MMDAs urged to shift attention towards social protection issues

Nyinahin (Ash), Feb. 18, GNA - Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have been urged to focus more on social protection issues on their developmental agenda.

Mr Frank Kwasi Asante a Deputy Director of Local Government Service, who made the call, said it was time MMDAs extended their developmental programmes from physical infrastructure to social protection, especially for children and vulnerable persons in their communities.

He was speaking at a consultative seminar on the establishment of Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ) at Nyinahin in the Atwima Mponua District of Ashanti.

The one-day seminar, which was organized by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in conjunction with the Japanese International Community Agency (JICA)was aimed at equipping the participants on the CLFZs concept and the roles each stakeholder could play at their levels to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

The participants were drawn from the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, NCCE, the Ghana Police Service, Ministry of Local Government and rural development, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social protection, traditional authorities and MMDAs.

Mr Asante wondered what physical infrastructure such as classroom blocks, hospitals and others would be if the people who were supposed to benefit were not there to use them.

He said it was important for the assemblies to work to ensure that children were prevented from engaging in hazardous work especially in the mining, cocoa sector, market and lorry stations as well as others that could affect their education and health.

Ntoboroso, Aniamoa, Montomuruso, Awesu, Kaasotie and Afepaye all communities the Atwima Mponua district, have been identified as hotspots for child labour issues, where poverty, illiteracy, culture and peer pressure were forcing children to engage in hazardous jobs.

Madam Elizabeth Akanbombire, an Assistant Labour Officer, stressed the need for the establishment of more CLFZs in the country to build the capacities of community members and support them to desist from engaging their children in hazardous works.

Mr William Darko, District Chief Executive for Atwima Mponua, announced the extension of the school feeding programme from 41 schools in 2017 to 81 as at 2020, as part of efforts to encourage more school going children to stay in school all day.

Mr Chigiru Yamashita, Senior Deputy Director at JICA urged all stakeholders to play their roles effectively to achieve the goals of establishing the CLFZ s in the district.