Mrs Justina Marigold Assan, the Central Regional Minister, has challenged members of the Central Regional Coordinating Council (CRCC) to formulate innovative and transformative initiatives to aid the development agenda of the region.
She said it was unacceptable for the region to still battle poor sanitation, bad road networks, teenage pregnancy and illegal mining, among other problems despite its diverse endowments and rich history.
She maintained that it behoved all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Executives (MMDCEs), departments and agencies to take concrete steps to reposition the region to influence policy decisions and investments to create opportunities for the youth and expedite development.
The Minister was speaking at the RCC’s meeting on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, which discussed various issues of developmental concern and how they could be resolved to bring progress.
They extensively deliberated on issues bordering on security, health, education and agriculture.
Mrs Assan identified youth unemployment as one of the major challenges facing the region, a situation she feared had serious developmental and security implications on the region and the entirety of the country.
She, therefore, implored the MMDCEs to introduce youth-targeted employment initiatives to ensure that the youth were productively engaged for the benefit of the region.
“When we do that, we will be fine. Because when we get the youth decent jobs to do, you the Chief Executives, the Regional Coordinating Council, the Presiding Members and all of us will be free and the youth will support any programme that we bring on board,” she noted.
She said the assemblies needed to urgently establish business desks to receive proposals from young entrepreneurs and facilitate their funding.
This follows the commitment by the EXIM Bank to support young businesses in the region during the region’s recent trade, tourism and investment fair which hosted more than 300 exhibitors.
“You have to also coordinate and support your entrepreneurs and interested business entities with start-ups and capacity building through the Business Advisory Centres and other programmes,” she added.
The Regional Minister further intimated that the region continued to deal with poor sanitation despite the recruitment of environmental officers to check the canker.
The situation, she said, was counterproductive to the region’s tourism sector and posed further serious health risks to the people.
She, therefore, urged the MMDAs to place more premium on the situation and commit resources to resolve the challenge.
Mrs Assan said the creation of a development strategy for the region was progressing steadily and projected that it would be unveiled by the end of the year.
She rallied all members of the council and the entire public to help redefine and rebrand the region as the fourth richest in the country as established by the seventh Ghana Living Standards Survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service.
“The profile of the region has changed, and it must form part of discussions every time we get the opportunity to talk to people. We should sing that song. We should let people know we are not poor.
“The region also remains the most productive region per capita and the third in terms of per capita income levels for people engaged in farming, fishing, fish processing, formal public work and trading,” she said.
He said through the day and night patrols, intelligence-led swoops, and stakeholder engagements among other strategies, vices such as motorbike snatching, highway robbery and petty crimes had subsided.
He noted, for instance, that the region recorded nine cases of rape in the first half of this year as against the 14 cases during the same period last year.
“There were 56 cases of defilement during the first six months in 2021. But in the same period in 2022, 19 cases were recorded,” he added.
He assured the people of maximum security, adding that, “you should feel free to go about your regular duties.”