General News of Monday, 20 June 2016
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has admitted that a policy proposal by its flagbearer to build factories in every district in the country did not originate from the opposition party.
A member of Parliament’s Trade and Industry Committee and Obuasi West legislator, Kwaku Kwarteng, says the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) may have thought of the idea first, but there is a need to go beyond a mere mention of the idea of focusing on how it can be actualized.
“Indeed the need for industrialisation, the need to shift away from exporting raw materials and going into industrialisation is never new,” he defended the party’s stance on Top Story on Joy FM, Monday.
The opposition party’s 2016 Presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, announced the policy during a campaign tour of the Central Region last Sunday, June 19, as part of efforts to win votes in the November 7 general elections.
Akufo-Addo told a gathering of party supporters that “we want to help the private sector to flourish, and we will help establish factories in every district to help create jobs for the people.”
Since the comment, critics have sought to condemn the policy from varying angles. While some critics say it is not feasible, others, mostly from the ruling NDC, say the NPP leader lacks original ideas and has copied from government’s budget proposal in 2014.
The ruling NDC feasted on Nana Akufo-Addo’s comments during a gathering of NDC supporters, with Minister of Communication, Edward Omane Boamah, trumpeting what he says culminates into the fact that the NPP has now seen the light.
However, speaking on Top Story, Mr Kwarteng said the NPP is looking at actually moving the idea from paper to reality.
“We are around the country; we are saying that we don’t see these [proposed factories] in the districts; we see distressed district. When you go round, do you see these factories? We are around the country, and we are saying that we are going to set up factories in the districts and you raising budget statements,” Mr Kwarteng quizzed.
He said the NPP would not wait for two years only to claim ownership of an idea on paper if the party were in power since job creation was a key part of the party’s agenda.
He insists the NPP is focused making one-district-one-factory a reality even if the party is currently unable to provide figures on how much it will cost to implement it.
Government had outlined a similar policy in its 2014 budget statement. The GRATIS Foundation was mentioned as the private investor in the proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“200 hygienically and environmentally friendly Agro/Agri-Processing Centers (Good Practice Centers) in all districts in Ghana in the areas of Cassava (Gari) processing, Palm Oil, Shea Butter, Groundnut, Fruit Juice and Fufu Processing will be set up to create about 5,000 jobs, reduce post-harvest losses and rural poverty and increase exports and incomes,” the government document had said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive of GRATIS Foundation, Emmanuel Asiedu, says the policy is still viable and feasible. He told Top Story the project would cost between GH¢35 million to GH¢ 40 million to implement today.