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Regional News Fri, 7 Oct 2005

Child labour deprives country of skilled labour-RM

Kumasi, Oct 07, GNA - Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, the Ashanti Regional Minister, has stated that child labour contributes to depriving the country of skilled labour required for growth and development. He said the implications of child labour were many and varied and that children who engage in labour, especially those who work in the streets, were exposed to bad company and as a result indulge in criminal activities.

"Because most of them do not depend on their parents for their upkeep they sometimes become arrogant and disrespectful in society. They hardly get quality education that can prepare them for responsible livelihood."

These were contained in a speech read on his behalf at a day's seminar organized by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) in collaboration with the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

It was for senior officers of the board drawn from Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions on Thursday.

The seminar was designed to mainstream child labour issues into the activities of NBSSI and assist the officers to contribute towards the elimination of child labour in the informal sector.

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Mr Boafo said since the problem of child labour was a complex one, it cannot be tackled in isolation and that it needed the collective effort of all and has to be tackled positively by all stakeholders. The Regional Minister said during the past few years the government had created a lot of awareness on the issue of child labour and that the readiness and enthusiasm for eliminating child labour were clearly reflected in the nation's agenda.

Mr Boafo called on all social partners including the Trades unions, teachers, NGOs religious organizations, traditional rulers, governmental agencies, the media and parents to network among themselves to find a lasting solution to the problem.

Mr Emmanuel Otoo, Country Programme Co-ordinator, Capacity Building Project, IPEC, said in tackling the issue of child labour, care must be taken not to equate child work to child labour. He said child work was quite distinct from child labour since child work was part of the social responsibility of children. Mr Otoo however, pointed out that, if child work was not properly handled, it could translate itself into child labour and said children should therefore be managed carefully.

He said the responsibility of eliminating child labour should not be left on government alone but should be the concern of all since the government provided all the necessary legislation. Mr Saaed Owusu-Brobbey, Ashanti regional Manager of NBSSI, said the board is pursuing its mandate of promoting and developing micro and small-scale enterprises. He said it was in the light of this that the board welcomed the collaborative arrangement with the ILO, at finding better ways of eliminating child labour in the country, adding that, it was a step in the right direction. 07 Oct 05

Source: GNA
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