Position manufacturing firms to take advantage of AfCFTA – Twumasi Baffuor

A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Economics Department has urged government to strategically develop manufacturing firms in the country to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Dr Priscilla Twumasi Baffuor told Samson Lardy Ayenini on Newsfile on Saturday that the country stands to lose if “we do not position our manufacturing firms to take advantage of the opportunities associated with the AfCFTA.”

She noted that the country’s business environment is not friendly to manufacturing firms which she believes is why most businesses prefer foreign products.

“Particularly with the onset of the African Free Trade Area, the country stands to lose if we do not position our manufacturing firms to take advantage of the opportunities that come with the Free Trade Area.

“Indeed, manufacturing is not attractive, and when you speak to our business people, it is more attractive to buy and sell in Ghana than to enter into manufacturing.

“Most of the challenges in Ghana are quite daunting; we talk about infrastructure, access to credits, cost of energy, the whole business environment, and the regulation is not friendly for manufacturing activity,” she explained.

According to her, government needs to pay specific attention to the manufacturing sector, primarily when the government’s growth projections have been based on industrialisation.

Dr Twumasi Baffuor added that considering the unemployment rate in the country, the government must assess the industrialisation strategy since it has not provided much employment in the country over time.

“As a country, we need to take a serious look at the structure of the economy. For example, why does the economy perform well in terms of growth on average but struggles to create jobs?

“Perhaps, it is time for us to pause and assess our industrialisation strategy over time. Why does it appear to be having a meaningful impact on unemployment in the country?” she said.

She said for manufacturing firms to thrive, “we need to put our borrowing in check so that government is not forced to go and borrow in the private sector.”