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27.02.2009 General News

Feed Ghanaians with accurate, substantive information – Minister

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Mrs Sabah Zita Okaikoi, Minister of Information,
on Friday urged media organizations under the Ministry to feed Ghanaians

with accurate, relevant and substantive information and knowledge

She pointed out that the Ministry of Information had been the prime

conduit of information and knowledge between the people of Ghana, government

and the outside world.
She therefore urged Ghanaians to contribute ideas, initiatives and innovations to Ghana's development process through the Ministry of Information and its agencies.

Mrs Okaikoi said this at a meeting organized by the Ministry to formally and officially introduce her to heads of agencies under the Ministry.

“We need to use tried and tested methods as well as new, more rapid methods of exchanging knowledge and information with our people.”

She therefore promised to equip agencies within the Ministry and improve their efficiency and effectiveness in the interest of national development.

Some of the agencies at the meeting were the Ghana News Agency, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Information Services Department, National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) and Ghana Publishing Company.

Mrs. Okaikoi said the Ministry would support and encourage regular professional training for staff of the Ministry and all its agencies, especially in this era of information and communications technology, to increase professionalism and discipline.

“We are determined to make this Ministry and its agencies even more productive and relevant to the development needs of Ghana,” she said.

Other plans by the Mills-led administration, she said, were to harness local languages, traditional cultures and customs into the dynamic engine of modern technology information practices.

Mrs. Okaikoi pledged her commitment to make the Ministry the best it can, acknowledging that, nothing could be achieved without the support of the media.

Nana Appau Duah, General Manager of the Ghana News Agency, briefing the Minister about the Agency's operations, said it was the most credible source of news in Ghana and abroad. However it had serious financial constraints.

“We are not able to pay our reporters' transport fares, stringers' fees; pay bills and other things needed to run the agency,” he said.

He stressed that the government subvention received by the agency was only enough to pay staff salaries because the amount left after paying salaries is paltry.

Nana Appau Duah requested that part of the internally generated funds be retained by the agency to be used to pay bills and other allowances.

“The agency has a lot of ideas but we are not able to implement them due

to lack of finances,” he said.
Mr. William Ampem-Darko, Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, said his organization was not properly structured and emphasized the need to train and re-tool staff since most of their equipment was digital and most of the staff was used to the analogue system.

“Those who are not trainable should be sent-off in a humane way,” he said, and expressed the hope that, this year GBC would be able to bring a variety and exciting programmes to their viewers.

Mr James Amuah, Director of the Information Services Department, said his outfit was responsible for explaining government policies and programmes to people at the grass-root level and called for more support in terms of their mobile information vans to enable them to work more efficiently.

Mr S.A. Kwatiah, Head of Ghana Publishing Company, said his organization was working below capacity because they did not have enough contracts as well

as working capital.
Mr Nanfor-Olaga, head of NAFTI, said the Institute needed new studios and digital equipment since they still trained their students with analogue tools even though everything was now digital.