stakeholders’ meeting
stakeholders’ meeting

The Senior Programmes Officer of SEND Ghana, Harriet Nuamah Agyemang, has charged government to put in place proper legislative instrument that would help address the challenges of inequality and poverty in the country.

According to her, government should provide enough funds for implementing agencies and and as well make sure resources given to them are effectively utilised for the benefit of the vulnerable.

Stressing that “we have realised that resources are inadequate, we are unable to raise enough as a country, we are unable to meet our international benchmarks, particularly, for health and at the same time we have a system where we are trying to also control some of the resources we have in terms of capping some of our finances especially the statutory funds like NHIS levy, the district assembly common fund.

And in that case, the implementing agencies do not have enough to implement interventions that would bring developments into those areas.”

She made these assertions at a stakeholders’ meeting on inequality organised by SEND Ghana and Democratic Governance in West Africa (DEGOWA), at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra.

Mrs. Agyemang further emphasized that, “Having this legislative instrument would go a long way to address the inequality problem in a way that, every government intervention initiated will not lose sight of the poor and vulnerable in the society, making it bridge the inequality gap in the country.”

However, she explained that, Wa West in the Upper West Region had the highest poverty incidence and depth in the country, while the least incidence rate was recorded in La Dade Kotopon Municipal in the Greater Accra Region. This she said indicates that, Upper West Region has recorded the highest level of inequality since the 1990s.

Saying “Between 1992 and 2006, there was poverty reduction efforts by 2.5 percentage points, equivalent to 555,422 people. Approximately 850,000 kept in poverty due to inequality.”

This analysis, she said was based on national and regional level indicators that were comparable over time. Adding that, the broad trends that were identified using aggregate information were useful for monitoring and evaluating the overall performance of poverty reduction programmes.

According to her, there are no clear national strategies for addressing inequality in the country. Thus, in order to address it, “There must be a comprehensive policy framework to navigate the complexities and challenges of inequality based on related pillars.”

The forum brought together key stakeholders such as the media, civil society organisations, government representatives, the diplomatic corps and other stakeholders to deliberate on the worrying trend of inequality in Ghana, despite the country’s gains at poverty reduction.

Granting that, the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme has gained fame in terms of its outreach to the poor, there remains the question of equity of the intervention.

In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Poverty Reduction, Dr. S.K Nuamah, said, with the free SHS programme, the gap of equity is not addressed, since both the rich and poor doesn’t pay for school fees.

According to him, “Nothing has been done in terms of inequity, but in terms of inequality; it’s being addressed.”

Adding that, “This is because, everyone has been given equal chance, there is decrease in poverty but growth has not been evenly dispersed, as certain areas continue to experience significant poverty challenges. This has still kept the poverty gap wide.”

In the past two decades, continued and comprehensive economic growth has enabled the country to reduce the number of its citizens living in poverty by half, from 52.6% to 21.4%, and this number is continuing to drop.

Mr. Nuamah also said, though there is much to celebrate about the recent reduction of those living in poverty, there are still a number of people, primarily in rural areas, that are living in poverty.

Currently rural poverty is about four times as much as urban poverty, as compared to 1992 when it was about twice. This he said has been due to the significant reduction in urban poverty without the same in rural poverty.

By:Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh

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