In fulfillment of a campaign promise to alleviate poverty among his people when elected to parliament as their representative, Hon Charles Agbeve, the Member of Parliament for Agotime-Ziope, has set up a GHc40,000 Social Intervention Fund (SIF) to lift the constituents from extreme poverty.
According to him, in the runup to the 2016 elections, he promised to transform the area by first initiating poverty reduction policies to bridge the yawning gap of development among the constituents and other parts of the country when elected.
Thankfully, he said, he was elected into parliament having obtained 11,614 Votes out of the 16,861 valid votes cast, representing 69.62%, hence the initiative of the GHc40,000 Social Intervention Fund, to cater for the people of Agotime-Ziope, especially the youth, to unlock their potentials in all skillful trades.
In an exclusive interview with The Republic in parliament last Friday, Hon Agbeve said the GHc40,000 SIF would be used to sponsor the youth in the area on skills trade, focusing on the school dropouts to unlock the unemployment situation, stressing that some would be put on training and apprenticeship.
He expressed confidence that, with the fund, more youth who are left on the street for years without any kind of assistance would be able to fend for themselves and their immediate dependents, stating, ” I am doing all these, because, when you analyse our education sector, students who dropped out of schools after the secondary level are more than those who are able to proceed to the tertiary level.”
“So this fund is going to help such dropout students to find some jobs by way of getting them into skill trade, like tailors, seamstresses/dressmakers, hairdressers, carpenters, and mechanics, among others,” he said.
He revealed that, about 200 youth, both male and females would be assisted in that regard, nothing, the SIF would be used to pay for the agreement fees with trade masters and also purchase starter kits, among others.
Asked how sustainable is the SIF initiative, Mr. Agbeve said, he is confident, because he had contacted most of the trade masters in the constituency and they assured him of their interest to assist and he would, “pay for what they call agreement fee and also help purchase some of the starters tools to the beneficiaries for the start.”
In addition to that, the MP said he had devoted a whopping sum of GHc53,000 of his MPs Common Fund to provide over 100 students/pupils with scholarships to reduce the burden on parents to boost standard of education in the constituency.
Already, he said through the MP office, many tertiary students from the constituency have been granted scholarships to pursue various courses, saying, “with my MPs Common, two students who are pursuing medicine and law courses respectively are being sponsored and I am looking out for more of such students to support.”
With regard to power supply, Hon. Agbeve said over 37 communities within the constituency are being connected to the national grid under the National Rural Electrification Programme by government, with the much hope that, by end of 2018, the entire constituency would be hooked onto power supply
He said with the availability of power, the constituents, who are mainly kente weavers and agriculturalist would increase their production as they would now have opportunity to operate day and night, while other petty traders and professional like hairdressers and seamstress/tailors increase their services.
“Economically, I think the power supply in the constituency will improve our agriculture activity, because most perishable farm produce, like tomatoes, okra and other vegetables, can now be stored in cold stores. It will also help to produce semi-finished products, like fruit juices, while our kente weavers will also be able to work into the night.
“More ultimately, with power supply, the level of poverty will be reduced, because it will boost socio-economic activities, drinking bars and market traders will be able to operate in the night and street lights also provide security,” the MP stated
Additionally, he said, the power supply to the farming communities would also enhance teaching and learning in the education sector, as students would now have opportunities to learn under light, while the few clinics could also receive patients in the night under emergency.
All these, the Agotime-Ziope lawmaker said, would help reduce the economic hardship and also open up the area for investors, which, in his view, would ultimately alleviate extreme poverty among the people.
On education in general, Mr. Agbeve said the only two senior high schools in the constituency, thus the Agotime and Ziope senior high schools, are under pressure following the introduction of the free SHS programme by the government.
He said, students placed to the schools which are day schools could not access facilities, due to the unavailability of adequate class rooms and dormitories, stating, the lone hostel, which was originally meant for only about 45 girls, has been divided for both boys and girls, while some classrooms also converted into temporary dormitories, describing the situation as very “chaotic.”
The MP revealed that some of the students have packed all their items on the veranda, while the absence of dining hall and class rooms remained a biggest threat and called for immediate intervention by government with boarding facilities to save the situation.
Mr. Agbeve reassured the effort to lobby government to put up a number of education facilities in most of the deprived communities to enable pupils to have conducive and safe environment for teaching and learning and to improve high-quality education in the constituency.
Touching on road network, the young legislator said though the roads in the constituency are deplorable, effort is being made to tackle most of them to enable residents, especially farmers access their farms to bring food produce to the market centres.
He mentioned the 9km road from Beh to Afegame community that links to most other farming communities as one of which is being under construction, stating that a “contractor is on site,” while the Kpetoe, the district capital, roads also being reshapes and surfaced with bituminous to ease commuters and pedestrians movement.
The MP, who is a member on the Health Sub-Committee of Parliament, also lamented the issue of unavailability of clean and potable water to the citizens of Agotime-Ziope, especially during dry season, which continued to be a worrisome development to the people.
“In fact, the issue of access to potable water remained the biggest problem, we don’t have any form of clean water and residents relied solely on boreholes and streams for both drinking and domestic chores, especially during the dry season.”
“Some residents travel several kilometers to fetch water. Sometimes, they have to roam to some streams before they can access water which is not wholesome, but what can they do, because until the Spanish Debt Swap Water Project for four towns, namely Ho West, Ho Central, Adaklu and Agotime-Ziope districts, water project in region is completed, we will continue to search for water,” he stated.
The existing wells that the residents depend on for years, he added, have all dried up, the small town and community water system is not function, while the few residents who could afford boreholes are those who could save their neighbours around to get water that has become the most sought after during dry season.
He again promised to find a lasting solution to the water problem, but asked for support from residents as he searches for investors and also intensifies lobbying with the current government.
Mr. Agbeve also wants the current government to continue with projects commenced by the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, especially education, roads and health projects in the constituency.
He said, even though the NDC government did well in provision of CHIP Compound for the constituency to reduce health and its related problems, there are other facilities which need the government’s urgent attention and promised to continually be knocking at the doors of the government for the projects.
He wants government to continue and complete the projects in time, especially feeder roads in the constituency to enable farms and other commuters.
Nonetheless, Hon. Agbeve expressed thanks to the constituents for the support given him, especially the chiefs, new district chief executive, all political parties leaders, women groups and the entire youth based and urged them to remain peaceful to each other but hopeful.
He said there could not be development without peace and cooperation, promising he would never let them down as their MP and vowed to deliver high quality services in parliament and at the constituency.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba