Culture to become bedrock Ghana’s development – Minister

Traditional rulers

Mr Alex Asum-Ahensah, Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, on Thursday said the Ministry would ensure that culture becomes the bedrock of development in Ghana.

“The Ministry and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, are seeking approval for proposed permanent arrangement for the Regional Coordinating Councils and the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, to support the Traditional Councils to enable Nananom promote good governance and national development.”

The Minister said this at the 2012 edition of the annual Meet the Press series, which was held in Accra.

He said as part of the processes to ensure stability and security for national development, the Constitution had mandated the national house of chiefs to compile customary laws and lines of succession, applicable to each Stool or Skin in the country.

The Minister said the project was to curtail litigation in chieftaincy affairs, clarify procedures for the knowledge of stool claimants, Kingmakers and other stakeholders.

Mr Asum Ahensah said it was also to ensure peace and cohesion during periods of transition,  and to serve as an authentic documentation for instruction and reference for the codification of customary laws and succession.

He said in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education with funding by the Government of Ghana, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the United Nations Development Programme, “the project which started in the year 2000 continues”.

The Minister said research work had been done in about 113 paramountcies and reports on them written, as part of the enactment process adding that “in 2010, legislative instruments on Declaration of Customary Law for eleven traditional areas came into force.”

He said validated reports of fifteen traditional areas had been converted into draft customary declaration laws for transmission to parliament for passage into legislative instruments.

“The completion of the project would tremendously reduce the numerous chieftaincy disputes that arise when a stool becomes vacant,” said the Minister.

Mr Asum-Ahensah said the Ministry acknowledged the emerging creative economy as a leading component of economic growth, employment, trade and innovation, as well as social cohesion in many countries.

“More importantly, it recognizes the potential of the creative industries to shape and reinforce Ghana’s economic growth, through job creation, income generation and export earnings.”

He said “this is why the Ministry in its five year Strategic Plan, as a major policy, sought to boost the creative industry by developing and promoting public-private partnership in that area, and strengthening the institutional support framework.”

The Minister said in pursuance of the “above objective”, the ministry was working with civil society in the ten domains of the creative industry, as well as other cultural practitioners involved in the overall development of culture nationally.

Mr Asum-Ahensah said the Ministry in collaboration with other stake-holders, under the guidance of the National Development Planning Commission, developed the Creative Industry Sector Medium-Term development Plan, under the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda(2010-2013), to inform initiatives and programs that would strengthen the sector to actively engage in the world trade in creative goods and services, estimated at 2.2 trillion dollars in 2000, and continuing to grow at five percent.

The Minister mentioned inadequate budgetary allocation, poor resourcing of Traditional Councils, inadequate personnel and weak human resource capacity as some of the “several” challenges the Ministry and its sector agencies faced.

On the Ministry’s outlook for the coming year, 2013, he said the Ministry would continue with the second and third phases of the Ascertainment and Codification of the Customary Law Project, relating to Family and land in Ghana.

Mr Asum-Ahensah said the National and three Regional Houses of Chiefs would be rehabilitated, adding that the Ministry also sought to complete the construction of the four Regional Theatres in the Brong Ahafo, Western, Ashanti and Eastern Regions.

He said the Ministry intended to work closely with cultural practitioners and stake-holders in the creative industry, to implement the Creative Industry Sector Medium Term Development Plan.

“This collaboration would be done with a view to developing and strengthening the country’s creative economy in ways, that would enable Ghana to actively engage in the lucrative trade in creative goods and services,” the Minister said.

Source: GNA

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