Mr. Lawrence Z. Dakurah, First Vice President of the Ghana Institute of Planners (GIP), has said the Town and Country Planning Department was in the process to develop a long term Spatial Development Plan for the country.
The plan, he said, was under the Land Use Planning and Management Project; a component of the Land Administration Project and was expected to provide a framework for Ghana?s spatial development over the next 20 years.

?Indeed the department has taken the lead to come up with a national spatial development framework, which is an indicative guide to show how Ghana is going to develop over a 20-year period.

This framework already has a long-term perspective. It is yet to be presented to Cabinet and to Parliament,? he stated.

Mr. Dakurah, who was speaking to journalists on Wednesday at a press briefing organised by the GIP, revealed that the department had also prepared a regional Spatial Development Plan for the Western region to guide its spatial development for the next 20 years.

He said currently spatial development plan for the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone which constitutes the operational area of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority is underway.

?This could be built on by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to come up with an overall long term national development plan,? he said.

Dr. Stephen S. Yirenkyi, President of the GIP, noted that in order for development planning to be effective, long term visions rather than political decisions must become prime components.

He noted that the absence of a long-term national development plan, spanning about 20 to30 years, had resulted in a number of development challenges including uncompleted projects, limited generation and capacity infrastructure in the energy sector.

Dr Yirenkyi, who is also the Vice President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners, mentioned inadequate health financing for the national health insurance scheme (NHIS), failure of the housing delivery system to meet demand, lack of consistency in educational policy, as well as other issues in the agriculture, road and urban management sectors as some of the challenges.

He said a survey conducted by the GIP from December 2014 to February 2015 had indicated that long term development planning was a common feature in countries like Indonesia, Hungary, Kenya and Tanzania, that had attained high levels of development.

?There should be a legislation by Parliament making it mandatory for any government in power to implement the adopted long term national development plan in the country.

?This will ensure continuity of development programmes in the country,? he stated, and expressed the GIP?s support for government?s decision to move the Economic Planning function from the Ministry of Finance to the NDPC.

Mr. Alfred Kwasi Opoku, Second Vice President of the GIP, said the adoption and implementation of the long-term national development plan would allow planners to work towards a long-term goal, instead of only drawing medium-term (three-year) plans which were sometimes not fully implemented.

?We will be working for future generations and not just the present,? he stated.



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