Work has started on 15 factories under the government’s One-district, One-factory (1D1F) initiative, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has said.
Presenting the mid-year budget review in Parliament yesterday, he said the factories were located in four regions, namely, Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Central and Greater Accra.
They included a pineapple processing factory in the Ekumfi District, a pineapple and orange processing factory in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) municipality, a cassava starch processing factory in the Fanteakwa District, a cashew processing factory in Tema, a fruit processing factory in the West Akim District, a shea butter processing factory in the Accra metropolis, an avocado processing factory in Ningo-Prampram and the cultivation and processing of sweet potato into bread, chips and biscuit in Gomoa West.
Others are manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceuticals in the Nsawam-Adoagyiri municipality, the Accra metropolis and the Suhum District.
The rest are manufacturing of agricultural inputs in the Tema metropolis, garment manufacturing in the Accra metropolis and a tile and brick production factory at Tanoso in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Mr Ofori-Atta indicated that GH¢416,692,313.50 had been approved through the Exim Bank to finance the projects.
He said the 15 factories were expected to create 13,022 direct and indirect jobs on completion.
The opposition had consistently lambasted the Akufo-Addo administration for its failure to keep to the promise to implement the IDIF, which is the government’s flagship industrialisation policy.
But on the floor of Parliament, the Finance Minister said the programme was on course.
According to him, 781 proposals for the factories had been received by the government, out of which 623 had been reviewed, while 332 were being processed for financial support.
Mr Ofori-Atta said there were ongoing plans to introduce incentive packages to attract more private investors intro the 1D1F policy.
“In order to attract more private sector investments in support of the 1D1F programme, the Cabinet has approved incentive packages, including tax waivers, which will be presented to this august House for approval,” he said.
On the free senior high school (SHS) policy, Mr Ofori-Atta said 362,118 first-year students, made up of 117,692 day students and 244,426 boarders, in public schools were currently benefiting.
He said the government had so far released GH¢899,524,466.30 for the 2017/18 academic year, while sufficient budgetary allocation had been made in the 2018 budget to cover the first term of the 2018/19 academic year.
He acknowledged the initial challenges that had confronted the policy but said the government had worked hard to resolve them.
“Some 96,413 mono desks, 32,171 pieces of dining hall furniture, 3,033 tables and chairs for teachers, 12,953 bunk beds, 4,335 student mattresses and 5,135 computer laboratory chairs have been supplied to schools,” he added.
The minister said the government had kept to its promise to restore teacher-trainee allowances, indicating that GH¢177, 511, 600 was allocated for the payment of allowances to 49,032 teacher trainees in 41 colleges of education.
In the second semester alone, GH¢78,451,200, representing 44 per cent, was released to pay the allowances, he said.
Taking a look at nursing trainees, he said GH¢311,988,400 was allocated in the 2018 Budget to pay the allowances of 68,000 trainee nurses for the 2017/18 academic year and the first semester of the 2018/2019 academic year.
As of June 2018, GH¢122,400,000 had been released to pay the allowances of 51,000 beneficiary trainees, he indicated.
Still on the educational front, Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned the National School Feeding Programme, saying 8,000 new caterers had been engaged.
Besides, he said, new guidelines for the engagement of caterers had been introduced, under which caterers were required to purchase food items from local farmers and fishermen.
He said GH¢229,310,000 had been released for the payment of caterers, while an additional GH¢285,304,109 was released to clear arrears owed caterers from 2015.
The minister said under the NaBCo programme, GH¢600 million was set aside in the 2018 budget to ensure the effective implementation of the programme.
So far GH¢30 million had been released to take care of the initial cost, he said.