The implementation of the electricity subsidy as a measure of easing the burden on businesses and Ghanaians in general should have been done long before the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Ken Koomson, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Federation of Labour, has said.
He indicated that the government should have lessen the burden on local industries through the subsidy for job creation even before the outbreak of the pandemic.
President Akufo-Addo announced electricity bills for April, May and June for consumers with up to 50 kilowatt per hour of power in a month will be absorbed by government.
Under the package, customers who consume more than 50 kilowatts per hour will have 50 per cent of their bills absorbed by the government within the same period using their March 2020 electricity consumption as the benchmark.
But Mr Koomson said if that had been done before COVID-19,businesses would have been vibrant to withstand the shocks and stress that come along with the current pandemic.
He told Alfred Ocansey on the Sunrise show on Accra-based 3FM that : “Going forward we have to look at injecting money into our businesses. The president has given free electricity.
“This is happening when we are in critical times. The same policy intervention could have been done when we didn’t have this problem
“Anytime you see yourself importing you are giving job to somebody outside. No economy develops well by depending on foreign businesses.
“You must understand that we have a satiation where we need to create employment for our people,” he said.
He further noted that local businesses are unable to compete with foreign ones in the country because Ghana, just like most African countries, has become a big market for foreign gods.
For instance, he said, the local textile industry is unable to compete against their foreign counterparts because of the unbridled taste for these foreign products by Ghanaians.
Mr explained that if the trend does not stop, it will be difficult for local businesses to create employment for Ghanaians sustain lives during the outbreak of pandemics such as the coronavirus.
He called on Ghanaians to brace up for tougher periods ahead following the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on global economies.
He told show host Alfred Ocansey that given that Africa, and for that matter Ghana, has become a big market for goods produced by the advanced countries, the citizens will have to be prepared for difficult season ahead following the devastation of these giant economies by the pandemic.
Mr Koomson however, said to be able to deal with the impact of the pandemic on local businesses, Africa governments will have to rethink the kind of policies that are formulated in supporting and growing their own economies.
“We would have to brace ourselves for more difficult times ahead, it’s unfortunate that I have to sound that way,” he said.
“Given the developments that we see in other parts of the world and considering that this is a global village you cannot pretend that you are standing alone.
“Most of the jobs that have been created are by foreign direct investments and so going forward we have to rethink our economic and political module as Ghana and Africa to see what kind of methods that could be adopted in the future to ensure that in such unexpected events we are not affected in that magnitude,” he added.
He further noted that Ghana’s first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah set a good example that should have been followed by current Africa leaders in building resilient economy through industrialisation.
“Kwame Nkrumah set a precedent that should have been followed – industrialisation and resourcing our local businesses.
“Take for instance, the textile industries. In the past it employed about 25000 people, today we are talking about less than 1000. So we have to ask: What really is the reason why the textile industry is recording such low numbers? Unfair competition.
“The textile industry is unable to compete with products that imported from China because we should understand that this is a country that is the super market for the World, We import almost every including toothpick.”