President Akufo-Addo, has expressed hope that the newly commissioned Kumasi City Mall will not be a place only for the sale of imported goods, but also for the sale of locally produced ones.
He said “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 a ceremony Wednesday to official launch the Kumasi City Mall, the President bemoaned the fact that Ghana continues to be a retailer of cheap imported goods, whilst the capacity of local producers remains weak and their products suffer 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,” he 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 stressed.
To this end, he encouraged shop owners and supermarkets, like Shoprite, to increase the proportion of Ghanaian goods sold at the shop, 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 said.
Whilst acknowledging the challenges confronting the country’s economy, the President pledged that his government would 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.
“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
Akufo-Addo continued 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 his presidency, the Asempa Budget, 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 industrialization, 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 PROPSPERITY,” he said.
He assured that “the initiatives introduced in the Budget are aimed at stimulating private sector activity, and shifting the focus of our economy from taxation to production. To this end, I urge the private sector to take advantage of this new focus, which is offering opportunities to local ingenuity and production.”