Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a presidential aspirant of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) says when he is elected as President all state functions under his leadership will serve locally made dishes and drinks. The move, he explained, would be a good example by the state for the citizenry to emulate, help boost the local economy by reducing imports, and attract investors to export and earn the nation foreign exchange.
“It is not the best to serve foreign officials from countries such as France, Britain, Germany, United States of America and Denmark with wine made from their respective countries during state events,” he said.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, to share his perspectives on ways of improving the country’s economy, Mr Spio-Garbrah noted that, locally brewed beverages, including palm wine, pito, bisasap (sobolo) and asana (locally made beverage from maize) would also be served at high-level state receptions.
He said in the spirit of economic transformation and self-reliance, all institutions, including schools and government (security agencies) canteens would be required to eat locally grown rice.
Mr Spio-Garbrah stated that a strong national advocacy would be mounted to orient people on the need to eat locally grown produce, especially rice, to provide jobs and help the economy.
He explained that an earlier initiative aimed at whipping interest of the public to patronize locally made produce, “the made in Ghana initiative” under his leadership, in the immediate past NDC government, did not yield the needed results due to financial constraints, laws and administrative lapses.
Touching on the challenges in the educational infrastructure, which had compelled the government to adopt the double track system, Mr Spio-Garbrah said the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) over the years, had failed to mobilize resources from other sources to augment the tax proceeds.
The Former Trade Minister said the government could source for funding from institutions such as the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to embark on the infrastructure development.
“Few may have political programmes but there are grants valued at trillions of dollars in the philanthropic environment that could be accessed to support GETFUND operations such as the free SHS. This kind of funds cannot tie the country down,” Mr Spio-Gabrah said.
The GETFund he said had a good track record including building schools, awarding scholarships to qualified students and access grant from other non-governmental organization.
He suggested that government should source for funding from philanthropic institutions and individuals without any strings attached instead of borrowing with interest from countries like China that affects inflation, budget deficit and other economic fundamentals.
“If there are these kinds of funds why will our government resort to borrowing and plunge the country into huge debt. Borrowing has a negative impact on the economy,” he said.