The caretaker Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, has expressed concern about the rate of spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the region.
He observed that as at January 8, this year, the number of cases stood at 79, with 72 of the victims being taken care of at home and the remaining seven on admission at the hospitals.
However, “as of January 16, this year, the number has shot up to 247 cases with 237 of the infected being cared for at home and the rest on admission.”
According to the Minister, centres that were secured earlier to accommodate infected persons were given out “but if the trend continued like that it would mean renegotiating for them, which should not be the case.”
The Minister appealed passionately to all and sundry to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 safety protocols to save lives in the country.
He was speaking at the launch of a Recovery Plan and Integrated Assembly Financing Framework for the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are the brains behind the project which was launched here, on Tuesday.
It is aimed at supporting the MMDAs to build back better from the impact of COVID-19 and build resilience against local and external shocks.
Among the game changers, the recovery plan would expect to support artisans to manufacture machines and equipment for local manufacturing companies, grow and nurture local businesses through awards of government contracts, encourage peri-urban and urban farming/agriculture by leasing public lands for agricultural purposes, and invest in broadband internet infrastructure to support the uptake of e-commerce at the central business districts.
Launching it, the Regional Minister urged Ghanaians to look seriously at producing locally for consumption and mentioned government’s Planting for Food and Jobs as an initiative that had helped to ensure food abundance in the country.
He said producing for local consumption did not mean there would be no importation, “we would import when necessary, but we should look at producing on our own for consumption.”
Director-General of NDPC, Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, in a speech read on his behalf, noted the recovery plan would assist the district assemblies to bounce back, transform the local economy to become more resilient and stabilised to ensure job creation as gains of individuals and the entire country were wiped out by COVID-19.