President encourages companies to exploit incentives under IDIF

Kwaso (Ash), June 18, GNA - The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has advised Ghanaian private companies to take advantage of the incentives under the ‘One District, One Factory (IDIF)’ Initiative.

This would help expand their existing facilities, with the prospects of also establishing new ones to stimulate economic growth, he noted.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was inaugurating the Premium Foods Limited, an agro-processing company, at Kwaso near Ejisu in the Ashanti Region, said the Parliament had so far, approved tax waivers to 36 companies under the IDIF.
“Total tax exemptions granted under the IDIF amounts to GH¢435.29 million,” he disclosed.

The President said the main sectors benefitting from the exemptions included; agro-processing, ceramics and hardware manufacturing, vehicle assembling, amongst others.

The 1D1F is one of the flagship development programmes under the Nana Akufo-Addo-led Administration designed to boost the industrial transformation agenda of the Government.

According to the President, the objective was to build a self-reliant economy in order to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign countries.

As of December, 2020, more than 70 of the projects under the initiative had been completed and functioning, while a substantial number of the factories were at various stages of completion.

In all, about 232 factories are expected to be constructed under the 1D1F under the supervision of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI).

Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, the sector Minister, highlighting the benefits the nation would derive from the Premium Foods Limited, said it would lead to increased nutritional value and food security, through a reduction in food spoilage and wastage.

Additionally, the company would contribute significantly to reducing the importation of foreign foods and conservation of foreign exchange.

The Minister said generally, the Government was investing in agro-processing facilities to enhance agricultural productivity and increased farm household incomes.

Job creation for rural and urban youth, production of fortified foods for vulnerable groups in society and export to sub-Saharan countries as well as the global market, were some of the advantages the nation would derive from such a venture, he noted.

Mr. Kyerematen said, in the Ashanti Region, out of the 43 Districts, there were currently 30 companies registered under the 1D1F Initiative in 24 districts, saying this implied that some of the districts had more than one flagship entity.

The Managing Director of Premium Foods Limited, Mr Tom Gambrah, said the company initially aimed to address unhygienic post-harvest handling of maize.

From the production of 2,000 metric tonnes of quality grain per year at its inception, the company, today, was well equipped to handle over 96,000 metric tonnes each year, he hinted.

Mr. Gambrah said for every hour, 240 bags of grits and maize meal rolled off the company's parallel processing lines.

Registered brands of the company include; ‘LOVIT’ and ‘MAIZOYA’, which are fortified with 18 vitamins and minerals under the acclaimed independent ‘OBAASIMA’ logo.

According to the Managing Director, by 2012, they had created 25,000 direct and indirect jobs, adding that when the new plant reaches full capacity, they would have created some 100,000 sustainable jobs in the value chain.

The Company had tremendous support from the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Canadian Government along its journey.

In 2016 under its ‘Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chains (ENVAC)’ project, the WFP decided to strengthen the capacity of the agro-processing company to be able to produce fortified blended foods of international standards.

Mr. Gambrah said the ENVAC project was funded through the generosity of the Government of Canada, explaining that the flexibility of the Canadian funding allowed WFP to give the company US$2.5 million to purchase and install modern, large-scale, state-of-the-art food cereal processing equipment.

He explained that it was to improve their production of fortified blended cereal-based foods.

In October 2020, in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WFP contracted a global independent food safety auditing firm to audit the company’s food safety and management system.

Mr. Gambrah said the Premium Foods Limited passed the audit, following which the WFP placed an order for an initial 600 metric tonnes of fortified cereal-based-foods and super cereal (400,000 sachets of the 1.5mt) for its programmes in West and Central Africa.
The idea is to save the lives of many vulnerable people.