The government has clarified that its ‘Ghana Beyond Aid agenda is not intended to reject support from donors, but rather depend on local resources for the execution of its planned programs.
A Deputy Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who made the statement on Thursday said the government had outlined major policy pillars to drive the agenda by ensuring that enough resources were generated locally to enable the government carry out all its major developmental programs.
He said the government among other things was working to ensure value for money in all its spending in order to save money that could be invested into its developmental projects.
He added that other investments such as human capital and revenue mobilization through taxes, were part of the pillars the government was using to drive the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.
“The first operational pillar is in the area of revenue where we focus on getting adequate domestic resources mobilized so that we are able to have a bigger resource envelope as a first step to being capable to manage our own affairs… we are trying to very quickly close the tax to GDP gap. For a benchmark that should be about 20 to 25%, is currently about 15%. So what are the compliance measures that we roll out to close that gap so that we will be able to have adequate domestic resource mobilized, then we don’t need to resort to aid to fund the major things that matter to us as a country,” he said.
“We say that we want to get to a Ghana Beyond Aid, we want to get to that point where were are able to fund what that teacher is doing with domestic resources of our own,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo since assuming office has reiterated his resolve to grow the country’s economy from one of dependence on foreign aid to independence and ensuring its development using local resources.
Nana Akufo-Addo, who has on various national and international platforms emphasized his belief that Ghana, like many other African countries, is endowed with enormous resources to guarantee its growth, recently caught global attention when he made a strong case for his position at an event which had French President Emmanuel Macron as a guest.
But a section of the population have expressed concern over the ambiguity of the agenda, calling on the government to provide public clarification on it.
A former Vice President, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, also described it as a mere rhetoric since the government had not provided adequate information about it.
He said, “I’m comfortable if ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ is saying we will only borrow for capital investment and not recurrent obligation. But the problem has not been defined for me to understand it. It is just the rhetoric. It sounds nice, but what goes into it? People will support it, if they understand what the objective is. As at now, everybody is left to define it how he understands it, and then to decide to support it or to oppose it.”
But Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said, the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda’ is an approach the government seeks to imbibe in its work and not a one-time program.
“It means that we will get to the point where the things that Ghana determines to do, it can fund out of its resources and not depend on other persons. That does not mean, if somebody on his own volition opted to gift something to Ghana, Ghana will say no,” he said.
The deputy minister however noted that the government does not seek to add a time frame to the agenda but wants it to lead to shift of government and public mindset geared towards seeking primarily to fund local projects from internal sources rather than plan them with foreign donations in mind.