The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, has asked professional organisations and academia to show more interest in issues relating to national development.
He said allowing politicians alone to drive the country’s economy, while professional organisations looked on, would not bring any meaningful progress to the nation.
Mr Ashigbey made the call when he chaired the maiden edition of a public lecture organised by the Institute of Certified Economists, Ghana (ICEG) in Accra last Wednesday.
The lecture, which was on the theme: “Reposition Ghana’s economy for growth and development”, brought together members of the ICEG and other individuals to discuss issues of national interest.
New fellows were also inducted into the ICEG.
Mr Ashigbey posited that one of the major ways to address problems that hindered the country’s economic growth was for professional organisations to be ready to offer solutions.
He was of the high conviction that most of the professional groups and academia had knowledge and information that could help deal with the challenges affecting national development.
“Professional organisations and academia need to consistently come out with policies and ideas that will benefit the nation, instead of leaving everything in the hands of politicians,” he stressed.
He, therefore, commended the ICEG for creating a platform for knowledgeable minds to deliberate on the future of Ghana’s development.
In the main, speakers on the theme raised concerns over the country’s dependency on imported food and cautioned that Ghana’s reliance on foreign products, if not addressed, could spell doom for the country’s growth.
They were the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Monfant Banks International Consulting Group (MBIC), a financial institution, Mr Jerry Monfant; the CEO of B&FT, a business newspaper, Mrs Edith Dankwah, and a senior lecturer at the Regent University College, Dr Ebenezer Ashely.
Ghana is said to spend about $1 billion annually on food imports, out of which, $500 million is believed to be spent on the importation of rice.
The remainder is spent on the importation of fish, sugar and other food items.
Learn from developed states
On how the country could improve its economy, Mr Monfant urged Ghanaians to learn from developed countries such as Japan, Italy, Singapore and others that did not have half of the resources Ghana had but were able to turn their economies around.
Using the educational sector as an example, he said: “We have majority of our tertiary institutions offering the same courses and producing surpluses.”
For her part, Mrs Dankwah called on the government to put more focus on the agricultural sector.
“If we can start growing and producing the products we import, the economy will experience massive transformation,” she said.
Mr Ashely, on the other hand, emphasised the need for the country to put in place mechanisms that would support local businesses to gain global recognition.
He also called for more collaboration between the government and private businesses to address problems affecting the country’s development agenda.