The Zongo Development Fund (ZoDF) established by the government is not meant for private parochial interest such as paying individual hospital bills, footing bills for naming and marriage ceremonies and offering tips.
Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, the Minister of Inner Cities and Zongo Development was speaking during a public sensitisation and consultation forum in Wa to solicit inputs for the bill that should establish the ZoDF, which would be laid before Parliament for approval and passage.
He pointed out that the Inner Cities and Zongo Development Portfolio was not created out of any political interest but rather out of the will to facilitate the speedy development of Zongo communities to change the plight of residents.
He said the term Zongo was a Hausa term meaning temporary lodging place for travellers.
He said Zongos were essentially a phenomenon common in West Africa and in recent times they represented migrant communities in urban areas largely dominated by traders and people of the Islamic faith.
Alhaji Saddique expressed concern that the current state of Zongos reflected a major development challenge that was manifested in poverty, illiteracy, poor environmental sanitation, poor housing conditions, high levels of social and economic vulnerability and limited prosperity.
Alhaji Saddique therefore expressed happiness that the ZoDF was part of the seven key priority and flagship projects outlined in the 2017 budget and had been allocated a seed money of GHȼ219.5 million.
He noted that some of the priority projects in the 2017 Action Plan included access roads improvement, neighbourhood greening, educational and scholarship support, provision of primary health care facilities, vocational skills training and business incubation as well as business development support in terms of credit, training and basic tools and service facilitation.
Other areas of focus for the first year are local economic development infrastructure such as markets and technology hubs, documentation of Inner city and Zongo heritage, cuisine promotion, built heritage listing and convening inter-faith and tribal dialogues.
Mr Sulemana Alhassan, Upper West Regional Minister noted that the Zongo communities needed to be developed for the nation to move forward.
He lauded Nana Addo Danquah Akufo- Addo for his ingenuity in initiating the ZoDF.