President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said despite the harsh economic environment in the country, government would continue to invest in the Ghanaian child for a better future for all.
President Akufo-Addo said government would continue to invest in education to helpthe Ghanaian child develop the needed skills to run a modern and digitalized economy.
The Free SHS and Free TVET, according to the President, were the best vehicles that would enable the country to realize its goal of an educated and skilled workforce in the future.
Delivering the Message on the State of the Nation in Parliament on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo said the new measures recently announced by the Minister for Finance, showed that government was aware of the economic difficulties, and was committed to addressing them.
President Akufo-Addo said the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economieswhich have been aggravated by Russia invasion of Ukraine,were worsening the economic outlook of the entire world, including Ghana.
The President said data from the Ministry of Finance showed that GH¢17.7 billion (or 4.6% of GDP), has been spent on measures to contain the pandemic since 2020.
He said the terrible events in Ukraine have had a direct impact on the lives of Ghanaians as 30% of wheat flour and fertilizer imports come from Russia, 60% of iron rods and other metal sheets are imported from Ukraine, and almost 20% of Ghana’s manganese is shipped to Ukraine.
In spite of the country’s economic challenges, President Akufo-Addo said the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions have been upgraded and equipped to enable them to train the increased numbers of children attracted to the sector to develop the skill set of the youth for employable jobs.
He hinted that he would commission some 34 refurbished National Vocational and Technical Institutes (NVTI’s), across the country by the end of the year.
“The refurbishment comprised the construction, rehabilitation and equipping of laboratories, workshops, additional classrooms, hostels, and administrative offices”, he added.
He disclosed that by August 2022, construction of five technical colleges would begin in various parts of the country, adding that“three technical institutes would be upgraded to tertiary status”.
The initial phase for the construction of nine TVET campuses would commence next month in Bosomtwe, Akyem Awisa, Boako, Kenyasi, Patuda, Dambai, Larabanga, Guabuliga and Tolibri, he hinted.
“These campuses will have academic facilities, workshops, laboratories, hostels and staff accommodation, and provide further access for training”, he added.
In addition to this, the President said Government was in the process of securing funding for the construction of five STEM universities in five (5) new Regions—Western North, Savannah, North East, Ahafo and Oti regions.
Steps, he said were being taken to turn the planned Bunso campus of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development into a standalone, independent University focused on the study of Engineering and Construction.
“This project will begin in the next three months”, he added.
President Akufo-Addo said out of a total of 278 One District, One Factory (1D1F) projects implemented, 106 factories were currently operating, 148 were under construction and 24 were at the mobilization stage.
He said 58 out of the 278 1D1F Projects had been developed as enterprises fully owned by youth groups, with direct Government support.
Also, he said five medium-scale state-of-the-art agro-processing Common-User Facilities (CUFs) have been established with direct support from Government.
These facilities are owned by various groups of farmers, whose farming operations have previously been undermined through lack of processing facilities, he added.
“These farmer-owned companies have been established in five Districts, namely Dormaa West, Savelugu, SefwiAkontonbra, Sekyere Central and Tarkwa Nsuaem. They cover oil palm processing, rice milling and the processing of maize into maize grits”, he said.
In the road sector, President Akufo-Addo said some 10,875 kilometers of new roads have been constructed in the last five years.
He said the Tamale Interchange, the first of its kind in the northern sector of the country has been commissioned.
President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to hold their heads up high and face the future with courage and hope.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD