Mr Jonathan Azasoo, a Deputy Director of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), has called on political parties to ensure that their manifestos are in line with the National Development Plan.
He attributed the slow pace of development in the country to the use of political party manifestos, which did not respond to the National Development agenda and tasked Members of Parliament (MP) to help resolve the challenge.
Mr Azasoo specifically tasked MPs to make input into the preparation of party manifestos to ensure that the documents were not “against” the national agenda.
He was speaking at a capacity building workshop organised, by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in collaboration with the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) for Parliamentary Aspirants in the Southern belt of the country.
The workshop, on the theme, “Election 2016: Promoting Policy-issue-based Debate and Post-election Accountability at the Constituency level,” was to prepare participants for an impending parliamentary platform ahead of the December Poll.
Mr Azasoo said manifestos, which were-short term programmes of interest to woo the electorate for votes, were largely irrelevant until they reflected the national development agenda to avoid situations where politicians always said they were building the foundations of the economy.
“How many times do we build foundations? he asked. “ In Ghana, every Government is building foundations because their manifestos go left when the national development plan says right, but we must stop this to move forward,” he stated.
Mr Azasoo said the priorities and approaches may differ but the documents ought to correspond.
He said the challenge was that some MPs who were supposed to help develop the manifestos of their parties were not conversant with the national development plan and urged them to acquaint themselves with the national development plan.
Mr Azasoo also asked MPs to interrogate Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies on the level of implementation of their medium-term development plans and hold them accountable to ensure that public funds were not misapplied.
Madam Regina Tetteh, the Coordinator of the training, said this year’s parliamentary debate sought to ease growing tension in the build up to the December Polls by streamlining campaign messages of political aspirants to focus on the pertinent policy issues affecting the vulnerable groups in the 50 purposively selected constituencies.
She said the debate would provide opportunity to persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV and AIDS, youth and women to interact with prospective legislators on issues affecting them to ensure their inclusion in the political and governance process.