General News of Thursday, 29 January 2015
The Government is to decouple Economic Planning functions from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, to strengthen development management by more closely linking plans with budgets.
The decoupling will ensure that the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) takes over the economic planning functions of the State.
The transfer of functions, according to Dr Nii Moi Thompson, NDPC Director-General, will also ensure that ultimately all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as Municipal, Metropolitan, and District Assemblies (MMDAs), will work with the Commission, to align their plans with national development priorities before they are funded by the Ministry of Finance.
NDPC statement signed by Mr David Owusu-Amoah, Head of Public Affairs, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Wednesday, explained that President John Dramani Mahama had already given directives for the decoupling.
The statement said the two institutions have met several times to determine the scope and nature of the transfer.
He cautioned, however, that the country’s development efforts would be futile without “extensive institutional reforms.”
In this regard, he said, the Commission has incorporated “soft issues, ” such as work attitudes, and “core national values, ” into its medium-term development framework which are being implemented by government.
According to the statement, the decoupling process was disclosed to Heads of Development Cooperation Agencies in Ghana, during a working visit to the NDPC headquarters to familiarize themselves with the work of the Commission.
The visit also gave the NDPC Director-General the opportunity to explain President Mahama’s Transformation Agenda, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda Two (GSGDA 2), as well as other development frameworks of interest to the international development community in Ghana.
According to the statement, Dr Thompson also discussed the legislative instrument that gives the Commission the power to sanction MDAs and MMDAs that do not comply with national planning and budget guidelines, which has been endorsed by the Attorney General’s Department and is ready for Cabinet.
Dr. Thompson fielded a number of questions from the delegation, including the relationship between the Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission; the implications of a possible IMF programme for Ghana’s growth and development prospects; the role of the private sector in national development; and efforts by government to address weaknesses in development management.
With respect to a possible IMF programme for Ghana, Dr. Thompson assured the delegation that such a programme would focus mostly on short-term macro-economic stabilization, while the Commission would focus on medium-to-long-term economic growth to complement the programme.
He added, “The Commission is working closely with the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Ghana to ensure a successful programme.”
The leader of the delegation, Mr. Jim Bever, USAID Country Director, expressed appreciation to Dr. Thompson and the NDPC, for granting them audience, and hoped the two sides would meet more frequently to share ideas.
It also included representatives from the United Nations System, the African Development Bank, the European Union, Germany, Denmark, France, and the United Kingdom, among others.