02.06.2004 General News

Vice President tours Upper East

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Tongo, (U/E) June 2, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama has urged farmers in northern Ghana to take advantage of the President's Special Initiative (OSI) on cotton and cultivate the crop on commercial scales to support the textile industry.

He said countries like Mali an Burkina Faso with similar climatic conditions as that of northern Ghana had successfully cultivated cotton and this was supporting their textiles and garments industries. Vice President Mahama gave the advice when he addressed separate durbars at Bolgatanga, Zuarungu and Tongu as part of his seven-day working visit to the Upper East Region.

The programme, which would take him to all the districts in the region is aimed at interacting with the people and eliciting their views to better national policies and development programmes.

Vice President Mahama said as part of the government effort to facilitate socio-economic growth to reduce poverty, several incentives were being provide to modern rise agriculture, which is the mainstay of many regions.

In line with this effort, 1,000 tractors had been imported and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture was working out modalities for their distribution.

He, therefore, urged District Chief Executives in farming communities to follow the laid down procedures for their allocation.

The Vice President said the government had initiated a policy to give tax holidays to agro businesses, which want to site in the north. This, he said, would implement the government effort to create jobs and wealth.

He reiterated the government's commitment to provide infrastructure and facilities to improve provision of education, health, information technology and communication services, water and sanitation.

Earlier, the Vice President inspected the progress of work on a craft village, being constructed at Bolgatanga to cater for about 1,000 artisans.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and PSI funded the project with part of its HIPC benefit allocation at 1.3 billion cedis.

The Vice President Mahama urged the Ministry of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital city to collaborate with the Trade Ministry to provide recreational facilities at the village for the benefit of traders and tourists to the centre.

The craft village, expected to be completed by the end of the year, would provide opportunities to craftsmen in leather ware, pottery, carving and other crafts to improve their skill, and sell their produce .. It is expected that a boost in craft trade would increase foreign exchange earnings for the country.

The Vice President in scheduled to visit communities in the West Mamprusi District on the second day of his visit to interact with the people and inspect development projects. 2 June 04

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