The New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Thursday launched its industrialisation policy with a promise to create jobs by adding value to the country's raw materials.
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the party's presidential candidate, said during the launch at the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) in Tema that the party's 2008 manifesto had made value-addition the fulcrum around which the economy would turn.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the goal of a prosperous economy was value addition activities and that raw material producing economies did not create prosperity for the mass of their people.
“Unless we industrialise with the goal of adding significant value to our primary products, be they heavy or otherwise, we cannot create the necessary numbers of high-paying jobs that will take us into the ranks of first-world nations,” he said.
He said even though his party initiated policies to boost the economy the industrial sector contributes only 25 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), behind agriculture and service sectors while manufacturing accounts for 10 percent.
The NPP flag-bearer said despite significant achievements in the economy by the party, enough jobs have not been created while the structure of the economy has remained largely unchanged.
Nana Akufo-Addo said while the country had quadrupled the size of its economy, it has not altered its structure significantly from the “Guggisberg economy” in 1928 during which 70 percent of the country's foreign exchange earnings were from gold, cocoa and timber.
He said in 2007 about 65 percent of Ghana's earnings came from the same three products despite the availability of other resources such as bauxite and iron ore.
Nana Akufo-Addo said failure of successive governments to realise the vision of the construction of the Akosombo Dam and VALCO to spur industrialisation was due to over dependency on imported raw materials for production.
He said over dependency on imported raw materials led to widespread inefficiencies, high costs, low quality and a neglect of the country's export market.
He said lack of paying systematic attention to the need for sound macro-economic fundamentals and fiscal responsibility in the management of the national economy also contributed to the failure of industrialisation.
Stating what the party had done and would continue to do to industrialise the economy, the flag bearer said the government had teamed up with VALE do Rio Doce of Brazil, and Norsk Hydro Aluminium Company in Europe to develop the first integrated aluminium industry in Africa.
He said VALE do Rio Doce is the second largest mining company and the owner of the largest alumina refinery in the world while Norsk Hydro Aluminium Company is the largest aluminium company in Europe.
Nana Akufo-Addo said under the partnership, a new aluminium smelter with a capacity of about 500,000 metric tons of aluminium per year would be constructed at Takoradi to augment the work of VALCO which has a capacity of 200,000 tons of aluminium annually.
Construction of the smelter would raise the total production of aluminium in Ghana to one million tons per year which would be the largest capacity in Africa.
He said the project would attract a total investment of 7.5 billion US dollars within the next five to seven years.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the project would also generate tens of thousands of jobs and indirectly generate hundreds of thousands of secondary jobs within small and medium scale enterprises.
It would yield about two billion dollars foreign exchange a year and with value added to downstream industries yielding about eight billion dollars.
He said his administration would add value to the country's iron ore, gas and the oil discovered at Cape Three Points in addition to creating alternative energy supply.
Mr Emmanuel Lartey, Managing Director of VALCO who welcomed the NPP campaign team to the premises, said the company which is the largest industrial complex in the country was closed down in 2007 due to the energy crises.
Mr Lartey said currently about 500 employees are working at the premises because it is operating only one of the five pot lines and that the number would be increased to 700 when the second pot line starts operation.
The NPP presidential candidate who was accompanied by Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, Mr Alan Kyeremanteng, Dr Arthur Kennedy, Prof Mike Ocquaye, Mr Sammy Crabbe and other leading members of the party later toured the factory.