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Opinions of Monday, 4 November 2019

Columnist: Fred Quame Asare

The delivery of 1D1F in Volta region, a mission impossible?

The construction of a factory in every district in the country, was second to the Free SHS mantra. It gave many Ghanaians especially the youth some unsolicited hope because of its spatial disposition.

Many were made to believe that the NPP, when voted into power will build these factories all by themselves.

I remembered after a long conversation on radio with the then Communication Director of the party in the Ho Central Constituency, Mr. Bright Doe (now the Manager of NHIS in the Municipality), my mum, Da Bertha an ardent listener called me at dawn and asked: “Elikem do you believe 1D1F is doable”?

I quickly pulled out an image from Gabby Otchere Darko’s twitter handle that pictorially sited factories in over 200 districts. The image beautifully situated factories in resource rich districts which will serve as raw material source for these factories. For the avoidance of doubt let us revisit some of them:

a. Adaklu – Palm Nut Factory employing 180 workers

b. Ho West- Waste to Energy Plant employing 3700 workers

c. Hohoe - Poultry Processing Plant employing 360 workers

I have to do this because the Communication Director - Bright told myself and the many listeners that NPP, then in opposition, will source its raw materials mostly agriculture from each district. Gabby’s image thus depicted what factory each district will receive. Unsatisfied as she was, she just smiled and said ‘Elikem miawo le agbale me kpor’ to wit that ‘we are the literates’; mum not dumb though.

“We have thought through the policy (1D1F) very well and when I say we will build a factory in every district, we mean it because it is possible, it is not for your votes… I know I can do it and I will do it”.

These were the words of the President when he visited the Mamponhene in the run-up to the 2016 elections as recorded on the YouTube channel of the New Patriotic Party, which had over 6.4k views. They made it look as though the state will build and own the factories.

The question is; did Mr. Prez and his communicators never read their manifesto? Or they read but mischievously ignored the collaboration with the private sector bit? It is likely though. This opens another can of confusion, in the sense that even if its private sector led, it is government’s responsibility to lure the private sector to invest.

So, if we don’t see factories springing up, then the task of luring investors failed and must be taken as failure by government. A vivid example is the ethanol factory promised in Adaklu Kpetsu. Government’s official position is her inability to secure a land which we were hitherto told was secured.

We have had many officials from government condemn citizens of the Volta Region for not taking advantage of the many government intervention especially the 1D1F. I shudder to believe that this reason is among the many blame shifting gestures by government. A simple online search indicates that the few factories commissioned by the president in other parts of the country are not entirely borne out of the ingenuity of citizens from those regions but a conscious effort by the state, of ready mention is the Ekumfi Juice Factory.

Just as the president when he was on tour of the western region made the Omanhene believed his government will establish these factories singlehandedly, the Volta Regional Minister did same to his many cheerleaders. When asked right after vetting by Elton Brobbey of Joy FM what projects he will embark upon, he mentioned that many investors were chasing him for the 1D1F project.

I breathe a sigh of relief because I know how business oriented my regional Minister is (He owns the largest mall and a state-of-the-art hotel in Volta, not forgetting the alleged breakthrough he’s getting in establishing a certain skyplus rest stop on the Accra Kumasi highway).

He again stated on TOSH FM that Adidome will get a starch factory, Adaklu ethanol et al and that sword cutting will commence in August 2017 (well, there is only one August in 2017 though not the last August ever – so vim!). He was not the only leader building factories in the skies. His many MMDCEs notable among them, DCEs for Ho West, Agortime Ziope and AkatsiNorth were also on the promising spree together with the MCE of Ho.

One would have thought that Volta Region would have been the first to shout praises of government on the fulfillment of the 1D1F promise.

About three years into government, no MMDCE could mention a factory in their district at the Maiden Regional Town Hall Meeting but were over the roof touting the building of overhead water reservoirs and six-unit classroom blocks. The excuse given by the Regional Minister was that there was not time enough out of the over 6hrs presentation done. Good job MrMinister! Good job!!

He however promised to update party communicators on the sacred list of 1D1F. You will shudder to ask that; a regional minister who was hitherto chased by investors for 1D1F could not mention a single factory they have built. Umm... something is not adding up!

The deputy minister of information, Mr. Enam Pius Hadzide in an interview on KUUL 103.5 FM inviting people for the town hall meeting indicated that, mention will be made of green and brown factories; ones built from scratch by government and the ones supported by government respectively. He however hurriedly reviewed a DCEs promise of being the first district to own a factory by referring to a list that is only known to the Regional Minister.

The sacred list has failed to reach party communicators more than 48hrs after promising its release. It will certainly take the secretary of the party; Bright Nyatsikor(Regional PRO NHIA) from the constituency where investors were allegedly refused as a result of unavailability of land to release the sacred list, after failure from many party communicators. He successfully mentioned the following:

1. Caltech Ventures – Hodzo (Brown Factory)

2. KOP Farms – Horme Battor, North Tongu District (Green Factory)

3. Fresh Farms – Jaupong, North Tongu District (Green Factory)

4. I.C Agritech – Sokode, Ho Municipal (Green Factory)

He could however not mention the state of production of these ‘farms’. Whether the land has even been cultivated for crop production. This raises concern on what a factory is and whether the above could qualify as fulfillment of the factory promise. A quick search on even Wikepedia shows what ‘A factory, is a manufacturing plant or a production plant or an industrial site, usually consisting of buildings and machinery, or more commonly a complex having several buildings, where workers manufacture goods or operate machines processing one product into another.’ Your decision on the aforementioned farms as factories is obvious.

It’s not for anything the teaming youth are asking for 1D1F, they need answers to their long held question of unemployment

The running excuse that many individuals in Volta have not taken the opportunity created by government, making it look as though we are a bunch of lazy cocoons is highly untenable. Kindly permit me to ask government and her cohorts the following:

a. The many proposals seating on their desks?
b. The investors they came back with after the many oversea travels?
c. And next time anyone has a meeting with my beloved Regional Minister ask him about the list of ‘ongoing’ 1D1F?
d. The amount of money injected into each factory in the region?
e. Don’t forget to ask Mama Josephine(Regional Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry) when she will reply our months old dust gathering enquiry on 1D1F in the Volta Region?
f. Ask her about the number of people employed. When she answers, you certainly know where to find me.

Why is it getting extremely difficult to have an agro-based factory in a resource-rich region with about 442,542 out of 888,271 economically active population engaged in skilled agriculture and forestry (Population and Housing Census, 2010)?



Has Ghana taken a look at how China did it some decades ago? Here, reference is being made to the Transnational Exchanges on Industrial Policy, where, China's post-Mao leaders from the late 1970s actively sought policy advice, advanced technology and investment capital from abroad. The Mao era administrative economy was seen as pressing, policymakers were not looking for a new economic model to transfer wholesale to China but rather for practicable policy recipes that would allow incremental low-risk steps toward solving the most severe bottlenecks in the economic system. In its simplest terms, what needs to be done is not rocket science. Others have done so. We also can!!!

Could His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addobecome the Moa Zedong of Ghana?

There are certainly many questions that need answers…

Let’s have working factories, enough of the excuses.

Eliwrites