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Vice-President John Mahama has given the assurance that the Mills' administration will neither abrogate nor scuttle projects started by the previous regime simply for political expediency.

Responding to the concern at a durbar on Saturday to mark this year's Odwira festival of the chiefs and people of Aburi in the Eastern Region, Vice President Mahama assured Ghanaians that projects started by previous administrations would be executed to ensure that the nation's development pace was not adversely affected.

He said aside a constitutional provision that enjoins the government not to pursue such an option, President John Evans Atta Mills also has a personal ethos not to get mired in vindictive politics as this will roll back the clock of progress the government intended to advance.

Consequently, he assured the people of Aburi that the Aburi-Pakro, Aburi-Adambrobe, Abru-Nsakyi and the Aburi township roads started by the Kufour administration would be completed.

Mr Mahama explained the reasons for the holdup in the execution of the projects as either due to non-performing contractors or contractors who had altogether abandoned their projects for which reason government would have to abrogate the said contracts for re-awarding.

In other instances, the situation might be due to appraisals being conducted by government to ensure that all such projects gave "value for money" being sunk into them.

"Definitely, these projects will be continued," Vice President Mahama assured Otoobour Djan Kwasi, Aburihene, who had raised concern about the stoppage of road construction works in the area.

Touching on the protracted Akuapem chieftaincy dispute of which Aburi is a party, Vice President Mahama called on all the parties in the feud to allow for an amicable settlement.

He said Ghana needed peace to forge ahead in her effort to overcome poverty, noting that chieftaincy disputes were a hindrance to development, more so in the Akuapem area which used to be cited as one of the most peaceful places in the country.

The Vice President said government was worried about the fact that chieftaincy disputes continued to serve as a drawback to progress, when chieftaincy should rather serve as a fulcrum in mobilising people for national development.

He said the chieftaincy disputes notwithstanding, government would work zealously towards growing a thriving local economy for the Akuapem area, particularly the Aburi Township which is known for its tourist attractions.

In this regard, he said, government intended to give a face lift to two major tourist centres in the town, namely the Aburi Botanical Gardens and the Aburi Craft Village, to transform them into job generating hubs for the youth.

The Botanical Gardens, which have both national and international appeal, have deteriorated in recent times, thus affecting patronage of tourists, but Vice President Mahama said government would reverse the decline by partnering the private sector in attracting global sightseers.

Equally, he said, the craft village which serves as a source of employment for hundreds of youth in the area, will be revitalized under the Export Development Fund (EDIF) for the export of carved wood products to boost the income of the people involved.

The Vice President also announced Cabinet's approval of a forest plantation project that is intended to create employment for the youth, and an additional recruitment of 30,000 people under the National Youth Employment Programme.

He commended Otoobour Djan Kwasi for his development initiatives such as inviting entrepreneurs to invest in the botanical gardens, and affirmed the decision of government to revitalize several state entities under the ambit of public-private-partnership.

He made a donation of GH1,000 to the Aburiman Education Fund.

Delivering his address, the Aburihene, Otoorbour Djan Kwasi, expressed concern about the falling standards of education in the area, and announced the institution of an annual levy for all citizens of the town, including members of the traditional council, to reverse the decline.

In view of this, he said, the township's community centre project has been redesigned to serve as a library and an information, communication and technology centre to support his education improvement initiatives.

The Aburihene said the traditional council had made a proposal to the Akuapem South District Assembly to enact a byelaw to ban minors below the age of 16 from roaming the streets after 7 pm.

He also called on the government to allocate 50 per cent of proceeds from the Aburi Gardens to the council to support local development projects in the area.

Among dignitaries who witnessed the event were the second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye, the Defence Minister, Lt-Gen J.H. Smith, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and his Deputy, Mr Baba Jamal and the Member of Parliament for Aburi-Nsawm, Mr O.B. Amoah, were.

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