Analysis on the priority areas of Akufo-Addo’s next term in office

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    Executive Director of Kandifo Institute, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah

    The NPP government, under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has over the years succinctly expressed its vision for Ghana through its flagship projects. From the theme of the 2021 Budget, ‘Economic Revitalization through completion, consolidation, and continuity’, we can notice that the government seeks to better and consolidate its gains. It is, thus, making it distinct from the usual misconception of governments ditching uncompleted projects after that term in office comes to an end.

    Every government’s path to development can be measured by six key industries. These are the automotive industry, the consumer goods and retail industry, energy, financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications industry. These major determinants of national and global development can be largely classified under agriculture, industry and service sectors. With the eight key projects of the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) ‘Obaatampa’ programme, the priority areas for Akufo-Addo’s next term in office are precise and making headway for a Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda.

    The programme is supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming; building the country’s light manufacturing sector; developing engineering/ machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries and fast track digitalization. It is also developing Ghana’s housing and construction industry; establishing Ghana as a regional hub; reviewing and optimizing the implementation of Government flagships and key programs; creating jobs for the young people and expanding opportunities for the vulnerable in society, including persons with disabilities.

    Services

    “We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life,” Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

    In revamping the Ghanaian economy, because of the pandemic, the Ghana CARES Obaatampa programme is a well-detailed and comprehensive governmental economic plan to rescue the country from the disastrous impact COVID-19. This is a GHS100 Billion project of the government which focuses on alleviating the impacts of COVID and the revitalization of enterprise support program.

    This as a priority area for the NPP government is incredibly a good one because the economy is an indispensable influencer to all other sectors. With ideas such as the strengthening of institutions like Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA), and by overhauling the legal, policy and institutional framework for investment promotion, the Ghanaian economy can escape from the adverse effect of COVID.

    After the COVID-19 blight on economic activities and the strain it put on Ghana’s fragile health systems, a definite and major priority area for the government must be the implementation of COVID- 19 containment measures, including vaccination. With a standing number of 262, 335 vaccinated persons as at 10:30 am on March 9, 2021, the government aims at attaining a herd immunity by the end of 2021.

    Without neglecting sanitation, government is liaising with the private sector to construct 14 medical waste treatment facilities across the country to properly dispose PPEs, vials, needles, gloves, and syringes being used in health facilities. Without neglecting the 33 major health projects which were approved for implementation last year, the NPP flagship Agenda 111 would pursue the construction of 100–bed district hospitals in 101 districts that have no hospitals. The project would carry on the construction of seven regional hospitals in Western Region and the other six new regions, two psychiatric hospitals and the rehabilitation of the Effia Nkwanta Hospital. This project would be the largest healthcare infrastructure investment ever made in the history of Ghana, which will lead Ghana to becoming a centre of medical excellence and a destination for medical tourism.

    Education

    As the President stated in his SONA on March 9, 2021, Ghana still does not have the critical mass of tertiary education graduates required for the country’s socioeconomic transformation. The Ministry of Education would focus on developing 20 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres and eight model Science SHSs with the state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories to enhance artificial intelligence, robotics, and other engineering- oriented related fields.  Government will begin the implementation of the Ghana Jobs and Skills this year. This project seeks to develop a competency-based curricula on the National TVET qualification framework for 100 trades or professions from level 1 to level 5 and train about 25,000 beneficiaries. It will also provide support to about 50,000 persons.

    With keen interest in the welfare of teachers, Government is working assiduously to procure the necessary facilities needed for teachers to make them comfortable through its National Teacher Policy. At the basic school level, Government would roll out the Early Childhood Education policy which aims at providing a comprehensive early childhood education framework. At the secondary school level, government is focusing on completing nine model senior high schools which include seven new SHSs focusing on creative arts, technical and STEM education and two other Senior High Technical Schools being upgraded into model schools. At the tertiary level, government would be finalizing the necessary requirements with Open University, UK, to establish a local branch (Open University, Ghana).

    Agriculture

    The National Agricultural Investment plan- Investing for Food and Jobs (IFJ) – resulted to 4.5% growth in agriculture as at the end of 2020 compared to 2.9% in 2016. The IFJ is the mother for the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), Greenhouse Villages and Agricultural Mechanization initiatives. Government has furthered its efforts in making the Agricultural sector more lucrative by undertaking the 1-village-1-dam initiative, reactivation of the aquaculture industry, and 1-district-1-warehouse policy. By virtue of these governmental interventions, Ghana has experienced zero food shortages. Under the National Sugar Policy, both local and foreign companies must invest in the sugar industry.

    For this reason, government aims at supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming because these efforts must not go wasted. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture aims at making the country self-sufficient in the production of food with enhanced exponential exports. By this reason, the ministry would continue with its supply of seeds and fertilizers to farmers. Government through the Tree Crops Development Authority would rollout activities to support the planting for export and rural development program. Government will construct 11 livestock housing units and mechanized boreholes for seven livestock breeding stations in addition to it procuring US$30 million agricultural machinery and equipment to boost mechanization development. The ministry would partner with the Department of Feeder Roads through the Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Project (GASIP) to construct 74km feeder roads and farm tracks to reduce transaction cost, reduce post-harvest losses, enhance market access, and promote private sector investment in agriculture. For a cash crop like Cocoa, government would rehabilitate Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease (CSSVD) and morbid cocoa farms in Western North and Eastern Regions. It will also continue a mass pruning exercise to keep farms more productive and healthier and recruit 30,000 trained pollinators.

     

    The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development also rolled out the Aquaculture for Food and Jobs Programs across 13 regions. All these programs must be consolidated and that is why the Akufo-Addo government aims at supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into it because agriculture is the backbone of Ghana’s economy.

     

    Industry

    With the aim of building the country’s light manufacturing sector, developing engineering/ machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries and continuing the fast- track digitalization, the Akufo-Addo government has already put flagships like the One District One Factory Initiative, the Strategic Anchor Industries Initiative, the Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones Initiative, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Programme, the Export Development and Diversification Programme and the Business Regulatory Reform Programme in place to better the industrial sector. The industrial sector moved from 1.1% in 2014, 4.3% in 2016 to 10.6% in 2018. This shows the government can achieve its aims.

    Under the 1D1F, government has successfully established a total of 232 projects which are at various stages of implementation. Out of this, 76 companies are operating as 1D1F companies, 112, including 5 medium size agro-processing factories and 63 common user facilities, are currently under construction. Some 107 industries are under construction and 49 companies are ready for construction this year. These companies have been supported with credit facilities, tax and non- tax incentives and infrastructure- related support. Government is working on a new pharmaceutical manufacturing policy to attract the private sector investment to establish an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Manufacturing plant.

     

    The Ghana Automotive development policy and program through its vehicle assembly and automotive component manufacturing is now a pillar of industrial growth in Ghana. Sinotruck, a global leader in the manufacturing of trucks, started production of heavy-duty trucks through its local partners, Zondac Tech Ghana Limited in Ghana. In addition to this, Zondac Tech is also assembling heavy machinery for construction. SinoTruck has produced 276 vehicles.

    Kantanka Automobile Company Limited doubled its production capacity to serve the local and the African market by producing 400 vehicles. Volkswagen has produced 1,167 vehicles. Toyota and Nissan, both Japanese conglomerates, have completed the necessary requirements and yet to establish assembly facilities within the first half of 2021. Conversations between KIA, Hyundai, Isuzu and Changhan automobile companies are under way.  The Ministry of Trade and Industry would establish an automotive manufacturing support center to provide training and skills development of technical standards, procure investments and vehicle financing support to support the Automotive industry.

     

    Through the “1 Region, 1 Park”, Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones Initiative, government seeks to support private sector promoters to develop industrial parks and special economic zones around the country.

    There is a noticeable trend in the rippling effect of the Presidents priorities in the various sectors above and how interconnected these priorities are. In admitting the effects of the global pandemic and the fact that it would stay for some time, the Presidency’s areas of focus are laudable. Just as the Austrian-born American physicist, systems theorist, and deep ecologist, born on February 1, 1939, Fritjof Capra once said “The more complex the network is, the more complex its pattern of interconnections, the more resilient it will be.”

    Kandifo Institute states that these priority areas are healthy and are extremely effective from the long-term point of view.

    Kandifo Institute once again wants the entire citizenry to focus on how our leaders utilize national resources efficiently to achieve rapid economic growth while maintaining integrity.

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