Aburi, (E/R) Nov. 13, GNA - The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, has said the Kufuor administration was focused on fulfilling the mandate entrusted to it by evolving various development projects and policies for accelerated national growth.
He, however, deplored the tendency by some political opponents to denigrate the President by abusing the era of freedom of speech being upheld by the NPP government.
Addressing a durbar of the chiefs and people of Akuapem Anafo to climax their annual Odwira festival at the Aburi Botanical Gardens on Saturday, he reminded such persons that their utterances did not only tarnish the image of the President, who was occupying the seat for the constitutionally specified period, but the Presidency of the nation which remained permanent.
He commended the chiefs and people of the area for embarking self-help projects and assured them and any other communities of government's support for their initiatives.
Mr Mpiani, who is also the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, drew the attention of the people to next year's budget proposal delivered last week and urged all sections of the society to contribute their quota towards attaining the set targets for national development. On the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), he urged chiefs and opinion leaders to encourage their people to register to benefit from quality and affordable health care.
Reflecting on the long-standing chieftaincy dispute among Akuapem chiefs, he urged all sides to burry their difference for unity and development to proceed as before and offered the government's readiness to aid in the effort.
The Minister of Education and Sports, Mar Yaw Osafo-Maafo, commended the people for embarking on educational projects, such the library project for the Adonteng Secondary School, Aburi, and assured them of government support.
He announced that his ministry would present a bus to the school before the end of the year, saying it was the one selected in the Akuapem South District to be among the next batch of 30 Senior Secondary Schools to be developed into model ones.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo said under next year's budget the government would assist companies to open employment avenues for the youth, saying those who would offer skill training to graduates of the education system would be offered tax rebate.
According to him, "those who described the budget as 'azaa' had not even read the about 400-page document except what they heard from the 70-page Executive Summary read by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning to Parliament."
The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Miss Susana Mensah, noted with delight that the people had embarked self-help educational projects embarked on by the people fell in line with government's effort to develop the human resource of the country.
She asked the chiefs to educate their people to take advantage of the capitation grant and other polices of the government to send their children to school.
Miss Mensah drew their attention to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the fact that the region topped in the prevalence rate as last year and urged the chiefs to educate their people on need to change their sexual behaviour to help reduce the rate of spreading.
She referred them to the efforts by Queenmothers in the Krobo area to help cater for people living with HIV/AIDS(PLWHAs) and orphans resulting from it and urged them to emulate the example. She asked the farmers to take advantage of government's interventions policies to enhance their production to meet local needs and export.
The Aburihene, Otoobuor Djan Kwasi II, in his welcoming address, said the people were engaged in the construction of a library complex for the Adonteng Secondary School, a community centre and rehabilitation of the Aburi market.
He expressed their appreciation to the US Embassy for donating 3,000 dollars towards the project, the Indian High Commission for donating five water pumping machines to the school and the European Union(EU) for 200 million cedis for the market project.
He commended the government for the ongoing rehabilitation of the Pantang-Mamfe road, which, he noted, would help promote investment and tourism to the area.
Nana Kwasi Djan, however, warned landowners in the area not to indulge in multiple sale of land to investors and estate developers to avoid the litigations that follow.
He appealed for more government assistance towards meeting the needs of educational institutions in the area as far as facilities, accommodation and teachers' bungalows were concerned.
The durbar attracted important personalities including the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Sampson Boafo, the Deputy Ministers of Roads and Transport, Mr Magnus Opare Asamoah, who is also the MP for Aburi/Nsawam, the Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Mar O.B. Amoah, and the Akuapem North District Chief Executive, Mr Andrews Nyarko Adu. It also drew chiefs and their large retinues from the Akuapem Okere and Guan and Agona Nyakrom and Duakwa areas and the Otublohum division of Accra, whose chief, Nene Nii Duodu Nsakye, chaired the function.