Demographic experts are concerned that Ghana’s population is growing at a faster than normal rate. The National Population Council (PNC) has therefore proposed that government starts implementation of the National Population Policy to limit the number of children born to any couple in the country.
The proposal however sparked criticisms across the country, with many having the understanding that couples will henceforth be forced to have only 3 or lesser number of children.
But the Executive Director of the National Population Council, Leticia Adelaide Appiah has come out to clear the air on the misconception, saying that it is the National Population Policy that the Council is pushing for its implementation. This she said, aims at controlling the country’s population which will in turn ensure the maintenance of the country’s human resource quality.
“The way forward is to have a population policy implemented, the growth rate should be reduced and we have to talk about the quality of life,” Madam Leticia said.
Speaking further, Leticia Appiah explained that Ghana has maintained an astronomical growth rate of 2.5; comparative to the global average of 1.5 in the last 30 years. She said the development has negatively affected the country’s economy and development.
Madam Appiah noted that if the situation persists without the appropriate policy to address it, the quality of life in the country will experience a sharp decline leaving very few people with the needed technical know-how of addressing various challenges in the country.
Ghana’s National Population Policy
Section 4.4.1 of the 1994 National Population Policy targets to reduce Total Fertility Rate (TFR), that is, the number of children a woman is likely to have during her reproductive years, from 5.5 to 5.0 by 2000, 4.0 by 2010 and 3.0 by 2020.
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But the contrary has been the case as the country’s population has continued to increase over the years. Per the 2016 Population and Housing Census, Ghana’s total population stood at 28.21 million, and a United Nations estimates pegged it at 28.73 million as of August 20, 2017.
The NPC is therefore pushing for the resurrection and implementation of the National Population Policy to curb looming population explosion. The population policy figures are however, average calculations meant to put the country’s population under control by encouraging couples to limit the number of children they produce.
The NPC has therefore, dismissed claims and misconceptions that the council is pushing for a policy that will force every couple to have not more than three children.
Family Size Policy in other Countries
China is among the few countries in the world who have adopted a major population control policy to restrict childbirth. In 1979, the country started the “one child per family policy” (Juali Li 563) which stated that citizens must obtain a birth certificate before the birth of their children.
Also in India, the state government instituted a policy that offers newlywed couples a cash grant of 5000 rupees or $106 to wait two years to have their first child. Some other states have also made having more than two children a disqualification from holding public office.