Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Deputy Chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission, says there must be conscious policy direction to break the inter-generational poverty in the country.

She said opportunities should be created for people to have access to social opportunities and services such as education, healthcare, potable water and other social services.

She said government should prioritise those social interventions in terms of allocating more funds to sustain them instead of relying solely on donor support.

“We must see those social interventions as investment that would bear fruits in the near future,” she advised.

Dr Ofei-Aboagye expressed the concerns at a media interaction on inclusive development on reporting the growing gap between rich and poor in Accra on Thursday.

The event was organised by the United Nations Children’s International Fund (UNICEF) for selected media practitioners in the country.

She said there was the need for government to upscale resources towards funding social programmes like the School Feeding Programme, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty, National Health Insurance Scheme and others.

Dr Ofei-Aboagye, a Former Director at the Institute of Local Government Studies, advocated the need for the continuation of those good social interventions initiated by previous governments to avoid re-inventing the wheel.

According to her, the analysis of the 2013 Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) by UNICEF, Ashesi University and the Institute of Development Studies showed that Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions had the highest levels of poverty.

In addition, the GLSS released in 2016 indicated that the gap between the rich and the poor in Ghana was widening.

Dr Ofei-Aboagye cautioned that the widening gap of poverty was not good because social inequality created disaffection, disengagement and limited people’s ability to contribute their quota towards national development.

“We need to add value to our human resource potentials to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, because social inequality feeds into polarisation of the society and that is not good for our development drive,” she emphasised.

Responding to a question whether the successive governments had made enough efforts to break the vicious cycle of poverty in Ghana, Dr Ofei-Aboagye said, successive governments were still learning from the feedbacks from various civil society organisations, local and international environments and hoped policy implementors would commit more resources towards those interventions.

She noted that the fight against poverty was a shared and collective responsibility of all stakeholders and not only government.

There should be linkages so that people that had benefited from such programmes would be migrated and linked to other income generating opportunities for self-sustainability and financial independence, she explained.

She tasked journalists to follow-up on various policy interventions rolled-out by governments to their logical conclusion in order to ascertain whether they had made the desired impacts.

She took participants through topics including: “Poverty and Inequality in Ghana and the Merits of Inclusive Development”, “Social Protection as a Tool for Reducing Inequality in Ghana” and others.

Some participants suggested that there should be regular engagement with the beneficiaries of those social interventions while all stakeholders monitor the implementation of those policies.

They said international agencies such as UNICEF should commit funds to support media practitioners that wanted to research into those interventions.