Accra, Feb. 9, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Tuesday assured the Millennium Excellence Awards Foundation of Government's support in the organisation of this year's prestigious awards ceremony. He, however, asked the Awards Committee to ensure that the winners were selected from all parts of the country to encourage those in the regions and districts to give of their best.
Vice President Mahama gave the advice when members of the Boards of Governors and Trustees called on him at the Castle, Osu, to brief him on the work done towards this year's event and to seek Government's assistance, particularly, in the hosting of international dignitaries who would be invited.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a member of the Nobel Peace Committee in Stockholm are among the 2,000 guests expected to be at the ceremony, slated for June 25 at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Vice President Mahama stated: "Rewarding excellence and achievers is in the right direction because it would spur the youth to become productive and excel in their chosen careers, but do not make it an Accra Affair. Indeed, those in the regions and districts would be most encouraged when they see people amongst them being awarded for their good deeds."
He told them to consider all categories of productive endeavours to reflect the character of the national economy and also explore the possibility of reducing the five-year span of the awards to sustain public interest in it.
Education, Agriculture, Science, Women Empowerment, Peace, Grassroots and Rural Development, Inspirational, Humanitarian, Literature, Sports, Information Technology, International Development Partnership, Industrial Development and Arts are the categories for awards.
The Awards Scheme aims at celebrating Ghanaian and international personalities who are achievers in their fields to encourage them to play leadership roles and mentor the youth.
The winners would be jointly selected by members of the public, whose votes would constitute 40 per cent, while the Board of Governors would provide the additional 60 per cent.
At the end of February, a chartered accounting and auditing firm, Hyde Fynn and Osei, which has been engaged to set the criteria and modalities and ensure the transparency and credibility of the scheme, would publish the names of 10 candidates of each category short-listed for the final public voting.
Nominations, which closed at the end of January, were made jointly by members of the public, the research committee of the Awards Scheme and members of the Board of Trustees. It was launched in August 2004.
Alhaji Idriss Egala, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, assured the public that everything would be done to ensure that winners would be credible and would satisfy all parties.
Mr Kwesi Yankah, a member of the Board of Trustees, said the Foundation would organise seminars, workshops and other ceremonies to inculcate work ethics and discipline in the youth as part of nurturing them to excel in the context of the Government's Human Development Strategy.