Accra, Oct. 22, GNA - Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to support the Poppy Appeal Fund of the Veteran Association of Ghana (VAG).
That, he said, they should do by patronising at least GHS1,000 worth of poppies each currently being sold by the Administration to raise funds to support veterans in the country, as well as undertake projects.
Mr Botwe made the appeal in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, at the launch of the 2021 Military Band Concert and Poppy Appeal Fund in Accra.
The Concert and the Poppy Appeal Launch are held annually as a prelude to the commemoration of the Poppy or Red Day on November 11, to among other things raise funds to support veterans.
Mr Botwe said the Poppy Appeal had become the most popular and convenient way of supporting the veterans whose selflessness had brought peace to Ghanaians and the world.
The Local Government Minister said it was, therefore, important that Ghanaians including MMDAs supported the Administration to enable it to live up to its mandate.
"We are making a special appeal to all MMDAs to buy at least GHS1,000 each of the poppies as their contributions towards this cause, and indeed, there are 261 MMDAs so if they should give at least GHS1,000 each to VAG you are guaranteed GHS261,000. We are saying at least so it means it could be more," he added.
The Minister donated GHS10,000 on behalf of the Ministry to support the fund.
The Red poppy has been adopted worldwide to remember and honour all those who lost their lives and continue to lose their lives in pursuit of world peace.
However in Ghana, red poppy is also seen as a sign of respect and in remembrance of all the human lives lost in peace support operations in countries including the Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, Lebanon and Liberia.
Regrettably, Mr Botwe said the sponsorship and wearing of the Poppy were losing their significance in the country.
He noted that unlike in Europe, where the wearing of the Poppy had become very important to them, that was not the case in Ghana, as little was known about the commemoration, especially among the young ones.
He, therefore, encouraged the VAG, which is empowered to see to the welfare needs of the veterans, to intensify its public education to enable Ghanaians to appreciate the sacrifices veterans made and continue to make to safeguard the peace, progress and development.
He also called on the VAG to intensify its effort by looking for other means of generating income to supplement the voluntary donations, government subvention, as well as funds raised from the sale of poppies to enable it to support the veterans and undertake its projects.
"I, therefore, wish to appeal to the clergy, law makers, government officials, drivers, market women, traders, civil servants, corporate Ghana, students and all of us to give generously to give generously to support the veterans through patronage of the Poppy," he encouraged.
Captain Ben Edmund Duah Rtd, Executive Director of VAG, appealed to corporate entities to support the VAG by donating to the Fund to enable it to live up to its core mandate.
"This year, money realised will be mainly used to expand the military clinic at the Amasaman Legion Village into a polyclinic which will cater for the health needs of the teeming veterans," he added.
Also in attendance was Mr Dominic Nitiwul, Minister of Defence, who donated GHS10,000 to the Fund on behalf of the Ministry.