The only way to save the massive job losses which the country is experiencing is to industrialise, CEO of Jospong Group Siaw Agyapong has said.
Speaking at the Ghana Economic Forum on Wednesday, Mr. Agyapong admitted that businesses are currently living in difficult times because of the challenges facing the economy, hence efforts must be made to revive ailing industries to create jobs.
“No one sets up a business with the intention of laying people off. There are storms that come into the way of business, and some of those storms are beyond measure; there is nothing you can do. It has happened in both developed and developing countries. If we were to continue doing what Kwame Nkrumah perceived in his agenda of industrialisation, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in this situation now.
“The questions that we must ask ourselves are: why did the existing factories collapse; what can be done to revive them? Production is the only way we can change the fortunes of industry. When we have that agenda, we will have sustainable growth and employment retained in this country, and none of the businesses will collapse.
“Once industrialisation moves, laying-off becomes the last resort. But if we want to do trading—buy and sell—we will always be very vulnerable and our youth will not have jobs,” he said.
Aside from the banking sector challenges which have led to job-losses, a number of companies are reportedly cutting down staff as a way of restructuring to save them from collapse.
In the banking sector, about 2000 jobs are expected to be lost after the Bank of Ghana collapsed and merged five banks into the Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited.
It is against this background that Mr. Agyapong is calling for support from government to help build local industries and produce high quality goods which will encourage patronage of locally produced products as opposed to the present taste for foreign ones.
“Most of the foreign companies do not develop our local capacities. It is only the local industry that can do that. We understand our system more than any other foreign company. We must hold our local businesses as a heritage and develop them,” he said.
Commenting on the theme ‘Industrialisation to create jobs—stimulating industry for a self-sustained economy’, CEO of Ekam Capital Ltd. – Ebenezer Amankwaa Minkah, said businesses must be ready to take advantage of the right business environment.
“Yes, government will play a role; but do we take advantage of the environment if it is created? Most people don’t even understand what it means that the right environment has been created for businesses. We need to understand where we are going as individuals, businesses and government,” he said.
He added that businesses must aim to add value to their products, as that is the only way of pricing-out cheap imports from the country.
He also urged government to also focus the One District, One Factory project on some existing companies which are facing challenges and need funding to revive them.