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22.02.2005 General News

Dan Botwe visits GNA

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Accra, Feb. 22, GNA - Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Information, on Tuesday lauded the Ghana News Agency (GNA) for the services it is providing towards the development of the nation in spite of inadequate logistics.

He said all efforts would be made by his sector Ministry to ensure that the Agency received the necessary logistics to enable it to perform its duties with greater efficiency.

Mr Botwe was interacting with the Management and Staff of the GNA during a working visit to know at first hand, how the Agency operates, its problems and how to find possible solutions to them. The visit also formed part of the familiarisation tour of departments and agencies under his Ministry.

Mr Robert Kafui Johnson, General Manager of GNA took the Minister round to sections of the Agency, including the Newsroom, Systems Room and the Information and Documentation Department.

Mr Botwe expressed concern about the lack of computers and vehicles facing the Agency and gave the assurance that government would fulfil the promise to provide four vehicles from the HIPC benefit to augment the situation.

He said he would personally lobby for donors to support GNA if allocation from government budget was inadequate.

Mr Botwe called on Management to update the needs and objectives of the agency in order to find solutions to them.

Mr Johnson said the Agency lacked resources to speed up its operations, noting that each regional office had to work with one second-hand computer with no access to the internet.

He said the Agency had still not received the two Pickups and 500,000 dollars government promised for the restoration of some equipment, especially the Server, which broke down in 1997.

He said besides what was provided to the Agency from the National Budget, it had not receive any outside asistance for more than 24 years now.

The regional offices, which provided about two thirds of the nation's news had worked without vehicles, while the situation is worse in the districts.

Mr Johnson said GNA was also beset with labour problems that had retarded its work since a lot of time had to be spent in solving issues that were not development oriented.

Nana Appau Duah, Supervising Chief Editor said the Agency had 202 working force comprising 110 journalists and 36 stringers who help to cover stories from the remotest parts of the country.

He said if GNA was provided with the necessary logistics it would provide better services and improve upon its current subscribers list of 65.

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