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15.06.2004 General News

Reject parties that downplay national interest - Nana Akomea

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Accra, June 15, GNA - Nana Akomea, Minister of Information, on Tuesday asked Ghanaians to reject any political party that would subject the national interest to its parochial interest.

He said: "The national interest must override any partisan interest. If nothing at all the Directive Principle of State Policy is an indication of what the national interest should be."

Speaking at the launch of the "Improved Economic and Financial Reportage Project" at the Press Centre, Nana Akomea said the 'supremacy of the national interest would compel whichever party that came to power to appreciate the relevance of the direction of the currents government's economic strategy and support same".

The nine-month project, which is to be undertaken by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) with technical support from the KAB Governance Consult under a sponsorship package of 100,000 dollars from the USAID, would benefit 100 media practitioners including Financial Journalists.

The practitioners, to be selected from Tema, Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi would undergo a training programme to improve their capacity in financial and economic reporting in Ghana.

In a speech read for Nana Akomea by his Deputy, Mr Andrew Awuni, he said if Ghana was to develop to the desired accelerated rate, then the generality of the citizenry needed to understand and appreciate the nature, challenges and opportunities of the business world.

He indicated that, while the Government might propagate the vision of promoting the private sector as the engine of growth, the people of this country needed to understand the dynamics of business to appreciate the preferred paradigm of the Government.

He deplored the quality of economic and financial reportage in the country, which he described as not the best and expressed regret that "as at now, Ghana can not boast of one widely circulated paper specialising in economic reporting".

Nana Akomea said the dearth of knowledge in economic reportage was given ample testimony by the lack of serious analysis of budget statements by the media while "politicians take over in commenting on such statements and policy options not from the angle of feasibility of policies but in terms of what political advantage they can get". The Minister noted the need to develop the capacity of the media and to specialise to enable them to give informed and analytical reports that would enable the ordinary person understand economic options better.

Mr Kwasi Afriyie Badu, Chief Executive Officer of KAB Governance Consult, explained that the programme would benefit 70 Journalists, who do general reporting and another 30, already specialised in economic and financial reporting.

He indicated that the first batch of Journalists to be selected from Accra would be taken through a training workshop on June 21, after which they would be attached to financial institutions for practical attachments.

Dr Nii Noi Ashong, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, launched the project and called for a review of the training curriculum of institutions that trained Journalists to encourage specialisation.

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