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I’ll pursue aggressive policies to reduce poverty in Central Region — Minister-designate

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The Minister-designate for Central Region, Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, has promised to pursue aggressive policies and programmes that will create decent jobs, particularly for the youth to reduce poverty among the people.

Mrs Justina Marigolds Assan, Central Regional Minister Designate

According to her, despite the many resources and economic potential the region was endowed with, it was very worrying that the region was still referred to as the poorest after the regions in the north.

“Although it will be quite challenging especially where some of the youth may not have the requisite skills to take advantage of the many job opportunities in the formal sector, government together with partners would ensure the decentralisation of job creation to reduce poverty to the barest minimum.”

Exclusive interview

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In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Agona Swedru last Sunday,  on a wide range of issues, she noted that “if I am duly approved by parliament as the next minister for the Central Region, I would work to change the old narrative which considered the region as the next poorest region after the northern regions.”

Mrs Assan, the Municipal Chief Executive for Agona West Municipality, if approved by parliament’s appointment committee would replace Mr Kwamena Duncan.

She will be the second woman to occupy such a portfolio in the region after Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) since the commencement of the Fourth Republic in 1993.

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She noted that it was unacceptable that despite the presence of many first class second cycle institutions and other opportunities, they had not been harnessed fully to provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youth to better their lives.

“The government will continue to champion the One-District, One-Factory agenda and other policy interventions to provide more sustainable job opportunities to the youth across the region to improve their living standards.”

“One of my top priorities is to ensure the creation of business-friendly environment that will attract many private investors both home and overseas into the region to set up firms to provide direct and indirect decent jobs to the youth,” she indicated.

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Open up region

Mrs Assan noted that another critical area that special attention would be paid to was road construction so as to open up the region to development, saying “many of the roads to remote communities were in deplorable state which must be tackled to ease transportation”.

She explained that the region voted massively for the NPP and she would lobby government to turn its spectacle to the region in the area of road construction to help farmers to cart their goods to market centres.

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She stressed that the traffic alone that commuters experienced from Kasoa through Buduburam alone was a great source of worry to many road users and investors who were interested in investing in the region.

“I believe if the Accra-Cape Coast highway is converted into a dual carriage road, it would ease traffic as well as encourage investors in particular to come into the region to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to do business in the region,” she pointed out.

She expressed optimism that the region would hugely benefit from the second year of road projects recently announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo so as to open up the region for development.

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Source: JoyNews 

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Education

Government spent GH¢40.4 billion on education between 2017 and 2020 – President Akufo-Addo

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“EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION INCREASED BY 95% IN MY TIME” – PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO

President of Ghana. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

“So great has this government’s commitment to education been that public expenditure on education has almost doubled from twenty billion, seven hundred million cedis (GH¢20.7 billion) between 2013 and 2016, that is in the Mahama era, to forty billion, four hundred million cedis (GH¢40.4 billion) between 2017 and 2020, that is in the Akufo-Addo era, representing an increase of some ninety five percent (95%).”

These were the words of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, 4th January 2022, when he delivered a speech at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.

Addressing the gathering at the event, President Akufo-Addo noted that GNAT is what it is today because of the work of its past and current membership and leadership, and he assured that, under his administration, the work undertaken by the membership and leadership of the Association will not be in vain.

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The President, thus, used the opportunity to thank all teachers in the country for the work they did, and continue to do, in ensuring that the education of Ghanaian children, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has not been truncated.

“Continuous assessment, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have all been written by thousands and thousands of students, under your care and guidance, in conditions of safety and orderliness, and without incident. The nation is extremely appreciative of these acts of selflessness and patriotism,” he said

According to President Akufo-Addo, his vision of a modern, competitive, Ghanaian economy, spearheaded by indigenous entrepreneurs, with productive employment for the great majority of its citizens, requires skilled economic actors, and to get there, the nation needs an educated workforce.

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“Through the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, we are ensuring that value is being added to the intellect of every Ghanaian child. This is our surest way of succeeding in adding value to the Ghanaian economy, thereby helping to create acceptable, well-paying jobs for the young people of our country,” he said.

The President continued, “For us, in Ghana, also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a group of well trained and motivated teachers that can help deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy and nation”.

Outlining the many initiatives implemented by Government since 2017, he stated that his government has restored, since coming into office five years ago, and continues to pay, teacher trainee allowances, which were abolished by the previous administration.

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“In addition to the yearly average increase in salaries over the last five (5) years, my government is, for the first time in our nation’s history, paying a professional allowance to teachers. We have abolished the three (3) months’ pay policy for teachers, we have cleared the arrears, and promotions due teachers have also been effected,” he said.

He stressed that to prevent undue delays in promotion of qualified teachers, Government will, in 2022, improve on the conduct of the aptitude test instituted by the Ghana Education Service, leveraging on lessons learnt from the one conducted in 2021.

Affordable Housing for Teachers

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“Government is also committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers all across the nation. The current initiative will involve the provision of housing for both mortgage and rental. I am fully aware that one challenge facing teacher ownership of homes beyond finance is their inability to purchase homes where they intend to retire,” he said.

Through a subsidised loan programme, President Akufo-Addo indicated that teachers will be provided an opportunity to own houses in desired locations in various parts of the country, stating that the Ministry of Education is working with the National Service Scheme on this.

In addition, the Ministry of Works and Housing is in discussion with teacher unions to provide more housing opportunities for teachers.

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“Within the next two years, it is proposed that ten thousand (10,000) housing units on affordable terms will be developed for teachers across the country. This, as we all know, is the tip of the iceberg, but it is a good beginning,” he added.

Touching on the vexed issue of laptops for teachers, President Akufo-Addo was glad the supply of laptops was appreciated by teachers, and promised that the other related matters of concern will be addressed.

“Good relations between GNAT and my government are matters of importance to me, and I will do my best to promote such relations,” he added.

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Source: The Presidency

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