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General News of Saturday, 1 June 2019

Source: GNA

Government bridging the North-South development gap - Veep

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, says the Government is promoting inclusive development to bridge the gap between the north and the south.

He said President Akufo-Addo-led Government was rolling out programmes such as the Free Senior High School, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Rearing for Food and Jobs, One Village One Dam,Irrigation Schemes and the construction of water systems across the country to ensure no citizen was left behind.

Speaking at the maiden Northern Region Development Summit in Tamale on Thursday, Vice President Bawumia said it was in recognition of the development challenges, hence government established the Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern Development Authorities to facilitate the speedy development of the regions.

He said a recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 2018 made some key findings, indicating that, the northern parts of the country had lower health, education and living standards, compared to the southern sector.

Vice President Bawumia noted that the President was troubled by the development gap and, therefore, determined to close it through deliberate social interventions. “The President has been very clear that one of the legacies he wants to see is to bridge that gap between the north and the south, and we are moving in that direction,” he said. He mentioned some interventions in the agriculture sector like the Planting for Food and Jobs, which had provided greater access to seeds, extension services and subsidised fertilizers to farmers thus, yielding positive results in the north.

Plans are also afoot to increase the acreage of government funded irrigable land from 12,980 to 60,000 through the construction of the multipurpose Pwalugu Dam and Phase II of the Bui Dam project, with Agric Mechanisation centres designed to provide help with ploughing and other services also in the offing, he added.

“Access to affordable education is also important to the President,that is why we have implemented the Free SHS to ensure inclusive transformation.

"I always say Free SHS has been more beneficial to northern Ghana than anywhere else. People have said that free education has always been in the north, but you and I know that it was not totally free. But Free SHS has changed all that. In every village that I have visited, it is clear that it is helping,” he emphasised.

Other projects earmarked for implementation include; the Volta Lake transport between Akosombo and Buipe, the integrated Iron and Steel industry using the iron ore reserves at Yendi, the Tamale Airport terminal to start in June, and the Accra- Paga railway line, which would help bridge the development gap.

Vice President Bawumia expressed disquiet about the sporadic disturbances in some parts of the north, noting that the conflict had retarded development and scared investors away.

“As people of Northern Ghana, we must strive to build peace and consensus regardless of our political, ethnic, and religious persuasions.

"We must put the past behind us and pursue an agenda that will pool our resources together to build a just, fair and prosperous society, where there is an equitable distribution of resources in our regions to the benefit of our people," Dr Bawumia stated.

The summit, formerly known as the Mole Series, is being held on the theme:“Accelerating the Sustainable Development of Northern Ghana in the Context of Peace, Security and Ghana Beyond Aid".

The event is being attended by senior government officials, policy-makers, development partners, civil society organisations and the academia.