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10.08.2005 General News

Kufuor assures nation of contingency plans to avert famine


Accra, Aug. 10, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor, on Tuesday said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) had put in place contingency measures to avert the ravages of famine that had struck fellow West African State, Niger.

He said although Ghana had recorded good cereal crops harvest, MOFA had taken the necessary steps to increase the food stock to insulate Ghanaians from famine.

President Kufuor was addressing his third press conference at the Osu Castle in Accra, since he became the Head of State in 2001. According to United Nations estimates, about three million of Niger's 12 million population is suffering from food shortages. The President threw light on the Government's policy direction and vision.

The main context of the 30-minute address was on the economy, agriculture, social services, infrastructure, governance and foreign relations. It also centred on politics and social issues. Commenting on the need to introduce French as a second national language; he said since French-speaking neighbours surrounded Ghana: "It is only fair for Ghana to be bilingual."

President Kufuor said Ghana was pursuing a policy to put up a number of French language laboratories, saying initiatives had started in the various military barracks while government functionaries were also taking French language lessons.

Answering a question on the low salaries and wages of workers, he said unless the country expanded its economic base, any arbitrary increase of income would undermine national progress. "Currently we are using over 80 per cent of our revenue on recurrent expenditure account," he explained.

He renewed his call for a national debate to fashion out an income policy.

On housing, he said, the Government had released 150 billion cedis for the provision of housing units for workers near the Accra-Tema Motorway.

He said the Social Security and National Insurance Trust was being persuaded to provide more housing schemes.