Mr J.H. Mensah, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), says taking Ghana out of the third-world bracket into a middle-level income status is a choice that Ghanaians must make and not only wish for.
He said the national strategies must be those that everybody would ascribe to and be committed to attain.
Mr Mensah, Member of Parliament of Sunyani-East, was addressing an NDPC consensus-building workshop in Ho for political party leaders on Ghana’s Long Term Vision.
He said the plan must be based on verifiable data, or “we strive in futility.”
Mr Mensah said the resolve to achieve set goals is as important as the resources but expressed regret that often Ghanaians dissipate their energies on unnecessary bickering over issues.
Mr Mensah said Ghana must “drive itself harder” towards its goals, commending the “dramatic examples of Vietnam and Cambodia,” where national commitment spurred the two countries out of economic backwardness and all round structural dislocations.
He said agriculture must be radically transformed from a dreary chore for unsophisticated land tillers into a business where acreages of crops could be increased and sold at economically reasonable prices to processing chains.
Mr Mensah expressed regret that lending by the Agricultural Development Bank to farmers had dropped drastically and the seedlings production process failing.
He urged political parties and all Ghanaians to “buy into” national development strategies to insulate the process from change of governments.
Dr Regina Adu-Twum, Director-General of the NDPC, said evidence from all over the world indicates that no nation can accelerate its social and economic development without properly articulating its vision for development and mobilizing its resources towards achieving that vision.
She said Ghana has achieved some economic breakthroughs but the economy “remains basically fragile, small, open, highly dependent on external inflows and vulnerable to shocks triggered by global fluctuations in commodity prices as we are witnessing today”.
Dr Adu-Twum said the NDPC is therefore building a consensus to develop a long-term plan that incorporates strategies for attaining a middle-income status by 2015.
She urged political leaders to come along with the NDPC to build a plan to be owned by the entire country.
Dr Nii Moi Thompson, representing the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), called for the updating of data to make planning effective.
He said the hyped per capita income target of 1,000 dollars by the 2015, must go along with other social indicators in any evaluations, slamming the continuing waste in the system as demonstrated by the confusion about the real number of people on government pay roll.
Mr Boakye Kyeremanteng Agyarko of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) said as a nation “we must agree to squeeze ourselves to achieve development”.
He said the creative intellectual capacity to build the nation is crucial and that money must be moved from the unproductive areas to productive sectors.
Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, also of the NPP said the revision of the Vision 2020 document is to make projections more realistic and feasible.
Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC) said governments must accept it when their policies fail, while Ms Frances Essiam of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) said policy issues should not be tainted with political propaganda.
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