Dr. Leticia Appiah
Ghana’s annual population growth is alarming, the National Population Council (NPC) has noted.
According to the Council, the country for the past three decades has grown its population by 2.5 per cent yearly, which translates into between 700,000 and 800,000.
This rate is more than the global target of annual population growth of 1.5 per cent, which engenders optimal development, the Council stated.
The Executive Director of the NPC, Dr Leticia Appiah at Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting in Accra yesterday, said a population of 27 million people growing at 2.5 was “alarming” and that there was the need for the country’s rate of population to be controlled.
She honoured the invitation of the committee to answer questions related to their performance and financial audit report of the Auditor-General for the year ended 31st December 2015 on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Dr Appiah said the structure of Ghana’s population is not properly placed as the dependent group of zero to 15 years hovers around 41 per cent of the total population of the country, a situation she said was “scary.”
“For population, the most important thing is the structure…we are a very youthful population and that accounts for much of our expenditure,” she said.
Asked of her advice for couples as part of what could be done to control the country’s growth, Dr Appiah said the focus on making babies should be on quality.
“We should have a number of children we can comfortably take care of, we should have standards for who a Ghanaian is and we should have quality human resource and it is only then that economic development will be achieved,” she stated.
Pregnancies above four, she said were risky though there were exceptions to every rule, and that it was important that parents adequately spaced births to give optimal health to both the mother and the child.
“For me, I wasn’t too surprised that we went to the Olympic games and didn’t get any medal because we have a document that says that 37 per cent of Ghanaians were stunted as children.
“This means we were malnourished and if you are malnourished, it’s very difficult to compete against somebody who is fully nourished and win any medals against them,” she said to loud laughs by members on the committee.
“Why is it that those who give us money from global fund have two children and we those who go for money from them have ten?
“Because they have two, they can afford to save and give us some but because we have ten, we just spend on food, clothing, schools…. and that is why we keep constructing more schools and hospitals,” Dr Appiah said.
Of the world’s estimated 7.5 billion people by the United Nations in April this year, Asia has 4.4 billion, Africa controls 1.2 billion, Europe, 738.8 million, North America 579 million, South America, 422 million and Australia 39.9 million.