By Maxwell Ofori .
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has advised his political opponents to stop ‘yapping’ and ‘open their eyes’ to see the transformation the country is witnessing under his stewardship.
Giving an account on where this government took the country from and where it is now, President Akufo-Addo said work in the first year had paid off.
“The people, who, for eight years, did nothing in this country, you are saying nothing is going on. They should listen carefully to what I am saying; tell them about what is going on in Ghana. Their eyes are closed; let them open their eyes, they will see that we are transforming Ghana.”
President Akufo-Addo said this on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, on the first day of his tour of the Greater Accra Region, which took him to Healthilife Beverages to inspect its operations.
President Akufo-Addo also announced a GH¢237 million stimulus package to support local businesses.
He said it was a move to strengthen the industrial sector of the economy, as it has been done for the agric sector, through the Planting for Food and Jobs, and the warehouse project.
“This is the foundation we have laid for our agriculture. In the same way, we are laying the foundation for our industrial development. That is what has brought me here today.”
He said the government had rolled out an industrial revitalisation programme to solve issues of limited access to medium and long term financing and high cost of electricity, among others, “with a stimulus package for industries.”
The package, which is in the areas of pharmaceuticals, agro-processing, beverages, has benefited some 16 small, medium scale enterprises so far,
According to him, the support is part of the government’s commitment to strengthening indigenous businesses in the country, to add value to their products to meet global demand.
President Akufo-Addo mentioned the reduction in the interest rate, which “is reducing slowly, not to my liking,” was part of government’s commitment.
The President said the government needed to put in place results-oriented policies and programmes to put the country back on track from the mess created by the previous government.
One of such measures, the President noted, was to ensure equal access to education, as it is a key to development of every economy, thus the introduction of free Senior High School policy.
Despite giving many people access to attend Senior High School, the policy has met numerous criticisms, with some doubting the sustainability of the programme. However, stressing that the programme had come to stay, the President also added that Planting for Food and Jobs is also enrolling more farmers, resulting in the abundance of food, adding that more farmers will also be rolled in next year.
As we’ve raised the foundation for our agriculture, so is being done for industry.
President Akufo-Addo commended management of the Healthilife Cmpany for adding value to what they do, and creating employment for Ghanaians.
He wished the company well, and promised it the government’s unflinching support, as it would do for other indigenous companies.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, in his remarks, said the exercise by the Akufo-Addo government demonstrates that it is committed to supporting local businesses in the country.
He commended the company for helping to reduce the unemployment rate, adding that they need to be celebrated like other companies employing people.
On his part, the Managing Director of the Healthilife Beverages Limited, Nuamah Eshun-Famiyeh, said the company employs 500 people working in two shifts.
He said there was an ongoing project to provide jobs for traders and retailers, through the addition of value on soya beans, watermelons and coconut, adding that “… your laudable initiatives, especially the 1D1F and Planting for Food and Jobs, are perfect fit for our ongoing projects.”
He said the business plan, project summary, and financials are all ready; “We entreat you to trust us with $10 million to complete this project on concessionary interest basis, and I promise not just payment on schedule, but also guaranteeing that it will create three to four more 1D1F projects.”