THE INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS (IEA-GHANA)
PRESS STATEMENT ON LAUNCH OF PREPARATORY WORK FOR A FORTY-YEAR (2018-2057) NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR GHANA
The IEA commends the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for steps towards developing a 40-year (2018-2057) National Development Plan (NDP) for Ghana. While we consider this a worthy cause, we wish to draw attention to some fundamental issues that need to be addressed in order to derive meaningful gains from this process.
· The IEA has undertaken extensive research on the issue of national development planning and considers it a critical national issue. It was one of seven key recommendations contained in an IEA report titled: The Winner-Takes-All Practice of Governance in Ghana – Proposals for Reform, submitted to the President’s Advisor on Governance, Mr. Daniel Batidam, on 15th January, 2015, for the attention of His Excellency President Mahama. The 29-page report states on page 14 as follows (on national development planning):
· “… The Committee (IEA-WTA Committee) in principle, shares the view that there should be a long-term national perspective plan formulated through broad consensus with inputs from all across the political divide which must reflect the views of identifiable groups both at the local and national level. The plan should guide all governments irrespective of which political party is in power. The manifestoes of political parties should explain how their policies and programmes would help achieve targets in the plan. Among other things, through the appointment process and conditions of service, personnel of the NDPC should be totally insulated from politics and political control. This provision must be entrenched in the Constitution. These interventions will ensure that all political parties voted to power are guided by the plan and are assessed by the extent to which they have implemented the national development agenda.”
· Our years of research point to the fact that development plans have not yielded the required benefits to us as a nation because successive governments have all too often abandoned plans by previous governments.
· In other cases, governments have simply changed policy focus and relegated national plans to the background. It has become the norm for governments to focus on implementing their party manifestoes instead of the national development plan.
· These are the issues that have stifled meaningful gains from previous initiatives such as the Development Plan for National Reconstruction and Development (1963), Vision 2020 (1997), Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I&II), among others.
It is against this background that The IEA has made the following key proposals in its publications and at numerous advocacy workshops:
· That the NDPC should be made an independent and autonomous body charged with the responsibility of formulating and overseeing the implementation of a long term national development plans for Ghana. The current partisan mode of appointment of the head of the NDPC undermines the Commission’s independence.
· That the National Development Plan should be entrenched in Ghana’s Constitution in order to make it truly binding on successive governments. Successive governments have consistently flouted legislations that are not entrenched. It is logical to expect that a national development plan that is not anchored in the constitution will be abandoned with a change in government. An entrenched plan would bind successive regimes and halt the tragedy of policy discontinuity that continues to undermine our development.
· Ensure that the process of preparing the national development plan is open, transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders in order to ensure public buy-in and ownership of the final policy blueprint.
The on-going constitution review process provides the country with an opportunity to make critical amendments which lie at the heart of Ghana’s development challenges. We urge the government to take advantage of this golden opportunity to amend the clauses of the Constitution in order to give autonomy to the NDPC and also, entrench the National Development Plan to make it truly binding on all successive governments.
Mrs. Jean Mensa
Executive Director, IEA
Dated: 6th August, 2015
Dr. Ransford Gyampo
Research Fellow (IEA) Tel: 0244277275