With the existence of many Policy-Think Tanks in Ghana, there is the need to begin a radical thinking to address the challenges in all the sectors of the economy. A forum for policy-makers in the public sector and Policy-Think Tanks to evaluate the policies of the state need to be arranged immediately. A national policy evaluation forum is the solution to solve and rescue the state from a possible mess. Some of the policies for key sectors of the economy are without proper documents for their pursuit. Others are not in harmonious with global and modern practice. The common problems that are encountered in the various sectors of the economy in Ghana are as a result of the poor implementation of policies.
These policies do not include many factors that affect their practical execution to attain goals. The policies are sometimes not followed strictly and as such the ultimate goals are not attained. Haphazard pursuit of policies without a review is dangerous and can impose destructive consequences in an attempt to reach set goals. A national forum that will include experts in key areas or sectors of the state is sought after. The following sectors and subsectors need a review of their policies: mining, agriculture, education, energy, banking (financial sector), health with a focus on health insurance and manufacturing.
The rarity of resources should inform policy-makers the kind of decisions and policies to pursue. Resources are not in abundance that they must be wasted. Most of the resources that policy-makers rely on to generate revenue for the execution their projects are not renewable and as such the state needs to use them efficiently. The waste in the system is dragging our progressive and delaying economic development. A review of the policies that are used to pursue goals in the following sectors must be reviewed to reflect modern practices.
Mining: until oil became part of the revenue generation sectors, gold and other minerals were the key resources that aid in accumulating huge foreign exchange income for the state.The mining of gold and other minerals resources started long before independence. The impact of these on economic development have been minimal as there seems to be a lot of waste in the system. The mining sector needs revamping in terms of policies to streamline its activities such that there will be an increase in revenue. The policies and laws governing mining in Ghana need a serious review. The sector is foreign-dominated with little local participation. The activities of galamseyers must be plugged as their activities waste mineral resources and the environment.
Agriculture: it is the backbone of many economies as this sector produces to feed its people and eventually for export purposes. The agricultural sector provides employment to majority of the population. The agricultural sector is an area that can be used to create jobs, increase revenue, reduce import of food and other agricultural products. Various governments failed to have pragmatic policies for the sector and as such only subsistence agriculture is practised. The vast arable lands existing in many parts of the country have not been utilised well. There should be policies that guide how agriculture must be done by farmers and other industry players. The cultivation of rice, maize, wheat, yam, cassava, soya etc in large quantities is needed.
These food crops form a large portion of the many import commodities of the state. The sector needs a permanent policy document that will guide the politicians in their quest to improve the welfare of the people in the sector. Cashew has enormous benefit as do cocoa. Have a policy for cashew planting.
Education: human capital is developed by formal education. Education proves to be the best system to create value for society. As such, the systems need to be properly set up. An illiterate populace has huge damaging consequences to the health of the country. The educational sector is being toyed with by politicians. Education in Ghana has received different policies that had affected the performance of students and value creation. With the poor performance of students at the senior high school, the sector needs more thoughtful ideas. It needs a global and radical approach in the formulation of policies and their execution. The sector is the foundation for a better future human capital for the state. Human resource is key to the development of every economy. Thus, a review of the policies that govern how education must run should start immediately.
Energy: an essentially cardinal sector of every state is the energy sector. The sector is at the very core of manufacturing process and industrial activities. Industries and factories need a constant flow of energy. Households, schools, churches, mosques etc need energy. Dumsor in the country has vast negative consequences on production, manufacturing, mining, the service and many other sectors of the economy. The energy sector has impact on all the other sectors. The pricing of energy services to industries and households has been poor. The collection of revenue in the sector is worst. The acquisition of facilities to generate energy is a big challenge. The processes in the acquisition of these facilities are wrought with corruption and lack of transparent activities.
Financial sector: the provision of credit and funds to effectively run the activities of the other sectors of the economy is within the ambit of the financial sector. Banks and other financial institutions provide the funding needs of the agricultural, energy, educational, mining etc. The financial sector is a source of capital for any serious activity to be embarked on by the various sectors. Its performance is key.
The current challenges encountered in the sector should urge for a policy review. There should be frameworks for the acquisition of licenses, for lending and acquiring assets. There should equally be a threshold for lending to the public. Banks should be limited in the provision of loans to prevent having high Non-performing Loans. The laws governing banking should be reviewed with a focus on local content. Some banks must be barred from engaging in some activities.
Health: the loss of human lives by prominent people in Ghana due to challenges in the health sector indicates there is need for policy review. The rarity of beds is causing severe problems for the populace including relatives of members of parliament. The health sector too has many problems for the policy makers to solve. From health insurance to the delivering of health services, there are immense challenges. A review of the activities of the NHIA and health services providers is needed.
The problems or crisis in these sectors impact on the general performance of the economy. These sectors contribute to the accumulation of the entire GDP of the country. An evaluation of the policies in these sectors will help unscramble the crisis we have. JUST MY OPINION
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey.