Senior Minister fumes over $1.35bn rice importation

Ghana spent 1.35 billion dollars on the importation of rice last year, the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo has disclosed.

According to the senior minister, foreign exchange that could be used on machinery to modernise the economy was spent on rice although rice could be grown in every part of the country.

Mr Osafo-Maafo was speaking at the Ghana Beyond Aid (GBA) committee’s stakeholder consultation with leadership of faith-based organisations (FBOs) yesterday, in Accra.

In a presentation on the GBA charter document, he said there was some part of the Northern Region which could grow more than enough rice to feed West Africa with little irrigation.

Mr Osafo-Maafo indicated that, private sector development was important because the rice production could not be developed by government but the private sector.

“It will depend on private farmers to develop rice like we depend on cocoa farmers to develop cocoa,” he noted.

In addition, Mr Osafo-Maafo stated, there was the need for human development hence, focusing on technical and vocational education would enhance the economic growth of the country.

“The countries that have made it such as South Korea, Japan and Germany, that is where the emphasis is on their education system,” he said.

In order to achieve a country beyond aid, Mr Osafo-Maafo added that, there was the need to harness effectively available resources and deploy them creatively and efficiently for rapid economic and social transformation.

He said, building a country beyond aid would require attitudinal change saying “mosquito treated nets for protecting children from malaria was used as fence and for fishing”.

Bishop Gabriel Kumordji, a representative of the Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference (GCBC) indicated that, the negative attitude of citizens could be changed when systems are put in place to reward the good ones and punish the bad ones.

“People should be paid wages so that the money paid to them will be based on the time they spend to work rather than salaries which they know would be paid even if they do not work,” he said.

He stated that, his outfit would engage people at the grassroots level to educate and lead them to the agenda to bring all on board.

In attendance were representatives from the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Christian Council of Ghana, National Chief Imam and the Trade Union Congress among others.


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