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Ghana: Trade Ministry to revamp garments industryMonday, August 17, 2015 > 09:25:47
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has kick-started processes to revamp the apparel industry to make it attractive to investors and a sustainable source of forex inflows.
The renewed move is significantly based on the extension granted qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries to export to the United States without quotas and duties under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The AGOA law, which benefits 37 Sub-Saharan African countries, first came into effect in 2000 and expired on September 30, 2008. It was extended to September 30, 2015 and was recently extended again to September 20, 2025 by the US government.
The Technical Advisor on Export at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Gerald Nyarko-Mensah, who made this known at a workshop in Accra, said as part of the process to revamp the apparel exports, the trade ministry would undertake baseline studies and technical assessments of existing factories and previous works and remove all impediments and bottlenecks in the industry.
The ministry would also identify and secure locations for establishing new garment factories, solicit and facilitate the provision of utilities to such locations, as well as upgrade and equip existing training facilities such as the Product Development Centre at Kaneshie in Accra.
It is expected that rejuvenating the sector would create employment and also increase apparel export from $2 million to $157 million in five years.
The two-day workshop, organised by the West Africa Trade Hub and African Partners Network under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was intended to build the capacity of stakeholders in the apparel industry.
The workshop brought together members of the Apparel Association, agencies and departments in the sector.
Mr Nyarko-Mensah explained that the initiative to reposition the garment industry was part of the five-year National Export Development Plan (NEDP) intended to boost export income to $5 billion.
He expressed concern about how garment factories and companies in the country had collapsed due to challenges over the years, adding that currently, there was only one surviving garment company, thus explaining why the country had not been able to take full advantage of AGOA.
He added that vigorous capacity building was also necessary to sustain the industry.
Despite challenges such as energy, water and factory space location facing the sector, he said Ghana still had the potential to revitalise the industry to create thousands of employment and enhance economic development.
The Chief of Party of the Trade Hub and African Partners Network, Mr Jeffery Povolny, said the renewal of the AGOA legislation was an opportunity for Ghana to revive industrialisation.
He said the country had valuable resources, including competent labour force to engage in apparel industry, adding that Ghana has lots of untapped potential in that industry.
Mr Abou Fall, a Global Value Chain Specialist at AGOA, said laying the right mechanism in place could help Ghana benefit greatly from the next phase of the AGOA.