Hon. Richard Mawuli Quashigah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Keta, has called on government and the district assemblies to step up the fight against poverty in the rural areas in the country.
According to him, despite the positive reports of Ghana’s performance in the poverty eradication under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS), there are still compelling issues of poverty in the rural areas.
Mr. Quashigah made the call when he delivered a statement on the floor of parliament in commemoration of the United Nations (UN) International Day for Eradication Poverty in Accra last Thursday.
The theme for this year’s commemoration was “Answering the call of October 17 to end poverty: A path towards peaceful and inclusive societies.”
The Keta MP, who is the deputy ranking member on Employment and Welfare Sub-committee of parliament, stressed that this was imperative, because although the country is ranked among the most performing nations in poverty eradication, it was slow in accessing funds for development for the rural communities..
“Mr. Speaker, according to a report released by UNICEF, Ghana has been able to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, however, general poverty in rural Ghana still remains a challenge.”
“The report whose scope covered 2006 to 2013 revealed that rural poverty is four times higher than urban poverty eradication, thus making it two times higher than it was in the 1990s.”
“The report further revealed that households in the rural settings of the country have much higher average rates of poverty than their counterparts in the urban geographical areas,” Mr. Quashigah stated.
He acknowledged that successive governments under the 4th Republic of Ghana have implemented numerous pro-poor social intervention programmes, but yet the issues in the villages remained unchanged.
“Mr. Speaker, undeniably successive governments in their quests to eradicate poverty rolled out several social intervention policies aimed at addressing the poverty situation in the country. This includes Free Basic Education, Free health care policy, Progressively free Senior High School Policy and Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty,” he noted.
He further mentioned Free Maternal Health Care, School feeding Programme, Free Sandals for Basic Schools Pupils, Free School Uniform, Free exercise books, Eban Elderly Welfare ID Card, Mass Cocoa Spraying Exercise and Free Fertilizer Distribution.
Nonetheless, Mr. Quashigah said, “according to the Ghana Living Standard Survey 6 report conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the several interventions have reduced poverty levels to 24.2 percent from the 51 percent recorded in 1991.”
“This means about 24.2 percent of Ghanaians representing about 6.4 million people cannot afford to spend GHS3.60 on food a day as revealed by the report. The people below the poverty line according to the report were about 7 million in 2005. Also about 8.4 percent of the population live in extreme poverty,” he added.
He expressed the hope that the current government intends to create development authorities would focus more on reducing poverty, especially in the rural areas where poverty is extreme.
The Keta MP also noted that, it was also the expectation of many that the one district one factory and planting for food and jobs policies of government would help create jobs thus reducing the frightening unemployment levels in the country which in itself is an incidence of poverty.
To achieve the needed results and help reduce poverty in the country, Mr. Quashigah said would require dedicated men and women of integrity with requisite expertise to superintend over the various institutions, programmes and projects targeted at alleviating poverty.
Other MPs in their contribution called on government to tailor more development resources to the rural communities in the country.
The UN General Assembly, through Resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992, made 17 October the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The commemoration Day is used to call for global, national, institutional, local and individual actions for reducing extreme poverty.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba