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24.11.2005 General News

Programme to enhance growth on track - Minister

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Busua (W/R), Nov 24, GNA - The programme to ensure the social and economic growth of the country to make life worth living for Ghanaians is still on track, Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, has said. What is more important now is for the people to have confidence and muster courage to take advantage of the opportunities to achieve the best results for themselves and society.

"Ghana now has the capability to grow into a middle income status and we must disabuse our minds that the Blackman can not achieve the best for himself", he stated.

Mr. Mensah was opening a three-day conference of Regional Ministers and Regional Coordinating Directors at Busua near Takoradi, on Thursday. He noted that as, "Front-liners of the government", Regional Ministers and the Coordinating Directors must strive to understand the issues because if they slipped, it was likely that the government would be misled.

The government had charged itself to "change history" by working hard to turn around the country's fortunes in spite of the difficulties it inherited, he said.

Mr. Mensah said one difficult task of the government was how to improve the public service that was left to "deteriorate for many years" to enable it to perform better, adding that even though this was being pursued, it would take sometime to achieve the objective.

He identified the Planning and Statistical Service as some of the important institutions that were allowed to "run down badly" and advised the participants to upgrade their knowledge on the issues.

"You must strengthen your knowledge so that we have grip on facts, programmes and policies to be able to explain them better to the people", he said.

Mr. Mensah said difficulties in the education sector were the result of previous mistakes and poor planning and stated that the new policy would correct the mistakes to ensure that students would became employable after completing Senior High School.

He said the government would continue to support scientific and technological education, "because they are the cornerstone of our national development", adding, "it is very expensive but we have no choice".

Mr. Mensah recounted the benefits to be derived from the National Health Insurance Scheme and said it was unfortunate that some people were reluctant to register in spite of the education.

He said the government was in a position to plan and meet medical supplies because the currency was stable, adding that, the education would continue to enable the people to register and enjoy the benefits of the scheme.

Mr. Mensah said in spite of the financial constraints, the government would pursue its objective to provide good roads, education, health, electricity and other infrastructure to open up the country. The cost of constructing the Bui dam capable of generating 400 megawatts of electricity was now 600 million dollars.

He said a new power plant was being constructed at Tema at the cost of 300 million dollars to supplement power supply to the area. The Senior Minister noted that the dream of President John Agyekum Kufuor to lay a firm foundation for the country's growth into a middle-income status through human resource development, employment creation and the provision of infrastructure was being realised.

Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, welcoming the participants said as the first representatives of the government, Regional Ministers had the task of dealing with all forms of challenges. They are expected to serve as a formidable link between the Central and Local Government by monitoring, coordinating, implementing and evaluating the programmes and policies of agencies. He stated that such conferences gave the Ministers an opportunity to discuss and share ideas to enhance their performance. Mr. Aidoo expressed the hope that the presentations by sectors Ministers would help them to deal more effectively with problems facing their regions.

Mr. Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister who chaired the opening, said the conference would offer them the opportunity to review their performance and address their shortcomings.