The Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday cut sod for the construction of a GH₵ 2 million Astroturf at Tumu in the Upper West Region.
Measuring 100 by 120 feet respectively, the multi-purpose pitch being sponsored by Ghana Gas will be completed in six months.
Speaking at the ceremony the Vice President stated that the government was doing its best to bring development to every sector of the country, although it sometimes appeared slower than expected and said the needs of the youth was at the heart of government’s agenda.
“As a country, one of our biggest challenges is youth unemployment, so government has paid close attention to this area so that even though the problem has not been solved entirely, the New Patriotic Party government has created more jobs than any other government in the 4th Republic and you can bear witness to this,” he said.
He mentioned that 600,000 people were on government’s payroll at the time the party came to power and said an additional 400,000 people had been recruited in the last five years in the health and education sectors as well as the various security services.
To ensure that the youth measured up to the human resource needs of the country, the Vice President said the government had dedicated resources to ensuring that every young person in the country attained at least a senior high school certificate hence the introduction of the free senior high school policy.
“The policy has led to a surge in enrolment into senior high school by 50 per cent and more girls are being enrolled leading to gender parity; government is also paying attention to vocational education by establishing a Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) service and also included them in the free SHS policy.
He mentioned that government was building ultra-modern technical educational institutions across the country and retooling existing ones as in the case of St Claires in Tumu.
Touching on the Tumu-Wa road, Dr Bawumia promised the people of Tumu that the government would deliberate on how to acquire a dedicated fund to pay road contractors in the area to ensure that they expedite action on the construction of the road.
“I have been briefly informed that five contractors are supposed to work on the Wa-Tumu road but only one is currently at work due to non-payment of contracts as a result of challenges with disbursement of the internally generated funds (IGF) at the assembly so it is necessary that we have an input as a government to see how these contractors can be paid to make them get back to work”, he stressed.
The senior manager for Community Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Ghana Gas, Mr Stephen Donkor, said the astroturf pitch was one of the numerous ways the company would want to support the development of northern Ghana and appealed to the Municipal Chief Executive to monitor the project to ensure it was delivered on time.
In a speech, the Chief of Tumu, Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton IV lauded the project as relevant and said it would provide the youth the opportunity to nurture their talents in sports and enable them to spend their leisure prudently away from social vices.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR AND RAFIA ABUDL RAZAK, TUMU