UNIDO and Ghana mark 10 years of trade cooperation

By Lydia
Kukua Asamoah/William Fiabu, GNA

Accra, Oct. 18, GNA – The United Nations
Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Ministry of Trade and
Industry, on Thursday marked 10 years of trade cooperation that has laid the
foundation for quality infrastructure development for Ghana.

The Government of Switzerland funded the
infrastructure development through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs
(SECO).

Dubbed: “The UNIDO Trade Capacity Building
Programme,” the cooperation has also led to the development of numerous standards
for the wood, fish, cocoa and fruit industries in Ghana.

Under the cooperation, national institutions
such as the Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Forestry Research Institute,
CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Forestry Commission-Timber Industry Development
Division, and the CCOBOD-Quality Control Company, have had their capacities
built in the inspectorate and testing departments.

These have institutionalised consumer protection
and quality measures.

An export market hub, being hosted by the
Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), has also been developed while several
enterprises have been supported within the private sector to implement quality
management standards.

Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, the Deputy Minister
of Trade and Industry, commended the Swiss Government for partnering Ghana over
the past 10 years to improve upon her trade capacities, standardisation and
quality infrastructure to enable Ghanaian businesses to be competitive in the
global market.

Speaking on the theme: “Challenges of Trade
and Industrialization in Ghana,” Mr Lindsay said some of the main challenges
facing the industrial sector were inadequate skilled labour to man the
industries and the low supply of raw materials.

“In some cases, the industrial plants are
there but because there are no materials to feed them, the machines just lie
there idle or are producing below their installed capacity. Examples can be
sited as in our Komenda Sugar Factory, the Pawlugu Tomato Factory and the
likes.

“There is also the problem of lack of enough
infrastructural facilities such as good road networks, railways, constant water
supply and electricity or energy etc. There was the issue of quality and
applying standards in the manufacturing industries.

“Besides, most entrepreneurs lack the
necessary quality culture hence in their production activities, issues of
quality only come to them at the end of production when it is too late,” he
said.

Mr Lindsay, therefore, expressed happiness
that UNIDO, through the Trade Capacity Building programme, had helped Ghana to
gradually realise its plan of building a strong industrialisation sector.

He said industry was at the centre of
government plans to transform the economy from one reliant on its resource base
to one driven by value-added exports.

Therefore, the Government had announced a
number of short and long term policies designed to support the industrial
transformation agenda and expand production.

In the short-term, government plans to help
distressed companies with a stimulus package from the National Budget as part
of a wider 10-point programme of reform known as the Industrial Transformation
Agenda.

The strategy seeks to decentralise industrial
growth through the One District One Factory programme, diversification through
the development of strategic anchor industries, the rollout of industrial
parks, regulatory reforms to improve the business environment, and support for
small and medium-sized enterprises among others as part of the long-term
projects.   

He said the government would continue to
partner its development partners to continue with the upgrading of Ghana’s
National Quality Infrastructure as well as effectively train professionals who
were manning such institutions and systems.

Mr Markus Dutly, the Swiss Ambassador, said
the support to Ghana was intended to help build the SME sector to make them
more competitive in international market.

Mr Victor Mills, the UNIDO-TCB Programme Coordinator,
expressed satisfaction that through the programme, “we have helped to implement
a national quality system to provide world class conformity assessment services
and improved export competitiveness for the wood, cocoa, fish and fruits
value-chains.

Mr Juan Pablo Davila, the Project Manager to
the TCB-Programme, announced that UNIDO and SECO have developed a programmatic
approach to addressing sustainable and quality standards in SECO priority
countries, including Ghana.

GNA

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