According to Ken Ofori-Atta, the minister of finance, the government intends to use the GhanaCares Obaatanpa program to increase the private sector’s capacity for export and production.
He claims that the pressures on the local currency and the rising cost of food justified the GhanaCARES Program’s current focus on enhancing the private sector’s export and productive capability.
He said that an economic enclave project was being pursued to this end, with the goal of supporting the cultivation of up to 110,000 acres of land in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Savannah, and Oti Regions.
Presenting the 2023 budget before parliament, Ken Ofori-Atta said the initiative seeks to expand production and productivity of rice, tomato, maize, vegetables and poultry and added that the move is being led and coordinated by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) in collaboration with other government institutions.
“Mr. Speaker, consistent with the private sector-led approach, the programme will engage interested private sector actors to expand and agricultural production and processing in the Asutuare-Tsopoli Economic Enclave area based on a Partnership Framework.
“The same approach will be adopted for the lands secured in the Ashanti, Central, Savannah and Oti regions,” he stated.
Ken Ofori-Atta further said government has initiated discussions with the Graphic Communication Group Limited to explore the feasibility of producing paper locally using the by-products from the cultivated rice in the Economic Enclave at Asutuare as raw material.
“It is envisaged that the imports of paper will be replaced, and more jobs created,” he said.
In addition to the Enclave Project, he said the GhanaCARES programme in 2023 would continue to offer catalytic support in some targeted areas.
To this end, he said the programme would work with DBG to provide funding to interested and targeted farmers, support MoFA to adopt and deploy the farmer registration database for the farmer input subsidy programme to enhance efficiency; and support the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation (MoCD) to establish a tech hub to improve knowledge in Technology and innovation by the youth, in collaboration with the University of Ghana.
The Finance Minister said the GhanaCARES programme would also ensure the operationalisation of the Foundry under a sustainable private sector management framework; and provide interest rate subsidies and direct financing; including supporting prioritised sectors in the rural economy through the ARB Apex Bank and its network of banks as agreed under the AfDB-supported Post-COVID Skills and Productivity Enhancement Project.