Ho, April 27, GNA - It is often said that poverty is a disease that needed remedy but if one were not careful about what remedy should be applied one might be led into doing things unimaginable.
Poverty might lead people into prostitution; teenage pregnancy; illiteracy; child labour and child-trafficking. From all indication these are widespread among the population because poverty has become pervasive.
In fact successive governments have tried their best to either "reduce" or "alleviate" poverty depending on how each of them understood the problem and how each thought it could resolve it.
The political and economic vocabulary have been enriched over the years with some such high sounding programmes and polices such as "LEAP"; "Poverty Alleviation Fund"; "MASLOC"; "Free Exercise Books and School Uniforms for Basic School Children"; "School Feeding Programme"; "Capitation Grant"; "Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy" and "PAMSCAD".
Well intended though such policies and programmes might be, in reality some tended to benefit the "high and mighty" and the politically connected.
While it was common to pontificate in the open that these programmes were available to all without discrimination in actual fact they were far out of reach of poor people, who did not have the political connections.
The inability of these nicely crafted strategies to deal with the deep-seated poverty in Ghana shows that the solution to the problem lays elsewhere and not in creating new bureaucracies to defeat poverty.
This Writer dares to say that the solution to poverty in this dear country of ours could be found in our social system built on the foundation of the extended family system.
A system which rewards people adequately for hard and honest labour and spreads these rewards equitably to benefit members of the larger family to create a balanced society.
A politician once said Ghanaians were poor because they were but this Writer thinks otherwise. On the contrary poverty is a combination of factors fanned by greed, self-serving inclinations and inadequate reward for hard and honest labour.
Though poverty could not be completely wiped out from society, if those at the helm of affairs could "shed a little of their comfort" and truly serve the interest of the larger majority, then half the battle against poverty would have been won.
Policy makers should also go back to the drawing board and do a proper "post mortem" of all the poverty reduction programmes and interventions to see if they were really reducing poverty in the country.
A GNA Feature by Emmanuel Nyatsikor
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