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

According to the manufacturers, the council would also provide information to enable the government formulate appropriate policies for domestic raw materials exploitation, development, utilisation and investment.

However, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) said that the council must be private sector-led, just as in other jurisdictions like Nigeria and Malaysia, reports GhanaWeb.

The Vice-Chair of the Agric Sector at AGI, William Agyei-Manu, notes that such a council would also work to reduce the dependence and expenditure on raw material imports.

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

“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 said.

Mr. Agyei-Manu faults lack of a raw material council as a major cause of 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, Malaysia, Philadelphia and Nigeria’s Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).

“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.

Mr. Agyei-Manu said that the council would improve uptake of locally produced raw materials which would subsequently conserve foreign currency; and increase productivity, capacity utilisation, as well as sustainable industrial growth and development.

The Ghanaian market continues to offer many opportunities for exporters of consumer-ready food products costing the country US$2.4 billion on food imports like wheat, rice, sugar, sorghum, frozen chicken and meat.