Date: September 18, 2012, 7:28 pm


AKUFO-ADDO VISITS ISODEC


... Praises the group for its good work

... Agrees on need for core national values framework


The flag bearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has agreed to embrace core broad-based national values which will guide successive governments in the management of the economy. These values, he said, should bother on transparency, accountability, participation, and the protection of fundamental human rights.
Interacting with the management, staff, and some partners of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), a right-based advocacy think-tank pushing for a national consensus on the development orientation of Ghana, on Friday, Nana Akufo-Addo asserted: \"Ghana should move away from the Guggisburg paradigm of economic governance which hinged on the exportation of raw materials to one that focuses on industrialisation and value addition, in order to create jobs for the citizenry.\"
Nana Addo visited ISODEC to discuss the social pact framework being developed by civil society groups, led by the latter. He assured his audience that his government will subscribe to \"these values because they fall in line with his vision to transform the current structurally-defective economy which he humourously described as \"the Guggisburg economy.\"
Expressing his apprehension over a long term development plan that ties the hands of politicians and fore-closes policy innovation, he indicated that he will welcome the proposed Social Pact for which ISODEC is gathering input if it focuses on fundamental rights, freedoms, and good governance principles. He lauded the exercise being undertaken by ISODEC saying \"as a nation we need to know where we\'re going and how to get there.\"
The Social Pact, a proposed contract between citizens and the political class, is intended to build a national consensus around a set of ground rules for managing the national economy. The importance of the Social Pact is borne out of the fact that Ghana has since independence chalked an undesirable track record of governments- mismanagement of national resources. The development path of the country has been chequered and inconsistent, resulting in a rather disappointing outcome. The Social Pact, therefore, seeks to rectify the situation by ensuring continuity of the nation\'s development programmes.
Giving some solutions to the challenges Ghana faces in deriving benefits from its natural resources for its socio-economic development, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that it is important for the citizens to acquire knowledge and the capacity to find solutions to most of their problems. Thus, the former Foreign Minister in the Kufuor administration said the NPP\'s proposed free education policy is in the right direction.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, the education initiative is primed to transform the nation\'s economy since quality education will be available to everyone. He stated that this new fillip in education spending will focus on training 60,000 new teachers and providing them with better access to technology, good curricula and effective pedagogical techniques. He added that the NPP believes quality education begins with teachers.
The increase in education funding, equivalent to just under 1% of the Gross Domestic Product, he contended, would go a long way to expand and rehabilitate existing schools with the establishment of cluster schools in under-served areas to broaden the people\'s education horizon.
Discussing Africa\'s current development predicament, he regretted the unfortunate situation where the continent is the poorest in the world despite all its huge natural resources. \"The people lack the kinds of intelligent solutions on how to derive benefits from their natural resources for the development of the continent, and this will dominate until we make a transitional change? Without a very knowledgeable, competent workforce, a major economic transformation will be almost impossible to effect,\" he added.
Explaining the rationale for the envisaged Social Pact, Mrs Philomena Johnson, Co-ordinator of the Institute of Fiscal Policy of ISODEC, said \"the purpose is to mobilise Ghanaians to put pressure on their political leaders to arrive at a consensus on a long term development vision for Ghana for which they can hold political leadership accountable for results.\"
Mrs Johnson noted that \"in the past, political leadership has failed to reach this consensus leading to one political party abandoning the initiative of the previous government and trying to initiate its own programmes.\" She recalled that this situation has led to the formulation of different developmental programmes like Vision 2015 and Vision 2020.
\"Now we\'re in Shared Growth\" she noted, adding \"we\'re hoping that once we reach agreement on where we\'re going, then political parties can define how they\'re going to take us there so we don\'t foreclose political competition and if they convince us that their way of taking us to where we want to go is the most efficient, then we\'ll vote for them\"



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