One hundred and fifty local and foreign investors have submitted applications to the government to establish factories under the one-district, one-factory policy initiative.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, who announced this in Accra yesterday, said the applications included expression of interest and business plans for the government’s flagship programme.He was speaking at a forum on the one-district, one-factory policy organised by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC).
Policy makers, financiers, captains of industry, insurance companies and other stakeholders who attended the forum shared perspectives on implementation plans, financing options and risk management of the policy. It was held on the theme: “Leveraging on the one–district, one–factory policy for private sector growth”.
The policy, a flagship programme of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, seeks to establish at least one factory in each of the 216 districts in the country.
Mr Kyerematen said the policy would be driven by the private sector, with the government playing facilitating and supervisory roles. He said a promoter was expected to submit an expression of interest, incorporate a limited liability company and solicit funding for the establishment of the factory. He said if the promoters required partnerships with the government, it would not invest more than 30 per cent of the equity in the factory.
As a general rule, the investment will be between $1 and $5 million. The bigger, the better,” he said.
The minister said the government would provide incentives for investors by way of improvement in roads, the extension of reliable energy, tax exemptions, offer of subsidies and facilitation of projects. Besides, he said, there would be support for farmers in terms of farm inputs and machinery.
300 factories identified
Mr Kyerematen said the previous NPP government, in 2004 and 2005, identified 300 potential projects for factories across the country. He said the government and industry players would identify the potential projects that could be implemented in each district based on the agreement with the investors.
He said between 500,000 and one million jobs would be created through the implementation of the policy and asked private companies interested in the policy to submit their applications to enable the government to go forward with its implementation.
GH¢1 billion allocation
The Managing Director of GCB Bank, Mr Anselm Ray Sowah, announced that the bank had allocated GH¢1 billion to support viable proposals under the one-district, one factory-policy. He said a business operating under the initiative in a district would have a value chain, including outgrowers, transporters, wholesalers, retailers and other service providers. Therefore, he said, it was important that “support is holistic across the entire value chain for both large and small businesses”.
Mr Sowah said the bank had set up a dedicated unit to drive the programme and indicated that it had an array of price concessions for businesses that would operate under the initiative. He, therefore, urged members and non-members of the GNCC to register with the bank to begin the partnership for the initiative.
An industry expert, Mr Kofi Afresah Nuhu, mentioned high interest rates, taxes, levies and unreliable supply of energy and raw materials as some of the challenges that the implementation of the policy would face. Despite the challenges, he said, the policy was very laudable, “with the hallmark of success”.
A financial risk and industry value chain analyst, Dr Samuel Frimpong Boateng, stressed the need for the government to remove all impediments in the management of the policy. The President of the GNCC, Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso I, said the forum was expected to shape the initiative by identifying associated value chain risks and operational challenges to ensure its successful implementation.