Ghana: Parliament Renews Debate On One District One Factory

THE debate over the One District One Factory (1D1F) policy was renewed in Parliament yesterday, when the Majority and Minority caucuses came face-to-face over what the New Patriotic Party promised in the run-up to the 2016 General Election.

Whilst the Majority argued that the promise of a factory in each district was to be led by the private sector with support from the government, the Minority held the view that the party actually promised to establish a factory in each of the 216 metropolitan, municipal or districts, if they won the election.

The debate was ignited by a request by the government for tax waivers for two companies as part of the One District One Factory policy.

The companies, Yedent Agro Bulk Processing Limited and RePatrn Limited, established in 2011, and 2015, were granted GH¢1,144,723 and GH¢92,579 tax waivers respectively.

Parliament on May 3, 2019, approved a request for the waiver of Import Duties, Import VAT, GETFund Levy, Import NHIL, EXIM Levy on plant, machinery and equipment or parts, as well as Corporate Tax for five years of operation being tax incentives to support the 1D1F programme.

Moving the motion for the adoption of the resolution for tax waivers for the two processing companies, Chairman of the Finance Committee and Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, said the tax waivers would help the companies to expand and diversify their operations.

He said the companies would be able to employ more people in line with government's commitment to job creation.

But the MP for the Yapei/Kusawgu constituency, John Jinapor, referring to the 2019 budget statement, said what the Minister of Finance promised was to establish a factory in each district and not to support existing ones.

According to the MP, supporting existing companies was inconsistent with the promise of the government, stating that "the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's government has failed to honour its promises and is taking credit for John Mahama's projects."

A Deputy Minister OF Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng, said the view held by their colleagues in the Minority was a "misunderstanding of the (1D1F) policy".

Mr Kwarteng, who is also MP for Obuasi West, said it would be unfair to see existing companies fold up, if all they needed was government support by way of tax waivers to enable them bring in machinery to expand.

In as much as it is in the national interest for the establishment of new companies, it was also in the interest of the nation to ensure that existing companies expanded to support the industrialisation drive of the government, Mr Kwarteng stressed.

A former Minister of Energy, and MP for Ellembele, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, described the tax waivers for existing companies as being akin to stimulus package, which had existed under previous governments over the years.

"You didn't promise stimulus package," he said, and called on Ghanaians to hold the government to what it promised, to establish a factory in each district and not stimulus packages.

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