MY TOP 7 GOVERNMENT MINDSETS GOING INTO POST-COVID – GANE
A lot has happened over the last 3 months. And for any Government manning this country from here onwards, a lot more will need to happen – short, medium and long term. In my view, it requires thoroughly grasping what the new era is – that grasp, will most certainly affect how policy is drawn and what takes priority in those policies. Here for me are my top 7 views of our new era:
(1) There is the need to see that time lapse between successive pandemics are shortening and more unscripted – it means planning, tracking, modelling and ready deployment for national level risk emergencies (health, climate, security, social) have become short term, must become factored into our regular sectoral operations, cannot be dealt with in silos but as integrated, even in building of response protocols and must be done assuming our bordering neighbours will be weak in regional responses;
(2) Many countries will suddenly see the need to become inward-looking and domestically resilient, in order to soften future shocks from external reliance. That will affect our export of most of our primary commodities and must be instructive to our reliance on imports. It presents tremendous opportunity but also a responsibility to recognise that what we knew as traditional Import-Export, has changed;
(3) There is likely to be surges in global alliances especially in sharing of data and information. This in itself will offer some advantage in being able to pick up early warning signals and impending trends of future risks early, but will also mean an equal exposure to others knowing more about us. But for a country that is hardly Data-driven or longterm planning conscious, there will be hard decisions to make;
(4) Perhaps obvious, maybe not. But Public sector expenditure profile is going to change. Take even the Health ministry for example- long term views of Coronavirus becoming a standard part of our disease burden, equally mean an inexcusable shift in its expenditure items. For government generally, it will become a necessity to shift SOME of our inefficient expenditure burdens from staff costs and benefits, to integrated and technology-driven public service delivery systems.
(5) I see the Coronavirus as a warning shot. If something else happens in the next 5 years without any changes to our anthropological architecture, it will hurt us very bad. Town planning, Integrated Citizen data capture, Wider tax collection and Social nets, Affordable housing, planned transport systems, modernisation of public service delivery and many others without choice – MUST become priority.
(6) The NPP Govt in its “Ghana Beyond Aid” charter talked about, Attitudinal change – as I said then, “Relevant on paper, but not practical of you dont show HOW to do it”. Now, its not just attitude – a whole change is needed in our Social Orientation – Hygiene, Funerals, Environment, Public spaces etc etc – the way I see it – Enforcement should soon become our most crucial asset, if is safeguarded with support and political non-interference;
(7) It has always been here, it was always robbing us, but it took Coronavirus, to say it loud and clear on all our behalves. Politicians and Governments for 3 decades have focused on “Physical Outputs” – because they are easy to see, easy to inaugurate and easy to showcase to electorates with fanfare to prove something is being done. Real OUTCOMES have suffered: e.g. the Longterm Sustainability of policies, Improved Wellbeing and Welfare of citizens, etc E.g. After 3 decades of each Government shouting about bettering our GDP, Paper-GDP, English-GDP and Kasahari-GDP…. we all saw what “their GDP tasted like” during the lockdown?
The point being made is simple: insights needed to move Ghana forward, are continuously shifting fast. Economic Resilience, Political Discipline and Resource Adaptability is the only way out.
We have always had the option to choose between daring excellence, greed and mediocrity – We have just been electing the wrong people, to make a choice for us. No more!
Marricke Kofi Gane
Independent Presidential Aspirant