Dr Nii Moi Thompson
Dr Nii Moi Thompson

The Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Dr Nii Moi Thompson, has observed that the numerous ministerial reshuffles in the country have contributed largely in the decline of planned implementation of programmes.

Dr Nii Moi Thompson
Dr Nii Moi Thompson

?Continuous changes of political and administrative leadership habitually contribute to every new leader doing the best to undo most of what their predecessors did and commence again.

Dr. Thompson said, some ministries have as many as five or six ministers for a four-year planning circle, which eventually lead to an uncalled- for disruption of planned implementation.

He made the call at a public lecture on the theme: ?A long-term national development plan for Ghana: Prospects and challenges,? at the University of Professional Studies,(UPS) in Accra.

Dr Thompson stated emphatically that the problem in the country was not an issue of planning but that of implementation and identified some of the causes as the illogical change of policy priority and focus during planned implementation.

?Frequent and unpredictable dissolution, formation and combination of ministries sometimes require months, if not years, for realignment,? he said.

He further explained that another problem of political and administrative leadership was the transfer of technocrats, including planners, across districts as a stop-gap measure to resolving the shortage of skills.

According to him, the constitutional provision that authorized every new President to, within two years, prepare a four-year programme of economic and social policy often had the tendency to force every new president to create his own programme and abandon what had occurred before. He lamented.

In the area of development at the local level, Dr Thompson indicated that District chief executives who had the ambition of becoming Members of Parliament often started massive projects that could not be completed.
?The next DCE who comes to power with similar design for parliament, disregard the predecessor?s projects and embarks on new ones for their own parliamentary campaign,? he said.

He added that the cumulative effects were ?the carcasses? of many projects scattered around the country. Citing a researcher of the London School of Economics, who conducted the research with the assistance of the NDPC, he said as many as 35 per cent of the projects in the districts would never be completed, ?because of this wasteful approach.?

Dr Thompson also identified the late release of funds for the ministries, departments and agencies as another factor that affected the effective implementation of plans and gave the assurance that the NDPC had realised that and was working on it.

A Senior Lecturer and Head of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Dr Bossman Asare, suggested that the NDPC should validate its obligation to ensure that the government had the capacity to implement plans.

?I want to suggest that Parliament should as matters of urgency enact laws which will compel all governments to embrace long-term development plans?

The Managing Editor of Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt, in his submission admitted that the 40-year plan proposed by the NPDC was not the remedy for all the country?s problems.

He mentioned that, our focus must be, whether the plan would address the needs and aspirations of the ordinary Ghanaian. He again disagreed with the suggestion that a law be enacted to ensure compliance, describing it as stifling a constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.

The convener of the lecture, Mr Prosper Hoetu, for his part said CSD-Ghana supported the development and implementation of a long-term national development plan partly because, they were of the believe that if the sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose interest and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised, then the development of a long-term plan puts the power in the hands of the citizens.?

The lecture was organised by the Centre for Social Democracy, Ghana in collaboration with the NDPC and Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a German political foundation.

Dominic Kojo Blay

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