Evaluation of the effectiveness of project management in the Ghanaian Forestry Sector: A Study of Phase One of the Natural Resources Management Programme (NRMP 1)

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The implementation of development projects are usually fraught with problems that threaten their ability to deliver expected outputs or have the desired impact. The just ended first phase of the Natural Resources Management Programme (NRMP 1) was designed by the Government of Ghana and her development partners to solve some of the forestry sector’s problems. The study sought among others to: (i) Undertake a review of each of the five projects under the NRMP I to determine whether expected project outputs were achieved; and (ii) Assess the quality of project management practice within the forestry sector. To achieve the objectives of the study, 140 questionnaires were administered to key project stakeholders. A total of 104 responses were received and analyzed using SPSS (version 11.0) and Microsoft Excel. Only the Environmental Management Coordination Project (72.7%) and Savannah Resource Management Project (57.1%) were adjudged successful in the delivery of planned outputs, while the other three; High Forest Resource Management Project (45.8%), Wildlife Resource Management Project (40.7%) and High Forest Biodiversity Conservation Project (42.9%) achieved mixed results and were rated as generally unsuccessful. Key achievements chalked by the NRMP 1 include: (i) Reform of the natural resource sector through legislative and policy changes leading to increased flow of revenue to the sector; (ii) Re-establishment of the Forestry Commission and restructuring of the agencies under it; and (iii) Deepened community involvement and participation in natural resource management. Major challenges that militated against successful project implementation include: (i) over-ambitious and unrealistic project targets given the 2-year planned duration; (ii) delays in approving legislations relating to policy and institutional reforms within the sector by parliament and cabinet; (iii) delayed. irregular and inadequate Government of Ghana counterpart funding; (iv) unexpected withdrawal of some donor support i.e. EU, WFP and AfDB; and (v) change in ministerial and top management positions in key ministries following the year 2000 elections. Using the ‘iron triangle’ measure of project effectiveness NRMP 1 was adjudged as generally ineffective in the delivery of project outputs. Using the Project Implementation Profile (PIP) model, the quality of project management practice within the forestry sector was rated 55.5%, significantly below the minimum acceptable mark of 62.5%. Key indicators that scored poorly (below 55%) include Monitoring and Feedback, Client Consultation, Client Acceptance, and Top Management Support. The following interventions are therefore recommended to ensure effective project implementation and improvement in the quality of project management practice within the forestry sector in Ghana: (1) Incorporation of effective capacity building schemes for project staff and key stakeholders into project design; (2) Integration of natural resource goals of development projects with wider developmental needs of the participating communities to engender interest and sustain commitment; (3) Alignment of development project goals with government priorities to sustain Government commitment; and (4) Decentralization of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) functions to district and regional levels, with M&E officers adequately trained and empowered to design effective control mechanisms and enforce corrective measures.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Economics in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master Of Business Administration (MBA), 2008