National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Cape Coast South, Kweku Ricketts-Hagan, has questioned the viability of some of the government’s flagship policies.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Thursday, Mr. Ricketts-Hagan expressed pessimism about the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s One-District, One-Factory programme and the double-track system for Senior High Schools.
According to him, the government’s plan to establish a factory in every district in the country was poorly thought-through and will not be supported by the private sector.
He insisted that unless government is able to guarantee that there is constant supply of critical things such as water and electricity to all districts while ensuring raw materials are also available for production, the programme is doomed to fail.
“This One-District, One-Factory is one of the most ridiculous policies I have ever heard, it won’t work. First of all ask yourself, do we really need to create a factory in every district? The answer is no. The most interesting part is that the government says it is not going to do it themselves and they are going to get the private sector to do it. Who in the private sector will take their money, come to your village and put up a factory because the President says so? Before somebody puts up a factory they want to look at where the raw materials they need will come from.
“I worked in the private sector all my life before coming into public life. I’ve been an investment banker, I’m an economist and [know] what will make somebody put up a factory. Before they put up a factory, they want to see whether the infrastructure to set up a factory is there; is there enough water? Is there enough electricity; fluctuating electricity won’t make the machines work. If we have not fixed these fundamentals in all the districts we are talking aboutt how will somebody put up a factory?”
‘I will scrap double-track system’
Mr. Ricketts-Hagan, who is also an aspirant for the NDC’s presidential ticket ahead of the 2020 elections, said he will scrap the double track policy within his first two years as head of state.
While insisting that he supports the idea of providing free education for SHS students, he added that the double track system was not the right way to address the challenges of capacity in the schools.
According to him, government would be better served engaging the private schools to cater for the increased number of students who gain admission into the various SHSs.
“I am a great believer in free education but I think it should be done differently. The way it is being funded is wrong. The double track system basically isolates us from the global world of education. The track system should be abandoned and I intend to do that in my first two years [as President]. We don’t need a track system.
“We have private schools that are not in use…If we can pay for education in the public sector, why can’t we do so in the private sector as well? We could have had an arrangement if we had sat down with the private schools. You want to run an economy and get it working, and you are the government who say you are going to empower the private sector but you are excluding private schools.”
The implementation of the double track system in some 400 Senior High Schools in Ghana began on September 11, 2018.
The new system, which was created due to an increase in enrollment is expected to create space to accommodate more students, reduce class size, increase contact hours and increase the number of holidays.
The government adopted the double-track system to cater for increased enrollment under its flagship free Senior High School programme, due to a deficit in infrastructure.