545 total views, 1 views today
A non-partisan advocacy group – Northern Development Forum (NDF) has made a passionate appeal to Government to accelerate all processes towards the construction of the Pwalugu Multi-Purpose Dam (PMD). The project according the group has been on the drawing board since 1964.
The PMD and similar medium-sized dams, many of which had been studied up to pre-feasibility level, it said are the solution to the needless loss of lives, poverty including the alarming increase of poverty in Northern Ghana as was recently revealed by the Ghana Living Standards Survey, number 7 of 2018.
Major Albert Don-Chebe (Rtd), the Chairman of NDF told journalists at a news conference in Accra that whilst the rest of Ghana is in a middle-income status, northern Ghana remains in least developed country conditions.
NDF, he said, has studied the alarming increase in poverty and underdevelopment in northern Ghana and believes that the virtual absence or deplorable state of infrastructure in the form of motorable roads, bridges, electricity, information communication technology, water transport infrastructure. The lack of above mentioned infrastructure, the Chairman of NDF adds, accounts significantly for low levels of private investments and limited productive capacity in the area.
The correlation between the absence of infrastructure and increased poverty according to him is very clear if you superimpose the poverty map of Ghana over the infrastructure map of Ghana. Major Don-Chebe [Rtd] said “NDF believes that the infrastructure budget of the country should be managed in a manner that ensures that basic infrastructure like roads, hospitals, schools and electricity are distributed fairly across the country to ensure equitable development, a norm which H. E President Akufo-Addo has enunciated in his vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid”
The provision of infrastructure, he said, is vital for Northern Ghana to grow to the level whereby it would no longer depend mainly on aid. The chairman of NDF stated “We call upon development partners to increase, re-channel and coordinate their development assistance to enable it to transition beyond aid.”
On exorbitant cost of cement and iron rods, Major Don-Chebe [Rtd]said closely related to the deplorable state of infrastructure is the exorbitant cost of infrastructure inputs like cement and iron rods in northern Ghana. He said while a bag of cement costs Ghc29 in Tema, it costs Ghc 40.00 in Zebila in the upper East region and Tumu in the Upper West region.
This, he said, means a building in the North would cost at least 25% more than the same building in Accra. The Chairman of NDF said “so, the poorest people are compelled to pay 25% more for physical infrastructure in Ghana. This situation is untenable and should be corrected.”
The Chairman of NDF appealed to Government to use the same cross subsidy policy intervention to ensure that the price of building materials are the same throughout the country to avert the state of affairs where the country would become even more inequitable with the potential cost to not just the economy but to lop-sided migration and long term peace and stability.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa