Mills' [email protected]

President John Evans Atta Mills, who is a year old today in the seat of presidency, has rolled out pro-poor policies since his assumption of office. President Mills has shown concern about the plight of ordinary citizens and is doing everything possible to leave a mark as an honest and sincere Chief Executive of the nation. He also believes that to achieve a better Ghana under his administration, it would be better to map out strategies to achieve the policies. According to the Deputy Minister of Information, Hon. James Agyenim Boateng, who spoke to the Chronicle yesterday, said the Presdient, apart from these achievements last year, has focused on pro-poor policies such as in education, primary health care and agriculture, among many others. Additionally, President Mills has stated that “For 2010, spending by Government from the Consolidated Fund on pro-poor activities is estimated at GH¢2,347.8 million representing 24.8 per cent of total Government Expenditure to support basic education, primary health care, poverty-focused agriculture, provision of rural water, feeder roads and rural electrification, as measures put in place to mitigate poverty.” Enumerating some social mitigating measures put in place by the President, the Deputy Minister mentioned that an amount of GH¢25.9 million has been provided to support consumers of electricity by poor households, known as the Electricity Lifeline payments. For the safety net programmes, including rural electrification programmes, GH¢41.5 million has been provided from the Consolidated Fund. For the education sector, a total amount of GH¢76.42 million has been programmed to cover provision of school uniforms and free exercise books to children in deprived areas/schools, which was launched last week, and also for “schools under trees” and for science resource centres, the school feeding programmes, capitation grants, BECE subsidy and Senior High School Subsidy. Additionally, the local government sector has been allocated GH¢15 million for sanitation and waste management, and GH¢50 million for the school feeding programme. For disaster management, an amount of GH¢5 million has been allocated whiles the rehabilitation of the Western Rail line has also been given and allocation of GH¢5,000,000. On ensuring quality health care in the country, President Mills has indicated that the focus will be on providing funding for the Community based Planning and Health Services (CHPS) concept, and the expansion of ambulance services has been provided with GH¢5 million. The Deputy Minister further stated that the relocation of utility pipes under the MIDA project has been allocated GH¢10 million, while rural water supply has been provided with GH¢1 million. District Assemblies and Members of Parliament have been provided with GH¢26.16 million representing 10 per cent of the total for local priority projects. The allocation is to be used for agriculture, education, health, water and sanitation as follows: Agriculture – GH¢10.0 million, Education – GH¢5.0 million, Health – GH¢3.0 million, Water – GH¢4.2 million, Sanitation – GH¢4.0 million. On Multi Lateral Debt Relief Initiatives (MDRI) Funding, it was projected that a total of GH¢103.8 million has been allocated and will be allocated as follows; LEAD programme - GH¢12.0 million representing about 12.0 per cent of total MDRI; Savannah Accelerated Development Authority's - GH¢25.0 million representing 24.0 percent; Rural electrification programmes under the SHEP - 4 Programme GH¢30.0 million representing 29.0 per cent of the total. This, the president has indicated will be complemented by funding for safety net programmes from the Consolidated Fund. In addition of the pro-poor policies of the President Mills, Ghana Government scholarships for students from the deprived regions and also for students on selected programmes overseas - GH¢21.8 million; and the National Youth Employment Programme - GH¢15.0 million for its programmes in 2010. Looking back into 2009 under President Mills on government’s expenditure on Poverty Reduction, the government contended that there was the need to support the poor in the provision of social and economic services, which has always been a major priority of Government.