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Role of Religious bodies in successful implementation of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) Programme

March 28, 2020

1D1F policy is Ghana’s industrialisation drive intended to transform the economy from an agriculture-led to industry-led.

This
strategy, it is believed, would enhance the chances of transitioning the
economy from one characterised by low-paying jobs to one dominated by
high-paying job opportunities.

Recent corporate failures such as the liquidation of nine (9) universal banks, twenty-three (23) savings and loans companies, and over three hundred and forty-seven (347) microfinance and microcredit institutions culminated in the call for a mixed operations approach to Ghana’s industrialisation drive spearheaded by President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government.

The mixed operations concept emphasises on
public-private-sector ownership and management of factories christened to be
established in various districts across the country.

The approach calls for higher private sector
and lower public sector participation and ownership in the country’s industrialisation
process.

This would ensure effective checks and
balances; assure the general public of continuity in the lives of the factories
to be established thereof; minimise import levels and reduce overreliance on
foreign economies for essential consumer goods; ensure stability of the
Ghanaian cedi relative to major foreign currencies such as the American dollar
and British pound sterling; create job opportunities for the youth and active
labour force; and create ready markets for farm produce to eliminate
post-harvest losses, among other significant socio-economic gains.

Views
of Advanced Economies on Industrialisation

Advanced economies across the globe such as
the United States of America (USA), Germany, Russia, Japan, Great Britain,
China, and South Korea, among others, have come to a common realisation.

That is, the technological or abstract age
alone is not enough to propel their respective economies to higher development
echelons.

Rather, a combination of industrialisation
and technological age is the panacea to their positive and successful economic
advancements; it is the surest way of ensuring economic development and growth.
China is described as the world’s factory.

Statistically, the Chinese economy
manufactures one-third (1/3) of goods required globally; and remains a major
supply of machinery, chemicals and communication equipment to the European
Union, United States of America (USA), Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Korea.

This affirms the invaluable role of industrialisation
in general and China in particular in the economic achievements of developing,
emerging and advanced economies in the 21st century.

Role
of Religious Bodies

Presently, there are about sixty-four (64)
accredited private and nineteen (19) public tertiary institutions in Ghana.

On the average, each of these tertiary
institutions graduates about three thousand (3,000) students annually.

This implies about two hundred and forty-nine
thousand (249,000) (3,000 students x 83 tertiary institutions = 249,000
graduates) students are trained and graduated annually for the job market.

However, the graduation population is in
excess of the cumulative number of employees who retire from both the public
and private sectors of the Ghanaian economy annually.

Since entrepreneurial initiative is at its
nascent stage, elected governments are saddled with how to address the
unemployment challenges in the country.

Over the years, Orthodox Churches,
including the Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Evangelical
Presbyterian (E.P.), Global Evangelical Presbyterian, African Methodist
Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion, among others; Pentecostals comprising Pentecost,
Assemblies of God, Apostolic, Kristo Asafo, Christ Apostolic; and Charismatics
such as the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Action Chapel, and
Perez Chapel, to mention, but a few, have contributed significantly to the training
and development of human resource professionals by establishing academic
institutions at various levels including basic, secondary and tertiary across
the country.

Further, leaders of the Islamic faith have
established academic institutions at various levels, including tertiary, in
different parts of the country as their contribution to the development of
human capital.

The foregoing implies religious institutions
contribute directly and indirectly to the relatively high annual graduation
rate recorded in the country.

Indeed, the enormous efforts of these religious
bodies at churning out productive human capital for effective development and
growth of the Ghanaian economy are duly acknowledged. However, unemployment
remains a major threat to the Ghanaian economy.

Unemployment statistics released by the
International Labour Organisation (ILO) for 2019 depict Ghana’s respective
general and youth unemployment rates during the period were 6.78% and 13.69%.

The respective unemployment rates for 2018
were 6.71% and 13.70%. Indeed, the data show relatively low unemployment rates
during the periods under consideration; and indicative of relatively low
unemployment challenges in the Ghanaian economy.

Ghana’s unemployment rates compare favourably
against figures recorded by South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and France during the
period.

However, some economic pundits argue that the
percentages do not reflect the actual number of unemployed in the Ghanaian economy.

Further, they argue the percentages are not a
true reflection of unemployment challenges in the country due to a number of
factors, including the absence of accurate measurement and reliable data on
Ghana’s labour force and its attendant socio-economic dynamics.

Therefore, rather than emphasising on
unemployment rates, elected governments would be better-off focusing their
attention on how to strategically address the unemployment challenges.

To mitigate the foregoing issues, religious
bodies are being called upon to complement government’s efforts by
participating actively in the one district, one factory initiative.

Stated differently, religious institutions in
Ghana are entreated to consider strongly, the establishment of factories in
strategic parts of the country to shore up the employment rate while reducing
imports to appreciable levels.

Conclusion

Although churches in Ghana and across the
world are noted for their humanitarian gestures, little is known about the Churches’
direct involvement in the establishment of factories as a means of helping
governments to alleviate high unemployment rates.

Throughout the world, most churches are noted
for growing crops to meet the growing food needs of increasing populations; and
establishing administrative offices as well as radio and television stations in
furtherance of the gospel and winning souls across the globe.

The decision of religious bodies in Ghana to
heed to this humble appeal and establish factories in selected regions or
districts across the country would be an economic novelty.

It may be an economic theory that would be
tested and accepted in other countries or jurisdictions just as microfinance
was started in Bangladesh, and now remains an economic model worthy of
emulation and application in many developing and emerging economies, including
Ghana.

The cultivation of farm lands and variety of
crops in commercial sizes and quantities; and the establishment of
technological “hub” by Kristo Asafo for manufacturing of cars, equipment, and
detergents, among others are worth commendable.

Finally, the establishment of the erstwhile
Capital Bank by the ICGC was a prototype; it was a strategic way of “absorbing”
trained graduates from the Central University and other tertiary institutions
in the job market.

However, such sterling initiatives require
improved and sustainable management acumen to assure continuity or extended
corporate life span.

The one district, one factory programme
presents a unique opportunity for religious institutions to be global pace
setters in the fight against high and moderate unemployment rates in Ghana, and
among world economies.

By Ebenezer M. Ashley (PhD)

Fellow
Chartered Economist &

CEO
of EBEN Consultancy

Email: ebenezer.ashley@gmail.com

Website:

The post Role of Religious bodies in successful implementation of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) Programme appeared first on Ghana Talks Business.

Ghana Talks Business

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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