President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked owners of the newly launched Kumasi City Mall not to make the place the sale point of imported goods, but also Ghanaian goods.
“It would be truly commendable if, by the end of the first year of its operation, at least 20% of the goods that are sold here should be of Ghanaian origin, and the percentages increase as Ghanaian industrial production rapidly expands,” he said
Speaking at the launch of the mall, he bemoaned the fact that Ghana continues to be a retailer of cheap imported goods, whilst the capacity of local producers remains weak and their products suffer low patronage.
“I know very well that, in some of our malls and supermarkets across the country, carrots sold, for example, are imported from Holland. Some of the dressed chickens on sale have also come from Brazil. Indeed, the items originating from Ghana and from our local entrepreneurs constitute barely a paltry 5% of goods on sale,” the observed.
He, however, noted that all over the world, new enterprises, such as the Kumasi City Mall, have spawned the creation of jobs and investments, and triggered increased local spending.
“Supermarkets and many shopping malls in several parts of the world, particularly in the advanced economies, have become magnets for production. It is my hope that the Kumasi City Mall will not only be a place for the sale of imported goods, but also Ghanaian goods,” he said.
The President has consequently encouraged shop owners and supermarkets, to increase the proportion of Ghanaian goods sold at the shop, by getting more local farmers and entrepreneurs to produce for them.
“We want Kumasi to be a place of work again, not just a place where people come for funerals. We want to bring jobs back to this city, and restore Kumasi to its position, once again, of being The Garden City.
The support government gives to the private sector is intended to translate into greater economic activities of our entrepreneurs, producers and farmers. Kumasi City Mall should bear witness of this increased activity,” he added.
Acknowledging the challenges confronting the country’s economy, Nana Akufo-Ado pledged that his government’s commitment to liberate the energies of the youth by harnessing talent and building skills, inspiring innovation and risk taking, connecting to global value chains and, most importantly, nurturing a deep sense of patriotism.
He, thus, encouraged the youth to take advantage of the immense opportunities the mall presents.
He also urged Ghanaians to organise themselves and participate in the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, noting shop owners at the malls “will surely buy from you if your produce meets the standard, which I am confident it can.”
The President also indicated that Ghana’s economy cannot grow if it remains, primarily, a raw material producing and exporting country, explaining that “we cannot create the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs for the masses of our young people if the sustenance of our economy is import dependent and import driven, as well as being dependent on raw material exports.”
He said his government is hinged on the addition of value to the country’s raw materials in a process of rapid industrialization, as agricultural production and productivity is enhanced.
“Our priority is to do all we can to give our entrepreneurs the certainty of a positive business environment, devoid of arbitrary and irrational policy initiatives, so that they can do what they should do best,” he said.