The idea of having one factory in each of the 216 districts in the country was a major campaign promise of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
According to the NPP, the ‘One-district, One-factory’ programme is aimed at establishing at least one factory or enterprise in every district of Ghana as a means of creating economic growth poles to accelerate the development of those areas and create jobs for the youth.
The policy is also to transform the structure of the economy from one dependent on production and the export of raw materials to a value-added industrialised economy, driven by the private sector.
Although some people were sceptical about the possibility of setting up a factory in each district, the NPP insisted that it was doable and many looked forward to the day when the party would assume the reins of government to see whether it could deliver.
So, when, on December 7, 2016, Ghanaians overwhelmingly gave the mandate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to steer the affairs of state, many looked forward to those factories to give jobs to the people and generally help improve the economy.
After eight months in office, President Akufo-Addo cut the sod for work to begin on the first of the district factories at Ekumfi in the Central Region, amidst pump and circumstance, saying the initiative would propel the industrialisation agenda of his government at the district level, as well as drive linkages to agriculture and other natural resources of the country.
At the time, the President gave an assurance that 51 districts would have working factories by the end of 2017.
In addition to the Ekumfi project, the Vice-President also cut the sod for a new cement factory at the Dawa Industrial City in Accra. The $3-million project, which is expected to be completed in two years under the district factory initiative, is an Iranian-Ghanaian initiative.
Not much has been seen or heard of the 51 factories that were promised by the President, but we at the Daily Graphic believe that a lot of preparatory work is ongoing to ensure a great onslaught that will see the promised factories springing up as soon as practicable.
We are aware that the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) Limited has earmarked GH¢200 million to support the programme, while the GCB Bank Limited has allocated GH¢1 billion in support of the initiative.
That is not all. Many international organisations and our bilateral partners have shown keen interest in supporting the initiative and so we expect the One-district, One-factory Secretariat to be working hard to bring the government’s plans into fruition.
The Daily Graphic welcomes the provision of five million pineapple suckers by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority to farmers in the catchment area of the Ekumfi Pineapple Processing Factory. We urge all beneficiary farmers to nurture the suckers, so that there will be enough raw materials to feed the factory when it is completed.
Again, what will be the fate of these farmers if, upon the maturity of their produce, they cannot find an outlet to sell? The need to ensure the early completion of the factory, therefore, cannot be overemphasised.
Surely, we should not create white elephants. There is a lot more to be done to ensure the success of the One-district, One-factory initiative and so we should all put our shoulders to the wheel.