President Akufo-Addo in a handshake with Alan Kyerematen (right), Minister of Trade and Industry, at the National Policy Summit in Accra
President Akufo-Addo yesterday gave a vivid account of how the erstwhile Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration literally collapsed a host of companies in the country.
Speaking at the second edition of the National Policy Summit (NPS) under the aegis of the Trade and Industry Ministry under the theme, ‘The Industrial Transformation of Ghana,’ in Accra yesterday, he noted that during the period, “a significant number of small, medium and large scale operators were all brought to their knees as a result of four years of ‘dumsor’ (intermittent power supply), induced by the mismanagement of the energy sector.”
He quoted a report by the Institute for Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER) which indicated that ‘dumsor’ cost the country $680 million in economic activity in 2014 alone, the equivalent of 2% of GDP.
He noted, “The four years of ‘dumsor’ cumulatively led to a loss of more than $3 billion in economic activity, and, in the process, thousands and thousands of Ghanaians lost their jobs.
“The poor performance of industry and the business sector in general, could also be attributed to other challenges they faced, including, but not limited to, lack of access to finance, high interest rates, an unstable exchange rate, high import duties on raw materials and machinery, poor facilitation of import and export trade, particularly at our ports, inadequate and poor quality of raw materials for industrial processing, a poorly developed domestic trade infrastructure, lack of effective collaboration between research institutions and industry, limited access to serviced land for industrial production activities and poor standards of regulation and certification.”
Also, he indicated that “The industrial sector has suffered one of the most significant setbacks in our history over the past few years.”
That, the president said, was evident in the fact that “in 2014, for example, industry, which in 2008 – the last year of the government of the great Ghanaian statesman, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, former President of the Republic – had grown to 15.1%, slumped to 0.8%, in 2015 to 0.3%, and further down to -1.4% in 2016. In 2015, manufacturing recorded a negative growth of -2%, while mining recorded a negative growth of -3.8%.”
Whiles recognising the fact that macroeconomic stability is necessary in the development of the nation, he noted, “but not sufficient condition for economic transformation.”
It is for this reason that he has said, “The NPP’s agenda for economic growth and job creation is underpinned by a programme of rapid and aggressive industrialisation and value addition, especially in agro-processing and light manufacturing.
“Our strategy is to address these challenges comprehensively in ways that will enable industry to thrive and become a major source of jobs, economic growth and prosperity.”
President Akufo-Addo set out his government’s agenda for industrial transformation, which is anchored on building the competitiveness of existing local industries by facilitating access to medium and long term financing at low interest rates; implementing the ‘One District, One Factory’ (1D1F) initiative – designed to bring industrialisation to the doorsteps of the people – introducing strategic anchor industrial initiatives which will create new growth poles for the Ghanaian economy and establishing industrial parks and special economic zones – at least one in each of the ten regions – ‘One Region, One Park.’
It also includes promoting small and medium scale enterprise development; establishing an industrial sub-contracting exchange that will link SMEs to the supply chain of large scale enterprises; promoting export diversification with particular emphasis on non-traditional exports; improving domestic retail trade and promoting domestically manufactured goods (‘Made in Ghana’) goods, among other measures.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent