Muntaka: How much is the fund? I have heard it is around $50 million. Is that enough?
Ans: I have also heard about that but I think it is inadequate. Even here alone there are more than 20 Zongos itching to have a bite at the funds. We intend to acquire extra funds from donor partners and they are interested in helping. We will explore all avenues to raise funds for the Zongo project.
Muntaka asks how the funds will be disbursed? To whom and for what? Will there be funds for naming ceremonies?
Ans: The Zongo fund is not for funerals and naming ceremonies. If i attend a funeral as a friend, relative, I can give a donation in my capacity as a friend and not a donation coming from the Zongo fund. The fund will be an investment into ICT, education, drains and development of zongos.
Muntaka: Is your Ministry a fully fledged ministry or it will be just an office
Ans: As an infant i have to be an office within the presidency. The operations of the Zongo development ministry will be charged on funds allocated to the presidency. But as we grow, the ministry will be able to stand on its feet.
Okudzeto demands to know what strategy the nominee has in place to ensure a balance of development across the country and put an end to the discrimination sections of the country faces.
Ans: I will be working with NDPC and the Planning Ministry to ensure that there is equity in the development projects across the country.
Haruna Iddrisu wants to find out why the nominee named Madina Zongo as the best. Is it a ploy to win more votes?
Nominee admits there are equally nice zongo communities in the Ashanti Region and other parts of the country.
Rural, urban migration
Ques: How do you intend to address the issue of rural urban migration which has been part of the creation of Zongo settlements.
Ans: It is good we have identified rural urban migration as a problem and that is 50% of the problem solved. There is no village in Ghana without a Zongo. The best zongo i can say is well planned is Madina Zongo. I intend to liaise with the education ministry to offer incentives to teachers to teach in zongos.
Ques: What program is your ministry going to roll out for women and youth in zongos to take advantage of the Zongo Fund.
Ans: That will fall under my plan of economic empowerment. There are majority of the residents in Zongo who don’t need much. An amount of Ȼ2,000, Ȼ 5,000 will be all they need and if we can give them that they will be in business. For others they need technical expertise on projects that have started. It is time to groom young men and women across the zongos and Ghana will change.
Yieleh Chireh asks the nominee what his definition of Inner city is and whether his village will qualify to be have an inner city.
Ans: Inner cities are distressed, deprived areas across the country. Issues of urbanization social seclusion create problems, some of which lead to creation of Zongos. I can’t however say whether your village has one. We will carry out a detailed research of slum areas across the country and i can promise you that if i am approved i will come to your village and will be able to determine if there is an inner city there.
Challenges in Zongo communities
Ques: Alhassan Suhuyini applauds the nominee as one of the best Northern Region ministers. He admits the nominee mentored him and several other young guys in the Northern. He asks the nominee what his understanding of Zongo is and what are the six major problems in Zongo he intends to solve if approved.
Ans: Zongo is an Hausa corrupted word which means to transit. It has become a place for slum dwellers with different ethnic background. The major problems they face are issues of illiteracy, crime, poverty, violence, unemployment.
Vision for Zongo
Ques: Tema East MP asks the nominee what the vision of the president for Zongo dwellers is and how he intends to carry through with the vision.
Ans: The Minister quotes Article 5 of the constitution which gives power for the president to create any ministry he so wishes and moreso a ministry that will attempt solve poverty. He says the problem of poverty is widespread but Zongos appear to be worse. By concentrating on the Zongos the president is planning on tackling the poverty from the source.
The nominee is taken through the details of his CV and asked to make few corrections.
The Minister designate for Zongo development has taken his seat before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, Wednesday. In his white traditional Muslim wear, with a cap to match, Alhaji Boniface Saddique is expected to answer questions about how plans to improve the lot of slum dwellers especially those living in areas described as Zongo. Myjoyonline.com will bring you live update on events at the Appointments Committee.