Engineer Charles K. Boakye has stressed the relevance of value additions to mineral wealth example steel which, he said, is an indicator of a country's wealth.
"Ghana has enough raw materials to supply our steel use for the next hundred years. The amount of steel we can get from iron ore in Ghana which can construct a railway line is 3.5 million km, Ghana needs only about 10,000 km, the rest can be used in otherindustries such as the automobile industry".
He said this at a public forum on the theme "Creating Rapid Industrialization, Quality Employment and Stimulus For The Ghanaian Economy" organised under the auspices of the Ghana National Gas Company at the Alisa Hotel in Accra on Tuesday, 18th September 2018.
Ing. Boakye who gave a lecture on the theme said the program has been organised during trying times in Ghana's economy - the decline in the industrial sector, banking challenges, liquidity crunches and the unemployment problems confronting the country.
He said industrialisation has eluded Ghana due to the absence of agricultural security, lack of a long-term plan, absence of ambitious industrial plans, the inability to break down plans into value chain and supply chain activities, among others.
He said that Ghana must create an efficient and effective body that will oversee implementation of industrial plans, provide industries with technology and investments in new plants and equipment. He added that effective agricultural security is a precursor to successful industrialisation and called for a careful look at the entire agricultural value chain from land to seeds, fertilizer, machinery, water, transport,
processing, storage and more "A country that will not feed its people cannot sustain itself economically" he said.
He said that the traditional sources that can provide financing for large infrastructure and industrial programs include land financing pointing out that countries such as Egypt and India have raised funds from land financing. Other forms include use of bulk construction materials which are available locally and developing of a state credit system which he said has been used to resuscitate economies.
Ing. Boakye also said that there is the need for a productive and competitive labour force adding that a World Bank study indicates that productivity is low in Ghana. He said the rising wages account for 30 to 50 per cent of the drop in poverty over the last decade.
The US pays about 15 USD per hour for minimum wage and the UK pays about 11.30 Euros per hour. Hhowever, in Ghana, it is a wage of GHC10.65, a little over 2 USD a day.
He said that disposable incomes can be increased by value addition through manufacturing and industrialization due to benefits such as rapid productivity growth, stable well-paid jobs, increased disposable incomes, fostering of innovation and facilitation of trade integration through exports.