Nana Addo’s One District One Factory Can Work

Akufo Addo Bawumia Chief Imam3 Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP flagbearer

Sun, 26 Jun 2016 Source: Ebo Quansah

Trust Ghanaians to be witty. The ability of men and woNana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addomen at the centre of the earth to crack jokes with very serious national issues is legendary crack jokes with very serious national issues is legendary.

Once upon a regime, when famine ravaged the land, and men and women lost weight from malnourishment, Ghanaians named the protruding collar bones ‘Rawlings Chain.’ The coded term was in memory of the atrocious regime headed by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, whose draconian laws had introduced the culture of silence into the body politic.

On the road to the Third Republican rule of President Hilla Limann in 1979, a presidential candidate who was aiming to reach the Castle (seat of government at the time) had not-too complimentary lyrics composed to mock his chances. “Osu cemetery, Paa Willie aa Na Okor…,” (Paa Willie is heading for the Osu cemetery.) It was felt that at his age and disposition, Paa Willie (late William Ofori-Atta, leader of the United National Convention in the 1979 elections), was heading for the cemetery instead of winning the election. He took no offence.

In fact, the veteran politician, one of the Big Six in national politics, who blazed the trail for the independence of Ghana from British Colonial rule, was always dancing to the rhythm of the opponent’s mocking lyrics.

It is this ability to take very serious jokes in the stride that has aided the average Ghanaian to safeguard the integrity of this society without taking to arms, I dare state.

Yesterday, a listener, apparently pissed off by the rants of National Democratic Congress apparatchiks and foot soldiers mocking the ability of the leader and presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party to fulfill his pledge of setting up a factory in each of the 216 districts, called into an Accra radio station and left this interesting message.

“One of these days, when Nana Akufo-Addo asks the wife to prepare a rice meal for him, the NDC would say, he would not be able to eat the meal.” I thought it is the wise-crack of the year.

The message owes its genesis to skeptical remarks, mainly from NDC communicators, that the opposition leader and presidential candidate would not be able to honour his promise of building a factory in each of the 216 districts of the country, when given the nod to take over this nation, as executive Head of State of the Republic of Ghana.

On the campaign trail in the Central Region last week, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, dug deep into the administration of President John Dramani Mahama for the mess created in the national economy of this Republic. He spoke about rising cost of living, high inflation, very high lending rates, and particularly, corruption, which have, in his opinion, combined to leave the average Ghanaian reeling from what he called “unprecedented levels of hardship and suffering.”

Read his lips: “The only way to free ourselves from the shackles of poverty is by fixing our monetary system. If we are to do this, our monetary system must be stable and strong. This is the only way we can empower Ghanaians. We want to help the private sector to flourish. We will help establish factories in every district to help create jobs for the people,” he said to the cheers of the audience.

In his considered view, the setting up of one factory per district “is doable”, urging Ghanaians not to be hoodwinked by the usual propaganda of “they can’t do it, and “it is not possible.”

He recounted how President Mahama debased policies the NPP had rolled out in 2008, and again in 2012, only for him to turn round later to copy them, and ended up failing woefully to execute them.

“Two of such policies,” Nana Akufo-Addo pointed out, “were the ‘Free SHS’ and the setting up of the Northern Development Authority. President Mahama told Ghanaians that these two policies were not feasible, only for him to implement them, albeit in total implementation failure,” he told his hosts.

Nana Akufo-Addo’s factory for each district has been roundly condemned by NDC officials and foot soldiers as an Utopian dream which could never materialise in this poor economic climate. On Peace FM’s morning programme ‘Kokrokoo’ yesterday, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, pooh poohed the idea as coming from a frustrated mind. He said the economy of Ghana could not sustain a factory for each region, and that the idea had been deliberately put out there to hoodwink unsuspecting Ghanaians.

He was seconded by Mr. Kwadwo Twum-Boafo, Chief Executive Officer of the Free Zones Board and an NDC activist.

On another platform, Mr. Mahdi Jibril, Deputy National Organiser of the ruling NDC, was not so charitable in his condemnation of the proposal from the NPP presidential candidate.

He said the NPP and its twice defeated candidate would not even mind promising to reduce the hot sun in the savannah zone, should they take their campaign to the northern part of the country. The party in opposition “is obsessed with deceptive electoral promises, almost every and anything,” he charged.

“It is one of the desperations to fill the empty campaign; a campaign without a message; so they decide to fool Ghanaians, thinking that what they are saying is realistic. But, we, the NDC and the people of Ghana, who witnessed the kind of politics and policies these people (NPP) are noted for doing, will certainly not buy into the desperation of the NPP and their leader,” Mr. Jibril declared.

One thing is certain. The NDC is not composed of the entire people of Ghana. Secondly, Mr. Jibril’s assessment of the NPP in power cannot represent the truth. What is certain is that when Kufuor and his NPP administration took power in January 2001, the economy of this nation had nose-dived as a result of the reckless administration of a combined (P)NDC and NDC, which spent 19 years in power, with the founder of the party, Jerry John Rawlings, leading the two administrations.

What is also not in dispute is that the NPP proved to be such pragmatic economic managers that, at the time they exited power in January 2009, Ghana was a proud member of the Middle Income earning societies, albeit at the lower rungs.

One fact any analyst would have to take on board is that twice, the party, now in opposition, made very interesting proposals to move the economy forward. Twice, the NDC shot the proposals down, only to shamelessly try and implement them, in the process of which the proposals were poorly administered.

In 2008, and again in 2012, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo proposed the idea of free education at the second cycle level. He also called for the setting up of a Northern Development Authority to speed up the development of the Northern part of the country.

Both proposals were shot down by the NDC officials as unrealistic and unworkable. Shamelessly, and without explanation, both policies became the cornerstone of the administration of the NDC at Government House. There are no prizes for guessing the outcome of these two major policies.

I have never benefitted from tutorials on how the man, tipped to be head of state of this Republic in January next year, intends to execute his programme of one-factory per district. One thing I know is that the total amount of waste of resources supervised by both the Mills/Mahama oligarchy could translate into several factories.

The money poured into the Woyome scandal and other judgment debts could translate into billions of Ghana cedis. These aside, the misuse of state resources, outlined by the Auditor-General year in and year out, is horrendous. I do not believe any Ghanaian would challenge this assertion.

Any government which is able to plug this huge hole, while applying the resources prudently, is capable of building many factories. Misuse of the sole-sourcing procurement procedure, leading to misuse of huge resources, has contributed immensely to the poverty level, and the huge unemployment figures in the body politic.

I do know that some of these district enterprises would not need the moon. In the Ekumfi, Gomoa and Awutu districts, for instance, all that is needed are simple machines to squeeze juice from the pineapple plantations dotting the place.

In the Abura Kwamankese District, the re-introduction of machines to squeeze juice from the many citrus farms would be enough to provide jobs for the citizenry. In the Ashanti Region, the revival of the Kente Weaving Industry at Bonwire, Adanwomase and Wonoo would improve the living conditions of the people.

The guinea fowl industry in the north could be boosted by the introduction of a hatchery. There is also the chance to use shea butter in the northern half of the country to produce allied finished products to improve the living conditions of the people, and stop the migration of the youth to Accra and Kumasi as head porters and labourers.

The five cocoa producing regions in Ghana -Western, Central, Eastern, Brong Ahafo and the Volta Region- could benefit from simple machinery which could turn raw cocoa beans into paste and other items.

In the Northern Region, for instance, smock weaving could benefit from innovations to improve how the age-old material is produced, and hasten the laborious means of getting the product to the market.

It is interesting to learn that the New Patriotic Party leader’s operative phrase was “we would help establish factories in all the districts in the country.” What this means is that the government would not necessarily have to do it on its own. The administration intends to create the enabling atmosphere for the factories to flourish. I understand this to mean that private capital would be welcome in the process. I do not believe the business of government is to run business. It has never worked anywhere. The infusion of private capital and expertise, I would like to believe, is the key to unlocking the enterprise feature of the Nana Addo administration.

This country’s best means of industrialisation is through agriculture. I am sure a number of things could be done to turn the fortunes of food production and export crops around. I would not like to believe too that those shooting down the proposal from the leader of the NPP are doing so from the experience gained from running down agriculture in this country.

I do not believe there is anything that the human mind could not turn around. I believe Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party could help establish 216 industries to turn the fortunes of this country and its large army of unemployed youth around.

We need to think through our problems. Mere twisting of our mouths on the campaign trail would not work. Under Nana Akufo-Addo’s thinking concept, we would conquer. In the words of the sitting President of the United States: “Yes we can!”

I shall return!!!

Columnist: Ebo Quansah