The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has hinted that the government will re-focus the operations of the National Investment Bank (NIB) from being largely a universal bank to an industrial development bank.
He explained that re-focusing, which was in line with the original mandate of the bank, formed part of strategies the government had adopted to implement the first of its 10-pillar industrial transformational agenda — industrial revitalisation.
Inaugurating the Governing Board of the National Board for Small-Scale Industries (NBSSI), Mr Kyerematen said under the industrial revitalisation agenda, distressed and challenged local entities would be helped to access between medium and long-term finances.
He said the government would also establish a $2-billion Industrial Development Fund which would be used to invest in some strategic anchor industries, in partnership with the private sector.
The minister mentioned the one-district, one-factory policy aimed at decentralising industrial development in Ghana as another pillar of the industrial transformational agenda.
Another pillar focuses on the development of strategic anchor industries, which is a move towards diversifying the economy and moving the backbone of the export sector further from just cocoa and gold to others such as petrochemical and integrated aluminium industries, vehicle assembling plants, pharmaceuticals, palm oil, industrial salt, garment and textiles and architecture.
Others include the establishment of industrial parks or zones in all 10 regions, which will be Free Zone enclaves, with access to reliable energy supply and utility to help industries grow.
The rest are job creation, industrial sub-contracting exchange, enhancing domestic retail infrastructure, improving the business environment through regulatory reforms and improving public-private sector dialogue.
“The government has set a target to achieve $5 billion every year from the export market by 2022 through the diversification of the export market. Currently, Ghana makes $2 billion from the export market,” Mr Kyerematen said.
He underscored the need for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to be linked appropriately with their large-scale counterparts.
He charged the board members to support the management of the NBSSl to boost the SMEs sector.
The eight-member NBSSI Board is chaired by Mr Ato Panford, with Ms Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey, Ms Ama Gyanfuah Abrefa, Mr George Mireku Duker, Nana Sammy Osei-Bonsu, Mr Seth Twum-Akwaboah and Mr Michael Darko as members.
In another development, Mr Kyerematen also inaugurated the Governing Board of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and charged it to collaborate with the relevant authorities to develop national standards that conform to international standards to serve as a guide for industries and manufacturers.
He was of the opinion that such standards would help make locally produced goods competitive on both local and international markets.
“I hope that one of your initial assignments will be to facilitate the passage of the GSA Bill and ensure the use of weighing scales on the domestic market,” he said.
The six-member GSA Board is chaired by Dr Akwasi Acheampong, and the rest of the members are Prof. Alexander Nii Oto Dodoo, Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko, Mr Iddrisu Abdulai, Mr Mark A. Taylor and Dr Alex Ampofo Donkor.