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01.06.2004 General News

Veep Calls For Peace In Northern Ghana

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Bolgatanga, June 1, GNA - The Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama began a week's working visit to the Upper East Region with a call on Northerners to restore peace in conflict prone areas and resolve to sustain the peace existing in non-conflict areas.

He said statistics had shown that the three Northern Regions were the poorest and that Government, nongovernmental organisation (NGOs) and the country's development partners were willing to reverse the negative trend.

However, he said development could not progress without peace and, therefore, called on the people to redirect their energies into building a formidable peace in the area for the necessary developments to take place.

The Vice President said this when he paid separate courtesy calls on the Paramount Chief of Bolgatanga Traditional Area, Naba Martin Abilba II and the Zuarungu Chief, Naba Bob Charles Ayamga at their palaces.

He appealed to chiefs to readily release lands for development purposes, saying that NGOs, the private sector and other development partners were willing to support in the development of the area, but that they were hesitant because of the cumbersome nature of land acquisition and the unwillingness of chiefs to release lands for development purposes.

Alhaji Mahama announced that Government had acquired about 1,000 tractors to support the agricultural sector and that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) had been directed to work out modalities for the distribution of the tractors.

He called on farmers in Northern Ghana to take advantage of the development of that sector and venture into large-scale farming, especially, in sorghum production, because of the market potential of that crop on the local market.

He indicated that the breweries in the country were supplementing their production with sorghum and that they needed large quantities of the crop, which Northern Farmers had the comparative advantage to produce.

The Vice President advised District Chief Executives (DCEs) in the Region to make consistent efforts and follow the due processes to acquire some of the tractors for farmers in the Region. He further indicated that the Government was anxiously looking for strategic investors to revamp the meat factory at Zuarungu and the Tomato Canary at Pwalugu.

Alhaji Mahama advised that while Government was looking for strategic investors to revamp these factories, the people in the Region could initiate other moves to also seek joint ventures with other partners, especially, Northerners living abroad so that the factories could be community owned.

Alhaji Mahama said the Government was determined to implement development projects in education, health, and agriculture, among other sectors in full, to improve upon the well being of Ghanaians, irrespective of where one came from or which political party one belonged to.

He said: " we are on track and conscious of our vision and goals and so we would not allow ourselves to be detracted by people, who have nothing to offer."

The Vice President further gave the assurance that the Government would ensure a free and fair electioneering process and called on the people to be vigilant and to smoke out rabble rousers, whose aim was to bring instability into the country.

He said his visit was an outreach programme to interact with the people and seek their views on Government's performance, policies, projects and programmes in order to tailor them to suit the needs of the people.

He commended the chiefs and people for appreciating the Government's efforts in bringing development projects to them saying it was determined to do the best for the people.