A 23-member National Population Council has been sworn into office by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with a charge on the members to work assiduously to reduce teenage pregnancy and the rate of population growth.
He also asked the members to work towards increasing contraceptive use from the current 25 per cent to 50 per cent.
Administering the oaths of office and secrecy to the members of the council at the Jubilee House last Wednesday, the President asked them to assist to bring down the rate of population growth from the current 2.2 per cent to 1.2 per cent.
The council is chaired by Dr Gladys Norley Ashitey, a Deputy Minister of Health in the administration of former President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Making a case for his call, President Akufo-Addo said the attainment of such a target would boost human capital accumulation, which was a key ingredient in national development.
He said although the targets were very ambitious, especially at a time when majority of the population were young, he was confident that the council would be able to achieve impressive results.
The President assured the council that the government would provide the much-needed support for the members in the execution of their mandate and expressed the hope that they would be able to deliver in view of their experiences, knowledge, skills and expertise.
Responding to the charge, Dr Ashitey said the council was aware of the task ahead of it, including the ambitious vision of improved quality of life for the people through effective population management, adding that the members were encouraged by the determination of the President to improve the life of the people.
She said a nation’s human resource was the most important factor in its development and that countries with very limited resources had developed due to the investments they made in human capital accumulation.
She said the situation was in sharp contrast with what pertained in most African countries with rich natural resources but low human capital accumulation.
Dr Ashitey expressed the hope that the President’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid and the Planting for Food and Jobs programme would be successful based on the level of human capital and skills set.
She commended the government for the recent approval of the revised population policy and sexual and reproductive policy for young people in Ghana and said the approval and the inauguration of the council would bring new impetus to the population sector.
Dr Ashitey noted that interventions made by the government, such as the free senior high school policy and investments made in the health and the employment sectors, among others, were all geared towards improving the quality of life of Ghanaians.
She said such interventions in human capital would help the country attain the demographic dividends which were the economic gains a country received from a change in population structure as birth and death declined rapidly.