduced in the budget, the president said, are aimed at stimulating private sector activities and shifting the focus of the economy from taxation to production, and urged the private sector to take advantage of this new focus which is offering opportunities to local ingenuity and production.
He said new enterprises, such as malls, the world over, have sparked the creation of jobs and investments and have also led to increased local spending.
The president also charged the youth to take advantage of the opportunities with the establishment of the Mall, as well as the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative, which was launched recently.
“Organise yourselves and get involved in this initiative. I am certain that my admonishing to shop owners of this mall will not go unheard, they will surely buy from you if your produce meet the standards, which I am confident it can,” he stated.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kumasi City Mall, Mr. Kofi Sekyere, said the mall is the third straight shopping centre development that have undertaken following the Achimota West Hills Malls.
He disclosed that a whopping US$250 million have been invested in these projects, of which the Kumasi Mall accounts for about 40 percent of the investment, at the cost of US$95 million.
The establishment of the KCM, he said, is a repackaging of the old marketplace to meet the needs and demands of a 21st century Kumasi, given the entrepreneurial nature of the people in the city.
The Kumasi City Mall comes with a trading space of 18,500 square metres within a total land area of 15.43 acres, and has the potential to be expanded up to 28,000sq metres.
The mall has 1,250 car parking bays, with what is now known to be the biggest basement parking facility in the country.