Parliament passes Zongo Development Fund Bill

Parliament last Friday passed the Zongo Development Fund Bill, 2017  to give a legal effect for the establishment of a fund for the development of Zongo communities.

The Zongo Development Fund will serve as an authority to provide financial resources for investment in education, infrastructure and businesses to develop and transform the social and economic conditions of Zongo communities and to provide for the management of the fund.

The House also passed the Northern Development Authority Bill, 2017 (NDA), which is to allow for the setting up of a development authority for the northern sector.

Minister’s assurance

In his earlier submission, the Minister of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, said the Zongos had played an important role in the military and political struggles of the country since the colonial days.

He said about 70 per cent of the soldiers recruited for the First and Second World Wars were from the Zongos and indicated that a statute of a veteran soldier in Kumasi showed that 80 per cent of them were from the Zongos.

However, Alhaji Saddique said the Zongos had not been given a fair share of the national cake as previous interventions had neglected them.

He said the creation of the ministry and the proposed fund was an attempt to address the infrastructure, education, social and security challenges facing the Zongos.

Alhaji Saddique said although the seed money of $50 million appeared to be small, it would be increased as they moved along.

He said development partners, bilateral relations, corporate entities and individuals were expected to contribute towards the fund.

Northern Development Authority

The Chairman of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, Mr Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, said the establishment of the NDA would provide strategic direction in the planning, identification of development priorities and mobilisation of funds for development in the three regions of the north and the middle belt.

He said when established, the development authority would focus on regions, constituencies and areas within the beneficiary region for the deployment of resources and stimulation of investments for accelerated development of the areas.