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Regional News Tue, 28 Nov 2006

Budget Forum advocates extra duty allowance for teachers

Wa, Nov. 28, GNA - Participants at a public forum held on the 2007 budget at Wa in the Upper West Region on Tuesday, have called on the government to consider introducing extra duty allowance for teachers to motivate them in view of the large numbers of children they handle in their classes.

Citing the Upper West as an example, they said the pupil-teacher ratio was about one teacher to 70 to 100 pupils and urged government to adequately address that problem in its next supplementary budget and financial statement.

The teachers, who formed the majority at the forum, said the government used the law to force them back to the classrooms, so it should ask the law to monitor and teach the children. The Centre for Budget Advocacy of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) organized the forum with the collaboration of the Upper West Regional Branch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT).

It brought together a broad spectrum of people including, representatives of labour unions and Non-Governmental Organizations, public servants, teachers, students and some members of the general public to discuss key issues in the budget sample opinions and share ideas.

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Mrs. Cate Bob-Milliar, Upper West Regional Director of the Department of Women of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affaires, who spoke on the implications of the 2007 budget on women, said the budget was silent on issues affecting women.

She observed that even all the achievements recorded in the 2006 budget did not show any significant involvement of women and noted that if the trend continued in future budgets, the country would find it difficult to meet the Millennium development goals.

She said for the country to succeed in its development ambitions, all sections of the population must be optimally equipped to contribute their quota citing the apparent neglect of the shea nut industry, which was the main economic resource of women in the three northern regions. Mr. John Ayaga, a Budget Analyst of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council said for the country to meet its expenditure, there was the need to aggressively mobilize revenue and manage its collection. The Government, he stated, exceeded its salary and wage bill for the year by 2.4 billion cedis as at September.

The budget's thematic areas of human resource development, private sector development, good governance and civic responsibility together with the impact of previous budgets and that of the 2007 budget on the people of the three northern regions were all discussed at the open forum.

Source: GNA
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