Ghana’s development struggles have less to do with decisions taken in the boardroom but more to do decisions taken in the bedroom, the National Population Council has revealed.
The woman who keeps an eye on the number of outdoorings and funerals says if Ghana continues to ignore the structure of the country’s population, it has ignored an important solution to its seething socio-economic challenges.
The Executive Director of the National Population Council of Ghana, Dr. Leticia Appiah broke it down on the Joy FM Super Morning Show Tuesday.
PHOTO: Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah a Physician and Senior Public Health Specialist
She said a huge section of the population is depending on a much more smaller section of the country. Out of every 100 workers, 72 will have to use their earnings to care for the needs of 100 under-15-year-olds.
This dependency ratio may say everything about Ghana’s chances for development than the Finance minister’s 3-hour budget presentation last March.
The Executive Director explained, 40% of the population is Under 15 – a consuming army – depends on those aged 15 to 59 years. Those 60 and above also fall on this same group of working bees.
In effect, if the population is a human body, then an over-sized head is threatening to break a small neck partly because babies are popping out at a lightening speed.
“No country has developed where the dependency ratio is so high, that is the bottom line, you can check”, her voice went a few notches higher in a passionate bid to raise red flags.
She pulled out figures from Ghana’s favourite development comparison mate – Malaysia. Ghana started off with the same population structure problems in the 60s.
The two freshly minted countries had a 90% dependency ratio after the end of colonial rule.
Today, Malaysia is at 48% which means 100 workers use their incomes to care for 48 U-15-year-olds. Ghana is yet to decelerate in the bedroom with a ratio of 72%.
A high dependency ratio affects everything. From corruption to congestion, potholes to pollution, there is an intense pressure on every public service and every private pocket to take care of families.
It threatens to suck into poverty, the employed Ghanaian because he has to feed more dependents and will, therefore, struggle to save.
The Executive Director offered herself as an example.
“When my kids were small, I wasn’t saving any money. You can’t save,” she said and recalled the clothes she needed to buy every six months, pay fees, get extra teachers to help the children.
Now that they are in the university, she says her savings are doing much better.
As it is with a mother, so it is with the government. There must be huge budgets for infrastructure, healthcare, education, social services.
“Population structure is key to development. We use the population to develop, and we develop for the population,” she emphasized a position which the CEO of the Ghana Social Marketing Foundation Alex Bamful re-stated.
“There is a direct link to management of fertility and development,” he pointed out.
Last March the Finance minister said the 2017 budget is five loaves of bread and two fishes to address the needs of nearly 25million.
That is quite a miracle. Miracles are not expected to last. The National Population Council has urged a greater attention must be paid to the population.
Contributing to the discussion, Alex Bamful said nearly seven out of 10 Ghanaians aged 15 and above have no education or didn’t finish their education.
“You have got to find things for them to do,” the CEO said. He warned the group of working bees may no longer be able to cope with the responsibility of taking care of the vulnerable.
‘We are sitting on a time bomb’ he called for strategies to diffuse before it explodes.
It appears this country is taking God’s command to replenish the earth too seriously.