I write to applaud Hon. Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah for his enlightened critique of NPP’s 1D1F programme, as reported by Mr. Samuel Appiah-Pensiel on “The News Platform (TNP)” and titled “Spio-Garbrah Schools NPP on 1-District; 1-Factory Progrmme” which is also captured on the Ghanaweb News Portal.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah’s comments were a direct response to a statement made by the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Hon. Dr. Akoto Osei, to the effect that “the NPP government will not be able to build 275 factories in all the districts of the country, before its term in office is ended”, in effect, admitting to the failure of the 1D1F programme to achieve its stated target.
The title of Mr. Appiah-Pensiel’s article is apt and just on point, as, indeed, Dr. Spio-Garbrah did “school” Hon. Dr. Akoto-Osei and the NPP governement on how to manage the public purse to achieve a successful implementation of the 1D1Fprogramme. Dr. Spio-Garbrah demonstrated his pedigree and experience as a former Minister of Trade and Industries in the John Mahama administration by suggesting how the GhC400 million that the government wants to spend on a new voters’ register could be invested in about 400 new factories to cover every district in the country, under the 1D1F programme.
Quite impressive, is Dr. Spio-Garbrah’s specific recommendation as to how to structure a viable investment architecture to successfully implement the projects. His brilliant and interesting proposal is based on an innovative Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement, involving government’s seed money (GhC1.0 million to be takenfrom the GhC400 million) and private sector equities, supported by debt financing by commercial banks.
Indeed, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has shown his class and dexterity as a former cabinet minister and a practicing farmer by, not only critiquing the NPP’s defeatist stance on their own 1D1F programme (as expressed by Hon. Dr. Akoto Osei) but going further to break down, in sufficient practical details as to how the programme could be efficiently and cost-effectively undertaken to yield high value-addition to the Ghanaian economy by spelling out the “step-by-step” implementation plan of the programme. It is easy to acknowledge that, going by Dr. Spio-Garbrah’s suggestion, it is possible to achieve success of the 1D1F programme within the one-term (4 years) administrative mandate given by the people of Ghana.
Another brilliant proposition in Dr. Spio-Garbrah’s exposé is his call to anchor the 1D1F programme on existing traditional rural enterprises, particularly, agriculture and its agri-business value chain. By this thinking, Dr. Spio-Garbrah pointed out that the success rate of the progamme would be greatly enhanced as the established factories will be linked to the produces and semi-processed farm products of various fruits, vegetables, cereals and other crops that are produced by Ghanaian farmers all over the country. This outcome would thus form the stepping stone for the economic upliftment of the rural sector, through their linkages with other industrial and commercial activities in the urban and export sectors including such enterprises as furniture and wood-processing, waste plastics recycling, cotton/fabrics for the clothing and apparel industry, ceramics & bricks and tiles for the real estates and other construction industries, metal-fabrication for heavy industries, etc.
Clearly, Dr. Spio-Garbrah’s views on the 1D1F programme as an opportunity to quicken the pace of national industrialization through the rapid transformation of the rural economy is a sound and legitimate one. In other words, the 1D1F programme should be directed at jump-starting the process of rural industrialization and thereby integrate the rural sector into the larger national economy. This position is in stark contrast to government’s approach to the programme rather as an avenue to engage in propaganda and the usual sloganeering for political gain.
Indeed, I strongly agree with Hon. Dr. Spio-Garbrah in his assertion that if seriousness is attached to the programme, it will have the potential to rapidly create massive farm- and non-farm employment opportunities to absorb the growing numbers of unemployed people in both the rural and urban sectors of our economy. Such creativity, foresight and competence are the qualities that are needed in the political leadership and governing class to turn the fortunes of our country around.
It is my fervent hope that, the NPP government will take a humble cue from the free tutelage offered by Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and modify their approach to the implementation of the 1D1F programme and gain success within the time-span of their mandate, rather than ridiculously pleading with the public to allow them another term to complete the factories.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo
(Former MP, South Dayi Constituency)