‘Import Substitution Key’ To Job Creation – Nana Akomea

Communications Director for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea has emphasized the need for Ghana to cut down on her imports in order to create more room to boost employment. According to the former Member of Parliament for Okaikwei South, “import substitution is key” to the creation of employment and job creation. “We have become a nation of shop keepers, because it is profitable to set up a shop, as against setting up a factory that will employ people. The things that we spend a lot foreign currency to import, a lot of those things we can produce here; once we get our energy situation right and once we get the water and so on right." Nana Akomea pointed out that Ghana is a country that produces the best cocoa in world, but “if you go to any of the shops, you will find [that out of] about twenty varieties of chocolates, only one; ‘Golden Tree’ [chocolate] is from Ghana. The rest are all imported. In fact, last year we spent over 6 million dollars importing chocolate." “It is a shame that we are so dependent on rice import, last year we imported over 90 million dollars worth of rice, last year we spent 20 million dollars importing fruit juice from faraway places like Dubai, which is a desert. We are an agricultural country, the fruit falls and rots on the ground. Biscuits, we spent 38 million dollars last year to import biscuits, we spent 28 million dollars importing sugar." He also noted, “this is a country a country blessed with abundant water bodies and yet we spent about 200 million dollars importing fish into this country. We spent over 100 million dollars importing." In his opinion, the current situation can be reversed “if we have a program to do import substitution by government facilitating it, providing the necessary infrastructure and credit [and] not credit at 30%." All these measures, he said, will save all the nation money and also generate employment for the unemployed. “The school curriculum has to be re-engineered with the active participation of the private sector so that our young people will study in school what the job market needs." "We will also institutionalise the training of entrepreneurship across all the tertiary institutions so that whether you are reading history or drama you will be taught and be required to pass a course in entrepreneurship, so that when you come out of school at least you will know how to set up yourself in business in your own field," he concluded.