40-Year Dev't Plan Will Be Legally Binding But Flexible - Kwesi Botchwey
The Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Professor Kwesi Botchwey, says political parties need not fret over the plans to make the proposed 40-year development plan legally binding on all governments.
He told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday that while the Ghana@100 plan will lay out what should be achieved, successive governments will decide how to do it.
Giving an example, he said if the plan says Ghana needs to have 100,000 megawatt capacity by 2040, a political party can decide within its 4-year mandate that it wants to adopt a mix of solar, thermal or hydropower sources.
Every political party will have the space, he said, to implement their manifesto "but they will all be committed to building that capacity so that by 2057 we will have that power capacity”.
Another example, he said if it is agreed that every town of 10,000 residents should have a central sewage system, it will be the task of government to plan how it wants this done.
In effect, the plan will have flexibility enough for politicians to implement their agenda. But it will be within a framework, he stressed.
“If the plan isn’t binding, it will be a waste of everybody’s time” the country’s longest-serving Finance minister stated.
Since the National Development Planning Commission announced plans to collate views and inputs of Ghanaians, high and low, to draft a 40-year development plan, some politicians have expressed fears the Ghana@100 development blueprint could be taking over the job of a party with a mandate and a manifesto to implement.
They say a government reserves the right to implement its plans and cannot be tied down to a plan it did not draw up.
Many believe that short of a law to make the plan binding, the nice intentions will like all others suffer from a lack of implementation.
Prof. Kwesi Botchwey shares this view. “Of course the plan has to be binding. We expect it to be binding”, he maintained.
He believes he shares the sentiments of many who are in favour of a binding plan.
He grounded this view in the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) which went round the country to gather proposals for amendments to the 1992 constitution.
“The most predominant and loudest message that they got from around the country was, people were yearning for a plan to guide our future development.
“They were so overwhelmed by this call that they devoted an entire section [part 3 of the recommendation] to the NDPC to strengthen the planning process… mandate of the NDPC and to even entrench the provisions relating to the NDPC such that they could not be amended except by a referendum.”
Professor Botchwey said a government white paper on the CRC report had attempted to sideline the call for development planning.
But after public outcry against the white paper’s posture, “there was something of a reversal” by government, he recalled.
The NDPC Chairman said this goes to stress the importance and popularity of a binding development plan.
Expressing confidence that the plan will have enduring continuity, he said many young people have called him to express their excitement that such a plan is being drawn.
The consultative processes for 40-year development plan was launched last week. The NDPC will start consultations in the Ashanti region.
Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline|Edwin Appiahfirstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer : The views expressed in this news report do not necessarily reflect those of the National Development Planning Commission