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Regional News of Saturday, 30 September 2017

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

Ahafo Chiefs thank Akufo-Addo for Free SHS

The Council of Chiefs and Queen mothers of Ahafo in the Brong-Ahafo Region has expressed its gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the implementation of policies aimed at improving the living standards of Ghanaians.

The Omanhene of the Yamfo Traditional Area, Nana Ansah Adu Baah, who is also chairman of the Ahafo Council of Chiefs, told President Akufo-Addo that “we are equally delighted at the introduction of the Free SHS initiative that has hit the spine of the entire nation.”

He assured the president that “we pledge to assist you to actualise this bold programme and make it a success for posterity.”

The Ahafo Council of Chiefs was also “specifically grateful” to President Akufo-Addo and the government for “choosing to launch the programme – ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ – at Goaso.”

With residents of the Ahafo engaged predominantly in farming, Nana Ansah Adu Baah told President Akufo-Addo that “we have seriously ventured into agriculture, given the conducive factors of production which exist in the Ahafo areas.

The Omanhene was confident that through the programme, the country would record a bumper harvest and export some foodstuffs.

The council made this known on Wednesday, 27th September, when members paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo to congratulate him on his victory in the 2016 elections, and wish him well during his tenure of office.

Touching on the issue of the proposed Ahafo Region, Nana Ansah Adu Baah told President Akufo-Addo that “the imminent creation of Ahafo Region will leave positive and indelible impressions about you. This will be for posterity. We trust the commitment and zeal you have exhibited so far in re-shaping the destiny of Ghana.”

In his response, President Akufo-Addo thanked the Ahafo Council of Chiefs for their visit and for wishing him well during his tenure of office.

Citing the example of the United States of America, which began to transition to publicly funding high school education in the mid 19th Century, President Akufo-Addo indicated that this development set up America for its 20th Century success, creating a workforce fit for rapid economic development, which he noted, has inspired the emergence of the most powerful economy so far known to human history.

“I want you to support and back me fully in the implementation of the Free SHS policy. We are implementing this policy because we want rapid progress of our country. So I am happy that you, the Ahafo Council of Chiefs, are in support of this programme,” he declared.

On the declining fortunes of agriculture inherited from the previous administration, President Akufo-Addo said that such was the dire state of the country’s agriculture that the country had to resort to the importation of plantain from neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire.

“It is for this reason that we instituted the programme for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs.’ This is just a pilot programme, beginning with just 200,000 farmers. I am hopeful that by the end of the four years, at least two-and-a-half million farmers would have been involved in the programme,” he assured.

Nana Addo continued, “We want to make food staples affordable in Ghana, and also export the surplus. This has been done before in Ghana and I am confident we can repeat this feat again. I need the support of all of you in combating the smuggling of inputs and fertilisers. Those engaged in these despicable acts only hurt our collective future.”

On the proposed Ahafo Region, President Akufo-Addo noted that “it is long overdue.”

He indicated that in the coming weeks, he would appoint a commission of inquiry to work on the creation of the Ahafo Region, and should the commission be convinced that such a need pertains, it would recommend the places and issues for a referendum.

The president asserted that he would be obliged to refer the matter to the Electoral Commission for a referendum to be held according to the recommendations of the Commission.