Strong manufacturing sector catalyst to import substitution – Dr Oteng-Gyasi

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Welders work at the manufacturing shop of an automaker in Qingzhou city, east China’s Shandong province, Oct. 31, 2021. (Photo by Wang Jilin/People’s Daily Online)
Welders work at the manufacturing shop of an automaker in Qingzhou city, east China’s Shandong province, Oct. 31, 2021. (Photo by Wang Jilin/People’s Daily Online)

Dr Anthony Oteng Gyasi, an Industrialist, has asked the government to develop the manufacturing value chain with policies to make domestic industries produce more value-added goods.

Dr Oteng-Gyasi, Board Chairman, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), said this at the 2023 University of Ghana Alumni lecture on the topic “The Fault, Dear Brutus”.

He said it was important for government to support domestic manufacturers to increase the production of finished products.

He said that would catalyse the country’s import substitution drive and ensure sustainable economic development.

He explained that existing natural resources, notably oil, gas, lithium, and manganese, could significantly contribute to Ghana’s economic growth and stability with the right value chain policies.

“The entire value chain is required to make the import substitution competitive for exporting to generate the foreign exchange required to keep industries running and galvanise industrialisation,” Dr Oteng-Gyasi said.

He called for intentional policies like that of the Asian countries whose import substitution policy increased production and the manufacturing sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“In other developed countries, particularly Asia, import substitution served as the beginning of an industrialisation agenda, which rapidly moved into vertical integration, raw material production, and other input based on identifiable value chains,” he said.

The Industrialist noted for example that Indonesia’s stainless-steel production increased from 24,000 metric tonnes in 2016 to five million metric tonnes in 2022, with GDP contribution of $43 billion due to its import substitution policy.

While lauding the government’s introduction of the integrated aluminium development strategy, Dr Oteng-Gyasi said such initiative had not realised its full potential due to the absence of capital.

He called for an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, noting that many Ghanaian factories had failed due to the exchange rate vulnerability and the absence of a deliberate value chain policy.

Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, and Chairperson for the Lecture, complained about the stagnation of development in the country.

“Ghana has yet to experience real development in all aspects of life since the overthrow of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana…,” she said.

Members of academia attended the Lecture, policymakers, including the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Asenso Boakye, heads of civil society organisations, and students.

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