The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has launched a report on the assessment of the 2020 Election Manifestoes of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The 140-page report seeks to open up the manifesto value-chain to the opinion and views of citizens, key experts and the media, and to improve the manifestoes’ effectiveness in addressing critical national long-term development and governance issues.
It is also to build trust, responsiveness and accountability in the process.
Professor Emeritus Takyiwaa Manuh, the Vice Chair of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), launched the Report, which was funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
She said one key point identified in the report was the excessive focus on the inputs of manifestoes as against outcomes adding that they should not just be about implementing social policies to please voters but must ensure the policies addressed issues of poverty, equity and transparency.
Dr Kojo Asante, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at CDD-Ghana, commended the media for supporting the project through sustained advocacy and discussion of the manifestoes as a major tool for influencing policy on the airwaves.
“As we transition from manifestoes to government medium term policies and programmes after the elections, CDD-Ghana will continue to work with all stakeholders towards consolidating the gains, strengthen social accountability and enhance inclusion in Ghana.”
CDD-Ghana commenced the implementation of a project titled: “Promoting Responsive and Responsible Manifestoes for Inclusive Development” in January 2020.
The assessment report analysed the 2020 manifestoes of the NDC and NPP, focusing on how they responded to some key transformational and structural issues across some identifiable sectors.
The evaluation focused on four main sectors covering social protection, health, education and the economy.
On the economy; both parties made promises of maintaining macroeconomic stability while growing and diversifying key sectors and creating jobs at the same time.
However, Ghana’s medium-term fiscal space is likely to be severely constrained, indicated by declining revenues.
This means that several policy trade-offs will have to be considered if the financing of these promises and proposed programmes is to become a reality.
Regarding social protection; the report underscored the need for a legal framework to give backing to social protection policies.
It said most social protection policies were being implemented on discretionary basis and “any government could say it is not interested and the danger is that the sustainability of programmes can be threatened.”
On the health sector, both parties promised to increase the number of health personnel through training and employment of the backlog of graduates awaiting employment.
Both parties also gave an indication of pursuing equity in the distribution of health staff.
It, however, noted that among the challenges likely to constrain the realisation were new training facilities likely to be challenged by the required specialists to train both lower level and highly specialised medical personnel.
The report said a more robust and smart strategy would be needed other than just building new training institutions.
On education it said there were about 400,000 out of school children in Ghana, with a dropout rate of about 20 per cent of enrolled learners in basic school, affecting improved equitable access.
The report said the NPP proposed providing student ID cards to track out-of-school children and put in place enhanced school retention polices.
The report said the NDC proposed supporting children in underserved communities with the “necessary support and incentives to remain in school” as a means of preventing dropouts and promoting equitable access.
However, no specific intervention was mentioned to help with monitoring and enforcement.