On Tuesday, the 6th of March 2018, Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region joined the whole country as it was cladded in the national colours to commemorate it 61st Independence Anniversary. The occasion was graced by several dignitaries and personalities in the Ashanti Region and beyond with various school pupils, security services personnel, associations and organisations also parading at the Jubilee Park.
Addressing the gathering, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon. Simon Osei−Mensah who represented the president as the Review Officer noted that Ghana was the first to blaze the trail for independence in Sub-Sahara Africa and whether one is a Dagarti, a Sissala, an Nzema, a Brong or an Asante, these tribal differences do not change the fact that we are Ghanaians with a common identity.
Speaking on the theme “GHANA BEYOND AID “, the Regional Minister stated that “on a day such as today, our thoughts invariably stray to the past, but we do not intend to live on past memories. Even though underachievement may have been a major part of our history thus far, it should no longer be part of our destiny, we must define and craft our destiny”. This can only be achieved if we build a country rid of dependency on aid, a country that has a strong economy, good infrastructure, quality education and good attitude that is an improvement on previous days and today. According to the Regional Minister, to build a Ghana beyond aid, the following must be achieved:
As a country that is well endowed with many natural resources such as gold, bauxite, oil, diamonds, timber, cocoa, water and so on, “if our resources are well harnessed and exploited for rapid economic transformation, the country will be prosperous, but this will require hard work and a break from a mentality of dependency and a confident can−do spirit by the citizenry”. Our resources should therefore be exploited to the benefit of all and not for selfish interest to aid the country go beyond aid.
A “Ghana Beyond Aid” is a prosperous and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of its economic destiny. The Addo-Danquah led government since its outset, has set in concrete steps to restore macro-economic stability and economic growth and after a year of innovative economic management, the results have been remarkable. If the economy continues to run in such discipline and sound framework, the country will no doubt move beyond aid. A stable economy is one that can survive without loan, support or aid from foreign countries and such should be a redefinition of our mind set and our country, Ghana.
The Regional minister noted that corruption continues to hold back the development of our nation. Corruption is not a partisan matter and hence all must act to protect the public purse. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is set in place to serve as a check on public offices and public officials, present and past.
The anti-corruption framework is yet to be passed together with the Right to Information Act. This will increase transparency and add another weapon to the fight against corruption. The protection of public fund is a social common good, hence the need to protect and secure it. Ghanaians should serve as a “watch dogs” against corrupt acts and not as fronts to defraud our own country. All should pay their taxes and hold public properties as if it were their own. All these Acts will help provide and create a Ghana Beyond Aid environment.
INDUSTRIALIZATION AND TECHNOLOGY
The Regional Minister reiterated that adding value to our raw materials is one of the keys to industrialisation. If a country will be prosperous and create jobs, it is very relevant to have value addition to our resources to maximize the potential to pursue resource‐based industrialisation.
The recent advancement in technology has made the world a global village. A global village in which one need not to necessarily get a car or book a flight to interact with family, friends and love ones but with the new form of digitization one could easily do so even at the comfort of their home. “The mastery of technology is what at the end of the day separates developed from developing countries, or rich from poor countries”. This is a gap Ghana has to bridge. Since assuming office, the Addo‐Danquah led government has undertaken important policy reforms to digitize Ghana and to formalize our economy. The National Identification and Address System, the Drivers’ License and Vehicle Registration, the Paperless Operation System at the ports are all ways to advancing technology in the country and to stabilize the economy.
At the core of all these is Education. Strong foundation has been laid to educate and produce skilled workforce for the future through one of the salient policies of the government, thus, the Free Senior High School programme. The programme has enabled about 90,000 young Ghanaians to be enrolled in the various Senior High Schools across the country.
Lastly, the Regional Minister noted that, a country with the best of policies or wealth will still be irrelevant without peace. The primary requirement for a prosperous country is peace and that, it is the premier obligation of every government to ensure the safety of its citizens. The recent deluge of armed robbery incidents is alarming. The police has the primary responsibility to ensure peace, law and order in our country. He have the assurance that the necessary equipment will be provided to aid the police perform their duties well.
As a government committed to the growth of the private sector, the sector should be a critical partner in moving Ghana beyond aid. “A Ghana Beyond Aid is meant to be more than a slogan. It is meant for development, meant to change our mind-set from a dependent to an achieving country, to put us in charge of our own affairs and to propel us into the frame of mind that would quicken our pace to give us the respect and dignity we deserve”.
The ceremony ended with some awards given to the awardees and a presentation done by the Chief Executive Officer of Breast Care International, Dr. Mrs. Beatrice Addai-Wiafe to the various schools in Kumasi who participated in the Breast Awareness and Campaign quiz organised by Breast Care International.