Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah, has called on Ghanaian industries to expedite production in order not only to be buoyant but also contribute to Ghana’s trade sustenance in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.
“I encourage our exporters to double their production and look for outside supplies and ship their cargoes outside. Those who are currently not into production can see how they can enter into it as quickly as possible. This is because where we import our cargoes from are on lockdown, so they cannot go to the factory and produce. Now, they would rely on you and accept your product,” he explained.
Speaking on Eye on Port live on national television on Assessing the National and Continental Trade Agenda Before and After the COVID-19 pandemic, the deputy Minister of Trade and Industry who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Tema West, encouraged local industries to take advantage of the more favourable situation in Ghana, to shore up production of locally manufactured products in order to make up for trade deficits incurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We believe that this is the time that Africa or Ghana for that matter, should reconfigure its direction to meet post-COVID improvement of our economy. And if we are able to hold on to our own, before the larger economies, are able to overtake COVID-19, and come back into the limelight, we would have shot forward long before they come,” he said.
Impact of COVID-19
The Deputy Minister who is in charge of Trade, hinted that the aggressive industrialization agenda of government, including the 1D1F program aimed at increasing Ghana’s export base, promote employment, and decrease rural-urban migration among others which were visibly yielding results has significantly suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If companies don’t work, people don’t get paid salaries, government is deprived of taxes, traders don’t get goods to sell…everybody is unhappy. The seizure in the supply chain, some of the people in this chain would suffer the consequences and that is what I’m talking about,”
He commended the President of Ghana, for being visionary in his handling of the coronavirus, saying while he does his best to ensure health security, he also takes decisions that ensure continuity of economic activities.
“He has handled this COVID-19 situation by attacking the disease itself with series of regulations and guidelines for us to follow. We started way before a lot of the mature economies even realised that they need to start. Today as we speak industry is working again. If we are able to push more people into production, we stand a bigger chance of us being able to export our goods to the outside world,” he articulated.
Supporting local industries
He said government has made efforts to salvage the magnitude of the setbacks suffered, by offering stimulus packages to industries in addition to the nationwide reliefs on the cost of utilities.
“We are asking the financial institutions to commit about GHC3BN for private sector assistance. That notwithstanding, there is 600M that we are going to roll out for SMEs as stimulus package,” he listed.
He added that in combating the coronavirus, the Ministry of Trade has engaged local entities to produce Personal Productive Equipment, which aside the health benefits, promises a lot of economic gains.
“We are supposed to produce about 3.6 million nose masks here in Ghana. As I speak to you, they are almost nearing half of this production,” he revealed.