6 year term for Govt Suggested
A meeting at Ho in the Volta Region has suggested for consideration, the extension of the tenure of governments from four to six years to give them more time to tackle development programmes. And whilst at it, the participants recommend a national policy to develop a strong co-operative system of production in all sectors of the economy. And to get the people to go for it, education should be practically oriented, while we aim at entrepreneurship development. The seminar, is one of a series being organised nationwide by the NDPC under the theme: “From Poverty Reduction to Wealth Creation-Building Consensus on National Vision and Programme of Action,” It reflected the objectives and goals of previous development plans and the country’s poverty reduction strategy for 2002-2004. The Minister for Economic Planning and Regional Co-operation also Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) Dr Paa Kwesi Ndoum used the platform to debunk the fears and apprehensions of a cross-section of Ghanaians that the government has set out to dismember all that the previous government stood for, socially, politically and economically. Instead, he explains that the government’s agenda for growth and prosperity are meant to emphasise the fundamental goals of national development and prosperity as well as strategies for their attainment as captured in such plans and not to spite previous plans and programmes. Dr Nduom therefore challenged Ghanaians to look beyond their immediate apparent success and direct their focus towards global excellence, if economic goals can be met. This situation seem to have arisen because, many people in the country seem contented with little achievements and are, therefore, not working hard enough. And the minister believes that this must start now, when the political leadership has targeted increasing the gross domestic product (GDP) from $400 to $1000 within the next five years. Dr. Ndoum, threw the challenge while addressing the opening session of a one day seminar at Ho to discuss and collate views on the national agenda for poverty reduction and wealth creation. To him the strategy is to make a “big jump” from the present per capita income of 400 dollars to the ambitious level of 1,000 dollars so that we can begin tackling the problem of poverty and lay a strong foundation for a sustainable national development. ”Our target is to increase the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita to 1,000 United States dollars within five years, the Ghanaian per capita income should be at least eight million cedis a year in today’s terms”, he said. Comparing the per capita incomes of Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Botswana and Mauritius, which now stand at 700, 4,000 and 3,500 United States dollars respectively, Dr Ndoum said Ghana is capable of improving her per capita income considerably if Ghanaians set ambitious targets for themselves and work hard individually and collectively towards the attainment of higher productivity and excellence. Contributing, Nana Owusu Afari, Volta Regional representative on the NDPC submitted that the battle against poverty and the attainment of national prosperity is best fought and won at the level of individual initiatives. Which means that the people should do away with the mindset that it is government which should eradicate poverty and ensure that national prosperity does not constitute a major obstacle to national development because government is only a facilitator. Nana Afari, therefore, called for individual initiatives and the forging ahead of private partnerships as other countries did to attain prosperity for their citizenry. Suggestions made at the seminar included the need for an information policy that would help re-orientate the citizenry towards nationalistic approach to nation building and a call for an independent private entity to disburse funds meant for tackling poverty and its associated problems at the district level to ensure strict accountability and businesslike approach in the management of such funds. In their view, the present arrangement in which the District Assemblies are charged to manage such funds engenders abuses and makes it difficult for government to demand strict accountability and ensure that such funds achieve their objectives.