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Opinions of Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Columnist: Adede, Mercy Bolus

Does Ghana have Social Development Fund- Revisited

Foreign monies are pouring into the country in the name of social development fund projects.

Could Ghana develop without foreign aids and loans? Perhaps if we are able to mine and manipulate our own natural resources and apply better management techniques?

Well, I take it that our President jetting off to the strategic countries is paying dividends at last. Thumbs up for that! Hmmm at what cost though?

Are these monies given free of charge with no strings attached or what?

Is the a payback time in let’s say 30 years time?

If not I think a nice thank you to the donors from all of us would go down well..

Ideally, hand me downs of iads and loans are healthy way of generating wealth for any country’s ecomony in the long term. Or is it?

Our heavenly father loves the hard working souls not the receivers of hand me down of aids or loans.

There is so much to be done to raise Ghana from the Phoenix in terms of Ghana’s transformation into its past glory. Those who enjoy the Gold Coast era and immediate years after our independence did have a sense of pride and joy when they start of talking about Ghana.

Chiefs and various communities also need to pull together instead of heavily depending on the Government. The Government may need to endeavor to set communities against each other and help the those willing and showing signs of the any form of transformation within their community.

When one visits Avieyeme one wopuld see the mud classrooms. Apparently the communty themselves built the schools which have barely anything yet children have the desire to learn. The local chief is near by living a very humble home and yet very welcoming. The people of Avieyeme are rather special, materially poor yet spiritually fulfilled. A little help with some of the intiaiitves set for the $547m and the $34 mwould be welcomed by these disadvantaged inhibitants.

Currently, there is a public out cry of the filth in our so called cities, squalors in our rural areas, our local primary schools, no public toilets around main State Transport stations, gutters full of unpleasant odours etc.

A Ghanaian visiting home from a development country, may ask themselves,” Oh mother is it you I know in the 1950’s”.

Reply from mother Ghana, “do come closer my dear child for it’s still me, I feel physically and socially abuse by those who claim they truly love me”.

Concerned Ghanaians all over in Diaspora are reflecting on conditions back home and constantly observing the steady progress their host country is making when systems are well established and adhered through policies and statutory obligations. Hence are now demanding to know why Ghana is stand still at a stand still when it comes to social developments.

Ghanaians should give praises where it is due. It appears we have managed to secure so much aid thanks to the negotiators however until we see outcomes of the implementation aid to Ghana by the US $547m as well as MCA offer of $34 Ghanaians would still ask questions.

The nation Ghana is now politically astute. Ghanaians would not settle for any tanigable excuses.

The Vice President recently visited certain areas making key notes. Presumably these are the areas earmarked to gain from such funds. I take it places like Avieyeme, Bator, Agave district, Cape Coast, The North, Central and others and you would think you are in 1900.

Community leaders, chiefs and particularly women need to be involved in the decision making unit to ensure that their needs are heard and addressed.

Systematic developmental of every of every village, town and city may need to be established with services decentralised. This wopuld ensure that the vulnerable whose needs were presented to President Bush and others get greater part of the benefits they are due.

Our current Government is trying their best and harnessing the skills and expereinces. There is still a gap? Is our Government listening to those in Diaspora in strategic positons with those essential skills needed harness our transformation?

It might be helpful if the approaches used by the former Ghana High Commissioner to the U.K Mr Issac Osei to have an open dialogue by inviting those interested. This strategies facilitates an enriching new ways to embracing change for Ghana’s transfornation into a developed country.

Our current Government has resured us that it would strictly stick to needs of the poor and vulnerable used on the negotiating table to influence such volume of money and address grave concerns right across the country.

Every Ghanaians would welcome the clear objectives set, which could be made accessible in libraries, school and Government department keeping everyone well infromed by radio and the media. However, the Government of today is not going to implement all these objectives before they leave office. The question is what happens when there is a change of Government. I don’t think our current Government strictly followed objectives left by the previous Government or did they?

Col Agbenaza (RTD), former Volta Regional Minister and his department did a brilliant research of the development of the Volta Region. It clearly focuses on the whole development of the Volta region but I doubt if the current Minister have a copy of this document ?

One struggle to comprehend why any new Government prefer to bin their predecessors strategic objectives rather than marrying the two together or even working with an out going Minister for at six months to a year for a proper hand over of affairs. After all, as I have mentioned before a change of Government to the ordinary Ghana is like a change of baton. Is this too difficult to ask?

One also struggles with the idea of re -inventing the wheel when there is no need for new inventions in certain areas.

The new inventions that Ghana needs is the invention of “Ghana in made wheel chairs” for our physically disabled persons who depend on these assistance for their independence also push chairs, washing machines, cars, motors etc.

The statement I read on ghanaweb 13/07/2006 reads and I quote, “ The Five –year programme will include initiatives to improve land tenure and access to credit for small farmers and agribusiness’s”.

The compact I believe also includes intervention to improve access to education, water and sanitation, and electricity in the areas participating programmes. So what about areas who are not part of the programme?

It would be rather frustrating when a Minister takes over in 2008 and realises that the operational system for a specific project have not been reviewed, monitored and evaluated one a yearly basis to ensure an effective delivery of public services.

Before our President leaves office, it would be helpful for us to see an action plan with time scales so that the nation could hold Minister to account if money are diverted other than purposed indicated in documents.

These are the issues of grave concerns that need to be addressed strategically to ensure that all these monies pouring into our country and used as expected to put a smile on the donor’s face as they were giving and hoping.

Glad to know of the work hard for common fund to be increased and involving chiefs and community leaders. It appears some Ghanaians chiefs are very desperate for money to develop their communities and as a result are freely dishing our their titles to anyone who ever pop up to experience Ghana.

Perhaps an Award ceremony would have been more acceptable.

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