Some leading academicians, who are known members of the Convention People's Party (CPP), People's National Convention (PNC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have come together to form a governance think tank known as Solidaire Governance Forum (SOLIDAIRE GHANA).
The new governance forum is expected to be the home of scholars who belong to the social democratic sphere of the ideological contest.
Some of the notable names that The Herald has gathered to be members of the new think-tank include, former General Secretary of the CPP, Prof Nii Noi Dowuona, former PNC Running Mate, Mr Emmanuel Anyidoho and former Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Prof George K.T Oduro, an NDC member.
Others are Prof Emmanuel Bobobee of the CPP, Prof Raymond Atuguba of the PNC, Dr. Gamel Naseer of the (CPP) Dr. Grace Ayensu and Dr Nana Ama Browne Klutse, both of the NDC, and others, whose political party affiliations are yet to be known.
At a Press Soiree organized by SOLIDAIRE Governance Forum to interact with the press, ahead of the official launch of the organisation, Prof. Nii Noi Dowuona, questioned why there has been a sharp rise in the number of local government authorities, yet this has not had a corresponding increase in development of localities.
He hinted that the Fellows of SOLIDAIRE GHANA will use research, experiences and best practices to demand a rethinking of Ghana's systems and processes for development.
Another fellow of SOLIDAIRE GHANA, Mr Michael Harry Yamson of Ishmael Yamson and Associates, bemoaned the spate of judgment debts and wondered why as a country, Ghana has failed to identify and punish the officers whose actions occasioned the need for firms to sue Ghana at the international courts of arbitration.
Mr Yamson called on Parliament to stand up as the last bastion of hope for the masses, whose taxes are to be used to pay the awards, the interests and the cost of such arbitrations.
The Executive Director of SOLIDAIRE Governance Forum who delivered the keynote address at the press interaction, announced that the think-tank is under the auspices of Dr. Cadman Atta Mills, brother of Late ex-President of Ghana, Prof John Evans Atta Mills.
Dr. Cadman Atta Mills, who was a Senior Executive at the World Bank and also served as a Presidential Advisor on the economy in his brother's government, and is the Honorary President of Solidaire Ghana is expected to arrive in the country before the launch of the think-tank.
Mr Essuman, defined the forum as a "Social Democratic think-tank formed with the object of influencing Ghana's policy space with social democratic thinking and values." He said the forum is home to all those who believe in social democratic policies, as the best option that will help in Ghana's quest towards poverty alleviation in a sustainable manner.
"As a developing nation aspiring to lift our people from the pits of poverty and squalor, there is no doubt that we need strong non-governmental, non-partisan institutions, that will focus on monitoring and evaluation of policy implementations, so as to keep focus on people centered development," Mr Essuman explained.
The Executive Director was confident that: "The proposals by the Fellows of SOLIDAIRE GHANA, when deployed judiciously and expertly, will in no doubt help to accelerate and transform our country substantially. SOLIDAIRE GHANA is ready to provide Ghana with the needed leadership in constructive policy criticisms and provide relevant alternatives to assist our country grow and develop."
"The role that we have taken upon ourselves to play in the forward match of this country requires that we.....present our assessments of policies, make available researched findings from reputable institutions and be a reliable avenue to air genuine, honest and critical policy interventions and ideas," he stated.
Beyond stating the fact that corruption has been a bane towards effective policy implementation in Ghana and promising to propose means to reduce that, Mr Essuman said: "Policy implementation remains a bane in our development drive and SOLIDAIRE GHANA recognizing this state of affairs, will provide that leverage, using the AGENDA FOR GHANA SERIES. This platform will be shared by our distinguished and accomplished Fellows, who are desirous of offering that critical solution, necessary to fast-track our country's desire to increase the disposable income of the Ghanaian worker, advance the process of money circulation and alleviate poverty from our land, in a sustainable manner."
He went on to cite an IMF Country Report on Ghana which found that corruption remains high in Government through rampant dissipation of public funds, thereby creating avoidable poverty trends. He quoted portions of the IMF statement which indicated that the Oracle Enterprise Suite, GIFMIS, which can be used to process forex transactions, is also a conduit for corruption, and that during a review by IMF in 2019, they noted that transactions executed and amounting to Two Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty Four Million, One Hundred and Ninety Four Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty Eight Ghana Cedis (GH¢2,334,194,438) could not be traced to any MDA, as defined in the Chart of Accounts.
The Executive Director of SOLIDAIRE Governance Forum listed a number of policies and challenges facing the country, which requires a review by Social Democrats in order to help realize maximum benefits.
"So we ask: Why are our policies failing continuously during implementation?
LEAP is limping. Free SHS is suffering from an overdose of political tokenism, lacks sustainability and requires urgent review. YEA is politically dislocated.
"Judgment debt conundrum has created big holes in our public coffers. National Health Insurance Scheme is now synonymous with long queues and dispensing poor healthcare services to card holders".
"Media harassment and Corruption is now a pandemic and threatening our democracy.
State sponsored violence, a characteristic of military regimes, is now the order of the day, and is making a mockery of our democracy".
"DUMSOR is now DumSie-DumSie without progress. Insecurity is the order of the day, and we are all afraid of becoming victims".
"Every week, increment in fuel prices is leading to economic crises for the ordinary people, without corresponding mitigating measures".
"So we ask again: Which of our policies as a country is working as expected?
Clearly, it is time to brainstorm for solutions," he concluded.