Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kyerematen has expressed government’s commitment to working with the private sector in ensuring the country maximises and fully harnesses benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with the One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme.
In a speech read on his behalf by Michael Opoku Akorang, Director of Policy Planning and Evaluation at the Ministry at the 6th Ghana Manufacturing Award ceremony organised by Xodus Communications, Mr. Kyerematen noted that government’s flagship programme, 1D1F was designed as a comprehensive industrial transformation agenda to drive the manufacturing and industry sector.
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“The AfCFTA agreement coming into force removes the perennial limitation of small fragmented markets and replaces it with a massive, single, duty-free market mostly for manufacturers. AfCFTA is expected to boost Ghanaian export investments and innovation, foster structural transformation, improve food security, and enhance economic growth and export diversification.
“Therefore, leveraging AfCFTA will require technology integration, regional integration and innovation. These things reside mostly with the private sector; that is, the manufacturers. It is manufacturing and industry which are going to drive the industry, and we in government appreciate this fact. We are implementing a comprehensive industrial transformation agenda, of which the 1D1F is very key,” he noted.
He further noted that government has put in measures to deal with the problem of access to funding for manufacturing companies, and offered other incentives to improve the programme.
“In addition to tax incentives which government provides for 1D1F, the key mark for the project is that it provides a structure for manufacturing that we have not seen in the country for a very long time. Our interest-subsidy provisions make sure that industry has access to financing at a reduced interest rate. We are working hard so that we will continue to move ahead and reduce these interest rates so the manufacturing sector can have access to financing and expand in the country,” he emphasised.
The minister indicated further that government will ensure access to energy and water for manufacturers will be readily available to boost production.
“We also provide extension of facilities in terms of access to energy and water to manufacturing industries. We believe that these inputs, especially energy, are very critical for manufacturing; and so the IDIF ensures that companies or factories which are under-listed in the programme have easy access to electricity and water for their production capacity.
“We are of the firm belief that if we continue to focus on improving the manufacturing environment, we will get more investment to drive the manufacturing sector. Government will continue to rely on the private sector to partner its endeavours,” the minister reiterated.