Veep challenges Mahama to suggest alternatives to double track system

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Thursday threw a challenge to former President John Mahama to come out with a better alternative education policy for the double track system under the Free Senior High School (FSHS) Policy.

He said former President Mahama has no clue what he would do on the FSHS policy when voted into government again, hence his consistent claims that he would review the policy after stakeholders’ consultations.

Dr Bawumia explained that former President Mahama was among the naysayers, who criticised the Free SHS policy and was surprised that the former President now claimed he was committed to the policy.

“There are many naysayers including; former President Mahama who said the Free Senior High Policy is a gimmick and that it’s impossible to implement it or will take 20 years to implement,” Dr Bawumia recalled.

Dr Bawumia took a swipe at former President Mahama when he commissioned an ultra-modern Fertilizer Blending Factory at Asuboi in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern Region on Thursday.

Dr Bawumia said government introduced the double track system to maximise the existing educational facilities and ensure all qualified candidates got admission, while efforts were being sought to build new ones.

He said: “It takes leadership, vision and courage to implement the FSHS policy and President Akufo-Addo has demonstrated leadership and courage to implement the policy in his first term in government”.

Dr Bawumia believed that if President Mahama should still be in office, some innovative policies such as the FSHS,Paperless Port System, Mobile Money Interoperability System,National Identification Policy, Digital and Property Addressing System and Smart Drivers Licence, wouldn’t have been implemented.

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He said double track system had ensured 180,000 students who would have stayed at home got admission in the first year of implementation and, thus, assured that by September this year, all the three streams of senior high school students would enjoy the FSHS policy.

Vice President Bawumia, earlier commissioned a US$ 4.5 million fertilizer blending plant with an installed capacity of 840,000 metric tonnes per annum.

Glofert Limited is a wholly-owned Ghanaian company located at Asuboi in the Ayensuano District of the Eastern Region, and becomes the largest fertilizer blending factory established in the West African sub-region.

The factory, which is integrated into the One-District,One-Factory (1D1F) programme, produces all kinds of fertilizers, including; NPK 15-15-15, Urea and Ammonium Sulphate and comes in solid, granular and liquid states, with the vision of improving crop production and ensuring food security in Ghana.

It currently employs 220 direct and indirect employees, of which 80 percent are from the communities within its operational area.

Vice President Bawumia said agriculture was the nerve centre of the Ghanaian economy.

Therefore, it was prudent for Government to ensure self-sufficiency in food production, instead of relying on foreign food imports.

It was that vision, he said, informed President Akufo-Addo’s government decision to introduce the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) in 2017, to promote food security, create jobs and bolster the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Vice President Bawumia expressed happiness that Glofert Limited was entering the fertilizer production space at an opportune time to supply fertilizers that meet the specific soil and crop needs of farmers to increase yield, geared towards achieving the Ghana beyond aid agenda.

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He said food security safeguard the peace of every nation, therefore increasing food production was at the heart of President Akufo-Addo’s government industrialisation agenda, to transform the economy and ensure self-sufficiency.

He said Government’s vision of launching the 1D1F was yielding positive outcomes, with more young entrepreneurs entering the race to establish factories across the 260 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.

Vice President Bawumia assured of government’s resolve to create an enabling environment for private sector investors to thrive and create jobs for the youth.

He made reference to the recent Parliamentary approval of tax exemptions for companies wishing to operate 1D1F, including a five-year tax holiday, waiver of taxes on equipment and machinery and raw materials, as some measures government instituted to create a favourable environment for private sector investments.

Sourcing statistics from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Dr Bawumia said 181 factories under the 1D1F were being implemented, 57 of them were on operation, 22 were under construction, 33 projects were being financed by local banks and ready for implementation by the end of the year and 56 small-scale enabler youth business incubators were being financed by the African Development Bank(AfDB).