Gov’t won’t follow 40-year dev’t plan—Osafo-Maafo

May 17, 2017
Source: Obed Atta-Yeboah l l Ghana
Gov’t won’t follow 40-year dev’t plan—Osafo-Maafo

The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has reiterated that the government of President Akufo-Addo will not be bound by the 40-year development plan that is currently being prepared by the National Planning Development Commission (NDPC), as he doubts the sustainability of the plan.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the National Policy Summit organized by the Ministry of Information and the Business and Financial Times, the Senior Minister said changes in technology and other factors may outdate the plan in future, hence, government’s lack of commitment to it.

“My views on it [the forty-year development plan] differ. Remember at my vetting I said that we can’t go beyond ten years because of technology and other factors, and therefore there must be a limit on how much you can forecast so that you can forecast accurately.

We didn’t indicate in our budget or manifesto and we are not bound by it. This thing should come from our cabinet and we haven’t said anything like that yet. I don’t even think that the planning committee has even finalized the plan yet,” Mr. Osafo-Maafo said.

The 40-year National Development Plan for the country (2018-2057) was launched in 2015 to provide a framework for national development binding on successive governments.

However, there have been a lot of skepticism about the success of the plan, as some some opine that the period is too long.

A former Senior Economist of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) Dr. Christian Regobeth Ahortor, told the B&FT in October 2015, that the plan must be slashed to 20 years owing to technological changes and lack of cohesion among political parties.

“Political stability is one of the prerequisites for successful implementation of any long-term development plan. In a multi-party democracy like Ghana, political stability is just a necessary condition. The appropriate condition requires that all political parties must agree to the long-term plan. The plan’s implementation will be in jeopardy if one or more political parties that do not agree with the plan happen to form the ruling government.

Technological risk is another risk that may take place during the life-cycle of the plan. Any long-term plan will be premised on existing technical know-how and initial socio-economic conditions. However, it is possible that during implementation of the plan, there may be notable technological changes that will alter not only the financing needs but also its social and environmental underpinnings,” Dr. Ahortor said.

Commenting on the development plan, Professor Gyan Baffour, the Minister of Planning said at his vetting that the plan risks violation by successive governments due to fast-changing global trends, adding that developing a long-term vision with a specific set of achievable goals would be more suitable for the country’s growth agenda.

“I think Ghana needs a long-term development vision. Ghana needs a long-term set of goals. Ghana needs a long-term perspective plan. Ghana needs a long-term view about where we want to be 40 years from now. But Ghana does not need a 40-year unqualified development plan,”

“There is nothing governments can do. So it is not a good idea to come out with such a plan. This would only lead to successive governments violating the long-term plan to see their own ideas come to fruition,” Prof Gyan Baffuor said.

“We need a vision like that of Vision 2020, we need a framework like that; but we don’t need a plan that will be so restrictive… I don’t want anything to be called a plan if it goes beyond a certain period of time.

So if governments are coming in like that, we don’t need a very long-term plan that will restrict them. They will violate it. I think we should go for a vision statement or a vison for 40 years but not a restrictive plan for 40 years,” he added.