“It is official! One in every three Ghanaians cannot afford the basic necessities of life. In the northern parts of the country, the poverty level is even more alarming. An astonishing 63 percent of the population in Ghana’s three northern regions is poor”, stated as a lead paragraph of The Ghanaian Chronicle editorial (Tuesday, June 21, 2011, pg. 5)
I know very well that a politician, who is either in government or goes along with the philosophy and ideologies of the party in government, would definitely spit on the above statement and rubbish it completely. He/she may argue out to the hilt that the economy is on course and that a chunk of the citizenry, if not all, is doing well. He/she may even paint the picture to the public as if issues of poverty are now history in the country’s socio-economic life.
In the realm of religion too, I believe our men of God, especially would be very attentive to hear what I will say on this topic, since to them and to many other faithful Christians, a believer of Christ is automatically rich and would therefore be inappropriate and seen as a curse for one to brand him/herself as a poor person, even if that person struggles to afford the basic necessities of life.
However, for the sake of this piece, I am begging my cherished reader to allow me wear the worldly lens to be able to locate the fact of the matter and to hit the nail right on the head of the situation prevailing in our country, Ghana.
The fact still remains that most Ghanaians, irrespective of their ages, gender, cultures, religions, geographical locations and even academic achievements continue to wallow in abject poverty and the fear is that if immediate steps are not taken to halt the situation now, it could wipe off many lives in a not-too-distant future.
Poverty, in my opinion, is a condition where a person lacks money and other resources to be able to afford the basic necessities of life, including quality food, water, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare service, etc.
This could be brought about by a myriad of factors, such as illiteracy, ignorance, unemployment, bribery and corruption, looting of state coffers (in the case of a few individuals in power) and also misuse of useful national resources.
Poverty brings untold hardships and other forms of vices, such as hunger and starvation, teenage pregnancy, abortion, waywardness, drunkenness, smoking, and a host of others on the victim and the society at large.
As for poverty, it has always been with us and for any government to stand up and apportion credit for itself for removing it completely from our national life is something that would always be challenged and shunned.
A citation accompanying an indefatigable ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor for the October 2011 World Food Prize Award which was reported in the Thursday, June 23, 2011 issue of The Ghanaian Chronicle had it that President Kufuor prioritised national agricultural policies, leading to Ghana witnessing a reduction in its poverty rate from 51.7 percent in 1991, to 26.5 percent in 2008, and hunger reduced from 34 percent in 1990, down to 9 percent in 2004 with the former President making a passionate appeal to sitting President Mills to build on the foundation his (Kufuor) government laid in order to ensure a better life for Ghanaians goes to confirm the fact that poverty is still with us, if not even more severe than before.
For me, be it at a rural area or urban area, the situation of poverty is a dire one that needs to be discussed in details and tackled with all our might.
Reading through the NDC 2008 manifesto, I did not predict Ghana to still be at this low level in its fight against poverty, as we had been made to understand that under the ‘noble’ administration of then Candidate Atta Mills, Ghana within a very short period of time would be a better nation and issues of poverty and allied economic misfortunes would only be located at the dustbin of history.
But what do we see now? Issues of graduate unemployment and exodus of rural dwellers, especially the youth to the urban centres in search of non-existent jobs are still with us. Just a couple of days ago, we all heard of a gloomy report of over thirty thousand (30,000) children roaming the streets of Accra and Kumasi alone begging for alms in order to survive.
Look at the swarm of both young and old women who troop mainly from the northern parts of the country to the south, specifically Accra and Kumasi to engage in life-threatening ventures, such as head portering (popularly known as kayayei), just to make a living.
In fact, my one-year experience in the northern part of Ghana as a national service person really made me appreciate what fellow Ghanaians in that part of the country go through in terms of eking out a living. A government official or politician who has not been to northern Ghana could comfortably sit in Accra and formulate policies that might not necessarily be implemented but at the end of the day, could easily move from one radio station to another with his/her belly filled to capacity and with luxurious conditions around him, spew that the economy is on course.
One should just embark on an excursion to my ‘holy’ village of Ave, within the Akatsi District of the Volta Region and see things for him/herself. In fact, life conditions of residents are nothing to write home about and I believe The Ghanaian Chronicle (Tuesday, June 21, 2011, pg.5) might have also made its own observations when it said, “Small communities around the country are being emptied of their citizens, who are migrating to Accra and Kumasi in search of non-existent jobs”.
A graduate complains of no job and the suggestion has always been that he/she should use his knowledge and expertise to create his/her own job and not to rely on government for employment. Is it so easy like that? How, in the first place, could one create job if the training provided him is not geared towards industry? Again, how could jobs be created if there is no initial capital?
We are being trained raw, asked to do national service upon completion of our courses of study, after which we are thrown into the wilderness to fend for ourselves-sad!
Not until our government stops denying young and dynamic people of this nation, who have been recruited under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), of their allowances for several months, and the various educational institutions beginning to produce graduates who will be ideal for industry, and also ensuring that government delivers on its core mandate of providing quality governance to the citizenry, can we be sure of eliminating poverty completely or at least ameliorating it?
Source: [email protected]
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|