By Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, Aug 22, GNA - Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister of Planning has underscored the need to tackle inequality as part of efforts to help bridge the gap between the poor and the rich.
He said inequality created obstacles to overcome poverty and exclusion, and to build prosperous, cohesive societies,
He noted that this could put at risk the democratic process, as citizens might become permanently disengaged if they felt that governments no longer worked for them.
Prof Gyan-Baffour made these remarks in Accra on Thursday during a Technical Review Meeting on Inclusive Development.
The workshop was organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Prof Gyan-Baffour said the national vision expressed in the Coordinated Programme (2017-2024) was not only aimed at creating jobs and prosperity but ensuring that opportunity, was for all to access.
The Minister stated that “Inclusive Growth and Development” remained a development concept since 2012 and had been well-articulated by international economic organisations including World Bank and taken by other United Nation (UN) Organisations.
He said the concept emphasised on the idea of equal opportunity in terms of access to markets, resources, and unbiased regulatory environment for businesses and individual.
“The Government is very much in tune with this realisation, hence, in just about every area of the economy specific initiatives have been developed for implementation”.
Prof Gyan-Baffour said this included Nation Builders Corps, the Zongo and Inner Cities Initiatives, Free Senior High School (SHS), One District, One Factory (1D1F), the expansion of School Feeding Programme and refocusing of the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) Programme, the National Identification Card and revamping of National Health Insurance Scheme.
He called on all stakeholders to efficiently work together to achieve inclusive growth for sustainable development guided by the principle of equity, fairness and inclusion of the marginalised in society.
Dr Grace Bediako, Acting Director-General of NDPC noted that with the support of development partners, Ghana pursued efforts at poverty reduction from 2003-2005.
She said upon evaluation, it was realised that Ghana made substantial progress towards poverty reduction, being one of the first African countries to meet the Millennium Development Goal’s target of reducing incidence of poverty by half.
Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Country Representative in Ghana, reiterated the need for stakeholders to build a society without comprising economic growth.
"We believe that prioritising equality especially with regards to children contributes to Ghana’s economic growth," she said.
The Inclusive Growth and Development Fora organised by the NDPC in collaboration with Development Partners, key Ministries and Agencies and Civil Society in May 2016 and June and August 2018 have provided critical opportunities for reviewing national efforts and identifying priorities for the way forward.
These meetings have allowed participants to analyse capacity and implementation gaps, assess performance on targeted commitments and review the effectiveness of government policy priorities for promoting inclusivity.
The 2019 high level inclusive development forum, held in Accra, was on the theme: “Inclusive Development and Public Policy Performance: Prospects for Child-Responsiveness and the Way Forward”.