Ghanaian opposition presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told voters this week that the government would begin to take advantage of its bauxite ore deposits by initiating a domestic aluminium industry.
“The time has come for us to move our industrial development forward,” said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, adding that mining the ore and smelting it into primary aluminium would lead to a value-added aluminium industry in Ghana. This, he says, has long been a vision for Ghana.
In addition, such an industry would put to work much of the young unemployed Ghanaians in the country’s east, he explained.
“There must be jobs in our country. The lack of jobs, which is the case under this government, poses a threat to the future stability of our country. We have put in place programs to make sure we create jobs and prosperity for our youth so they can also stand on their own feet, thereby securing the peace and stability of our country. That is the task we have put before ourselves. We want to construct a bright future for the Ghanaian people,” he went on.
Akufo-Addo also promised to place a factory in each of the country’s 216 districts (second-level administrative subdivisions).
“We have completed the surveys, and already at least 300 projects have been identified across the 216 districts of Ghana,” he said. “Marketing plans, and markets for the products are being worked out. What is needed is that on the 7th December, you give me the opportunity to implement this program (1-District-1-Factory).”
Akufo-Addo went on to explain that the country’s industrialization, “is going to help us in many ways, by generating wealth and development across the country” saying, “We will stop this ‘Accra-Kumasi’ centered development. It is dangerous for the future of our country. In doing so, we will revive the lives of our districts and regions, and stop this potentially dramatic exodus of young people towards the city centers.”
In order to achieve these ends, Akufo-Addo advocated for the end of import duties on raw materials and manufacturing equipment and reduction of corporate income taxes. He also favored fiscal responsibility by the government, tying government expenditures to national reserves.
“We want to reposition the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to focus its attention on attracting investment, both domestic and foreign, into these strategic industries – iron and steel, cement, bauxite and aluminium, petrochemical industry, vehicle assembly and the manufacture of machine parts and equipment,” he said. “These are going to be the industries for which we are going to anchor our industrial development.”
Akufo-Addo is the top contender challenging incumbent John Dramani Mahama for the position at the polls this coming Wednesday.