Accra, Oct. 19, GNA - Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Wednesday charged the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWAC) to produce monthly reports on assessments being made toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. He said MOWAC was one ministry that could give the true picture of Ghana's achievements toward the attainment of the MDGs and the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) since its mandate covered more than half of the population.
"It is from this sector that we can determine if we are making progress or not as a country, since the objective of reducing poverty by half by 2015 can be measured from women's welfare," the Minister said. The MDGs, among other things, seek to attain gender equity, poverty reduction, education of children of school going age, sustainable development and the combating of HIV/AIDS all by 2015.
Mr Baah-Wiredu made the proposal at a well-attended launch of MOWAC's three-year Strategic Implementation Plan in Accra. The Plan sets out a number of strategic interventions within Government's Development Policy framework of good governance, human resource development, private sector development and the GPRS II. It is guided by the principles and goals of the National Gender and Children's Policy, which is targeted at improving the social, economic and political conditions of women and children.
Mr Baah-Wiredu said in line with achieving some of the goals of the MDGs in terms of improvement in education, the Ministry had released to all basic schools the capitation grant aimed at attaining universal basic education for Ghanaians.
He said government's focus was on how to improve and finance secondary and tertiary education. "At the turn of the century university students were less than 10,000, but now the combined population of the state-owned universities alone is more than 30,000."
Mr Baah-Wiredu urged MOWAC to translate the document into all the local languages so that its study and implementation would be nation-wide.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister MOWAC, said without the empowerment of women, especially the rural poor who formed the majority of the nation's population, the country could not boast of reducing poverty.
"We cannot grow in a sustainable manner without investing our resources in our children who form the future labour force, including leadership of the country.
"We must all be actively conscious of our respective but collaborative roles in this enterprise of promoting gender equality and equity, women's empowerment and survival, growth and development of our children, which are essential tools for societal transformation, poverty reduction and accelerated growth."
Hajia Mahama said the goal of the strategic implementation plan was to achieve the status of a decentralised national machinery with the capacity to initiate, reform and influence policies, initiate innovative programmes and collaborate with stakeholders to advance the status of women and children.
She said the document would be disseminated through the regional, district and local levels where views would be collated and where possible the document would be altered to suit the desires of the people.
Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, who chaired the occasion urged women to face up to challenges as a way of rising to the top.
"We cannot continue to hide under the shield of our men without going out confidently to explore our God given talents. No woman with money in her hands would allow her children to suffer."
Ms Regina Tetteh, a pupil of Curious Mind Club and Aggrey Memorial Basic School in Accra, who gave a solidarity message on behalf of children, said the country did not need any more laws to protect children. What was needed was the enforcement of those already in existence.