Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The 'Senchi Consensus' at National Economic Forum

The three day National Economic Forum has ended successfully at Senchi with a 22 point communiqué dubbed the ‘Senchi consensus’.

Some of the critical issues worthy of noting in this communiqué include the need for the Nation to be guided by the Directive Principles of State Policy in national development effort, anchored in a long term
national development framework with a compelling vision. Related to this is the call for a long term national interest which should supersede all other interests in setting any national development agenda.

A forum such as the National Economic Forum that offered a democratic opportunity for non partisan sharing of ideas even in the midst of multi party democracy is a step in the right direction.

One of the challenges that however confront multiparty democracy which also became an issue prior to the commencement of the Economic Forum is the contention between political party interests and national
aspirations when discussing national development issues.

Some are of the opinion that it is this among other reasons why the largest opposition party in Ghana boycotted this all important National Economic Forum.

This issue ignites the discussions on the need for national development to be discussed nationalistically devoid of political persuasions.

Regardless of one’s viewpoint, it is important to note that national visions and nationalistic approaches to national development are indispensable components for national development not only in contemporary Africa but also beyond the frontiers of Africa.

Countries such as China, Singapore and Sri Lanka are said to have attained commendable development partly due to well articulated and effectively implemented national visions.

Political parties in Ghana would therefore do the Nation a great service by always considering national aspirations first in discussing matters that border on sustainable national development.

In the early days of H.E President Mahama in office, one statement that kept running through his utterances was the need for all Ghanaians to consider partnership as against partisanship in working towards sustainable national development.

It is further worthy to note that during the national stakeholder’s conference on the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Commission , many Ghanaians indicated the urgent need to mobilize and rally the nation behind a nationally owned and shared vision of national development by creating the opportunity for Ghanaians to articulate, define and support a long term national development agenda.

The fact that the need to deepen national interests above other interests has come up again at the National Economic Forum, is an indication of how priceless the ‘Ghana First’ attitude is, for tackling national development issues in a sustainable manner.

The National Development Planning Commission has initiated a process to undertake national stakeholder consultations to agree on a national vision for a long term national development plan, which should form the basis for policies of future governments as well as successive medium term national development
plans.

This is to ensure policy stability and protect successive plans from changes in government, as well as ensuring the effective implementation of policies on a long term basis.

In addition The National Development Planning Commission has also taken steps to have
the requisite Legislative Instruments (LIs) enacted to support the decentralized planning process in Ghana.

Indeed if there is any period when nationalistic attitude should be the hallmark of development planning, it is now when Ghana has become an oil-exporting state with an experience of a strong growth, which calls for a fair and objective approach towards harnessing these potentials.

The major challenge that has historically faced the country is not the inability to formulate good and credible policies and strategies but rather the weak capacity to implement these policies and strategies.

Such challenges can be reduced if as a nation we will all rally behind a national vision that will stay from generation to generation regardless of whichever Government is in power.

All those behind the National Economic Forum deserve a thousand applause for this noble work.The problem in this nation has always been with effective implementation of such useful ideas. It is hoped that this time there would be an efficient monitoring mechanism to ensure the implementation of these ideas to keep them from being a nine day wonder.

By DAVID OWUSU-AMOAH ,NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING COMMISSION

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