Ghana: 'Stop Recruiting Unqualified People for Spatial Planning'

12 November 2019

The Ghana Institute of Planners (GIP) is appealing to heads of institutions to stop recruiting unqualified people to fill positions of spatial and policy planning in the country.

President of the institute, Alfred Kwasi Opoku noted that the sidelining of professionals increasingly contribute to the country's poor layout and landscape.

"Our planning desks at the assemblies are being occupied by persons who have not been trained under a four-year discipline of the planning profession, so we appeal that such certified people are used for spatial planning."

Mr Opoku was speaking at the 48th Annual Conference and 50th Anniversary of the GIP in Accra on Friday on the theme: " GIP @50: Planning for Ghana Beyond Aid."

Expressing the Institute's commitment to support government to implement plans and programmes to improve citizens' livelihood, the president noted the critical role of planners to achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid.

He lamented instances where the government had contracted foreign experts to prepare spatial plans for cities, while sidelining local experts who may be well vexed in the country's terrain.

"We were surprised this year that an expert from Singapore had been contracted to prepare an urban plan for Accra. In a meeting we had with him, we pointed out that about 1.5 million people come to Accra daily and 10 per cent do not go back the same day, so you will need to factor this, into a planning process.

"He immediately realised that planning for Accra is different from planning for Singapore, so he left and we have not heard of him again", he said.

Mr Opoku said steps should be taken to build capacity of local planning professionals for improved performance, but "do not add to our numbers non-planning professionals in order to sanitise the system."

In his keynote address, Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, admitted the administrative and institutional challenges that had over the years undermined the constitutional provisions on land use and spatial planning of the country.

To this end, he mentioned that a final draft of a legislative instrument (LI) to fully operationalise the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act 216 (Act 925) had been laid in Parliament and expected to be passed soon.

"Government through the Ministry of Finance has also granted financial clearance for the authority to increase its staff strength, and I am informed that a formal allocation of land for the construction of a head office in Accra had been completed."

The minister assured that government would continue to create an enabling environment to enhance the work of the institute, but charged professionals to be up to the task.

On his part, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, charged the GIP to "consider putting in more efforts to aggressively tackle the prevailing weaknesses in our planning system as a country."

He pledged the ministry's support to help the institute to catch up with anticipated planning needs to achieve the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.

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