By Frank Amponsah
All the twenty-four (24) members of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) resigned yesterday, after presenting the Draft Development Plan to the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, at theFlagstaff House inAccra.
The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey, when he stated that “…and now our work having been done, Mr. President; this is the most important part of our mission, we as a commission, chaired by me will like to collectively stand down – bring our tenure as a commission to a close.”
According to Dr Botchwey,, the members decided to step down not because the constitution required them to but in order to give the President the opportunity to recompose, recast the commission in accordance with his own vision and priorities as well as the supreme interest of Ghana.
The Commission also used the opportunity to present to the President its work so far which the Chairman described as “close to completion,” saying that “We have put the plan document in as close to completion as possible. But we recognize that it may require further review, further work and we are happy as a group to help in any way that we can to bring to complete such a review if necessary.”
The President noted that he had had engagements with both the Chairperson and the Director General of the Commission, who briefed him about the progress of work on the draft long-term National Development Plan.
According to him, the development of the plan required extensive consultations, substantial reviews and consensus building, but the Commission was able to complete it.
He said “Ghana is grateful to you. The long term path of our nation’s development is one that has to concern us all – politicians and the citizenry alike. This year, we celebrated our 60th independence from British colonial rule. In comparison to the likes of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, countries which gained their independence around the same time as we did, it is evident that we should be further along in our national life than we currently are. We must, therefore, make rapid progress, and do things to ensure that we achieve it.”
The President also mentioned that there have been several comments as to the development of the long term plan with some people questioning the very essence of planning whilst others do not contest the relevance of planning for national development, but takes issue with the time frame.
“Then there are those who raise concerns about the binding nature of a long-term plan. Some view this plan as the best chance to commit present and future leaders to the development agenda. Others would want nothing of a long-term, because it could limit the degree of freedom to operate within the context of their manifestoes, and fulfilling their commitments and promises to the electorate. Indeed, many politicians fall into this category,” he said, and averred that government is almost done with the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, which the Constitution, in Article 36(5), requires the President of the Republic to submit to Parliament within the first two years of his administration.
He said, government has worked to ensure it is completed within the first year of his tenure of office and that Cabinet has approved it for submission to Parliament.
Nana Akufo-Addo however envisaged that with the implementation of the long term development plan, Ghana will have “a strong, buoyant economy that will provide decent jobs for all; and that our school leavers from secondary and university will not spend an inordinate amount of time, as they do now, to get a job or create one for themselves and for others.”
He also said Ghanaian will be associated with tangible benefits, such as free basic education, a good healthcare system, the rule of law and security in the country and the country’s infrastructure effectively supports the development.
The President is also hopeful that state institutions, public and private, will function as expected, and consciously work to the satisfaction of citizens, saying that Ghana is fully engaged in efforts towards regional and continental integration.
“I am reassured that these aspirations meet substantially those of the plan you are submitting, that we all agree that we must build a Ghana Beyond Aid. We must not and cannot fail in taking up this journey. We need to seek out those who are not yet convinced and bring them on board; and we need to have people to champion the different aspects of the plan, in particular the key milestones.”
He said, the Draft Plan presented to him presents his government and subsequent governments with unnerving task to stay on track and ensure that they have the desired outcome.
He promised that government will continue the work and subject the Draft to careful review, with the expectation that any angles that were missed and any additional milestones will be defined.
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