One month into the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration, Ghanaians are quietly watching the unfolding events – how the government can encourage, and inspire confidence in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) to create private sector jobs through transparency, policy implementation and timely interventions. For the years ahead, life for the ordinary Ghanaian is expected to be bettered.
The past years have plagued our country with ‘dumsor’, high unemployment rate, high interest rates, skyrocketing of exchange rates and high, unprecedented corruption which has eroded all the confidence in our country. This is the best time for a formidable collaboration between government and the private sector to work for the economic growth of our people and boost international confidence.
Agriculture, the Core of our Economic Freedom and Growth
Our country, over the decades, has generated massive revenue through agriculture for the growth and sustenance of the economy. This is the case because majority of the population of the country are into farming, fishing and other forms of agriculture. Research has shown that about 60% -65% of the total population till the land or fish the sea.
Unfortunately, the revenue government generates from agriculture has seen a decline and this has slowed the economic growth. Several problems regarding government policies, access to funding or aid for farmers & fishermen, lack of machinery, technological expertise, training, storage facilities, transportation and ready market for agricultural produce all account for this decline.
However, this is not to say that the agricultural sector cannot be revamped to create the jobs, generate the revenues and bring economic growth to the country as a whole. We can realize these gains when government collaborates with the private sector with positive and transparent policies.
Government must implement a policy intervention to give agric development aid to farmers & fishermen to enable them increase their produce to trigger big investments as leverage for private sector partnership. The agric development aid shouldn’t only be in the form funds but tools and machinery, agrochemicals, and training for those engaged in agriculture. I commend the ‘one-village, one dam,’ idea by the government to make irrigation of the farmland easy. I suggest that there should be installed pumps and tunnels that get to the farms to prevent the manual carrying of water by the folks. (Repetitive).
Furthermore, the government-private sector partnership should provide storage facilities both on site and mobile for transportation of produce to final consumers and for exportation. Most importantly, the managers of the economy must introduce interventions that remove market barriers that farmers face and improve access to support services to build confidence for growth.
The fast-paced world of technology has brought economic growth to smart, well- positioned economies and Ghana can only take advantage if leadership, through the private sector, implements a robust continuous strategy to have the local expertise developed in the entire supply chain network, knowledge development, use of research &development, local innovation, creativity, foreign local partnership, mechanisations, and hybrid seeds since these have been some of the crucial bottlenecks of the agricultural sector. If these are resolved, private sector investment will increase and we’ll have access to the world market.
As a nation, we should realize and establish our competitive and comparative advantage and exploit it fully to bring benefit and economic growth to the people. Governments of most developed nations have successfully implemented policies that today has yielded great results in both revenue and job creation for their people.
Recommendations to Government
1. The government of Ghana country can implement these policy strategies to boost agriculture, increase the job creation and revenue generation. For the government of Ghana to keep the momentum and confidence in the agricultural sector, it is suggested that the undernoted are considered, among others in government plans: Land Leasing Agreement: There must be simplified land-leasing agreements between owners and prospective leases.
2. Removal of Excise Duty/Import Duties: Is suggested that import and excise duties be selectively removed on farm machinery and inputs. Food Security Systems: It is envisaged that avenues will be created for entrepreneurs to be in the business of food storage and distribution.
3. Agriculture Development Loan: In addition to the Agricultural Development Bank, all other banks and institutions in the financial chain may be encouraged to channel a percentage of their deposits, or part of their portfolio to the agric sector. This will enhance healthy competition
4. Research &Development: The universities and other research institutions are expected to embrace the challenge by getting actively involved in research, seed multiplication, and other ancillary services in the agric sector.
5. Government should collaborate with the private sector to provide on-site and mobile storage facilities for farmers who grow perishable crops.
It is the expectation of all Ghanaians that the agric sector holds the key to job creation. With the support of all, (the government and governed as well as the international community), Ghana will achieve its desired goal of being a major player in the agric sector.
Published on 9 March 2017 | 8:15 am at Source