General News of Monday, 3 July 2017
The Minister for Zongos and Inner Cities Development, Boniface Abubakar Saddick has said his Ministry will soon submit to cabinet a Bill aimed at legalising the Zongo Development Fund.
Government has allocated more than 200 million cedis for activities under the fund in the 2017 budget.
Speaking to Citi News during a tour of Zongos in Banda in the Karachi Nchumuru District of the Volta Region, the Minister said: “I am very optimistic that by middle of this month [July], I should place it before Cabinet and Cabinet can place it before Parliament.”
Abubakar Siddick said collating the views of stakeholders represents an important aspect of the yet to be presented bill.
As a campaign promise, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had pledged to establish a Zongo development fund to regenerate Zongo communities across the country.
Vision for Zongo Development Fund
Government indicated that it plans to prioritize five programme areas under the fund to deal with vulnerabilities in these communities.
The priority areas which form part of government’s 2017 action plan, will address the current state of Zongos which are challenged with poverty, illiteracy and high levels of social and economic vulnerabilities.
Already, the government has been applauded but equally criticized for creating the Ministry for Inner Cities and Zongos Development.
Skepticism from Muslim community
Following the NPP’s elections victory, a Muslim community leader, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu had expressed doubt that Zongo communities around the country will see any significant transformation under the NPP government.
Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, who also doubles as the Spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, said the situation in the Zongo community might remain the same.
He suggested that the various governments have resorted to what he calls the culture of “tokenism” to exploit the Zongo communities for their benefit.
“Even the politicians themselves underrate the intelligence of our leaders and that is what explains the tokenism, the token approach to what they do to respond to the needs of the Muslim community. One of this is to dwell on giving Muslims bags of sugar and rice during Ramadan. As a Muslim community leader, I am looking forward to see how NPP will live up to its expectation.”