The 2016 presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, says a future NDP government will place premium on adding value to salt production and other resources that are abundant in the country to generate additional revenue for the country.
That, she said, would break the cycle of the country’s over-reliance on traditional exports whose prices had been fluctuating on the international market and weakened the economic fortunes of the country.
Taking her turn at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA’s) Presidential Debate for political parties without representation in Parliament in Accra on Wednesday,Nana Konadu said in line with its policy of diversifying the economy, the party had identified four coastal areas of the country as potential for the realisation of that policy.
“We in the NDP are looking at setting up four first-class factories along the coast – one in the Volta Region, one in the Greater Accra Region, another in the Central Region and one in the Western Region – to produce massive amounts of salt,” she said.
Beyond the production of ordinary salt from sea water, Nana Konadu, who had been the longest-serving First Lady in the country, said an NDP administration would target rock salt, which would be exported to oil-producing states which heavily relied on salt for their oilfields.
“The NDP sees the opportunity for Ghana to increase its revenue base through the export of rock salt to oil-producing countries if nowhere else, at least, for Africa. A developed salt industry can earn Ghana more than gold is earning us today,” she asserted.
On the energy crisis facing the country,Nana Konadu, who is also the President of the 31st December Women Movement, underscored the need for a law that would make it compulsory for every household to install solar systems as part of key measures to solve Ghana’s perennial energy problems.
“There has to be a law making sure that those who are in real estate development put solar panels on their houses [and include it] as part of the cost. Every house that they build must have solar on top. But you cannot force people when you do not have the law, so first we must make the law and then get them to do it,” she said.
That, she said, her party would pursue to reduce the pressure on the hydroelectric and thermal energy sources of the country if she was elected president in the December 7 elections.
Nana Konadu said the initiative had been implemented in several countries across the globe with positive results and could be replicated in Ghana, a country with abundant sunshine.
“It will be like travelling to Spain or to some of the South American countries where in every house there is a solar [panel] on top of it. Even in some North American countries, as well as in places such as Arizona in the United States of America (USA), you do not see anybody without solar. If they can do it, then we can do it too,” she said.
For her, the initiative could be extended “so we can have solar farms as well. Akosombo has started some solar farm, and I think it is doing well.”
She expressed the belief that the government could initiate a project to ensure the availability of solar power in every region so that they could shift to a more reliable source of energy, which might be expensive to set up but cost-effective in the long term.
Nana Konadu explained that because of the erratic power supply and challenges of the local economy, some local and foreign businesses were relocating to neighbouring countries.
On local government, she accused the government of abandoning the decentralisation process by centralising the administration of the district assemblies in Accra.
She said an NDP government would introduce community organisation bureaux to work closely with the communities on their priority projects and funds for those projects would be managed by the communities themselves and not by the government in Accra.
Nana Konadu said clinics and district hospitals lacked basic facilities because they had to rely on Accra for funds for basic needs such as oxygen for patients who sometimes died as a result of the unavailability of those essentials.
The NDP flag bearer said governments had paid lip-service to dealing with the real challenges confronting the economy and the people and, therefore, called for a dynamic and innovative approach to leadership to chart the country back on track on the socio-economic and political fronts.
Nana Konadu said dynamic and innovative ideas were required for the rapid development of the country.
Source: Daily Graphic
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