The inauguration of a committee to produce a blue-print that will form the basis for pursuing the agenda of a Ghana beyond aid a couple of days ago is desirable. There has not been a clear cut policy that indicate the form and direction of this agenda. A vision must be well documented to be followed strictly in order to achieve expected goals.
The committee, though has been tasked already, have a huge undertaking to get the government and the people of Ghana a permanent policy document that must be followed now and in the future to move beyond aid. It is proper to give the government direction in this document as to the process and nature of the agenda. Aid has features inherent in it that entangle the recipient to execute some obligations that inflict damaging effects on its economy and ultimately the members of the state at large.
The state has depended on aid-financed projects for several years by relying on the IMF and the World Bank for financial assistance. In a whole, receiving of aids is not only negative but helps to relieve the state from using its resources in executing some projects. Aids have also reduce the financial burden of the state through cancellations of debts owed.
This committee therefore, undoubtedly, has been given the taxing responsibility to give a clearer definition of what constitute aid and what does not. There are several forms of aids that are given to states by the advanced countries and some institutions that chart the course of development and welfare of states. This will clear the ambiguity of which items to be accepted as aid. Some forms of aids are administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of most developing countries as their main objective. Should such aids be accepted as aids?
There are again some forms of aid that come in support of military and on humanitarian grounds.
Which of these must not be accepted because they constitute aid? Aids take several forms and the committee should indicate which aid Ghana should accept. There is the need to formulate social and economic policies that will address these intrinsic challenges. The subject matter of aid is comprehensive and the technicalities in it must be tackled cautiously.
The committee is expected among others to produce a document that will set the pace for economic transformation and indicate the types of aids that the state may not need. Aids that are transferred to states for economic development and emergency are vital for the health of the economy and may not be in the category of rejection. Emergency situations may require the acceptance of aid which may be adverse to the agenda of the state.
The members of the committee therefore need to take into consideration these aspects of aid that are often given to states by development partners and other donor institutions: project aid, programme aid, budget support, technical assistance, food aid and others. There must be a clear boundary between what the state deem fit as constituting aid and what is not.
The need to thoughtfully consider several factors that constitute cannot be overlooked.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey.