President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has challenged the newly inaugurated forty-three member board of the National Development Planning Commission, to as a matter of priority, develop a planning policy that will transcend political regimes elected to exercise executive authority in the country at any given time.
The challenge was thrown by the President when he addressed the Board at the Jubilee House after administrating the official oath and the Oath of Secrecy to the Board members at a swearing in ceremony.
In his address, President Akufo Addo, said the purpose of the National Development Planning Commission, is to advise the President on development planning policy strategy. With the people of Ghana deciding to organize their lives under the aggies of a democratic constitution, the country, according to the President, “envisaged that the competition for political power in our State will be by political parties and that therefore means every four years, the possibility exists for one party or another to be in office; a mandate directly given by the people.”
“If indeed, the work you are to do, which is to advise the President on the planning and development of our country, is to be successful, it means that u have to take into account this possibility that different parties with different manifestos, different understandings and commitments will occupy the executive authority of the State at one state or the other. Your ability to design a programme for our nation that enables the development of our nation to take place despite these changes in the face of the Executive is not an easy task that you have been assigned to do under the Constitution,” the President stressed.
The Constitutional Task
President Akufo Addo drew the attention of the NDPC Board members to the fact that to do their work well, they require, “maximum integrity, the recognition of what the realities of the nation are and what are the best methods through which the agenda of national development can be prosecuted”. The President admonished the Board to put aside their political ideologies and differences as they go about their work.
“The Constitution is not asking you National Development Planning Commission to come and litigate or mediate your particular political preferences. You are there to help the President of the day to make intelligent choices for the nation in terms of the planning, and development of our country,” the President said to the members of the Board.
The Chairman’s Response
In a response on behalf of the Board, the Chairman, Professor Stephen Adei, said his recent encounter with a group of university students who exhibited total ignorance about the history of Ghana, hatred for the country and no sense of patriotism whatsoever gives him and his colleagues a clear challenge to change the scenario for the youth of the country. He added that the Board will seek to develop and effectively communicate a clear development agenda for transformation for the country.
The Composition of the Board
The NDPC Board is made up of twelve Ministers of State including the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta; Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Keremangteng; Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, among others. The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Ernest Addison; Government Statistician, Samuel Kobina Annum and the Director General of the NDPC, Grace Bediako, constitute institutional representation on the Board. Additionally, all ten (10) Regional Ministers of State are also members of the Board, as mandated by the Constitution. There are three Development Economists on the Board and three governance and international relations experts such as Professor Henrietta Mensa Bonsu, also on the Board. From the social sector, there are four members drawn from Labour, Gender & Poverty, Health, Education and Entrepreneurship, who are members of the Board. The private sector also has an Economist and Investment Expert, Dr. Nii Kwaku Sowa, as a member of the Board. Environmental Science/Infrastructure and Spatial Planning has five members on the Board. Professor Takyiwaa Manu, and the Chairman of the Board, Professor Stephen Adei, are the two Government appointees on the Board.
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) was established under Articles 86 and 87 of the 1992 Constitution as part of the Executive. The National Development Planning Commission Act, 1994, (Act 479) and the National Development Planning (System) Act, 1994, (Act 480), provide the core legal framework for the establishment of the Commission and the performance of its functions.
Article 86 stipulates that the Commission shall consist of the following Commissioners; A Chairman who shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Council of State, the Minister responsible for Finance and such other Ministers of State as the President may appoint, the Government Statistician, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, one representative from each region of Ghana appointed by the Regional Coordinating Council of the region; and such other persons as may be appointed by the President having regard to their knowledge and experience of the relevant areas and roles pertaining to development, economic, social, environmental and spatial planning.
In accordance with the provision under Article 87 of the Constitution, the core mandate of the Commission is to “advise the President on development planning policy and strategy” and, “at the request of the President or Parliament, or on its own initiative, do the following:
study and make strategic analyses of macro-economic and structural reform options; make proposals for the development of multi-year rolling plans taking into consideration the resource potential and comparative advantage of the different districts of Ghana; make proposals for the protection of the natural and physical environment; make proposals for ensuring the even development of the districts of Ghana by the effective utilisation of available resources; and monitor, evaluate and coordinate development policies, programmes and projects.
Act 479 operationalizes these broad functions by prescribing, among other things, the qualifications and tenure of Commissioners; the composition and responsibilities of staff of the Commission; the divisions of the Commission; as well as financial and miscellaneous provisions dealing with matters such as funds of the Commission, auditing requirements and annual reports.