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General News of Thursday, 30 November 2000

Source: GNA

NRP government will sell presidential jet

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Presidential candidate of the National Reform Party (NRP), Mr Goosie Tanoh, on Wednesday said an NRP-led government would sell the presidential jet, and encourage the president to travel by commercial aircraft.

He said this would continue until the economy has the capacity to acquire a jet for the president. "The Presidential jet under NRP will be sold, but will be leased back as and when there is the need to do so," Mr Tanoh said. Tanoh said this at the Institute of Economic Affairs/European Union-sponsored Presidential Forum in Accra.

The event attended by only three of the seven candidates, lost steam before take-off due to the systematic withdrawal of the other four candidates. It is fashioned on the US system in which candidates offer voters the opportunity to hear from them on their policies and how they intend to govern. Mr John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party and Professor George Hagan of the Convention People's Party were the first to announce their inability to honour the event citing campaign pressure.

This was followed by Professor John Atta Mills, whose National Democratic Congress said they saw no reason in attending if the main opposition would not be present. No reason was given for the withdrawal of Dr Edward Mahama of the People's National Convention.

On his desired role for the first lady, Mr Tanoh said since the position of the first lady is neither an elected one nor a social position, his first lady will continue her professional career as is the case in Britain. "The business of government should be conducted by the elected. The position of the first lady will be that of someone who will lead an independent, private life and perform ceremonial duties when required," Mr Tanoh added.

On medical treatment for ministers abroad, Mr Tanoh said his party would ensure that they are treated locally. "However, if there is no local capacity or technology, once an accredited board certifies that a patient, irrespective of his position in society, requires treatment abroad, that patient will be sent abroad for treatment," Tanoh said. "As much as possible, diseases must be treated locally. Hence the need to build capacity." He said the medical board must have a clear objective and not be influenced by any person or group of persons. Tanoh said an NRP government would establish a programme, which will offer educational support for families that keep their children in school for a long period.

"This will be implemented by the local authorities including the District Chief Executive (DCE), which we believe must be an elected position. The NRP will push for a constitutional amendment for the DCE to be elected to serve the people properly," he said. Tanoh said more teachers would be encouraged, through incentives to move into the rural areas, adding that where there are incentives now, they will be increased.

Tanoh said: "the objective of the NRP is to provide as much support for education at the lower level as possible. This will be reflected in a 100 per cent fee-free education for children in the lower section of the educational system." He said the monitoring and supervisory roles of the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service will be revamped to ensure that education at all levels is effective and high standards achievable. Tanoh decried the inability of small and medium scale businesses to access funds from the commercial banks. He said the NRP would welcome the establishment of a long loan system and an agricultural international bank that will lead the way to improve agriculture and add value to produce. "This," he said, "will reduce the pressure on the commercial banks and free them to undertake other pressing national requirements."

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