The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo – Addo has acknowledged the need for Ghana to stop the practice of exporting its valuable products in their raw form as the country needs to add value to these products in order to propel the Ghana beyond Aid agenda.
The President said at the 61ST independence anniversary celebration in Accra on Tuesday,”Fellow Ghanaians,getting our country to a situation Beyond Aid means we add value to our exports, and stop the export of materials such as cocoa, gold, bauxite, manganese and oil in their raw state.”
He drew the attention of the audience that,“Our cocoa farmers, for example, get less than 10% of the value of a bar of chocolate, and yet cocoa is the main ingredient. On the world market, bauxite in its raw form is worth about $42 per metric tonne. Processing it just one stage further into alumina oxide will fetch twice that amount. Refining the alumina oxide into alumina will increase the value by seven times, and smeltered aluminium fetches one hundred fold what it gets in the raw state. Aluminium, we are told, is the metal of the future.”
He added, “It is for this reason that Ghana has, since independence, sought to establish an integrated bauxite and aluminium industry. Thus far, this has remained a fond hope. But we are determined to make it happen within the next three years. Work on the law establishing an Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium Development Authority is far advanced, and will be submitted to Parliament very shortly.”
He said Government also hopes to reach an agreement soon with potential partners to establish an alumina refinery, and expand the VALCO smelter. A successful execution of this project, he indicated , will be key in moving Ghana Beyond Aid, as will be the successful exploitation of Ghana’s iron ore and manganese deposits to build a steel industry for the country and the region.
He continued, “We are all aware of the vast sums of illicit financial flows from our continent that attend the exploitation of our natural resources, especially of our mineral wealth. We can no longer continue to blame others for that. We have to take our destiny into our own hands, and design and carry out the appropriate policies and measures that will ensure that we get our fair and proper share of the value of that wealth.
“Government will be rolling out such policies as an integral part of our determination to move Ghana Beyond Aid.”
The President acknowledged the huge infrastructure needs in the areas of roads, bridges, water, electricity, housing, hospitals, schools among others adding that the problem has always been where to find the money. However, where there is a will, there is a way.
In that regard, he assured, “My government is going to implement an alternative financing model to leverage our bauxite reserves, in particular, to finance a major infrastructure programme across Ghana. This will probably be the largest infrastructure programme in Ghana’s history, without any addition to Ghana’s debt stock. It will involve the barter or exchange of refined bauxite for infrastructure. We expect to conclude this agreement and start its implementation this year. This will represent a paradigm shift in the financing of our development priorities, and make it possible for Ghana to move Beyond Aid.”
By Mohammed Suleman