Support Local Industries To Be Competitive — Oteng Gyasi

A former President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Mr Tony Oteng-Gyasi, has called on the government to implement policies that will help local industries to grow and compete favourably with their foreign counterparts. He said in countries such as South Africa, Brazil and China, the government supported local industries in many ways, including their exports, to make them competitive on the international market. Mr Oteng-Gyasi, who made the call last Friday when a delegation from the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) visited the Tropical Cables and Conductors Limited (TCCL) in Tema, said unless the government supported local industries, it would be difficult for such companies to expand and become competitive on the international market. He said the reason why chicken imported from Brazil, for instance, might be cheaper than chicken produced in Ghana, when their production processes were virtually the same, was the support the Brazilian government gave to that country’s poultry industry. Hypocrisy Mr Oteng-Gyasi, who is the Managing Director of TCCL, said normally when a public project was being undertaken in the country, the project managers tended to buy cables from foreign countries instead of the local market on the basis of price and not necessarily quality. He, however, noted that when those people were building their own houses, they preferred to buy cables from TCCL, not foreign countries, regardless of the price because they wanted something of good quality. Mr Oteng-Gyasi said if people did not patronise local products, such companies could not expand to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts and even employ more workers. He cited a company in China, which was established in 1992, five years older than TCCL, that had an annual turnover of more than $1 billion and a workforce of 10,000 as compared to TCCL’s workforce of 135. He said the difference between the Chinese cable-manufacturing company and TCCL was the support the Chinese government gave to the former to enable it to become more competitive and expand. Sanctions Mr Oteng-Gyasi stressed the need for “fast and swift” sanctions against public officials who indulged in corruption to deter others from doing same in order to enhance economic growth. He cited the conviction of a Chinese ex-Minister of Railways for bribery and abuse of power in July 2013 as a good case study for Ghana. Liu Zhijun was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for accepting £6m in bribes between 1986 and 2011 and using his position to help 11 people win promotions or lucrative contracts, according to Chinese state media. As a minister of state, Liu was a figure of national praise, having overseen the modernisation of China’s railway system, including the rapid development of the country’s ambitious 10,000 mile high-speed rail track project. That notwithstanding, Mr Oteng-Gyasi said when the ex-minister was found to be corrupt, he was promptly sanctioned. Operations of TCCL Briefing the NEDCO engineers on the operations of the TCCL earlier, the Quality Manager, Mrs Irina Odame, gave an overview of the various overhead conductors manufactured by the company. These include All Aluminium Conductors, All Aluminium Alloy Conductors, Aluminium Conductors Steel Reinforced and Aerial Bundled Conductors for power transmission and distribution. Mrs Odame said TCCL had been ISO-certified since 2004, adding that the company ran a quality management system based on the requirements of ISO 9001: 2008 and the Ghana Standards Authority. The Maintenance Engineer of NEDCO, Mr Addo, who led the delegation, said the purpose of the visit was to appreciate the range of products manufactured by TCCL, with a particular interest in cables. He said having visited a number of cable manufacturing companies abroad, his observations at the TCCL was that there was no difference in the quality system of operation between those foreign companies and TCCL.