Accra, Sept. 21, GNA - The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) is working towards reducing poverty from the current 40 per cent to 32 per cent nationwide by 2005, Mr Jonathan Azasoo, Senior Planning Analyst of the Commission said on Tuesday.
He said about 40 per cent of Ghanaians fall below the upper level of poverty, while 27 per cent have incomes below the lower level and these were considered extremely poor.
The upper level of poverty includes people with salaries up to about 900,000 cedis a year or 75,000 cedis a month while the lower level involves those with income of 700,000 cedis a year or 58,000 cedis a month, he added.
Mr Azasoo was speaking at a partners forum organised by the Outreach For Christ International (OFCI) to introduce the Ministry's Strategic Community Development Programme.
The OFCI is a non-denominational Evangelistic Ministry aimed at providing holistic socio-economic development programmes for deprived communities.
Mr Azasoo said the three regions of the north - Upper East, Upper West and Northern - are the hardest hit while the Greater Accra is the least hit.
"Eighty-eight per cent of people are poor in Upper East, 84 per cent in Upper West and 69 per cent in the Northern region." The Central Region with 48 per cent, Eastern with 44 per cent and Volta with 38 per cent.
Mr Azasoo said poverty goes beyond low income or "lack of money in the pocket" and includes inaccessibility of social services, non-involvement of individuals in decisions that affect them and sustainability of projects.
He mentioned improvement in healthcare delivery, education and skill development, sanitation and good drinking water as some of the measures government was pursuing to reduce the poverty level.
The Reverend Professor Emeritus Kwesi Dickson, Past President of All African Council of Churches, said the Christian faith is meant to have a bearing upon life's realities and to help those who could not help themselves.
He said it is important for the church to work towards ameliorating the difficulties of the African during these times of wars, famine and diseases as well as to preach the gospel.
The Reverend Seth Amedetor, Chairman of the Advisory Board of OFCI, said since 1987, OFCI has undertaken leadership training for community empowerment, capacity building for poverty reduction, rural school project, sponsoring deprived children and public health care programmes. He said communities that have benefited include Kwahu-Besease in the Kwahu South District, Madina in the Ga Ddistrict, Weta in the Ketu District and Ave-Dakpa in the Akatsi District.
Mr Kobla Amewuga Adzei, Founder and President of OFCI, said the Ministry would soon introduce grass-cutter rearing, beekeeping and snail farming in the Kofi-Kwei area of the Ga District.