Used fridges put off investors


The flourishing market for used, energy inefficient refrigerators has made manufacturers wary of setting up assemblying plants in the country, the Energy Commission has said.

An effective enforcement of the ban on the importation of used refrigerators, which takes effect from January 1, 2013, will therefore send a good signal to the manufacturers, Mr. Kofi Agyarko, Head of the Office for Energy Efficiency Promotion of the Commission told the B&FT.

"The ban will go a long way to convince prospective manufacturers that now our market is cleared of used refrigerators, and that will actually encourage them to come and assemble the refrigerators here," he said.

He said about three companies have so far expressed interest "but the major stumbling block has been the flourishing used refrigerator market."

Aside creating jobs for Ghanaians, Mr. Agyarko said, the country stands to benefit greatly from the assembling of refrigerators locally.

"It comes with many advantages because the refrigerators that are found in the shops now are made up of production cost, cost of insurance and freight; but if they should be assembled here some of the cost elements would be eliminated and it would bring down the unit cost to meet the pockets of ordinary Ghanaians."

The country, he said, has always been at the receiving end of international economic order since it does not manufacture much.  "We only import and sell, and that is not good enough for our economy."

The Commission, as part of efforts to encourage the use of energy-efficient appliances, including refrigerators, is trying to woo manufacturers to come down and assemble the product in Ghana.

"We are in talks with some of the manufacturers but what is hindering them from coming for now is the booming used refrigerator market," Mr. Agyarko said.

"We have contacted Bosch, and even the local representatives of some of these manufacturers here have expressed interest that if we are able to clear the market of the used refrigerators then their principals are prepared to come down."

In 2006, there were an estimated 2million used, inefficient refrigerators in the system.  Mr. Agyarko said the number must have gone up by now. 

The Energy Commission is encouraging Ghanaians to voluntarily give up their second-hand refrigerators for new energy efficient ones under an initiative launched yesterday.  This is expected to cut down energy consumption levels in the country that has been forced by unreliable power supply into a nationwide load-shedding exercise lately.

Source: Business & Financial Times
Date: Thursday, 20th September, 2012

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