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24.05.2006 Press Review

Devt plans must be devoid of politics


Dr William Ahadzie, an official of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), on Tuesday argued for national development devoid of partisan considerations, saying it was the only way to ensure sustained development that could result in growth.

He said the situation where development plans were given political colourations usually gave the impression that development plans advocated by a certain regime could fail to feature in any future plans if a new administration took over.

Speaking at a day's seminar in Accra on Tuesday on the "Effectiveness of the National Development Commission", Dr Ahadzie said mistakes in the past where development plans and programmes did not have inputs from the wider section of society, as well as, notable civil society groups should not be repeated.

"Until we make development plans to be owned by the people, political regimes could wish them away since they may not necessarily fit into their mandate. Until we do that we will not move forward as a nation."

The seminar, organised by Legal Resource Centre, a private think-tank, in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, had Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, Member of Parliament for Lawra Nandom, as the alternate speaker.

Dr Ahadzie said national goals should reflect national character adding, "we kill progress if we do not sustain development goals and agenda."

He said the current 'Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II' document, had been subjected to a very wide section of the society to make it responsive to the needs of everyone.

Dr Ahadzie admitted that the suggestions in the document might not have come from every single person concerned, "but we can say that we have their concern fully covered due to the wide spectrum of inputs from the larger part of society we talked to through the length and breadth of the country".

Talking about the role of the NDPC in national development, Dr Ahadzie said it only played supervisory, advisory, monitoring and evaluative roles but had no power to enforce changes. Dr Kumbuor called for stringent measures to be taken to make the Commission respond to its mandate.

He explained that there was need for districts and communities to make real inputs into development plans, otherwise projects would be initiated but the people would not support or use them.

Dr Kumbuor called for rationalization of the various roles that were played at the community, district, regional and national levels so that they are not repeated.

He expressed regret that even though Ghana did not lack research information on planning or on any aspect of development, the information just gathered dust or was never used. Dr Kumbuor called for the setting up of an institution that was devoid of the "vagaries of political dynamics" in order to make the plans sustainable.