The Governing Board of the Zongo Development Fund was, on Monday, inaugurated by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, at the Jubilee House in Accra.
Additionally, the Governing Boards of the Northern Belt, Middle Belt and the Coastal Belt Development Authorities were also inaugurated.
Membership of the Zongo Development Fund, made up of 11 persons and 13 persons each for the three Development Authorities, comprises of Chief Executive Officers of the Authorities, representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Ministry of Finance, Chief Iman's Office, Christian Council, Regional House of Chiefs and the Private Sector, among others.
In an address, after taking them through the Oaths of Office and of Secrecy, President Akufo-Addo recalled events in the run-up to the 2016 elections, when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and himself, had campaigned on the party's commitment and determination to implement a new paradigm of development, if they won power.
And so, President Akufo-Addo said, when the NPP won power, the new Government embarked on a new paradigm of development-- a bottom up approach --to addressing the fundamental problems that confronted the Ghanaian society.
He said his Government took the view that the manner in which development had proceeded, so far, had not been able to address the fundamental problems of development.
"We, therefore, made a commitment that would attempt a new paradigm--bottom-up approach-- to the development of our country. It will require, that the manner in which the capital expenditure of the various budgets had, hitherto, been spent, would be done in a different manner; hence, the establishment of the three development authorities," the President explained.
He said Government would appropriate from the country's capital budget, a certain amount of money that would go to the development authorities to enable them tackle the issues of development at the grassroots, adding "We are using the constituency organizations of our country as a basic unit of development in Ghana."
The President said the creation of the authorities that had a certain geographical reach, was to concentrate solely on the development needs of their respective geographical enclaves.
President Akufo-Addo also expressed the need for Government to make a special intervention in a particular community in the country--the inner city and Zongo community--which, in his view, had suffered from the manner in which the development of the nation had been organized over the years.
He said the establishment of the Zongo Development Fund, therefore, aimed to deal with the specific needs of underprivileged communities.
He noted that as a requirement of law, it was necessary that the processes of the establishment of the Fund, and the three development authorities, went through the right legal framework and institutions such as Parliament.
President Akufo-Addo said the Ministry of Special Development and Initiatives, the entity that would supervise the work of the Authorities, had done a considerable amount of work in terms of need assessments across the country--in all the 275 constituencies --and had identified the basic needs such as sanitation, road construction, educational and health establishments, among others.
"These are all basic needs and time and again, they don't change much across the nation--the issues of sanitation, road infrastructure and educational infrastructure. These are all the basic issues that confront our people in the localities and wherever they are in the country," he noted.
The President, therefore, urged the Boards to deal with these basic issues immediately upon assumption of office and reminded them that these needs assessments and the modalities had already been set out by the Ministry.
The President also urged the Boards to address the rural-urban imbalances that had characterized the country over the years.
In a statement, the Board Chairman of the Coastal Development Authority, Mr Edmund Annan, on behalf of the other Boards, assured the President of their readiness and determination to carry out their task diligently, adding "We accept that we cannot expect to do the wrong things over again and expect different results."
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yebaoh)