The Central Region will soon see massive industrialization to help accelerate its development, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister for Trade and Industry has assured the people of the Region.
He said the Region has immense investment opportunities and vast export market but what it requires was major capital injection to explore and harness all its economic potentials to help stem poverty and improve living standards.
Consequently, the Government was ready to grant free tax incentives to investors who will invest in the agro-processing industry as part of its quest to expand exports in the Region declared as one of the four poorest of the country.
The Minister, who was speaking at the inauguration of the Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM) Board on Tuesday, said the President John Dramani Mahama has plans to develop the Region and the entire country and will give a major boost to agriculture to achieve that feat.
The eleven-member Board chaired by Mr Samuel Sarpong, the Central Regional Minister also has Daasebre Kweebu Ewusie VII, Omanhen of Abeadze Traditional Area, Mr Foster Andoh, Member of Parliament for Heman-Lower-Denkyira and Mr Samuel Adu Yeboah, Central Regional chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party as members.
Others are Mr Spencer Taylor, Acting Executive Director of CEDECOM, Mr Asare Sintim Barima, Regional Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Dr Mrs Mamaa Entsuah Mensah of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research.
The rest are Bernard Joe Appiah, Mr Abaka Quansah, Samuel Nana Brew-Buttler, a Football Administrator and Isaac Sam, Municipal Chief Executive for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem.
Among the industrialization programme, he enumerated are the revamp of the sugar factory in Komenda to be commenced by August this year and the acquisition of land at Mankessim for a pineapple farm for CEDECOM to lease to farmers for export.
He said the project was as part of the President’s quest to provide the people of the Region with job opportunities to help reduce the rate of poverty.
He said vegetables and horticulture that could be exported will receive incentives for their cultivation and encouraged more farmers to consider those areas.
Mr Iddrisu said that the Government has the responsibility to respond to the growing unemployment rate in the country and Agriculture presents a viable opportunity for job creation to help address the situation.
It was towards that direction that irrigation will receive a major boost with four major irrigations projects, two each to be constructed in the Northern and Southern parts of the country come next year and the Central Region will be a beneficiary.
He assured CEDECOM that government was ever ready to provide with them with the funding support which would be needed to speed up their development projects in the Region in other to improve the living standard of the people and to reduce the level of poverty in the region.
Mr Iddrisu urged the board to avoid individualism and work together so that the positive impact of their work would be experienced in the Region.
Mr Sarpong said the position of the Region on the poverty ladder was not enviable despite its economic potentials such as good educational infrastructure, agricultural resources consisting of 786,400 hectares of land suitable for the cultivation of food crops and fishery along its coastal stretch, forestry, mineral resources and its tourism sites.
He said there was the need for a body like CEDECOM to turn the economic resources into viable economic ventures that would create jobs for the unemployed youth to aid poverty reduction.
He urged his colleagues to see their membership of the board as a privilege and a challenge and bring their diverse expertise to bear to collectively accelerate the development of the Region.
Dr Entsua Mensah, on behalf of her colleagues, expressed gratitude to the President for the trust reposed in them and gave the assurance that it will do its best to help raise the standards of living in the Region. GNA