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Opinions of Friday, 1 March 2013

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret

Freeze Common Fund To NPP MPs

By Margaret Jackson

February 27, 2013

Very soon John Dramani Mahama, the duly elected and sworn-in President of Ghana and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, will present his First Budget to Parliament as stipulated by the Constitution. The budget, as expected will present details of the economic and social programs President Mahama highlighted on during his first State of the Nation address to Parliament about a week ago.

Millions of Ghanaians will be glued to their radio and television sets to listen to the Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, who will present the budget on behalf of President Mahama. But as expected the party which is currently turning in a widening gyre, the NPP, will not disappoint their supporters and Ghanaians at large.

The NPP MPs who perhaps do not know why they are in parliament and who they are representing, will as usual stage a walk out to back their ex-leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who has gone to court to contest the 2012 Elections which even some prominent members of the NPP family believe he lost miserably.

President Mahama’s budget is expected to set aside 7.5% of the nation’s income for the Common Fund. And by law the Common Fund is managed by the District Chief Executives and by parliamentary regulation a certain percentage of the fund is set aside and managed by Members of Parliament.

But we have NPP MPs who do not recognize President Mahama as legit and falsely believe that he stole the elections. They consider him as stealing the 2012 elections, therefore, he is there by default. If I want to be blunt, the NPP MPs think President Mahama is a fraud. That is why the NPP folks have boycotted every activity concerning him: from his swearing-in ceremony as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces to the vetting of his nominated ministers to his recently State of the Nation address which he delivered in Parliament.

Even the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terkper, who will present the budget is not considered as legit by the NPP, which is why the NPP MPs refused to take part in his vetting process in Parliament.

If that is the case, then it sound to reason to say that the 7.5% of the nation’s income which will be set aside by President Mahama in his budget for the Common Fund is also not legit to the NPP. As a result, the NPP MPs will not bother to touch their portion of the fund for development in their constituencies.

It will be very interesting to see how the NPP MPs will behave towards the Common Fund. I am of the view that if the NPP MPs do not recognize President Mahama and are claiming that he stole the elections and therefore he is an illegal president, and are also claiming that Seth Terkper is also an illegitimate minister, then the money President Mahama will set aside for the Common Fund in his budget is also not legit.

If so, then the NPP MPs will be better off boycotting their part of the Common Fund as a matter of principle. But I will go further in suggesting that the monies due to the NPP MPs in the Common Fund be frozen. The monies should not be released to the NPP MPs because it will be set aside by a President they do not recognize and accept.

The NPP MPs got away when they sneaked and cashed in on their rent allowances of GHC 50,000 each which was authorized by President Mahama who they have frowned upon. When it comes to money matters, the NPP folks will never disappoint Ghanaians since they eat, breath, speak and do nothing that does not concern money.

I believe that its time the strongest signal is sent to the NPP folks who think that can take the country for a ride. The monies to be set aside in the Common Fund should not be released to the NPP MPs. I strongly think it will be proper if their portion is frozen until the day Akufo-Addo genuinely wins an election in this country.

magjackson80@yahoo.com http://majjacks80.blogspot.com