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26.11.2005 General News

Regional Ministers conference ends

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Busua (W/R), Nov. 26, GNA - Mr Paul Kobina Damoah, a member of the Council of State, on Friday said the accelerated growth that the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Two, the second phase of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) recommends, is expected to be agriculture driven.

He was closing the three-day Regional Ministers Conference at Busua, near Takoradi.

Mr Damoah, who is the Western Regional representative to the Council of State, said the GPRS II would commence the country's Agricultural Revolution.

He said "The Agricultural Revolution I am talking about will get every Ghanaian into agriculture, especially food production". Mr Damoah said, "Chiefs, politicians, public servants, businessmen, churches, taxi drivers, housewives and all Ghanaians, who are capable of growing something will have to get involved". He said if Ghanaians took up the challenge and pursued the strategy for two years, the market would be flooded with food at cheap and affordable prices. Mr Damoah said the National Development Planning Commission was feverishly working on the GPRS II, which would be launched in early 2006.

He said the document was expected to prepare Ghana towards the middle-income status by 2015. Mr Damoah said, since the NPP government came to power, district assemblies have been provided with a lot of infrastructure facilities, but little attention has been paid to economic development, especially agriculture. He said the result of this was that food production has been low and therefore food prices are high.

Mr Damoah said Regional Ministers are doing good works but unfortunately some people have refused to recognize anything good in them.

Mr Damoah said people were attacking Regional Ministers through the media and also by rumour mongering in all regions but at different levels of intensity.

Mr Damoah said, "You need to recognize these nefarious activities of some of our people and take some measures, maybe collectively, to counteract their actions".

He said every Regional Minister needs "A sort of consultative advisory group" made up experienced senior citizens to consult, especially in chieftaincy problems.

Mr Damoah said, "As Regional Ministers, you are naturally concerned about security of your region and when a chieftaincy dispute threatens the security of the region, you definitely have to intervene". In a communiqu=E9, the Conference called on security agencies to take every necessary action to effectively deal with armed robbery, drug trafficking and other crimes.

Mr Sampson Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, who was the Chairman of the Conference and Mr Kofi Dzamesi, Volta Regional Ministry, the Secretary, signed the communiqu=E9. The Conference expressed concern about the destructive activities of nomadic herdsmen and urged appropriate government agencies and other stakeholders to support the regional security councils to deal with the menace.

It welcomed the idea of the Venture Capital Fund, designed to assist Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs). It noted the effort being made to ensure the holistic development of all individuals including the vulnerable through quality education, development of sports and human resource development under the new education policy.

The conference said the Capitation Grant has already led to increases in basic school enrolment and noted with satisfaction the efforts being made by the government at expanding infrastructure development at the tertiary level and hoped the tempo would be sustained. It pledged its full commitment to the implementation of the GPRS II, designed to promote economic growth, wealth creation and poverty reduction.

The Conference further pledged its support for the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) through educational and publicity programmes.

It urged the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities under the Free Zone concept to invest in the regions to help provide jobs for the youth.

The conference said all stakeholders should support the 2006 budget to ensure the realization of its objectives and targets. The next Regional Ministers Conference would be held at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

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