All hands on deck  for economic transformation  – experts

Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa
  • as ACET, partners launch Ghana Compact

For the nation to be ushered into a period of socio-economic transformation and sustained prosperity, there is a desperate need for comprehensive consensus building which considers every segment of the population.

This is the collective view of a panel of experts drawn from civil society and academia who spoke at the Compact for Ghana’s Political and Economic Transformation (Ghana Compact) launch in Accra.

They argued, among other things, that previous developmental efforts had followed a top-down approach; which effectively imposed assumed developmental goals on the public, with scarcely any direct contribution from the persons who would be most affected by the policies.

Furthermore, they suggested that strong systems and institutions are necessary to break the hold of partisan politics and the clamour for hero figures on the national developmental agenda.

The Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, said the Compact will not compete with, but will rather serve to complement and bolster existing policies within the development ecosystem.

He cited the Compact’s inclusive and participatory framework as fundamental, saying its bottom-up approach is a departure from previous efforts, which emphasised the input of technical experts, often to the exclusion of the wider public.

“Planning is a logic that begins with the people, and anything that comes along to enhance the participation of the people and getting them at the heart of it would be beneficial… The Compact is reversing the previous trend because it begins from the people,” the NDPC boss said.

Dr. Mensah-Abrampa further stated that the communal nature of the Compact will enhance accountability, particularly in the public financial management system.

“The lack of structures for accountability has allowed successive governments to deviate, not only from the national plan, but even from their own promises. The Compact will ensure that there are metrics decided by citizens for which the managers of the economy can be held accountable,” he noted.

For his part, the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, expressed concern over the nation’s inability to successfully implement home-grown developmental policies as opposed to those imposed by external parties, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  He suggested that reforms to the governance structure, with an emphasis on the local government architecture, are needed.

Continuing on the theme of reforms, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), Dr. Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, stated that the focus must shift toward strengthening institutions, which will ensure continuity irrespective of a change in government.

“When we trace the trajectory of our development plans, we see that they are set aside whenever there is a change in government. So what are the systems that have been put in to ensure that leaders do not have the power to set these policies aside? This is why we need strong systems and not be about strong men,” she elaborated.

Economist with the Institute of Fiscal Studies, Leslie Dwight Mensah, was especially delighted that the Compact highlighted reforms to the fiscal regime as essential for economic transformation.

He added that the current economic crisis, which finds its roots firmly in fiscal indiscipline, best showcases the timely need for the Compact.

“There could not have been a more profound of the importance of the Compact and fiscal transformation than the present crisis, which is fiscal in nature… The importance of sound public financial management for a sound economy is being clearly demonstrated as we speak,” he noted.

He was optimistic that measures outlined in the Compact would result in better revenue generation from natural resources – which would see Ghana approach its peers, which receive, on average, 50 percent of the value added to their natural resources – up from the current level of approximately 20 percent.

Describing it as the “perfect marriage between policy activism and democratic experience,” the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Franklin Cudjoe, believes the Compact will, over time, yield “the Ghana we want”.

President and founder of the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), Dr. Kingsley Y. Amoako, in earlier remarks, said he was encouraged by the enthusiasm displayed – especially by young people – during stakeholder engagements.











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