Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, Minister, Works and Housing, says quality and resilient infrastructure through effective planning is needed to support the Government’s accelerated socio-economic development.
If planned efficiently, he said infrastructure would foster economic growth, and will help in poverty alleviation, reduction in income distribution inequality in the country and facilitate expansion of trade within and abroad.
That, he noted, required collaboration and engagement with policy makers and other professionals in the infrastructure provision space as well as the development of effective infrastructure planning skills among the country’s Planners.
The Works and Housing Minister was speaking at the 50th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Ghana Institute of Planners (GIP) on the theme, “Accelerating National Development through Effective Infrastructure Planning.”
The conference brought together members of the Institute from across the country to primarily take stock of their collective performance as an institute and elect new Executives for the next Biennial.
He said the recent Population and Housing Census conducted indicated that the country’s population had increased to about 30.8 million with 57.35 per cent living in the urban settlements with a housing deficit in excess of two million units, requiring the construction of houses to bridge that gap.
He stated that population growth required the provision of infrastructure and amenities, including roads, power, schools, hospitals, waste management and water supply at the disposal of the citizenry and across all sectors of the economy to sustain the livelihoods,
Mr Asenso Boakye said despite the Government’s achievements in the provision of infrastructure development, there remained a significant gap between the infrastructure demand of the country and what was available.
Mr Kojo Mensah-Abrampa, Director-General, National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), said the relevance of planning in the development framework of the country had not been given due attention over the years as the country had adopted “short responses” to infrastructural development.
He said the country’s development plans and infrastructure management must be interpreted and managed by persons who had full knowledge of what planning entailed, adding that infrastructural development must be complementary with full utilisation and keen consideration of the lifecycle of the infrastructure.
“Whenever you think about infrastructure, ponder over the connectivity of the infrastructure, the multi-functionality of the infrastructure, the applicability, integration, diversity, multi-scale and governance to include the private sector, continuity and the acquisition of skills,” he emphasised.
Mr Mohammed Alhassan, President, Ghana Institute of Planners, in his welcome address said, with a membership of about 1000 planning professionals, the GIP had promoted high standards of planning practice and served as a voice of the country’s planning community since its establishment in 1969.
He said with the increase in population and lopsided population densities came with challenges in infrastructure delivery as demand continuously outstriped supply, adding that in spite of the fact that infrastructure served as a nominal foundation for accelerated development, there had historically been a massive deficit in its supply.
He observed further that, despite years of decentralisation and local governance, not much had been achieved in terms of integrated infrastructural planning at the local level.
The President added that, consequently, private citizens adopted self-help approaches, bereft of established development standards, to provide infrastructure without any prospect of cost-sharing or refund from local authorities.
The Works and Housing Minister and six others were confered Fellows of the Ghana Institute of Planners for their contribution to the planning profession in Ghana.