With Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh
The government has placed an embargo on employment at the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology. This ban has led to human resource shortage at the department, putting a lot strain on the thin workforce.
The department currently has 69 professional Town Planning Officers, who are in-charge of the 170 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the country. The erstwhile Kufuor government also placed a ban on the same department during his term.
This came to light at a press briefing on “Land Use Planning System in Ghana” in Accra, yesterday.
The Acting Director of Town and Country Planning Department, Mr. Asiedu Poku, told this paper, “We have sent proposals to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to employ more people, but they are not doing so.”
He revealed that the department has over 20 vacancies, and was yearning for people to come and work, but, “we are still waiting for a green light from the government before we can employ.”
The Director mentioned lack of up-to-date base maps for planning, inadequate logistics, inadequate financial resources, inadequate office accommodation, and low level of cooperation from the public for planning, as the major challenges of the department.
Mr. Poku said the department had moved to 17 different Ministries since its establishment in 1945, and this is probably because of the multi-sectoral nature of its functions.
Some of the ministries under which the department has operated are Local Government and Rural Development, Finance and Economic Planning, Works and Housing, Lands and Natural Resources and now Environment, Science and Technology. This has affected the work of the department, he indicated.
Presenting a paper on the new spatial/land use planning system in Ghana, the Deputy Director/Team Leader of Land Use, Planning and Management Project (LUPMP), Mr. Lawrence Dakurah, pointed out that the current land use planning was beset with myriads of problems.
These, he said, include obsolete and ineffective legal framework, outdated planning technologies and weak plan implementation and enforcement of planning regulations. “All these lapses, among several others, have rendered the present system incapable of coping with the dynamics of current development in Ghana,” Mr. Dakurah lamented.
He said the need for better land use planning and control to manage development was more apparent in the rural communities than in the peri-urban areas, especially, of Accra and Kumasi, where a more efficient planning system was required.
To achieve this would require the adoption of new approaches, methodologies, techniques and laws, hence the need to introduce the new land use planning system, under the LUPMP, a sub-component of the Land Administration Project (LAP), he noted.