This Year’s Hajj Will Be Less Stressful -Bawumia
The government, acknowledging Hajj as the next key religious activity of Muslims after the Ramadan fast, has instituted a number of measures to make the religious exercise less stressful for pilgrims.
The Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who disclosed this at the Sunyani Central Mosque where he joined his colleague muslims to end their Ramadan fasting last Sunday, said the practice where prospective pilgrims from the various parts of the country had to converge in Accra and spent several days and weeks awaiting their flights to Mecca, amidst complaints about delays and cancellations of flights, would now become a thing of the past.
Explaining further, Dr. Bawumia said through the use of technology, text messages would rather be sent to each prospective pilgrim about his or her departure date and time, and other relevant details relative to the exercise, so that “once you are coming to Accra, you are sure of the specific date and time of your departure.”
Dr. Bawumia further disclosed that the government had agreed to provide free meals to Ghanaian pilgrims at Mecca, especially, those who will be at Madina and Jeddah.
According to the Vice-President, the government had also taken steps to facilitate the movements of elderly Ghanaian pilgrims in Mecca, by arranging for a bus to convey them round during the pilgrimage.
The Vice President reiterated his trust in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, saying, “I know Nana Addo very well, and I know him to be honest and passionate about his promises, particularly, the Zongo Development Fund.”
He said the government would soon conduct needs assessment exercises across all Zongo communities in the country, to gather concrete data on the key challenges militating against the development of such communities.
The Vice- President observed that most Zongo communities lacked basic amenities such as schools and hospitals, hence the setting up of the Zongo Development Fund by the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government, adding that the fund will go a long way to bridge the development gap between Zongos and the other residential areas.
He said it was for that reason that the government had allocated an amount of GH¢219 million in this year's budget as the initial capital, saying, “government will continue to make more resource allocations into the fund in subsequent budgets, to help improve the standards of living in Zongo communities.”
Dr. Bawumia emphasised that the Akufo-Addo-led government was keen on fulfilling its campaign promises, and that those promises were not mere rhetoric. He said the implementation of the free SHS policy, beginning this September, and the re-introduction of allowances for teacher and nursing trainees, among others, bore ample testimony of the government's resolve to fulfill its campaign promises
He also used the occasion to express his gratitude to Muslims across the country for their ardent prayers for the NPP, which contributed to the party's victory in the last general elections.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was accompanied by a host of high ranking government and party officials, including the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh; the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, Dr. (Mrs.) Evelyn Ama Kusi-Richardson; the MP for Sunyani East and Majority Chief Whip, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh; the DCE for Tano South, Collins Ofinam Takyi, and the National Nasara Co-ordinator of the NPP, Kamal Nurudeen.
From Michael Boateng, Sunyani