Free NDPC of politics — Prof. Antwi-Danso
The Dean and Director of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Professor Vladimir Antwi-Danso, has stated that the membership of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) should be made up of technocrats.
He said the commission should be filled with researchers and people with understanding of planning, who would be able to do research and tell Ghanaians what the country would need in terms of development in the years ahead and plan towards it.
That way, Prof. Antwi-Danso said, the political parties would go to the NDPC to study its development plan for the nation, and based on that tell Ghanaians how they, the political parties, intended to implement the provisions in the plan in their manifestos, for the citizens to decide to vote for them or otherwise.
“This is not happening and since it is not, they are there for the sake of being there.
The NDPC is politicised.
It should be freed from politics.
Nobody should go there if they are not a technocrat.
The NDPC was formed to prepare development plans for Ghana for the political parties to follow but that is not happening.
We are following the idiosyncrasies of the political parties,” he said.
Prof. Antwi-Danso made the suggestion in an interview with the Daily Graphic ahead of the Founders' Day celebration which also coincided with the birthday of the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
The academician and international affairs expert said when the NDPC was filled with technocrats, they would be able to research and tell, for instance, how many houses, potable water and roads would be needed in the country in the next five or 10 years.
Freeing NDPC of politics
He said freeing the Commission of political party appointees and ensuring that the political party manifestos drew their strength from the NDPC development plan would make the plan binding on whichever political party was in power.
The NDPC was established under Articles 86 and 87 of the 1992 Constitution as part of the Executive.
Its mission is derived from its mandate which is to advise the President of the Republic of Ghana (and Parliament on request) on national development planning policy and strategy by providing a national development policy framework, preparing and ensuring effective implementation of approved national development plans and to coordinate economic, and social activities country-wide in a manner that will ensure the accelerated and sustainable development of the country to promote continuous improvement in the living standards of all Ghanaians.
Prof. Antwi-Danso pointed out that constitutionally, everything the NDPC did must be binding but the political parties were not following it.
Touching on Dr Nkrumah's seven-year development plan that was botched, he said it was such that it helped the nation to know where it was going, how it was going and when it would reach there.
"In those days, they were saying Nkrumah's plan was bad but let me tell you, if they hadn't overthrown Nkrumah, we would have been in the bracket of middle-income group of countries by 1971 because Nkrumah's plan was from 1964 to 1971.
How many years on?
60 years on we are now struggling to become middle-income.
The south east Asian countries he followed became middle-income in the 1970s," he pointed out.
Unfortunately, he said, none of the governments that came after Dr Nkrumah had any positive development plan which was followed.
He, however, described as very good the recent 40-year development plan of the NDPC, adding that because it was politicised, it had been thrown away.
"As I speak to you, we don’t have a development plan.
Ghana doesn't have a development plan and may not have any because of politics, " he said.