President Akufo-Addo has appealed to the newly-inaugurated Kumasi City Mall to sell Ghanaian products, alongside imported ones. “It would be truly commendable, if, by the end of the first year of its operation, at least, 20% of the goods that are sold here should be of Ghanaian origin, and the percentages increase as Ghanaian industrial production rapidly expands.”
Delivering a speech at the official launch of the Kumasi City Mall on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the President bemoaned the fact that Ghana continues to be a retailer of cheap imported goods, whilst the capacity of our local producers remains weak, and their products suffering low patronage.
“I know very well that, in some of our malls and supermarkets across the country, carrots sold, for example, are imported from Holland. Some of the dressed chickens on sale have also come from Brazil. Indeed, the items originating from Ghana, and from our local entrepreneurs, constitute barely a paltry 5% of goods on sale,” the President lamented.
He noted, however, that all over the world, new enterprises, such as the Kumasi City Mall, have spawned the creation of jobs and investments, and triggered increased local spending.
“Supermarkets and many shopping malls in several parts of the world, particularly, in the advanced economies, have become magnets for production. It is my hope that the Kumasi City Mall will, not only be a place for the sale of imported goods, but also Ghanaian goods,” he added.
To this end, President Akufo-Addo encouraged shop owners and supermarkets like Shoprite, to increase the proportion of Ghanaian goods sold, by getting more local farmers and entrepreneurs to produce for them.
“We want Kumasi to be a place of work again, not just a place where people come for funerals. We want to bring jobs back to this city and restore Kumasi to its position, once again, of being the Garden City. The support government gives to the private sector is intended to translate into greater economic activities of our entrepreneurs, producers and farmers. Kumasi City Mall should bear witness of this increased activity,” he added.
Whilst acknowledging the challenges confronting the country’s economy, the President pledged that his government aims to liberate the energies of the youth, by harnessing talent and building skills, inspiring innovation and risk taking, connecting to global value chains, and, most importantly, nurturing a deep sense of patriotism.
He, thus, encouraged the youth to take advantage of the immense opportunities this mall presents.
“Last month, I launched the programme for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ in Goaso, in the Brong Ahafo Region. Organise yourselves, and get involved in this initiative. I am certain that my admonition to shop owners of this mall will not go unheard. They will, surely, buy from you, if your produce meets the standard, which I am confident it can,” he urged.
Take advantage of gov’t’s new focus
President Akufo-Addo noted that the belief of his government is that “given an enabling environment, the creativity and sense of enterprise of the Ghanaian will enable us to build a strong, powerful economy, which can deliver a good, dignified standard of living to our people.”
The President explained that since Governor Guggisberg left the country, some 90 years ago, the basic structure of Ghana’s economy has remained largely unchanged.
He added that Ghana’s economy cannot grow if it remains, primarily, a raw material producing and exporting country, explaining that “we cannot create the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs for the masses of our young people, if the sustenance of our economy is import-dependent and import-driven, as well as being dependent on raw material exports.”
As has been made evident in the first budget of the Akufo-Addo presidency, the Asempa Budget, President Akufo-Addo stressed that the economic programme of his government is hinged on the addition of value to the country’s raw materials in a process of rapid industrialisation, as agricultural production and productivity is enhanced.
“Our priority is to do all we can to give our entrepreneurs the certainty of a positive business environment, devoid of arbitrary and irrational policy initiatives, so that they can do what they should do best – invest in the numerous opportunities to create jobs and prosperity,” he said.