Posted: Tuesday 8th July 2014 at 14:36 pm

Full text of Ofosu Kwakye’s response to ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ group


Government has called called for an end to the talk of gloom and despondency as it pledged to work hard to fix the ailing economy.

Deputy Minister for Information and Media Relations, Felix Kwakye Ofosu made the statement at a news conference to react to the issues raised by the group #OccupyFlagStaffHouse, during a demonstration on July 1, 2014.

Read the full statement read by Mr. Kwakye Ofosu at the news conference at the Information Ministry, Tuesday.

 
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION & MEDIA RELATIONS PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT READ AT A BRIEFING SESSION BY THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND MEDIA RELATIONS

Introduction
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of the media.
Thank you for honouring our invitation to this press conference.

We invited you today to interact with you on some of the measures government has taken over the period to improve the living conditions of our people which remains the only focus of President John Dramani Mahama.

The Ministry of Information and Media Relations is today beginning what will be a periodic update to the good people of Ghana on what their elected government is doing to build a better Ghana for all. We do this in the true spirit of transparency and accountability and the deepening of good governance in Ghana.

Though gains have been made in many aspects of national life, government remains conscious of the many challenges that confront our people and assures that President Mahama continues to work tirelessly to address these challenges.

We shall now take you through a few sectors in this first briefing.

 
SUPPLY OF POTABLE WATER
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, government has fully embraced its responsibility to ensure the provision of clean, safe, drinking water for our people. In order to guarantee the availability of potable water for all Ghanaians, government has devoted significant attention and resources to improving the water supply system of the country.

Urban water coverage is currently estimated at 63% while rural water coverage stands at 64%. Government has pumped in massive investments to increase urban water coverage from the current level to 85% by 2015 while taking rural water coverage to 76% within the same period.

Current demand in Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) stands at 150 Million Gallons per Day (MGD) whilst total water production from the Kpong and Weija dams stand at only 93 Million Gallons per Day leaving a shortfall of some 57Million Gallons per Day. To address the supply shortfall and ensure reliable supply of water, government is undertaking the following:

1.    KPONG WATER SUPPLY EXPANSION PROJECT
The US$273 Million Kpong Water Supply Expansion Project when completed will supply 40 million gallons of water a day to areas including Adenta, Madina, Kwabenya, Ashongman, North, East and West Legon, Ashaley Botwe, Haatso, Boi, Asofaa, Dome and many others. The project is expected to be completed ahead of the scheduled 2015 completion date.

2.    KPONG INTAKE REHABILITATION PROJECT
The 16.5 million Euro Kpong Intake Expansion Project is being carried out to improve efficiency by replacing all existing pumps. As part of the project, a 3.3 my|ion gallons per day treatment Plant is being built to increase supply to Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area (ATMA). Communities to benefit from the project include Dodowa, Ningo, Prampram and Akuapem Ridge.

3.    ACCRA-TEMA METROPOLITAN AREA WATER SUPPLY PROJECT

At a cost of 56.5 Million Euros, the project involves installation of equipment for the production of 9 Million Gallons of Water per Day, the construction of four reservoirs at Adukrom, Dodowa, Atimpoku and Akorley as well as 92km transmission pipelines. When completed the project will improve water supply to almost 70 communities in both the Greater Accra and the Eastern Regions. These include:

Michel Camp, Afienya, Kpone, Prampram, Old Ningo, New Ningo, and Ayitepa, Kponguna, Omankope, Kodiabe, Doyumu, Agomeda, Adumanya, Menyum, Dodowa, Odese (All in the Greater Accra Region).

Other areas include Akorley, Abonse, Aperede, Adukrom, Awukugua, Dawu, Abiriw, Akropong, Mamfe, Amanokrom, Tutu, Obosomase, Ahwerase, Aburi, Gyankrom, Peduase, Kitase, Berekuso, Frankadua, Apegusu, Mangoasi, Atimpoku, New Senchi, Akrade, Domeabra, Lolonyo, Agomanya (All in the Eastern Region) .

About a quarter of a million people in these communities will have access to potable water when the project is completed.

These projects will add a total of 65.3 Million Gallons of water per day to the existing production capacity and bring total water supply to the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area to 158.3 Million Gallons per Day. This will ensure that demand for water in the national capital is met by the end of 2015.

There are also dozens of other water projects at various stages of completion around the country which would add about 30 Million Gallons of water per Day to the existing stock. These include the 3.3 Million Gallons per Day Wa water project, the Nsawam Water Supply Project, the Kwahu Ridge, Konongo and Kumawu Water Supply Projects (also known as the 3Ks project). The beneficiary communities include Medie, NtoasoNo.1 and 2,Owuraku, Hebron, Adoagyiri, Abene, Abetifi,

Asakraka, Aduamua, Bepong, Bokuruwa, Tafo, Mpraeso, Nkwatia, Nteso, Obo, Obomeng, Pepease, Kotosu, Asempanaye, Nkawkaw, Hweehwee, Akwasiho and Suminakese. Other communities to benefit from the project includes Wa metropolitan area, University for Development Studies Campus,Jamgoasi,Kog,Guo,Pase,Dorimon,Boro,Siriyiri,Bamaho,Bole,Buro,Chaira,Kolongo

and Kperisi.
Other projects include, additional works on the Kumasi Water Supply project, the Asante Mampong Water Supply Project which the President commissioned recently on his visit to Kumasi, the Essakyir Water Supply Project, the Akim Odo-Akwatia-Winneba Water Supply Project, the Five towns (Anyinam, Kibi, Osenase, Apedwa and Kwabeng) Water Supply Project.

Governments investment in water has not been limited to urban areas, a number of projects intended to make water available to rural dwellers are vigorously being undertaken and include; the Damanko-Kpassa Water Supply Project which serves about 60,000 people in 13 communities in the Nkwanta North District of the Volta Region; the Four Constituencies Water Supply Project designed to serve 150 communities in Central Tongu, North Tongu, Adaklu Anyigbe, Ho West and Ho East with a total population of over a quarter of a million.

The final batch of water projects we would like to speak about include the COCOBOD Borehole Project, under which people living in cocoa, Shea-nut and coffee growing areas are benefitting from access to potable water. Under this project, 1,008 boreholes have been sunk to serve 300,000 people; the Northern Regional Small Water and Sanitation Project (NORST) intended to serve 125,000 people in 14 Districts in the Northern Region, the Tongor-Kpalime Supply Project; Krachi East

and West Water Project; the Peri-Urban, Rural and Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project for Brong Ahafo Region and finally the Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project (SRWSP).

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the above illustrates clearly that ours is a government that is willing and able to take necessary actions to meet the needs of our people.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, you may have sighted some posters requesting the general public to volunteer information on any incidence of Guinea Worm infestation they may come across. Guinea worm used to be endemic in some parts of our country. It is a water-borne disease.That we have gotten to the point near eradication is ample testimony to the fact that even though the laudable water projects we have enumerated above are at various stages of completion we

are beginning to reap the benefits of such investments.

EDUCATION
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, I would like now to touch on some strides made in the education sector.

At the Basic level alone enrolment has increased by 829,625 in the last four years owing largely to the underlisted interventions aimed at guaranteeing access to education for our children.

1.    A total of 2,064 Basic school projects have been under construction. 432 of these were funded from regular Government of Ghana (GoG) funds and 1,632 funded from GETFUND. More than half of these projects have been completed and handed over to the education authorities.

2.     Over 100 million exercise books have been distributed since the NDC government started this intervention. In 2013 alone, 32 million exercise books were distributed to 4,768,806 basic school children across the country.10 million exercise books will be distributed this year.

3.    Last year 170,221 school children were supplied with free school uniforms. 10,000 uniforms will be distributed in 2014.

4.    Last year 12.5 million English, Mathematics and Science Core Textbooks were distributed in Public Primary and JHS Schools which enabled Ghana to exceed the universal Textbook-Pupil ratio of three textbooks per pupil. Currently Ghanas textbook-pupil ratio stands at four textbooks per pupil exceeding the target.

Before this feat the ratio stood at 1 textbook to three pupils.

5.    An amount of GHC24, 472,840 was paid in capitation grant to cover 5, 741,198 school children representing 30% of pupils in Public Basic Schools for 2012/2013 academic year.

6.    An amount of GHC 9,031,338.00 was used to subsidize the registration cost of 391,079 candidates for the Basic Education Certificate Examination. In 2014, 462,961 final year JHS students will be subsidized at a cost of GHC 14,803,635.00 representing 70% of the bill with parents paying GHC15 which is 30% of the examination fees. As part of efforts aimed at providing opportunities for BECE candidates who do not meet the criteria for selection into Senior High Schools, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with WAEC has reviewed the policy on BECE resit and introduced a

new system under which private candidates will now be permitted to resit beginning from February 2015.

7.    To improve ICT education, 60,000 laptops were distributed to Basic School pupils in all ten Regions of Ghana under the Basic School Computerization Program. 50,000 Basic School teachers across the country also benefited from ICT training.

8.    Under the Complementary Basic Education for Out-of-school Children, 25,000 out-of-school children were enrolled in 2013 and are currently being taught under the management of nine (9) implementing partners. The objective is to mainstream them into the formal school system upon graduation. Teaching and learning materials have been procured and distributed to the Implementing Partners and learning centers. The programme is currently being piloted in the Brong Ahafo, Northern , Upper West and Upper East Regions.

9.    The Ghana Library Authority procured 72,410 copies of books of various titles including 65 sets of encyclopedia to stock the ten Regional Libraries and 50 District Libraries.

10.    Significant numbers of Untrained Teachers exist across the Country,(51.6% trained teachers at the KG level,69.4% trained teachers at the Primary and 83.7% trained teachers at the JHS level).To address the shortfall, the Untrained Teachers in Diploma in Basic Education Program (UTDBE)with over 12,000 untrained teachers enrolled is currently on going. Other measures include the National In-Service Training (INSET) to enhance skills of teachers in various specialties. These training Programs have 3,086 KG teachers, 13,264 Primary School teachers and 6,543 JHS teachers in professional

development programs.
Government recently secured $156 Million under the Secondary Education Improvement Program to expand Secondary education. The amount will be used to;

1.    Construct 23 new Community Day Senior High Schools

2.     Expand 125 existing Senior High Schools
3.    Provide Scholarship for 10,400 needy students from deprived communities among others.

Over the last three years a total of One thousand and seventy-nine (1079) six-unit classroom blocks have been under construction out of which 161 are funded from regular Government of Ghana sources with the remaining 918 financed by GETFUND. Currently, one hundred and eighty-nine (189) two-storey dormitories are at various stages of completion.

Tertiary education has received equal attention from government over the last couple of years. The University of Health and Allied Sciences and the University of Energy and Natural Resources established in 2011 have witnessed remarkable improvements over the period. Work is progressing on the main campus of the University of Health and Allied Sciences at Sokode while the University of Energy and Natural Resources has witnessed considerable expansion.

Enrollment figures in both Universities have gone up impressively. From a foundation student base of 155, UHAS currently has 535 students while UENR has moved from 150 students at its inception to a current student population of 716.Construction works for offices, lecture theatres, laboratories and other learning facilities as well as accommodation are on-going.

Meanwhile enrollment at our 38 colleges of education has gone up by 63% due to new reforms aimed at increasing the number trained teachers in the country.

HEALTH
Government is addressing the heaithcare needs of our people in a comprehensive manner. The infrastructure, equipment and personnel needs of the sector are ail receiving urgent attention. As far as infrastructure is concerned, the following projects have are being embarked upon to expand access to heaithcare in ail parts of the country.

1.    The 600-bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital

2.     The 420-bed Ridge Hospital Expansion Project

3.    The 500-bed Military Hospital Project in Kumasi

4.    The  Second  phase  of  the  Tamale  Teaching  Hospital phase of the project

5.    The Police Hospital Project
6.    The Ashanti Regional Hospital at Sewua-Kumasi

7.    The Upper West Regional Hospital
Other projects aimed at expanding access which have been completed include

i. Nineteen out of the twenty-one Health Centres at the following locations;

Amasaman,  Doffor,  Pokukrom,  New  Jejeti,  Paakro,  Gwoiiu,  Funsi,  Sang,  Buipe,  Manso  Nkwanta, Abuakwa, Mose, Sosokpe, Kedzi, Adamso, Kayoro, Timonde, Bonsu Nkwanta and Dadieso 

ii.     Three District Hospitals under the same project have also been completed

Edjumako, Essam, Zabzugu District Hospitals.
iii.    . Construction of eye care centre at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, government has a program of providing modern hospital equipment to enhance heaithcare delivery. Christened the National Hospital Equipment Replacement Program, this initiative has ensured the construction and equipping of New MRI and CT Scan Centres in; the Komfo Anokye and Tamale Teaching Hospitals.

The Korie Bu Teaching Hospital alone benefited from a $57 Million project to replace and rehabilitate obsolete equipment and theatres. Twelve operating theatres for Pediatric and General Surgery (which had been closed for nearly eight years), the Neo-natal intensive care Unit and the Baby unit were refurbished.

Korie Bu also took delivery of Mammography, MRI,CT Scan ,X-ray machines and Oxygen plants.

Under the same scheme, procurement and installation of new X-Ray Equipment in 40 selected

District Hospitals took place nationwide; these include,

St. Peters Hospital, Jacobu-Ashanti Region
Mankranso District Hospital, Ashanti Region
St. Patrick Hospital, Offinso-Ashanti Region
Atebubu District Hospital, Brong Ahafo Region
Dormaa Municipal Hospital, Brong Ahafo Region
Holy Family Hospital, Duayaw Nkwanta- Brong Ahafo Region

Abura District Hospital, Central Region
Ajumako District Hospital, Central Region
Assin North Municipal Hospital, Central Region
Mfantsiman Municipal Hospital, Central Region
St. Martins Hospital, Eastern Region
Enyiresi District Hospital, Eastern Region
Weija Hospital, Greater Accra Region
Maamobi Polyclinic, Greater Accra Region
Pantang Psychiatric Hospital, Greater Accra Region
St Joseph Hospital, Nkwanta, Volta Region
Adidome Hospital, Volta Region
Dodi Papas! Hospital, Volta Region
Jasikan Government Hospital, Volta Region
Zebilla District Hospital, Upper East Region
Bongo District Hospital, Upper East Region
Lawra District Hospital, Upper West Region
St. Theresas Hospital, Nandom, Upper West Region.
NHIS
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, available data indicates that last year, out-patient utilization of the NHIS rose to 27. 4 my|ion from 16.6 million in 2009 and 597 thousand in 2005. Utilization here means the number of visits made to health facilities in the respective years on the account of the NHIS for only outpatient cases. This is positive because it reveals that our people now visit the hospitals often for their healthcare needs and therefore reflects the improved health seeking behaviour and outcomes of our people,

The NHIA paid 748 million Ghana cedis in claims in 2013, compared to 362 million cedis and 7.6mi!lion cedis in 2009 and 2005 respectively.

Even though, the growing utilization of services under the Scheme stretches the financial status of the scheme, government deems it important to continue to provide social protection for our people, especially those who need it.

In order to strengthen the structures of the NHIS, incremental reforms are being carried out to position it to respond to the ever growing needs of Ghanaians population. These include;

* The establishment of new Claims Processing Centres across the Country in 2010. Claims Processing Centres (CPC) have been established in Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast and Tamale. The centre in Accra takes care of claims from Greater Accra, Volta and Eastern Regions, whilst Tamale manages claims from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. Kumasi processes claims from Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions whilst Cape Coast serves the Central and Western Regions.

Electronic submission of claims (e-Claims) has been introduced to deal with the logistical challenges associated with paper claims management. It is intended to boost efficiency in claims management, reduce cost of submission for providers, reduce cost of processing for the NHIA, and expedite the claims payment process, among other things. The piloting of e-Claims began in April 2013.

As part of efforts to extend coverage to as many vulnerable groups as possible the NHIS as a social protection scheme that recognizes governments responsibility to provide financial protection against the cost of basic healthcare has initiated some programs to cover the vulnerable in society.

Currently, persons under l8years, pregnant women, LEAP beneficiaries, the aged, indigents, people in special homes such as the leprosaria and mental health homes constitute the exempt group under the scheme, they therefore do not pay premium.

Last year, 1.2million people across the country were registered for free under this scheme. This compares with 393,000 the previous year. The Ministry of Health through the NHIA is collaborating with the Ministry of Gender, Children andSocial Protection to register 10,000 aged people in Greater Accra, Central and Eastern regions. The aged in La, Chorkor, Akoto Lante, Madina, Teshie, Ashaiman, Mirna and Nungua have been registered onto the NHIS for free under this program and more remains to be done. The exercise will be extended to other regions.

SUPPLY OF ELECTRICITY
We now turn our attention to another important matter that has engaged the attention of Ghanaians; The Energy Sector. The recent challenge with the supply of electricity in the country is unfortunate and regrettable. It is important, however, to state that government is committed to providing reliable and dependable power supply to all Ghanaians.

As part of the commitment to expand our power generation capacity, government commissioned the 132MW T3 thermal plant at Aboadze, a 2MW Solar Plant at Navrongo and the 4OOMW Bui Hydro Electric Project. Through these efforts we have added 534MW to our power generation capacity, upward from 2, 311MW to 2845MW. Our current electricity supply challenges could have been worse but for these timely interventions.

The current nationwide power supply challenges have the result of the unavailability of;

i) The 330MW TAPCO plant at Aboadze
ii)    ) IIOMW of the 220MW TICO plant at Aboadze (1 unit is down)

iii)    i) The low  water inflows  at Bui which do not permit  all the  3 units  to operate during the  peak period

The good news, however, is that the TICO unit which, was down for some time now resumed full operation a few days ago. One of the two TAPCO units is also expected to resume operation soon. The other TAPCO unit is expected to resume operation by the end of July. We are monitoring progress of works on these plants to ensure that they all restored to service. These have been the result of intense efforts on the part of government to resolve the temporary challenges in the power

generation sector.
With respect to the Bui plant, one unit is operated during peak periods in order to allow the water level to rise. However, as and when necessary, two units will be operated during the peak period.

Furthermore, Government is currently pursuing the completion of a number of important power generation projects. These include the completion of the first phase of the 220MW Kpone Thermal Power Plant (KTPP), and completion of IIOMW T2 (Tico Expansion) this year. We have also entered into a number of agreements with suitable Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to commence building additional power plants this year. Moreover, we are pursuing the deployment of a 225MW power plant from Turkey in the country before the end of the year.

Increases in power generation capacity must be accompanied by a reliable transmission system. Government policy in this direction aims at developing an efficient, modern and non-congested transmission in the foreseeable future .To attain this, a number of projects were executed in 2013. Work was completed on the Kintampo Sub-station to ensure the evacuation of power from the Bui Hydroelectric Power Plant and also improve transmission of power to Kintampo and its environs. A

state-of-the-art System Control Centre has also been set up to improve supervisory and data acquisition system that enables GRIDCO to perform economic dispatch of generating units. Work on Tumu – Han -Wa transmission project is progressing on schedule.

The 330kV Volta substation has been expanded to include one 330kV line to serve as an alternative interconnection with Togo and Benin. In line with this project, the Asiekpe Substation has been expanded to include one phase-shifting transformer to regulate the power flow from the existing interconnection line from Akosombo to Lome and improve the power flow on the new Volta – Togo line.

 
Work has also began on Substations Reliability Enhancement Projects with the view to replacing old and obsolete equipment and increasing transformer capacity. This involves substation configurations at Achimofa, Winneba, Cape Coast, Takoradi, Presfea, Kumasi, Tafo, and Akwatia to enhance operational reliability, security and control. Government has also began a project to improve voltage levels in Tamale. This project involves the installation of a Static Var Compensator

at a cost of US$18 million and this will enhance voltages in Tamale and its environs.

The infrastructure for the distribution of power is also undergoing expansion and modernization. We have completed and commissioned the first phase of the Accra 3rd Bulk Supply Point (BSP) – new substation near Trasacco, involving the installation of two 66 MVA transformers and balance of plant to improve power supply to Accra/Tema. The contract for the second phase of the project for the installation of two additional 66 MVA transformers has been awarded and work will be

completed by the Isf Quarter of 2015.
The implementation of projects under the National Electrification Scheme, in line with the objective of achieving universal access to electricity by 2016 under the _Energy for All Programme, was stepped up in 2013. We have reached various stages of completion of work.

In line with our commitment to rural development, between 2013 and the second quarter of 2014, work in a total of 1,300 communities were completed across the country with details as follows; Upper West- 315; Upper East – 27; Northern Region – 113; Western – 287; Central – 155; Eastern -39; Volta 109; Brong Ahafo – 145; Ashanti – 40 and Greater Accra- 70. Work is also currently ongoing in 4,500 Communities.

With regards to our renewable energy projects, Government has supplied about 16,822 solar PV systems and lanterns in remote rural communities under the ARB Apex-Solar PV Electrification Project (Dealer Sales/Consumer Credit Model). A total of 20,000 solar lanterns have so far been distributed to remote off-grid communities in 44 districts under the Kerosene Lantern Replacement Programme.

Ladies and gentlemen, a lot more continues to be done to achieve qualify assurance in electricity supply for our people. Ghana is at the final stage of preparation for a second Millennium Challenge Corporation compact. Ghana will receive a total of $536Miilion which will be invested predominantly in the electricity sub sector.

These investments will result in an upgrading of the electricity supply system which should not only reduce the discomfort experienced when the fights go off but also provide opportunities for more businesses to flourish.

ROAD NETWORK
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, there is no doubt that a modem road network is a key prerequisite for social mobility and economic growth. As such government continues to work vigorously to expand and modernize the countrys road network.

The Gang of four roads have been completed save for very minor additions and insfallafions. Work is progressing steadily on the Ultra-modem Kwame Nkrumah Interchange which will replace the famous Kwame Nkrumah Circle .Under the project;

* The Ring Road between the Royalt Castle intersections on the Ring Road East to the Feo Oyo Intersection on the Ring Road West will be rehabilitated. The roads will be constructed to asphalfic concrete surface with pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths.

* Improvement will be made to some of the terminals like the Neoplan and Odawna Stations. These improvements will include paving, provision of passenger sheds and improvement in the drainage systems

* Landscaping and tree planting works will be undertaken to improve the environment around the area

*          Provision has been made on the roads for future Bus Rapid Transit lanes for public transport

*          Improved  pedestrian  safety  around  Circle  due  to  the  fact  that  the  roads  will  be  elevated

and pedestrians can move freely on the surface.
Other road projects currently underway in the Capital are;

1.    GIFFARD ROAD to improve mobility between 37 Roundabout and the La Beach Road

2.    THE AWOSHIE-POKUASE ROAD which also includes the construction of 14 schools, a modern Market complex and a modern Lorry Park all along that road

3.    BURMA CAMP ROAD PHASE 1 which will link the Giffard road to the Spintex Road around the Flower pot Junction.

4.    BURMA CAMP ROAD PHASE 2 to link Burma camp and Teshie link around LEKMA Hospital

5.    SPINTEX ROAD BYPASS to help ease congestion on the Spintex Road and Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.

6.    BOUNDARY ROAD/GULF HOUSE LINK between America house Junction and Madina Social Welfare.

Across the country several major road projects are at various stages of completion.

These include ;The Central Corridor Road, consisting of Nsawam By-Pass, Kwafokrom – Apedwa, Techiman-Kintampo, Buipe – Tamale; The Eastern Corridor Road, consisting of Asikuma Junction – Kpeve; Dodo-Pepesu to Nkwanta, Nkwanta – Oti Damanko;

The Coastal Corridor Road, consisting of Aflao-Agbozume-Akatsi, and Agona Junction to Elubo Road;

Ladies and gentlemen remarkable progress has also been made on the 147-kilometre Fufulso-Sawla Road in the Northern Region, and it is expected to be completed on schedule.

Last year, across the country, government undertook routine maintenance on 9,522 kilometres of our trunk road network and 3,900 kilometres on the feeder road and urban road network. In addition, we have undertaken 945 kilometres of grading among others.Periodic maintenance activities, comprising re-gravelling/spot improvement and resealing works were also carried out on 120 kilometres, 286 kilometres and 1,577 kilometres on the trunk, feeder and urban road networks

respectively.
Work on several feeder roads were also initiated and field activities are at various construction stages in the following areas across the country: Anyinase Nsuaem Number 2 in the Ashanti Region; Tuobodom – Offuman, Tanoso – Yamfo – Bomaa – Tepa Phases One and Two, and Mim Town Roads (Phase Two) in the Brong Ahafo Region; Kyiren Nkwanta Junction – Manda and

Duakwa – Akwakwa in the Central Region; New Tafo – Nobi – Anhwiaben in the Eastern Region; Ashalaja – Nsuobri ; Walewale- Wungu Phase One in the Northern Region; Navrongo-Gia-Narwoginia in the Upper East Region; Kperisi – Guano Phase One in the Upper West Region; and Abor – Avenorpeme – Hartogodo, and Liate – Agbonyira – Wute Ahor in the Volta Region; Wassa

Akropong – Moseaso, Shama town roads, Mile 82 – Bodi Phase 1 in the Western Region.

 
COMMUNICATIONS
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you may be aware on lOth June, 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, Ghana was recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and given the 2014 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) PROJECT PRIZE AWARD in Rural Telephony. Our rural telephony project targets underprivileged and deprived Ghanaian communities with population of less than two thousand people.

It provides 2G/3G base stations with small cellular antennae providing Internet WI-fi services in addition to the traditional voice services. The project utilizes green energy solution based on solar energy that ensures a pollution-free environment. The latest community to benefit from this intervention is Tuluwe in the Northern region in June 2014. The following towns are the next in line to benefit from the rural telephony project – Drobonso, Mafia, Boinzan, Agyemadiem, Wansapo, Kwasi Fanti, Aidoo Suazo, Essase, Sekesua, Akarteng among others.

Government recognizes the challenges associated with mobile telephony and broadband services. To this end varying strategies ranging from the fight against fiber cuts, application of proportionate sanctions to offending telecom service providers, asset sharing, the introduction of an interconnect clearing house to very soon the introduction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology into the telecom market are being implemented to improve on quality of voice and

data services.
As part of this years celebration of Girls in ICT Day which is aimed at empowering disadvantaged girls to adopt ICT as a major tool for development, series of activities involving hands-on ICT workshops to encourage the study of technology-related disciplines were held at various Community Information Centres (ClCs) in the Eastern Region, namely: Abiriw and Dawu (Akuapem North District), Kwabeng (Atiwa), New Abirem (Birim North), Akyem Swedru (Birim South), Kwahu Praso (Kwahu South), and Somanya (Yilo Krobo), Kibi and New Tafo (East Akim Municipal District ) .

This year 411 girls have so far benefitted from the training and sensitization workshops being conducted at the ClCs. The girls were trained at the Community Information Centres (CIC) and this guaranteed a one-to-one ratio of girls to computers. The ClCs are in the catchment areas of the schools and homes of these children and for this reason , in their free time they can always walk to the ClCs to update the introductory skills and expertise they have acquired over the period.

This is part of the reasons why President Mahamas government completed 16 more ClCs last year in Tepa, Kuntanase, Aburi, Adukrom, Dawu, Mehame, Mpohor Wassa, Half Assini, Yagaba, Damongo, Zebilla, Hlefi, Dzodze, Tegbi, Akatsi and Mepe. This year, funds have been made available for the construction of 21 more ClCs. The beneficiary towns include, Effiduase,

Asuogyaman, Twifo Atti Morkwa, Bodi, Ngleshie Amanfro, Pantang, Keta, Battor, Drobonso, Sagnarigu, Nalerigu, Talensi, Pusiga, Lambussie, Wellembelle, Nandom e.t.c.

The dilapidated PWD warehouses near Kwame Nkrumah Circle are being converted into a Business Process Outsourcing Grade A facility with _Plug and Play features for prospective investors and employees. The project when fully operational is estimated to generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The 780km Eastern Corridor optic fiber project to provide broadband infrastructure for over 120 towns and communities along the route from Ho to Bawku, with link to Tamale from Yendi is being vigorously constructed. So far over 4O5km have been covered.

The 120 beneficiary towns include: Garu, Seshie, Kugurago, Nakpanduri, Gbintri, Katani, Zanteli, Gushiegu, Nawuni, Sakpeigu, Yendi, Makayili, Nakpachei, Bokpaba, Bimbila, Damanko, Kpasa, Menuso-Nkwanta, Dodi-Pepesu, Kadjebi, Jasikan, Hohoe, Golokwati-Biakpa, e.t.c. The prospects forour fellow citizens in these towns are enormous, it includes Business Process Outsourcing, Value Added Services, e-commerce e.t.c.

Teachers, Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Nurses, Civil Servants among others working in these towns can participate actively without interruption in electronic communication via the power of uninterrupted Internet service with adequate bandwidth capacity when we complete the project by December 2014. Additionally the Ghana Revenue Authority together with the Controller and Accountant Generals Department can easily monitor revenue generation and public expenditure

respectively with ease.
Last week, Cabinet approved the US$97million eTransform project which is expected to enhance eJustice including the Attorney Generals Department, eParliament, elmmigration, eEducation and eHealth among others. Government will continue to exploit lCTs as a catalyst and a driver for our socioeconomic advancement in this digital age.

 
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
Due to progress made over the years, Ghana is now judged a lower middle-income country. Although the progress made is celebratory, the terms associated with credit from our Development Partners has worsened. For instance the total repayment period of World Bank facilities to Ghana used to be 40 years. Currently it has been drastically reduced to 25years. Aid and grants are also dwindling at a faster pace.

You have supported government through your taxes, ideas and hard work. We have endured challenges not only within our foreign exchange regime but also petroleum pricing regime. We have experienced precipitous drops in the prices of our major commodities, cocoa and gold. In honouring our commitment to the welfare of Ghanaian workers our wage bill had ballooned from GHC3 billion per annum to GHC9 billion per annum. Our over-reliance on imports and chronic avoidance of local alternatives have not helped matters.

These challenges have not diminished our resolve to develop infrastructure in the water, education, health, road and communication sectors for Ghanas socioeconomic transformation. We have continued as a government with your support, sacrifices and contributions to sustain the growth of this country for the benefit of not only the present generation but also generations yet unborn.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media through these moments the President has been engaging Ghanaians from all walks of life, farmers, fishermen, artisans, market women, civil servants, teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, lecturers, engineers, farmers, market women, artisans and fishermen among others. The President continues to be an active listener even as he takes steps to structurally transform Ghana.

In this years State of the Nation Address, President Mahama revealed that in 2013 alone, we spent US$1.5 billion to import rice, sugar, wheat, tomato products, frozen fish, poultry and vegetable cooking oils. As government continues to work assiduously to reverse this trend with the ultimate aim of becoming a net exporter, we call on our fellow citizens to support the Presidents initiative rallying us to buy, use and sell Made In Ghana Goods.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, time would not permit us to exhaust all of the programs, policies, initiatives and concrete achievements of this government. As indicated at the beginning this event, we have only began a series of engagements with you to regularly update the Ghanaian public on how government is executing its mandate.

It is important to stress that all that has been highlighted above have direct bearing on the wellbeing of Ghanaians and government continues to do more to ensure that we overcome all the issues that militate against the welfare and happiness of the Ghanaian. It is our conviction that we can together as a people foster a new conversation about a country away from the doom, gloom, despondency and hopelessness that some seek so strenuously to foist on this nation. 

That we have some temporary challenges as a nation is not in doubt but the issues discussed above show clearly that this government is committed to using its mandate for the betterment of the lives of the people and we are making progress in that regard. We shall not relent in this effort until we achieve the highest standards of living possible for all Ghanaians.

Thank you for coming once again. You may now ask questions.

 
 
 
 
 
  Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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