In order to bring a meaningful national economic development with our localities as the focal point, the New CPP shares the views of some of our colleagues in the party and propose as follows;
Ghana should be carefully divided into economic areas
Create Area Assemblies or a Community Parliament within these economic areas or zones
And political power should be vested with theses Assemblies to operate as autonomous political institutions within these areas.
In place of the current powerless District assemblies created by the PNDC which the NPP is too scared of truly decentralizing, the New CPP is suggesting that, Ghana our beloved country should be divided into carefully designed Economic Areas. The size of these Economic Areas need not be the same. An area should however not be large than a District but not as large as the existing region from which that Economic Area is being created. Factors which should be taken into consideration in creating an economic area should be population size, economic potential and other relevant geo-political factors like territorial contiguity and accessibility. Under this scheme, The New CPP is envisaging to create between 25 to 30 Economic Areas, from the existing 10 regions of Ghana, with the boundaries ignoring the territorial claims of these regions.
The Economic Zone would lay the foundations for rapid industrialization by developing plans that fully reflect the aspirations of the people while avoiding the disabling tribal and partisan politics associated with the current districts and regions. Economic areas would be free of the bureaucracy associated with the current administration of government where district assemblies are often heard saying `we are waiting for directives from the Regional Office” and Regional Ministers are often heard saying: `we are waiting for directives from Accra”. Local Economic areas will be efficient in taking advantages of local opportunities as they arise.
Each Economic Zone will have its own Community Parliament OR Area Assembly which will be vested with optimum power to perform all the functions which would have otherwise been performed in the area, by the central Government, except in the realms of National Security, External Trade, External Relations, Oil Industry and the operations of some selected public corporations (approved by parliament).
Each Area Assembly will have an all elected body chosen by adult suffrage in which politically organized groups will have the freedom to canvass for public support for their positions. The primary responsibility of each Assembly shall be to prepare, implement, monitor and evaluate a local development plan to accelerate economic development at the local level. The overall goal of the local development plan is to modernise and improve the general quality of life of the people in its jurisdiction. The plan will be based on an analysis of local needs, the aspirations of local people, local expertise and competitive advantage and the resources available. With support and guidance from a team of technical experts, local Economic Zones would be required to deliver balanced budgets.
The key priorities of this modernization program will be the provision of basic social amenities; good drinking water, electricity, roads, clinics and sanitation services. Each Economic Zone will have a Performance Agreement with central Government. The Performance Agreement will set out set out how the above BASIC NEEDS will be delivered including measureable targets and milestones.
With the creation of Community Assemblies, the interest and focus of politicians and political power brokers will shift to the rural areas and every Economic area will be able to attract its fair share of entrepreneurs, investors, administrative and technical expertise to assist in the task of modernizing and industrializing these areas. Internal Trade will be more vigorous and employment will greatly expand with the increasing exploitation of each area's resources.
Freed from most of its numerous functions, central Government can then be in position to use its residual powers effectively to unify the country, inject healthy competition among the economic areas, guide the pace and pattern of themodernization to ensure every local area is fully developing economic its economic potential. Central government can also channel additional resources to more needy areas or areas of strategic importance eg in new oil fields or bio-diesel production. This would help hasten the pace of local job creation and reduce the pace of rural-urban migration.
Economic Zones would give power back to local people and allow each zone to decide on its future as well as the pace of it's growth. While the Performance Agreements with central government would ensure that each area delivers the minimum standards required in terms of basic needs, the new freedoms and flexibilities available to them would ensure that each area is able to invest in those activities and services that fully exploit its local knowledge, expertise and natural resources. This would address the current over concentration of resources in the three major cities and over reliance on the exploitation of minerals in a few mining towns. For example, areas that are less endowed in mineral resources might decide to invest in education to produce the most skilled work force for their local area and export. Those who want to specialize in the service sector eg in tourism could do so. Those whose who want to build on their expertise in producing food or cash crops could also continue to so. Areas that can expand and build on their natral advantages must not be held back because their resource happens to be their people or bee production or fishing. Local areas must not be held back because they have no Gold or bauxite!
As one great writer said “To do the same things and expect different results is madness”
If our dear country is to move forward we need to do new things- a different approach to developing our country is urgently required.
Join us in the debate. These are the views of the NewCPP and as wisdom does not stop with us we want to solicit the views of everyone. Email [email protected]
Ghana Deserves Better.