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May 14, 2016, 4:30 p.m.

Purposive state policy was central to the successes chalked by countries that effected inclusive and equitable structural transformation, Dr Yao Graham, Co-ordinator, Third World Network (TWN) Africa, has noted.

Dr Graham, who was delivering the key note address at the National Forum on Inclusive Development in Accra, yesterday, also described Job-creation through industrialization as an important component of a transformation process that was equitable and inclusive and key to setting on a development path that would move Ghana away from the unfolding perverse structural transformation.

He cited Articles 24, 36 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana as having made mandatory provisions on the right to work and the state’s responsibility in ensuring the right to work and urged politicians to pursue and practice development governance to solve common national problems. “Development governance is thus about the processes, policies and institutions associated with purposefully promoting national development and ensuring a socially-legitimate and inclusive distribution of its costs and benefits”, he explained.

He also called for the development of a policy orientation and strategy for the use of technology, international trade and investment policy as well as regional integration for the advancement of industrialization.

Dr Graham stressed the need to exploit low-value industrial minerals such as clays and limestone for housing to address the housing crisis in the lower-income groups which would, in turn, create jobs and incomes.

In a statement, Ms Susan Ngongi, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Ghana, expressed concern about the majority of poor people in Ghana not covered by social protection.

Ms Ngongi said despite the economic growth in Ghana, the poorest benefitted the least and the richest benefitted the most. She, therefore, called for a policy change and a deliberate strategy to generate growth and share the proceeds more equally among the population as a whole.

In his remarks, Hon. Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru Limuna, Minister for Food and Agriculture, noted that Ghana was one of the very few African countries to have met the erstwhile Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of "halving absolute poverty" by 2015.

Hon. Limuna noted that despite the gains made, studies conducted by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), had revealed that one in every four people in Ghana remained  poor and that  high levels of inequality, especially in the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions, presented a major challenge for Ghana's socio-economic transformation ambitions.

He said the role of agriculture as a tool for economic empowerment and a key vehicle to addressing income inequalities could not be overemphasized, adding that the ultimate aim of the Ministry was to engineer inclusive agriculture with smallholder farmers in the various value chains.

Furthermore, he said, the Ministry was also working on deepening good agronomic practices, encouraging climate smart Agriculture, ensuring the availability of improved seed varieties and facilitating mechanized Agriculture through the provision of appropriate equipment. 

Mrs Mona Quartey, Deputy Minister for Finance, said government had embarked on a number of measures to bridge the inequality gap, some of which, she said, were the introduction of an integrated pay roll system to improve salary administration and clean the national pay roll of ghost names.

For her part, Ms Dela Sowah, a Deputy Minister, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, gave the assurance that no one would be left behind in its efforts at promoting sustained growth and the creation of social opportunities.

Welcoming participants, the Chairman for the occasion and member of the NDPC, Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa, noted that the cycle of inequalities perpetuated across generations had dire consequences for the individual, families, communities and the nation as a whole.

Prof. Akosa said inequalities diminished the productive potential of those affected and deprived wide sections of society of their full contribution, threatening  national cohesion, thereby and creating  conflict, violent crime, patronage and corruption, resulting in the loss of credibility in state institutions.

He underscored the importance of nutrition in human development and the socio-economic transformation of a country, adding that for children, especially for those from poor households, undernourishment had adverse effects on their performance in school while for workers, it reduced productivity, earnings and, ultimately, household welfare.

Prof. Akosa, therefore, called for deliberate actions such as a long-term national development plan to holistically address and break the cycle of inequalities.

The Forum was organized by the NDPC, with support from UNICEF, ActionAid Ghana and the World Bank, as part of efforts to develop a long-term national development plan for Ghana.

The Forum served as a building block in the process of helping to take stock and to identify critical development pathways.

The theme for the forum was ‘National Dialogue on Inclusive Development: Promoting Long-Term National Development through Growth and Opportunity for the Poorest’.

 Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)