The Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, has held a consultative forum in Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region to outline his vision and key areas for the use of the Zongo Development Fund. 


The meeting formed part of a regional tour to deliberate on the Zongo Development Fund.


The Minister explained that the stakeholder consultation tour would equip him with first-hand information about the challenges and needs of the Zongo communities, particularly because every district had a Zongo community with peculiar needs and challenges.


The Minister disclosed that for the purpose of administration, Regional and District Secretariats would be set up to facilitate/co-ordinate the management of the project successfully, adding that development Fund projects would focus on infrastructure and sanitation enhancement, economic empowerment, social development, cultural promotion and  security and crime control in the communities.


On Infrastructure, the Minister said electricity and street lighting, potable drinking water supply and proper drainage systems would be provided for the Zongo Communities while the road network would be given a significant attention. 


Furthermore, he said, clinics would be built to ensure easy access to health facilities while the youth would be trained to acquire skills to become employable.


Touching on Social Development, Alhaji Abubakar said schools and regenerative health facilities would be provided for the Zongo communities. 


To ensure the proper management of the Zongo Development Fund, the Minister disclosed that in every district, a secretariat would 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, adding that a bottom-up approach would 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.


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


After Cabinet approval, he said, the report would go to the Attorney-General to be crafted into a  legal language for presentation to Parliament for a debate and approval to become law, adding that  as soon as this was done, work would take off and at which stage development partners, diplomatic missions and individuals would then be expected to assist. 


As a new Ministry, the Minister indicated that his first responsibility was to establish the Ministry with an Act of Parliament. 


Currently, the Ministry had been allocated GH₵219 million as seed capital for the Zongo Development Fund.


To facilitate the implementation of the project, the Ministry will be collaborating with over 15 Ministries such as Ministries of Roads, the Interior, Energy and Local Government and Rural Development.


According to Alhaji Boniface, Ministry would be collaborating effectively with the Local Government Ministry, as most of the projects and programmes would be routed through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).


Mr. John Kofi Donyina, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Techiman, in his remarks, underscored the important role the District Assembly would play in the implementation of the Zongo development agenda, adding that the Assembly’s role was to co-ordinate the activities of all agencies and ministries.


The MCE noted that the Assembly was the final delivery of policies from the Ministries as an agent and that the Assembly was expecting a detailed work plan for them for implementation. “We are going to work with them”, he assured.


Source: ISD (Imoro T. Ayibani)