Planners urged to tackle Weakness in Ghana’s Planning Systems

Planners urged to tackle Weakness in Ghana’s Planning Systems

Ghana Institute of Planners has been called upon to consider doing more efforts to aggressively tackle the prevailing weakness in Ghana’s planning systems as it celebrate its 50th anniversary.

This, according to the Minister of Environment, Science and Innovation [MESTI], Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, would go a long way to boost the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda of the government.

He said even though the efforts by the government to introduce reforms in the land use and spatial planning system over the past decade is beginning to yield tangible benefits, the process is too slow in catching up with the anticipated planning needs in support of the Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda.

Speaking at the 50th anniversary of Ghana Institute of Planners in Accra, the Minister said, with the support of MESTI, some key challenges which hither-to inhibited the effective discharge of the mandate of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority, an agency under the Ministry, are gradually being resolved.

More staff, he stated, are being recruited to address the woefully inadequate staffing situation which had prevailed for several decades, stating that, efforts are being made to source more funding for the operation of the Spatial Planning Authority.

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng says his outfit would provide an enabling environment for efficient and effective planning, plan implementation and enforcement of planning regulations. He said “my doors are always open to Ghana Institute of Planners for any discussions in that regard.”

Professor George Gyan-Baffour who represented President Akufo-Addo said development planning is a multifaceted and cross-cutting undertaking that shapes Ghana’s development goals and priorities.

He said it involves coming up with well-researched and well-reasoned plans that proritise and synchronise activities, constrained by scarce resources noting that this is carried out by a cadre of multi-disciplinary professionals including planners.

The legal framework for planning functions in Ghana according to him is guided by Articles 86 and 87 of the 1992 constitution, Acts 479 and 480 of 1994, Act 936 of 2016 and LI 2232. Professor George Gyan-Baffour added that the administrative and institutional structures to ensure efficient and smooth planning activities have not always been followed thus creating a disconnect between what is expected by law and what is actually on the ground.

Development planning, he stressed, had suffered a long and mixed history, marked with up and downs. This checkered history; Professor George Gyan-Baffour says, has to some extent reflected on the profession of planning in the country noting that this should not be the case.

The Minister for Planning said “As planners you are represented at all levels in the country to influence our development planning -national, regional and district levels. Again the Ghana Institute of Planners is represented on the National Development Planning Commission [NDPC], the national body which has the constitutional mandate to prepare development plans for the country. You are therefore strategically placed and I entreat you to make your professional input with zeal and with vigor.

In fact, your presence at the lowest level of development [district] where all planning activities evolve and eventually culminate into national development plans must not be taken for granted. As you commemorate your anniversary, it is time to pause and reflect and ask of yourselves, “what legacy have you left behind and how will posterity judge you in these fifty years of your existence.” Your answers should guide you into the next fifty years.”

Mr. Alfred Kwesi Opoku, the President of Ghana Institute of Planners in his delivery said planning is the science that operates on survey, analyze and decide. Planners, he adds, apply principle of spatial planning and policy planning.

Ghana Institute of Planners was registered in 1969 and has a current membership of about 600. It practice its trade in every sector of the economy including health, transportation, banks and non-governmental organizations among others.

The Institute is part of a larger body termed as built environment professionals alongside the surveyors, architects and engineers. Ghana Institute of Planners is a celebrated member of the Commonwealth Association of Planners.

Source: Adovor Nutifafa

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