At last, the NPP government has admitted through Minister Akoto Osei that they will be unable to establish a factory in each of the 275 Districts by the end of their first term…contrary to what the Ghanaian electorate was led to believe during the 2016 campaign.
But while opponents of the NPP could gloat and rejoice at this disappointing news, I am not inclined to rejoice, as delays or failures in the 1D1F program implies continued high levels of youth, women and graduate unemployment.
May I respectfully suggest to the NPP government that they can ask their own unemployed members whether they would prefer a new voter ID card from the new electoral register, or rather get a good long-term job. Once the NPP administration gets to the realization that jobs and good jobs are more important to most Ghanaians today than new voter ID cards, they may decide to invest the GHC 400 million budgeted for the new voter register in establishing new factories to create employment. The GHC 400 million budget for the new voter register could help to create at least 400 new factories in possibly all the districts.
If the government contributed just GHC 1 million in equity towards any factory project, that would be enough to attract another GHC 2-4 million of equity from other investors which could then be used to generate some GHC 5-7 million of debt from banks for any project managed by the private sector. 400 Factories valued at between GHC 5-15 million each are more than adequate to process most of the fruits, vegetables, cereals and other crops that routinely get rotten on Ghanaian farms or in transit to markets. Then there are furniture, electrical, extrusion, concrete, electronics, plastics, clothing, ceramics, alumínium, construction material and all kinds of other factories that need to be built to grow the Ghanaian economy.
The 100,000 people that these factories could initially employ could grow to 1 million people or more as the factories succeed, grow, expand and diversity. So NPP, please help to create more factories to employ more Ghanaians, to add value to our agric and other products, to increase our exports, reduce our dependency on imports, and strengthen the depreciating cedi. The proposed new voters register will not put food on anybody’s table.