President John Mahama, has inaugurated a steering committee on “Made in Ghana” products to institutionalise the campaign to consume local products and services.
The eighteen- member committee is chaired by Trade and Industry Minister, Ekow Spio-Garbrah.
President Mahama said the need for Ghanaians to re-orientate themselves by placing value on what is produced here. He charged the committee to engage seriously in strong public awareness campaigns.
He said it made no sense for ministries, departments and agencies ( MDAs) to sidestep quality products for foreign ones when purchasing locally manufactured items had enormous benefits for the economy and the people.
The committee, set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is in line with the government’s agenda to promote local products. It is chaired by the sector minister, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah.
It is expected to come out with policies and programmes to advance the national programme on patronising local products.
Institutions represented on the committee include; the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Association of Ghana Industries ( AGI), GRATIS Foundation, Ghana Trade Fair Authority and the Brand Ghana Office.
The rest are: the Institute of Public Relations, Ghana Standards Authority, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Scientific and industrial Research (CSIR).
President Mahama said competition for local goods could be generated among the MDAs if the committee took the issue of procuring from local sources on board.
The President advised the committee to embark on a strong public awareness programme to instil in the people, the sense of national pride in the consumption of local products.
President Mahama praised Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah for the dynamism he has introduced into the Ministry of Trade and Industry within the short period he had been in office.
He said the minister’s untiring efforts at promoting locally made goods, for instance, was a testimony of his ability to deliver.
President Mahama said the inauguration of the committee came at a time when the “consume what we produce agenda” was gradually taking roots.
Making reference to his last State of the Nation address to Parliament, when he stressed the need for a change in the economic fundamentals of the country as an import-dependent economy, the President said that was the surest way of creating jobs for the people.
Today, he said, many countries were striving to achieve some amount of self-reliance and Ghana could not afford to be left behind.
The President said it made no sense for the country to spend $17 billion annually to import goods while exporting $13 billion annually.
The irony of the situation, he said, was that the $4 billion balance of payment covered products which could be produced locally.
He suggested that the experts looked at the production of wheat locally considering the increasing demand for wheat bread in Ghana.
Dr Spio-Garbrah stressed the need for Ghana to work hard to reverse its unenviable image as an import economy.
That was why the President’s determination to reverse the situation must be supported by all, he added.