The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) – Ghana, says attaining ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ (GhBA), would be the truest meaning of independence for Ghana.
Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director, CDD – Ghana, said the idea of GhBA had stirred up some nationalistic feeling as Ghanaians began to envision a future free of aid dependence.
Prof Prempeh said this at a Stakeholders Meeting on framing the “GhBA”.
The seminar, which was organised by CDD-Ghana on the theme: “Ghana Beyond Aid: Moving from Vision to Action,” was attended by Ghana’s development partners, members of the diplomatic community, policy makers, civil society organisations and the academia.
Prof Prempeh commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the bold initiative to move Ghana out of dependence on aid for its socioeconomic development.
The Executive Director said GhBA was a bold attempt to confront an approaching reality; because the year since Ghana was classified as a lower middle income country, aid as a component for its national budget, had been dwindling significantly.
He suggested that the burden of GhBA should be shared by the citizenry; adding that, it would be shared by a multiplicity of stakeholders including the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“Therefore, we think that this is really a conversation that we must all be intimately interested in having and participating in,” he said.
He said it was important to move it on as a national project and not as a regime agenda and called on civil society leadership not to politicise it.
He said GhBA would require a new kind of citizenship - the citizen as a tax payer, the citizen as a stakeholder and the citizen with a seemingly strong voice but not the happy beneficiary citizens.
Prof Prempeh said GhBA was an important strategic opportunity as a turning point in Ghana’s history.
“We can use it to underwrite and implement the kind of hard political economic choices that we are unable to do due to some challenges in our politics.”
He said: “GhBA is not just about getting our economy and public finances right, it is also about getting our politics and political governance right, because a good deal of a bad economic government choices and decisions over decades that has brought as here”.
Prof Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director, Afrobarometer, said previous governments in practise had given empty slogans over the years, however, the current administration must ensure that GhBA does not fail.
He urged the government to come out with a clear definition of GhBA, and also outline steps to be taken to attain it.
Mr Nicholas Ekow de-Heer, the Head of Programmes, Institute of Fiscal Studies said the rising national debt was making the attainment of GhBA a daunting reality; stating that using 40 per cent of Ghana's tax revenue to service debt was a huge amount.
Dr Abekah Nkrumah of the University of Ghana Business School, said GhBA did not necessarily mean Ghana would not take aid; stating that “it only implies that Ghanaians have the capacity to generate local resources”.
Dr Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement – CDD – Ghana said: “How government governs, how and what they use our taxes, this is the reason why we have intensified our activities in promoting social accountability through our districts and anti-corruption board.”
He said the President’s call to action around GhBA and why it had attracted an emotional response with the ordinary citizen, in a sense reflects our deep desires and aspirations to develop our nation.
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