The Head of the Royal House Chapel, Maryland Mission, United States of America (USA), Reverend Emmanuel Agormeda, has called for a paradigm shift in the taste for imported goods for what he called ‘home grown’ products.
Such a move will help with the country’s industrialisation drive while boosting the agricultural sector to create more employment for the mass.
Speaking in an exclusive interview in Accra on his arrival for the just-ended youth conference of the church in Accra on the theme “Born a Winner’, Rev. Agormeda said “For the economy to be strong, we must set up more industries in the country”.
“Where there is manufacturing there are jobs. People do too much buying and selling but we need to have a paradigm shift of that mentality if we are to come out of our present economic crisis”, he added.
A PhD student from the Oral Roberts University also noted that “We also have to desist from importing food products that we can grow in our country”.
His call comes at a time when the country spends more than US$400 million in the importation of rice alone. Although the quantum of rice imports is dwindling by the day, other food crops such as tomatoes and plantain are being imported from Burkina Faso and Cote d’ Ivoire respectively when large tracks of arable lands either lie fallow at the countryside or are being used for real estate development.
The heavy migration of the youth to the urban centres is also seen as a cause of the neglect of the agricultural sector in the country. Against this background, Rev. Agormeda stressed the need for Ghanaians to divert “a lot of our money into animal and food farming and to be able to consume what we grow to boost our economy”.
The heavy importation of both industrial products and agricultural products is said to be a major contributory factor to the depreciation of the local currency.
According to the Bank of Ghana, the cedi had depreciated by almost 20 per cent since the beginning of the year, trading now at GH¢4.1 to a United States dollar. Rev Agormeda said, “There must be a programme to encourage young men and women to enter into industrial business, not just buying and selling but do something productive to reduce the pressure on the cedi”.
On measures to deal with the ailing economy, Rev. Agormeda said the time had come for all hands on deck irrespective of the political affiliation.
“Leadership is not easy. But it is very easy to sit in the gallery to lambast leaders. But besides that, people in authority must have some sense of accountability that is why they were voted in to power”, he said.
“Our economy is in trying times but I do not think that we are at a place where we ought to throw our hands in despair and leave those at the top find solutions to our problems alone”, he said.
He said from the layman perspective, it was upon to the President to put up a strong economic team with people from his party and those in opposition to help fashion out solutions to end the recent economic challenges in the country.
“I will appeal to those in opposition who have some ideas to bring it to the table so that we can be able to have a broad economic plan not only for the government in power but for future to use”, he said.