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12.04.2005 General News

Govt promises free flow of information

By GNA

Cape Coast April 12 GNA- Government would ensure that the Right to Information and the Whistle Blower's Bills, were passed into law to strengthen the national anti corruption drive and improve on the public financial management system through free flow of information. Ms Shirley Botchway Deputy Minister of Information, who announced this in Cape Coast said there were also plans to re-introduce the publication of newspapers in the local languages to ensure that people in the rural communities got access to information.

Ms Botchway was addressing the People's Assembly in the Central Region where he launched the Fante version of the President's State of the Nation Address.

The People's Assembly was initiated by the Kufuor's Administration to ensure that the public was abreast with government policies, make the Executive accountable to the people and to enhance transparency in governance.

District chief executives, heads of department and a cross-section of the people attended it.

Touching on the 50 per cent hike in the prices of fuel the Deputy Minister said Government forewarned the public that deregulation of the petroleum sector would "produce shocks" in the economy, but with sound management and goodwill, all expected problems would be surmounted within the shortest possible term.

She appealed to opinion leaders to support the policy, stressing that Government was not insensitive to the plight of the people but ready to take difficult decisions for the progress of the country. Ms Botchway said Government's three-pronged strategy of human resource development, private sector development and good governance for accelerated growth under its Positive Change Chapter Two, was on course and asked for public support.

Mr Kwabena Hammond, Deputy Minister of Energy, who also commented on the petroleum prices said it was a "very difficult decision" since Government had to pay the 4.5 trillion cedis it owed Tema Oil Refinery. He said in November 2004 alone, 360 trillion cedis was spent in subsidizing fuel, and 2.2 trillion cedis from November to January this year.

Mr Hammond, said organisers of the protest march against the fuel increases dubbed: " The Wahala March", should face the reality and explain the issues to Ghanaians.

Nana Ohene Ntow, Government Spokesman, said Government was doing everything to shift from "donor support budgets to self- reliance budgets" to enhance the dignity and growth of the nation.

He said the holding of people's assembly, was a sign of good governance since Government was seeking to enhance the democratic process.

Questions from many of the participants, bordered on road construction projects, salary increment, transport fares, youth unemployment and water and sanitation problems.

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