The President, John Dramani Mahama, has underscored the importance of long-term development plans to the socio-economic prosperity of nations, adding that while short- and medium-term development plans are relevant, they are effective only if situated within long-term frameworks.
President Mahama said countries that had achieved high income growth and socio-economic prosperity were those who had implemented long-term development plans with some consistency, be it formal or informal.
He, therefore, called on all Ghanaians to eschew partisan political considerations and to work together in the national interest to produce a long-term National Development Plan for Ghana.
He was delivering the key note address at the launch of the process towards the preparation of a 40-year National Development Plan for Ghana (2018-2057) in Accra, yesterday.
President Mahama stressed the need for broad consultations and collaboration from all stakeholders in the development of the Plan and urged the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to take into consideration the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were about to be launched at the end of the year, when implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) came to an end.
He said there was also the need to be guided by the failures and successes of previous national development plans and learn lessons from them in order to produce a document that would be acceptable to all Ghanaians, adding that the document should reflect the demands of the Constitution, society, the community and the economy.
In a presentation on the nature of the 40-year National Development Plan, the Director-General, NDPC, Dr Nii Moi Thompson, explained that a long-term national development plan was a requirement of law as well as a popular request by the people of Ghana which emerged during the Constitution Review Exercise.
Furthermore, Dr Thompson said, the mandate of NDPC in generating a long-term national development plan for the country was embedded in law, citing Article 85, 86 and 87 of the 1992 Constitution, National Development Planning Commission Act, 1994 (Act 479) and the National Development Planning (System) Act, 1994 (Act 480).
Other laws of relevance to NDPC’s work, he said, were the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 4620), Local Government Service Act, 2003, (Act 656), Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011, (Act (815), Civil Service Act, 1993 (PNDC Law 327), and the Ghana Infrastructural Investment Fund Act, 2014 (Act 877).
He said the plan, which would be guided by chapter 6 of the 1992 Constitution which dwelt on the Directive Principles of State Policy, would succeed Ghana’s current national development plan—The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA)—the implementation of which would come to an end in 2017.
On the question of why a 40-year plan, Dr Thompson said it was chosen to coincide with Ghana’s 100 years anniversary.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Kwesi Botchwey, Chairman, NDPC, and Chairman for the occasion, noted that evidence abounded that long-term national development plans had helped countries to develop and attain high income growth.
Prof. Botchway noted that long-term development plans could not thrive in an environment of political competitive pluralism as against an environment of benevolent dictatorship, adding that for a long-term development plan to succeed, there was the need for the plan to have a large ownership that cut across partisan politics.
He said in this current effort of developing of a 40-year National Development Plan for Ghana, the supreme national interest of the nation would be pursued and preserved while allowing flexibility for the pursuit of individual political party Manifesto agenda and programmes.
Present at the launch were representatives from the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Ghana Employers Association (GEA), Network for Women’s Rights (Netright), Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) and the Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE).
The others were representatives from the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Federation of Muslim Councils, Christian Council of Ghana, Catholic Bishops Conference, National House of Chiefs and the Ghana Culture Forum.
The rest were representatives from the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA), Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA, Council for Indigenous Business Associations (CIBA) and Curious Minds.
The occasion was also graced by former Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjahoe, Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hanna Tetteh, and members of the Diplomatic Corps in Ghana.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)