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Business News Tue, 27 Jan 2004

Going back to "CAP 30" is not feasible- Ohene Ntow

Nsawam-Adoagyiri (E/R), Jan 27, GNA- The Government Spokesman on the Economy, Nana Ohene Ntow, has said the restoration of the 'CAP 30' pension scheme to civil servants was not feasible but what was best for the country was to think about how to improve upon the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension scheme to make it more attractive to workers.

According to him, some advanced countries, which had tried the CAP 30 pension scheme had moved away from it to more attractive schemes. Nana Ohene-Ntow was answering a question on workers retirement benefits at the last People's Assembly for the Eastern Region held at Nsawam-Adoagyiri on Monday for the people of the Akuapem South District. At a similar forum at Akropong-Akuapem about a fortnight ago, Nana Ohene Ntow, was reported to have told a questioner that the government was likely to restore the "CAP 30" pension in view of the shortcoming of the SSNIT Pension scheme but depending on improvement in the economic fortunes of the country.

He said it was the target of the government of President J. A. Kufour to reduce the country's inflationary rate to 10 per cent by December, this year.

Nana Ohene-Ntow said between 2001 and 2003, the government had been able to increase its earnings from taxes from 4.4 trillion cedis to 12 trillion cedis which had enabled government to stop borrowing from the commercial banks to free money for private sector investment leading to the reduction in the interest rate of banks in the country.

Earlier at a similar forum at Suhum, Nana Ohene-Ntow denied knowledge of any intention of government to increase the taxes of commercial transporters and warned that such rumours could cause social tension and disaffection and therefore urged those involved to stop. The Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Francis Osafo-Mensah said it was not possible for the government of President J.A. Kufour to implement all that was contained in the New Patriotic Party's Manifesto for the 2000 elections and so the President decided to concentrate on five areas including, good governance, mechanization of agriculture, information technology and development of infrastructure, among others. He stated that it was only in those areas that one could be fair in judging the performance of the President.

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Dr Osafo-Mensah, said currently, there was no arrangement for the payment of salaries to District Assembly-members and observed that what was rather important for the country to debate on was whether the current number of assembly-members should be maintained or be reduced so that the members would be paid monthly salary.

The District Chief Executive for Akuapem South, Mr Andrews Nyarku-Adu denied allegations that loans being given to bakers in the district was 200,000 cedis each and said the least amount given was one million cedis and challenged anybody with any evidence to come forward to prove him wrong.

He announced that the Nsawam-Pakro road had been awarded on contract to be tarred and appealed to the people staying along the major roads in the Nsawam township to desist from creating new dump-hills along the road, now that his administration had cleared all the old ones.

Mr Nyarku-Adu explained that it was not good for people visiting the district to be "greeted by refuse dumps along the main roads before entering the capital of the Akuapem South District" and therefore, appealed to the people to help keep the district neat.

On requests that the government should re-acquire the divested Nsawam Cannery from the 31st December Women's Movement, he said the Attorney Generals Department was studying the possibility of government re-acquisition.

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At Suhum, the District Chief Executive of Suhum/Kraboa/Coaltar, Mr Michael Kofi Mensah, announced that Suhum township roads had been placed under the HIPC funding contracts this year and gave the assurance that the township would have a massive road reconstruction.

He said efforts were being made by the Assembly to privatise the management of the Suhum Community Centre, saying that as at now, the Assembly is not making any economic returns out of the large amount invested in the construction of the facility.

The Suhum/Kraboa/Coaltar District Director of Education, Ms Augustina Aboagye said the District Oversight Committee on Education had identified some of the causes of low educational standard in the district to include the refusal of some headteachers to give out books to the students to read at home, while school supervisors lacked means of transport to travel to the schools for inspection.

Ms Aboagye said some school children were also not regular at school, especially on market days and reminded the gathering that the improvement in the standard of education was a shared responsibility and urged parents to play the role expected of them.

Source: GNA