Business News of 2014-03-27

Add value to country’s primary products - Prez Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has asked Ghanaians irrespective of political affiliations to join forces with the government to change the fundamental structures of the economy through value addition to the country's primary products.

He said the fundamental structures of the economy must be changed if the country was to witness a move away from the "booms and busts" (repeated economic expansion and contraction) cycle.

He indicated that over the years, Ghana's development had been impeded by this uncomfortable and unpredictable economic situation because the country had remained the exporter of raw materials and importer of all kinds of finished goods.

Addressing staff and students of the Koforidua Polytechnic last Tuesday as part of his tour of the Eastern Region, the President said in the 2012/2013 financial year for instance the nation lost about US$1.3 billion in revenue because the world prices of gold and cocoa – Ghana's two major exporting raw products – lost value on the world market.

He noted that if value had been added to them before being exported, the situation would have been avoided. "So until we change the structure and add value to our products, we shall continue to see the development we see in the economy," he said.

Importance of polytechnics

That, he said, brought to the fore the importance of technical education in economic growth and development. "The country needs the kind of skills produced here in your polytechnic to develop," the President told the gathering.

Consequently, he gave an assurance that the government would continue to invest heavily in the polytechnics.

President Mahama said a committee set up to work on conversion of the polytechnics to technical universities had completed its work and the final process for the conversion was underway.

Job market

President Mahama told the tertiary students that when they completed school, they should not necessarily be employed by someone. He said the government will launch the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) initiative soon to support the youth to establish their own businesses.

The initiative, President Mahama said, would take off with a seed capital of GH¢10 million. Beneficiaries would, among other things, be given credit with very low interest to start their businesses.

Poly Rector

The Rector of the polytechnic, Prof. Reynolds Okai, said the institution had come up with new inventions including a biometric voter registration machine. The polytechnic, he added, was also introducing new academic programmes to meet the demands of the time.