Speakers at Ghana?s economic debate forum on Tuesday universally agreed that Ghana has no strategic national development plan and that the development plans and policies adopted by the various governments cannot engineer any economic growth.

The speakers contended that any strategic national development plan should not be limited to or be made known to only those in government but that everybody in Ghana should share in its vision.

Business24

?We do not have consistency in our strategic plan and our policies are not in sequence towards achieving economic growth, the panelists explained at the economic forum organised by Business and Financial Times and sponsored by Access Bank Limited held in Accra.

The forum, which has ?Building Prosperous Economy: Time for New Solutions? as its theme, sought to question the status quo in all facets of the economy and was debated among Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, Presidential Adviser on Economics, Dr. Kofi Amoah, Chief Executive of Progeny Ventures, and Dr. Michael N. A. Cobblah, Country Representative of Ecobank Development Corporation.

The panelists noted that the public and the private sector had always been touted as engine of growth but said, there had not been any sign to show that the public and the private sector was working in concert.

The experts said Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana had a seven- year strategic national development plan focused on economic and industrialisation and was supported by government subsidies, low rate loan policy, purchasing outlets and created tax advantages but expressed regret that ?come today, we have no strategic national development plan?.

?We do have a problem with the saying that Ghana has liberal economy, the state need to play leading role in agriculture, manufacturing and financing to absorb the unemployment youth and stop government from spending about 1.5 billion cedi for the importation of rice, tomato paste and other commodities that could be produced locally.

The speakers said the development of agriculture had the potential of reducing rural-urban migration and more attention should be paid to agricultural development to advance Ghana?s development agenda.

The experts suggested that plan to improve agriculture and industrial sectors must be given a boost as well as the energy, water and infrastructure sectors, which they said had the potential for the development of Ghana.

?We need a strategic national development plan that has solutions to help manage the nation and its resources, work to produce in excess and this must involve the citizenry to take ownership of the transformation efforts to help sustain the plan?, the speakers said.

?We need a national vision, a clear vision that looks at the education system to help push the vision and we must use what we have in our hands ? land, natural resources, and tourism and everybody should know about this comprehensive strategic national development plan that would take the country to its development path? , the panelists added.

The speakers said the state must invest in strategic sectors, empower the state institutions to be alive and carry out their mandates and instil core values on the citizenry for individuals to know that they were as important as the private sector and above all, Ghana needed good leadership to overcome its development challenges.

They were, however, quick to point out that because Ghana had no shared vision, that was why some of the people were behaving the way they were behaving.

The speakers said Ghana must avoid running ?we and them? economy but rather inculcate work hard on the people and keep away from the notion that ?if you are not in politics you cannot make it in life syndrome?.

Other panelists, comprising Dr. Abu Sakara, 2012 Convention Peoples Party (CPP) Presidential Candidate, the Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Irene Vida Gala, who spoke on? the stagnation of the agricultural sector? said Ghana failed to use agriculture for wealth creation.

Ghana also failed to turn the comparative advantage to competitive advantage in agricultural production and therefore did not invest adequately in that effort.

?We must integrate agriculture and industry but should not mean we neglect other sectors of the economy?, they said.

The panelists said Ghana must modernise its agricultural and government must support it with research in relationship to local situations, use oil money to reduce transaction cost and provide subsidies, increase rural agricultural finances and expand rural banking.

Some contributors at the forum said the system of non-inclusiveness in Ghana body politics was a hindrance to the development of the country.

They demanded the development of a shared national vision that must contain the voices of the people and the entire workforce must be educated and incorporate the development plan with technology. GNA

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