Ashanti Region has received fair share of development – Minister
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, has rejected claims that the region has not received its fair share of development under the New Patriotic Party (NPP)-led government.
He said contrary to perceptions and agitations from some residents that the region had been sidelined in the delivery of development, the government had performed creditably well in ensuring that the Ashanti Region had its fair share of projects.
The Minister said this when he took his turn at the Ministry of Information’s weekly Press Briefing, in Accra on Wednesday.
There have been agitations in recent times in parts of the region by some residents about the “lack of development” by the government.
In July 2022, the Member of Parliament for Suame and Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, was attacked by some of his constituents over what they said was poor nature of their roads and government’s failure to address the issue.
Mr Osei-Mensah, however, noted that: “As much as I admit that the government has not been able to bridge the gap between the Regional expectation for infrastructure development and actual delivery, I am of the strongest conviction that the NPP Government has not performed badly in terms of provision of development facilities in the Ashanti Region.”
He added that, but for the global economic crisis, which had had a devastating economic effect on the country, most of the projects would have been completed and bridged significantly the gap between actual and expected level of development in the region.
He said when the NPP assumed office in 2017, the Ashanti Region faced myriad of challenges, key amongst them were very poor road network, bad health infrastructure, many uncompleted health projects, security, sanitation and educational infrastructure challenges.
“A cursory analysis of the challenges revealed that the topmost were in the areas of road, health, education, security and sanitation,” he emphasised.
The Minister said, since 2017 to date, the region had witnessed significant infrastructure development in the area of roads, health and education.
Mr Osei-Mensah said in the area of roads alone, a total of 336, equivalent to 6,498.75km of road projects had been awarded on contract in the region over the past five years.
That, he explained, included asphalt overlays, partial reconstructions, rehabilitations, resealing, upgrading and development.
He added that a total of 1,515.06km of roads had been completed within that same period.
In the area of health, Mr Osei-Mensah also disclosed that the region had witnessed improvement in the distribution of health officials and health-related projects.
He said, since 2016, health officials, including doctors, nurses and midwives posted to the region had increased from 10,231 to 16,845 in 2022, a situation he said significantly improved healthcare delivery.
The Minister said government was also undertaking a number of health infrastructure projects, including the 120-bed capacity Fomena District Hospital at Adansi North Region, which was 99 per cent complete; the 500-bed capacity Military Hospital in Afari in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality, as well as infectious disease hospitals.
He added that the region also received a chunk of the government’s Agenda 111 project, which when completed would further boost healthcare delivery in the area.
In terms of education, Mr Osei-Mensah also added that, there had been a significant improvement in enrolment in senior high schools in the region as a result of government’s Free SHS flagship programme.
The Minister said several school projects such as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) had also commenced to boost education in the region.
He, therefore, commended the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the entire Government for efforts at developing the Ashanti Region.
“I wish to express the appreciation of the Government to the chiefs and good people of Ashanti Region for the patience shown so far,” he added.