Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has said the government's decision to locally produce some 3.6 million Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to aid the fight against COVID-19 indicates the government’s commitment towards promoting the local industries.
Some four local manufacturing companies contracted by the government have commenced the production of tens of thousands of government-ordered PPEs such as health robes, medical scrubs, medical gowns, face masks and headgears using fabrics from ATL, Volta Star Textiles and GTP.
The Vice President on Friday, April 17, 2020 toured the companies producing the PPEs namely: Dignity DTRT, Sleek Garments, Cadling Fashion and Alfie Designs Limited.
Dr. Bawumia was accompanied by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremateng. Speaking at the tour, the Vice-president said that the government’s commitment to promote and support the local industries informed the decision to task some local manufacturing companies to locally produce PPEs to support growing demands for them following the Coronavirus crisis.
"As you know, we are dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and one of the challenges we have in this country and across all countries has been how to protect our frontline health workers. There is a global demand, whether you are talking about the UK or the US, there is a shortage of personal protective equipment or PPEs.
"We have been looking at how to get these PPEs to our health workers because we don’t want them, in the process to save our lives, to also lose their lives so we were looking at how to do it. You know, we have a real champion of Ghanaian industries in the person of the Minister for Trade and Industry. He said that we should look at producing these PPEs in the country. We discussed it at cabinet and it was adopted very quickly."
The Vice-president also assured that the government will continue to support local industries to produce health equipment post COVID-19.
"Government is fully committed (to local industries) not just in this short term but long term. So you can expect more orders. Once production capacity gets to where it should be, then we will not have any need to import these items going forward.
"This will be part of the post COVID-19 architecture and we will be having these sort of things produced in Ghana rather than import, and this is what the President was talking about; take these opportunities to grow Ghanaian industries, create jobs in Ghana, create income and I think that this is what you are doing here,” the vice-president said.
Vice President with the Trade Minister
Commending workers at the factory for skill and commitment towards the fight against COVID-19, the Vice President said “Today we are seeing what Ghanaian ingenuity and industry are all about. We can see these hard-working women and men who are working so efficiently. I am very privileged to come and see the actual activity taking place."
How important is this initiative?
Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) have taken a nosedive due to the global high demand for the kits in the COVID-19 period.
Ghana received some PPEs on March 25, 2020 from the Jack Ma Foundation as part of the foundation’s efforts to help Africa deal with the coronavirus. However, PPEs are in high demand in Ghana for both frontline workers and citizens hence the government’s contract with these four fabric manufacturing companies.
Even though this initiative could have started prior to the outbreak of the virus, the government has however hinted of plans to include this initiative as part of the post COVID-19 architecture to enable production of these equipments in the country rather than import them.