President John Evans Atta Mills has rallied Ghanaians not to give in to cynicism but to remain confident about the country’s economic turn-around.
He said even though there were challenges, there should be no doubt that with “determination; courage; singleness of purpose and God’s help, we can overcome”.
President Mills said this when he paid a courtesy call on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace on Tuesday at the start of a three-day working visit to the Ashanti Region.
President Mills, who arrived to an enthusiastic welcome, underlined the need for all Ghanaians to accept to live in peace and unity to speed up the nation’s socio-economic development.
He said it should not be lost on anybody that there could not be progress in the absence of peace and it was for this reason that he would continue to encourage the people to uphold the peace.
He lauded the Asantehene for his significant contribution to efforts at calming tension in the country.
President Mills gave the assurance that the Government would make sure that no part of the nation was denied its fair share of development.
The President said he was, therefore, in the Region to see at first hand, ongoing projects and what needed to be done to improve the lives of the people.
Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the Government had not abandoned the Komfo-Anokye-Roundabout-Abuakwa road rehabilitation project, which was now about 50 per cent complete. He explained that work had been temporarily stalled due to financial challenges since it was being funded wholly by the Government.
Like other projects of its nature, he said, Government was seriously looking for funding to ensure their early and smooth completion and appealed to the people who use the corridor to exercise patience.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, said the Government within its first two years in office, had built 197 schools in the Region at a cost of GH¢ 54 million.
He said about 174,000 school children in 386 schools were benefiting from the School Feeding Programme, while 413,000 school uniforms and 5.7 million exercise books had been freely distributed to school children.
Additionally, 17 health facilities had been provided at the cost of GH¢ 1.6 million and an amount of GH¢ 21 million put into road rehabilitation.
The Regional Minister said about 17,000 young men and young women in the Region had also received training and have been employed under the National Youth Employment Programme with 4,800 others engaged to replant of 2,500 hectares of degraded forest under the National Reforestation Programme.
He stated that Ashanti had received its fair share of the national cake and called on the people to rally behind the Government to continue its good works.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II thanked the President for the visit and pledged the support of Asanteman and appealed to the Government to complete all development projects initiated in the Region.
President Mills later called on Muslim Leaders and Zongo Chiefs at the Kumasi Central Mosque, where he assured them that the Government would not turn its back on them, recognizing their loyalty to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the years.
Those accompanying him include: The Chief of Staff, Mr Henry Martey Newmann; Energy Minister, Dr Joseph Oteng-Agyei; Education Minister, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu; Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and Minister of Roads Mr Joe Gidisu.