Put house in order to attract investment - Aliu
Ada (GAR), Aug 10, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Saturday called on the chiefs and people of Ada to settle their differences and present a common front with government to derive maximum benefit from mining salt in the area.
He expressed regret that disputes and litigation had undermined the development of the Songhor lagoon to create jobs and wealth, adding that, investors could not be attracted unless there was peace, unity and stability in the area.
The Vice President was addressing a durbar to climax the annual "Asafotufiam" festival of the people of Ada, in the Dangbe East District.
Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin, the Okyehene and a Member of the Council of State and people from all walks of life attended. The festival is celebrated in the first week of August to commemorate the success of the people during the wars before settling in their present area.
Vice President Mahama welcomed the initiative to foster peace announced by Nene Abram Akuaku III, Paramount Chief of Ada and urged the chiefs and people to use the festival to facilitate the process. He said, "I hope this festival will afford you the opportunity to discuss and initiate the process so that within the shortest time, say three months, you will have come with agreement to corporate with government to conduct a proper land use programme of the Ada salt potential areas for the establishment of a 'huge gold mine' in the area".
Vice President Mahama challenged traditional councils to resolve conflicts within their jurisdiction.
He announced that the Ministry of Works and Housing was reviewing the Ada Coastal Protection and Volta River Estuary Project report prepared by a Dutch-Marine Company, under which five kilometers of beachfront would be protected and developed for salt production, fishing and tourism estimated at 80 million dollar.
An Italian company was also making assessment to present an alternative proposal, he said and assured the people of the government's commitment to improve their standard of living.
Alhaji Aliu Mahama said roads in the area were being rehabilitated while water supply and other projects had been executed. The Vice President advised the people to revive their spirit of voluntarism to initiate self-help projects.
Nene Akuaku appealed for the inclusion of the area in the President's Special Initiative on Cassava and appealed to the government to provide a tomato processing plant to prevent post harvest loses.
Osagyefo Amoatia, in a goodwill message underscored the importance of upholding the country's cultural identity and urged the Chiefs not only to act as custodians of culture but also to lead in implementing development projects.
"The time has come for chiefs to roll their sleeves and remove their sandals and lead the people to undertake development projects to compliment government effort," he said.
He advised Ghanaians to be guided by the values in Dr Ephraim Amo's patriotic song "Yen Ara Ya Asase Ne," saying, the lessons in the song would make the people responsible citizens to propel the nation to prosperity.
"If we live by the tenets of the song we will love our nation and leave it in better shape for future generation.
If we love our nation we will not steal from it and we will eschew intellectual arrogance, greed, backbiting and other negative attitudes that will take us nowhere," he said.
Mr. Amos Beutey, MP for Ada, called for the repeal of PNDC law 287 to revert the ownership of the Songhor basin to its owners, saying, the people wanted potential investors to negotiate with them directly before obtaining mining license from the government.
Speakers included Sheikh I C Quaye, Greater Accra Regional Minister and Mr. Kofi Plahar, District Chief Executive. They stressed the importance of peace, stability and unity to ensure development.
The durbar was also marked with the firing muskets while Divisional Chiefs also danced in their palanquins and re-affirmed their allegiance to Nene Akuaku.
Many visitors were thrilled by a march past of women association smartly dressed in their ceremonial clothing's with various identification symbols accompanied with drums and trumpets.