The Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies (JGC), Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong, has stated that COVID-19 has allowed the private sector to innovatively use local resources to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and hand sanitisers, to help contain the spread of the virus.
He explained that this became feasible because of the boldness of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to initiate a public-private partnership to embark on a nationwide disinfection exercise.
Dr Siaw Agyepong made the observation during an address at the opening of the 73rd Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) last Tuesday.
This year’s New Year School, which was opened at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, is dubbed: “COVID-19 and Socioeconomic Dynamics in Ghana”.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who opened the ANYSC, also swore in a nine-member ANYSC Corporate Advisory Team tasked to advise on how reports of the conference would advance Ghana's strategic growth.
It is chaired by a member of the Council of State, Mr Sam Okudzeto, with other members, including the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare; the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta; the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, and business executives, Dr Ishmael Yamson and Dr Siaw Agyepong.
The rest are Professor Olivia A. T. F. Kwapong, Mr Andrews Jack Dotsey, who is also the Chairman of the ANYSC Technical Committee, and Mrs Regina Afari Boateng, the Administrator of the School of Continuing Education, University of Ghana, who will serve as the secretary.
Dr Siaw Agyepong said in spite of the devastating effects of the pandemic, local resources had come in handy in the production of elements that were assisting in the fight against the disease in the country.
Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo (right), Vice-Chancellor, introducing some participants to President Akufo-Addo at the New Year School in Accra. Pictures: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
“With the onset of the pandemic and in the wake of the closure of air, land and sea borders, Ghana came out with what he (the President) termed home-grown measures to contain the spread of the pandemic,” Dr Siaw Agyepong noted.
He recounted that a total of 45 waste treatment plants across the country, comprising 16 solid waste treatment plants, 16 liquid waste treatment plants and 13 medical wastes plants were currently under construction.
Dr Siaw Agyepong thus entreated Ghanaians to actively be involved in efforts to return the economy back on track.
He said the national disinfection exercise took place in about 2,500 markets across the country within two days, adding that it had also offered employment to some 2,500 people.
“Over 77,000 schools, churches and mosques benefited from the nationwide disinfection operation which has helped in curbing the spread of the virus,” he further said.
Obaatan pa programme
The Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Mrs Mary Chinery-Hesse, who was the Chairperson for the opening, was upbeat that the government's “Obaatan pa” programme would boost socio-economic development in the midst of the pandemic.
She explained that the New Year School event provided a unique platform for birthing ideas for national development, stressing that it had continued to birth themes which had set the tone for worthy consideration, particularly the times in which the country had found itself.
She gave the assurance that the annual event would go beyond the normal rhetoric and continue to bridge the gap between academia and industry.