Panellists at a virtual forum on COVID-19 and the vision of 'Ghana Beyond Aid' have called for a paradigm shift in attitudes of Ghanaians to achieve the agenda of economic self-sufficiency.
They asked the Government to infuse the Charter of the Ghana Beyond Aid into the curricula of the education system at all levels to ensure the youth-owned the programme.
It was held on the theme:" COVID-19 and our march towards Ghana Beyond Aid: Turning Adversity into Opportunity ".
The event formed part of efforts to step up public education and social mobilisation towards achieving the President's vision of self-reliance.
It was organised by Ghana Beyond Aid Committee, Office of the Senior Minister and Information Ministry, under the Chairmanship of the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo.
Some distinguished personalities who spoke at the forum included the Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Archbishop of Cape Coast Diocese of the Catholic Church, Mr Kwami Pianim, a renowned Economist, Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Mr Lawrence Agyinsam, the Chief Executive Officer of EXIM Bank Ghana, Dr Yaw Baah, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress and Mr Isaac Jay Hyde, President of the National Union of Ghana Students.
The Most Rev. Palmer-Buckles, who spoke on the topic: " Renewing our mindset and changing our attitudes for collective development" noted that human factor was indispensable in the country's quest towards actualising the vision.
He, therefore, underscored the need to inculcate key values such as patriotism, honesty, volunteerism, accountability, transparency and hard work in Ghanaians, especially the youth, to achieve the agenda.
"We need systematic and sustained goal-oriented values to actualise the agenda.
" If we're to achieve the Ghana Beyond Aid, every Ghanaian must be on board, he said, adding; "Without the Ghana Beyond Aid, we will continue to revisit our past therefore, we need to focus and guide our actions," he said.
He said it was imperative to psyche the Ghanaian very deeply to cherish the gift of the fellow Ghanaian, saying; "I feel sad when I hear people say Ghana is not worth dying for because there is nowhere like home".
The Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle entreated Ghanaians to develop the sense of gratitude for the country's numerous natural resource endowments and work relentlessly to become self-sufficient.
For his part, Mr Kwame Mpianim, a renowned Economist, reviewed the trajectory of the country's economic history, noting that, the nation kept repeating the mistakes of the past because " we failed to learn lessons from our history ".
He underlined the need to package the " Ghana Beyond Aid " initiative as a national agenda, devoid of any partisanship to drive the path of development.
He said it was prudent for the nation to learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and take advantage to produce and manufacture things that meet domestic requirements.
"We should take advantage of the 400 million population of ECOWAS and 1.2 million people in Africa to export our goods and services, he added. saying; " COVID-19 provides us an opportunity to reset the button and harness our resources to better Ghana".
" COVID-19 is a clarion call to shift our attitude from the business as usual.
"We can do it. It is difficult, but is not impossible, " Mr Mpianim emphasised.
Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister, who chaired the programme in his welcome remarks, referred to President Akufo-Addo's address at the 63rd Independence Anniversary in 2018 when he outdoor the "Ghana Beyond Aid" agenda.
The Minister explained that the agenda sought to rally all Ghanaians towards achieving economic self-sufficiency.
Also, it aimed to effectively harness the nation's human and natural resources for rapid national development as well as ensuring we engaged in competitive trading with the rest of the world.
The Minister said: "If Ghana is to become self-sufficient, it is now!
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, in brief remarks, stated that the objective of the forum constituted one of the five strategic pillars of the Government's COVID-19 Response Programme, that's " Provide Personal Protective Equipment locally and turn adversity into opportunity ".
He mentioned the rest of the pillars as Limit the importation of the coronavirus, provide adequate care for those infected with the disease, contains community spread, and implement interventions to lessen the socioeconomic burden of Ghanaians due to the impact of the respiratory disease.