21.08.2003 Sports News

Aliu urges Ministry to accelerate work on Sports Bill

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Accra, Aug. 21, GNA - The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is preparing a Bill to provide the relevant framework to speed up the development of sports as an emerging industry and to promote partnership with the private sector for its progress.

Vice President Aliu Mahama, who announced this in Accra, on Thursday, asked the Ministry to expedite action on the Bill, which will replace SMC Decree 54, to facilitate the reversal of Ghana's recent abysmal performance in international sporting activities.

He was speaking at a ceremony at Burma Camp to re-launch the Security Services Sports Association (SESSA) to revive its annual Games. It is considered as one of the avenues for unearthing and developing talents for national teams.

The Vice President stressed the importance of sports as a platform for national friendship unity and also as a source of national entertainment, job creation, revenue generation and other benefits, but said the Ghana's performance in the past few years was unacceptable. He said: "Governments, the world over place a considerable premium on the development and promotion of sports... Sports improve the mental development of participants and serves as a medium to enhance the image and status of individuals and participating countries that excel in it. "Today, millions of dollars are generated by governments, sports men and women, sports managers and other workers in sporting games and activities like the World Cup, Olympics, Commonwealth and International Tennis competitions."

Vice President Mahama reiterated the government's commitment to propel Ghana's sports through a systematic and scientific approach, to the heights that are desirable to Ghanaians, whom he noted, loved sports.

Measures to be taken, he said, include talent hunting, nurturing and promotion programmes, investment in infrastructure and improvement in managerial abilities.

He mentioned the upgrading of the Accra and Kumasi Sports Stadiums to international standards, the construction of two modern stadiums at Tamale and Takoradi and at other places.

On the contribution of the Security Services to the vision, the Vice President said: "The time has come for Government to fall on the Security Services to once again display professionalism and immense managerial skills and cooperation to help lift up the flag of this nation in the sporting world."

He noted that the discipline and congenial atmosphere provided by the Security Services, contributed in the past to the success of national stars like Azuma Nelson, the longest serving WBC champion, Mike Ahey, Gifty Abankwa, Patience Djato and others.

"The Black Stars excelled in previous Cup of Nations tournaments due to the inclusion of the outstanding players from the Military team, S.S. 1974," he said.

The Vice President, consequently, announced that the Government would fund the seventh SESS Games to be held in November. The Games was suspended in 1992 to enable the personnel to prepare for the general election.

In an interview with Journalists, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, said the Sports Bill would cover the development of all the 26 sporting activities in Ghana. It also has provisions for Administration, Finance, Development, Technical, Marketing, Research, Infrastructure, Information, Communication and Technology.

Mr Baah-Wiredu, who earlier described Ghana's sporting image as embarrassing, said focusing on strategic institutions such as the Security Services and educational institutions at all levels was key in the drive to reverse the trend.

He appealed to the Security Services to reserve a quota of their recruits for youths with talents in sports.

On infrastructure, the Minister said negotiations were on course to secure Spanish and Swiss support to develop the El Wak Park and Nicholson Park at Burma Camp.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said a programme had been initiated to honour Ghana's sporting heroes with a Hall of Fame.

The Interior Minister, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman in a speech read by Mr Thomas Broni, Deputy Minister of the Interior, said sporting competition among the Security Services would not only improve the health and combat alertness of participants and foster cohesion and collaboration in the interest of the nation.

Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Minister of Defence, said the Security Services provided perfect training grounds for the development of talents in sports and cited their contribution to the successful performance of Eastern countries during international competitions in the Cold War era.

The Games, he said, would, therefore, to promoted as a means of changing Ghana's disappointing performance.

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