General News of Tuesday, 16 August 2016
The New Patriotic Party flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo is promising to institute a Coastal development Authority when voted into power in 2016.
The Authority, he stated will be used as a vehicle for rapid development of communities along the coastal regions of Ghana.
The NPP flagbearer made the promise during his interaction with fisher men along the coast of Sekondi in the Western Region.
The Coastal communities in Ghana make a huge contribution to the country’s economy by employing thousands of youth and providing food to many homes.
Yet these communities have been ranked as one of the least developed areas across the country with lack of social amenities, youth unemployment and other social vices.
Nana Akufo-Addo said governments have over the years abandoned the fishing communities despite the major role the fishing economy plays in the country.
He said the Coastal Development Authority will be a major feature in his party’s manifesto and will be executed diligently when voted into power in 2016.
This is not the first time, a government or political party in the heat of a campaign has promised to set up a development authority to arrest development challenges in specific areas.
In 2008, the NPP promised to initiate a Northern Development Fund which will be used specifically to develop the three northern regions in the country. The NDC on the other hand promised a similar project, the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) when it wins the election.
However, the implementation of the policy by the NDC government has been saddled with corruption, misappropriation of funds and has left the Northern and Savanna regions of Ghana the poorer.
But the Policy Director of the NPP Campaign team Boakye Agyarko told Joy News’ Francis Abban, unlike SADA, the Coastal Development Authority will be anything but a looting instrument by the state.
He claimed SADA had been “bastardised” by the governing party, but the Coastal Development Authority will be a “targeted interventionist program” with superior thinking and expert execution to solve the “myriad of social problems like teenage pregnancy, illiteracy, youth unemployment etc. within the coastal regions of the country.”
Boakye Agyako objected to the assertion that the local assemblies were better placed to execute this policy than at the central government level.
He explained that given the challenges and the poor level of development in the coastal regions there has to be a “concentrated and focused” effort to break through the barriers of under development in the coastal areas.
When he was asked how much the policy will cost, Boakye Agyako said it will depend on the specific interventions executed within a particular coastal area.
He dismissed assertions that the entire project must come with a cost before it will be made public.
“There is no project planned to the specific pin” he said, adding, what is important is to find out if the “intervention is necessary” and follow through diligently.
Meanwhile residents in the coastal communities have mixed feelings about the promise to institute a coastal development authority.
Some of them think it is one of those election campaign promises to win votes, whilst others believe the local assemblies must be empowered to execute that policy.