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NDPC 40-Year Development Agenda Must Be Binding on Gov'ts - Governance Expert

Aug. 13, 2015, 10:17 p.m.

A governance expert has suggested that the National Development Planning Commission’s 40-year development plan must be binding on successive governments.

Eric Oduro Osae, the Dean of Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies, believes a binding national development agenda on all administrations is the only way to guarantee its relevance in Ghana’s development efforts.

“Until and unless any long-term development framework binds on our governments, it will be extremely difficult for us to achieve the aims of such long term development plans”, he underscored.

Top officials at the NDPC have been providing varied and conflicting information regarding whether the 40-year plan - which is backed strongly by President John Mahama - should be legally binding on other governments.

“One of the major characteristics of the long term development plan is that it must have a flexibility to accommodate political and ideological orientations”, President Mahama said during a radio interview recently.

His explanation of the nature of the long term national development plan is however consistent with a White Paper by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) on the proposed project.

The CRC had stated in that White Paper that “Government does not agree that the provision for the development of a national development plan should be entrenched”.

But in a recent interview on Joy News, Senior Technical Advisor at the NDPC, Dr Grace Bediako indicated the long term development document will be backed by law.

“The CRC White Paper and NDPC’s response to the White Paper and the current progress of things will lead us to a legislation that will bring all the governments under that kind of guidance that they have to obey”, she said.

However, Director General of the NDPC, Dr Nii Moi Thompson also said the NDPC is a technocratic organization and its work cannot be forced on governemnts.

“NDPC cannot bind governments. Its powers extend as far as what the Constitution gives it”, Dr Thompson said on Newsfile on Joy FM last Saturday.

These inconsistencies notwithstanding, Dr Oduro Osae says the development plan must be binding.

“We have seen a number of development plans in the past and because they were not binding on governments their implementation have been piecemeal”, the governance expert noted.

However, it is not only the lack of consistency in communicating the nature of the proposed long-term plan by the NDPC that is a source of concern for Dr Oduro Osae.

He is also concerned about the duration of the national development plan.

“The 40-year goal is too long”, he said on Newsnite on Joy FM Thursday.

According to him, successful national development plans across the world have been those that have been aligned with internationally recognized and accepted long term development goals – like the UN’s Millennium Development Goals or the soon-to-introduced Sustainable Development Goals.

He also explains that majority of the resources that will be used to finance the national development plan will not come from internal sources but external ones, making the control and implementation of the agenda - when it spans so many years - difficult to achieve.

“We are going to have the Sustainable Development Goals which is ending 2030 and we are developing a 40-year plan which will end in 2057”, he observed, doubting the sustainability or success of the current NDPC development agenda.

Dr Oduro Osae also sugggests that the NDPC must assess the success rate of other long term development agenda under different administrations and propose a new one that takes into consideration how successive governments have been dedicated to such long term plans.


Disclaimer : The views expressed in this news report do not necessarily reflect those of the National Development Planning Commission