Local architects equally competent

Mr. Frank Tackie
  • Former GIP Prez tells gov’t on Singaporean deal

A former president of the Ghana Institute of Planners (GIP), Mr. Frank Tackie has said government’s decision to engage a Singaporean urban planner in Accra’s redevelopment, is unfair to local architects.

He mentioned that the task of developing Accra into a modern city must come with certain basic components, which he noted, include strong leadership, collectivism, strong institutions, and viable regulatory frameworks.

Mr. Tackie opined that the success of Singapore, if Ghana should draw any lessons from them, is their political will, and the able leadership that country attached to home grown solutions.

Speaking to the Goldstreet Business, Mr. Tackie, an urban planner and architect stated that government and stakeholders have failed to appreciate the fundamental problems facing Accra.

“Accra is chaotic because we have failed to plan, the country had had urban plans since independence, but the problem has been the ability and capacity to implement them,” he noted

Spatial Planning Authority

In 2016, the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act, 2016 (Act 925), which established the Spatial Planning Authority (SPA), was passed by parliament. It was mandated to “provide for sustainable development of land and human settlements through decentralized planning system with other important functions.

The mission of the authority is to plan, manage and promote harmonious, sustainable and cost-effective development of human settlements with sound environmental and planning principles.

However, the SPA has remained somewhat defunct in regard to the performance of the above roles.

Asked if government’s decision to bring in Dr. Thai Ker does not amount to relegating the Authority’s mandate into the background, he answered: “I suspect there is an infraction here because the Finance Minister has no business in this,” Mr. Tackie added.

He maintained that the SPA has the mandate to collaborate with the various metropolitan assemblies in planning the city of Accra.

“…the decision has undermined the authority’s capacity and confidence,” he explained.

Background

On August 16, 2018, government, through the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta issued a statement to stakeholders in the architectural and planning community on the visit of 80-year-old Singaporean city development planner, Dr. Liu Thai Ker to Ghana.

According to the statement, his visit is to help draw a master plan for redevelopment of Accra into a modern city.

After the release of the statement, there have been varied reactions.  Some civil engineers have expressed discontentment about government’s decision on this matter.

Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Kwame Agbodza has also stated that the action by government is illegal, saying, it breached the laws to engage the Singaporean urban planner.

By Dundas Whigham