The Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, has stated that Ghana will continue to face economic challenges if its natural resources are not fully exploited to create the needed conditions to achieve a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the country had every reason to be prosperous and successful, noting that the third world tag the country bore was an invitation to it to aspire to greater heights, given the availability of resources to create jobs and enhance opportunities.
Delivering the 13th Pearson-Osae Appreciation Lectures organised by the Prempeh College Old Students Association (Amanfoo) in Accra on Thursday, Mr Eson-Benjamin said Ghana could continue to live with its abundant resources but could gain no competitive advantage from them unless a conscious effort was made to build a professional managerial capacity, competencies and leadership to utilise the resources for national development.
He said accelerating value creation through the provision of fiscal incentives for investors into exploration and processing was critical.
The lecture, which brought together some prominent Ghanaian personalities and old students of the Prempeh College, including former President J.A. Kufuor and a former Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, was on the theme: “Managing Ghana’s Natural Resources”.
Mr Eson-Benjamin, whose presentation received spontaneous applause, said many resource-rich developing countries failed to utilise their natural resources to the fullest potential, creating underperformance and underdevelopment.
He explained that in many countries the overall governance environment was often poor and that situation was compounded by the tendency of their leaders to keep natural resource matters in secrecy.
“Countries can escape the situation where resources become a curse if their peoples are assisted to build their capacity, which would draw on the practical and widespread experience with strengthened institutions and on the good practice approaches identified for the specific economic policy issues,” he added.
Turning the spotlight on developing Ghana’s human resource, Mr Eson-Benjamin stressed the need for the country to recognise the growth poles and all the ancillary factors that must work in an integrated manner to advance the economy and called for excellent project managers in each sector structured in a manner to achieve the desired results.
“We cannot take our eyes off education and world class training as it is a globally accepted and empirically proven fact that for human capital to spawn, a nation needs to have a minimum of at least a 70 per cent literate population,” he stated.
On the use of renewable energy as a resource, he said, Ghana, with its energy deficits, particularly in rural communities in the face of abundant renewable resource for energy, could exploit that energy resource by using its carbon credits to support new investments.
He explained that with solar power touted as the long term solution to Africa’s energy needs, domestic solar panels could provide cheap, clean and reliable electricity, adding, “we must, therefore, take renewable energy challenge and solar energy development seriously, especially as Africa accounted for half the global potential in solar energy”.
Four distinguished old students of the Prempeh College, former President Kufuor, Mr David Dartey Owusu, Mr Yaw Manu Sarpong and Moses Tetteh, were presented with citations recognising exceptional roles they had played in their various fields of endeavour towards national development.
Former President Kufuor, on behalf of the awardees, commended the organisers of the programme for the appreciation, and extolled the virtues of the Prempeh College, saying that the school was founded on the basis of discipline and strong character.
Source: Daily graphic