The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Exim Bank, Lawrence Agyinsam, has revealed that GHȼ57.8 million was invested in five garment companies in the country, way before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ghana.
According to him the disbursement of the funds was to help revive the textiles and garment sector which has seen some neglect over the years. The sector, according to Mr. Agyinsam, has been noted as one with great potential to help reduce the nations’ unemployment rate and derive huge foreign exchange to support the strengthening of the local currency.
He made this known during a tour of four garment companies in Accra who are part of the local firms selected to assist government acquire enough PPEs to fight the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana.
The companies are, Dignity DTRT, Sleek Garments, Cadling Fashion and Alfie Designs. These companies have been contracted by government to produce tens of thousands of PPEs such as face masks, medical scrubs and medical gowns.
The CEO of Cadling Fashion, Linda Ampah told the media that, the help from Exim Bank has afforded them the opportunity to expand their operations and export more goods to international partners. The company which has existed for the past 20 years, has a work force of 300, who run two shifts and are able to produce 30,000 wears a day.
“Ordinarily we produce for both local and export, work wear; that is industrial uniform and overalls. We also produce hospital gowns, lab coats etc. We do school uniforms and industrial uniforms, that is what we do ordinarily, and then, of course, this came and we recalibrated our machines to help government with the PPEs supplies they need” Madam Ampah said.
Alfie Designs is also taking some time of their usual production to go into PPEs. They have committed over 300 day and night workers to producing PPEs. The family business which has existed for 30 years has the capacity to produce 50,000 nose mask a day, the CEO of the company Ajoe Dede Asare told the media.
For Dignity DTRT, they have stepped up from the production of the contracted PPEs to producing hazmat protective suits; used by doctors at COVID-19 treatment centers. The protective wear currently has a huge global demand. The company reconfigured its fabric machines in China to produce the material and export to Ghana for production.
As hazmat protective suit is currently in short supply globally, many countries including Ghana are forced to disinfect the wear after use and re-use, even tough it is advised to use the suit once and dispose. One of the mangers of the facility, Nurudeen Mohammed told the B&FT in an interview that, samples provided have been approved by the Ghana Standards Authority as to meeting WHO standards and the company will move into mass production next week. “Even before we start, we are getting orders from Nigeria and Liberia but we have to satisfy the Government of Ghana first before we can move out. Note that we are the First in West Africa with this capacity to produce hazmat protective suit” he said.
Sleek Garments was grateful for the help from Exim Bank but appealed to the CEO and the Board Chairman of the Bank to extend some more funding to it to push the company into expanding operations. The CEO of Sleek Garment, Nora Bannerman said “As you can see, we need some more space and we have the ability to expand. We are doing our best to meet the government PPE demand. We want to do more in the export area, we trust that you will extend some more monies to us so we increase our export supplies as well”.
Board Chairman for Ghana Exim Bank, Kwadwo Boateng Genfi was impressed with the thousands of youth gainfully employed by these garment firms and promised to do well to ensure that more support is channeled to the companies and the sector as a whole.