NORTHERN CHIEFS CALL FOR SUSTAINABLE FUNDING FOR SADA
Paramount Chiefs from the three Northern Regions, the Northern, Upper East and West Regions led by the President of the National House of Chiefs, Naa Professor John S. Nabila, have called on the government to ensure sustainable funding towards the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) when it finally kick-starts.
The over seventy (20) chiefs who made the call during a two day round-table consultation forum in Tamale, also urged the government to engage all traditional leaders of the various Regional Houses of Chiefs in the everyday deliberation of SADA.
According to them, that would enable an effective ownership of the programme by the people and their chiefs to ensure it achieved its set objectives of bridging the yawning development gap between Northern and Southern Ghana.
The consultative forum was organised to review the SADA bill and also enable the chiefs make inputs into the bill by recommending approriate measures to ensure its speedy passage into a law.
The SADA bill which is currently laid before Parliament among others, is to ensure the establishment of SADA to plan, coordinate and facilitate the successful implementation of a long-term strategy and mobilization of resources to support speedy economic growth and sustainable development in the Northern Savannah belt.
It would also create a Northern Savannah growth pole for Ghana as part of a national effort towards attaining sustainable development and making Ghana a middle income country.
Addressing participants, Chairman of the round-table consultation Naa Professor John Nabila commended government for the move aimed at establishing a long term development plan that will be backed by law.
Naa Professor Nabila who is also the Paramount Chief of Wulugu in the Mamprugu Traditional Area, revealed that the National House of Chiefs was strongly behind the SADA and reminded the chiefs of previous failed development efforts in the North and observed that if chiefs were not consulted and did not give their support to development efforts, they might not succeed and provide the needed benefits to the people.
Dr Charles Jebuni, Leader of the SADA Technical Team in a presentation pointed out that the road network as well as the improvement in water and air transport was paramount to the SADA strategy, stressing that the programme should be seen as an initiative to complement existing investments.
Later, the chiefs stressed the need to secure sustainable funding for SADA to undertake its projects over a 20-25 year period and noted that the poor road network in the three regions should be the focus of SADA.
The chiefs also pledged their commitment to release lands for the accelerated development and to become partners in the process.
Meanwhile, the inputs and suggestions on the SADA Bill by the chiefs would be forwarded to Parliament for consideration.