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Opinions of Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Columnist: Rockson Adofo

Ghana's development plan will keep retarding without 30-50 year national plan

For Ghana’s economic development and nation building to accelerate at the rate desired by all discerning Ghanaians, there should be a national consultation and a consensus for thirty to fifty year National Development Plan in place. Once in place, it must rigorously be followed. Without that, we shall be going in circles in our intended development as a people and a nation but not achieving any viable results. A nation without a long term plan or vision always stagnates in a symptomatic carousel. This is exactly the prevailing condition in Ghana.

Most of the economically developed nations in the world became possible as a result of once having a dictator with a vision and the love of the country and his people at heart as their leader. A close example could be found in the first President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, in whose era Ghana was truly on the road to development. This fact is undisputable regardless of the views of his political opponents. He did wrong things like oppressing his opponents and abusing their human rights; throwing them into prison for no justifiable reasons. However, he was farsighted and indeed put things in place that could really bring about the development of Ghana.

When we talk about Malaysia and Indonesia having political independence in the same year or just around the same time as Ghana had hers but are now highly and far more developed than Ghana economically, industrially and financially, we should not forget that they had dictators who were not corrupt but farsighted and had the love of their country and the welfare of their people at heart. On the contrary, in other Far East Asian democratic countries like Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc., they have had long term National Development Plans in place unlike Ghana under democracy and military regimes since the overthrow of Dr Kwame Nkrumah from power on 24th February 1966.

In Ghana, every military leader or elected President has their own agenda for developing the country. They come with their intentions which may either be selfish or good. They start implementing them. These are often the manifestations of their political manifestos. In most cases, if they are unable to fully complete a project which could have been of greater benefit to the nation and the people, the next government taking over the governance of the nation abandons the entire uncompleted projects and start their own in conformity with their manifesto. This has been the ongoing process in Ghana hence the nation not moving forward as it should.

I quite remember very well that the late-executed Head of State, Colonel (later General) Ignatius Kutu Acheampong of the Supreme Military Council 1 regime started building some low cost houses throughout Ghana. In Kumawu in the Ashanti region, he started about fifteen or so of such houses. He laid the foundations and put up a few layers of blocks. Unfortunately, he could not complete the houses before he was overthrown through what became a palace coup d’état staged by his colleague members of government led by General Akufo. None of the successive governments did continue the houses to completion. They left them to be beaten by the rains over years until all the foundations were eroded away. As I speak, the place where the low cost houses were started, opposite the Kumawu cemetery, the plots have been resold by the Kumawu Traditional Council to different persons altogether. The new owners of the plots have built their houses there.

Additionally, former President John Agyekum Kufuor started what he called affordable housing. He built several of them in Kumasi Asokore-Mampong, Accra and other places. However, he could not complete most of them before his two-term tenure of office came to an end and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) lost the elections to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by the late President Evans Atta Mills. President Atta Mills did not bother to continue with the houses which were only half-way completed, probably to the lintel level. As I write, the uncompleted houses at Asokore-Mampong are allegedly housing most of the thieves in Kumasi. Some individuals from the north have taken possession of some of the houses, completed them and using them as their bona fide property without paying a pesewa to the State.

Apart from the houses, many other such government projects have been left to rot away. When a construction of a road is started but could not be completed, the next government doesn’t want to know. The new government starts its own roads elsewhere, leaving the uncompleted road as though that road was not going to serve the needs of people who are Ghanaians and are equally taxpayers.



The attitude of the governments are borne out of malice. They have that typical Ghanaian mindedness of he is taking the limelight out of me, or the previous government will take credit for initiating that project so I had better leave it uncompleted to start my own. I find that attitude quite silly and costly to the nation. It does not help to advance the nation but rather retrogresses or stagnates its development.



The money used to begin the projects do not belong to the leader or the government in power but the taxpayers. Therefore, the money must be managed and used prudently to yield better returns to the citizenry. If there was a nationally agreed long term National Development Plan, such wastages will not occur.



Each Ghanaian government, as corrupt as they are, will want to start certain new projects so they can bloat the cost of the contracts to get kickbacks of 10% or more hence are always desirous to abandon the previous government’s uncompleted projects to begin their own. If the developed countries had behaved so irresponsibly, maliciously, visionless and corruptibly as we do, their countries would not be that rosy or greener for us to want to come over to their countries to fleece them or become their indirect slaves.



His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has many noble intentions to develop Ghana. He has started implementing them. However, all his good promises and intentions cannot be achieved in say, one term or two terms of a total eight years in office if he was lucky. Having pumped so much money and energy into it, are the NDC not proclaiming to discontinue the free Senior High School education should they win election 2020? Instead of assisting in overcoming whatever challenges are facing that policy, they will be seeking an easy way out to abrogate the policy yet, our dear brothers and sisters who ruled Ghana under former President Mahama had themselves enjoyed and still do enjoy free education.



The envisaged policies of One District One Factory and One Village One Dam in the northern hemisphere of Ghana as well as One District One US$1 million are not short-termism projects. We need several years to successfully arrive at that goals hence the call for a long and durable National Development Plan that guarantees the continuation of projects enshrined in the plan to completion regardless of which government or leader started them and whoever takes over from the originator government.

The fight against galamsey to salvage our water bodies, arable fertile farmlands, air and cocoa farms is being sabotaged by the NDC who are saying that Nana Addo has taken away the livelihood of those engaged in that galamsey activities.

His Excellency the President’s plans must become a long term solution to the many problems faced by Ghana . Subsequently, they must be part of a broader National Development Plan but not a short-termism only to be abandoned by a successor government.

Should our politicians continue to waste our money in this deplorable way just for the sake of cleverly enriching themselves through embezzlement of funds and assets, then the youth must sooner or later rise up to save Ghana from the hands of our inherently corrupt leaders. The money they let go waste by discontinuing with projects as stated above, does not belong to them. It is not accrued out of their sweat and toil hence their always abhorrent desire to abandon them to start their own. This is short-sightedness. The leaders are employed as managers to manage the affairs of the nation and should they behave in that deplorable manner that makes us appear fools in the eyes of our contemporary civilized Whites, then we have a duty to ourselves to rise up to save our resources from wastage. We should not continue to sit on our backside doing nothing while our corrupt politicians and their agents and assigns for dubious reasons cause avoidable wastages to the scarce national resources they are elected to manage.

We need a long term National Development Plan that all successive governments will follow to fast track the development of Ghana. At the same time, we need to fight corruption with concerted effort.