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21.12.2005 Regional News

Council of State member unhappy with Central Region's poverty status

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Cape Coast, Dec. 21, GNA - A Member of the Council of State has called on chiefs in the Central Region to come out with pragmatic development programmes that would help reverse the high poverty status of the region.

Mr Ato Essuman said it was disheartening to observe that as a result of poverty the Central region, which was the cradle of Ghana's education, was currently lagging behind in academic performance and called for conscientious efforts to improve on the situation. Mr Essuman made these remarks during an end-of-year general meeting of the Central Regional House of Chiefs at Cape Coast. He said human resource development was rapidly dwindling in the region, further deepening the poverty levels of already impoverished people and urged the chiefs to support the government's policy on the capitation grants to ensure that all children of school going age were enrolled.

Mr Essuman announced that his outfit, in collaboration with other organisations would next year launch a scholarship scheme to assist needy students and urged chiefs to contribute meaningfully towards the scheme.

He suggested the holding of consultative forums on investment opportunities in the region, as well as the compilation of a professional/skills directory of all professionals of the region, both at home and abroad to serve as a human resources database to push the development agenda forward.

He spoke about the negative effect chieftaincy disputes were having on the country's development agenda and urged the chiefs to adopt the alternative dispute resolution to address the numerous conflicts in the region.

Mr Isaac Edumadze, Central Regional Minister, said the region was grappling with many chieftaincy and land disputes and urged the chiefs to find lasting solutions to the problems.

He said the region had moved from the fourth position to the fifth poorest region in the poverty ladder and stressed the need for all to do more to help improve the quality of livelihood.

Mr Edumadze said the government has put in place a number of programmes to reduce poverty and create wealth at the lower levels and called for the active involvement of traditional rulers in the projects to ensure their success.

On the forthcoming district assembly elections, the Minister called on the chiefs to identify and encourage their citizens, especially women to offer themselves for election, adding that there was the need for committed, dedicated and resourceful persons to represent the people at the various assemblies.

Nana Kwamina Ansah IV, President of the House, said the House had successfully adjudicated and cleared four, out of 40 cases brought before it.

He pledged that chiefs in the region would help streamline the land tenure system so that traditional authorities would lease land to meet the expected inflows of investment to the region.