Executives of some of the world’s largest garment makers have taken a tour of the state-of-the-art Dawa Industrial Zone (DIZ), which is owned, developed and managed by LMI Holdings, an indigenous business conglomerate, with hopes of establishing factories to produce some of the world’s known clothing brands for the local and international market.
The group had business executives from PVH –producers of Van Heusen, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein – H&M and VF Asia Sourcing Limited – the Asian unit of VF Corporation which owns brands such as Timberland, Vans, Walls and JanSports were briefed and taken round the Dawa Industrial Zone to see where factories and residences would be situated.
The tour, which forms part of the garment makers’ agenda of scouting of ideal location for setting up a garments village for manufacturing and exports of their products, was facilitated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Ernest Owusu-Afari, Executive Director of LMI Holdings, which developed and operates the Tema Free Zones Enclave for the past 20 years, believes that securing the manufacturing businesses of these global brands here in Ghana would give a strong impetus to the government’s drive to establish Ghana as the hub for garments manufacturing and industrialisation in the sub-region.
“It would be a significant achievement for the government, the private sector and people of Ghana to secure the business of these brands. It would mean we have met certain key benchmarks including the availability of political stability, reliable energy, skilled and semi-skilled manpower and infrastructures such as railway, roads, electricity and water,” he said.
Why choose Dawa Industrial Zone?
LMI Holdings, Mr Owusu-Afari noted, has identified the garments and textiles industry as one of the sectors with the potential to yield large numbers of well-paid jobs, as well as export and tax revenue for the state.
That is why he believes that locating one’s garment factory in the Dawa Industrial Zone, especially the Garments Village –a 200-acre demarcation within the zone– is the best decision the garment makers can make. To him, the primary advantages include one of the largest electricity sub-stations in Ghana, a first-class internal road network, central drainage and sewerage, and fibre optic data facilities, security and professional estate management.
“We have designated 200 acres of land to serve the garment sector exclusively; our proximity to the Tema port for the import of raw materials and export of finished goods; our connection to the under-construction railway lines that link the south to the north; capacity to accommodate all classes of the industry including energy-intensive ones are some of our advantages.
We have quality and reliability electricity in our industrial park which is comparable to first-world levels with 99.8percent uptime over the past 12 months. LMI Holdings and the Ghana Free Zones Authority have agreed to designate 1,000 acres of the DIZ as a free zones enclave. Government agencies including the Free Zones Authority, Ghana Revenue Authority and the police service will have a permanent presence on the site,” he told the investors.
Going green and preferential tariffs
With the Tema Free Zones Enclave seeing the construction of a 12MW roof-mounted solar generating facility to reduce LMI Holdings’ carbon footprint and that of its tenants, Mr Owusu-Afari explained that the DIZ would benefit from a 30MW solar farm.
“Electricity tariffs are regulated by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) but the Garments Village, as a strategic economic initiative, may be eligible for preferential tariffs at the government’s discretion,” he added.
The Dawa Industrial Zone is the focal point of a new 22,000 acre planned urban development initiated and completely funded by LMI Holdings, but with the active support and encouragement of the government of Ghana.