Seven hundred and ninety staff of the Physical Planning Department (PPD) of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) have been migrated from the Civil Service to the Local Government Service (LGS).
The staff, who were at the district level of the LUSPA, formerly called the Town and Country Planning Department, have been migrated to the Department of Parks and Gardens to form the PPD at the district assemblies.
The transfer and merger are to ensure that the inequitable and haphazard development of human settlements in the country are addressed.
At a ceremony to symbolically hand over the staff from the Office of the Head of Civil Service to the LGS, the Head of the LGS, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, said the sustainability and resilience of metropolitan municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) would largely depend on the integration of development policies and spatial dimension in the design of national, regional and district level interventions with all stakeholders on board.
He said the PPD had the mandate to lead in the planning, management and implementation of harmonious, sustainable and cost-effective human settlements and environmental horticulture in the districts, in accordance with sound environmental and planning principles.
Dr Arthur added that the importance of the department in the achievement of the socio-economic agenda of the country could not be overemphasised as the government was currently rolling out several interventions towards economic development, job creation and sustainable social development for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said the work of the PPD had a strong and direct impact on development issues, such as agriculture modernisation, revenue generation, sanitation, disaster risk reduction, transportation, climate change adapation and housing.
He announced that the Local Government Act, 2016 (Act 936) had elevated the Human Resource (HR) units of the LGS to a departmental status.
Consequently, he called on all regional coordinating councils and MMDAs to recognise their HR units as such, indicating that administrative instructions would follow soon for the detailed modalities.
The Head of Civil Service, Nana Agyekum Dwamena, said the migration of the staff was an important exercise as it sought to deepen the government’s decentralisation agenda.
He called on the staff to continue to work hard under their new management.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LUPSA, Mr Lawrence Dakurah, said the PPD was confronted with a myriad of challenges, ranging from inadequate staff numbers to inadequate resources for operations, and that had hindered their performance.
He, therefore, urged the LGS to make concious efforts to address those challenges, saying the authority was ready to collaborate with them in that regard.
He said the PPD had a crucial role to play in the development of the country and urged public service organisations and the private sector to support it to execute its mandate.
A commissioner on the Public Service Commission, Mr Michael Aduhene Adu-Darko, who chaired the ceremony, said the transfer would bring the staff closer to the population which they worked with.
He, however, called on them to ensure that they changed their ways of doing things and flowed with modern trends.
Mr Adu-Darko also called on them to psyche up their minds to ensure that their services made a positive impact on people.