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‘My focus had been infrastructural devt, job creation’

 President John Dramani Mahama has stated that the government's focus in the past three-and-a-half years had been on building the country's infrastructure and creating jobs.

That, he said, had led to massive development in the areas of education, health, water, electricity and roads across the country.
 
President Mahama was speaking at a durbar at Sandema in the Upper East Region where he cut the sod for the upgrading of the 40-kilometre Chuchuliga-Sandema-Wiase road being funded by the Ghana Road Fund of the Ministry of Roads and Highways.
 
He said his next focus would be to expand agricultural infrastructure and improve on the livelihoods and income levels of Ghanaians when given the nod in this year’s general election.
 
Creating jobs
 
President Mahama said for the first time in the history of the country, the government released GH¢50 million to the pharmaceutical industry to expand its production processes to enable the industry to employ more people.
 
He said some of the industries that were established by Ghana's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, were being restored and mentioned the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) Distillery, one of the leading distilleries in the country.
 
He named others as the Tema Oil Refinery and the Kumasi Shoe Factory, which had employed about 200 youth.
 
The President said the revamped Komenda Sugar Factory would process about 1,200 tonnes of sugar cane on a daily basis and thereby reduce the country’s sugar imports by $200 million.
 
"As we embark on these socio-economic development and public works, we are employing more people, with at least 400,000 people getting employment," he stressed.
 
He appealed to the youth of the Upper East Region to take advantage of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) to be recruited.
 
He said one of the good things about the YEA was the introduction of a provident fund scheme under which GH¢50 was deducted monthly from the remuneration of those employed and invested to yield interest within two years, with the aim of paying back the money to the employees as lump sum to enable them to set up their own ventures.
 
He described the "Accounting to the People" tour of the region as successful and explained that he decided on it because it formed part of the fourth pillar of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) campaign policy which focused on accountability and transparency.
 
Roads
 
Touching on road projects, President Mahama said the Upper East Region deserved to have good roads and that was why the government was working hard to provide the region with same.
 
He mentioned some of the roads targeted for reconstruction in the region as the Sandema-Doninga-Santidjan road, the rehabilitation of the Navrongo-Chuchuliga-Tumu road and the re-gravelling of the Sandema-Fumbisi and the Misiga-Garu roads.
 
He said the government was also constructing the Wa-Han road to link Tumu in the Upper West Region as part of its policy to link all regional capitals through roads.
 
Universal primary education
 
On education, President Mahama pointed out that Ghana was one of the most successful countries in implementing the Millennium Development Goals, having achieved universal primary school enrolment and gender parity, as more than 97 per cent of children of school age were in school.
 
As part of the tour, the President inaugurated a 250-bed boys' dormitory block at the Fumbisi Senior High/Agriculture School.
 
The school, which was established in January 1991 with 24 students and three teachers, currently has a student population of 1,430, made up of 740 girls and 690 boys, and 62 teachers.
 
The headmaster of the school, Mr Francis Adajagsa, commended the government for providing the school with a new Toyota Hilux pick-up, 800 double-decker metal beds and 1,600 mattresses, together with infrastructural development, in readiness for fresh students for the 2016/2017 academic year. 
 
He, however, appealed to the President to help provide the school with a new tractor.
 
Food security
 
At Wiase, President Mahama inspected rice fields and a warehouse built under the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Projects and the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
 
The warehouse will provide storage for produce such as sorghum and maize to help address the problem of post-harvest loss in the area and improve on food security, as well as the income levels of farmers.  
 
The President  also called on the Paramount Chief of Sandema, Nab Azagsuk Azantilow II, addressed a durbar and inspected a water expansion project in Navrongo.