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Regional News of Saturday, 9 March 2019

Source: Abdul Karim Naatogmah

Northern Development Authority faces financial crisis

Stakeholders of Northern Development Authority in a meeting

The Northern Development Authority (NDA) is suffering from a massive financial crisis, making it difficult for the management team to deliver its core mandate in tandem with the government's Ghana beyond aid mantra.

Since its rebranding and the appointment of a new management team, the NDA is battling with myriad challenges and money is the major issue.

The situation is to the extent that the management team cannot even pay for services rendered by the NDA's clients executing several projects including the much touted one village one dam projects.

It is against this background development partners operating in Northern Ghana have pleaded with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide enough financial support to the NDA.

They made the plea at a day's stakeholders meeting in Tamale spearheaded by the Northern Development Authority.

The event created the opportunity for the NDA to form synergies between multinationals ready to support the socioeconomic growth of Northern Ghana.

Present at the said meeting was a delegation from the African Development Bank led by the Country Manager, Dr. Yero Baldeh.

Youth empowerment, jobs creation, education, modernized agriculture, technology, climate change mitigation and gender mainstreaming were some of the thematic areas highlighted at the meeting.

The stakeholders maintained that the NDA management needed instant money required to deliver its core mandate of growing Northern Ghana's economy as a means of bridging the poverty gap.

They emphasized that the NDA's pro-poor programmes should be financially sustainable with the support of the AfDB.

They insisted that the NDA should have enough resources to serve as a source of collateral to incoming investors.

They advocated a multifaceted approach to solve the problems in the Agriculture sector which is the economic mainstay of most rural dwellers.

According to them, there are virgin opportunities within the Savannah Ecological Zone desirous of the NDA's interventions.

They advocated the establishment of a centre to coordinate the policies of the NDA and other development partners to avoid duplications and waste of resources.

They further called for gender and climate change desk at the NDA.

In response, the AfDB's Country Manager, Dr. Yero Baldeh said the bank will adequately address the concerns raised in their next strategy.

According to him, financing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) remained the AfDB's major concern.

Dr. Baldeh lauded the Ghana government's idea of establishing a national bank but suggested that it should be geared towards addressing the financial constraints the private sector is confronted with.

"The whole agriculture transformation agenda of Ghana cannot succeed without proper financing. We believe that the private sector is where the jobs can be created," he underscored.

He called for interagency coordination and the role of the NDA in actualising the master plan.

Dr. Baldeh stressed trade facilitation between African countries to promote South-South cooperation.

The NDA's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alhaji Dr. Majeed Haroun thanked the African Development Bank for its continued support.

He also commended the development partners for their contributions to Northern Ghana's growth.

A member of the NDA Board, Boniface Agambillah tasked the nation's tertiary institutions to change the direction of training students and concentrate on practicals than theory.

The NDA was rebranded in 2017 under the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives

Its core mandate is to support the implementation of government's flagship initiatives earmarked under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Program (IPEP).