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General News Fri, 27 Apr 2001

Appointments Committee vets deputy ministers

The Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday began the vetting of designated deputy ministers of state.

The first two to appear were Papa Owusu-Ankomah and Mr. John Setuni Achuliwor, Deputy Ministers of Government Business and Transport and Communications.

Asked how he would handle his dual responsibilities to Parliament and the Ministry, Mr. Owusu-Ankomah said his ministerial appointment will be a link and a bridge between the executive and the legislature.

He said the ministry is an evolving one, which has to focus on the direction of government and strengthen the linkages.

Mr Owusu-Ankomah said the ministry, in consultation with other leaders of the political divide, would embark on regional and district tours to interact with the people to explain the functions of Parliament to them.

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He said Frequency Modulation (FM) stations will also be required to give in-depth and live coverage of the sittings of Parliament to bring its activities closer to the public.

Mr. Owusu-Ankomah said he believes in the district assemblies performing similar functions as Parliament but added that it was unfortunate that a sizeable number of assembly members do not understand parliamentary work.

To this end, he said his ministry has plans to ensure that district assemblies have closer working understanding of the concept of parliamentary proceedings, adding that, his ministry, in consultation with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, will organise a series of workshops for District Chief Executives.

On his temperament, he said one needs to be level headed to be a leader and that he is ready to submerge his personal views and respect others since he is now a peacemaker and a bridge builder.

"The strength of the individual lies in accepting his fault and if it is the view of some people that I am arrogant, then I will work to change that perception."

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Papa Owusu-Ankomah, 43, who is a Barrister-at-Law, has three children.

Mr. Achuliwor said he would use his computer literacy and experience in rural development to support the activities of the ministry since information technology is now a requisite factor for development.

On the question of his achievement as former Member of Parliament, he said he and others played a major role in ensuring that the silent majority view was championed.

Mr. Achuliwor said the extension of the railway lines to the Northern sector is long overdue since the area has resources such as gold deposits, sheabutter and the emerging cashew cultivation which can be easily carted.

He said capacity building, assistance and appropriate technology are necessary to relieve the poverty of the Northern Savannah belt.

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Mr. Achuliwor said the Northern Savannah belt has the potential of being the food basket of the country if pragmatic measures are undertaken under a micro economic climate to assist the people.

He said his priority and concern will be when tomato producers in his constituency are assisted with simple technology to process their produce, and are able to attract private investment to empower them to be self-sustaining.

Mr. Achuliwor, 48, an agronomist, has four children.

Source: GNA