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31.08.2005 General News

Government to review Poverty Reduction Strategy


Bolgatanga, Aug. 31, GNA - The Government is to review its Poverty Reduction Strategy started in the year 2003 and due to end this year. Against this background, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), in collaboration with Social Enterprise Development Foundation, is organizing a series of stakeholder consultation workshops in all the 10 regions to solicit the views of the people, which would be inputted into what is termed as "the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Two" (GPRS Two)".

Mr Jonathan Azasoo, Senior Planning Analyst of the NDPC announced this when he facilitated a workshop in the Upper East Region on Thursday on the need to review the GPRS.

He explained that the emergence of new global policy initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Poverty Impact Assessment among others, necessitated the need to update, integrate, input and improve upon the GPRS One.

The workshop was on the theme: "Growth And Poverty Strategy Two: Public Consultation."

Mr Azasoo explained that the GPRS Two, which would be implemented from 2006 to 2009 would enable the economy to grow by 6.0 percent per annum, bring down inflation to a single digit, develop the rural economy based on modernized agriculture, enhance infrastructure development and create an enabling environment for private sector activities and development.

He noted that it would also help in the sustainability of the environment.

Mr Azasoo stressed that when the GPRS was implemented it would expand the irrigation, crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors among others and also empower the vulnerable to venture into such sectors. Mr Samuel Zan, Country Director of Social Enterprise Development Foundation, explained that the GPRS Two workshop was to empower vulnerable groups to make an input on issues affecting their lives into the GPRS Two document.

Mr Zan said the purpose of the programme was also to bring to the notice of the vulnerable certain opportunities that they could enjoy. At the end of the workshop, participants made a nine-point recommendation to the government on the GPRS Two. They called on government to establish Presidential initiative on rice, yam, sorghum and the guinea fowl in Northern Ghana to boost agriculture for sustainable livelihood.

The stakeholders also urged government to discourage the importation of rice, tomatoes, poultry products, among other, to protect local farmers and consumers.

They appealed to the government to review the operations of district assemblies and particularly sub-district structures, with the aim of building the capacity of these structures to ensure their functionality.

The stakeholders further recommended that government should build storage facilities, support the processing of agricultural produce and make the export of agricultural products one of its priority objectives aimed at solving the problem of storage faced by farmers.

The participants called for the revamping of the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and the Zuarungu Meat Factory, all in the Upper East Region and urged government to encourage commercial institutions to lower their interest rates to make credit accessible to the poor.

They urged that the Land Administration Reforms process should be speeded up to make land easily accessible particularly to farmers, women and the disabled and called for the Disability Bill to be enacted as a matter of urgency to facilitate access to opportunities in GPRS Two. The participants also recommended that government should take steps towards identifying and upgrading tourist sites such as the slave trade centres in Sandema and Paga, Gbewa Shrine, Tongo Hills among others.