The government has begun the process of establishing the proposed Northern Ghana Development Fund (NGDF) which was announced in this year's budget.
The establishment of the fund is in line with government's intent to transform the economy and society of northern Ghana through a medium to long-term development strategy in view of the gap in
development between the northern part of the country and the south.
With seed money of GH¢25 million, the government will set up the NGDF to which development partners will be encouraged to contribute.
As part of the process, a series of consultative meetings are being organised by a team of government officials drawn from the Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) who have been tasked to do the preparatory work to gather views from stakeholders in the affected regions
for the drafting of a policy document by May 2008 for parliamentary deliberations.
Key personalities on the project are the Head of Policy Co-ordination, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Office of the President, Professor Kwaku Appiah Adu, and the Technical Advisor at the MoFEP, Dr Sam Mensah.
Speaking with the Daily Graphic newspaper in Accra, Dr Mensah said the team would facilitate its work to enable it to present a document to Parliament when it reconvened on May 20, 2008.
Issues for discussion, according to the technical advisor, include the governing structure of the fund, its focus, the programmes and projects it should cover and also how to go beyond the seed money for the fund.
He said the team was not going to delay the process at all, since we were in an election year and the MPs would be too busy around the end of the year to properly work on the document.
He said the views of stakeholders from all the three northern regions, namely, Northern, Upper East and Upper West, would be sought.
According to him, there had already been meetings with the Northern Caucus in Parliament and members of the Northern Development Initiative, a policy institute based in Tamale.
Dr Mensah stated that the various Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCCs) were expected to play a major role in the process.
Touching on the activities of the working team, Dr Mensah said it began with a concept paper to serve as a guide during consultations with the stakeholders.
He said so far all the people in the three regions which the team had contacted had showed interest in the process, adding that it was important for the beneficiaries to own the fund.