Business News of Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Managers of the Kumasi Shoe Factory, Defence Industries Holding Company Limited (DIHOC), have suggested that the recent criticism from Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, directed at them, might have been influenced by persons who stand to gain from the collapse of the company.
The shoe factory had been tasked with solely producing boots for purchase by the Armed Forces and other security agencies, and footwear for students locally and for export.
However, according to them, importers of shoes from India and China, were misleading the Defence Minister and seeking the downfall of the factory in order to protect their interests.
Addressing a press conference on Monday to respond to the comments, the acting General Manager of the DIHOC Footwear Division Limited, Nii Konney Laryea said they did not intend to “attack the Minister, but rather to use this fine opportunity to let him know that he is being misled by people who do not have the interest of the company at heart, and who are bent on doing anything and everything to collapse the company in order to have the free hand to import boots and shoes from India and China for the security agencies.”
Nii Konney Laryea added that, the management of the company knows the identities of these persons and would ‘name and shame’ those who were attempting to cause the downfall of the factory ‘at the appropriate time.’
“This is a big business for [the importers], and as far as DIHOC Footwear Division Limited is in operation, it constitutes a threat to their business of importing boots and shoes to the security agencies,” he said.
“The Management of DIHOC Footwear knows these enemies of the nation, who have vowed to slow the progress to this forward march of our great country. At the appropriate time, we shall name and shame these people.”
‘Let soldiers buy our shoes’
Since its revival in 2012, the factory has been on the verge of collapse, with a tour by government officials in August revealing that only 49 workers were currently employed there.
The managers of the facility have called on the Minister to direct the Armed Forces to purchase all their footwear from the Kumasi Shoe Factory, as had originally been intended, instead of importing them from Asia.
According to them ” a definite government policy” directing students and officers in the various security agencies to wear local shoes would go a long way to ensuring that the factory is able to operate at full capacity and employ more workers.
“We, therefore, want to use this platform to humbly request Dominic Nitiwul to assist the Company by directing the Ghana Armed Forces to order all their boots and shoes from the Company, and to appeal to his colleagues the Honorable Ministers of Interior, Finance, and Education to give similar directives to the other security agencies and educational institutions in the country to stop the importation of boots and shoes from China and India, and to buy from the company as a way of assisting the company,” Nii Konney Laryea said.
“This in our view, is the solution to restore and even increase the workforce of the company, in order to create more jobs for the youth of Ghana within the shortest possible time. The company can easily create an additional 600 jobs within the next two to three years, through such an initiative alone.”