Business News of Tuesday, 21 February 2017
President Akufo-Addo’s pledge to use agriculture as a vehicle to solving unemployment which is one of Ghana’s biggest challenges has set two Members of Parliament splitting hairs.
Member of Parliament for Ketu South and former Agric Minister, Fifi Kwetey says agriculture cannot be the vehicle to solve Ghana’s joblessness but his successor Dr Afriyie Akoto thinks otherwise.
Kwetey said all over the world agric helps only in value addition but if there is a dream to fight joblessness, the Nana Akufo-Addo government must look to manufacturing and other areas of the economy for jobs.
He was responding to president Nana Akufo-Addo’s State of the Nation Address, part of which painted a gloomy picture on Ghana’s agric sector.
The NDC inherited a 7.4% growth rate in the agric sector in 2008 but left the sector at a rate lower than 3% in 2016.
In his first state of the nation address, the president Nana Akufo-Addo did not fail to touch on the agric sector which he said was in dire state.
He reiterated key policy initiatives the sector minister will implement as a way of creating jobs and rejuvenating the sector.
But his choice of agriculture as a vehicle for providing jobs did not go down well with the minority and Fifi Kwetey expressed his objection vehemently against the president’s prescriptions.
He was also not impressed with some clear details he claimed the president missed in the presentation.
He picked and chose conveniently. He failed to mention that we are leaving behind an economy that the whole world acknowledges is going to be growing at 8%. He completely decided not to talk about inflation which has been consistently going down.
According to him the president cannot talk about debts and conveniently fail to talk about the unprecedented infrastructural development.
On agriculture he said the president will soon be hit by the reality that agriculture will not be the vehicle for job creation.
If you are looking at jobs agriculture is not the way to go, he stated, adding majority of the youth are not interested in labour intensive job creation.
But the Agric minister Dr Afriyie said the idea of government is to increase productivity on the farm and outside the farm.
He said in the next two months a new policy, planting for food and jobs will provide 750,000 jobs at a cost of 560million cedis and will generate at least 1.3 billion cedis income for the farmers.
He did not understand how such a sector will be said to be impotent in providing