The Upper East Regional Minister, Hon. Paulina Patience Abayage has commended Government for putting some important indices of the Ghanaian economy in good standing, which resulted in creating a conducive environment for the private sector to do business and thereby creating jobs and employment opportunities for the citizenry.
The minister gave the commendation in a speech read for her by Upper East Regional Coordinating Director, Alhaji Azonko at the 2018 Bongo District Town Hall meeting held last Thursday. She mentioned some of these economic indices to include a current stabilised inflation of 9.5 percent against 15.4 percent in 2016, a more stable exchange rate of the Ghana Cedi, prudent debt management and a relentless war against corruption. She said available records indicate that 208,620 private sector jobs were created as at October, 2018 while the Public Sector also absorbed 88,719 people into formal employment.
Hon. Abayage also described Government’s Free Senior High School [SHS] Programme as a “very necessary, important and most comprehensive education programme in the history of our country” stressing that, as many as 270,000 school children were enjoying free boarding, accommodation and textbooks in public SHSs across the country. She noted that as a result, parents were estimated to save up to 2,115.22 Ghana Cedis from the education of one child in SHS while, 9,000 additional teachers have been recruited to match up to the increased numbers of students in the SHSs. Meanwhile, Government had also secured 500 Million US Dollars for the completion of abandoned infrastructure at both the senior high and tertiary levels.
The Regional Minister revealed that Government from next year, intends to pursue development in six strategic pillars including Infrastructure, Agricultural Modernisation, Industrialisation, Entrepreneurship, Social Interventions and Efficiency in revenue mobilisation & protection of the public purse. In this regard, two billion US Dollars will be spent on infrastructure which shall include completion of the Bolgatanga-Bawku-Polimakom road, the Navrongo-Naga road and the Chuchuliga-Sandema-Weisi roads among others. While phase two of the Kumasi-Paga Railway line will also commence in 2019, work is scheduled to start for the construction of 200,000 housing units in all regional capitals of Ghana to ease accommodation challenges of public servants.
According to her, Government intends to further boost its agricultural modernisation drive with the introduction of another campaign dubbed “Rearing for Food and Jobs” [RFJs] to be launched in 2019.This intervention she explained, was targeted at increasing the production of selected livestock especially poultry. Consequently, there will be a scale up of beneficiary farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme from 500,000 to one million farmers. Meanwhile construction of 570 dams will also continue as a means of facilitating all-year farming in the Northern parts of Ghana.
Bongo District Chief Executive [DCE], Mr. Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga in his presentation disclosed that the district recorded zero maternal mortality from January 2018 to November 2018 while
Out-Patient Department attendance rose from 39,843 in 2017 to a current figure of 49,043 in 2018. He therefore commended the District Health Directorate for working very hard to achieve these successes. He disclosed that the Assembly had awarded a contract for the construction of a Morgue at the Bongo District Hospital while a maternity ward was completed and awaiting furnishing.
The DCE further disclosed that a new CHPS compound with Ancillary Facilities had been completed in Sanabisi with funds from the District Assemblies’ Common Fund. He assured that his office will soon conclude discussions with the Health Authorities to post nurses to man the facility. Meanwhile, there are expansion works currently going on at the Namoo Health Centre. Funds for these works came from the District Development Facility.
Mr. Ayamga’s presentation also touched on education as he revealed that his district had its share of about 180 qualified young teachers comprising both men and women to teach in schools across the district. He explained that these teachers were deployed to Bongo under the Limited Teacher Recruitment Exercise which was recently sanctioned by the Ministry of Education through the Ghana Education Service. He noted that aside augmenting the teacher-pupil ratios in the area, the exercise had given employment to several hundreds of youth who hitherto had no source of livelihood.
On agric, the DCE praised Government for implementing the “Planting for Food and Jobs” [PFJ] programme noting that, it had been of tremendous support to poor and rural farmers. He gave the assurance that the programme will grow from strength to strength as the government was putting measures in place to expand it in 2019. He said in Bongo District for instance, about 4,213 farmers benefitted from the programme in 2018 out of a total registered number of 10,251 farmers.
Mr. Ayamga said as part of the Nana Addo-led Government’s flagship programmes to boost agriculture and make it more attractive as well as to create jobs in this sector, a warehouse was currently under construction in Bogrigor to receive produce from the PFJ programme. He also announced that “our district received a total of 24,150 coupons covering various brands of fertilizers under the PFJ programme. He gave the breakdown as follows: 21,000 coupons of NPK fertilizer, UREA – 3,000 coupons and Organic Fertilizer – 150 coupons.
He added that the package also included assorted high-yielding seed varieties such as Maize – 284 Bags, Soya Bean – 111 Bags, Rice Seed – 300 Bags and Tomato – 150 Sachets.
Meanwhile, under the National Afforestation Programme, the district recruited about 323 youth to work under the programme to help to mitigate the negative effects of climate change in the area.
It also came to light in the DCE’s presentation that the Bongo District was the first in the Upper East Region to start benefiting from the Government’s 1-Village, 1-Dam programme. A contractor has since begun work on the first eight of such dams have. Of the number, the first four  dams have been successfully constructed in the Kuyellingo, Kabre, Ayopia and Aserbre communities. These have indeed, collected some large quantities of water during the just-ended rainy season.
The Bongo DCE ended his presentation on the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) intervention and revealed that, the Assembly in collaboration with UNICEF has been sensitizing community members to construct their own toilets. Consequently, 29 communities have been declared Open Defecation Free while an additional eight  are awaiting verifications.
Source: Peter Atogewe Wedam (ISD)