General News of Sunday, 24 July 2016
The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the NPP has identified over 300 projects across the 216 districts of the country to bring into fruition the ‘1-District-1-Factory’ policy, when, God-willing, the party wins the December 7 elections.
The “1-District-1-Factory” policy, which is an integral part of the party’s agenda to industrialise the country, he said, will compliment a number of “strategic, arch industries” to be established, in partnership with the private sector.
“We want to reposition the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to focus its attention on attracting investment, both domestic and foreign, into these strategic industries – iron and steel, cement, bauxite and aluminum, petrochemical industry, vehicle assembly and the manufacture of machine parts and equipment.
These are going to be the arch industries for which we are going to anchor our industrial development,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, “Side-by side, we also intend to put a lot of energy into our district industrialisation programme. You have heard my ‘1-District-1-Factory’ policy. It is not just talk.
We have identified over 300 projects across the 216 districts of the country, and they are going to provide the base for bringing that policy into being.”
The industrialization of the Ghanaian economy, he indicated, “is going to help us in many ways, by generating wealth and development across the country.
We will stop this ‘Accra-Kumasi’ centered development. It is dangerous for the future of our country. In doing so, we will revive the lives of our districts and regions, and stop this potentially dramatic exodus of young people towards the city centres.”
Nana Akufo-Addo was addressing a fundraising event in Hartford, organized by the NPP Connecticut Chapter, on Saturday, July 23, 2016, when he made this known.
In giving a boost to the establishment of these industries, the NPP flagbearer stated that “we have committed ourselves to abolishing import duties on raw materials and manufacturing equipment, to make sure that Ghanaian enterprises are competitive.”
Additionally, the NPP flagbearer stated that when President Kufuor came into office in 2001, he reduced corporate income tax from 35% to 25%. Nana Akufo-Addo noted that, in the last 8 years, “it has stayed at 25%, and God-willing, when I win, I am going to bring it down further to 20%.”
In the midst of all these policy initiatives, the NPP flagbearer explained that the country’s fiscal balance would have to be firmly put in place.
To this end, he assured that the NPP has “taken the decision that we are not going to leave it (fiscal balance) to the whims of particular Finance Ministers or Bank of Ghana governors.
We are going to do it by legislation, by enacting a Fiscal Responsibility Act which will set out specific relationships between government expenditure and our national reserves, to make sure that we are always within the fiscal balance.”
With the diversification of Ghanaian agriculture and the increase in agricultural productivity being a major plank for the rapid development of the country, Nana Akufo-Addo noted that “it is time we did in Ghana what the Ivorians have done and make bold plans to diversify Ghanaian agriculture.
“We are still overly dependent on cocoa, and when you put the facts down on what they are doing, and compare with what we are doing, you will realise the need for us to change course.”
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the government of Alassanne Ouattara, in Cote d’Ivoire, has focused its attention on the diversification and production of 5 main cash crops, namely cocoa, coffee, oil palm, cashew and cotton.
“These 5 crops have the support of the Ivorian State. Last year, the value of Ivorian agriculture was $12 billion.
We only earned $2 billion, largely from the export of cocoa. We also have the capacity, with the appropriate policy, to diversify our agriculture, and put appropriate emphasis and strength behind the production of cashew, maize, oil palm cotton, coffee and vegetables, amongst others,” he added.
The spectra of Ghana cultivating only 30,000 hectares out of 14 million hectares of arable land, he noted, will no longer be Ghana’s portion under an Akufo-Addo government.
“We have committed ourselves to increase the amount of arable land in play from 30,000 hectares to 100,000 hectares in the first phase. And that is what is going to make it possible to expand our agricultural base.
We will pay special attention to the irrigation of our lands. These are the measures we want to implement to increase agricultural productivity and output in our country,” he added.