Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that the pragmatic social intervention policies introduced by the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo have contributed significantly to building an inclusive nation that is leaving no one behind.
Addressing Muslims and Ghanaians during the National Virtual Eid-ul Adha Prayer at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in Accra on Friday, Dr. Bawumia said government’s social intervention initiatives, such as Free SHS, One Village One Dam, One District One Factory, Zongo Development Fund, One Constituency One Million Dollars, Planting for Food and Jobs, among others, are all designed to carry along the poor and deprived members of society, who largely live in rural areas, Zongos and inner cities.
“Building an inclusive society requires pragmatic government policies to ensure everyone is covered. This has been the focus of the Akufo-Addo government, and this thinking is evidently clear in broader social intervention policies of our government,” Dr. Bawumia said.
The Vice President added that “The poor and deprived in Ghana largely live in rural, inner city and Zongo communities; and have historically been excluded in many aspects of governance and access to opportunities and government services in this country.”
He pointed out that prior to the government of President Akufo-Addo assuming office three years ago, it identified that apart from limited opportunities to access education due to cost and under development, the poor, deprived, rural, inner-city and Zongo dwellers generally faced a number of common problems.
The problems, Vice President Bawumia noted, included poor identity documentation, poor residential addresses, lack of TIN numbers and bank accounts, no ambulances, declining agriculture, unemployment, whom you know syndrome, etc., which entrenched their exclusion from many aspect of governance.”
These problems mean that the excluded, by and large, are forced to operate in the informal sector of the economy.
“President Nana Akufo-Addo thus promised to build an inclusive society where no one is left behind regardless of tribe, geographical location, gender, religion or income status.”
“The poor and deprived in Ghana have for far too long been fodder for flowery and sugar-coated speeches by politicians, especially at election time. For Nana Akufo-Addo, what matters is not what you say you are going to do for the poor and deprived, but what you actually do when you are given the opportunity to serve.”
“All that Ghanaians want, especially the poor and the less privileged, is to be able to have good drinking water, toilet facilities, fertilizer, insecticides, good roads, ability to send their children to school, good healthcare, stable and affordable electricity, telephone network, and so on.”
COVID-19 outbreak & government’s care for Ghanaians
Vice President Bawumia noted that the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has further exposed the difficulties of the less privileged in society.
He added that the pandemic has reinforced the Akufo-Addo government’s belief and determination to build an inclusive society, which cares for the poor and deprived in our country.
“This is the reason why apart from government’s sustained efforts at curbing the spread of the virus, it has also made it a topmost priority to alleviate the effects of the pandemic on businesses and Ghanaians, especially the poor and the less privileged,” he said.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March, Government has taken bold steps such as the distribution of hot meals and water to the less privileged during the lockdown, free electricity to lifeline consumers and 50% reduction for others, 100% subsidy on water bill, 600 million Cedis stimulus package to small enterprises.
“A government that cares, is a government that alleviates the suffering of its citizens during crisis and that is exactly what the government of President Akufo-Addo has done, and will continue to do during this Coronavirus crisis and beyond,” he added.
Govt committed to Zongo Development
The Akufo-Addo administration has established a Ministry for Zongo and Inner City Development, and the Zongo Development Fund (ZDF), which are ensuring inclusive, sustainable development in Zongos.
The Vice President said through the Ministry and ZDF, development initiatives such as building and renovation of classrooms, clinics, ICT centres, toilet facilities, roads, bridges, water, multi-purpose Astroturf and green parks, drainage systems, vocational training, entrepreneurial training and support, provision of 40 scholarships from brilliant but needy students from Zongos to study medicine in Cuba, have all taken place in the past three and half years in Zongos and inner cities.
16 model SHSs in Zongos in all regions
While assuring the people of Zongo of President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to their welfare and development, especially in the area of infrastructure and education, Dr. Bawumia revealed that God willing, in the next term of President Akufo-Addo, his government will build sixteen model senior high schools in Zongos in each of the sixteen regions.
“President Akufo-Addo is more committed to uplifting education in Zongo communities. As a result, he has decided that, In Shaa Allah, his next government will build 16 model secondary schools in Zongo communities in each of the sixteen region,” Dr. Bawumia said.
“This will be a special senior high school, which will focus on educating children within Zongo communities.”
The Virtual National Eid-ul Adha prayer was observed by a limited number of people at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in line with COVID-19 restrictions.
The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, who led the prayers which was broadcast live on television, prayed for Ghana, the President and his Vice, as well as the people of Ghana.