Resource Zongo Ministry or scrap it – Guru MP to gov’t

Member of Parliament (MP) for Garu Constituency in the Upper East Region Mr Albert Alalzuuga Akuka is calling on the President to give adequate resources to run the Ministry for Inner City and Zongo Development or scrap it.

According to him the scanty budget allocated the ministry in the 2019 Budget Statement and Financial Policy was willfully inadequate to address the mirage of challenges facing Zongo communities across the country.

Mr Akuka’s call came on the heels of a staggering revelation made by the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, Mr. Mustapha Hamid that his ministry is working with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to train women across Zongo communities how to prepare Zongo cuisine like “waakye,” “sobolo,” “tubaani,” “kooko,” “wasawasa” among others.

The Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, disclosed these when he appeared before the August House on the insistence of the Guru lawmaker to brief members what the ministry is doing to improve livelihood in  Zongo communities.

“Mr Speaker, I’ll like to ask the minister, what programmes the Ministry has put in place to improve likelihood in Zongo Communities”.  He enquired.

In his response, the minister hinted that his outfit is embarking on a programme to develop and empower capacities of people in Zongo Communities to make them economically productive.

The initiative he said is expected to support the promotion of indigenous businesses to improve household incomes.

The Ministry is therefore working with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to train selected women across zongo communities in various businesses but especially in Zongo cuisine like “waakye,” “sobolo,” “tubaani,” “kooko,” “wasawasa” among others.

This is to improve the development and packaging of these foods to add value and increase incomes associated with these businesses.

“Mr Speaker, the NBSSI, plans to accredit some of these women to become ready sources of provision of these foods to conferences, meetings and hotels.

“There is also the Zongo Coders Programme, which is to train, improve and redirect ICT skills of the youth in Zongo communities into productive Ventures.” the Minister indicated.

Mr. Hamid disclosed that Access Bank, in collaboration with the Ministry of Business Development is set to provide capital to businesses in Zongo communities in the first quarter of 2019.

He stated that to improve learning in the Zongs, the Ministry has initiated a programme with an association of Ghanaian residents in the United States namely Yankasa Association and other NGOs to provide books to schools in Zongo communities.

Mr. Hamid disclosed that currently 1008 Zongo communities have been identified in the country but only 16 have benefited from interventions from the Ministry.

The rest of the communities, he said, are expected to receive their share of developments from the Zongo Ministry in 2019.

But speaking in an exclusive interview Today after the minister’s response on the floor of Parliament, the Guru lawmaker said the Ministry has involved itself in things which are being tackled already by existing functional institutions.

According to him, per the mandate of the Zongo Ministry, the president should be giving enough resources to Ministry.

I think for the betterment of all of us, the president should be bold and scrapped it because if it providing micro and small loans for start-up businesses with fast, easy and accessible microcredit, MASLOC is already doing that. Mr Akuka explained.

He further explained that the ministry is working in conflict with the development authorities established by the president.

According to him, the Ministry continues to duplicate roles in the system leading to a waste of the country’s scarce resources.

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklin.asare-donkor@todaygh.com

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