The assurance to Ghanaians by opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo to ensure the construction of a factory in each of the 216 districts of the country should he become president is practicable, asserts the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gratis Foundation, Emmanuel Asiedu.
Nana Akufo-Addo made the commitment while touring the Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam, Mfantseman, and Abura/Asebu/Kwamankese constituencies in the Central Region on Saturday, June 18, during day 3 of his 5-day tour of the region, as part of his campaign activities ahead of this year’s election.
According to him, the setting up of these factories across the country will not only commence the rapid industrialisation of Ghana’s economy, but also result in the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs needed by the masses of unemployed Ghanaian youth.
Doubts have been expressed by some persons, mainly within the camp of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), of the ability of the three-time presidential aspirant to realise that ambition, with the party’s director of communications for the Eastern Region, Baba Jamal Konneh, describing it as a “deceptive” promise.
However, Mr Asiedu said he is more than convinced Mr Akufo-Addo’s intention was attainable.
“It’s more than feasible. It’s a proposal, which I’ve put before [authorities] and was even presented in the 2014 budget of the government,” he told Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom on Accra100.5FM on Monday June 20.
Mr Asiedu said he had been an advocate of the idea to reduce post-harvest losses, which he revealed topped GHS2billion, explaining that Ghana, being an agrarian country, could set up processing centres in districts to process whatever raw material was produced over there, thus creating jobs. According to him, at the time he made that proposal, his assessment was that a minimum of 8,000 people were to be employed.
He advocated the setting up of small district factories as that would require less money and availability of produce, and advised against the setting up of large capital-intensive factories where the raw materials often have to be carted from far-off places.
Further, he noted, the advantage of a factory in every district will allow farmers to have their produce processed so they get a good price. Additionally, migration from the districts to the cities would be checked, he added.
Mr Asiedu mentioned a successful example of a gari processing factory in the Garu Timpane district, where 70 people were directly employed, including farmers, who grow and harvest the cassava, drivers who transport the produce to the processing centre, as well as those who peel, mill, roast, and package the product for marketing.
“Let’s put up small cottage industries in every district in the country and it is feasible and it will help solve the problem in the country, especially unemployment, post-harvest losses… and all those things,” Mr Asiedu urged.
“And if anybody is taking it up, I will give thumbs up to the person and some of us will provide our ideas when we are contacted to make this dream come true…because one of the things I have been championing is that, ‘Let’s set up factories all throughout.’”