A Senior Research Fellow at IDEG, Professor Kwesi Jonah, has challenged government to ensure equality in the distribution of national resources.
He called for the promotion of inclusive development saying the State will be doing itself a disservice if all citizens are not included in the national development agenda.
Professor Jonah was speaking at a high level inclusive growth and development agenda forum under the theme: inclusive growth for sustainable development in Accra.
He observed that inequality has become a big problem in Ghana as the gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening.
Inequality he noted breeds conflicts. He said a lot of Ghanaians have tried to escape inequality and poverty by travelling through the dessert to Europe in search of greener pastures.
He said when people feel included in a national agenda they make meaningful contributions to development, noting that if people are excluded development suffers.
He asked government to modernise agriculture to help the marginalised.
The local government system Professor Jonah noted is not working effectively to reduce poverty and inequality.
He underscored the need for the central government to empower and encourage the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to help the marginalised through equitable distribution of resources.
Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo in a speech read on his behalf said the President is working on realising a vision of prosperity for all.
To this end, he said services will be spread across the country for the benefit of all.
The Minister for Planning Prof. Gyan Baffour explained that recent government’s interventions are all intended to give access and promote inclusiveness in the development agenda of the country.
He mentioned planting for food and jobs, free Senior High School, Nation builders Corps, free cocoa spraying, one district one factory among others as interventions geared towards achieving equality, inclusiveness and poverty alleviation.
A representative of UNICEF, Anne-Claire Dufay called for prioritisation and equitable resource allocation to sensitive and deprived areas of society to ensure inclusive growth.
She said government should make initiatives like the district Assemblies common fund pro-poor.
Madam Dufay said one in every four children in Ghana lives in poverty and stressed the need for the removal of socio-economic barriers that prevent children from reaching their full potential.
She explained that implementation of policies should be done in a way that no one is left behind whether rich or poor.
Statement by development partners and civil society organisations entreated government to continue to open up access to social amenities, employment opportunities and education to the poor and empower them to contribute to the overall national development since inclusive growth will lead to sustainable development.
Ghana has made considerable progress in terms of per capital growth and in addressing the needs of the extreme poor but there are income and well-being differentials between urban households and the rural ones.
This is also manifested in access to services and some districts, communities and groups of people in the northern part of the country are missing out on recent economic growth.
Gaps in consumption persist providing basis for instability and limiting sustainable development.
The forum was to find ways of addressing the inequality gap through the provision of targeted services to the poor while including them in the overall national development agenda.
Story by Correspondent Dominic Hlordzi.