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02.11.2005 General News

Ghana needs a policy on human settlement - MP

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Accra, Nov. 2, GNA - Ghana needs a national policy on human settlement to guide its town planning process and settlement pattern, Mr John Gyetuah, Member for Amenfi West said on Wednesday. The member, who was making a statement on "Planning of Cities and Towns in Ghana" in Parliament said, "that would give us well-planned cities and towns."

He said inadequate number of town planning officers and lack of logistical support at the various districts and towns across the country has contributed to the problem.

"Statistics from the Department of Town and Country Planning indicate that out of 138 districts, 54 have no town and country planning establishment and 87 do not have professionals." He said the ratio of professional town planning officers to the total Ghanaian population is 1:198,000, adding, "this present a serious planning problem.

"The Department is responsible for planning, management of development, growth of human settlements, the enhancement in social and economic activities and well-being of the people in Ghana." Mr Gyetuah said there had been an unprecedented growth in building at unauthorised places such as in marshes, water sources, reserves earmarked for parks, sports grounds and schools among other places. "This has robbed the people of pleasure and right to recreation and access to vital public good. It had also created the conditions for flooding and other untold hardships."

Members supported the statement and called for the strengthening of the Department of Town and Country planning. They also asked District Assemblies to enforce planning byelaws, which have been taken for granted for far too long.