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15.04.2011 General News

Let's Have Continuity In Development

By Daily Graphic - Daily Graphic
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We have had to return to the subject of a development blueprint for the country because of its place in nation- building.

All the past development blueprints of Ghana get truncated after every change of government. Except the period of colonial rule when the authorities then followed a development plan to suit their masters, no development plan has survived the regime that introduced it.

We recall the abrogation of the Seven-Year Development Plan of the First Republic after the overthrow of the CPP government.

Those who were living witnesses to that development plan testified to its potential to transform the country if successive regimes had followed it to the letter.

Every regime change witnessed the formulation of new development paradigms that appeared to be parochial because they were virtual photocopies of political party manifestos.

If we have been unable to implement sustained development as a result of the short span of the regimes after the overthrow of the CPP regime, the stability that we enjoy now after the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1993 should offer us the opportunity to craft a long-term development blueprint.

In the 1990s, the then NDC government introduced Vision 2020, while all the district assemblies were charged to craft their own development plans.

Unfortunately, this plan was scrapped and replaced by the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) by the NPP regime and currently the Better Ghana Agenda being pursued is based on the manifesto and campaign pledges of the Mills government.

The Daily Graphic has no problem with ruling governments implementing their campaign promises and manifesto pledges, but the danger is that if the development paradigm is parochial in character, it will not be followed in the event of a regime change.

Consequently, the country continues to grope in the dark for a sustainable development plan that will outlive all governments.

The Daily Graphic shares in the call by the Western Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for the formulation of a non-partisan think tank to set out a short-to-long-term development blueprint for Ghana.

Ghana is the star of Africa because we have successfully sustained our democracy for about two decades, but the dividends of democracy are far away from our reach.

Those dividends should help address the gap between the rich and the poor and provide safety nets or social intervention policies for the vulnerable in society.

This is not to say that as a nation, we do not have achievements that call for celebrations. Successive governments have put in place policies such as the Students Loan Trust, the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the capitation grant, the School Feeding Programme, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), among other interventions, to ease the burden on the poor.

However, there is room for more of such interventions to address the development challenges facing the people.

The Daily Graphic thinks that the electorate has the power to hold their leaders to work for a non-partisan development plan that will not be overturned in the event of a regime change.

The constitutionally mandated National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) has been charged to lead our development agenda, but subsequent governments have reduced it to a variable in our development schemes.

The Daily Graphic appeals to the Constitution Review Commission to empower the NDPC to craft a non-partisan development plan that compels every government to subscribe to it in order to ensure continuity in development.

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