The Kandifo Institute has done a pragmatic analysis as regards the implementation of the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprise Support Program (Ghana CARES) Obaatampa Program and described its implementation as being successful.
The Covid 19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprise Support Program came up after the President tasked the Ministry of Finance to lead the development of a comprehensive Government Economic plan that can revamp and stabilize the economy during and post the COVID.
The Executive Director of Kandifo Institute, Palgrave Boakye Danquah, in an interview with The New Crusading Guide said the scheme was enrolled in two phases. The first phase, he said was aimed at stabilizing the economy by reducing the cost of basic services, ensuring food security, support businesses and workers, strengthen the health system, and pass legislations such as home ownership financing and tax exemptions to facilitate a quick economy recovery.
According to Mr. Boakye Danquah the second phase aims at revitalizing and transforming the economy by supporting commercial farming and attracting the educated youth into agriculture, building Ghana’s light manufacturing sector which targets agro-processing and food import-substitution, developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries, accelerating the implementation of Government digital initiatives and digitizing fiscal revenue collection. It also aims at expanding the fiber network backbone and increase digital literacy and online education, developing Ghana’s housing and construction industry, by leveraging the construction of hospitals under Agenda 111, establishing Ghana as a regional hub for Finance, Manufacturing, Ports and Logistics leveraging the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and reviewing and optimizing the implementation of Government flagships and key programs for greater results, value-for-money, and fiscal sustainability.
The second phase, he noted, is envisioned to also strengthen the enablers of growth and transformation.
“The 8 key projects under the Obaatampa Program supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming, building the country’s light manufacturing sector, developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries,fast tracking digitalization and developing Ghana’s housing & construction industry”, he stated.
“It also include establishing Ghana as a Regional Hub, reviewing and optimizing the implementation of Government flagships and key programs and creating jobs for young people, and expanding opportunities for the vulnerable in society, including persons with disabilities, he noted.
“Commercial farming helps stabilize the economy by making more food available at a lower price. Ghana, as a developing country, from 0.8% in 2011 to 6.4% in 2019. Commercial farming is basically the planting of crops with an aim of selling for money. The population of Ghana is relatively young. Only 3% of the total population are 65 years and above. Unemployment rate in Ghana is currently 4.51%, the agriculture sector contributed 17.31% to Ghana’s GDP in 2019. This confirms that the country’s agriculture sector is a booming sector. The sector is noted as the second largest employer in the economy as it employs 29.27% of Ghana’s labor force. This means that this sector is a fertile sector and hence governments interest in supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming. Ghana for the first time after a long while has become a net exporter of food”.
“In 2019, Ghana made an export of 140,000MT of food to some neighboring countries. With a track record of revamping the agriculture sector from 0.8% in 2011 to 2.9% in 2016, 6.1% in 2017, 4.8% in 2018 and back to 6.4% in 2019, the government under the leadership of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo can properly manage the GHS 100 billion to supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming through the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ), Greenhouse villages, Agriculture Mechanization Services (AMSECs) and others”.
“Targeting agro-processing and food import- substitution (specifically, in rice, poultry, cassava, sugar and tomatoes), pharmaceuticals, and textiles and garments, Ghana spends US$2 billion each year on food importation. The country imports rice, poultry, wheat, sugar, tomatoes, cassava, and others. Ghana currently imports over 700,000 MT tons of rice at an estimated cost of US$ 400 million, representing about 60% of rice consumption in country, over US$100 million of poultry products a year and US$178 million of wheat in 2019. Ghana currently imports all its refined sugar needs, costing about US$160 million in 2019 and the country imports US$140 million fresh and processed tomato-related products. Governments aim of building the country’s light manufacturing sector is basically to support local businesses to bring about competition in producing and processing raw materials to reduce dependence. The textile industry currently has 4 large textile mills; GTP, ATL, Printex and Volta Star Textiles, with an employment of about 7,500 workers and generates roughly US$ 50 million from exports. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is targeting US$1 billion in total exports and creating at least 200,000 jobs in the sector over the next 10 years. The ministry aspires to generate US$200 million in exports and create 50,000 jobs in textiles and garments under the Ghana CARES Obaatampa Program and this would build the country’s light manufacturing sector”.
“With the aim of building capabilities of the citizenry to manufacture machine tools to support the production and manufacturing of agricultural tools, food processing equipment, auto spare parts, building construction equipment and others under the GHS 100 Billion Ghana CARES Obaatampa program, government is going to support entrepreneurs with tech start- ups, fintech, apps for agriculture, business process outsourcing and others. Government aims at completing and operationalizing the foundry being developed by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation. This foundry will provide the foundation for local fabrication of machinery and spare parts. Government will work hand in hand with some private sector industries to develop and operate tech hubs in all the regions”
“The GHS 100 Billion Obaatampa Program would go further to complement digitization. Ghana currently has gone digital through the implementation of a Digital Property Address system, moving 70% of the population to access financial services either through a bank or mobile money account, digitizing the ports, NHIS, GRA, DVLA and other government institution. 15.5 million people have been enrolled onto the National ID Card or the Ghana card. As the President stated under his message on the State of the Nation, the National ID numbers will be linked to all SIM cards, bank accounts, Births and Deaths Registry, DVLA documents, and passports. Government hopes to expedite the implementation of Government digital initiatives, digitize fiscal revenue collection, increase digital literacy and others.
In developing Ghana’s housing and construction industry, government aims at setting up a working housing industry which would create jobs for the local artisans. Government under the GHS 100 Billion Obaatampa scheme to strengthen and expand housing mortgages. After the passage of the Home Ownership Financing bill, government’s construction finance program, there would be easy access to land purchase by housing estate developers. Government would anchor the construction of hospitals under Agenda 111 to strengthen the capacity of the construction industry”.