The All People’s Congress (APC) in its 2016 manifesto launch is promising job creation revolution through policies that will attract investments in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors to boost the economy.
The party, which is the second to outdoor its manifesto for the 2016 elections, intends to implement what it describes as “The Growing Together Project’ which targets five major, interlinked transformational initiatives designed to take giant leaps in transforming Ghana, particularly, in investing in rural and deprived communities.
Leader and Presidential candidate of the All People’s Congress party, Hassan Ayariga who formally launched the campaign on Wednesday pledged to use resources to build an inclusive economy.
APC’s 83-page document, spells out strategies to establish well-paying jobs for all Ghanaians especially the youth.
Under what the party describes as JOBS FOR ALL, the APC intends to among other things,
• Pursue aggressive industrialization and value-addition to agricultural produce.
• Provide tax and related incentives for manufacturing businesses in sectors such as agro-processing, light industries, pharmaceutical, petrochemicals, garments and textiles, etc.
• Ensure reliable and cost effective energy supply,
• Reduce interest rates,
• Reduce the cost of doing business
• Stabilize the Cedi
• Expand skills training and apprenticeships
• And promote exports
Mr. Hassan Ayariga who laid emphasis on his strategies noted with concern that Ghana’s industrial sector is facing significant challenges. These he explained include Business Financing, Cost of Doing Business, Export Development, Energy for Industry, Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Industrial Development Initiatives, Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection, Trade Facilitation, Interest Rate and exchange rates.
To address these challenges, an APC he explained, will among others:
i. Recapitalize the National Investment Bank and establish an Industrial Development Fund too provide fiancé for industrialization.
ii. Restructure general taxes and duties on business to reduce pre-production costs, including removing import duties on raw materials and machinery for selected strategic industries, reducing taxes on electricity consumption, eliminating the Special Import Levy, abolishing the VAT on financial services and on real estate sales, re-introducing the 3% VAT Flat Rate for micro and small enterprises.
iii. Offer tax credit incentives to businesses that employ fresh graduates.
iv. Support the operations of the Ghana EXIM Bank to facilitate access to financing for export development and restructure the operations of the Export Promotion Authority to enhance export diversification.
v. Completely eradicate DUMSOR – the current unreliable electricity supply crisis, re-orient energy tariff policy to reduce the burden on businesses. We will not adopt the tot, tot approach of I will fix it, I will fix it. We will eradicate it completely
vi. Promote the supply of energy in support of production-related activities, create dedicated quality and reliable energy supply sources for industrial enclaves and zones, and provide incentive schemes for the development of specific renewable energy projects for industrial development.
vii. Merge the NBSSI, the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), the Youth Enterprise Support Fund (YES), and Rural Enterprises Project (REP) to consolidate government resources in the provision of entrepreneurship training and business development services.
viii. Provide specific incentives for the production and supply of quality, locally-produced non-agricultural raw materials for industry at competitive prices.
ix. Provide a comprehensive programme of support for the cultivation of selected agricultural products as raw materials for agro-processing tomato, cassava, cocoa, maize, oil palm, cashew, cotton, selected fruits, groundnuts, rice etc.
x. Partner private local and foreign investors to develop large scale strategic anchor industries to serve as growth poles for the economy – Petrochemical, Iron and Steel, Cement, Aluminium, Salt, Vehicle Assembly, Manufacturing of Machinery, Equipment and Machine Parts, Agro-processing, Garments and textiles, Assembly of electronics, light machinery etc.
xi. Facilitate access to dedicated land spaces in every Region for the establishment of multi-purpose industrial parks, sector specific industrial enclaves, and enterprise free zones.
xii. Establish apprenticeship and skills development centres to train skilled labour force for specific industrial sectors.
xiii. In partnership with the private sector, APC will transform the apprenticeship training model from a supply-driven approach to a market-demand model based on the German apprenticeship model.
xiv. Create an information portal and set up a task force to assist our youth and artisans in making their products and services visible on a local, national and global scale.
xv. Develop a National Industrial Sub-contracting Exchange to link SMEs with large scale enterprises.
xvi. Support relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure strict compliance with existing legislation and regulations in respect of retail trade.
xvii. Introduce reform to make Ghana’s ports the most efficient in Africa.
xviii. Establish an independent Port Clearing Facilitation Agency as a one-stop institutional support mechanism for import and export trade.
xix. Restructure the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to optimize its operational efficiency.
xx. Restore and maintain macroeconomic stability through fiscal discipline.
xxi. Pass a Fiscal Responsibility Act.
xxii. Reduce government borrowing to make more money available for banks to lend to the private sector to reduce interest rates, and
xxiii. Formalize the economy through the establishment of a national database, using the National Identification System as the primary identifier, with linkages to the databases of institutions such as the Police, NHIS, Passport Office, Immigration, Courts, Ghana Revenue Authority, and DVLA and
His presentation was met with applause from supporters who packed the hall at the Aviation Social Center in Accra.
The APC manifesto was also specific on other job creation initiatives.
Under what he calls Greening Jobs, the APC intends to target 300,000 hectares of degraded areas over the next ten years, within and outside forest reserves, for restoration and plantation development using fast growing indigenous and exotic species by:
• Establishing an Environmental Public Employment Programme to create employment by engaging in activities which have documented environmental benefits.
• Implementing a phased approach to forest restoration through improving low-stocked and/or, degraded natural forests using the Farm Forest Model in Ghana, where community members plant food crops like plantain alongside trees and maintain them in forest reserves until the tree canopy closes.
APC which was formed about eight months ago, January 24, 2016, also intends to help build the construction industry with focus on the Indigenous Quarry Operations:
Under this sector, the party intends to provide tax incentives for the importation of quarry equipment as well as the establishment of credit lines to enable the industry acquire state-of-the-art technology.
APC also proposed to attract FDIs into labour intensive sector through the promotion of greater integration through Foreign Direct Investment, especially in labour intensive sectors.
In the Housing sector, the party plans to promote an effective mortgage market which will facilitate openings for – plumbers, masons, carpenters, surveyors, architects, tilers, roofers, welders, electricians, painters, etc.
APC’s manifesto also promised to facilitate work placement of already-trained nurses, public health personnel and teachers, who remain unemployed under the NDC.
An APC government, according to Hassan Ayariga, will enforce local content provisions by developing efficient and competitive local supplier networks for the goods and services that industry needs and that can realistically be sourced locally.
The APC believes the largest opposition party, NPP which is seeking re-election has no track record and is appealing to Ghanaians to try a third force to change the paradigm shift in the politics of Ghana for peace, stability and prosperity for all.
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