Businesses in the Central and Western regions must strategize to take advantage of opportunities that abound in the region to promote domestic trade, Mr. Fredrick Alipui, Chairman of Accra Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said
“Promoting domestic trade also leads to intra-Africa trade, boost businesses as well as sustain the economy,” Mr. Alipui said.
He was speaking at the 2nd Edition of Business-Business (B2B) networking meeting, organised by the Accra Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Western/Central Regional Chambers at Takoradi.
It was on the theme “Promoting Ghana’s Domestic Trade and Industry for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Market”.
The Business-Business networking is to provide opportunities to share ideas, establish relationship towards partnership and joint ventures, network among representatives of participating member firms and conclude business deals as well as engage themselves for domestic mutual trade.
Mr. Alipui pointed out that most of the products that are consumed in the country are imported; our markets, have been invaded with foreign product.
“We really need to strategize, there a lot of potentials in the country and that let us position ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges ahead”, he said.
For instance, he said Ghana has a lot of potential to provide palm oil for consumption–over 370,000 metric tons of palm oil is needed for consumption in the country but we produce 135,000 metric tons.
“What we produce in the country cannot meet the demand, there is the need to respond to competition to be able to build our businesses and explore ways to improve upon it,” he added.
Nana Dr. Appaigyei Dankawoso I, President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in an address read for him pointed out that research has underscore the need for countries to participate in trade activities where they have absolute advantage.
More so, he said promoting domestic industry and investment has been championed as an alternative source of growth for developing countries following the global economic crisis of 2008 where worldwide trade and demand rapidly decelerated.
“It thus points to the fact that developing nations should concentrate on growing domestic demand as well as promoting sustainable export-based economy” he said.
He noted that an economy that experiences increases in demand within its borders tend to attract foreign investment from developed nations including technological and technical resources which leads to a sustainable economic growth.
He said Ghana has signed several trade agreements such as ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme, Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – these agreements are geared towards promoting trade activities and meeting standard products requirements.
“It is therefore imperative for us to build our capacities and leverage on these trade initiatives towards establishing and increasing market shares both locally internationally” he said.
He said the idea of encouraging domestic trade among chamber members should be given the relevant economic, financial and trade related support- it is in this regard that the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce is engaged in strengthening the capacities of the Ghanaian private sector to be in a better position to produce and trade.
Mrs. Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Deputy Western Regional Minister noted that if the country is to develop, then, it is the private sector we look up to.
She said government recently released GH¢220 million to support distress but vibrant companies in the country to start working so they can employ people- this, in a way will support the unemployment problem in the country.
She lauded the Chamber for the business to business meeting and hope this will go a long way to support trade in the country and beyond.
Mr. Stephan Miezan, Chairman of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce Sekondi-Takoradi branch said the Chamber, is ever ready to promote domestic trade and investment in the country.
“As players in the industry, we need to network and be able to compete favorably to be able to compete effectively on the ECOWAS and international markets and that government also needs to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive and move the economy forward” he said.