63rd AGI National AGM 2023 held in Volta Region

63rd AGI National AGM 2023 held in Volta Region

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The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) organised its 63rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Sky Plus Hotel in the Volta Region on the 29th November, 2023 on the theme “Industrialization through Sustainable and Efficient Supply Chains.”

The event gathered over 250 industrialists drawn from all the country’s 16 regions who are focused on promoting industrialization through sustainable and efficient supply chains.

The President of the Association of AGI, Dr. Kwesi Humphrey Ayim Darke, who welcomed the guests and members, stated that “the meeting today presents yet another opportunity for us to reflect and to take stock of our activities as an association, while renewing our commitment to the mutual agenda that lies ahead of us. There is no doubt that we have gone through turbulent times as an association, and as a nation. The headwinds, the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme and the rest. Nonetheless, resilience to strive on and move forward is apparent…and so is our total commitment to an improved business environment for Industry”.

He further stated that “to strengthen our advocacy in that direction, the AGI has been at the forefront of multi-stakeholder engagements with the Government and I am glad that our efforts are yielding results”.

Dr. Darke noted that the multiplicity of taxes had been a major bane to our competitiveness. Therefore, I take this opportunity to commend the Government for the recent announcement of VAT and duty waivers on selected items in some sectors – automobile, raw materials for locally- manufactured African prints, raw materials for locally-produced sanitary pads, agricultural machinery and inputs etc as presented in the 2024 Budget Statement. These tax waivers, we believe, will help chart a competitive path for industry. Despite the challenges this year has presented, we have also experienced some stability. We are not yet out of the woods. However, as the saying goes, while we are not where we want to be, we are not where we started either.

In a speech read on behalf of the Hon Michael-Okyere Baafi, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Kwasi Ofori-Antwi of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), he stated that “industrialisation is a key driver of economic growth and development, but it also comes with challenges such as environmental degradation, resource depletion and social inequality. Inefficient supply chains lead to challenges such as pollution, emissions, congestion and delays. These problems not only harm the environment and society, but also reduce the profitability and performance of businesses. Not quite long ago, the disruptions in the global supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have thought both economies and industries the need to develop sustainable supply chains. That’s why we need to rethink our industrial systems and make them more sustainable.”

He added that “Sustainable and efficient supply chains minimise the use of natural resources, energy and emissions, while maximising the value added, quality and resilience of the products and services delivered. They also consider the social and ethical aspects of production and consumption, such as labour rights, human health and safety, and consumer satisfaction. Thus, adopting sustainable and efficient supply chains in the industrial sectors can improve your competitiveness, innovation and profitability, while contributing to the global goals of environmental protection, social justice and poverty reduction.”

Mr. Ofori-Antwi, concluded his statement that “the Government will continue to engage with you, especially towards the successful implementation of the Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Products) Regulations, 2023, where the government is seeking to restrict importation of some 22 items, including Cement, sugar, canned tomatoes, soft drinks, animal and vegetable oil, Margerine, Fruit Juices, noodles and pasta, ceramic tiles, mineral water, iron and Steel, soap and detergents. among other. I will urge industry to take advantage of the opportunities to be created during the implementation to boost local production and ensure self-sufficiency in the production of the listed products”.

The Guest Speaker for the occasion, Mr. Silver Ojakol, the Chief of Staff of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
Secretariat, said ‘as you all know, the Agreement was created for the private sector, not for the technocrats, not the government officials; the Government officials only use it as a policy tool, to increase intra-African trade, but beyond the intra-African trade, there is the area of investment, area of intellectual property, propelling innovation and novel thinking of our young people and industries.”

He said the Secretariat also had a system to help level the competition on the trading ground against unfair trade practices.

He said the secretariat was doing what had been mandated to do, to coordinate member states to create instruments and facilities that supported the implementation of the agreement.

Mr Ojakol said the Secretariat had established several facilities, and an adjustment fund, which now holds 1billion US dollars and the projection is to raise 40 billion dollars in the next 5 to 10 years to offer to member state governments to support any structural adjustment they have to do in implementing the agreement in the AfCFTA.

He explained that the fund had a facility for the private sector, for those that wish to upscale their production in the bid to expand their production for the single market.

“We have 2 MOUs, one is on SME development funds of 6 billion dollars with UBA and we have for Ghana 75 million dollars.
The second is 6 billion dollars with Equity Bank in Nairobi for funding Small and Medium enterprises.”

The AfCFTA Secretariat chief of staff said the Secretariat had had discussions with Ghana’s commercial banks, Standard Chartered Bank, ABSA, Ecobank and Zenith Bank.

He said there was also a facility for the value chain production in the automobile sector, 1 billion dollars for to promote the development of the automotive sector

On his part, the Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa, who is the host of the Volta Fair and the AGM, said he was happy the AGI AGM had been organised in his region for the first time.

He said he is a member of AGI and had been so before becoming a Minister.

“Our partnership with AGI for the Volta Fair has been great since its inception. AGI was at the forefront of our organisation and your AGM is a welcome contribution towards the patronage of our fair and urge you to spend a few days in the region becaus once you are in the Volta Region, you experience Ghana,” he said.

He said he was grateful to the AGI for the support given to the Volta Region and beyond following the spillage of the Akosombo Dam and Kpong Dam, which affected Eastern Region (Asuogyaman, Lower Manya Krobo); the Greater Accra -(Ada East and Shai Osu Doku); and t the Volta Region (South Tongu, Central Tongu, an/North Tongu and Anlo districts).
“We want you to enjoy your stay in this natural oxygen city in the Republic of Ghana. I am sure most of you are surprised that if you drive, within five minutes, you get to where you want to go. Here we don’t have traffic and we make sure we don’t experience traffic because of that, our air is pure. It was mentioned by Ghana Standard Authority that our air is the purest in Ghana.”

Special invited guests included the Paramount Chief of the Akipni Traditional Area, Okpekpewuokpe Akpinifia Togbe Dagadu IX, the Ethiopian Ambassador, H.E. Ambassador Teferu, the Kenyan Ambassador, H.E. Eliphas Barine, the Togolese Ambassador, H.E. Col. Awoki Pannassa as well as the Ambassador and Chief Negotiator of AfCFTA, H.E. Lui Rivramento Angolan.