General News of Tuesday, 7 February 2017
The manner in which the current 40-year National Development Plan – drafted by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) with the support of the previous government – was crafted does not tie the hands of any political party in Ghana, Dr Nii Moi Thompson, Chairman of the NDPC has said.
According to him, all the political parties in Ghana took part in the preparation of the plan and their views were factored into the document.
His comments are a reaction to assertions made by minister-designate of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour that the plan would make the implementation of party manifestos difficult when there are intermittent changes in government.
Speaking during his vetting on Monday, 6 February, Prof Gyan-Baffour said: “Ghana needs a long-term perspective plan, Ghana needs a long-term view about where we want to be in 40 years from now, but Ghana does not need a 40-year development plan.”
“The simple reason is that the word plan connotes rigidity, it connotes the fact that when it is there and I come with my ideas I cannot implement those ideas because the plan will talk about the vision or the goals, it will talk about objectives, it will talk about the implementation of projects and programmes and it will talk about all these things, even including monitoring and evaluation.
“So, if you do it that way the parties will then say that, what do I have left? There is nothing left for me but I went to the people to tell them with my manifesto that this is what I want to do. Now when you come in here and you have told me everything that I should do in 40 years, what am I going to do [with the manifesto]?
“If you do that there is nothing that they (parties) can do, they will violate it, so it is not a good idea to come out with a plan as such but yes, I am all for a development agenda, I am all for a set of goals.”
However, speaking to the press after the vetting exercise, Dr Thompson said: “All the major political parties including the one that is in government now were part of the process [of drafting the 40-yr development plan] and it is an ongoing process where we need to actually go out of our way and continue to explain things. So as the Professor himself said during the hearing, it is probably a case of nomenclature, he admits that it is a long-term work, more or less long-term goals. I am glad that he made a distinction between an operational plan; that has detailed activity. Anyone who had problems can rest assured that this is a long-term vision of framework. We used working title plan because that is what the laws says. Act 815 says long-term plan. The constitution also uses the word plan.”
“We have actually listed the different names for other countries. They have Framework, they have Long-Term Plan, they have National Vision, they have Perspective Plan, they have Transformational Agenda, they have Long Range Economic Plan; South Africa has a National Development Plan so the names vary. Ultimately, it is the content that is going to make a difference. This is not a detailed long-term plan that ties the hands of any political party, that is why within three weeks after NPP won, we were able to align their manifesto with the five strategic goals in the plan.”