The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has said implementing inclusive and human-centered policies remained pivotal in the Government’s agenda of ensuring every Ghanaian benefit and exemplified savings parents are making under the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy.
Providing vivid description of savings beneficiaries of the FSHS would make over a period of time, Dr Bawumia said, for instance, a parent of a first-year day student of the FSHS and vocational student would save GH¢1,075.41, while a parent with one boarding child would save GH¢2,015.22 in a year.
The Vice President observed that within three years, a parent with a boarding child would have saved about GH¢6,000.00, noting that a parent with two wards would have saved GH¢10,000.00.
“If you’re a small business person, a trader or a farmer, Free SHS is saying keep that money and invest in your business or farm without having to take a loan from the bank. Indeed, we want to see government policies and programmes putting money directly in our pockets don’t look too far – the Free SHS is simply doing that”, he pointed out.
Vice President Bawumia made the observations when he joined chiefs and people of the Eastern Nzema Traditional Area in the Western Region to celebrate this year’s Adoabo Kundum Festival.
He mentioned other government’s flagship policies including; the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo), Planting for Food and Jobs and One-Village, One-Dam, which would promote social inclusion and prosperity for all.
He said it had rolled out many social intervention programmes to assuage the sufferings of the Ghanaian through the restoration of teacher and nursing trainee allowances, reduction of electricity tariffs and abolition of some “nuisance” taxes, as well as expanding the welfare safety net of the people by increasing the share of the District Assembly Common Fund to persons with disabilities from two to three per cent.
He said aside those initiatives, government was building critical and innovative soft infrastructure that affected everyday living.
They included; the National Identification System (Ghana Card), the Digital Property Addressing System, Paperless Ports System, Mobile Money Payments Interoperability System, the new Smart Driving Licenses and the ease of getting passports.
Backing his argument with relevant statistics, Vice President Bawumia noted that government had increased the School Feeding Programme from 1.6 million children to 2.1 million, increased the amount spent on each child by 25 percent and more than doubled the Capitation Grant from GH¢4.5 to GH¢10.00.
Dr. Bawumia explained that the FSHS would ensure students in the Ellembele District acquired the basic qualification and enabled them to secure respectable jobs in the oil and gas industry.
“We expect our children to secure jobs in the oil and gas industry that is developing around us. The oil and gas companies will bring in workers from abroad to do the work if they can’t get the right people to work in the industry,” the Vice President pointed out.
Dr. Bawumia further charged the oil and gas companies in Nzema area such as ENI Ghana, Ghana Gas, AKKER Petroleum, and Tullow Oil among others, to improve the quality of life of the people and become social partners with government in development.
He underscored the need for the oil and gas companies to co-exist peacefully with the people to promote development and culture, saying "we as citizens must come together, ask how we can contribute to the development of our communities, become leaders in our own way, and help set out various developmental programmes to improve the lives of their communities," he advised.
Awulae Amihere Kpanyili III, Paramount Chief of the Eastern Nzema Traditional Area, expressed gratitude to the Akufo-Addo-government for the good programmes and policies it had rolled out alleviate poverty in the country.
"We would like to thank you for the introduction of Free SHS and NaBCo to help parents across the country, especially those in rural areas,
Mr. Vice President, your government always keeps its promises and when you pledge, you fulfil. We thank you," he stated.
Kundum Festival is celebrated among the Nzemas and Ahantas in the Western Region to signify a bumper harvest and served as an avenue to unite the people and thank their ancestors.
Other dignitaries that graced the occasion included; the National Chairman of the NPP Mr Freddie Blay, Western Regional Minister; Dr.Kwaku Afriyie, Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister of Railway Development, Mr Kobby Okyere Darko Mensah, MP for Takoradi and Deputy Minister of Aviation.