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07.03.2005 Press Review

EDITORIAL: At 48 And Still Groping

By Chronicle

Our national flags unfurled proudly yesterday, as we marked our 48th year as a politically independent country. Even though we have often acknowledged the struggles of our forebears in winning for us our independence, we have never also ceased to admit how disappointing we have been, as an independent country.

For over a decade now, it has been very common to find Ghanaians comparing the state of our country with that of the Asian tigers, especially South Korea and Malaysia, and bemoan our condition. We had attained our independence at the same time as these countries!

We have consistently made this comparison to draw attention to where we could have been if we had managed our affairs properly. Unfortunately, after even this acknowledgment and the expectation that we would chart a course that would lift us up where we believe we rightfully belong, our actions have been at variance with what can send us to the top.

Even as we admire the successes of these Asian Tigers, we have failed to find the routes they charted to arrive at their current destinations. We have often, rather than taking one step at a time, taken leaps that have landed us in places opposite where we wish to be.

We have become so ambitious to reach the top that, we have often come out with datelines for visions even when we have not provided the fundamental structures that are necessary to realize the basics.

On the political front, we have no choice, because the world order has been compelling enough for us to stay on the democratic course. What is left is vigilance on the part of all.

At 40 years, we deluded ourselves into thinking that 'life begins at 40', so we were taking off. Within four years, we ended up a heavily indebted and poor country (hipc)!

One of the banes of this country has been our inability to map out a national vision that would be owned and found acceptable to all Ghanaians.

National visions must not be left at the behest of political parties. Indeed, the national vision must be stated for political parties to map out strategies to realize them. This must not be difficult for us, since our national constitution, under Chapter Six, the Directive Principles of State Policy, has spelt out broad policy objectives for us.

The situation where we would allow political parties to come up with predetermined programmes, even when they do not know the true state of the nation or what the national vision should be would not auger well for this country.

Whether it is a Vision 2020, Vision 2010, or Vision 2015, these must conform to the tenets of our Constitution, and governments must, under this broad spectrum, set clear targets for their tenure. Without such targets, it becomes difficult to evaluate the performances of not just governments but more importantly, the true state of the various sectors of our nation, to enable us know in honesty what has been done and what is left undone.

It is only in pausing to take stock of the state of our nation, and knowing our true state that whatever we purport to build on it would be firmly grounded and meaningful, and not take us in circles.

It is highly unacceptable that at 48, we are having difficulty in computing economic indicators for our country. How can we purport to be fighting poverty, and yet our Minister of Finance indicates we do not have clear data on what the poverty levels are?

The only way to measure our socio-economic performance is through the evaluation of authentic data. Let us resource our Statistical Service and its affiliate institutions to provide us with reliable data to enable us plan properly.

If we fail to find out about our true state, not only to start moving, but also to do so in the right direction, we shall continue to grope in the dark.

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