General News of Wednesday, 31 October 2012
The decision of NPP’s candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo to make his vice the head of the National Development Planning Commission, in what he said would be effective implementation of the Commission’s plans, drew the first banter in the first IEA Presidential Debate with the President and NDC candidate John Mahama suggesting that he is a confused man.
The four candidates taking part in the debate were asked what they would do to make the Commission more effective in the face of a recommendation by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) that the plans of the NDP are entrenched and binding on successive government.
Nana Akufo-Addo began his argument by conceding that the 1992 Constitution has provided that every new government in two years must submit its programmes for parliamentary approval. But he thinks that provision delays implementation of development projects.
He indicated that the NPP would not wait for the two years, but would straight forward start to implement what it has proposed in its manifesto. He however emphasized that the NPP government would not “abandon any sensible projects” by the NDC government.
He mentioned that the government under his leadership would use oil proceeds to improve education, health and other sectors of the economy. The NPP, he said would not involved itself in “reckless borrowing”, but if there was the need to borrow it would go for loans to invest in job creation – well paid jobs especially for the youth.
In capping his submission on the NDPC, Nana Akufo-Addo maintained that a “proper high level leadership is needed” to achieve the areas he has espoused, and in doing these, he hopes to make his vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia the head of the National Development Planning Commission “ to give it that political leadership that it requires”.
But President John Mahama thinks what has been proposed by Nana Akufo-Addo would politicized the Commission’s work and rather end up worsening the canker of successive government discarding projects initiated by its predecessor.
He contended that Nana’s argument that it would not follow what the constitution provides and go ahead to implement what it is stated in the party’s manifesto demonstrates that his contender is confused.
He explained that what Nana Addo intends doing is the exact problem confronting the nation that needed urgent solution.
He argued that the NPP’s position does not give room for imputation of ideas and policies from political parties and other interested groups to give the NDPC its national character and its plans binding on all.
“Indeed I think that there is confusion in the mind of the NPP presidential candidate in the answer he gave that is exactly the concern we have in this country that when a political party leaves government the plans and visions that are instituted are thrown away. And so if we assume that every four year cycle a government potentially could lose elections, it means every four years we will have a new national development planning framework. And that is why the CRC flagged that issue.”
President Mahama mentioned the need for a broad stakeholder consultation to get long term national plans under the NDPC, which every political party must ensure that its plans fit into that of NDPC.
“I don’t see what problem the NPP presidential candidate is fixing to say immediately I come to power I am not waiting for two years, I am taking my manifesto, I am putting my plans in place; that is the problem we are trying to cure. And making your vice president the chair of the NDPC, politicizing the NDPC, I think he is absolutely lost his way.
“What we are saying is that there is a difference between a national vision and that is what the NDPC creates.”