Institutional review of the National Development Planning Commission of Ghana (NDPC)
Ghana has a long history of development planning, going back to the colonial period. Recently, however, planning has been dysfunctional; objectives, where they exist, are rarely achieved. As the country becomes an oil-exporting state and the economy continues its strong growth, the need for sound policies and systematic deployment of resources through national development planning is even more critical for achieving equitable and sustainable growth. Appreciating this challenge, the Government of Ghana (GoG), with the support of United Nations Development Program (UNDP), wants to strengthen its planning institutions and processes and approached ACET for support.
The objective is to review the NDPC structure, functions and business processes and provide recommendations to enhance the commission’s effectiveness in delivering on its mandate, thus repositioning NDPC as the country’s principal development planning institution.
While the NDPC’s constitutional mandate is clear, the political economy has not been conducive for giving the commission the authority and tools it needs to execute. Strategies and programs are abruptly ended, especially with changes in government; the organizational structure and processes are not suitable for its function; it lacks the necessary financial and human resources; and it is under constant pressure to attend to short-term social, political and economic needs. Consequently, the NDPC has not occupied the apex of Ghana’s development planning system as spelt out in law.
ACET interviewed more than 150 diverse stakeholders as part of the diagnostics and benchmarked the NDPC with strong planning institutions in other countries: India, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. ACET’s recommendations address the NDPC’s position in the political economy as well as the needed internal reforms within NPDC.
- On external governance, it is proposed that the president or the vice president should chair the NDPC to enhance its presence in the political economy. Executive and Legislative Instruments (LIs) should be enacted to strengthen NDPC’s role in the planning process, and the constitution should be amended to ensure continuity in planning. Adequate funding should also be provided to the NDPC to enhance its financial autonomy.
- On internal governance, NDPC should be strengthened by engaging four full time commissioners who will serve as subject matter experts for a more compact institution. It is also proposed that the internal structure should be upgraded by strengthening the two core competencies identified as being critical to success as well facilitating better interface with external stakeholders. NDPC’s business processes should also be redesigned to address shortcoming identified in existing processes.