Akatsi, March 12, GNA-Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama has said government's agenda to diversify the economy to ensure a formidable and dependable financial base to accelerate development remains unchanged. He said the country couldn't continue to depend on the current narrow economic base with cocoa, gold and timber as its main assets if the vision to attain middle level income by 2015 was to be realized. Alhaji Mahama said this at the weekend when he joined the chiefs and people of the Avenor Traditional Area at the Fourth Annual "Atsitoe Za" (Black Berries Festival) at Akatsi as part of his five-day official tour of the Volta Region, which started on Thursday. "The current economic base renders efforts vulnerable to external shocks, resulting in the reliance on the donor community for investment and growth funding," he said.
Vice President Mahama therefore commended the people for arranging for a research into the berries to find other more useful derivatives in line with the government's diversification programme.
Alhaji Mahama said the collaboration between the Akatsi District Assembly, the Traditional Council and the Crop Research Institute at Bonsu in the Eastern Region to discover the benefits of the commercial production of the crop was in the in the right direction.
The Vice President said government would continue to pursue projects that would lead everybody to realize his or her potentials, hence the President's Special Initiatives.
He also pledged to direct the various sector Ministers to work on a request by the Akatsi Traditional Authorities to government to upgrade the Akatsi Health Centre into a full hospital and the rehabilitation of the Akatsi-Whute-Ziope road.
Vice-President Mahama said Akatsi Senior Secondary School is among the first 110 schools selected for the endowed school programme. He urged the people to use the festival as a means of union and mutual focus and reminded them that peace was paramount to the attraction of the needed development and investment and that dialogue should be applied in settling misunderstandings.
Togbega Dorglo Anumah II, Paramount Chief of Avenor said Velvet Tarmarind or Dalium Guineense known locally as "Atsitoe" is of great economic value to the people of the area with the potential to significantly transforming the economic fortunes of the area and its people if purposefully developed.
He therefore, appealed to his people to desist from felling the tree for the burning of charcoal.
Togbe Anumah said there are also large tracts of land for the large-scale cultivation of mango, cassava, rice and sugar cane, which held great prospects for the area.
He therefore appealed to government to explore investments avenues towards the cultivation of the crops in the area. Togbe Anumah appealed to government to complete the entire stretch of the Accra-Aflao highway, which passes through Akatsi.
Meanwhile the Vice President attended the funeral of the late Togbega Ashiakpor of Wheta where he donated 10 million cedis and assorted drinks on behalf of the government.
He is also billed to interact with chiefs of Sogakope and inspect some development projects on Monday to round off his one-week working visit to the Volta Region. 12 March 06