“In my view, this is a positive policy recommendation which will help move Ghana forward. As would be expected, it has generated a spirited debate, with different political parties staking claims to “ownership” of the concept,” he opined.
In a statement to the Daily Graphic, the former Minister of Trade under the Kufuor regime and a leading member of the NPP, pointed out that for the avoidance of doubt, the “one district one factory” concept was first introduced by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiatives during the past NPP administration as part of an integrated programme for Accelerated Growth and Industrial Development.
He indicated that originally designated as the Rural Enterprises Development Programme, and later rebranded as the District Industrialisation Programme (DIP), it was planned as a comprehensive programme for rural industrialisation involving the setting up of at least one medium-sized factory in each of the administrative districts of Ghana.
He explained that while previous attempts at rural economic revitalisation had focused mainly on the provision of physical infrastructural facilities, the DIP focused on the promotion of commercially viable business initiatives to generate sustainable and accelerated economic development for rural communities.
He said the programme was an attempt to deal with severe poverty and underdevelopment among rural communities through the establishment of an institutional framework that would attract private sector participation in it.
He said it also sought to promote citizen participation and new community-based public-private partnerships for rural development.
5 Strategic objectives
He disclosed that the five strategic objectives of the DIP were to create massive employment, particularly for the youth in rural and peri-urban communities, thereby improving income levels and standard of living, and reducing rural-urban migration.
It was also to add value to the natural resources of each district and exploit the economic potential of each district based on its comparative advantage to ensure even and spatial spread of industries.
He said once that was in place, it would stimulate economic activity in different parts of the country and enhance the production of local substitutes for imported goods and thereby conserve scarce foreign exchange.
Finally, Mr Kyerematen said it aimed at promoting exports and increasing foreign exchange earnings.
Furthermore, Mr Kyerematen stated that the framework for the implementation of the DIP revolved around four key activities.
These included selection and financing of projects, inter-sectoral facilitation and district oversight committees.
In Mr Kyerematen’s view, the DIP is a well-structured programme that has the potential of transforming the industrial landscape of Ghana and contributing significantly to the socio-economic development of the country.
Other details of the programme implementation, he said, would be provided in due course, adding, “it is worth noting that the DIP is only one component of a comprehensive Five- Year Accelerated Industrial Development Plan to be implemented by the NPP if voted into office in the 2016.”