The Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Professor Stephen Adei, has hinted that a document projecting Ghana’s agenda for development over the next 38 years has been developed.
He said the document, known as ‘Ghana at 100’, gave a broad outline of the country’s developmental process up until when it would be 100 years old.
Prof. Adei was speaking at a panel discussion at the 71st New Year School and Conference organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Ghana in Accra last Tuesday.
The three-day event is on the theme: “Attaining Ghana Beyond Aid: Prospects and challenges”, and the topic for the panel discussion was: “Ghana Beyond Aid: A national transformation or political rhetoric”.
Attendees of the event include policy makers, representatives of the business community, academics, the youth and civil society organisations.
About the Ghana at 100 document, Prof. Adei said it was projected, among other things, that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — which gives an indication of how economically rich a country is — would be about $50,000 by the time the nation chalked up 100 years.
At the last count in 2018, Ghana’s GDP was pegged at $1,807 and it is projected to reach about $2,100 this year.
Prof. Adei said the current NDPC administration inherited a draft 156-page 40-year development plan which it had, for the past year, been going through.
“People have been asking what has happened to the 40-year plan. We don’t have a development plan; we have a draft.
What we have done is a very short document and we have shared it with the President,” he said.
He said almost all industrialised nations had long-term plans, with their views of development linked to their visions and strategies.
He said the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda was in the hands of all Ghanaians, adding: “What we make of it is in our hands. Are we committed to attitudinal change and ready for a shift in development paradigm?”
A Senior Vice-President of the policy think tank, IMANI Africa, Mr Kofi Bentil, who was on the panel, said achieving the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda would require leaders who saw their positions as an opportunity to serve and were committed to delivering on their mandates.
He was worried that Ghana had a culture which celebrated political positions woven into its politics.
“We have had a situation in this country where our Parliament had had to stop people from bringing huge retinues of people, sometimes bus loads, to their vetting when they have not even got the job,” he noted.
He said some people celebrated when given ministerial positions, without considering that serving in those positions imposed great responsibilities on them.
“If they knew, they would not celebrate,” he said.
Mr Bentil was concerned about situations where people fought to get into Parliament or obtain other political positions.
“To achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid, we need to develop a system that generates leaders who have a sense of service and mission,” he added.
Furthermore, he said, Ghana’s quest to develop independently and speedily would require amending the Constitution to detach the Legislature from the Executive.
“We have to amend the clause that allows the President to pick some of his ministers from Parliament. The arms of government are to be checks on one another. We cannot attain Ghana Beyond Aid if we do not detach the Legislature from the Executive,” he said.
In addition, he said, to attain a Ghana Beyond Aid, the country would need to finance its own development with internally generated revenue and do away with wastage, corruption and slippages.
Having effective and efficient civil and public services, he said, would also help attain the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, who was also on the panel, said the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda had various components, including being a vision, strategy and charter, all of which touched on attitudinal changes on the part of all Ghanaians.
The agenda, he said, highlighted 11 values, including honesty and respect for one another, discipline, patriotism, volunteerism, self-reliance and efficient use of resources.
Others were transparency, safeguarding the use of the public purse, equal opportunity for all, job creation and strong support for the private sector, he added.
Currently, Mr Ofori-Atta said, the proper economic foundations were being laid, while some programmes, such as engaging the citizenry to be committed to the charter component of the agenda, would be rolled out in the latter part of the year.
“The attitudinal change and transformation that we seek to achieve will not be achieved over a short time.
We need to get the buy-in of all Ghanaians.
The agenda is not for the New Patriotic Party or any political party. Successive governments are free to design programmes to achieve specific targets of the agenda,” he said.
The Finance Minister also said the ministry was preparing to put the charter component of the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda before Parliament for approval