THE VICE President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama has reiterated that the North requires a strong, united voice in policy making so as to enhance its development process.
This, according to him, could equally help in addressing the disparities between the north and the south.
The Vice President, who was launching a three-day forum on the development of northern Ghana, noted that the modernization of the agricultural sector with holistic approaches could help address the situation.
He suggested that long term credit facilities, accessible and affordable farm inputs for farmers in the region must be made available as ways of alleviating poverty.
He enumerated Buipe limestone deposits, the iron deposits in Sheini, the Nangodi, Bole and Wa gold deposits as areas capable of reducing poverty in the three regions, if properly developed.
He therefore called on all to rise up and face the various challenges working against the development of the region.
Alhaji Aliu commended the organizers of the forum and urged them to come out with a “think tank” for the region.
A lecturer from the University for Development Studies (UDS) and the guest speaker at the occasion, Rev. Prof Saah Dittoh noted that the North was blessed with numerous resources, adding that the impression carried by some people that the North was not contributing to the development of the country was wrong.
He stressed that the region had a vast potential including irrigation and soil improvement which needed to be taken seriously by the people to promote development.
Prof Dittoh indicated that the poverty in the three regions was likely to be reduced by half if the major roads linking the market centres were rehabilitated, noting that the North was marginalized in terms of development because bridges built since World War II had not been refurbished.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris called on all Northerners to go beyond political differences and dialogue on development. He challenged them further to ensure that the region rose to its rightful place.
In his welcome address, the Metropolitan Arch-Bishop of Tamale, Most Rev. Gregory E. Kpiebaya expressed concerns about the marginalization and treatment being meted to the people of the three regions by government, and asked the people to throw away 'accidental' differences and work together as one people with a common destiny.
“It is time the northern Ghana takes ownership of the development of the three regions since no government would develop the region for us.”
He expressed the hope that at the end of the forum, a new development paradigm and a marshal plan would be drawn for the people to follow.
The forum was organized by the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province Pastoral Conference (TEPSCON) of the Catholic Church, and was on the theme “Strategies for the Development of Northern Ghana”.
It attracted all the Northern MPs, Ministers, Members of Council of State, regional, district and religious authorities, and was aimed at drawing attention to the development challenges and potentials in Northern Ghana vis-à-vis its disparity with the rest of the country.
Moreover, it was to instigate the commitment of political and traditional leaders to embrace the new challenges in order to reduce poverty and address obstacles to growth in that part of the country.
From Stephen Zoure and Sheila Sackey, Tamale