Establish Raw Material Council to give local producers impetus

ripe cotton in field ready for harvest

Manufacturers are longing for the establishment of a Raw Material Council to, among other things, regulate and maintain standards of the raw materials fed to industry.

The council, the manufacturers said, would also provide information that enables government to formulate appropriate policies for domestic raw materials exploitation, development, utilisation and investment-  and most importantly, must be private sector-led, just as in other jurisdictions like Nigeria and Malaysia.

Vice-Chair of the Agric Sector at the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), William Agyei-Manu, told the B&FT in Accra that such a council would also work to reduce the dependence and expenditure on raw material imports; conserve foreign currency; and increase productivity, capacity utilisation, as well as sustainable industrial growth and development.

Additionally, it will serve the private sector interests by facilitating the sourcing, development, and utilisation of domestic raw materials in manufacturing.

He said: “Most of the issues in the private sector or industry have to do with raw materials; so, the proposition for a Raw Material Council is to ensure that we bring on board both the public and private sectors to understand the basic quality requirements, as well as technical and financial requirements of industry.

“So, basically, it should be private sector-driven, not the normal bureaucratic government establishment. So that is exactly what we are calling for,” he added.

Asked what consequences industry currently faces as a result of the country not having a raw material council, Mr. Agyei-Manu mentioned poor quality, standards and specifications as some of the challenges.

He reiterated that the council must be purely private sector-led, but should be regulated just like in Nigeria, Malaysia and Philadelphia.

“There are other models we could look at to know which one can best fit our situation. But the most important thing is to get the industry players from different sectors to address the issues head-on,” he noted.