IDIF gets GH¢2.5b boost from consortium

Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo,Senior Minister

Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo,Senior Minister

A Consortium of six banks have pledged financial support to the tune of GH¢2.568 billion to the  government’s flagship programme, One District, One Factory (1DIF), the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has disclosed.

The banks are the Ghana Commercial Bank, GH¢1 billion, United Bank for Africa, GH¢880 million, Universal Merchant Bank, GH¢440 million, Agriculture Development Bank, GH¢200 million, the EXON Bank, GH¢103 million and Societe General Ghana, GH¢25 million.

Mr Osafo-Maafo made this disclosure at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra yesterday on the theme, “Unlocking Economic Growth through Manufacturing-Cost Quality and Competitiveness.”

“It is important to note that the slow pace of the disbursements are not deliberate but rather due diligence by the banks to ensure that the projects are bankable since government is not guaranteeing the loans,” he said.

According to Mr Osafo- Maafo, the government would absorb 50 per cent of the interest on the loans that would be contracted to establish the companies.

The 1D1F programme which seeks to drive Ghana’s industrialisation agenda he said “is in the domain of the private sector. It is a private sector led initiative and we hope that this [arrangement] will bode well for us.”

With 50 of the companies which expressed interest in the IDIF policy ready to start producing by the end of this year, the Senior Minister said “majority” of the districts across the country would have their companies before the end of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s mandate which ends January 6, 2021.

Giving further updates on the policy, he said the Ministry of Trade and Industry had received interest from 781 firms of which 632 had been reviewed with 332 currently being processed for financial support.

Mr Osafo-Maafo admitted that not all 254 metropolitan, municipal and districts would have a factory of their own, but hinted of  the  merging of two or more districts for a joint venture as  part of the plan, adding that the natural resource endowment of the country in some areas cuts between districts.

Some districts, he added, could also have more than one industry depending on the natural resource endowment available and that the district assembly structure would support the policy.

Responding to questions as to what measures the government had in place to ensure that Ghanaian made products competed favourably with imported ones, Mr Osafo -Maafo, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Government’s Economic Management Team said not all the products from the expected local factories would be consumptive.

“The final product of a company could serve as a raw material for another one,” he emphasised, saying that the government had identified the problems derailing the growth of the industrial sector.

“We want to generate employment as a by-product of industrialisation,” he stated.

On plans for already existing industries, Mr Osafo- Maafo said the government had a GH¢230 stimulus package in place to revive identified struggling companies and that there was a commitment of US$5.1 million by the Exim Bank to the pharmaceutical and textile industries.

The Akufo-Addo led government, he said, was hinged on four thematic areas – Macro Economic Stability and Debt Sustainability, Infrastructural Development, Accelerated Industrial Development and Agricultural Development.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI & ALFRED NII ARDAY ANKRAH

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