Prospects for the Development of Small Scale Manufacturing Activities – a Case Study of Techiman District in Brong Ahafo Region (Ghana)

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Small Scale Manufacturing Activities play a very important role in the development of rural economies. This study is focused on the activities of Small Scale Manufacturers located in the Techiman District in the Bring Ahafo Region of Ghana. A survey was conducted to assess the implementation of existing industrial policies, and operations of institutions which have direct bearing on Small Scale Manufacturing Industries in the study area. Government industrial policies seem to be laudable to the Small Scale Sector but effective implementation is lacking. Implementing agencies prefer conducting their activities from the national and regional capitals though they profess to promote small scale rural industrial development. Assistance to the Small Scale rural industrial sector is therefore minimal. It was not surprising when a survey of the socio-economic characteristics of existing Small Scale Manufacturers in Techiman District revealed that they face a host of problems. Quite apart from the fact that 48.8 per cent of manufacturers have had no formal education, managerial and technical skills are also acquired informally. Fifty-six per cent of them suffer from initial capital problems such that graduate apprentices face disguised unemployment by not being able to set up their own workshops. Irid.eed institutional credit is out of the reach of manufacturers because the procedures and the “red tapeism” of the commercial and development banks are too much for the rural manufacturer to endure. The study also revealed that small scale manufacturers have knowledge of improved technologies. Pathetically enough, these cannot be adopted because of the relative cost involved. Consequently, they continue to use crude traditional methods which are tedious and full of drudgery thus lowering output levels. In spite of these problems, however, Small Scale Manufacturers in the stur2y area continue to survive. Net profits of some of the manufacturers are above the present minimum wage fixed by the government. Their commitment to the trade was exhibited by their expressing the desire towards expansion and adoption of affordable improved technologies and the use of untapped resources locally available. This spirit of entrepreneurship, together with other potentials unearthed by the study led to the discovery of prospects for promoting and developing existing and non-existing Small Scale Manufacturing industries with backward and. forward linkages within a well co-ordinate and well related institutional framework. Some of the proposed industries were small scale forest mills, foodstuff processing, ceramics, brick and tiles and Industrial Starch Processing. Against this background, recommendations were made towards solving some of the problems facing the sub- sector and. developing proposed small scale industries. Among others, the study recommended that banks should be flexible on collaterals while PAMSCAD loans are made more accessible to Small Scale Industries. It was also recommended that there should be co-ordination and integration among implementing agencies concerned with small scale rural industrialisation. Methods of disseminating improved affordable technologies and. innovations through strengthening and establishing extension wings of implementing agencies and trade associations at the local level were also recommended. Here the idea of such a strategy is that of “Go ye ....” rather than “Come unto me....” which has characterised the status quo. These and other recommendations the study envisaged should release the potentials in the form of local resources and linkages of existing and non - existing small scale manufacturing activities, within a well orchestrated institutional framework, to achieve an accelerated industrial growth which should be able to help diversify the local economy.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1989