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27.09.2004 General News

We're determined to stay on course - Veep to Ghanaians abroad

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Atlanta (USA) Sept. 27, GNA - The Government is resolute to stay on course towards socio-economic advancement in spite of an unstable global economy, Vice President Aliu Mahama has assured Ghanaians in the United States, and urged them to make investments towards that goal.

He said: "We are determined not to make the old mistakes of paying ourselves too much today, at the cost of inflation, higher interest rates and fewer jobs tomorrow".

Vice President Aliu Mahama was addressing more than 600 people including Ghanaians resident in the US, at a diner at an awards ceremony held by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

"We are determined not to make the old mistakes of putting consumption before investments, the short-term before the long term," he added.

The dinner, held at the Omni Hotel at Atlanta, to honour Mr Andrew Young, chairman of Good works International, 102-year-old Sam L. Evans, a Philadelphia impresario and media super star Oprah Winfrey for their humanitarian activities, was also to solicit support for the Otumfuo Education Fund.

Briefing the audience on efforts being made to push Ghana's growth rate from four-five per cent to more than eight per cent by 2010, Vice President Mahama said modest achievements had been made in that direction.

He said these had been possible mainly through the execution of projects and programmes under the five priority areas of enhanced social services.

Vice President Aliu Mahama mentioned the areas as modernized agriculture; good governance, private sector development; and enhanced infrastructure development.

Vice President Mahama said there was ample evidence of completed physical infrastructure such as roads, school buildings and other facilities for education and health or under construction. He said investment in the Police Service to provide training, equipment and other logistics to combat crime, had yielded significant results as the crime rate had gone down drastically.

Vice President Mahama said Cabinet recently approved 21 million dollars for the Service to further improve their level of efficiency. On education, he said the Government's goal to provide adequate furniture to all the 50,000 basic schools in the country and to ensure that the ratio of core textbooks distribution was 1:1 by December was on course.

Vice President Mahama said so far, 3,000 blocks of classrooms had been rehabilitated, while 500 units of teachers' accommodation facilities had also been completed.

Additionally, work had begun on 30 senior secondary schools as part of the vision to upgrade at least one secondary school in each district into a model institution to provide quality education at the doorsteps of rural communities.

However, the Vice President Mahama said he acknowledged the inadequate funding for tertiary institutions and welcomed the intervention of the private sector to increase access and to provide quality education in that sector.

Steady progress was also being made in efforts to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to Ghanaians.

Vice President Mahama expressed the hope that conditions of life would be better off when the National Health Insurance Scheme became fully operational.

He appealed to Ghanaian health professionals outside the country to return home to make the necessary sacrifice to improve the health care of the people.

Vice President Mahama reiterated the Government's commitment to ensuring that the December polls become the most peaceful, fairest and freest one.

He said: "We have restored the national psyche towards forgiveness, tolerance, social cohesion and respect for individual dignity."

From Beatrice Akua Asamani, GNA Special correspondent, Atlanta USA

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