The Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL) has asked the incoming government to, as a matter of priority, include the resuscitation of existing manufacturing companies that are distress if it is to make any meaningful impact in its job creation agenda.
The General Secretary of the Federation, Mr Abraham Koomson, says there are a number of existing manufacturing industries that are currently in distress condition and thus would need pragmatic policies by the incoming government to get them fully operational.
The newly-elected President has an ambitious programme of setting up one factory in each district across the country. This forms part of the party’s industrialisation agenda of the incoming NPP government aimed at creating jobs.
According to Mr Koomson, the textile industry alone was able to employ 25,000 people, representing 27 percent of the total employment in the manufacturing sector.
He lamented that due to poor policies, high taxes and rising production cost over the past few years, most of the manufacturing industries have either closed down or are producing at below their capacities.
The textile industry, for example, was the hardest hit. Government’s introduction of new taxes, prolonged energy crises and the influx of cheap pirated Chinese have led to the collapse of the textile industry in the country.
The once vibrant textile industry that employed 25,000 people currently employs just about 1,900.
The big textile companies such as the Akosombo Textile Company, GTP, Printex, among others, have all embarked on mass lay off of workers in the past few years and there are plans to lay off more if government does nothing in immediate to resuscitate them.
Mr Koomson has, therefore, suggested that the incoming government should work at reducing the cost of doing business and production in Ghana to make the manufacturing industry competitive.
He added that China has gained so much advantage against local industries in Ghana because their government had put in place deliberate polices that provide the manufacturing industry with low cost raw materials and utility due to government subsidies “whereas in Ghana “Utilities and endless permits and bureaucracies and taxes are killing the manufacturing industry”, he stressed.
He, therefore, appealed to the incoming Minister of Trade and Industry to engage more with the local manufacturers on what can be done to chart a new course for industrialization in the country.
He opined that if government were to direct more resources and energy in revamping existing distressed local industries; it would have done about half of its proposed plan of setting up factories in each district.