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General News of Saturday, 3 December 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Political parties affirm commitment to SADA Master Plan

Three political parties have affirmed their support for the medium term development plan of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the SADA Master Plan.

The NDC, NPP and the CPP said the 25-year plan represented a credible blueprint, which, if properly implemented, could help to transform the fortunes of the Northern Savanna Ecological Zone (NSEZ) and attract more investments into the zone.

The parties made the commitment at a three-day forum on the transformation of the NSEZ in the Upper East Regional capital, Bolgatanga.

It was organised by the Coalition of SADA Zone Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

The forum was aimed at obtaining the commitment of competing political parties in the 2016 general elections on the implementation of the SADA Master Plan for the transformation of the NSEZ.

The forum was under the theme ‘The Visions of the NPP/CPP/NDC to transform the NSEZ of Ghana into a Place of Opportunity for All, Free from Poverty and Inequality.’

Criteria

Each candidate was requested to espouse his vision and strategy for implementing the vision, and relate their manifestoes with the Master Plan for the development of the zone if elected President of the Republic of Ghana in the 2016 December polls.

The rationale for the consultation and request for commitment from the Presidential Candidates is founded in historical abandonment of policies and programmes and consequential waste of resources upon change of Government.

SADA under its new leadership, through extensive stakeholder consultations, developed a comprehensive Master Plan with programmes and projects.

Based on the history of abandoning policies and programmes by new Governments in Ghana, there is a growing concern from some constituents of the SADA Zone that this Master Plan may be abandoned upon change of Government.

Obtaining the commitment of the invited Presidential Candidates sought to guarantee the continuity of the Master Plan and its Projects and Programmes irrespective of any change of Government.

NPP

According to the former minister, the NPP as a party has been very passionate about Northern Ghana’s transformation and would, therefore, allocate 54 million cedis as seed funding to reactivate what was described as the defunct Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).

As part of its vision and commitment to SADA’s Agriculture-led transformation, fertiliser and seed subsidy would be restored while cashew, tomato and rice production will be up-scaled to reduce the nation’s wage bill; particularly rice importation.

The party would also create small dams for irrigation and harness solar energy as alternative energy to power its industrialization agenda.

The NPP would equally adopt the Land Bank concept for Agricultural transformation including the creation of Agriculture Mechanization Centers.

The Party in sharing its vision stated that it would continue the activities and programmes of SADA when voted into power, explaining that the Master Plan fits well into its manifesto.

The NPP would however, rename the Authority as Northern Development Authority (NDA) and would change the territorial cover of the zone to only the three Northern Regions.

A million dollars would be allocated to each constituency within the area and the NDA would manage this resource. Similar Development Authorities would be established for the Middle and Coastal Belts. In partnership with CSOs in the area, they would develop baselines for evaluating impacts of the Authority after its first four years of operation.

The Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party was represented by former Northern Regional Minister, Mr. ImoroAndani supported by Hon. Boniface Agambilla, Member of Parliament for Nabdam Constituency; former MCE for Bolgatanga, Mr. RocksonBukari, and other party Stalwarts.

NDC

During this engagement, the NDC Presidential candidate stated that the NDC having established SADA will not shirk its responsibility to it.

The party and government has been therefore very much committed to the SADA Master Plan and the transformation of the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone into a Place of Opportunity for All, free from Poverty and Inequality.

The NDC Presidential Candidate described SADA as one of the boldest attempts of government at transforming the northern savannah and noted that once SADA has had its internal systems of accounting strengthened through a successful restructuring process, government in its second term would adequately resource the authority through annual budgetary allocation, levies on non-petroleum imports among others.

The President and flag bearer of the NDC stated, “I am satisfied with the new management and accountability systems, and the development plans by SADA”. He continued “Now I do believe we are on the right track and I will continue to give SADA my utmost support”.

A number of key development initiatives including a Master Plan facilitated by SADA; the signing of an MOU with a Chinese company for a full integrated value chain development of cotton in the Savannah Zone; the establishment of a shea nut processing factory in Buipe and significant investment by government in infrastructure such as roads, airports, irrigation systems, schools and training institutions, among others in the SADA Zone were highlighted as initiatives government was already doing to transform the SADA Zone.

The party had described the forum as an important platform and requested for its date to be rescheduled to enable either the presidential candidate or his running-mate to attend.

The flagbearer while calling for private sector investment in the SADA areas, urged SADA to target women in its interventions to enable them improve on their income generation. An appeal was equally made to traditional authorities in the zone to release land for projects that would benefit their areas and the nation in general.

CPP

The Convention People’s Party anchored their vision on two broad policies thus, firstly, a Social Policy anchored on free education and health for Human Resource Development for women empowerment and economic transformation and secondly, an Economic Policy for rapid industrialisation beginning with Agriculture and Agribusiness transformation. Irrigation, Solar Energy production, Groundnut and Almond tree cultivation will be given special attention in this regard.

They considered the Master Plan as a comprehensive instrument on which they would draw the Economic Policy and adequately resource SADA to effectively and efficiently implement their laudable programs for accelerated development of the northern savannah ecological zone.

the Guest Speaker of the occassion, Naba Sigri Bewong, Paramount Chief of the Sakote Traditional area and President of Upper East Regional House of Chiefs commended the Master Plan for being a product of broad-based consultations, bottom-up and the fact that it has given special attention to Agriculture.He urged Political Parties to provide substantial resources for the implementation of the Plan when they win the Elections.

Proposals

Naba further proposed that a fifteen-year budget allocation be made to SADA for the implementation of the Plan

He also proposed that a proposed draft Legislative Instrument for the SADA Act to improve the Authorities executory role should be facilitated and passed without delay, and finally added that a separate Board should be established to focus solely on Sheanut value chain development. Other Traditional Leaders demanded the construction of a South-North railway line and further into Burkina Faso to facilitate transport of cargo.

History

The Coalition of the SADA Zone Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is made up of civic groups, networks and NGOs operating in the five SADA regions. The Coalition’s main objectives are twofold: first, to serve as a watchdog on SADA to ensure the Authority delivers on its core mandate of eradicating extreme poverty, deprivation and general underdevelopment in one-half of the country. Second, to lobby and advocate for increased resource allocation to SADA by Government and support from Development Partners.

Participants came from all the five SADA regions consisting of varied groups such as Traditional and Religious Leaders, Assembly members, Unit Committees, Peasant Farmers, Association of Small Scale Industries, Development Partners, Students, Youth and Women groups as well as Media Practitioners