The Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, has laughed off the opposition New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) promise of establishing a factory each in all 216 districts of the country, saying it contradicts the party’s promise to scrap import duties on raw materials for local manufacturers.
Speaking in the Central Region as part of a 5-day tour of the region, the NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said his government would establish a factory in each of the 216 districts as part of plans to industrialize the economy.
But according to Mr. Mohammed, the local industries promised by the opposition leader would not be able to compete with importers when the government is trumpeting a promise to scrap duties on imports.
“I think sometimes in their desperation to make promises, they always forget that they have made certain statements in the past… if you want to make promises, you should be mindful that the promises won’t contradict the very position you took in the past,” the Deputy Trade Minister said in an interview with Citi News.
In the view of Mr. Mohammed, the party’s promise of scrapping import duties would allow for the importation of more goods, and that a will be to the disadvantage of the factories they seek to establish.
“Now you say the you are going to abolish all forms of taxes. It means that anybody can import anything into this country at cheaper costs because once people don’t have import duties on the goods, they bring into this country, they can bring them at will.”
Mr. Mohammed further opined that he saw no prudence in an economy that offered Ghanaians both indigenous and imported goods for consumption.
“Those goods, if it is even true, are going to be consumed by people in Ghana and people in Ghana will then have to consume those goods alongside the goods that are imported into this country freely. It simply doesn’t make sense.”
NPP insists ‘one district, one factory’ plan is feasible
The NPP Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng, has already downplayed suggestions that the ‘one district, one factory’ plan may not feasible.
He also explained that, the size of the factories is not necessarily an issue, as every industry would eventually be expected to grow.
“A small scale industry will grow to become a large scale industry so it is really not about the size. People have been surviving in these localities for centuries. There must be some activity that is keeping them alive. What we will be seeking to do is to bring industrialization to their activities so that more money will flow into these localities,” Mr. Kwarteng said on the Citi Breakfast Show.