‘Ghana’s devt agenda must change’

Bishop Akolgo  making presentation on budget.

Bishop Akolgo making presentation on budget.

A  Former Executive Director of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Bishop Akolgo, has called for a paradigm shift in the country’s development agenda.

According to him, the country should shift from the export of raw materials to manufacturing and value addition of its raw materials.

Mr Akolgo disclosed this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of a Budget Analysis Report and Dissemination Workshop in Accra yesterday, and said the current development agenda did not create enough jobs and necessary revenue to finance the country’s development agenda.

The workshop, attended by representatives of the Ministry of Finance, civil society organisations and the media, was to discuss a Budget Analysis ISODEC had done from 2011-2017 in relation to social sectors  such as education, health and water.

Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, the study was to look at government allocations to three social sectors over time, and how to improve domestic revenue mobilisation and equitable allocation of resources for national development.

Mr Akolgo, who was a consultant on the ISODEC Budget Analysis study, suggested that the government should tax the mining and oil sectors more to raise the necessary revenue to venture into manufacturing and value addition of the country’s raw materials.

He said manufacturing sector held the key to employment and increased revenue generation, stressing the mining and oil and gas sector did not have the capacity to create more jobs for the teeming unemployed.

“The government should free the agriculture sector and farmers of taxes and provide them guaranteed prices and incentives such as insurance and pension package, to boost their production,” he said.

Touching on the study, Mr Akolgo said government had not met the Dakar and Abuja declarations it had signed to allocate 20 and 15 per cent of government expenditure to education and health respectively.

He also said 90 per cent of the government budgetary allocation to the education and health sectors were spent on emoluments, leaving little for capital expenditure.

Mr Akolgo entreated government to ensure equitable distribution of educational and health facilities across the country, saying that would stem rural urban migration.

On water, especially rural water delivery, he said the sector was mostly funded by donors and said efforts should be made to address that.

The Acting Executive Director of ISODEC, Ernest Awoosah Tay, said the study was to find out government budgetary allocation to the education, health and water sectors.

He said those social sectors were chosen because the sectors affected every citizen, whether rich or poor.

Mr Tay explained that government was not meeting the international expenditure declarations on education, health and water, indicating that the study revealed that government budgetary allocation to the education, health and water sectors was dwindling.

For instance, on education, the report said government achieved 16.4, 15.7, 20.7, 19.4, 19.6 and 18.9 percent respectively in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“This shows that education in Ghana is not adequately and consistently financed which affects Ghana’s Human Development Index in the long-term but also under development since the sector provides foundation for human development, productivity and economic transformation,” the report said.

By Kingsley Asare

 

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