Hoping you and the First Lady are fine.
Mr President, the yearly demand for US Dollars for the past 40 years for businesses was found to have outstripped the supply because the economy of Ghana since 1982 has been import driven instead of production driven and the situation has been worsened due the Country’s inability to put strict measures to conserve the limited US Dollars in the system through import substitution as well as measures to ensure at least 30% of foreign currency earnings from the exports by foreign Companies is brought to Ghana, thus huge export earnings remained outside. Another problem was Ghana not able to halt some local institutions’ appetite or penchant to demand for payments denominated in US Dollars instead of the Ghana Cedis.
So Ghana has been depending very much on the supply of the US Dollar through foreign investments or credits/loans including floating of bonds and the yearly ritual cocoa syndicated loans, among others to meet the payments of her huge external debts which were mainly denominated in US Dollars etc, hence the stabilization of the Ghana Cedis against the US Dollar had been problematic especially with the Fiat monetary policy by the State since 1986 which allows the free fall of the Cedis since it was not backed by the Gold Standard or foreign currency like the US Dollar. Hence, the exchange rate stability as the macroeconomic variable for the past 40 years was anchored by borrowing which involved Robbing of Peter to pay Paul (foreign or non-resident investors) policy, in order to motivate the retention or the continuous support or presence of Paul (non-resident investors) in the Ghanaian capital Market, which resulted in an artificial buoyant economy. This may be said to be a vodoo economy practiced by Ghana for the past 40years.
So, any action that will cause the withdrawal of Paul (non-resident investors) from the bond Market will cause destabilization of the exchange rate between the Ghana Cedis and the US Dollar, hence the state of the withdrawal of foreign investors (Paul) will reflect the seriousness of the depreciation of the Ghanaian Cedis, so it will gallop apart very fast from the US Dollar when more withdrawals are made by Paul from the Ghanaian Capital Market to find its level. So the Cedis like water will find its level in the International trade system.
A reversal of the above situation demands Home grown solutions, including what is locally termed as Domestication or Localization by import substitution measures to ensure domestic production of our wants and industrialization for value addition especially to the Agric products for local consumption and export in order to generate foreign exchange to meet essential wants like drugs that cannot be produced locally. This would require among others, considerable allocation say at least 10% national budget expenditure for the transformation and modernization of the Agric Sector, which is noted as the engine for economic growth and the catalyst for agro driven industries, as well as the need for cost cutting, application of the Principle of Opportunity Cost, production based on comparative advantage, adoption of prudent expenditure, reduction of wastages and prevention of corruption and change of attitude especially need for hard work, honesty, discipline and patriotism especially purchase and use of made in Ghana items or goods and less of similar foreign goods.
So, Mr President, any action for Ghana’s economy recovery should actually include the restoration of the exchange rate to its original value. Hence, beside internal measures on the monetary side by Bank of Ghana and creation of fiscal space by the Minister of Finance, the IMF’s bail out for rapid macroeconomic stability to help in the boosting of economic activities including the transformation and modernization of the Production sectors especially the Agricultural Sector noted as the engine for economy growth and as the motivator for Industrialization and expansion of the Service Sector of the economy, cannot be over-emphasized.
Mr President, it is heartwarming to note that based on your last fellow Ghanaian encounter on 30 October 2022, the Bank of Ghana on 17 November 2022 walked the talk by coming out with actions to facilitate import substitution especially the withdrawal of foreign exchange support for the importation of rice, poultry, vegetable oil, toothpicks to help boost local production of same item or look for a substitute food item to deal with and food hunger, its hoped this and other monetary and fiscal action would restore the exchange rate between the Dollar and the Cedis to its original level.
It is expected that the Bank of Ghana will emulate the signing examples of the Central Bank of Nigeria and give direct support to Farmers and the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) through an Open Market Operation by the Bank of Ghana to boost massive rice production, open up roads to effective farming areas to facilitate access to the food growing areas and provision of storage facilities especially Warehouses with electronic system to be linked to GCX. Mr President, the ARB Apex Bank has done a pilot project with the GCX and Rice Millers for the granting of credit to farmers, so it has positioned itself as number one or a proper vehicle for the economy recovery plan, due to the experience gained when the Bank granted credit facilities worth over GHC100 million to farmers in the North especially in the Upper West through the GCX, with electronic Ware House Receipt (e-Warehouse receipt) used as collateral
Mr President, the Bank of Ghana should work with ARB Apex Bank and the yet to be made National Development Bank for the rebooting of the economy. I have made strong recommendations below with statistics on how Ghana can achieve massive production of over 2.2 million metric tons of paddy rice to provide not less than 1.4 Million metric tonnes of milled rice (thus at 65% recovery rate) to meet the yearly national consumption of rice within 12 months. Hence, Mr President be assured that Hon Mr Abraham Odoom (our fellow Ghanaian who made the Nigerian to produce rice as import substitution the Rice magician or Rice-master)’ has coopted me as one of his collaborators who are to work to see Ghana under your watch to achieve massive production of rice, sugar cane, maize etc for effective economy recovery by September 2023 and massive yield of rice as effective import substitution by September 2024. That is his objective. Recommendations below speaks volume that his objective is achievable.
Mr President, the Holy Bible at 1 Peter 5; 10 declares “So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support and strengthen you and He will place you on a firm foundation.” Food for Thought. It is also said in the Bible that Nothing is Permanent, infact 1 Peter 5:10 in the Bible somehow speaks same, since in it God has assured you that ALL SHALL PASS, so upturn is achievable. The suffering like the COVID-19 pandemic will be subdued totally by one year (by September 2023). To authenticate this, Mr President, please take a second look and reflect on 1 Peter 5:10 in the Holy Bible, you will see that the word YOU can stand for Ghana or any Country, because you are the current face of Ghana or one may be right to say the personification of Ghana because Roman 13:1 in the bible is very clear you were nominated by God, to represent Him as the Leader of Ghana , So by 1.Peter 5:10 in the Bible, God is going to restore you, (the economy of Ghana) hence you were right with the mantra that you can revive a dead economy during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic God want to tell you that He will put you on firm Foundation (hence your vision of Ghana Beyond Aid is achievable). This is so because God supported you greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic when he made you as an effective battle commander due to your humble approach with your periodic fellow Ghanaian encounters, support to the poor etc. So the current situation requires change of attitude by both the Citizenry and the Government of the day through you.
The current situations require self-determination (industriousness, constructiveness, productiveness) by all. It is therefore expected that the lessons from the suffering may motivate creativity by the citizenry and for them to Think Big, Think Positive and Scale Up whatever positive businesses they are or will be doing to help you put Ghana on firm economic Foundation. This will require your support for cottage industries which are the bedrock of major Industries.
At this juncture, let me bring to your notice of a recent effort of the Military High Command (the CDS and others) through training of some family members of Security Agencies and others almost nationwide, in value addition to Agric products and other ventures. This is a highly commendable initiative by the CDS and the other High Echelon of the Military Command. The CDS should be given the necessary support by the Minister of Finance, Financial Institutions including Bank of Ghana, Mining Companies through the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Oil Distribution Companies through their Chamber, and the Telecom through their Chamber etc to make this commendable initiative, a quarterly programme otherwise a yearly one.
Mr President, the declaration at Roman 13:1, of the Holy Bible, required that God loving or fearing Citizenry have no other option but to support you, the Almighty God’s nominated person, as the President of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana to navigate this Country from the period of the suffering, which is the casual effect of economic doldrums occasioned by both external and internal factors to Upturn level and then to Ghana Beyond Aid, which is your vision. Success will therefore require you to be very humble, give room for participatory governance, listen to and empathize with the citizenry.
Mr President, by 1 Peter 5:10 in the Holy Bible, I can confidentially state that Ghana is going to realize positive economy recovery in 2023 especially self-sufficiency in the production of some of the food items especially rice which you mentioned in your last Fellow Ghanaian message on 30 October 2022. This is because of the support of Agencies of friendly nations/foreign investors including the activities of the Koreans to help in the production of rice in the Central Region and Ghana’s state of readiness with some reasonable Agric-infrastructural especially irrigations, warehouses, Greenhouses, the presence of sufficient Agricultural equipment like Combined Harvesters, Tractors, Power Tillers, presence of reasonable Rice Millers, availability of power supply, availability of good yielding rice varieties,, funding institutions especially ARB Apex Bank and lastly and not the least the competent Agric labour force (Farmers, Extension Officers, Research Institutions, Consultants including Hon Abraham Odoom with the magic wand for massive rice production etc).
Furthermore, Ghana has in place the operations of Commodity Market by the Association of Ghana Commodity Market including the like of the Lynch Buffet Food Commodity Market, and the fact that Ghana has established Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) in 2018 to boost the economy activities, after a successful piloting of this project in 2015 and the passage of the Commodity Exchange Law 2016 (Act 929) by the regime of Ex-President JD Mahama, this is commendable. These two Markets are on electronic platform and thanks to the Digitization and Digitalization Agenda by your Deputy VP Dr Bawumia, which will affords financial inclusion of farmers etc through transaction on electronic platform. The Hon Minister may be doing a good job to help food items reach some poor workers at a favourable price as well as supporting his farmers to get quick market for their products, but it is better to get the Association of Commodity Market to support him to get food items from his farm gates to the consumers.
Also, another good omen, is the current state of readiness by the McDan Group especially the operation of a large scale salt mining project which involves the mining of Salt at Ada Songhor by ElectroChem Gh Ltd to supply salt to the local market and for export as well as the Group’s logistics operation by land, by sea and now by air, which made the McDan Group as the number one choice for logistics delivery by the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfFCTA) prompted the signing of an agreement with the Secretariat or Headquarters of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement on 07 October 2022.
Furthermore the presence of Rural Banks in every District under ARB Apex Bank which coincidentally happened to be the first bank to provide financial support to some farmers with the GCX. Likewise the presence of Military Bases in almost all the Regions of Ghana, so you as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana could call on the Military High Command to engage in civic action through carting of food to areas for sale to the public as and when required to reduce the suffering as part of support to National Security..
Hereafter, are viable recommendations for the way forward for rebooting of the economy and the subsequent navigation of Ghana towards firm economic foundation as assured by God in 1 Peter 5:10 of the Bible. Firstly, Mr President, the economy recovery is contingent on if and only if considerable National budgetary Expenditure is provided for the Agricultural Sector and the replacement of the current Hon Finance Minister effective immediate to enable a fresh mind to lead the citizenry to the promise land, of Ghana Beyond Aid. As stated above, Ghana’s economy will start to see signs of recovery next year (2023) because Ghana with the support of the Koreans in the Central Region and other foreigners is poised to attain self-sufficiency in rice production by 2024, so the immediate replacement of the Finance Minister for the new Minister to work with the IMF and others for new course of actions cannot be over-emphasized.
Mr President, there is the need for massive revenue generations and prudent usage or allocation of the revenue so generated, it is therefore very important that the Commissioner General of GRA, is given very realistic and challenging target to deviate from the past mediocre yearly target given to GRA, which culminated in GRA always exceeding her targets, presumably due to low targets given by past Finance Ministers. The Ministry of Finance requires a little tweaking, so, I strongly recommend a very Affable, able and dynamic person with Military background, also with Accounting, Law, Ghana Customs, Excise and Border Security experiences as the Finance Minister, hence Col Damoah (Rtd), a member of your Political Party, who can pursue your Flagship Free SHS program, 1D1F etc, is the best candidate to replace Hon Mr Ofori Atta. Sir, do so effective immediate, so that the Finance Minister can give the incoming Finance Minister sufficient briefing before vetting by Parliament. So that starts vigor.
There is the need to decouple the Preventive Service (ex-Border Guard elements) from GRA and make it as part of a proposed Border and Preventive Services under Command and Control of a person with Security background and who should not below a Colonel (retired or in active service). Sir, it is very odd to put a security unit which deals with Border security (Land, Air, Sea) under Ghana Revenue Authority which as the name denotes is mainly for Revenue issues. The decoupling of the Preventive section from CEPS will give the Preventive Section strong teeth to bite through effective checking of the Custom and Excise elements of GRA and check smugglers to reduce leakage of revenue.
Mr President, please as in 1. Peter 5:10 in the Holy Bible that the hardship is from God to let both the Citizenry and Leaderships at all levels to change their attitude from the negative pull him down (Neg-PHD) to sense of positive Patriotism, Honesty and Discipline (Pos-PHD). As the saying goes .Leadership is a Cause and Everything Else is Effect and the Buck Stops with the President, hence you need to be very humble, accessible and bring all stakeholders Tom, Dick and Harry on Board the Ship under your Captainship for rapid recovery of the economy.
So, Mr President you need to articulate clearly and honestly on the current problem, the contributing factors, the right remedial actions with the parts to be played by the Citizens through operation feed yourself and your industries, (through Grow Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Sell Ghana). Also the part to be played by the Government through good and realistic recovery plan, demo of cost cutting and reducing of wastages (tightening of belts), prudent use of resources by investing on productive areas. Furthermore appointment of patriotic, honest disciplined, hardworking and resourceful persons by you when vacancies exist.
Mr President, the citizen must be reminded frequently that the Hardship originated from an economic depression occasioned by external factors. Initially caused by COVID-19 pandemic, worsened later on by the Russia-Ukraine War, both of which have caused serious supply chain shocks which is endured globally in the history of mankind or the world. But due to Ghana’s over reliance for foreign goods or supplies and the usage of the US Dollars as medium for exchange, so, the current Expansionary Monetary Policy of the Central Bank of USA (the Federal Reserve Bank, through printing of more US Dollars), has made the suffering in Ghana to be the severest due the fast depreciation of the Cedis as result of the withdrawal of non-resident investor to the America Capital Market for more gains. Hence, the answers are home grown solutions, including the Gold Standard Policy, so that the Ghana Cedis is supported with Gold in reserves with the Bank of Ghana to replace the current Fiat Monetary Policy. Furthermore what is locally termed as Domestication or Localization through massive production of our essential needs, for local consumption and export, hence change of the attitude of the citizenry and the government of the day is very important.
So, it must be properly explained that the suffering, which the whole World is going through may surely not be the same for all the Countries in the World, since there are differences in the productions of the needs of each Country towards Self-Sufficiency, the level of dependence for foreign items by the citizen of each country, difference in the level of patriotism, honesty, discipline (PHD), resourcefulness, and the differences of the taste or consumption pattern of the citizens of each Country. Also the differences in the level of greediness for wealth by citizens of each Country. As well as the problem of the penchant of the Ghanaian businessmen and businesswomen to front for foreigners to violate or circumvent laws like what is happening in the Small Scale Mining Sector, where Excavators etc belonging to Chinese are causing massive destruction of the environment, pollution of water bodies and diversion of Rivers. Lastly, the way the economies of each country are managed by the people and their government are not the same for Countries in the World. Hence, the suffering cannot be on the same level because of the above reasons which indicate that attitudes of the citizens of various countries are not the same. So once again change of attitude is a must.
Mr President, to drive home of the point that the attitude of the citizenry and the Government may be the cause of the suffering, pardon me to digress by reminding you that the World may one day suffer water supply problem but Ghana’s situation may be very serious due to Ghana’s failure or refusal to appreciate the characteristics of Small Scale Mining which made the World Bank and other Countries to see Small Scale Mining as a national or international security disaster area. Hence, Ghana must also adopt the definition of the World Bank for Small Scale Mining and manage and combat canker as such. So that Ghana will stand a good chance to gain support from the World Bank, USAID, the Chinese Government, local institutions etc to deal with the menace associated with the Small Scale Mining which is an entrenched activity which according to history existed before the coming of the European by 1471. And though Small Scale Mining was banned in 1905 by the Colonial Masters and later a law was made in 1926 which restricted Africans to farming, haunting, fishing, fetching of firewood and working as labourers in Underground Mines for the Europeans, it persisted.
As stated it persisted and became an endemic entrenched activity but remained banned until 1986 that the operators gained the empathy of the PNDC in 1986. So, in an attempt to control the activities of Small Scale Miners and reduce the threat of their activities to the environment and the Economy to the barest level as part of win-win solution, the PNDC in 1986 legalized Small Scale Mining. But it was contingent on if and only if it is on the public or community interest to do so by the people of the same community and authorized by the Sector Minister.
So, through the District local governance system made of the political head, relevant civil elements and the traditional leaders (paramount Chief and sub-Chiefs), a publication of 21 days’ notice of an intend to operate Small Scale Mining, was required by law to be pasted on all public or community notice boards in the District and at the Chief palace. The publication indicative of the area within the Community to be designated for Cooperative Mining for a size not more than 25acres. Hence, power was handed over to the people to protect their environment by objecting or approving the site for the intended Small Scale Mining activity.
Mr President, if no objection from the community, after the 21 days, then the said site was submitted by the Officer for the District Mining Center for the approval by the sector Minister. This was done with law/directives which dictated no usage of excavators, no use of substantial amount, no use of explosives, limited to only Ghanaians. Thus registration was localized with approval from the Chief and his people, before the DCE and the Officer for the District Office of the Minerals Commission could then send the request or application to Accra for final approval etc. Hence, authority actually originated from the management of the District governance system who are required to jointly and severally monitor activities approved by them to ensure the leaders of the union of the miners adhered to the requirements of the law.
The current Small Scale Mining law Section 81 to 99 of the Minerals and Mining Law 2006 (Act 703) has been abused since 2007, ironically by the State Officials, with the Presidencies/Sector Ministry as accomplices to the crime of illegal mining (ample documentary evidence available to authenticate this claim example is the story of ex-Shanxi Mining Company).
The massive irresponsible mining and the illegality in the Small Scale Mining Sector originated between 2007 and 2008, when over 500 Ghanaians were sent to China to learn about mining at the cost of the tax payer. They returned with Chinese investors (Aisha Huang and others) with thousands of excavators etc and fronted for them. Though the law restricted Small Scale Mining to only Ghanaians, (this is even ambiguous because a foreigner can be Ghanaian by naturalization, issue of dual citizenship), the State Officials kept blind eyes and allowed the Chinese to operate freely. That is to say though the law restricted it to only Ghanaians, no action by the State to stop the involvement of the Chinese in Small Scale Mining. It was worsened in 2012, when the state further bent the law and granted Foreigners (Chinese and others) to participate as Support Service Providers by the passage of Minerals and Mining Law (Support Services) Regulation 2012 (LI2174). Hence, the menace in the mining sector is self-inflicted.
So, Ghana, through you must see Small Scale Mining as Ghana’s threat or enemy to the economy recovery and ban it. Since we inherited the greedy DNA of Adam and Eve which made them to disobey God and eat the fruit in the Garden, so, you as the current President of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana should not go to sleep and must rather work hard with technical and funding support from the International Organizations to control and reduce the activities of Small Scale Mining to the barest level.
It is therefore very wrong for Ghana to allow tycoons to operate Small Scale Mining Companies as licensed Small Scale Mining Companies in the Small Scale Mining Sector. They should rather be put under new nomenclature as Industrial Medium Scale Mining Sector with stringent rules and requirements almost like what pertains to the Large Scale Mining Companies within the auspices of the Ghana Chamber of Mines. Mining is capital intensive, so If the proposal for Medium Scale Mining Sector is accepted, then the affected Ghanaian tycoons who are to operate in the proposed medium scale mining sector should be allowed to collaborate with limited quota of foreigners and limited assets because out of greed people may use 20 excavators to mine out their concession within a short time. Otherwise no additional concession should be granted to the affected Ghanaian.
Mr President, no one should be given more than 25 acres to ensure the needs of future generations or other Ghanaians because per section 6 of Article 257 of the 1992 Constitution the minerals belong to the people both current and future generation. Mr President, as Chairman of National Security, It should be clear to you that some of Foreigners secretly did and some are doing Small Scale Mining in collaboration with Licensed Small Scale Mining Companies. Hoarding and Smuggling of gold and wiring of dollars by Chinese through secret means to China are some security risk associated with the Small Scale Miners. So urgent need to ban it and withdraw the affected Licenses and replace same with that of the proposed Medium Scale Mining.
Mr President as part of the economy recovery action plan, banning of Small Scale Mining is strongly recommended and, the plan should consider Small Scale Mining as enemy to the environment (water bodies or Forest Reserves) to the Agricultural Sector (food crops Cocoa oil palm Farms), Ghana Water Company, Ghana Railway Company, some private and public infrastructures, therefore a National security threat. So, the irresponsible mining or not care for the environment is the brand of all Small Scale Miners. You may read the 2021 Audit Report on irresponsible and illegal activities of some licensed Small Scale Mining Companies, so please ban it.
This Audit report on activities of Small Scale Mining Companies, EPA and Minerals Commission is the first in the history of Ghana, hence an excellent work by the Auditor General, so he should be commended. So, our road to economy recovery will require a ban on Small Scale Mining and the need for the Government and the security Agencies to work hard to control and reduce Small Scale Mining activities to the barest level. A separate submission on the need to ban Small Scale Mining, cost of security operations for enforcement, security etc Organizations required, cost of backfilling, source of funding support, and the introduction of industrial Medium Scale Mining for navigation of all licensed Small Scale Miners or Companies to a proposed Medium Scale Mining Sector as part of the economy recovery program will be submitted very soon.
Mr President, It is God Who provides the resources to each country and person, so as stated earlier on, the state and the time of the hardship will not be the same for all countries, because the Almighty God, the Maker and Owner of Heaven and Earth and their contents, Has a purpose for everything, hence the idiomatic expression, necessity is the mother of invention that is a problem makes people to think outside the box. So, the hardship may be for the developing of the right perspective by man, hence Ghanaians. So the Holy Bible at 1 Peter 5; 10 declares “So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support and strengthen you and He will place you on a firm foundation.
So, Mr President, once again the road to speedy National Economy Recovery will best be achieved if the citizenry are made to exercise a high degree of self-determination. This will require Fellow Ghanaian encounters during which the Citizenry must be reminded of your vision of Ghana beyond Aid, appreciate the risk faced by the country and what are to be done for the economy recovery.
The ongoing suffering must be made clear to the Citizenry, that it must be regarded as a very good blessing in disguise to ensure positive attitudinal change or application of common sense to change our penchant for foreign goods, for us to produce our needs in abundance, patronize our local products, be innovative to add value (including good branding) to our produces, hence the concept of the One District One Factory is God send for the establishment of both cottage industries and Large Scale Industries.
Mr President, you need to tell the citizenry, the humble history of Dr Mrs. Esther Ockloo (mother or originator of Shitto etc) who could not get a job after her ‘O’ Level education at Achimota College in 1942 and was forced to be self-employed.. So, she started a cottage industry in food processing factory from a table top and through self-determination she worked very hard for her small scale industry to become one of the leading Food Processing Company in Ghana and virtually in the sub-region, thus a global brand. This must be used to educate the citizenry that in addition to big tickets commercial projects, your 1D1Fpolicy is meant to motivate women and the you to be innovative and through self-determination to become topnotch companies with a national brand. The youth and women must be motivated to understand that every a baby in his or her lifetime, needs to walk before he or she can run, so cottage industries are the bedrock of major industries.
The citizenry must be made to understand that before 1830 (that is before the invention of Otto engines) Petrol and Diesel etc were waste products and thrown away in the initial production of paraffin. It was the invention of Otto Engines at a later date that gave the recognition of Gasoline (petrol) to be manufactured first as fuel whilst diesel remained as waste material and thrown away. It was later around 1840 that someone in German discovered Diesel Daimler Engines, burning on diesel or distillate. Sir, It will serve Ghana good if you get the Minister of Education to re-introduce History including books on the History some of the tribes and makers of civilization in JHS and SHS.. It is envisaged the study of history beside other benefits may help people to also think outside the box.
Mr President, Ghana is on course to achieve a firm economic foundation (macroeconomic stability) under your watch with the Concept of the One District One Factory (1D1F). It is a very laudable one, but yet to be made a coherent policy. So you need to use one of your Fellow Ghanaian encounters to explain very well of your idea of the 1D1F to the Citizenry. Sir, you need to emphasis that you also mean self-determination especially by women to come out with cottage industries in food processing to support farmers in their localities, cottage industries like Soboloo factory, rice milling at lower level, cottage Garri factory, Shitto factory, Cottage Palm Kernel Oil Factory etc, These should form part of the concept for value addition at least to reduce post-harvest losses through preservation of farm produces and for expansion of market frontiers for the farmer to expand his production or keep on producing. Water is life so need to encourage water sachet factories in every District or Constituency to reduce cost of sachet water from urban areas.
As part of measures to ensure national self-determination for the establishment of Cottage industries in addition to the major or big ticket industries, you and the Vice President and your wives need to boost the morale of some of the operators of Cottage industries by visiting some of them. Just like the good work by Ex-President Mahama during his Presidency, when he visited a local cottage shoe factory and went further to buy and wear a pair of the shoes for the optics (sights and sound). This laudable action helped and promoted the product of made in Ghana shoes in general. The affected young man was given funds to expand and brand his products for local market and export. This has made his brand or product as number one in the Market, hence the ex-President helped the growth of the business, thus the growth of GDP .
The visits to cottage industries by you will be very important as part of the economy recovery plan and may help every Tom, Dick and Harry who come on board to be builders of the Nation and not spectators. This will help put Ghana’s economy on quick recovery due to increase in Growth Domestic Products (GDP) virtually on firm Foundation. So Mr President, please sir be guided by the declaration at 1. Peter 5:10 in the Bible that the Hardship is not permanent. This too Shall Pass but never again should any hardship in future be in the same as the currents’. So, you are therefore on course for Ghana to achieve your vision. Once again please note that you were nominated by God to represent him in Ghana, so please be humble and you need to tone down the stubbornness and act as recommended by majority of the citizenry as X’mas Gift for the Country, especially the call for the reduction of your appointees, reshuffling of your Ministers, the sacking of the Hon Minister of Finance. Please do not let the leadership or National Executive of your political party to steal the show from you which may suggest you are lacking boldness in doing so.
Mr President, I used to weep for farmers and sellers of large quantities of fresh water melons around Komenda Junction when on my way to Takoradi because most get rotten and are thrown away, so this post-harvest losses may lead to disincentive to the farmer from producing more or gaining good prices for the farmer to gain good income and the middle person (traders) to sell faster at good price and obtain good profit and buy more from the farmer. So your idea of 1D1F will help farmers to produce more and the poor women involved in the sale of such perishable farm items to trade comfortably. The Policy beside reducing rural urban migration must also be seen as a way to stimulate innovation throughout the country as well as ginger private investment in value addition nationwide and thus generating more revenue and more employment, hence growth of GDP (the monetary value of all outputs within a country thus the monetary value of goods and services or labour productivity, including government and private or consumer spending within a time period).
So, people must be educated that pronounced brick and mortar Industries like Kumasi Brewery, Coca Cola or a Gas Plant Company etc are not the only issues in the 1D1F policy. It must be made clear to such people who are criticizing the policy because they want to see a big ticket Plant like the Ghana Gas Company which gives very high revenue and also helps in the conservation of foreign exchange, it must be made clear that your policy is meant to induce self-determination which gave birth to the like of businessmen with humble beginning like Dr Agyapong and the late Alhaji Choco (the late Alhaji Mustapha Boateng) founder of the Choco Industry in Suhum. Hence it has more positive effect on the mindset of the Citizenry than what is in their way of negative thinking.
Those who have been criticizing the 1D1F policy with the saying that none of the Company can be in rivalry with the Ghana Gas Company in terms of employment and revenue generation must be made to appreciate that the Gas Company Plant at Atoabu is one of the reasons for the role of GNPC to find oil and Gas, so it not an achievement but a requirement or a must do since it was/is part of the oil and gas found in Commercial Quantities as well as the need to reduce the flaring of gas or making good use of the flared gas from the petrochemical industry especially for power generation to reduce the dependence of gas from Nigeria, was the reason for the establishment of the Gas Plant for collecting, storing, distribution of gas for both industrial and domestic usage. Hence it must made clear that a Gas Plant must be profitably linked to a petrochemical industry for extraction of fusil oil to add value to the gas being flared during extraction of oil as means to reduce environmental hazard, reduce cost of power and make additional revenue. The Mills Administration even delayed with this project by changing the initial plan reached between the administration of President JA Kofour and a Norwegian Petrochemical Company for use of the Gas.
Mr President, the economy recovery action plan must include, legal frame work especially import substitution policies for the massive production of Rice, Maize, Tomatoes, Sugar, Poultry, Fish, Piggery through the transformation and modernization of the Agricultural Sector by allocating not less than 10 percent of the yearly budgetary expenditure to the Agricultural sector as per the 2003 Maputo Accord by Head of States of the African Union which was signed then by President JA Kofour. Leadership is key, hence the immediate appointment of a new Minister of Finance for him to understudy the current Minister to champion the transformation and modernization of the Agricultural Sector with some recommendations as stated below cannot be over-emphasized.
Transformation and modernization of Agricultural Sector
Mr President as you aware, the Agricultural Sector is regarded as the engine for economy growth and the catalyst for the motivation of the establishment of industries especially agro-industries for value addition and for generation of more businesses in the services sector of the economy. Mr President, the Agricultural sector needs a coherent import substitution policy including restriction of imports and up scaling of the production of rice, maize, tomatoes poultry, fish and piggery to reverse the huge expenditure in the importation of Rice, Maize, Poultry, Tomatoes and Fish.
As stated, there is the need for increasing the efficiency and quality of public spending in agriculture as well as the need for improving the regulatory framework by a gradual high tax on goods which Ghana can produce to ensure good market for local products. Introduce a new policy on operation feed yourself and your industries through Grow food and cash crops for local consumption and export. For heaven sake, the slogan Planting for Food and Job should be disregarded because it makes the Sector Minister to think creation of jobs as the objective. Hence a mediocre objective for an Agric Minister because job creation including menial jobs will surely be created with expansionary work in the Agricultural sector.
So, job creation should not be the objective for the Hon Agric Minister, because temporary jobs like carrying or loading and off/unloading of fertilizer and other inputs may be counted as jobs created by him or her and this may make the Minister of Agric to be content that he or she has achieved his or her objective by the creation of a large numbers of jobs and relax. His KPI should be availability of food items at reasonable price for both the farmer and the consumer and some in the bonded Warehouses tor the Ghana Commodity Exchange (to be expounded below) and raw material for local industries for value addition for export.
A policy of Grow Food and Cash Crop, eat Ghana, wear Ghana promotion must be proclaimed frequently. Musicians and advertisers should be made to come out with a catchy song and advert, to help in the campaign. There must be provision for incentives including credit facilities to attract more private investment into the sector. Mr President you may consider granting credit facilities to the farmers through the Rice Millers, so that Rice Millers enter into off taker agreements with the farmers to ensure credit facilities (funding and inputs or services are available to the farmers and ready and good market for rice production). At this juncture, I wish to deal on the massive production of selective food items namely rice, sugar and tomatoes as part of important substitution.
A typical rice supply chain is made of a complex network of public and private entities that links the rice producers (the farmers), transporters of rice and labour/suppliers/buyers, rice harvesters, rice millers, rice collectors, rice wholesalers/traders/retailers and food processors and ancillary traders in cooked food etc, and lastly with the final consumers. Other stakeholders include extension officers, research persons and related transporters, companies that provide security and cleaning services, companies that supply seeds, agrochemicals and agricultural equipment and the operators and maintenance and servicing of the Agric equipment and vehicles, irrigation companies, inspection agencies, government departments of commerce, of tax, and agriculture and other state agencies involving matters related to rice production, hence beside import substitution to conserve and generate foreign currency especially the US Dollars, massive revenue through VAT and other source of revenue like PAYE, withholding tax etc will be generated as well as the generation of massive employment and development through the transformation and modernization of Agricultural Sector for rice production.
Mr President, the Ministry for Agriculture (MoFA) or national statistics disclosed that Ghana imported US$151milion of rice in 2007 and the figure rose steadily to US$1.5 billion in 2015 that is about 10times of that of 2007, presumably due to rapid population increases and change in economic status or penchant for imported rice. But report shows that it dropped massively from the US$1.5Billlion in 2015 to US$300million of imported rice in 2016 as a result rice importation restriction and support for massive rice production by the Ex-President Mahama’s regime. Report from MoFA also stated that Paddy Rice production in Ghana increased by 5.19 % from 687,680 metric tonnes in 2016 to 925,000 metric tonnes in 2019 and to 973,000 metric tonnes in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
In 2021, the Minister for Trade and Industry disclosed in Parliament that about GH₵6.874 billion, this was equivalent to US$1.13 billion (the exchange rate by 31 December 2020 was averagely at 1 USD to GH₵6.2) was spent in the importation of rice between 2017 and 2020 meaning about US$371miillion yearly, hence a yearly surge of US$71million from the 2016 figure ofUS$300million, presumably due to rapid population increase and change of status.. He also told Parliament that GH₵3.993 billion was used in importation of fish between 2017 and 2020, GH₵2.65billion spent in importation of processed or frozen Chicken/poultry, GH₵487 million spent on importation of Meat and GH₵281million in importation of Vegetables.
It is very sad to note that after the Government of Ghana under the Presidency of ex-President Kofour signed the Maputo Accord in 2003 together with other Heads of State of the African Union which dictated that 10%of budgetary expenditure is yearly allocated for the transformation and modernization of the Agric Sector, out of your Administrations huge budgetary expenditure made between 2017 and 2020 less 10% was allocated for funding the Agric Sector for the Planting for Food and Job Project from 2017 to 2020. This happened during your first term in office despite the cacophonous Plant for Food and Job etc made by your Administration. Considering the low funding, the Agric Minister must be commended for the modest achievement made in the Agric Sector despite very scarce resource for his Ministry.
Mr President Report indicates that Ghana requires at least 1.4Million metric tonnes of milled rice per year at the current population, hence production target of not less than 1.4 Million Metric tonnes of milled rice is required to completely ban the importation of rice to attain complete import substitution policy for rice at current population. On average, paddy rice produces 25% husk or hull, 10% bran and germ, and 65% white or polished rice. Good Milling of rice in Ghana may provide 65% rice from paddy rice. So, to produce 1.4million metric tonnes of rice for consumption in Ghana, in order to halt the importation of rice, Ghana must produce not less than 2.2 million metric tonnes of paddy rice to be milled at 65% recovery rate to give at least 1.4million metric tonnes of milled rice.
Sir, based on 65% milling recovery, the highest figure 987,000 metric tons of paddy rice produced in 2020 translated into 641,550 metric ton of milled rice in 2020 and this is the highest in rice production in Ghana since the 2010 figure of 309,500 metric tonnes of milled rice. So once again good job to the Sector Minister. Mr President the 641,550 metric tons of milled rice from 987,000 metric tonnes of paddy rice reportedly produced by Ghana in 2020 meant a deficit of 758,450 metric tonnes of milled rice from the 1.4 Million metric tonnes of milled rice as the yearly consumption or needed to attain the 1.4 metric tonnes of milled rice to reverse the situation of rice importation. These Agric production statistics speaks volume of the situation in Ghana. So Ghana needs to build a viable Agricultural economy especially in rice production through the Abraham Odoom’s effect which saw the massive production of rice by Nigeria as import substitution, hence stoppage of importation of rice in Nigeria.
The production of rice in Ghana is both rainfed at Upland and Valley-bottom or low land areas rice and by irrigation (controlled flooding). Rainfed upland rice in Ghana is grown mainly in the undulating areas of Volta Region, between the Volta Lake and the Togolese border. The rice areas stretches between Ho and Nkwanta. Rice cultivation in Valley bottom/low land areas mainly in the other regions of Ghana and it is either rainfed or under irrigation.
The Volta Region gives the highest yield of paddy rice between 4 and 5 not metric tonnes per hectare, Eastern and Ashanti yield is around 4 metric tonnes per hectare and the yield in the North hovers around 3 metric tonnes per hectare, the Central Region gives not less than 4.5 metric tonnes per hectare other Regions give lower results. So, the average yield of rice in Ghana may hover around 3.5 metric tonnes per hectare. But, with a good variety and good agronomic practices (good soil or land preparations or pre-planting process, cultivation through planting, weeding, pest control, fertilization application, good water management, good harvesting, or reduction of losses Ghana can attain 8 to 11meric tonnes per hectare as in the production of rice in some Countries Of course the weather or climatic condition is another important factor that affects yield. But Ghana can achieve good results under good management.
Sir, based on Ghana’s average yield of about 3.5metic tonnes per hectare, so the current requirement of 2.2 million metric tonnes of paddy rice for milling at 65% recovery rate to meet local consumption of 1.4million metric tonnes in order to halt the current massive importation of rice at the current population level, will need about 2.2million metric tonnes of paddy rice divided by 3.5 metric tonnes per hectare = 628,571 hectares of arable land to put on rice production just in one season to meet current consumption.
Currently, about 260,000hectaes of land in Ghana is used for the production of rice and the total area of land under irrigation is 235,193 hectares the variance of 24,807 hectares is under rainfed only. The irrigable land includes your regime’s addition of 13,190 hectares at both Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP) and Kpong Right Bank Irrigation Projects (KRBIP), irrigable areas at Tono irrigable areas at Vea in regime.
Rice depending on the variety and agronomic practices may take between 120days (4 months) and 136 days (4.5months) from sowing to harvesting. So, contingent on the use of mechanization (for tilling, sowing or transplanting with good variety, spraying of fertilizer, pesticide or weedicide, harvesting, milling and other good agronomic practices in application of fertilizer, water management, weed control and pest control as well as availability of credit system, good infrastructure (good roads, storage or warehousing facilities, etc) transportation and marketing, of rice and import restrictions, it is possible to motivate the farmers and millers to effect two productions of rice on the same land under irrigation within 12months calendar period.
So, let us agree that the cultivation of rice is done twice in 12 months on the 235,193 hectares of available irrigable land at yield of 3.5 metric ton per hectare, this may give a yield of 235,193hectares x 2 seasons x3.5metric ton per hectare = 1,646,351 metric tons of paddy rice from the irrigable land. The 24,807 hectares for under rainfed may also produce 24,807 hectares x 3.5meric tons per hectare = 86,825 metric tons of paddy rice per year. This brings the likely total production to 1,646,351 metric tons of paddy rice plus = 86,825 metric tons of paddy rice= 1,733,176 metric tons of paddy rice. This may give a deficit of 466,824metric tons of paddy rice to attain 2.2million metric ton of paddy rice to give 1.4 million metric ton of milled rice if milling at 65% is achieved.
So Mr President, for Ghana to be self-sufficiency in rice production by 2024, you need to increase the land under irrigations. It is recommended that the Aveyime Rice Project (Quality Grain Rice Project) capable of providing about 600,000 metric tons of paddy rice in two seasons should come on board on the road to economy recovery. It may cost not less than US$11Million (Dollars) to revamp this project. But work can be done gradually using the land for production and milling the rice at the nearest rice mill that is the plan should support an initial massive farming of rice and top up the revenue obtained in the activation of the mill and other equipment at an, appropriate time but before 2024 for you to make your mark.
You may also consider to revamp Nasia Irrigation immediately and provide the needed support to an active operational Rice Mill at the Nasia enclave namely Tamanaa Nasia Rice Company, which is one of the leading Rice Milling Factory in the Country and is on standby to get active support (funding etc) from the 1D1F, so as be an active unit under the1D1F, which must be factored in the economic recovery plan
Alternatively bring more upland and bottom valley or low land areas for rice production and support exiting Rice Millers like Tamanaa etc so that they can afford credit facilities/support to the farmers. So that the Rice Millers enter into off taker agreements with the farmers to ensure credit facilities (funding and inputs or services are available to the farmers ready and good provision of adequate storage facilities good market for rice production. The Minister of Finance should ensure the usage of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) to secure credits, Since the GCX which besides providing efficient storage facility and reduction of post-harvest losses will afford electronic warehousing receipts to farmers which could be used as collateral to secure loans. .
Massive Tomatoes production as import substitution need for utilization of Greenhouses
According to statistics, Ghana imports not less than 50% of her fresh tomatoes supply from Burkina Faso. This translate to not less than US$100million worth of fresh tomatoes from Burkina Faso yearly. Report from Agri-impact and West Africa greenhouses revealed that Ghana consumed 450 metric tonnes of tomatoes in 2021 and only 318 metric tonnes of tomatoes was produced by Ghana on 47,000 hectares of open field or land, thus the harvested yield in 2021 was around 6.77 metric tonnes per hectare by open field environment, hence this left a gap of 132 metric tonnes to meet local demand. Thus Ghana in 2021 had to import both fresh and canned tomatoes from difference sources from outside to make her demand for tomatoes in 2021.
Mr President according to a staff of Agri-impact and West Africa greenhouses, Burkina Faso provided 76 metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes out of the deficit of 132metric tons from other Countries . All other things being equal, so at a yield of 6.77 metric tonnes per hectare for Ghana to replace the purchase of 76,000 Metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes from Burkina Faso, an additional 11,226 hectares was or is needed for open field production. But it should be noted that Ghana through good research for a high yield varieties coupled with good agronomic practices can produce more than 20 to 50 or more tonnes per hectare under the open field. Otherwise production under irrigation may help.
According to Agri-impact and West Africa Greenhouses, to help meet the shortage without use of vast lands, Greenhouses afford the opportunity to produce about 190 metric tonnes of tomatoes per hectare or more. So, Agric-impact recommended 400 hectares of land devoted for very large commercial Greenhouse of 5,000metre square so that a total yield of not less than76,000 metric tons of fresh tomatoes is provided at the Greenhouses to stop the importation of fresh tomatoes from Burkina Faso.
Mr President, you need to support Research work on the variety and quality of tomatoes produced in Burkina Faso and work to improve the yield to not less than 10 metric tons per hectare for possible production of 470,000 metric tonnes of tomatoes on the said 47,000 hectares of open field or land and see the possibility adding some very large greenhouses of commercial size to the over 180 mini-size Greenhouses provided by the State since 2012. 80 Greenhouse provided in your era and 100 Greenhouse provided in the regime of ex-President Mahama. There are also a lot of Greenhouses in the system provided by private organizations for the growing of tomatoes, flowers etc for export.
Sugar Production Series and urgent need for coherent National Sugar Policy
Mr President there is the need to get proper experts especially agronomists and economists to give clarity on Sugar Production Series in Ghana and a good national sugar policy. There are issues with the Komenda Sugar Factory, which need to be appreciated for Ghana to come out with the best way to make it viable like getting imported raw sugar for it to supplement the expected low feed at the area and put only a sugar mills at other areas like BUI Dam area for production of raw sugar for the refinery.
The truth or the untold story of the project, included a rejection by Embrapa of Brazil in 2007 and by Cargill International in 2010, when the then President Mills, who was from the area wanted to get a Komenda Sugar Factory in production, and invited Cargill International to see how viable, it will be. This was rejected by Cargill who are available in Accra to speak on the viability of Sugar Production Series. According to them the area only need a smaller Crushing Sugar Mill and extraction unit for production of raw sugar
The history of the Komenda Sugar factory originated from a Dutch Private Company with both warehouse and a mini-sugar Mill for crushing and processing only Sugar beet. But as part of a gentleman understanding reached between the late ex-President Nkrumah and with the people of the area especially producers of the local gin (Akpeteshie brewers), the Dutch Sugar firm was bought by then President Dr Nkrumah in 1964 for US10,000.00 or so and he diverted equipment to be installed as Sugar Plant at Tito in the Volta Region for Sugar Production and installed the Sugar process equipment meant at Komenda Sugar Factory as promised to the people. Hence it was for a political and not for economic reason or for cost recovery to satisfy a political campaign requirement made to the farmers and local gin operators for ethanol etc production as a measure to control the operation of sugarcane farmers and distillers of the local gin.
Currently, Komenda has a Sugar Production Series made of three Standalones, co-located within the same enclave. Normally a Sugar Production Series has three Standalone Projects namely (a) the Sugar Plantation with Nursery. (b) Sugar Mill and (c) Sugar Refinery. The Sugar Refinery can be located anywhere but at location that it may enjoy economics of large scale production and proximity to other industries and facilities at a location for a Large Scale industry, nearness to market. So the best place for a Sugar Refinery as a Standalone project for effective economic reasons including within reach for raw sugar locally and imported as and when required to keep the Refinery Factory running is the Tema industrial or free zone enclave as recommended in 2007 and 2010 by experts especially the Embrapa Rep of the Brazil Government and Cargill International to the regimes of ex-President Kofour and the late President Mills respectively.
Mr President it is very sad to note that the location of the Komenda Sugar Factory was not based, on a viability study hence not an economic reason but political one. It is interesting to note that His Excellency ex-President JDM Mahama visited Mauritius in 2013, where he interacted with Omnicane Flexi Sugarcane consortium and invited them to duplicate their sugarcane technology of a refinery, a sugar mill, bagasse power plant for electric power or energy and ethanol distillery. Omnicane Flexi Sugarcane consortium Reps visited Ghana and like Embrapa of Brazil (Sao Paulo) and Cargill International, they also wrote off Komenda as sugar production area for among other reasons yield is below30 tons per hectare as well as lack of adequate space for sufficient commercial production of sugarcane within the enclave, there were also an issue with the variety of sugarcane which was reported to have low brix content as the state of affairs at Komenda.
The Mauritius experts did some feasibility studies in Ghana which revealed the same results of sugarcane productions in the Savelugu area in the North like that of the Brazilian Government which through Embrapa was to make an investment of US$250 million from Brazil over five years in Savelugu for Commercial Sugar production series for production of ethanol and refined Sugar at reasonable cost in the northern part of Ghana due to the huge size of land for a Commercial Sugar Production company. This was halted by then opposition party for alleged land grabbing accusation against then President Kofour’s Administration.
Omnicane Flexi Sugarcane consortium, gave the same recommendations to President Mahama in 2013 to use not less than 20,000 hectares of land in the North (Savelugu area) capable of producing 75metric tons per hectare with a variety with almost 80% recovery rate which is the same as in Sao Paolo in Brazil for Ghana to become an important producer of raw sugar or refined Sugar or and ethanol (Ethanol can be used as fuel like petrol for cars), So need to revisit this project at Savelugu area for commercial production of sugar.
Mr President, Sugarcane belong to the grass family and is a C4 plant beside water, C4 plant like sorghum or maize, are good in Carbon fixation that fixing Carbon Dioxide into four carbon atoms and later synthesis sugar such as glucose. So they need a lot of sunshine because they are more efficient in photosynthesis, they also need some heat. Hence the northern Ghana especially the North Eastern Region near river Dacca and Tito in the Volta Region were even found to have similar conditions for sugarcane production like that of both Brazil (Sao Paolo) to produce commercial quantity of 1,500,000 tons of sugarcane for the Sugar Mill using with 20,000 hectares of irrigable land and make it profitable to locate a Sugar Refinery nearby, but the best is at Tema.
Mr President, Ideally a Sugar Mill with crusher part should be within a radius of 60km radius to sugar Sugarcane Plantations to ensure good brix quality for the sugarcane to be treated and crushed by the Crusher and fed into the Sugar Mill within 15 hours after harvesting. One ton of sugarcane contains approximately 120 kg of sugar, 38 kg of molasses, 36 kg of filter mud and 250 kg of bagasse, 60 kg of straw and 100 kg of tops. Hence, depending on the variety, climatic condition, agronomic practices, maturity stage or age (brix quality) etc, 12 to 15 tons of raw sugar is obtained for every 100 tons of sugarcane.
Ghana currently has the Komenda Sugar Production Complex therefore, Komenda has the three Standalones Projects with unfortunately a wasteful bigger Sugar Mill of capable of crushing and milling 1,250 metric tons of sugar cane per day, but low feed for such capacity, as against the old Komenda plant which could not get enough feed to even crush up to the installed capacity of 1,000 ton of sugar cane per day as was installed by the CCP administration of the late ex-President Kwame Nkrumah. The old mill with a lower crushing capacity of 1000 tons per day was therefore was underutilized due to very low sugarcane feed from the Sugar Cane production enclaves of Komenda. Mr President considering our attitude including laziness, thievery, and the canker of political patronage especially when regime changes from one political party to another, the making of the Komenda a Private Public Partnership project with Agrotech Ghana Ltd (a Ghanaian-India Company) was the right thing and it is highly commendable. You need to support Agrotech Gh Ltd, to make the Komenda Sugar Factory to come a reality.
Mr President Report in the Media in September 2022 indicated that the Bui Power Authority is promoting Sugar Cane Production on 16,000 hectares of land to feed an alleged Bui Sugar Factory for processing of ethanol. Like the Komenda Sugar Factory the bye products of the Plant at Bui will be used for generation of limited power from bagasse, other waste material will be used for Chipboard, paper etc. The Bui Power Authority must be supported to make this project a reality but if no refinery has been installed or bought as at date then, it is recommended that as a National Policy, Refining of Sugar raw into refined sugar, ethanol etc should be done at the Komenda Sugar Refinery so this must be communicated to Bui Power Authority. This mean that Ghana should initially have one good Sugar Refinery and as many Sugar Mills for the crushing of sugar cane and production of raw sugar for the Refinery and power from Bagasse etc
Mr President with these state of affairs mean that the Ghana’s Sugar Production industry will need a Coherent and strong Sugar Policy to be based on the common sense theory that supply and demand should be balanced to protect farmers and the Sugar Factory, also not to allow unlimited amount of subsidized imported sugar into Ghana so as to protect local factory production. The sugar Policy should set the market price favourable to both producers and the factory. Minimum selling (MSP) or Fair Remunerative Price (FRP) as the minimum price Sugar Mills have to offer to farmers must be done by the sector Minister(s) and affected stakeholders for acceptance and to be reviewed as and when necessary.
The Sugar Policy should make the State to ensure the granting to Farmers non-recourse loans (that is a loan which the lender can only go after assets covered in the loan as collateral in case of default. Thus the lender cannot go after other assets like the borrowers personal account in order to recover the total amount of the loan). It should be for 12monhs with low interest rate. Farmers can exploit the possibility of securing Loans from the Ghana Commodity Exchange where the E-Warehouse Receipt (e-WR) are to be used as Collateral by farmers.
The Sugar Policy should limit foreign imports to those obligated under existing trade agreement. The Policy to facilitate monitoring so that sugar import is increased to meet demand when adequate supply is absent in Ghana. Allocation of export quota to ensure to balance price stability and the financial positions of Sugar Mills. Policy for level to be diverted to ethanol production, the level for local consumption in Ghana. Ghana should consider the establishment of Ghana Sugar Estate Commission or Authority in the near future to regulate sugar matters.
Ghana Commodity Market
Mr President, the Agric Minister has started a laudable food commodity market at the Ministry etc but it is not nationwide or global and it may be difficult to sustain it. Hence, the Association of Ghana Commodity Market which members include Lynch Buffet Food Commodity Market should be supported to up their games in the Commodity Market. Thanks to His Excellency VP Dr Bawumia with his digitization and digitalization agenda, so, buyers and seller scan do good business in commodity trading on electronic platform. This may be done with or without the support of courier services.
The current 1.5% e-levy may pose a threat to this industry, either the e-levy should not affect transactions on the Ghana Commodity Market or it is abolished or is reduced to 0.5% to support the growth of the Commodity Market. So, that business transaction is done by electronic transactions platform and physical delivery of food item may be without or with Courier Services under insurance cover. This may go a long way to increase employment and revenue from VAT and PAYE, withholding tax.
Ghana Commodity Exchange,
The Commodity market and the Ghana Commodity Exchange in Ghana is also going to be the game changer to leapfrog the Ghana’s and the rest of Africa’s economy by connecting markets, people and providing opportunities because it is area of financing, health, food and Agric, employment, rural development, education,, rural integration, of all facets of the economy.
The Digitization Agenda is going to help to make both projects effective. Mr President, though government is a continuous process, there is the need to give commendation and thanks to the regime of ex-President Mahama for the piloting of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) introduced by the regime of the late President Mills in 2011 and continued up to date by the Ministers of Finance of the previous and current Administration
Mr President. I am the first person in 2021 through one of my letters to you demanding for the sacking of the current Minister for Finance for among other reasons for not allocating enough funding for the transformation and modernization of the Agric Sector as per the 2003 Maputo Accord as well as the abuse of the Gold Royalty by him with his Agyapa Royalty. The Gold Royalty, was a thinking outside the box and smart financial portfolio which was initiated by the Regime of His Excellency ex-President JD Mahama but your Finance Minister renamed it as Agyapa Royalty and poorly prepared it thus gave a lucrative opportunity to Hon Martin Amidu to offload his frustration on you by saying unpleasant things against the person of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana. But I must be honest and patriotic to commend the Finance Minister, Hon Ofori Atta for making the late President Mill’s dream of Ghana Commodity Exchange a reality which well implemented will help the leapfrogging of the economy of Ghana.
Mr President with the realization of the Ghana Commodity Exchange, you need to ensure the new Minister of Finance to be named by you hopefully before 25 December 2022 (to motivate the Citizenry as your X’mas gift) or the Office of the Vice President to speed up work to ensure the effective implementation of the Ghana Commodity Exchange under Dr Kadari Alfah as the CEO. It needs to be provided with more or adequate Warehouses with electronic facilities So far, the current Minister of Finance has established about 80 Warehouses, which are capable of issuing electronic warehousing receipts. The 2021 Audit report by the Auditor General shows the existences of warehouses of the defunct State Food Distribution Corporation/some of that of the defunct Food Production Cooperation under Divesture Implementation Committee under SIGA, Need to bring this on board by the GCX is recommended.
Some private institutions are already operating commodity markets so need for both the Dr Hanan Abdul Wahab the CEO of the National Food Buffer Stock Company and Dr Kadri Alfah, the CEO of the Ghana Commodity Exchange to up their games and collaborate with other stakeholders. Mr President, Leadership is key, hence the immediate appointment of new Minister of Finance for him to understudy the current Minister for him to champion this project cannot be overemphasized.
The Ghana commodity Exchange is a private company liability by shares as Private Public Partnership with the Government currently as shareholder. It is meant to provide linkages in commodities including Agric and non-Agric products and buyers to secure competitive prices for their products, assuring market quantity and quality as well as timely settlement. GCX businesses consist of trading on electronic platform powered by a service provider trading system. Warehouse storage operations are linked to the Ghana Commodity Exchange through an electronic warehouse receipt system, backed by collateral management.
The GCX is to allow farmers, cooperatives, buyers, brokers, merchants to trade anywhere in the regional, national and the world. The GCX is required to provide price discovery mechanism and that allows the participants to negotiate better prices. With the Warehousing linking the GCX to also provide value added services like storage, product drying, grading and repacking and associated banks to provide Agric financing by using the-e-WR Receipts issued by the Warehouse management system as collateral.
The McDan Group positions in the economy recovery process and in the firming of the Economy.
Mr President, as part of your effort to speed up the Economy Recovery Plan, it is recommended that the McDan Group Salt Industry must be given the necessary support to speed up the exportation of Salt for Ghana to gain more Foreign Exchange, create additional jobs and revenue through VAT, PAYE, withholding Tax etc McDan Group has Signed a memo with the Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) Secretariat on 07 October 2022 for McDan Group for the both the McDan Shipping and McDan Shipping Aviation for to load and transport goods across AfCTA members Countries. This will help the Ghana Commodity Exchange to become vibrant globally. The McDan must be commended with being forward looking.
MAJOR MOHAMMED BOGOBIRI (RTD