The Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface has held a consultative forum in Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region as part of a regional tour to deliberate on the Zongo Development Fund, and outline his vision and key areas the fund would be used for the benefit of the people.

The Minister noted that every district has a Zongo community and each Zongo community has different needs and challenges.  Therefore, the stakeholder consultation tour he has undertaken enable him has first-hand information of some of the challenges and needs to enable him properly deal with them.

Administratively, the Minister said both Regional and District secretariats would be set up to facilitate/coordinate the management of the project successfully. The development Fund projects he noted will focus on Infrastructure and sanitation enhancement, Economic empowerment, social development, cultural promotion, security and crime control for the Zongo communities.

On Infrastructure, the Minister said portable water drinking supply system would be provided for Zongo Communities. He said government would also provide them with proper drainage system to improve on the road network as well electricity and street lighting system.  He also said clinics would be built to ensure easy access to clinical facilities.  On economic empowerment, the minister said the youth will be trained to enable them acquire entrepreneur and employment skills for a trade. Touching on Social Development, Alhaji Abubakar said schools and regenerative health facilities would be provided for Zongo communities.

To ensure the proper management of the Zongo Development Fund, the Minister said in every district, a secretariat will be set up with at least 3 staff and an advisory council across the country to deliberate on their needs and interest areas for implementation.  He said a bottom up approach will be used in dealing with the communities and their various needs. “The purpose is to listen to the people, hear their concerns to enable me have solution to their challenges”, he said.

As a new Ministry, the Minister said his first responsibility was to establish the Ministry with an Act.  Currently, the Minister said in 2017, when the Minister of Finance was reading the Budget GH₵218 million was allocated to the Ministry by the government as seed capital for the Zongo Development Fund.  The Minister said there was the need to hold a consultative forum to deliberate on how to invest that amount for the benefit of the Zongo community.

Narrating how the funds will be released, the Minister said after the deliberation during stakeholders meeting from the various Zongo Communities, his ministry will submit a report to cabinet and defend it in a good manner.

After Cabinet approval, it will go to the Attorney-General to be put into a legal language and later presented to parliament.  In parliament, he said it will go through 1st reading, 2nd reading, 3rd reading and they will debate on it.  When Parliament approves it, the fund will then be given legal backing.  He said as soon as this is done, work will take off. He noted that, after parliament has approved and given it legal backing, development partners, diplomatic missions and individuals can now come in to support.

To facilitate the project, the minister said his ministry will be collaborating with over 15 ministries such as ministry of Roads, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

He noted that his Ministry will be collaborating effectively with Local Government Ministry as most of the projects and programmes would be routed through the MMDAs.

Mr. John Kofi Donyina, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Techiman said the Assembly coordinates the activities of all agencies and ministries. He said they were into collaborates with   other Ministries whose activities were not different from the Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development. The MCE noted that the Assembly was the final delivery of policies from the Ministries as an agent and that the Minister has pledged sending detailed work plan for them for implementation. “We are going to work with them”, he assured.

Imoro T Ayibani