Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, Boniface Abubakar Saddique has refuted claims that the Ministry was created to woo gullible voters to the fold of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
He reiterated that the Ministry has specific targets and is intended to address among other things social and infrastructural inequality and promote socio-economic development of inner cities.
“Ghana will find itself in an awkward position having been classified as a low middle-income economy yet, there are spots and pockets of communities that will retract and retrogress the progress made.
“The portfolio was not created out of political ambition. It was created to help speed up development in this country,” he said.
The Madina Parliamentarian made the statement in the Upper West Region, at a consultative forum on the Zongo Development Fund (ZDF) organized by the Ministry to solicit for ideas before submission to cabinet and parliament for their consideration and approval.
Inner City and Zongo Dev. Ministry
President Nana Akufo-Addo has explained the creation of the new ministerial portfolio to handle Zongo affairs, which would operate under the Office of the President, with all its budgetary allocations.
The Zongos in Ghana are settlements in the cities populated predominantly by settlers from northern Ghana.
The President has pointed out that one of the critical areas of concern for the social cohesion and harmony in the country was the developments taking place in the inner cities and the Zongos.
To help meet the challenge of the social development of the Zongos, the NPP government has committed itself to the establishment of a Zongo development fund and to make a special effort to develop the inner cities.
However, there have been counter opinions as to why the President has created new portfolios for specific areas.
Justifying why that of the Zongo was for instance created, President Akufo-Addo has explained that if his government was to succeed, not only in the delivery of the promises in its manifesto.
More importantly in the reasons for the promises, he said, then the development that has to take place has to be coordinated and fit in the overall ministerial economic planning.
The rationale, he added was to ensure that the development of the inner cities and Zongos, did not become areas of despair, areas of difficulty and areas of social conflict.
Zongo Development Fund (ZDF)
Boniface Abubakar announced that government in the 2017 budget has allocated ₵219.5 million as seed money for the ZDF and warned prospective beneficiaries that the monies are not for anyone person or group’s parochial interest.
“The funds is not for private parochial interest such as paying individual hospital bills, assisting in wedding and outdoorings or funerals,” he said.
In attendance were several sectional heads and chief of Wa Zongo as well as Municipal and District Assemblies in the Upper West Region.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Suleiman Alhassan urged the participants to open up and give good suggestions to help shape up the bill.