President Akufo-Addo has called on traditional rulers in the Upper East Region to be in the vanguard in the fight against smuggling of subsidized fertilizers meant for the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ initiative.
He was speaking at a durbar of chiefs in Bolgatanga on the first day of his two-day visit to the Upper East Region.
According him, chiefs are the heads of the communities and so they should be able to mobilize their people and challenge them to apprehend all selfish individuals who pass through their communities with loads of the subsidized fertilizers with intent to sell them in neighbouring countries for their individual gains.
“The fertilizers are meant to help our farmers to be able to plant more for food and also make money for themselves, to pay the wages of their farm hands, to help their families and contribute to national development. If we sit and watch these wicked individuals to take away what is meant for our collective benefits, for their individual gains, then we will be doing a great disservice to ourselves,” he pointed out.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it is worrying to see Ghana import food from neighbouring countries when it has large acres of fertile land, stressing, “… a country like ours, with fertile lands and hard working people, our agriculture has degenerated to the extent that we are now importing food from our neighbours – plantain from Ivory Coast and tomatoes from Burkina-Faso. We can do better than that in Ghana and that is why we introduced the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme. We must all support this programme and protect the subsidized fertilizers and other inputs.”
He also hinted that his government is committed to expanding electricity coverage in the Upper East Region to increase the rate of job creation in the region. The region is among those with low electricity coverage in the country, which the president described as unfortunate.
He therefore gave the assurance that his government would ensure that a total of 660 communities in the region are connected to the national grid between 2017 and 2018.
The president’s entourage included the Acting National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay; Deputy Chief of Staff, Francis Asensu Boakye; Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama; Deputy Minister for Energy, Mohammed Amin Anta; Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Otiko Djaba and the Minister for Information, Mustapha Hamid.
There was also the Minister for Road and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta, who promised that the Upper East Region would have its fair share of road construction to open up the district capitals and the communities to economic advancement.
He commended the regional minister, Rockson Bukari, for his commitment towards the improvement of the road network in the, saying, he (regional minister) was the first to come to his office with a documented plan on how he intends to expand the road network to reach farming communities and improve the existing ones.
Mr Rockson Bukari was hopeful that the region would witness a massive development by the end of the tenure of President Akufo-Addo, judging from his (president’s) level of commitment to the development of all districts in the region.
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has commended contractors working on the expansion and renovation of existing structures of the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga.
He advised the management of the hospital to handle the facility well and ensure regular maintenance when it is finally handed over to it by the contractor.
Source: Daily Guide