Stop conjuring figures – NDPC DG to planning officers

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Director–General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) Dr. Kodjo Mensah–Abrampa has tasked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure that their development plans are always in tandem with the broad vision of the national development plan.

“For example, now we want to pursue the agenda of creating prosperity and equal opportunities for all. But then when you go to the district’s medium term development plan, there is one borehole at Shama, another renovation of CHPS compound at Ahenkofikrom, you go to another corner there is a public toilet at Tarkwa and Abosso. Where is the job creation, where is the prosperity because these things are not done in Accra but in your districts,” he said.

He continued that: “When you hear people ask how many jobs have been create, it should be a question to answer at the district or regional level and not in Accra. Unfortunately, we are not able to answer that because in our plans we never sought to answer that. But as we move forward, that is what the NDPC is going to demand”.

The Director – General of the National Development Planning Commission Dr. Kodjo Mensah – Abrampa was speaking at the launch of the evaluation report of the Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework christened an Agenda for jobs; Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All.

The policy framework provides the vision, goals and objectives, as well as strategic direction for the development of the nation within the medium-term.

The evaluation report centred on Child protection, Education, Health, Nutrition, Job Creation and Water and Sanitation issues in 65 out of the 260 MMDAs from 2018 to 2021.

It saw a general improvement in access to education, health, water and sanitation as well as job creation. These improvements were attributed to, among others, the implementation of the free SHS, GSFP, PFJ, PERD, NABCO, award of scholarships schemes and expansion of CHPS zones.

Despite these improvements, the evaluation report indicated that teacher absenteeism, inadequate infrastructure, inadequate teaching and learning materials, poor WASH in schools and uneven distribution of health professionals continue to weaken the education and health sectors.

Nonetheless, some MMDA’s have strategies in place to sustain gains achieved including, for example, the formation of child protection committees to ensure children welfare with support from UNICEF.

Dr. Mensah – Abrampa cautioned that MMDAs run the risk of not benefitting from the financial opportunities that come with budgetary allocations in executing the National development plan if there is no uniformity.

“When you miss the opportunity to link up your plan to the National Medium-term framework, what you have done is that you have alienated yourself for opportunities of leveraging. Because at the national level there is a priority area and that is where the resources will be placed. So, if you go and do things outside it, what you are doing is that you are taking yourself out of the resource avenues which have been created by the national budget”.
The occasion also saw the pre-launch of the District League Table which serves as a tool for tracking national development while highlighting districts that are performing well and those handicapped in terms of the wellbeing of their populations.

Dr. Mensah – Abrampa warned planning officers in MMDAs to stop presenting figures that do not reflect true happenings in their respective assemblies.

“let’s behave like the civil servants that we swear an oath to be. Conjuring figures is killing us. That figure you are producing can kill many people in this country. If everybody gets 98 percent then I should go and sleep. But the planning officer who is typing the report borrowed a laptop to type that report. The planning officer who is typing the report is going to the office of the coordinating director to print. The planning officer who is supposed to monitor, the last time he sat in the official car of the assembly should be more than six month. Yet the planning officer says that in terms of administration we are 98 percent. I get worried. If we tell lies with data then we are distorting the development path”.

He said: “…What is going to happen with the District League Table is that the Coordinating Director must first approve whatever you have written. After, the regional director of the sectors under review will also have to consent to the data before it comes to the National level. At the National level also, if we are suspicious of any information we will come around to verify”.

The DLT was developed by the NDPC in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

Western Region Minister Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah charged MMDAs to improve on their reporting time stressing that “the inability of MMDAs not to meet required timeliness affects the quality of reports produced and inadvertently affected the decisions made at national, regional and district levels based on these reports”.

By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana