Simon Osei Mensah Hauled Before Regional House Of Chiefs
The members of the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs undertook their last meeting in the year 2022 on December 14.
The meeting was chaired by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
The meeting saw the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah appear before the House to answer some questions on the construction of roads, health facilities, educational facilities, sanitation, energy, agriculture, security, etc in the region.
In his address, the Minister indicated that he inherited a region with poor road infrastructure, poor health system, poor sanitation system, and poor educational system.
“The Ashanti region had the poorest health system. For poor roads, we were second to the Central region.”
Accounting to the House he said security in the region has improved.
“Security at Asante Akyem has improved. There were rampant reports of rape and murder some time ago but in the past four years, It has reduced. Currently Ejura is the hotspot but the security personnel are there and the regional Coordinating Council will be meeting over it to address it.
“There were rampant clashes between the youth of Asante and Muslims at Ahwiaa. Since we came, we have addressed it and so there aren’t such rampant clashes any longer. We have even built a police station as well.
“Highway robbery was another challenge but these days it has reduced. We record some of those cases but it is not like it used to be. We have established patrol officers along highways and we have designated police officers to vehicles that travel at night.
“What many people were not aware about was kidnapping. We have tackled it. People didn’t know about it because the security forces dealt with it without announcing it until the Canadians were kidnapped. A week ahead of the Canadian kidnapping incident, a kidnapped indian had been rescued..”
In all, he said, 1,515.06 kilometres of roads have been completed in the region and added that a lot of roads contracts awarded had been abandoned by contractors .
He said, “at the end of September, the Department of Urban Roads had awarded 64 to road contractors which was 1,139.65Km; only 509.30Km have been completed. The Ghana Highways Authority awarded 69 contracts representing 948.9; 317.8 Km. Feeder roads awarded 203 contracts representing 2679.55 km; only 687.96.”
He named Ahodwo-Sokoban-Trede as the main road project with challenges but indicated that the Anwiankwankata-Obuasi road is almost completed.
On interchanges, he noted that out of the five promised by the government, only two are assured, namely the Suame Interchange and Santasi interchange.
He cited abolition of the NHIS Capitation Policy as the first achievement of the governmentwhen it comes to the region.
He also noted there has been an improvement in human resources when it comes to the health staff.
“In 2016 there were 130 doctors. Now we have 218. There were 11 dental surgeons but we now have 91. 5, 936 nurses in 2016 have been increased to 9,645. 3114 midwives are currently in the region. 95 pharmacists in 2016 have been increased to 135 now…With the conversation around the IMF there is no hope there will be anymore significant improvement in health.”
He added, “we inherited a lot of uncompleted hospital projects at Fomena, Bekwai, Tepa, Kumawu, Sewuah, Konongo, Afari. Three have been completed and Commissioned-Tepa, Konongo, Bekwai. Fomena will be completed in the next three months. Within the next four months, the one at Kumawu will be completed.”
Under Agenda 111 he said Kokoben, Nsuta, Kunso, Kodie, Afigyama, and Boaman.
He noted that other ongoing hospital projects aside from Agenda 111 are taking place at Atonsu Agogo, Twedie, Manso Nkwanta, Drobo, Sabonum.
Structural works on the Komfo Anokye Maternity and Children’s block has reached the last floor with installation of cables, he said and added that the project will either be completed in 2023 or early 2024.
He noted that Ashanti region received 42 pickup vehicles and 49 ambulances from the government-47 in each constituency and 1 each at Manhyia District hospital and Kumasi airport.
He also spoke of a paramedic school at Nkenkenso in Offinso North.
He noted that there are 140 Senior High Schools (SHS) with 298,051 students.
According to him as of 2016, enrolment into the SHS was 67,120, however with the introduction of Free SHS, it has increased to 109,887.
He admitted that there are challenges in food supply and food theft in high schools.
On Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, what is called STEM and TVET schools, noted there are nineteen of them in the region as well as a Creative Arts School.
He said one Land cruiser, 88 buses,a 159 pickup and 295 motorcycles have been distributed to schools in the region.
He said that there is an agreement with Zoomlion Ghana Limited for Sustainable Cleaning and Free Distribution of Bins but the project has been stalled due to lack of funds to train personnel.
Meanwhile, he noted that he has issued a directive for all ceremonial streets to be kept tidy.
A 330 KV sub-station was commissioned by the president at Anwomaso to strengthen power supply in the region.
He also said 20,000 street bulbs have been bought for disbursement to lighten streets.
Under One district one Factory (1D1F), 257 applications have been issued with 21 under construction, he said. Meanwhile, he noted that 19 districts in the region do not have any 1D1F projects.
He said the Planting for Food and Jobs policy of the government is farring favourably in the region.
He said the government has completed 8 warehouses under one District, one Warehouse project.
Additionally he said, “Rice production is improving. The rice being produced here are of high quality and tasty. We have rice farms at New Edubiase, Ejisu Besease, Agonano and a lot more…Some of the packaged local rice include Mama Gold, Asante Gold, Asante Royal, Adidipa, etc.”
He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture’s food stuff sale in Accra is also taking place at the Jubilee Parkin Kumasi.
On the Kumasi International Airport project he said it is left with the runway, control tower and a fire station.
Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini