Documents detailing how the newly installed government plans to implement its manifesto plan- one district one factory have been revealed.
The documents spell out the implementation plans as well time lines for the first phase of the roll out of the policy. Indeed, establishment of factories, under the new policy is expected within the first 100 days of the new government’s assumption of office.
The aim of this key policy is to ensure that Ghana’s ongoing industrialization drive spreads to every part of the country, as opposed to the hitherto situation where the vast majority of manufacturing facilities are located in the five largest urban areas, namely Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.
However, since President Akufo-Addo made the promise last year, during his ultimately successful election campaign, major doubts have been cast over its viability because of government’s tight fiscal constraints and in part because of the lack of detail provided as to how the plan would be actually implemented.
But within the first couple of days of the Akufo Addo administration’s assumption of power, those details are now emerging. Just as importantly, it has been revealed that implementation is actually underway with several industries identified and entrepreneurs having committed to financing them.
The new government has given the go ahead for the one district one factory implementation to be managed by collaboration between the public and private sectors through an organization which will specifically be set up for that purpose.
Crucially, that dedicated organization will only serve as promoter and facilitator of the key new policy for ensuring nationwide spread of industrialization and will not be a direct investor in the resultant industrial projects. Rather, the private sector will provide the investment although local governments could partner them in this regard if such an investment of public funds is adjudged prudent and advantageous.
The dedicated organization itself will have three key objectives. The first is to reduce the risks inherent in district level industrialization by providing crucial technical assistance. This will involve providing a capacity building platform for both investors and other stakeholders across the value chains on the strengths and weaknesses of each district. It will also involve ensuring relevant insurance cover for investors and other participants along the supply chain to ameliorate their business risks and make them more attractive to financial service providers, particularly lenders.
The second key objective is to reduce the cost of doing business by providing shared industry resources and revenues. Importantly, besides reducing business overheads of individual enterprises, this will also ensure adherence to best corporate governance practices, a crucial element in making a success of small scale businesses.
The third key objective is to provide market linkages and access as well as generating demand for the products being manufactured by district-located industries. This will guarantee sales revenues which are crucial for business viability and access to finance.
Crucially, the new organization will partner a host of other institutions such as Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, providers of mobile money services, cooperatives, Town &Country Planning Department, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, National Board for Small Scale Industries, GRATIS Foundation, Venture Capital Trust Fund, the commercial and investment banks, insurance companies, and of course, the District Assemblies themselves.
It will also partner the Ghana Stock Exchange and its subsidiary Ghana Alternative Market which will provide an exit channel for investors who want to cash in their investments for hefty profits over time.
Instructively, several projects have already been identified by private sector investors who want to take advantage of the one district one factory policy and some of them are actually already engaged in securing the requisite equipment for production.
Credit: Toma Imirhe & Elorm Desewu