‘Pettiness in our politics becoming too much; sanction politicians who discontinue state projects’ – Ablakwa

The North Tongu Member of Parliament (MP), Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has suggested that a legislation must be passed to sanction political leaders who refuse to continue projects started by previous governments.

He said there are many uncompleted projects across the country which, when completed, could aid in development but have been left to rot, a situation he observed is retarding the country’s development.

Speaking to Emefa Adeti on Prime Morning, Wednesday, Mr. Ablakwa decried the emphasis put on party manifestoes and blamed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the stalled growth of the country.

“Where is our national plan?  I remember vision 2020 that the Rawlings administration put together; the Kufuor administration came and it virtually jettisoned it. Then the Mahama administration, when we were in power, Prof Kwesi Botchwey and the NDPC came up with a 50-year development plan; where is that? I think the time has come for us to put in place in our legal regime, more stringent provisions and they should come with sanctions.

“My position on what has clearly become a canker is that, politicians who do that should be shunned. Even though in the Constitution successive governments are enjoined to continue projects of their predecessors, it doesn’t appear that there are any sanctions for governments that come and do not really comply with that,” he said.

According to him, political appointees should endeavour to finish projects started by their predecessors without looking at who gets the credit for such initiatives.

“The DCE comes to power and he wants to start afresh when you can use about half of the money that you are using to start fresh projects to complete all the existing projects and existing schools. You have Ministers of State who come and want to have their own footprint, their own legacy so they would not continue existing projects.

“I do not know the state of the E-blocks now. The last time we asked in Parliament, it was clear that the 124 we started, at least 50 completed, the rest, there is really no commitment. If those E-blocks had been completed, we wouldn’t have double track on our heads,’ he added.

The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, on Monday revealed that all 16 flagship programmes of government will soon be reviewed to ensure their objectives are well achieved.

According to him, it is one of the decisions taken during the three-day cabinet retreat at the Peduase Lodge in the Eastern Region to mitigate the economic difficulties in the country.

Currently, the country is experiencing hikes in fuel prices and the growing depreciation of the cedi, adversely affecting the cost of goods and services.

But Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the review of the programmes, among others, will help the government cut some expenditure.

“All the 16 flagship programmes are up to be looked at. The President has directed that the flagship programmes should be protected and fully implemented to ensure that the impact is achieved. However, he wants it done within the constraints of item number two, which is the fiscal framework we are working with.

“If based on the caps that we are working with, we will have to re-scope a particular flagship programme, we will do it and see how much we can achieve. So all the 16 are up for discussion; none is off-limit.

“Only that the President has laid down the red line that we will not compromise on the fiscal consolidation agenda because our real problem over the years has been a year-on-year deficit going out of hand,” he said.