Cape Coast, Sept.4, GNA - Ghana is on the road to rapid socio-economic recovery, President John Agyekum Kufuor said at Cape Coast on Saturday.
He said: " There is no doubt that in the prevailing atmosphere of peace and enhanced freedom of expression, lowered inflation, reduced levels of interest rates, a reasonably stable currency, noticeably improving and expanding infrastructure and social services, the nation is on the road to rapid social and economic recovery".
President Kufuor was addressing a colourful durbar of the chiefs and people of the Oguaa Traditional Area in the Central Region to mark their annual Fetu Afahye.
Fetu provides an opportunity for annual reunions of members of families and the renewal of the allegiance of the people to the Oguaamanhen.
President Kufuor said the Government on assumption of office inherited great difficulties in practically every sector of the State. He said though choices that had to be made to resuscitate the economy as well as to restore and expand social services, the implementation of these policies had to be carried out within the framework of democratic governance based on the rule of Law.
"Within the past three-and-a-half years, the Government has kept faith with the nation by tackling all the challenges without trying to short-circuiting constitutional guidelines".
President Kufuor said the Government had been able achieve this success with the understanding and immense support and goodwill of the chiefs and people of the country.
He said: "Collectively as an institution and individually, the chiefs and their people have been a tower of strength behind us, offering invaluable advice and help as appropriate.
"We do appreciate this and believe it will lead to a healthy convention of positive working relations between the chieftaincy institution and the government for the betterment of the nation".
President Kufuor said the Cape Coast Municipality though with numerous impressive institutions of learning and also progressively sustained social services to match had been slumping for many decades. He said to reverse this trend and restore the Municipality to the status of a national heritage, the Government was taking steps to provide amenities and infrastructure such as water, good roads, electricity and general sanitation.
President Kufuor said given the great potential of the proximity between Cape Coast and Elmina, the Government had foreseen the development of a vibrant tourist industry in the area.
He said the Government would, therefore, encourage both local and foreign investors to exploit the potential for tourism.
Concerning the acute water problem in the Municipality, President Kufuor announced that the Pra River was being explored to determine its long-term sustainability as a major water source for the Municipality. He said in the short to medium term, the Dutch Government had provided 2.5 million Euros for the dredging of the Brimsu dam and in addition the first phase of a water improvement programme had been undertaken.
These are the provision of materials worth 20.3 billion cedis, for improvement of water supply at the University of Cape Coast, the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital and seven selected Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) in the Central Region.
The beneficiary schools are the Adisadel College, St. Augustine's College, Ghana National colleges, Mfantsipim, Wesley Girls, Edinaman and Aggrey Memorial schools.
The materials, were provided under the Water Supply Improvement Project (WSIP), being sponsored through the HIPC Fund.
President Kufuor said the second phase of the project would be undertaken shortly to cover the remaining schools in the region. Concerning the 2004 General Election, President Kufuor said "let us all commit ourselves to give Ghana peaceful and very credible elections this year".
Osambarimba Kwesi Atta II, Omanhen of the Oguaa Traditional Area, expressed appreciation to the Government for fulfilling its promise to rehabilitate the Mallam-Yamoransa road and efforts being made to improve the water situation in the Municipality.
However, he appealed to the Government to ensure that a permanent solution was found to the water problem.
The Oguaamanhen commended the Government for the early intervention in the strike action by workers of the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles. He and appealed to the Government to assist the Oguaa and Elmina Traditional Councils to earn a percentage from the revenue from the Castles as royalties for the development of the areas.
Osambarimba Atta appealed to the Government to assist in the organisation of the PANAFEST scheduled for next year. He called on citizens from the area to join the Oguaa Citizens Union being formed in all parts in the country to enable them contribute to the development of the area and participate in the Union's Congress scheduled for next year.
Osabarimba Atta commended President Kufuor for his sterling leadership qualities that had culminated in the peace and stability in some parts of the West African Sub-Region.