Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, a flag bearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has promised to leverage on the potential of the agriculture sector to turn the economic fortunes of the country around when elected flag bearer and ultimately, the President of Ghana in 2024.
According to him, the agriculture sector was the only one capable of generating the required foreign exchange needed by the country to undertake its development and ensure economic independence.
Addressing journalists at his campaign office, in Accra, on Monday, after picking nomination form to contest the flag bearer position of the NPP, Dr Akoto promised to prioritise funding of the sector when elected as President.
Dr Prince Sodoke Amuzu, a Spokesperson for Dr Akoto, picked the form at the Party’s headquarters at Asylum Down early Monday, accompanied by hundreds of constituency and party faithful as well as sympathisers of the flag bearer hopeful.
Dr Akoto becomes the fifth person to pick nomination form to contest the flag bearer position of the Party after Mr Boakye Agyarko, a former Energy Minister, Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, a former General Secretary of the NPP, Mr Francis Addai-Nimo, a former Member of Parliament for Mampong and Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, an Economist cum corporate executive did so on Friday.
Dr Akoto who was a Minister of Food and Agriculture for six years, noted that, Ghana, despite being a major source of gold in Africa, and a producer of oil for nearly two decades, continued to rely heavily on borrowing to fund its development.
The agriculture sector, he said, must therefore be the focus of any government which was committed to addressing the current economic quagmire facing the nation.
“It is not that it is only agriculture which is going to get us out of the situation we find ourselves in, but it is the only alternative source for us to raise the money, both foreign exchange and local revenue to be able to finance our development. Since independence, Ghana’s economy has been financed by debt, both local debt and external debt.
“I am saying that although Ghana now is the first or second biggest source of gold in Africa, Ghana started oil production in Kuffuor’s time. These have not been able to get us out of our situation where we are financing our development with debt,” he said.
Dr Akoto said: “The only sector which has the capacity to do that, and I’m the biggest witness because I’ve managed the agriculture sector for six years in this country, for the past six years. It is the only one with the resources to generate foreign exchange to finance our industrialization, health, education, infrastructure and development. That is the only one, and yet we have not given enough public resources to the sector.
“What I’m saying is that we should prioritise financing of agriculture with public resources to be able to realize this huge potential, which lies ahead.”
Dr Akoto also indicated that he was unperturbed by recent polls which have put Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Alan Kyerematen, former Trade Minister, ahead in the race for the Party’s flag bearer contest, describing such polls as “self-deceiting” and not “serving any purpose.”
“We know what you are doing on the ground. So, all the polls in the world can say whatever they want but we are talking about the 900 people who will be voting in the Super Delegates and the 210,000 delegates who will be voting on the 4th of November,” he added.
The NPP, on Friday, May 26, opened nominations for the election of its Presidential candidates for the 2024 general elections.
The exercise is expected to end on June 24, 2023.