20 February 2013

Ghana: Program to Improve Zongo Communities in the Offing

President John Dramani Mahama on Monday announced that government would soon launch its Urban Renewal Project to improve on the lives of the people including those living in 'Zongo Communities'.

Under the project, he said government would provide access to more roads, good sanitation projects and proper planning in terms of housing and provision of basic amenities.

President Mahama announced this when Regional Chief Imams and members of the National Council of Zongo Chiefs called on him at the Flagstaff, the seat of Government, at Kanda.

The groups were at the Presidency to congratulate the President for his victory in the 2012 general election and his subsequent investiture as the president of the Republic, and to throw their support behind his administration.

President Mahama, who attributed the underdevelopment of Zongo communities to inadequate secular education, said government would improve on infrastructural development in the Zongo Communities and called on the youth to embrace the numerous skills development programmes government was rolling out throughout the country.

The President said government would eventually come out with a legislation to establish a permanent Hajj Board that would superintend over the movement of Pilgrims to Mecca and back, adding that the dissolution of the National Hajj Committee was not because of non-performance, but because government wanted to bring more improvements.

On making Arabic examinable at the Senior High School level, President Mahama said government had already made a request in that direction to West Africa Examination Council, and very soon students would be taking their examinations in the language.

Alhaji Gado Mohammed, Spokesman for Sheik Nuhu Sharabutu, National Chief Iman, commended President Mahama for undertaking programmes that facilitated the development of Muslim communities and pledged their support to deepen the relations between them and government.

He mentioned health, illiteracy, unemployment and lack of secular education as major challenges of the Zongo communities and appealed to President Mahama to intervene to upgrade projects in those areas.

Alhaji Umar Baba Issah, Spokesman for the National Council Chiefs appealed to government to take a critical look at the deplorable trends at the schools under the Islamic Unit of the Ghana Education Service and develop a programme that would find solutions to their challenges.

In another development, the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper says the Government was committed to adopt necessary policy measures to stem any slippages that could threaten the country's macro-economic stability.

Speaking at the Standard Bank West African Investors' conference 2013 in Accra on Monday, Mr. Terkper said Government was bent on getting the macro-economic environment right and would response appropriately anytime certain dangers arose to defeat its objectives.

The conference was attended by a group of equity investors, which are part of a team invited for an African investment road show by the Standard Bank Group, the parent company of Stanbic Bank Ghana.

The conference is to allow the investors to get first-hand information on Ghanaian listed companies to help them to make informed decisions.

Mr. Terkper said the fuel subsidy and public sector wages were becoming a destabilizing factor on the economy and that Government had to quickly move in to avoid any negative impact on the economy.

He said government's goal is to extend the tenor of the bonds that are issued between 12 and 15 years, adding that the Executive was in discussion with the World Bank and other multilateral agencies to deploy appropriate risk management tools and insurance scheme to make this possible.

Mr. Terkper said the Government's focus remained on infrastructure development going forward to open up the country and to facilitate foreign direct investment exclusively or through the Public Private Partnership in the oil and gas sectors.

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