The National Population Council (NPC) has stressed the need for political leaders in the country to develop policies to reduce population growth rate to a sustainable level to ensure sustainable socio-economic development.
Speaking during a media training workshop, the Executive Director of NPC, Dr. Letitia Adelaide Appiah, said the annual addition of about 700,000 to Ghana’s population poses a huge challenge to development in all sectors of the country.
She also noted that the scourge of illegal mining is also a manifestation of poor population management in which ordinary citizens become pawn in galamsey games by affluent goons with political connections. This, she argued, must give way to a collaborative process in which rural folk are major beneficiaries.
Dr. Adelaide Appiah noted that effective population management improves the lives and livelihoods of citizens by making it easier and cheaper to implement all other policies such as education, housing, sanitation, employment and security.
She said it is in that regard that companies in lawful mining have an obligation to citizens in rural communities to support development programmes in health, education, job creation and basic vocational training schemes that empower rural communities.
Such programmes, he stressed, will ensure balanced population growth rate of the country in line with available resources at any time, focusing on quality life for all.
“Indeed, data show that the neglect of effective population management accounts for about 30 per cent of population growth in developing countries due to unintended and accidental pregnancies with numerous negative health and socio-economic,” she stated
She said the 1969 population policy, titled “Population Planning for National Progress and Prosperity”, the revised 1994 Population Policy, the revised 2018 Population Policy and Act 37 Clause 4 of the 1992 Constitution, had all identified the population of Ghana as the most valuable resource.
The goal of population policy, she said, is to ensure a healthy, educated, skilled population for national development.
“The decision to marry one or more women, give birth to a number of kids must be properly thought out because childbirth is a byproduct of marriage and the children brought out must be well fed, well catered for better growth,” she stressed.
In her view, giving birth to children without proper care puts pressure on the parents, citizens and the state on what she termed ‘tyranny of small decisions’. “Such poor decisions will lead to the struggle of the country’s scarce resources, infrastructure and facilities as too many people will be fighting for few of such things,” she stated.
The NPC Executive Director further emphasised that population and development are inter-related, noting that “in order to improve the quality of development planning, it is imperative to promote awareness among planners”.
She therefore recommended population policies aimed at a concerted effort of a comprehensive family programme, education and services in improving the quality of human capital sustainably for a genuine Ghana beyond aid.
“We cannot continue to ignore reproductive health information and services and population health on a national scale. It is a responsibility, it is a moral imperative and a key priority programme in any developed economy. And all stakeholders, politicians, religious and traditional authorities must in a concerted manner address this threat to our wellbeing and prosperity.
“Policy makers on the need to adopt population policies consistent with development objectives. It is crucial that social and economic plans reflect the goal of improved and sustained quality of life for the people of Ghana,” Dr. Adelaide Appiah concluded.