Four deputy regional ministers-designate on Wednesday appeared before Parliament Appointments Committee (PAC) to answer questions on their ability to support the regional ministers.
They are Thomas Yaw Agyei Baffoe, Central Region, Maxwell Quophy Blagoge, Volta Region, Evans Opoku Bobie, Brong-Ahafo Region and Joseph Tetteh, Eastern Region.
Mr Baffoe expressed concern about the growing poverty in the regions in spite of its numerous human and natural resources.
He urged opinion leaders and other stakeholders to organise a conference to discuss and come out with solutions to address the challenge.
Mr Baffoe expressed worry that the region has been designated as the fourth poorest area in the country, when it could boast of successful businessmen.
He emphasised the need for a stakeholders conference to come out with ideas to deal with teenage pregnancy and falling standards of education in the region.
Mr Baffoe urged the Central Regional Development Commission and the Central Regional Coordinating Council to work as a team to develop the tourism resources of the region.
He said he would support the regional minister to ensure successful implementation of the free Senior High School in the region.
Mr Baffoe commended the National Democratic Congress government for providing numerous infrastructure and amenities in the region, and gave the assurance that the facilities would be maintained.
He also said he would support the minister to ensure fair distribution of pre-mix fuel.
Mr Blagoge said the Volta Lake was an important tourism attraction, which should attract investment to the Volta Region.
The minister-designate said he would assist in improving sanitation and road network andremove stumps from the Volta Lake.
Mr Blagoge indicated that he would operate an open-door policy to enable the youth share their problems with him for redress.
He said he would work in harmony with the regional minister and ensure ‘value for money’ in procurement in the region.
Responding to a question on whether he supported the NPP manifesto pledge to divide the Volta Region into two, Mr Blagoge said the decision to divide the region came from the people through their chiefs, adding not only the NPP supported the idea but also the NDC.
Mr Blagoge said there was the need to address teenage pregnancy and support the girl-child to develop.
When asked to comment on the Homeland Study Group Foundation, a secessionist group calling for a state of Western Togoland, he said “the issue is before the court, and my position does not matter”.
Mr Tetteh said, he would support the regional minister to raise money to support the youth to take advantage of the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
He said agriculture held the potential of creating jobs for the youth, to address the growing unemployment situation in the country.
On the issue of galamsey which was gravely affecting the Eastern Region, he said, he would work with the minister to nip the practice in the bud.
Mr Bobie said he would bring his experience in the banking sector to bear, to accelerate the development of Brong-Ahafo Region.
He also said, he would urge the youth to form co-operatives so as to access finance from banks to embark on farming.
The Chairman of PAC and the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei-Owusu, advised the deputy ministers-designate to run all-inclusive administration, and avoid partisanship, saying, “You should be deputy regional ministers for people of all the political parties in your region”.
By Kingsley Asare