Dr Yao Enya Graham, Coordinator, Third World Network-Africa, a pan-African advocacy organization, has called for the need to build linkages to connect the country’s economic sectors for sustained growth.
He said the linkages in the country’s agriculture sector were very weak because of the focus on cocoa, while in the extractive sector, the attention was on gold.
“There are other minerals that may not be of interest to foreign investors looking to earn a profit but can help build linkages in the economy.
For instance, Ada salt is an important mineral that the country can use to build economic linkages because it contributes to rural and enterprise development, revenue generation, and the spread of the growth pool around the economy,” he said.
Dr Graham made the call in Accra at a public lecture on the topic: “Restructuring the National Economy: The Need for Paradigm Shift.” The lecture was organized by the University of Ghana as part of its 75th anniversary.
Dr Graham urged the Government to prioritise industrialisation because it was an important sector to restructure the economy on the path of growth and development.
He said if the Government’s initiatives like “One District One Factory,” “One Village, One Dam,” and “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ), were properly harnessed, organised, invested in, and well-coordinated, they could make critical contributions to moving away from the dominant paradigm of primary commodity export dependency.
He said research conducted by the Third World Network-Africa, on the PFJ planting and One District, One Factory, revealed that even though the interventions were good, there were lapses, disconnection, and issues of sustainability.
He said the One District, One Factory concept in terms of linkages would bring together the idea of industrialization, while the PFJ could produce food to feed the population and export to other countries.
On revenue generation, he said the Government must focus on taxing enterprises for the country’s development agenda rather than the betting and gaming sector.
Dr Graham said a country like Kenya taxed gaming and betting companies to curb their menace because they were described as “socially distractive activities.”
He said bank lending to agriculture was weak, adding that the transformation and dissolution of development banks had been a negative factor in financing such a sector.
He said the role of foreign direct investment had a role in financing development, and that countries that used such investment purposefully to transform their economies put in place monitoring and tracking systems to ensure value for money.
He said borrowing without a rigorous framework of utilization and accountability could be disastrous for the country’s development.
“The country’s debt has gone up because the Government borrowed and said the money was used to build roads, but there was no rigorous evaluation to ensure transparency and accountability of such projects,” he said.
Dr Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Ghana, called for a structural transformation of the sectors of the economy by adding value to the natural resources to enhance revenue generation.
That, she stressed, called for a paradigm shift because the problem was fundamental and needed a multifaceted approach to address the issues.
Dr Philip Abradu-Otoo, Director of Research, Bank of Ghana, called for the need to strengthen the country’s macroeconomic indicators to optimize growth.
Source : GBN