Alhaji Mustapha Ali Iddris, Northern Regional Minister, has said the region abounds in a lot of investment opportunities and potentials, which if properly exploited, could turn the economic fortunes of the people and improve upon their living standards.
He said some of the investment opportunities existing in the region included rich and vast fertile soils for agriculture production, a fast growing metropolitan market centre, cheap and strong labour force and a gateway to markets in the sub-region with a population of over 200 million people.
Alhaji Iddris was addressing the Regional Investment Promotion Forum organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) in Tamale on Thursday to educate the public, particularly local investors and prospective investors on investment regulations, procedures and incentives.
He said agriculture alone provided great investment opportunities in the areas of commercial crops like rice, cotton, cashew, sunflower and cereals, as well as production of agricultural raw materials as a basis for agro-industrial companies and large tracts of land for animal husbandry.
Alhaji Iddris said the region also had a lot of tourist attractions that could be developed to generate revenue for the country, if the hospitality industry was fully developed and networked to include art and craft shops and the development of various tourist sites.
He said the celebration of the country's 50th Independence Anniversary and the hosting of the CAN 2008 provided opportunities for investors to invest in the hospitality industry by building standard hotels and providing other facilities for recreational activities for the numerous visitors, who would throng the Metropolis.
Alhaji Iddris asked district assemblies in the region to try to construct five-star hotels in their areas before the CAN 2008 football fiesta to accommodate visitors to the region.
He noted with regret that the only thing that scared investors from investing in the region was the perception that the area was unstable and therefore appealed to the media to help change this negative image of the north.
Mr Kwadwo Filson a Deputy Director of the GIPC said the GIPC organised the forum to educate assembly members, traditional rulers and other stakeholders on the investment opportunities in their localities.
He said the nation's socio-economic goal and investment drive had been strategically focused on encouraging the establishment of enterprises, which add value to local raw materials; export oriented or import substitution enterprises and enterprises which would create employment. He called on investors to take advantage of the non-tax element involved in the establishment of agro-processing industries to invest in the Northern Region.