10.03.2005 General News

Parliament vets eight nominees

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Accra, March 10, GNA - Mrs Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister-Designate, on Thursday pleaded with displaced Traders in Kumasi to bear with the Government as it tried to provide facilities at new sites for them to do their businesses.

She said the decongestion of Central Business District of the Metropolis was in the right direction and that the Government would ensure that the displaced traders were resettled in the more convenient area to conduct their operations.

Mrs Appiagyei made the plea when she appeared before the Appointments Committee in Parliament, which is vetting nominees for ministerial positions.

"I know they lack certain facilities at the new location but the situation is under control and soon everything would be sorted out for them to resume work."

She, however, urged the Traders to be law abiding and desist from displaying their wares on the pavements or anywhere they deemed necessary, adding that the law would not spare those who flouted the rules.

Asked how she intended to curb the recurrence of the spate of lawlessness that engulfed the city of Kumasi a few weeks ago, Mrs Appiagyei said the security agencies were now in control of the situation.

"I envisage a safer City and an improved security in the Region leading to higher living standard where people's dreams and aspirations would be realised."

She said she would also seek the welfare of women in the Ashanti Region and would assist them with micro-credit facilities to enhance their businesses.

Mrs Appiagyei said she was not in favour of legalising prostitution because there were other alternative jobs for women that did not impinge on the dignity of womanhood.

"However, those who are already in it should be helped and protected.

"No woman will like to see another woman deprived so I will encourage and assist them to get good vocations to better their living conditions." Asked what her hobbies were, Mrs Appiagyei said she liked cooking, sports and reading and that she was a strong supporter of Kumasi Asante Kotoko. More BDB

NPOL 11 Politics Parliament Vetting 2 Accra Mr Moses Dani Baah, Deputy Minister-Designate of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives (PSI), said the development of the Private Sector was the surest way of pushing the country's economy forward.

He said small-scale industries would have to be assisted to access funds to grow their businesses and all bottlenecks that hindered their growth should be removed.

Mr Dani Baah said President John Agyekum Kufuor in the State of the Nation Address emphasises the importance of the Private Sector and said the Ministry had medium and long-term strategies for enhancing the growth of the Sector.

On the brain-drain of Ghanaian nurses and doctors, he said, "the crux of the matter is that Ghana cannot pay as much as the developed world and that the problem will be with us for some time to come. "But I know the Health Ministry is doing its best to motivate our doctors and nurses with cars and a housing scheme is also being put in place for them."

Mr Dani Baah, who was the Former Deputy Minister of Health, said the Government was assisting Christian Health Institutions, which provided about 40 per cent of the nation's health care delivery by paying the allowances of their health personnel.

On the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr Baah said it had a great future since it was the only way to take care of the sick at low cost and promptly.

He denied that the NHIS Bill was rushed and said the policy framework took about two years to develop after which the public had to be sensitised and educated as well as putting in place structures that would stand the test of time.

Asked how he intended to develop the cotton industry, Mr Baah said the second phase of the President's Special Initiatives (PSIs) would include the development of cotton, cashew, maize, sorghum and handicraft.

Mr Andrews Adjei-Yeboah, Deputy Minister-Designate of Lands, Forestry and Mines, said those responsible for maintaining the law on forestry should live up to expectation and curb the illegal activities of chainsaw operators as well as illegal mining, which degraded the land.

He said Ghana's loses about 65,000 hectares of land to deforestation yearly and that efforts should be made to battle the activities of these illegal operators through monitoring.

The Forestry Services Department was now ensuring that timber companies paid a fee to help in the reforestation programme, he said adding that there was also the need to "inculcate the culture of growing trees in our neighbourhoods in the populace."

Mr Adjei-Yeboah said the Government was also training the youth to partake in the national tree planting exercise to help to stem the tide. Asked how intended to cut down on the use of charcoal, he said as long as the demand for the commodity was high people would still use the charcoal and called for the intensification of educating the public, especially the rural communities on the use of alternative sources of energy.

He urged timber companies to be responsive to the communities they operated in by helping in them in their developmental projects. Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Deputy Minister-Designate of Works and Housing, said the Government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was pursuing serious housing projects, which would provide affordable house for Civil Servants and other workers.

She said the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) housing projects would be pursued to meet the housing needs of Ghanaians and told her fellow MPs that she would see how best she could assist in their housing problem.

Asked why cocoa products cost very high in Ghana, which was a cocoa producing country, Mrs Dapaah disagreed and said chocolate was cheap. She said as a further measure to produce cheap cocoa products for most Ghanaians, she had proposed that smaller sachets of cocoa products be produced to meet the pocket of all.

On Private Sector Participation in Water Supply, Ms Dapaah said she would welcome private participation in Management and technical capacities and encourage private individuals to go into partnership with those who could fund them.

Mr William Ofori Boafo, Deputy Minister-Designate of Defence, said the practice of the Military in recruiting on quota basis to maintain regional balance was a wise decision.

He said it was a practice that had been used over the years and he was not against the idea since it was a guide for the Military.

He said every institution had its criteria for recruitment or appointment and the Military should be allowed to do what they considered to be necessary to maintain their hallmarks or standards. Asked whether it was justifiable to use taxpayers' money to cater for the Military, Mr Boafo said; "the military is not a revenue generating institution and I think they need to be taken care of".

Mr Daniel Christian Dugan, Deputy Minister-Designate of Fisheries, said the failure of most fish farming ventures undertaken by individuals in the country in the late 1970s and early 1980s were due to the lack of appropriate technology.

He said: "Due to the lack of technology and expertise most of the fish ponds turned into frog ponds thereby defeating the whole idea of aqua-culture."

He said with his vast exposure to fish farming and fishermen he intended helping them on how best such projects could be handled. "I also intend helping the fishermen with access to outboard motors, storage facilities, technology and ensure that the premixed fuel is distributed fairly.

"There is also the need to educate farmers on the need to use boats made out of other materials such as fibre glass instead of dugout canoes to save the trees."

Mr J.B. Danquah Adu, Deputy Minister-Designate of Women and Children Affairs, said he would help to bring down poverty in the rural areas especially among women by helping them with entrepreneurial skills.

He would also ensure that parents educated their children instead of allowing them to hawk along the streets and highways. "I think it is a greater joy to bring changes to one's live, especially the deprived ones and I intend pursuing that dream."

Asked whether he would legalise prostitution, the Minister-Designate described it as the oldest profession and said he did not have an opinion on whether it should be legalised on not. Mr Adu said legalising prostitution had been possible in some countries while in other countries it did not work.

Mr Magnus Opare-Asamoah, Deputy Minister-Designate of Roads Transport, was quizzed on the continuous traffic jam on the newly built Tetteh Quarshie Inter-change.

He replied that the inter-change was part of the integration of the roads within that area to ease the traffic and until the final integration was rectified there would be some minor congestions. He, however, said when everything was fully completed motorists would have free movement.

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