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Regional News Mon, 27 Sep 2004

C/RCC to get tough with non-performing planning officers

Cape Coast, Sept 27, GNA - The Central Regional Coordinating Director, Mr Michael Essandoh, on Monday, warned that henceforth, the promotion of district planning officers, who fail to evolve effective measures to tap the region's abundant resources, towards the eradication of poverty in their respective areas, will be withheld.

He expressed concern that in spite of its vast natural resources, the region, was ranked among the four poorest in the country, and tasked the planners, to, for instance, set targets that will enhance socio-economic conditions, to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and the high incidence of teenage pregnancy.

Mr Essandoh, gave the warning, when he opened a five-day 'capacity development workshop' for district planning officers and project officers of the Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM), at Cape Coast.

The workshop, which is being organised by CEDECOM, is to equip the participants in developing viable and sustainable rural, industrial and investment technology projects that are easy and attractive to investors.

He told the planning officers, that "it is their duty to use the region's resources to lift it out of poverty", and urged them not to hesitate to report District Chief Executives or coordinating directors, who become "stumbling blocks", to the efficient discharge of their duties.

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Mr. Essandoh, reiterated the determination of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to ensure the necessary build-up of human resources and logistical capacities to promote government business, as well as provide an enabling environment for private sector development in the region.

Mr Essandoh, noted that the achievement of these objectives, requires that the RCC, in collaboration with the district assemblies, among others, prepare, profile and market key economic resources, small enterprise development plans for the districts, and foster public-private sector dialogue for effective policy formulation to accelerate the development of the private sector.

He pointed out that the dominant constraints that may be impeding the region's potential to be competitive in promoting economic development, is the lack of institutional capacity to spearhead trade, investment and tourism.

He was therefore, hopeful that the benefits of the workshop, "will in the not too distant future, mirror themselves in accelerated growth and development of the region's private sector."

In a welcoming address read for him, the acting executive director of CEDECOM, Mr John Akowuah, also underscored the importance of the private sector as the engine of growth.

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He however, regretted that public sector officials and their institutions, especially at the regional and district levels, do not have the requisite skills needed to promote the private sector.

Mr Akowuah, was also hopeful, that at the end of the workshop, the district assemblies would be ready to launch themselves "into serious business of identifying, profiling and packaging and promoting investments in their respective districts."

Mr Eustace Kumi Bruce, a member of the CEDECOM board who presided, observed that the region, "cannot remain where it is, with its abundant resources", and expressed the hope that the participants would ensure that the requisite programmes are designed to reverse its current situation.

Source: GNA