Professor Peter Quartey, Director, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, says political parties' manifestoes must set an agenda for national development.
He noted that political parties' manifestoes were useful documents which helped to deepen democracy and allowed campaign debates to be issue-based, as such, it must be linked to a long- term development plan.
He said Ghana had unfortunately been very unsuccessful at implementing long term plans and parties' manifestoes had been developed without specific reference to a long or medium term plan, which should be discouraged.
“It is therefore, recommended that future manifestoes are directly linked to the long-term development plan in order to address the strategic needs of the country”, Prof Quartey stated in his presentation at the 13th National Development Forum in Accra.
The Forum on the theme, “Towards Election 2020: Political Party Manifestoes and Long-Term Strategic Needs of Ghana," was organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) with an objective of considering among others the policy trade-offs between short-term political gains and long-term sustainability of Ghana’s development agenda.
Prof Quartey reiterated that linking the two documents would lead to coordination of the manifesto debates by political parties thereby reducing the incentive to make less achievable promises to electorates just to win votes with little financing consideration.
He said long term plans provided the vision while manifestoes spelt out how to achieve the vision in the shortest possible time, adding that “long term plans have been developed based on broad consultations and consensus building”.
The Professor stated that it would be impossible to run the country on manifestoes and medium-term plans, saying, that was not sustainable and could lead to lack of continuity in development projects and programmes.
Dr Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, the Director-General, NDPC, said there would be a lot of dissemination beginning with the media and then discussing it with targeted groups in the country.
He said this would enable all stakeholders embrace the agenda, saying, “that is the only way we can also interpret what political intentions the political manifestoes are presenting and also use it to assess the reality of some of these proposals”.
The NDF series were initiated by NDPC in May 2019 for collating the opinions of diverse stakeholders, with a view to promoting broad-based participation of the citizenry and engendering citizens’ ownership of the national development agenda.
At the function, the NDPC launched a strategic development plan to deliver a solidly developed nation by 2057- a Ghana Beyond Aid.
The document, dubbed Ghana@100 Long-term Development Framework, offers strategic information that is expected to inform the preparation of political party manifestoes, the President’s Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, and medium –term national development policy frameworks.