Middle-income dream will be a mirage if ...GIP
Middle-income dream will be a mirage if ...GIP Website
The Ghana Institute of Planners (GIP), said without appropriate town planning, Ghana's vision 2015 to bring the country to a middle-income status would remain a dream. "The current state of town planning in Ghana is simply deplorable and unacceptable for a country that is aspiring to grow into a middle-income status," Mr. Frank Tackie, President of GIP told journalists. He noted that, in relation to international best practice, none of the 385 towns and cities in Ghana was planned or had an acceptable structure plan and capacity to implement a plan. Mr. Tackie made the remark at a media encounter organised by GIP in commemoration of World Planning Day, which fell on Thursday November 8, 2007. He decried state commitment and attitude towards proper town planning, saying that in terms of staffing and logistics, only 61 out of 166 Metropolitan and District Assemblies had the token presence of a Town Planning Department. Mr. Tackie said out of the 24 accredited universities in the country, only one, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) offered courses relating to town planning. He said the institute had on several occasions made presentations to government and government agencies about the need for proper town planning as the only way to ensure real economic development but those suggestions had not been heeded. "Our politicians are deluded to think that middle-income status is only determined by per capita income. The actual living conditions of our people, as expressed in the quality of the built environment across the national territory, in villages, towns and cities is a mirror reflection of the true state of the socio-economic development of the country," he said. Mr. Tackie therefore called on the government to allocate resources in the 2008 budget for short-term sandwich courses to run jointly at the KNUST and professional town planning related bodies to beef up the capacities of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA's) to do better town planning. "Government should, as a matter of priority provide adequate support to the efforts at restructuring of the planning system in Ghana," he said. He said there was a need for government to also support the GIP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other professional bodies to come out with the "state of our Towns and Cities Report" in tandem with the state of the economy report as a means of monitoring performance of the MMDA's and create a competitive spirit for planning and managing settlements. Mr. Tackie said the idea that the creation of more districts would eventually lead to development was a delusion, saying that a political declaration of a town as a district without the necessary planning only led to more challenges to the people. He said whereas planners in the country had several plans on paper for the proper development of the country, Tema remained the only physical model of a town that could lead to real economic development. But he was quick to point out that due to the pressure of rural-urban migration, which had created slums in places like Ashiaman and parts of Accra, Tema is losing its purpose of serving as model modern town. Mr. Tackie was of the view that just a fraction of the million of dollars government paid as compensation for demolition of properties could be invested in effective town planning and enforcement.