Ho, April. 30, GNA – Mr Augustine Collins Ntim, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said, government has drafted a new rural development policy that seeks to provide the right perspective, direction and effective coordination for rural development.
He said the policy would effectively coordinate interventions designed to improve rural standards of living and provision of basic social and economic services by creating a political, legal, economic and social environment, to empower rural areas to take charge of their own development.
“It would also ensure the delivery of government programmes of the One District, One Factory; Planting for Food and Jobs and One Village, One Dam initiatives”
Mr Ntim was speaking at a stakeholders’ consultative workshop on the new rural development policy organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for some selected Ministries, Department and Agencies from Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta Regions in Ho.
The policy was informative with key issues or challenges in the rural communities including, high incidence of poverty, out migration, inadequate employment opportunities in rural areas, low investment in infrastructure, high incidence of illiteracy and non-functioning of sub-district structure.
It also focused on agriculture, social service provision, industrialisation, financial inclusion and skills development as drivers of change in rural areas, in Ghana and the utilisation of the potentials for rural development to tackle issues that will deliver the desired conditions for rural growth and development.
The purpose of the workshop was for participants to study and critically examine the six objectives and 30 strategies developed within its thematic areas, critique the document and make inputs that would enrich the policy.
He said the Policy was expected to ensure transformative change in the lives of rural people and intended by Government to change the country’s approach to development in rural areas.
Mr Ntim who is also the Member of Parliament for Offinso North said the policy and its action plan would provide an impetus to source funding for its implementation
He said there were several principles guiding the development of the policy, namely Constitutional mandate, Decentralisation, Inter-sectoral Coordination and Partnerships, Cultural Diversity and Sustainable development.
“It is to provide a vehicle to facilitate rural-urban linkages for sustainable development within the country”.
The Deputy Minister said the Ministry had initiated the District Centre for Agriculture, Commerce and Technology as a strategy to deliver industrialisation and improvement in agriculture across the country, especially in rural areas.
He said rural development efforts had been around since independence and in the past involved the construction of community centres, provision of rural quarters and grading of farm roads among others.
“Rural development has evolved around efforts to improve standard of living of the rural dwellers and governments over the years have made efforts to improve the standards of living of the rural population.”
Mr Brim also inaugurated the Volta Regional Spatial Planning Committee of which the Dr Archibald, Volta Regional Minister, who is the Chair would also inaugurate district spatial planning committees.
Dr Letsa said, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, majority of the people in the region lived in rural areas and apart from the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions, majority of Ghanaians were in rural areas and that there was the need for a development policy to guide all developments especially in the rural areas of the country.
“All of us can attest to the fact that, development done haphazardly poses problems to us all, now and in the future”.
Mr Sylvanus Kofi Adzornu, Director, Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry took participants through the draft document and its establishment processes.
He said the policy objectives was to modernise agriculture for rural growth and development; provide quality socio-economic infrastructure and services in a decent and secured environment; maximise the potential of rural areas towards rural enterprises development and industrialisation and promote sustainable management and utilisation of natural resources for the benefit of the rural population.GNA