Transforming manufacturing sub-sector’s performance and contribution to GDP

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Transforming manufacturing sub-sector’s performance and contribution to GDP

The rapid development of the Ghanaian economy is predicated on effective functioning of its various sectors. Therefore, it would be economically suicidal to supervise any sector of the economy to its dissipation. To avert any economic dissipation, it has become increasingly necessary to identify ways in which the under-performing sectors of the Ghanaian economy could be transformed to increase their potential contribution to GDP.

Industrial Sector Performance

The industrial sector remains one of the three major sectors of the Ghanaian economy. Table 1 and Figure 1 depict components of the industrial sector, including mining and quarrying, manufacturing, electricity, water and sewerage, and construction. The fourth column in Table 1 presents values for electricity, water and sewerage. Values for the period, 2000 through 2005 in the column cover electricity and water; while values from 2006 through 2018 include electricity, water and sewerage. The latter component (sewerage) was included following rebasing of the Ghanaian economy in 2011 using 2006 as the base year.

Table 1: Performance of Industrial Sector Components – 2000 To 2018

YearMining & QuarryingManufacturingElectricity & WaterConstruction
201837,999.0031,441.005,648.0019,683.00
201725,917.0026,860.005,805.0019,433.00
201616,831.0023,922.004,791.0015,165.00
201517,131.0020,506.004,162.0015,357.00
201421,705.0017,605.002,274.0012,183.00
201315,933.0014,523.002,00710,641.00
20122,221.002,437.004602,541.00
20112,116.002,242.004362,339.00
20106901,984.004291,949.00
20095811,844.003981,902.00
2008544.41,868.003701,739.50
2007531.61,801.30345.21,251.60
2006497.41,823.50367.11,016.30
200533.758.917.4555.5
200431.756.115.550.1
200330.853.61547.3
200229.451.314.444.6
200128.148.913.842.5
200028.6047.213.240.5

*Values in Millions of Ghana Cedis (GH¢) Sources: Bank of Ghana (BoG) & Ghana Statistical Service (GSS)

Data in Table 1 and Figure 1 reveal steady increase in contribution values for each of the components to the industrial sector between 2000 and 2005. However, these values were significantly low compared with values recorded from 2006 through 2018. The significant increase in values of the industrial sector components and components of the other two sectors (agricultural and services sectors) could be attributed largely to rebasing of the Ghanaian economy in 2011 and 2017 using 2006 and 2013 as the respective base years.

We observe significant increase in manufacturing sub-sector’s performance from 2006 through 2018. However, the sub-sector’s performance was more phenomenal from 2013 to 2018. The value recorded for the manufacturing sub-sector in 2013 (GH¢14.523 billion) was about 5.96 times the value recorded during 2012 (GH¢2.437 billion). Average contribution of the manufacturing sub-sector to the industrial sector from 2013 through 2018 was GH¢22.476 billion, a little lower than the average contribution of mining and quarrying (GH¢22.586 billion) during the same period.

Figure 1: Performance of Industrial Sector Components – 2000 To 2018

Available data in Table 1 and Figure 1 affirm consistent dominance of the manufacturing sub-sector in terms of performance and contribution to the industrial sector from 2000 through 2012. However, its dominance from 2013 through 2018 was interspersed with intermittent “takeovers” by mining and quarrying during 2013, 2014, and 2018. Values for mining and quarrying witnessed considerable increase following the discovery and production of crude oil in commercial quantities from 2010. The initial contribution of crude oil to mining and quarrying during 2010 was GH¢65 million; this figure surged to GH¢1.372 billion during 2011.

Average contribution of the construction sub-sector to the industrial sector over the period 2000 through 2018 was about GH¢5.552 billion. This figure was about 3.82 times the average contribution of electricity, water and sewerage (GH¢1.452 billion) during the same period. Further statistical analysis in subsequent sections facilitated our assessment of significance of manufacturing sub-sector’s contributions to the industrial sector, national gross domestic product, and global manufacturing values.

Performance of Key Economic Sectors

Contributions of key sectors of the economy, including agricultural, industrial and services sectors, to Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP) over a nineteen-year period (2000 through 2018) are presented in Table 2 and Figure 2. Data in the table and figure show net of indirect taxes, a fourth component that is included in the computation of Ghana’s GDP for a given year. Data in Table 2 and Figure 2 reveal relatively close contributions of the agricultural and industrial sectors to Ghana’s GDP.

Table 2: Economic Performance of Various Sectors – 2000 To 2018

YearIndustryAgricultureServices  Net of Indirect TaxesGDP*
201894,770.3054,923.50129,278.9021,623.00300,596.10
201778,015.0050,554.00109,698.0018,404.00256,671.00
201660,709.0045,116.0092,680.0016,572.00215,077.00
201557,155.0036,526.0071,334.0015,384.00180,399.00
201453,767.0031,086.0056,132.0014,447.00155,433.00
201343,104.0025,290.0048,408.006,848.00123,650.00
20127,659.006,595.0014,125.001,721.0030,099.00
20117,132.006,507.0012,689.001,414.0027,742.00
20105,053.006,453.0011,714.001,032.0024,187.00
20094,725.006,129.0010,667.0093422,454.00
20084,521.905,716.1010,106.001,248.3021,592.20
20073,929.605,322.009,358.301,303.4019,913.40
20063,704.305,415.008,690.40895.4018,705.10
2005165.50237.20197.1059.1658.90
2004153.80227.70184.3056.6622.40
2003146.70212.901,756.7054.2589.50
2002139.60200.701,678.1051.9560.10
2001133.30192.301,602.7049.80535.70
2000129.50184.901,525.3047.20514.20

*Values in Millions of Ghana Cedis (GH¢) Sources: Bank of Ghana & Ghana Statistical Service

An obvious “outlier” in the contributions to Ghana’s GDP is the services sector. This sector, on average, has consistently contributed about GH¢117.379 billion to Ghana’s GDP from 2012 through 2018. The sector’s contribution affirms its invaluable contribution to the development and growth of the Ghanaian economy. Data on percentage contribution of each of the three sectors to Ghana’s economy from 2012 through 2018 are presented in Table 2.1 and Figure 2.1. Data for the selected period were computed using values in Table 2. Difference between the sum of percentage contributions of the three sectors for each period on one hand and 100% on the other, helps in determining the percentage contribution of net of indirect taxes.

Table 2.1: Contribution of Each Sector to GDP (%) – 2012 To 2018

YearIndustryAgricultureServices
201831.5318.2743.01
201730.419.742.74
201628.2320.9843.09
201531.6820.2539.54
201434.592036.11
201334.8620.4539.15
201225.4521.9146.93
Average30.9620.2241.51

Statistics in Table 2.1 and Figure 2.1 affirm average contribution of the services sector to GDP in percentage terms from 2012 through 2018 was about 41.51%. Similarly, average contribution of the agricultural sector to Ghana’s GDP within the seven-year period in monetary terms was GH¢35.727 billion; while the sector’s percentage contribution to GDP over the same period was about 20.22%.

This compared slightly with industrial sector’s respective average percentage contribution of about 30.96%; and monetary contribution of GH¢56.454 billion over the seven-year period. It is worth-emphasising a significant portion of manufacturing activities thrives on the availability of raw materials from the agricultural sector.

Thus, the agricultural sector propels growth in the manufacturing sub-sector; and by extension, the industrial sector. This is indicative of the existence of a strong relationship between these two key sectors. That is, agricultural and industrial sectors of the Ghanaian economy.

Figure 2: Economic Performance of Various Sectors – 2000 To 2018

Data in Table 2 and Figure 2 depict consistency in Ghana’s GDP growth from 2000 through 2018. The data show consistency in the performance of agricultural and industrial sectors over the period. However, the services sector experienced some downturns during 2004 and 2005. Data in Table 2.2 and Figure 2.2 provide details on growths in the performance of the various sectors of the Ghanaian economy and GDP over a seven-year period. That is, from 2012 through 2018. Statistics in Table 2.2 and Figure 2.2 were computed using values in Table 2.

Figure 2.1: Contribution of Each Sector to GDP (%) – 2012 To 2018

Comparative analysis of the three main sectors using available data in Table 2.2 and Figure 2.2 reveals the industrial sector recorded the highest growth rates over the period, followed by agricultural and services sectors respectively.

The data show significant increase in growth rates across all the sectors in 2013; and fairly stable growth rates in subsequent years. The growth rates recorded in 2013 could be attributed to rebasing of the Ghanaian economy in 2017 using 2013 as the base year. Average growth rate recorded by the industrial sector over the seven-year period (2012 through 2018) was about 79.62%.

The respective average growth rates recorded by the agricultural and services sectors during the same period were 52.78% and 51.89%. It is observed, in spite of the challenges that confronted the industrial sector from 2014 through 2017 it continued to maintain an impressive average growth rate above the agricultural and services sectors during the research period.

The average growth rate in Ghana’s GDP over the seven-year period was about 59.53%. The data showed inconsistency in GDP growth rates over the period, although the consistent increase in GDP values over the period is observed in Table 2.

Table 2.2: Sectors and GDP Growth Rates (%) – 2012 To 2018

YearIndustryAgricServicesGDP
201821.368.6417.8517.11
201728.5112.0518.3619.34
20166.2223.5229.9219.22
20156.317.527.0816.06
201424.7422.9215.9625.7
2013462.79283.47242.71310.81
20127.391.3511.328.5

A major setback to the industrial sector’s contribution to GDP and its growth in 2016 was a negative growth rate recorded by the electricity sub-sector in that year. With improved electricity generation and strong oil exploring activities, the industrial sector recorded significant growth during 2017.

Rigorous activities introduced in the agricultural sector such as the planting for food and jobs initiatives shored up the sector’s growth and contribution to GDP during 2017; and expected to contribute meaningfully to the sector’s growth in subsequent years. Measures put in place by the government through its sector Ministry to streamline activities in the financial sub-sector were expected to improve performance of the services sector to assure its significant growth and contribution to Ghana’s GDP in the medium- and long-term.

Figure 2.2: Sectors and GDP Growth Rates (%) – 2012 To 2018

Some of these “hardline” measures include increase in minimum capital requirement for universal banks from GH¢120 million to GH¢400 million; and the decision to issue GH¢10 billion bond to retire the energy sector debt, among others.

The latter measure was intended to settle government’s indebtedness to the commercial banks to reduce the surging amount of non-performing loans which stood at about GH¢6.2 billion at the end of 2016; create room for more liquidity in the financial sub-sector to allow commercial banks to process more loans for individuals, investors and businesses; and to allow government to ensure a reduction in the average lending rate charged by universal banks and other lending institutions on loans in the country.

Recommended Measures

Strengthening the relationship between the agricultural and industrial sectors is essential to positive prediction of accelerated development and growth of the Ghanaian economy. It is believed effective adaption and implementation of cogent, strategic and diligent measures would result in significant growth in the agricultural and industrial sectors while making remarkable contributions to Ghana’s GDP. In view of the foregoing, the ensuing recommendations are proffered.

The global economy is driven by information technology and industrialisation. The latter plays a significant role in the economic success of many advanced and emerging economies such as China, United States of America, Germany, Brazil, India, and Indonesia, among others.

Therefore, it is imperative for Ghanaian leaders to consider industrialisation and for that matter manufacturing as one of the bedrocks for national development, success, prosperity; and economic perpetuity.

To this end, manufacturing activities should form an integral part of Ghanaian leaders’ scheme of programmes aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of resources and development of various communities; creating job opportunities, especially for the youth; and accelerating national development and growth.

Existing national enactments related to investments in the manufacturing sub-sector by local and foreign investors must be activated and implemented; and where necessary, reviewed to serve as an effective attractive tool to all investors. The current administration’s resolve to amend Ghana’s Company Act of 1963 is laudable. The amended Company Act is expected to be more investor-friendly to help attract more local and foreign investors into the Ghanaian economy, especially into the manufacturing sub-sector.

The amended Company Act is expected to be a “game changer” in the area of foreign direct investment (FDI) for Ghana’s economy. The presence of multinational companies through foreign direct investment would facilitate innovativeness and competitiveness of indigenous firms in the manufacturing sub-sector. This would enhance the quality of final products to extend the market frontiers beyond the immediate Ghanaian market to Sub-Saharan Africa and global markets.

Results from test of hypothesis one revealed positive, but non-significant relationship between the manufacturing sub-sector and industrial sector of the Ghanaian economy. Similarly, results from the test of hypothesis two indicated positive but non-significant relationship between the manufacturing sub-sector and Ghana’s GDP. However, annual data released for the manufacturing sub-sector are not only impressive but also appear significant to both the industrial sector and national gross domestic product.

Sad to relate, the statistical analysis indicated annual data presented for the manufacturing sub-sector are not representative of the subsector’s performance. Stated differently, the annual manufacturing data do not reflect the sub-sector’s actual performance; it implies stakeholders in the manufacturing sub-sector do not present statistical data on the sub-sectors actual annual performance.

To address this phenomenon and remedy the situation, stakeholders must ensure due diligence in the collation and release of annual data for the manufacturing sub-sector to assure reliability and credibility of same.

Expedition of government initiatives such as the One District, One Factory programme through early identification of strategic investment partners would be useful to the course of accelerating growth in the manufacturing sub-sector. Initial strategic partnerships at the national level may be bureaucratic, time-consuming; and would require due diligence from both parties.

Where the foregoing processes are stalling the materialisation of the One District, One Factory concept, government could initiate establishment of the factories in the various or selected districts; and allow private participation at a later date. This would assure job creation, utilisation of locally-produced raw materials, increased production, price stability, and increased government revenue through taxes.

Recent measures adapted and implemented by the Bank of Ghana to clean-up the financial sub-sector yielded some positive dividends; actions of the Regulator ensured significant paradigm shift from numbers to quality of banks and specialised deposit-taking institutions. This has improved efficiency and effectiveness in the operations of various financial institutions across the country.

The general regulatory environment plays a pivotal role in the success of the manufacturing sub-sector; and other businesses. Healthy and vibrant financial sub-sector serves as an attractive tool for both local and foreign investment. Therefore, the Regulator must not rest on its oars; and not relent in its efforts to ensure sanity in the financial sub-sector.

The recent memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Government of Ghana and Toyota Tsusho Corporation for the establishment of Toyota and Suzuki assembly plant in Ghana; and another initiative by the government for the construction of a fertilizer factory at Somanya in the Yilo Krobo Municipality in the Eastern Region of Ghana could make Ghana competitive in the areas of automobile manufacturing and fertilizer production in the West African Sub-Region. The Government of Ghana could partner Kantanka Group to increase its productive capacity in the manufacturing of cars in the country to encourage and increase local participation and investments in the automobile industry.

The fertilizer production project is intended to demonstrate and promote economic use and management of sanitation and waste materials in the country. Similar automobile agreements signed between the Governments of Ghana and Germany to assemble some German cars in Ghana is commendable. More of such agreements are needed to introduce variety and innovation to the manufacturing sub-sector; and to boost national GDP.

The Ghana Association of National Best Farmers must not only exist in name; members or awardees must justify their achievements by providing the requisite professional, technical and intellectual assistance to young and aspiring best farmers at all levels: district, regional and national levels.

Heads of various farmers’ associations must periodically invite financial advisors to provide essential education on bookkeeping to help members acquire and enhance their basic financial knowledge; and ease their access to loans from commercial banks and other lending institutions. This would help increase farm yields to meet the raw material needs of and demands by industries in the manufacturing sub-sector.

Available statistics on population trends in Ghana revealed the youth constitute a significant portion of the population. Consistent with trends in many developing economies, most young graduates in Ghana come from less affluent homes. As a result, it becomes very challenging for these young graduates to translate their innovative entrepreneurial ideas in manufacturing and agribusiness acquired through their academic education and other sources into production and job-creation opportunities.

To address this phenomenon, it is incumbent on leadership of the country to formulate and implement policies through the Bank of Ghana to transition from collateral-based lending to performance-based lending to young graduates from various tertiary institutions with crafty ideas in manufacturing and agribusiness, but lack the financial wherewithal to transform those ideas into practicable and profitable manufacturing and agribusiness initiatives and ventures. This model would allow young graduates to raise the needed initial capital to finance their small manufacturing and agribusinesses to reduce the level of unemployment rate; and over-dependence on government for job creation in the country.

A policy on performance-based lending would accelerate the discovery and development of many renowned manufacturing and agribusiness stalwarts within the Ghanaian economy. The performance-based lending concept argues, since it is difficult for most of the young graduates in Ghana to provide the collateral required to secure a loan, approval for loan applications submitted by these young graduates should be based on the economic relevance of their proposed manufacturing and agribusiness ventures. Further, each banking institution is expected to strengthen its Business Development Division; assign a Representative to interact, constantly, with each young entrepreneur after loan approval.

The bank’s representative would share business ideas with the young entrepreneur, embark on routine visits to the manufacturing or agribusiness site; and collaborate to address pertinent operation challenges. This initiative would assure the eventual success of the business, allow the young entrepreneur to pay the principal loan and any interest that may be connected to it. It would facilitate the discovery of more talents in manufacturing and agribusiness, ease the perennial challenges associated with efficient and effective management of businesses in Ghana; and over time, help Ghanaian young graduates to become job providers other than job seekers.

Use of sophisticated technological equipment in manufacturing to increase productivity and profitability of companies in the sub-sector must be the utmost concern of key stakeholders, including government. Model economies such as China, Germany, United States of America and Japan rely extensively on modern and advanced technology to enhance manufacturing activities; and the sub-sector’s contribution to overall national gross domestic product.

Innovation and infrastructure are essential requirements for successful implementation of any given policy on manufacturing. Thus, development of modern infrastructure to make many parts of the country investor-friendly and accessible would enhance the prospects of manufacturing. Efforts by government and other key actors to institute continuous development programmes would be paramount to the success of implemented policies in the manufacturing sub-sector of the Ghanaian economy.

Measures aimed at easing business registration processes within the Ghanaian economy should be supported by all and sundry. Removal of administrative bottlenecks and processes that unnecessarily delay business registration would encourage the registration of more manufacturing companies and agribusinesses by both local and foreign investors within the country.

Efforts of the current political administration aimed at ensuring thorough digitisation of the Ghanaian economy, including the Registrar General’s Department, the government’s agency responsible for registration of businesses in the country deserve commendation. One of the expected outcomes of this initiative is online registration of businesses and significant reduction in the number of days for issuance of business certificate to businesses in Ghana. The global economic ranking of Ghana in the ease of doing business is expected to witness an improvement as a result of these initiatives.

Factors such as costs of energy and transport; and tax policies impact on the manufacturing sub-sector’s performance and contribution to national development and growth. Thus, measures put in place by the government to ensure stable, reliable and affordable power supply; reduced transportation and imported input costs through reduction in import duties on spare parts; and fairly stable fuel prices through significant reduction in foreign exchange volatilities, among others, should be sustained to enhance potential growth of the manufacturing sub-sector and the national economy.

A country that is devoid of political and social unrest is more likely to attract foreign direct investment, vice versa. This implies Ghana must strive to develop robust and resilient economy; and guard jealously against her current stable political, social and economic climate to be more attractive to the international investor-community. The quality of labour force is one of the major factors that affect the success story of the manufacturing sub-sector and the economy as a whole.

It is hoped various technical institutions and universities across the country would live up to their practical meaning by installing modern equipment to provide students with the hands-on experience required to perform efficiently and effectively on the job. Strengthening the country’s educational system to assure training and development of highly qualified human capital would improve management innovation and magnanimity, essential requirements for success and growth of the manufacturing sub-sector; and acceleration of national development.

West and Lansang (2018) found unfavourable tax policies, limited investments in infrastructure and education as major setbacks to the development of rigorous manufacturing sub-sector in the economies of India, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Brazil while significant investments in infrastructure and human capital; and cost considerations and policies accelerate growth of the manufacturing sub-sector in Canada, Japan, United States of America, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (UK).

Key stakeholders in the Ghanaian manufacturing sub-sector could diligently analyse the foregoing variables and combine their “strengths” to assure considerable improvement in the sub-sector’s performance and growth. The existing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Government of Ghana and the European Union (EU) could be reviewed to provide some competitive “respite” for local manufacturing firms. Further, implementation of the EPA must proceed with tact and utmost diligence, so Ghana does not become an import-led economy in perpetuity.

Ghana must take advantage of implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement; and potential utilisation of common currencies such as the Eco in the West African Sub-Region; and Afro on continent-wide basis to increase her manufacturing potential and growth while contributing meaningfully to national economic development.

Implementation of AfCFTA implies Ghana’s “unfettered” access to African markets through the following regional bodies: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAC), Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa (COMESA), and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).

The AfCFTA is more private-sector driven with governments of various African States serving as facilitators. An implementation of the AfCFTA agreement grants member countries access to a common market with an estimated population of 1.389 billion (actually 1,389,419,306), equivalent to 16.72% of total population across the globe (Worldometer, 2022).

The total gross domestic product for this common market is estimated at US$3 trillion. Practically, the AfCFTA agreement presents Ghana and other member-countries with a unique opportunity to witness expansion in the manufacturing sub-sector; and to accelerate development and growth of their respective economies.

Author’s Note

The above write-up was extracted from an earlier publication on “Role of Agribusiness in the Development of Robust Manufacturing Sub-Sector” by Ashley and Gyekye (2021) in the International Journal of Business and Management.

The writer is a Chartered Economist/Business Consultant.

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