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05.10.2005 Regional News

Let us unite to fight poverty in the Northern Region - Bagbin

Let us unite to fight poverty in the Northern Region - Bagbin
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Tamale, Oct 05, GNA - Mr. Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader on Tuesday called on people from the Northern Region to unite and pool their resources to fight diseases, ignorance and poverty that had affected their socio-economic development.

He said the period of confrontations among themselves should give way to consensus building and constructive criticisms, adding "these should be the last resort in case of any misunderstanding or disagreement. We need to make constructive engagement as a people to carve out a vision for the nation.

Mr. Bagbin who was addressing a public forum on Parliament at Tamale, called on the people to invest more to enhance development, saying: "Development does not know ethnicity or political parties." It was attended by traditional rulers, Members of Parliament, District Chief Executives, District Assembly Members, Security Agencies and Civil Society.

The forum under the theme "Bringing Parliament to the People" was to provide leadership of Parliament the opportunity to educate people on the work of Parliament, open up an avenue of communication with the public to make Parliament more responsible to the electorate. It also offered the public the opportunity to ask the leadership and Members of Parliament pertinent questions of national interests. Mr. Bagbin said the Minority in Parliament acted as the voice of the voiceless but they were not opposed to the Government. He said: "In law making, you need a vibrant opposition to ensure that powers and resources are judiciously utilized as well as ensure that state institutions operate effectively and efficiently."

The Minority Leader pledged the commitment of the Minority in Parliament to fight to ensure that the chieftaincy institution was given the maximum attention by Government.

Mr Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes, Speaker of Parliament said it had been the desire of Parliament to promote peace and development, adding, "Peace is the prerequisite of development".

He said the forum was organised for Ghanaians to exchange views on pertinent issues of national interest and also provide a platform for the public to access the work of Parliament. The Speaker announced that Parliament had passed 242 bills into Acts of Parliament since its inception in 1993.

He said inadequate office accommodation was a constraint to the activities of most Parliamentary Committees and called for public support to resource the House to carry out its work effectively and efficiently.

Mr. Sekyi-Hughes said people should not see Parliament as being remote from them adding: "our doors are opened for constructive suggestions and comments from the public." The Speaker announced that Parliament would establish Regional Parliamentary Resource Centres in the regions to enhance the work of the House

Mr. Felix Owusu Agyepong, Majority Leader in Parliament educated the people on the Standing Orders of the House and the significant role the Minority played in Parliament.

He said the forum was a collective effort by Parliament and not individual political parties and urged the people to eschew any partisan attitude and patronize it to move the country forward. Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, said a major outstanding problem in the region was the burial of the King of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II.

"All shades of opinion are well disposed towards this final and desirable development and it is indeed our hope and prayer that this will come to fruition in the not distant future," He added. Alhaji Boniface said the forum by Parliament in Tamale would be an impetus to sustain the prevailing peace in the region and encourage the Dagombas to find a lasting solution to the crisis. The Regional Minister pleaded with the Speaker of Parliament to visit the Tamale Teaching Hospital to observe the physical structures and equipment to enable him ensure fair debates on the hospital before the House.

He called on the Government to improve on the facilities at the Tamale Airport to become an international airport for the country. Na Iddrissu Abu, the Kumbung-Na appealed to Parliament to examine the Domestic Violence Bill critically before passing it into Law. In addition, he said Parliament should ensure the Law included the Ghanaian traditional means of solving domestic problems. 05 Oct.05