The National Population Council(NPC) is proposing a new policy which will enjoin couples to give birth to a maximum of three babies as a measure to control population growth in the country.
If the policy is approved, severe sanctions are likely to be imposed on couples who go beyond the stipulated three babies.
According to the National Population Policy, the main targets for the population policy were to reduce the total fertility rate (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.
The Executive Director of the NPC, Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, warned that the current annual growth rate of 2.5 percent posed a threat to national development.
Dr. Appiah, who has observed the uncontrolled nature of Ghana's population growth stated that couples must be made to bear the social cost of every child beyond the stipulated three children.
“The taxpayer must not be made to bear the cost of additional children by families who exceed the three children. No, it should not be a burden on the state and so we must review our social intervention programmes to reflect this policy,” she added.
The NPC director, however, explained that Ghana's rising population growth is as a result of some of its social intervention programmes which were inconsistent with the population policy.
“We need to balance between reproduction and production because some of our policies are at variance with the population policy,” she said.
She has therefore urged government to review and synchronize the free maternal health policy with the target of the total fertility rate, which advocated three children for every family.
Ghana’s population is now estimated at 29.6 million, grown by more than 23 million people since the country attained independence in 1957 when its population was about six million.
The Council has predicted that the population is likely to double 28 years from now at the current annual growth rate of 2.5 percent.