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Business News of Tuesday, 25 November 2003

Source: Graphic

VR Designated Into Four Zones For PSI

The Volta Region has been designated into four operational zones for the President’s Special Initiative (PSI) on salt, cassava starch, oil palm and garment and textile with the view to uplifting the socio-economic development of the region.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, who announced this, said the Keta Basin has been identified as one of the operational zones for the PSI on salt, while the Kpando and North Tongu districts have been aligned to the operations of the Ayensu Starch Company (ASCo).

The President, who was addressing the opening ceremony of a three-day investment conference themed, “Towards the Economic Development of the Volta Region” in Ho yesterday, further announced that the Kete-Krachi, Nkwanta, Jasikan, Kadjebi, Hohoe and Ho districts had been identified as another mainstream operational zone for the cassava initiative and would have ts own starch company.

President Kufuor said the Kpeve, Dzodze,Jasikan and Kadjebi areas had been earmarked for nursery operation and plantation development for the oil palm industry which is expected to take off next year. He also said the textile and garment initiative was to be extended to the region, adding that some local entrepreneurs had already positioned themselves to take advantage of the initiative.

President Kufuor commended the organisers of the investment conference, adding that “such initiatives from the regions encourage government to be relentless in its pursuit of both local and foreign investment opportunities for the good people of this country”. He said such efforts and other economic policies had enhanced the nation’s image within the investment market, leading to modest results.

The President said the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre had succeeded in registering 548 projects with total investment of $373.35 million from January 2000 to June 2003. He said 85.2 per cent of the amount was foreign direct investment while the remaining 14.8 per cent was local, adding that “this positive reaction on the part of foreign investors can be fully exploited only when local counterparts prepare and position themselves appropriately”.

President Kufuor said the government was committed to giving equal opportunities to all regions in the provision of appropriate infrastructure and social amenities and said with the abundant natural resources in the Volta Region, it would in future become the main food basket and popular tourist attraction in the country. He, however, said as a border region, there was the need for extra vigilance against the activities of smugglers in order to prevent the undermining of development efforts by smugglers.

In an address, the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Owusu Yeboah, said a number of efforts had been made in the past to identify the economic potentials of the region with a view to getting those potentials harnessed for the socio-economic development of the region. He said region had one million hectares of land suitable for agriculture and abounded with water resources from the sea, rivers lakes, lagoons and creeks for investment in the fishery industry.

Mr Owusu-Yeboah said a team of prominent consultants and industrialists and businessmen had been brought together to advise the Regional Co-ordinating Council as to how best the region could exploit its resources.

On his part, the President of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs, Togbega Gabusu VI, who chaired the function, stressed that peace was critical to the achievement of meaningful socio-economic development in the region. He, therefore, urged the government to provide legal counsel for the judicial committee of the Regional House of Chiefs to enable it to handle expeditiously the numerous chieftaincy disputes which had impeded the development of the region.

In her remarks, the Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, Ms Elizabeth Ohene, charged the people of the region to be adventurous and was not talk down on the region as a poor one because it was endowed with abundant human and natural resources.