A development plan is a document which details the overall strategy of a country for the proper planning and sustainable development covering every aspect of the country and generally consists of a written statement and accompanying maps. The plan usually includes the broad aims of the nation. That is housing, transportation, infrastructure, community facilities, economic growth among others which are reinforced by more detailed policies and objectives.
Development planning is ,therefore, the preparation of the development plan and other supporting policies, information or studies which form the basis for making decisions on planning applications.
What is a long-term plan?
It is expedient to note that the plan must be long-term perspective and strategic in nature and should cover a wide range of issues such as housing, transport, employment, shopping, recreation, reserving and protection of the environment. Long-term plan takes a long-term view of development, considering how much and broadly where it should go.
Long-term development planning ,therefore, aimed at a long range development of an economy through the deliberate application of psychological and socio–economic system of choices among feasible courses of investment and other development actions usually ranging from 15-100 years.
In order for us to have a better appreciation of long-term development planning, it will be appropriate to look at it from the perspectives of;
• Command or centralised economic model
• Decentralised or capitalists economic model
Under the centralised government system, long-term development planning, decisions are taken by a centralised authority or the government that formulates economic plans, determines objectives, and sets targets and priorities. However, for the state to devise a holistic development plan, it is important that the citizens are well-involved. This is mostly not done in the command system of governance hence the chances of failure under the centralised planning system.
Under the decentralised planning system, individuals, small groups, local units are empowered to carry out their plans for the achievement of a common goal. Such a system is essential for the competitiveness of society, as well as generates opportunities for citizens through the bottom-up operations and the consultations with different administrative unit of the economy after a plan formulation. It is important to note that a strategic development plan should provide:
• Strategic use of resources framework at local, regional and national levels
• Policy content for the local development
• Framework for investment both public and private
• Basis for decision making
• Complete and consistent considerations on the local environment.
Lessons from other countries
At this point, it will be expedient to look at development plans devised by some few countries. China, for example had a five-year plan which are a series of social and economic plans that focuses on accumulation and rapid development and impediments to long-term economic development.
1. First plan (1953-1957)
2. Second plan (1958-1962)
3. Third plan (1966-1970)
In January, 2006 China initiated a 20-year medium to long-term plan for development of science and technology termed China’s Medium and Long-term National Talent Plan (2010-2020).
• Algeria (establishment of a National Vision 2030)
• New Zealand (30-year infrastructure plan)
• Malaysia (Vision 2020, Wawasan2020)
• Norway ( long-term perspectives on the Norwegian economy up to 2060)
• Qatar (Vision 2020)
• Saudi Arabia ( Saudi Vision 2030)
• South Korea (Vision 2040)
• Turkey ( Over 50 years, ending 2023, centenary of Modern Turkey)
• South Africa ( National Development Plan,2030)
• Japan ( Long range economic plan,1958, followed by income doubling plan)
• Stanford University :100-year Research Programme into article intelligence
Historical perspectives of Ghana’s development plans
Ghana, over the years, in her quest to transformed the economy and achieve sustainable, came up with a series of development plans. Guggisberg, the then, Governor of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) developed a development plan in 1919 but its implementation started in 1920 to 1930.
Guggisberg plan delivered among others;
1. Korle bu Hospital which later became a Teaching hospital.
2. The Railway System
3. The Takoradi Harbor
After Guggisberg’s development plan, the next significant plan was Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s seven-year development plan. Nkrumah’s plan delivered the:
1. Akosombo Dam
2. Tema Harbor
3. Various educational institutions i.e. KNUST, secondary schools etc.
4. Import-substituted Industries
At this point, it is critical that we have a look at the various development plans that been have created. Notable among them includes:
• Ten-year development plan by Governor Gordon Guggisberg (1920-1930)
• Second Ten-Year plan (1946-56), Plan for Development & Welfare
• Third ten-year plan (1951-61), Plan for Economic and Social Development
• Five –Year Plan (1951-56)
• Consolidation Plan (1958-59), Plan for fiscal consolidation
• Second Five-Year Plan (1959-64)
• Seven Year Plan (1963-64,1969-70) Work & Happiness intended Plan
• Two-Year Development Plan (1967/68-1969/70) Stabilisation Plan
• “ Rural Development Plan” (1971-72)
• Third Five-Year Plan (1975/76-79/80)
• ERP Phase 1 (1983-1986) Stabilization Phase
• ERP Phase 2 (1987-1989) Enhanced stabilisation and Fiscal Consolidation Phase
• ERP Phase 3 (1990-1991) Structural adjustment and development Phase
• Political and Economic Adjustments (1992-1996)
• Ghana’s Vision 2020 (1996-2020)
• Ghana Poverty Reduction • Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) (2006-2009)
• Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda I (GSGDI) (2010-2013)
• Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II (GSGDII) (2014-2017)
An in-depth analysis of the above plans revealed that a certain degree of success was achieved. For example, the (1975-79) plan brought about operation feed yourself which revolutionised the agriculture sector as at time. Nevertheless, the above plans were only short- medium term in nature with a heavy concentration on Fiscal consolidation and stabilisation. The plans lack continuity in its execution. In other word, its non-continuous making it deficient in achieving a holistic sustainable development. This is due to the fact that:
• Plans did not have ambitious goals and objectives to inspire creativity. They were mere statements of intensions.
• They was inadequate avenues for coordination and harmonisation of development plans between government and development partners
• Political expediencies hence lack of continuity
• Non-existent effective and functional monitoring & evaluation systems to review and advice on plan improvement
• Insufficient consultation and limited participation from all stakeholders in the plan preparation processes.
It is evidently clear that, nations that are emerging as developed economies had a long-term development plans and hence the need for Ghana to do same so as to achieve sustainable development. But, before, then there is the burning need to find out why the need for Ghana’s long-term National Development Plan?
1. Because the law requires it:
• The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
• The Act that set up NDPC, Act 479(1994)
• Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815)
2. Because Ghanaians want it based on popular basis for long-term National Development Plan. In January 2010, the government established a Constitution Review Commission to:
• Ascertain from the people of Ghana, their views on the strengths and weaknesses of the constitution and to propose amendments if necessary.
• The Constitution Review Commission generated 44 themes for public consultation based on a comprehensive review of our past experience
• The Commission received over 83,000 submissions from the public. About half of the submissions were dedicated to calls for formulation of a national long-term development plan
• Though the national long-term development plan was not one of the 44 indicative issues originally considered by the Constitution Review Commission.
• The Ghana Institute of Planners, Ghana Institute of Surveyors, Institute of Chartered Economists of Ghana, and Christian Council of Ghana etc. all called for the formulation of a long-term National Development Plan to span between 20 and 50 years to serve as a framework for the development of Ghana.
3. Demographic Imperative
• Trend analysis of Ghana’s population growth shows an exponential increase in population and by 2057; our population will be about 49.1 Million and hence the need to plan for the growing population.
• Planning will ensure effective and efficient land use.
• Proper spatial planning will help the country reap the benefits of urbanisation: increased productivity, rising incomes, falling poverty and improved quality of life.
Continuity in the execution of a development plan is key and critical and hence the question that arises is “Will the plan tie the hands of future generations?” The answer for the above question is no. It will rather create the platform for the future generations to devise innovative approach of blending continuity and change in an evolving democratic environment as well as ever changing competitive global environment.
It will also provide the future generations with the appropriate basis for measuring the performance of every government. It will also force political party’s party manifestos to be tailored with the development plans.
The above analysis shows clearly that long-term development plan is critical to ensuring national sustainable development. Stated below are the advantages of long term development plans:
• It inspires the people to rise to their fullest national potential
• It fosters a collective sense of urgency
• It provides an ideal destination towards which a nation works purposefully
• It helps to mobilse people, irrespective of political affiliations to push for a common national development agenda.
• It unleashes the latent potential of the private sector by giving them a sense of purpose and certainty
• It helps to mobilise resources for national development on a scale that might otherwise not be possible.
The five strategic goals of the long-term development plan will help propel growth and hence development. The strategic goals include:
I. Build an industrialised, inclusive and resilient economy
II. Create an equitable, healthy and disciplined society
III. Build safe, well-planned, and sustainable communities
IV. Build effective, efficient, and dynamic institutions for development
V. Strengthen Ghana’s role in international affairs.
The above goals will be driven by Agro-processing and light manufacturing, Pharmaceutical industry, Tourism, Educational and medical services export, Oil and Gas sector, financial services development, Information, communication and technology services and waste management.
Personally, I believe the plan will be a condition precedent for Ghana’s development due to the following reasons:
• It will help the nation a clear perspective about the future with regard to achieving sustainable development.
• It will propel the country to mobilise resources necessary to attaining the 40-year plan
• It will also lead to efficient utilisation of financial and natural resources
• It will enable political parties to devise holistic and viable strategies to ensuring effective execution of the development plan.
• It will reposition the country to focus on core issues that will allow growth and development.
• Investment in education, health and infrastructure will be enhanced.
• Minimisation of debt as an option to executing development projects.
No meaningful plan can see the day of light without making financial provisions for its execution. Ghana’s 40-year long-term development plan can be financed through the following proposed mechanisms:
• Conventional sources, including the Consolidated Fund,
• Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund
• Ghana Stock Exchange
• Municipal Finance Authority
• Loans from the IMF, World Bank, African Development Banks etc.
In conclusion, the 40 year development is a good initiative and all stakeholders must ensure that the needed attention and support is given to it to propel growth and development.
Author: Mr Eben Anuwa-Amarh || Commissioner, Ghana Development Planning Commission
The writer is the CEO, Institute of Chartered Economists of Ghana (ICEG)
Lead Consultant, Nene Banks Management Consult.
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