The Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh says COVID-19 presents an opportunity for Ghana to prioritize industrialization.
Mr. Prempeh on Citi TV's current affairs programme, The Point of View intimated that the pandemic should propel Ghana to jumpstart an industrial policy which will halt the country's dependence on imported goods.
“It [pandemic] speaks to why we need an industrial policy. I have been a big fan for example of the idea of one district, one factory. I think beyond the politics of it, if we took it seriously, this will be an opportunity to use that to jump-start an industrial policy.”
“At least after this crisis is over, we should not be importing toilet paper, we should not be importing sanitizers, face masks or certain basic household things. There is definitely an internal capacity and ingenuity domestically to able to do this but when you allow a flood of imports and imports become too cheap for you then that actually even stifles the local initiative. So I think there is a lesson here about reordering our economy.”
Following the closure of borders in some parts of the world, Ghana has been forced to locally manufacture basic household items including sanitizers and face masks that are in high demand in recent times.
The Professor believes this situation presents an opportunity for Ghana to sustain local production of basic household items among others.
“We have seen from the way in which countries are having to shut off almost all international travel and commerce to an extent, we have quickly run out of some of the basic households and basic medical supplies that we should be depending on in this period and that I think this has given rise to a certain best of innovation, locally which I think has to be sustained,” he added.
Political parties must draw lessons
Mr. Prempeh also emphasized the need for political parties to draw lessons from COVID -19.
He believes political parties could incorporate lessons COVID-19 has offered on industrialization and other ideas in their manifestos.
“I expect that lessons from this episode will be reflected upon by our parties and that they will learn the appropriate lessons from this experience. I think one of the good things about the timing about the pandemic in Ghana is that it is also the season of manifesto writing and I do expect that lessons from this episode will infact be reflected upon by our parties and that they will learn the appropriate lessons from this experience and make the appropriate policy responses in their manifesto.”