ICEG wants government to develop long-term development programmes

The Institute of Chartered Economists of Ghana (ICEG) has called on government to present a coordinated programme for economic and social development.

Speaking to B&FT, the CEO of the Institute, Mr. Gideon Amissah, noted that government must ensure a long-term development plan is delivered to Parliament within two years of being in office.

This, he said, is in fulfilment of Article 36 clause 5 of the 1992 constitution, which states that: “For the purpose of the forgoing clauses of this article, within two years after assuming office, the president shall present to Parliament a coordinated programme of economic and social development policies, including agricultural and industrial programmes at all levels and in all regions of Ghana”.

A breach of that is a breach of the 1992 constitution; and from where I sit, I think this should be done by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), and we think it is long overdue,” he said.

Furthermore, ICEG is calling on the President to do the needful and honour this constitutional provision; he also called on Parliament to call the Executive to also do the needful.

He went further and stated that the budget is basically a short- to medium-term document that should be situated within the long-term policy framework of the National Development Plan

Mr. Amissah noted that despite government’s flagship agricultural programmes like Planting for Food and Jobs, statistics indicate that agriculture has been on the decline, compared to industry, and economic growth is basically driven by oil.

Amissah stated that the first major development plan in the colonial era was the twenty-five-year Development Plan instituted in the Gold Coast by Governor Guggisberg between 1919 and 1927. This was followed by a number of development projects including the building of schools and hospitals, the construction of a deepwater harbour at Takoradi, and land use planning and optimisation.

Mr. Amissah noted that since independence in 1957, there have been a number of attempts to fast-track economic and social progress in Ghana through development planning, and this includes the 7-year accelerated Development plan by Nkrumah.

The Busia administration (1969-1972) also established the Ministry of Social Welfare and Rural Development to spearhead development from the grassroots level; and the government of Kutu Acheampong (1972-1978) instituted plans for general domestication of Ghana’s development.

The Limann Administration (1979-1981) had a variety of policies to address Ghana’s development needs. The governments of Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) (1981-1993) introduced the Economic Recovery Programme, incorporating a Structural Adjustment Programme.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), under the leadership of former President Kuffour (2001-2009), decided to access funds under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPIC) debt relief initiative.

The NDC, under the leadership of the late Prof. Mills, also developed the Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development policies (2010-2016). The government launched in 2010 the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) as a medium-term national development policy framework.

The ICEG CEO therefore noted that from the foregoing analysis, it is evident that every government since inception of the 1992 constitution has adopted a differently-styled national development plan for their own purposes. The process of developing and the content of those plans have been generally changed with every change of government. This trend, he said, must be rectified if we are to develop as a nation.