General News of Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Nana Akufo-Addo’s call for independence from “charity and hand out” to develop the country will not be achieved unless it is founded on sound economic and educational systems.
That is the verdict of the Vice President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers, Angel Kabonu, who believes a critical factor in achieving the President’s vision is sustainable taxation and the training of vocational and technical graduates.
“This call ought to be backed by certain decisions. For example, we have given countless times the example of Finland, Sweden, Norway…the Scandinavian countries, where education is virtually free. But we have made that statement without looking at the tax system that they have? In those countries, almost 45% of income goes to tax.
“They have been able to mobilise internal resources, and adequately so to the extent that they have the money to finance the needs of society that can create the foundation to finance [development]. That is our problem. In our country do we even collect up 30% of the taxes that we are supposed to collect?,” Mr Kabonu said on current affairs show, PM Express, on Monday evening.
The President has been saying that he hopes to build a Ghana “which looks to the use of its own resources” for development.
“We want to build an economy that is not dependent on charity and handouts, but an economy that will look at the proper management of its resources as the way to engineer social and economic growth in our country,” the President had said in March last year.
Recently the President has sought to sell his vision to other African countries, stating that Africa has the resources and capacity to finance access to quality education of its citizens, and also promote the interests of the continent.
“We cannot depend on other people to finance the education on our continent. I am saying that not to turn my back or to be ungrateful to all these important or noble people who have committed themselves to help, no. But, if we make our policy dependent on other people when their policy changes, we will suffer…then it means that, at all times, we will be in control of our own destiny,” the President said last week when he led the Ghanaian delegation to the 3rd International Conference on the “Replenishment of the Funds of the Global Partnership for Education” in Dakar, Senegal.
Commenting on the President’s call, Mr Kabonu said although the President spoke well, it must end there.
He said the President succinctly re-echoed the vision of many pan-African thinkers like Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah.
“Most third world countries are politically independent but economically dependent on donor countries so they [donor countries] fashion and shape our policies, they determine which way to go, what education models to apply and at the end of the day you wonder whether you are even yourself. So it’s a call made in the right direction,” he said on the PM Express which airs on the Joy News channel on MultiTV.
The NAGRAT Vice President has also called for a focus on vocational and technical education instead of the on the Arts, stressing that in many developed countries, graduates from the vocational and technical sectors have been among the high-value human capital.