President John Agyekum Kufuor has said the rationale behind the recent realignment of some ministries was to help to strengthen his Government's vision as well as the focus of its policies and programmes. It was also partly in response to the recommendation by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) report that the size of the Government should be reduced. Mr Andrews Awuni, his Press Secretary, said at a Castle press briefing on Wednesday that the re-alignments were done not just on the spur of the moment but after a long and tortuous reflection, informed by pragmatic considerations. The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Kwmena Bartels was present at the briefing. Mr Awuni said the position of President Kufuor was that Government's Ministries, Departments and Agencies were established and named based on the vision and programmes of the political leadership at a particular period of time.
The idea of National Orientation for example, he said; "is to serve as an additional impetus for the work of the Information Ministry". The Press Secretary said it was the view of President Kufuor that information should be disseminated with clear and set objectives, which should necessarily include helping the citizenry to develop and crystallize within their psyche, a national orientation based on self-confidence, "can-do-it" attitude and the will to succeed.
"The information we churn out should be able to invoke in the citizens a sense of national pride and patriotism. We should be able to see and appreciate the good in us in spite of the seemingly impregnable obstacles." He said President Kufuor was optimistic that, through this the people could be helped to overcome the attitude of resignation and the "pull-him down syndrome" in the Ghanaian society.
Touching on the new Ministry of Tourism and Diasporean Relations, Mr Awuni said the new policy direction was in response to the African Union's (AU) official recognition of the African-Diaspora as the Sixth region of the Continent and the desire to take full advantage of this concept.
As Ghana prepared for her 50th anniversary celebration of nationhood and also in view of the upcoming anniversary celebration of the end of slavery, the new policy focus would enable the Minister to maximise whatever advantages existed out there to the benefit of the country, he said.
Mr Awuni said President Kufuor believed that issues relating to the environment could be better addressed under local government in view of its decentralised structures while science, the foundation of education, would be more convenient at Education Ministry.
He repeated the President's call on journalists to make socio-economic development and the national interest the focus of their practice saying: "If we all put aside our partisan cloak and make the national interest our focus, we cannot fail to see and acknowledge the progress the country has made in the last few years."
He also conveyed to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and its partners, the President's commendation for their initiative to develop programmes to assist Small and Medium Enterprises to expand their business in the context of the improved economic environment in the country.
President Kufuor, he said, was deeply touched by this move, coming at the heels of his call on journalists to redefine their role in the nation's effort to push forward. "If all Ghanaians pull together in confidence, with all the stakeholders playing their respective roles with discipline, commitment and efficiency, Ghana will surely succeed."