Ghana’s begging bowl is full of aid after 61 years of independence but the country has little to show for it.
A new paradigm, Ghana Beyond Aid, being championed by president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is facing its own challenge to remain relevant to some leaders and citizens, who are so used to Ghana begging for survival.
In his 61st Independence Anniversary speech, the president drummed home his desire to wean the country from aid in his Ghana Beyond Aid paradigm but critics have been vocal about what they say is the clear lack of policy direction for the new paradigm.
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“It is only a slogan,” chair of the People’s National Convention, an opposition party in Ghana, Bernard Mornah told Joy News’ Joojo Cobbinah during the Independence Day celebrations.
Dr William Ahadzie, Head of Policy and Research with the National Democratic Congress, (NDC) the biggest opposition party in Ghana says the Ghana Beyond Aid mantra looks rich in vision but so poor in policy guidelines and direction.
He does not understand whether the policy is a fight against aid in all its forms or a call for a reduction in the amount of aid received.
“I don’t know whether Ghana Beyond Aid is an avoidance of borrowing or that we should reduce the amount of borrowing,” he told Joy News.
If we are to reduce the amount of borrowing, aid dependency will still remain, he said.
Dr Ahadzie was however unequivocal that aid in all its forms comes with conditionalities and policy prescriptions and if the country can do without them the better for it.
He was also concerned about how effective the leaders of the country have used the aid they received in the past.
Interestingly, the criticism of the new Ghana Beyond Aid paradigm is not coming from political opponents alone.
A member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Andrew Awuni who was once a presidential spokesperson under ex-president John Kufuor, has also criticized the new paradigm.
Awuni told Joy News the paradigm sounds more of a slogan than a project.
If it were a project, there should have been actionable plans with timelines, he told Joy News.
"How long is it going to take, 10-years, 20-years" he asked adding, "or is it just a proclamation or statement?"
Ghana Beyond Aid Pillars
But the government appears unfazed in the face of the criticism.
Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, told Joy News the criticisms are welcome and will help in pushing and stimulating the idea for a Ghana Beyond Aid.
He was however vehement that Ghana Beyond Aid is not a slogan but a visionary framework backed by a detailed plan of action.
According to him, having attained political independence 61-years ago, it is about time Ghana attains economic independence.
Explaining the plan of action for the government, Mr Nkrumah said there are four major pillars underpinning the new paradigm of Ghana Beyond Aid.
The pillars include revenue or domestic resource mobilization, expenditure management, finance management and the last is the creation of opportunities which require further resources.
He said the government has already rolled out policies in furtherance of the first major pillar which is revenue mobilization.
On the revenue management part, he said there is the non-tax revenue aspect which deals with value addition on bauxite and other raw materials; on the tax revenue side, there are processes to improve tax revenue including the improvement in the tax regime as well as compliance.
On expenditure management which is also in two pillars, the Deputy Minister said the government is taking steps to ensure value for money in all its procurement process.
The third is also to ensure that corruption is minimized to the barest minimum and save the country the millions of cedis that end up in private pockets.
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