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General News of Monday, 9 June 2008

Source: GNA

It would be disastrous to shelve crucial policies -Asamoah-Boateng

Mankesim, (C/R), June 9, GNA- The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, on Monday cautioned that it would be "courting disaster" for the country, if any in-coming government, "got rid" of crucial policies and programmes aimed at accelerating the wellbeing of the people, such as the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

He pointed out that all such policies and programmes have gone through the required processes of promulgation, including, "parliamentary processes", and have therefore tasked staff of the Information Services Department (ISD) to endeavour to efficiently explain them to enhance public understanding and support. Mr Asamoah-Boateng, sounded the caution when he opened a day's seminar for staff of the ISD in the southern sector of the country, from the Central, Western, Eastern, Greater Accra and Volta regions. The seminar, is aimed at imparting strategies and techniques in information dissemination, and is deliberating on topical issues such as; "how to present factual information and how to speak effectively in public, as well as issues on social services and infrastructure.

The Minister, told them that it was their role, in "this political season", to endeavour to "summarize for effective public understanding", all that the government had done to improve the well-being of the people since assuming office, but cautioned them against running propaganda for the party of the ruling government. He said they should therefore endeavour to be strictly neutral and professional in the discharge of their duties by disseminating factual information.

He also tasked them to work hand-in-hand with, as well as present the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives with the schedule of their activities on weekly basis, as well as liaise with other key personnel of the assemblies to enable them obtain the requisite assistance to enable them work effectively. He further urged them to source the support of chiefs and key religious and community leaders, as well as from FM stations in their areas of operation, in the dissemination of government policies, to make the people better aware of the government's programmes.

Mr. Asamoah-Boateng stressed the importance of the seminar, and said training was key in enhancing their performance, since it was imperative to set and accomplish targets, by upgrading the skills and expertise of the staff.

According to the Minister, "things were going to change and change quickly", adding that, it was no longer going to be "business as usual", and announced that his ministry would institute incentive packages for ISD staff "who went an extra mile" in the performance of their duties.

He would also ensure good working conditions and job satisfaction and promised the provision of better and more efficient equipment for the cinema vans, to enhance the dissemination of information, and also provide them with uniforms. The Deputy Minister, Mr Frank Agyekum, who spoke on "governance", said the government "was proud" of the several policies it has put in place to ensure good governance.

He said the respect for the rule of law and the repeal of the criminal libel law, as well as introduction of the procurement and internal audit laws and the whistle bowers' act were "landmark achievements" which have both enhanced fundamental human rights in the country and stemmed corrupt practices in the public sector. According to him, the government had been "bold in facing issues" and was a people -centred government which aimed at evolving the requisite policies and programmes towards improved conditions in the country.

He therefore echoed the need for the ISD staff to endeavour to be abreast with all national issues in order to disseminate them to the people for the desired feedback. 09 June 08