Samson's Take: An economy for happiness - an ideal lost to corruption

Video Archive
Sat, 20 Oct 2018 Source: Samson Lardy Anyenini

In part three of my series focusing on the ideal envisaged by the framers of our Constitution, I make the point, without any hesitations, that corruption and greed are the reasons the goal for a healthy economy to produce a happy people remains elusive.

Today, I draw attention to article 36 clauses 1 and 2 by simply reproducing it so managers of the economy especially may be reminded to try and stay the course:

"(1) The State shall take all necessary action to ensure that the national economy is managed in such a manner as to maximize the rate of economic development and to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every person in Ghana and to provide adequate means of livelihood and suitable employment and public assistance to the needy.

(2) The State shall, in particular, take all necessary steps to establish a sound and healthy economy whose underlying principles shall include -

(a) the guarantee of a fair and realistic remuneration for production and productivity in order to encourage continued production and higher productivity;

(b) affording ample opportunity for individual initiative and creativity in economic activities and fostering an enabling environment for a pronounced role of the private sector in the economy;

(c) ensuring that individuals and the private sector bear their fair share of social and national responsibilities including responsibilities to contribute to the overall development of the country;

(d) undertaking even and balanced development of all regions and every part of each region of Ghana, and, in particular, improving the conditions of life in the rural areas, and generally, redressing any imbalance in development between the rural and the urban areas;

(e) the recognition that the most secure democracy is the one that assures the basic necessities of life for its people as a fundamental duty."

I am of the view that it is not that we have lost the plot to achieve this ideal, but that corruption, grand and petty have rendered it an illusion.

In his latest book, Fiscal Decentralization and Financial Management Practices of Sub National Governments: Evidence from Ghana, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae points us to how scarce resources are poorly managed and wasted especially at the local government levels. I hope we will pay some attention to the sound recommendations in that book before it is too late.

In the industrialization agenda driven on the Ghana Beyond Aid mantra, we may be presented with clear pillars that give hope of realizing an economy that produces happiness. But how different is this from many other such promising mantras we have forgotten about because there is nothing to show for them? One district one factory does give hope but some remind us of the failed Presidential Special Initiatives.

Yesterday the Electoral Commission announced a committee to provide a roadmap for implementation of ROPAA. I dare say this committee is needless as it will only reproduce what a similar committee set up by the same EC did in 2011. The order of the Court in 2017, is for the EC to work on the modalities for implementation by a Constitutional Instrument. Take that report for guidance on the C.I and don't waste public funds on another round of meetings to duplicate what you already spent money on.

May the ideal in article 36 to have happy citizens not elude us eternally.

Columnist: Samson Lardy Anyenini