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May 14, 2016, 4:36 p.m.

Speakers at a national forum held in Accra yesterday, expressed concern over rising inequalities in the country, despite the appreciable economic growth. 

They have, therefore, expressed the need to empower the poor to participate and benefit equally from economic growth to promote inclusive development. 

Against the backdrop of one in every four Ghanaians being poor, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), in conjunction with UNICEF and other development partners, organised the forum to solicit various policy options as part of the process towards the search for long term development framework for the country 

It was under the theme, ‘Promoting long-term national development through growth and opportunities for the poorest.’

The UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Suzanne Ngongi, noted that while Ghana had success to celebrate, having achieved the Millennium Development Goal of achieving poverty reduction and hunger way ahead of the closure of the MDGs last year, much conscious efforts were needed to ensure inclusive growth to benefit the poorest in society.

She observed that the economic benefits did not spread evenly, saying that the “poor see less growth while the rich continue to be beneficiaries of economic growth”.

Though poverty has reduced in the country from over 50 per cent in 1990/91 to 24.2 percent by 2013, Ms Ngongi said “Ghana needs deliberate strategy to generate growth and share equally among the population.”

She noted the efforts by the government through the NDPC to fashion out a long term development to address social economic challenges facing, expressing the optimism that the outcome of the forum set out to exotic options toward a pathway of inclusive growth.

Among the strategies being pursued to address extreme poverty in the country is the bi-monthly cash transfers to selected poor and vulnerable households.

In Prof Akosa’s view providing cash transfer as social protection was inadequate in reducing inequalities in the country, contending that inequality threatened national cohesion, insecurity, and constituted a fertile ground for conflict and rise in displaced people.

He stressed on the need for much attention to be given to good nutrition for children in their formative stage to ensure their healthy growth into adulthood to become assets to the country.

The Coordinator of the Third World Network, Dr. Yaw Graham, observed that Ghana had achieved a level of  economic success over the last 30 years and a political success in over two decades but said “inequality has been rising In the country in the fourth Republic.

He contended that the glaring failure of the country’s economic model was its inability to deliver decent work to the people.

Dr. Ahmed Yakubu AlhassanDela Sowah, and Mona Quartey, Deputy Ministers of Food and Agricultural, Gender Children and Social Protection and Finance in their statement outlined various sectorial policies, plans and programmes being pursued to address socio economic challenges facing the country.

Source: The Ghanaian Times