20.06.2016 Editorial

Human Development Is When There Is Food On The Table

By Ghanaian Chronicle
Human Development Is When There Is Food On The Table
20.06.2016 LISTEN

Last week, The Chronicle published a statement from Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, who glorifies the achievements of the Mahama Administration in boosting the economy and significantly uplifting the human development index of this society.

“This palpable and real and progress collectively achieved and backed by credible, multiple indicators from reputable and independent sources, speaks authoritatively to the quality and authenticity of the gains made,” the Honourable Minister of Communications affirmed.

According to Dr. Omane-Boamah, this gargantuan rise in the quality of life in this country, is captured in the latest data on per capita income from the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook, 2016, which pegged Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in current terms in the year 2015 at US$1,340.4 – representing 5.9 percent increase in the 2008 figure of US$1,266.1

We are told that this nation's per capita income surpasses that of Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Kenya, which stood at US$1,314.7, US$913.0 and US$1, 338.5 respectively.

It is good that the Mahama administration has broadened the scope of this nation's economy and enhanced the living standard of Ghanaians.

That is the core business of every administration. There are no prizes for guessing rightly why the minister alluded to the growth figure in 2008 in comparison.

One fact the minister failed to add is that in 2008, this nation had just popped out of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative in 2006.

The Honourable Minister of Communications also failed to include the growth figure at the time the National Democratic Congress administration Mark I exited power. Even then, we are grateful for small mercies.

According to Dr. Omane-Boamah, in spite of these tremendous gains, the Mahama administration took the position that: “Mere economic growth and its associated indicators are necessary but not sufficient measurements of human well-being.”

The Government apparently believed that human development ought to be a more encompassing and comprehensive way to conceptualize development by placing people first, giving broad hints that this administration has also delivered in uplifting the quality of the average person in this country.

The Chronicle is happy to learn that the quality of life of the average person has been moved forward by this administration.

We are told that the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report for 2015, talked of Ghana gaining entry into the Medium Human Development category with a score of 0.579 – higher than her compatriots in Africa. Nigeria gained 0.5514, Kenya (0.548) Senegal (0.466) and Cote d'Ivoire (0.462).

The minister did not fail to offer a comparison with the situation in 2000 and2008, when the Rawlings and Kufuor administrations were credited with the score of 0.552 and 0.553 respectively.

The Chronicle is happy that this society is moving forward. After all, all societies are supposed to advance with the years.

That is what is referred to as national development. Having made this assertion, The Chronicle would like to suggest that human development does not hinge on recorded indices of abstract guarantees.

The books of the IMF and the UNDP could be very reliable means of data on paper. But the beast means of measuring personal development, we would like to submit, is the ability of human beings to access the basic necessities of life.

In Ghana, not many people are sitting pretty. With unemployment threatening the very basis of nationhood, there are many out there who cannot afford the basics of life.

Even the working person in this country faces daunting challenge of being able to pay bills from Basic income.

In addition to this challenge, many killer taxes have been introduced into the body politic, squeezing the life out of the ordinary man on the street.

That is one reason why The Chronicle is unable to reconcile the poor living standard of most people in this country with the Presidential mantra of 'Changing Lives and Transforming Ghana.

A number of state officials and party apparatchiks might have transformed their lives by squeezing their mouths and uttering the 'Ebi Keke' mantra.

But most Ghanaian head of households are unable to deal with challenges of soaring commodity prices, killer tariffs and obnoxious taxes. Putting food on the table is a daily challenge.

That is why the Government would have to look at the cost of living and try and lower it and stop beating its chest on achievements which could only be traced to entries in books and documents, which bear very little semblance to what is really on the ground.

Life in Ghana is hard!

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