The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu has said government will strengthen its security network to fight the menace of smuggling counterfeiting and piracy as a protection to the local manufacturing companies.
He also renewed government’s commitment to provide tax incentives to manufacturing companies that make use of local raw materials.
Mr Iddrisu gave the assurance when he launched the new Distell Ghana Brewery Plant in Tema.
Distell Ghana Limited are the distillers of Hunters’Gold and Savannah Dry Cider Beer, Knights and a Royal Reserve Whiskies, Amarula, wines, Brandys and gin across the continent and beyond.
The establishment of the plant in Ghana is an indication that those beverages would no longer be imported from South Africa, but would be produced in Ghana to serve the West African market.
Mr Iddrisu said investment is expensive and government would therefore do everything possible to protect investors in the country to reap the benefits of their investment.
He called on all to report any malpractices in the areas of smuggling, counterfeiting and piracy to the appropriate authorities for redress.
He appealed to the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority to step up their surveillance system to stem those practices that have the tendency to thwart the efforts of local industries.
The Trade Minister said government is reviewing the government warehouse laws for Customs Division to work day and night to facilitate the movement and clearance of goods and services at the country’s ports and harbours.
Mr Iddisu said government would also bring together stakeholders to brainstorm on how to cushion the local industries in their bid to expand production and create job opportunities for the Ghanaian youth.
Mr Richard Rushton, Distell Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said Ghana is the company’s first Greenfield investment although they had over the years exported their products to many parts of Africa.
He explained that the investment in Ghana signifies the confidence the company has in Ghana in doing responsible, sustainable and profitable business, with a total of GH₵ 16 million investment.
He commended government for turning Ghana into an attractive business destination and a major location in the heart of West Africa and said the corporate entity would sustain government- business relations to yield dividends for all parties.
The CEO said while producing alcoholic beverages, Distell has been cautious against harmful effects of alcohol and would therefore partner government to fight counterfeiting and piracy that could supply wrong products to the detriment of consumers.
He said the plant in Ghana would not only serve consumers in the country, but products would also be supplied to neighbouring Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire among others.
Executive Chairman of FINATRADE Group of Companies, Mr Nabil Moukarzel,said the partnership between his outfit and Distell Ghana Limited would create more jobs and bring the goods and services to the door- steps of Ghanaian consumers.
He pleaded with government to create a tariff offset programme for progressive businesses that support and source from local producers and a penalty system for non- compliant importers.
Mr Moukarzel called for the strengthening of security at the entry and exit points of the country to stem to alarming practices of smuggling goods and services into the country to the detriment of genuine business.