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Opinions Thu, 7 Jul 2016

Presidents must think thoroughly think through policies

By Cletus D Kuunifaa

As father of the nation, any elected president is not there for political expediency. Broadly speaking, you are not there for your party, for your constituency nor for your kilt and kin. Specifically put, the leader of this peaceful country is there to bolster the image of the nation, South of the Sahara being first to gain independence and to transform the nation for us.

If by the end of your mandate, Ghana has moved a notch from the middle income nation status to a befitting status, whoever president responsible for that feat would have been leaving a good legacy for his successors to continue. If on the other hand the converse becomes true in which case Ghana gets downgraded from middle income status to a least developed status (as though we are just emerging out of extreme poverty and hardships caused by the likes of conflict and very poor management) then you have yourself to blame as well. That gloomy legacy will linger on!

Our motherland Ghana is blessed with numerous natural as well as human resources that well-thought-out policies should be able to harness to create the desired positive impact on our lives. That’s the reason for which I hold strongly that governments must create policies that are well thought out and how they affect Ghanaians positively must matter a lot. After all, isn’t good policy good politics?

Every policy must be worded carefully and thought out at a level that the originators have never experienced in their lives. Policies embarked upon must not be a zero-sum game. If the policy embarked upon is a zero-sum game just give up now before you are in too deep and can't deliver

Good policies must not only tell time, but history. In fact, good policies stand the test of time. Therefore, every policy churned out must embody the ability in which all and sundry derive the requisite value from its implementation.

A glance at the new Housing Policy launched has a goal of providing adequate, decent and affordable housing that is accessible and meet the needs of all the people living in Ghana. The policy is intended to ensure that housing is designed and built to sustainable building principles, leading to the creation of green communities, ensuring full participation of all stakeholders in decision-making on housing development and allocation in their communities, and ensuring adequate and sustainable funding for the supply of diverse mix of housing in all localities (see http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Ghana-gets-new-housing-policy-352308

Without a doubt, this Housing policy must be welcome news. Surely looks good. The flip side of it is when implementing the policy does not measure up to the descriptors embodied in the policy document. What I mean by descriptors in the policy framework are; sustainable building principles, green communities, full participation, accessible and meets needs of people as are captured in the policy definition.

Aside these descriptors, it is imperative to know if the housing complexes/units like those built in the Pram Pram area and in other places are connected to transport/road network? Are they in situ within social services like hospitals, parks, community centers, libraries etc? Is the bus system connecting since workers will be plying to and fro from work from neighboring towns and cities? But most importantly, does it allow the average Ghanaian worker to rent and to rent to own?

If none of these is possible, especially when the average worker is unable as a result of his income status to enjoy this massive infrastructure, then it means the few who would be in the other favored income bracket are more susceptible to patronizing the facility. This, in essence, accentuates sharply the Gini coefficient, a widely used indicator of economic inequality.

If none of these descriptors were or are factored into the current housing units recently out doored by the President, then we have a big problem. It becomes a white elephant that can be aptly described for what it is fit for political expediency and another fraud since the hard earned sovereign name was used as surety to procure the investment funding for this initiative. I wonder why all these infrastructures are going on without a thought process and prior planning.

Cletus D Kuunifaa

TMC Group

Can be contacted at dipnibe@yahoo.com, dipnibe@gmail.com or follow him on twitter @ckuunifaa

Columnist: Kuunifaa, Cletus D.