Ghana will not make the giant economic progress it envisages unless it separates the pursuit of economic development from partisan politics, the 2012 presidential candidate of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Hassan Ayariga, has opined.
The significance of such a bold action for the Ghanaian, he argued, was that it would encourage a non-partisan long-term development planning for all which would be drafted professionally with empirical facts on projections in all sectors of the economy.
He said it would also check the appetite of politicians, preventing them from making so many promises which could not be fulfilled.
According to the 2012 PNC flag bearer, the National Development Planning Commission must be empowered and fully supported to independently fashion out a long-term economic development strategy for governments to implement.
Mr Ayariga said the country should have a 20 to 30-year national development plan which must be strictly followed by all governments.
Discussing the way forward for Ghana in an interview to mark the PNC’s 22 years of existence in Accra last Thursday, Mr Ayariga said the separation of economic development from partisan politics would allow all stakeholders, including economists, academicians, civil society, and traditional authorities, to draft the long-term development policy, while the politicians would be tasked to implement the policy or plan.
“Political parties will now tell us how they will fund, manage and expand the existing long-term national development strategy instead of giving unfulfillable promises,” he stated.
In the view of Mr Ayariga, politicians in Ghana have been given too much room by the electorate to tell lies about their vision, promising what they just cannot do.
On the 22-point issues raised at the just-ended National Economic Forum at Senchi in the Eastern Region, Mr Ayariga said he drew the government and stakeholders’ attention to those issues at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) debate organised for presidential aspirants in 2012.
He, however, indicated that he had expected the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to start the process much earlier by putting in place a permanent arrangement instead of spending huge sums to host people at a one-stop event to discuss a running issue.
The forum was just a waste of time, Mr Ayariga stated, explaining that “the NDC does not have a vision, hence the forum; while the NPP did not participate because it also has no vision for the nation.”
He stressed the need for the creation of an all-inclusive government where the focus would be on planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
“When we say let us practise inclusiveness, it will not make anybody less a member of the NDC but will promote the goodwill of the country, as well as build mother Ghana, ” he said.
He said we must move away from the mentality that “an all-inclusive government is merely about appointing one or two people from other parties into government.
He said efforts must be made to broaden the concept to allow many more people, including technocrats, academicians, traditional authorities, economists and the civil society, to participate in governance.
In Ghana, planning was as serious a problem as implementation and monitoring, Mr Ayariga pointed out, saying, “he who fails to plan, plans to fail. And if you don’t know where you are going, you will never know when you get there.”
Transparency in governance
He said it was time for Ghana to practise a system of governance that promoted transparency in government business, the rule of law and justice, and be tolerant of dissenting views.
“Ghanaians are losing or have lost hope in our political system of governance, because politicians say one thing and do another,” he stated and stressed the urgent need for the rehabilitation of broken structures of the economy, re-orient the political mindset of the people and mend the suspicions of mistrust that had existed between the political leadership and the good people of the country.
“Those who represent us in government must render accountability to us to uphold our trust and we shall render accountability to those who hold us in trust,” he declared.
Concerning activities within the PNC, Mr Ayariga expressed with much regret that for a long time, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party had not met formally to fashion the way forward for the party.
He said since election 2016 was just around the corner, he expected the PNC to put its house in order to make a positive impact on the election.
Mr Ayariga suggested that it was important to foster unity in the party, since it was only through unity the party could make a significant impact on national politics.