President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched government’s one district, one factory project, with the promise to drive industrialization across the country.
At a ceremony attended by chiefs and people of Ekumfi in the Central Region Friday, the President cut the sod for the construction of the first factory under the programme.
The Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited is expected to be completed in 2018, with the promise of creating over 4,000 direct jobs. It will also employ some 5,000 outgrowers.
The President noted the route to creating high paying jobs that will enhance the lives of Ghanaians is through industrialisation.
He said the cries of the electorate he met on his campaign tours in 2008, 2012 and 2016 principally come down to one thing, good jobs and good income.
“Raw material producing economies do not produce prosperity for the masses,” the President said, announcing a major shift in the management of the economy.
He said his government will alter the structure of the Ghanaian economy from dependence on production and export of raw materials to a value added industrial economy.
The launching of the project marks a giant step towards the fulfilment of major promises made by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the heat of the 2016 general elections.
Then Presidential Candidate Akufo-Addo boldly declared at a mini-rally in Ejumako on June 18, 2016 he will embark on an industrialization agenda if he won the election.
Political opponents mocked at him because of the mono-syllabic nature of his many campaign promises such as one district, one factory, one village, one dam, and $1 million to each constituency.
Barely a year into his administration, President Akufo-Addo said the promises he made were not for votes but to improve on the general welfare of the people.
“It is not about the NPP, neither is it about any political party. It is about the development of Ghana,” the President told the gathering.
Already, about 51 factories have been identified to be constructed across the country before the end of 2017.
National Coordinator of the programme, Gifty Ohene Konadu said the factories that will be created in the course of the programme will not belong to government.
“This [will] not be government projects. What we [will] do is that we [will] create the enabling environment for the private businesses,” she said of factories to be built under the project.
Even though she urged discussions about the project not to be politicised, former deputy Trade Minister, Murtala Mohammed said the past administration deserves commendation for facilitating the Ekumfi project.
He maintained the former President John Mahama government did the grounds work the current administration is taking the glory for.
“We have said that this thing [Ekumfi project] was started in 2013 and 277 farmers were brought on board who benefited from it,” he told Emefa Ampawu on Joy FM’s Top Story.
He said there is everything with the current administration continuing with the project because it has proven insincere to be trusted.