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21.03.2006 Business & Finance

Dep. Minister asks Assemlies to provide offices for MHIS

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Koforidua, Mar. 21, GNA - Metropolitan.Municipal/District Assemblies(MMDAs) have been asked to give priority to the construction of office blocks for the District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme(DMHIS) from their next Common Fund allocations.

A Deputy Minister of the Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, gave the directives when opening the first Quarterly Meeting of the Municipal and District Chief Executives(MDCEs) in the Eastern Region at Koforidua on Tuesday.

He disclosed that both the last quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of this year's Common Fund allocations were being released to all MMDAs and announced that by June, this year, the government would provide all DMHIS with vehicles and logistics, including computers, to help facilitate their operations.

Mr Dwuma Odoom further told them that the HIPC funds were being released to the assemblies towards the implementation of the revised poverty alleviation scheme and asked the MDCEs to contact their banks for the early release of the funds for disbursement. According to him, unlike the past when the various Ministries operated poverty alleviations schemes, which went to individual applicants thus enabling some to obtain multiple loans, under a new inter-sectoral programme, only organized societies would benefit from the unified scheme to be implemented by the MLGRD.

On the School Feeding Programme (SFP), Mr Dwuma Odoom announced that the Ghana Government and the Dutch Government are jointly financing the five-year programme with 328 million dollars to run between 2006 and 2010.

To this end, he said, five basic schools are to be selected from each district this year to benefit from the programme, saying between this year and 2010, the programme would be expanded to cover more schools each year so that come 2010, some two million pupils would be fed one meal a day at all basic schools in the country.

The Deputy Minister, therefore, asked MDCEs to begin selecting the beneficiary schools and provide them with platforms for water tanks while morally upright cooking staff be appointed to ensure that the programme truly benefited only pupils.

Mr. Dwuma Odoom stressed that the programme, which was aimed at warding off malnutrition among school-going children in the country, was also primed to rely wholly on local food staples in order to provide ready market for the country's farmers and food processors. 21 March 21 06