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New rural development policy will ensure delivery of flagship programmes – Deputy Minister

Sunyani, May 20, GNA – Mr Augustine Collins Ntim, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (RDP) has said that government’s new Rural Development Policy will ensure the delivery of government flagship programmes.

He said the policy will also 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

The flagship programmes are the “One District, One Factory; Planting for Food and Jobs and One Village, One Dam initiatives”

Speaking at the opening of the third in a series, the stakeholders’ consultative workshop on the policy, organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for selected Ministries, Department and Agencies in Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions in Sunyani, Mr Ntim said, the policy is intended to change Ghana’s approach to development in rural areas.

“It also seeks to provide the right perspective, direction and effective coordination for rural development which is expected to ensure transformative change in the lives of rural people”.

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 explained that the policy and its action plan would provide an impetus to source funding for its implementation and provide a vehicle to facilitate rural-urban linkages for sustainable development within the country.

“It is 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”.

Mr Ntim who is also the Member of Parliament for Offinso North said the policy focused on agriculture, social service provision, industrialisation, financial inclusion and skills development as drivers of change in rural areas, in Ghana.

“It would utilise the potentials for rural development to tackle issues that will deliver the desired conditions for rural growth and development”.

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.

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 Sylvanus Kofi Adzornu, Director, Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry urged participants to show commitment to ensuring by making inputs into the draft policy.

He said the lifestyle of rural villages must compete with the urban areas to prevent the migration of the rural folk and this can be done through the implementation of this policy.

Mr Adzornu said there was the need for a development policy to guide all developments especially in the rural areas of the country, adding that, development that are haphazardly done poses problems to us all, now and in the future.
Mr Adzornu 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.

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