The Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has charged all influential people, businesses, and other well-meaning Ghanaians living within and outside the various Zongo communities not to be “mere spectators”, but rather partner the government to bring the needed transformation and development to the people.
He said that the establishment of the Ministry, by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was not only to ensure a development, but to make the Zongo areas the most attractive, business-friendly and a peaceful place for all to live.
According to him, Ghana was the first country in the whole of Africa to establish such a Ministry, with the aim of coordinating, collaborating, and facilitating critical interventions, through affirmative action that progressively addresses social, economic and infrastructural deficits, and promote socio-economic development in the Zongo communities.
Speaking at a recent forum in Tamale to interact with and solicit views, suggestions, and opinions of all stakeholders in the Northern Region, Alhaji Boniface said that the support of the private sector, chiefs, and other key stakeholders was critical to improving the lives of the Zongo people, who had been sidelined for a long time by successive governments.
He said that the current state of the Zongo communities reflected a major developmental challenge, manifesting in poverty, illiteracy, poor environmental sanitation, poor housing conditions, high level of social and economic vulnerability, and limited prosperity.
The Minister indicated that the Zongos, which previously were regarded as migrant communities in urban areas, and were dominated by people of Islamic faith, have now evolved, and presently host non-muslims and several tribes of both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians. Alhaji Boniface was, particularly, elated by the continuous peaceful coexistence among Zongo dwellers, where there were people with different tribes and religious backgrounds.
He indicated that the establishment of the Zongo Development Fund, which was one of the key priorities and seven flagship programmes outlined in the economic policy of President Akufo-Addo, had received over GH¢218 million as seed money for its operations.
According to the Minister, the fund was going to ensure massive infrastructural development, such as roads, schools, modern markets, health and sanitation projects, as well as women and youth empowerment, and cultural and socio-economic development among others.
Alhaji Boniface, therefore, cautioned the people not to see the Zongo Development Fund as a charity fund for funerals, weddings, naming ceremonies and other social appendages.
Source: Edmond Gyebi || The Chronicle, Tamale