In the past few years, there has been a clarion call for the purchase of Made in Ghana goods as the nation strives to introduce locally produced alternatives of imported products.
This is not only meant to help re-engineer the production base of the economy but also to re-orient citizens that one of the ways to protect jobs and keep local factories running is to buy from them.
It is also aimed at reducing the nation’s over-reliance on imported products which has been the bane of the struggling currency as hard cedis would have to be converted into dollars to import the goods thereby affecting its strength which leads to stories bothering on depreciation.
Every year billions of cedis are spent to import goods to satisfy the needs of the country but just a fraction of the amount is recorded on the export side.
In 2019 it is estimated that GH¢90billion was spent on imports while the fraction of export was not close to 1/3.
In the year 2020 alone, Ghana imported soaps and detergent products worth over $40 million Dollars which could easily have been produced here in Ghana.
COVID-19 supply chain risks
With the advent of COVID-19 the world began to experience protectionism at its highest level when the raw material supply chain was thrown into difficulties as every nation wanted to protect what it has for the fear of the unknown.
The disruption of the global supply chain for goods has adversely affected livelihoods, but has also increased the consciousness regarding personal hygiene and care, leading to a significant surge in the demand for soap and household cleaning products, thus, enhancing the market growth of detergents.
This has however brought to light the need to support local production of goods as they would be the best bet in times of difficulties to save lives.
As a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, Wilmar Africa, one of the leading manufacturers of household consumer products in Ghana has invested US$30 million in the construction of the state-of-the-art detergent manufacturing plant in Tema.
The first-ever detergent tower plant falls within Wilmar’s vision to be the company that understands and satisfies the everyday household needs in the markets – thus become the leading consumer products company in the country.
The plant, which will be producing the popular Jamaa detergent, will make it the first powdered detergent soap to be produced in the country from scratch to finish. The move is part of the company’s efforts to advance the country’s ‘Build Ghana Buy Ghana Agenda’.
With an installed capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes of soap per annum compared to a national demand estimated at 100,000 metric tonnes, the new factory will help bridge the gap between demand and supply of soaps and detergents.
Currently, all detergents on the market are either imported as finished products or bagged and branded in the country.
The manufacturing plant is set up to formulate the raw materials using the Spray tank tower to produce its own Labsa and detergent powder and pack it in-country.
The managers of the facility have indicated the need for government to support local companies like it with respect to tax incentives, tax holidays among others to help it justify the investment and also make some profit while it helps to provide meaningful employment.
Jamaa detergent powder would be the first Ghana in Made detergent soap made specially made to suit the Ghanaian culture and produced, fit for purpose, for all cleaning exercises at home.
The establishment of the company will boost the Government’s strategic effort aimed at import substitution, especially in sectors where there is local capacity for value addition.
The move by the company would mean that more hands would be needed to ensure the factory operates at full capacity to satisfy the detergent needs of all households.
Wilmar directly employs over 3,000 staff in Ghana and is one of the largest taxpayer with an annual tax contribution of over GH₵300 million into the national coffers.
With the operationalization of the detergent manufacturing plant, its numbers are expected to go up. In real figures, the detergent manufacturing plant is going to provide direct employment for about 220 people which will improve their livelihoods and that of their dependents.
African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
With the detergents market projected to register a cumulative annual growth of over 4 percent, it is believed that the company will flourish not only in Ghana but Africa as a whole, by taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The manufacturing plant is to primarily serve the country’s detergent needs as it has the capacity to do that. But there are avenues for export with the commencement of trading under AfCFTA.
The company now has the opportunity to venture into the continental market at a less cost.
This is expected to draw in some foreign exchange to support its operations as well as help stabilize the currency.
Commitment from Managers
The General Manager of Wilmar in Ghana, Mr. Kwame Wiafe has indicated that the company’s investment represents its long-standing commitment to the country.
“Over the years, we have worked tirelessly to make Wilmar products the choice brand in every home. The opening of the Detergent Plant demonstrates our commitment to investing even more in our business so we can meet our customers’ expectations”, Mr. Wiafe said.
Santosh Pillai, Chief Executive Officer for Africa – Wilmar International said the building of the plant is part of the company’s vision to ensure that it becomes the lead manufacturer of household consumer products in the country.
“We are excited by the Government of Ghana’s renewed support for the manufacturing sector. We stand ready to explore opportunities presented by government for the benefit of companies like Wilmar Africa”, said Santosh Pillai.
Wilmar Africa Limited is one of the leading fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCG) committed to the processing, packaging, and distribution of a wide variety of consumer products and brands such as Frytol, Fortune, Viking, Alife, and Jamaa for local and international markets.
In Ghana, Wilmar operates an integrated business model in the agriculture sector withholding interest in Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) – a leading oil palm plantation business, listed on Ghana’s stock exchange.
One of the many ways the company strives to remain robust and satisfy its numerous customers is through innovation. There is a department that constantly looks at how to be innovative to make their products remain fresh on the minds of customers; a move geared at making their products compete favorably on the market.
The innovation also leads to operational efficiency and showcases the products of the company in a manner that every household would want to use to ease house chores.
Wilmar Africa is conscious of its environment and has engaged in many Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) to better the lives of communities they work within and the nation at large.
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Wilmar Africa presented cash and products totalling GH₵1 million to support the government’s efforts in the fight of the COVID-19 and alleviate the plight of the less-privileged.
The donation comprised a cheque for GH₵100,000 to the COVID-19 Fund and GH₵900,000 worth of the company’s Viking Rice, Frytol Vegetable Oil, Frytol seasoning, Largo, Jamaa and Alife soaps to support the vulnerable in society who are the most hit by the stay-home directive.
The company to date continues to sensitize the public using various media platforms on making personal hygiene a habit and the need to stay safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Wilmar International is the world’s leading integrated multinational Agribusiness group with head office in Singapore and operates 850 factories in 35 countries across 5 continents including Asia and Africa and generates in excess of $40 Billion annual turnover.