SEND-GHANA, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and a subsidiary of SEND Foundation of West Africa, has stressed the need for fiscal discipline to overcome difficulties the country faced in 2015 such as depreciation of the cedi, high inflation and the energy crisis.
SEND-GHANA, however, commended government and welcomed its efforts and measures to restore confidence in the economy and to stimulate growth for the benefit of Ghanaians, particularly the poor.
SEND-GHANA has also commended government for affording citizens the space to participate in the budget preparation process.
Furthermore, SEND-GHANA notes that the 2016 budget has addressed many issues raised in past engagements with government.
These were contained in statement presented by Madam Clara Osei-Boateng, Director of Policy and Advocacy Officer of SEND-GHANA, at a news conference in Accra on Monday.
Mad. Osei-Boateng said the assessment of government was based on the analysis of key sectors of interest such as education, health, agricultural and anti-corruption.
Touching on the Education sector, she commended government for taking initiatives to address all issues under the 29 strategies outlined in the 2015 budget.
She listed some of the initiatives as the review of the regulatory regime for private schools, strengthening of monitoring to ensure that quality standards are not compromised and the submission of the National School Feeding Policy to cabinet for consideration.
On the Health sector, she noted that even though more investment, efficient utilization and equitable distribution of the resources were required, the 2016 health budget as presented, showed a decrease of 7.2% over that of 2015 budget.
Mad Osei-Boateng said the Agricultural sector as the mainstay of the economy and employing over 40% of working Ghanaians, had, over the years, not received the needed attention to spur significant growth as seen in 2015.
“We observe that the low growth has been caused by government’s inability to implement programs planned in 2015,” she emphasized.
She said SEND-GHANA believed that the least a country facing macro-economic challenges and going through austerity measures could do for itself was to be able to feed its citizens, and this, she said, could be achieved with sufficient investment in the sector to boost productivity.
Mrs. Osei-Boateng stressed the need for planned programmes for 2016 to be equitably distributed and that particular attention be paid to the design of Schools-Under-Trees projects to make them disability-friendly and to contribute to the goal of achieving inclusiveness for children in Ghana.
Source: (Aliyah Bayali & Faith Junko-Ogawa)