Challenging Heights has welcomed Lariba Zuweira Abudu and Francisca Oteng Mensah as the Minister and Deputy Minister designates respectively for the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry.
“We wish to commend government and also congratulate the nominees on their appointments, as we draw their attention to pressing issues which are critical to the successful administration of their ministry, after the approval of their nominations by Parliament,” a statement signed and issued by the President of the NGO, James Kofi Annan, said.
The statement noted that the ministry had been without a substantive Minister for almost a year and so, “nominating someone who has already served as a deputy minister, as she has been, as the substantive minister, is certainly the right decision to make, to ensure that the new Minister settles in her role quickly.
“The new minister is being nominated at a time when research shows that over 60 per cent of all children living along the Lake Volta are said to be engaged in child labour (Challenging Heights, 2022).
“The minister is coming into office at a time when there are estimated 133,000 in slavery in Ghana (Walk Free Foundation, 2018),” the statement said.
The statement said “we are in a time when the School Feeding Programme is facing severe challenges, and there are several reports indicating worsening situations of teenage pregnancy, child marriage, and other children and social protection-related issues”.
It said it was refreshing to note that Ms Abudu was already a part of the processes that led to the establishment of the just launched National Plan of Action to address Human Trafficking in Ghana, expressing the hope that she would take the plan forward quickly and ensure full implementation.
The statement appealed to the new minister to pay more attention to the Department of Social Welfare, as well as the Human Trafficking Secretariat, and to get the two institutions well resourced, since both institutions required more staff, more logistics, and improved working environment, in order to properly and effectively execute their mandate.
“Challenging Heights would like to reiterate its call for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to make a bold institutional demand, and a major policy shift, for the Child Labour Unit of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, to be brought under it, to ensure effective policy coordination and harmonisation with all other children-related issues.
“We believe that the Child Labour Unit is wrongly placed, and that is why it is not functioning effectively,” the statement added.