The 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured the people of the Western Region that his government, God-willing from January 2017, will develop the region into an oil services hub with a first class port facility, to serve the needs of West Africa.
This, he explained, will be done by positioning the Western Region as an efficient centre for the support of the oil industry in the West African region, which will result in the relocation of the headquarters of Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) to the region.
Additionally, Nana Akufo-Addo stated that “we are going to develop a petrochemical industry here in the Western region, so we can maximize the value of the oil find. These are some of the policy initiatives and programmes we will implement to bring jobs, wealth and prosperity to the region, and to Ghana.”
The NPP flagbearer also bemoaned the lack of development of the Western Region, under the John Mahama administration, since the commencement of the production of oil in commercial quantities in 2011, which has seen the nation realise some $5 billion in oil revenues.
“If we, in the NPP, were in power these 5 years of the oil discovery, the face of the Western Region, and, indeed, the face of Ghana would have changed dramatically. Western Region and Ghana would have been on an accelerated path progress and prosperity with the revenues from our oil find,” he added.
Nana Akufo-Addo made these known on Sunday, November 27, 2016, when he addressed yet another mammoth rally at the Sekondi Methodist Park, the venue for the NPP’s Western Regional Rally.
Describing the Western Region as “the base of the railway industry of our country”, the NPP flagbearer indicated that a future Akufo-Addo government will leverage the country’s oil revenues to complete the Accra-Kumasi-Paga rail line connections, as well as oversee a comprehensive rehabilitation of the Western Rail Lines.
This, he added, will facilitate the haulage of bauxite, manganese, cocoa, cement, iron ore and other bulk commodities, as well as the transportation of people from the region to all parts of the country.
“We are going to develop a modern railway network with strong economic linkages, which open up our country, and bring economic development of our country. I am assuring you that my government will completely overhaul the Western Rail Lines to ensure this happens,” Akufo-Addo stressed.
Reaffirming his commitment to the creation of a new “Western North” region, he explained that considering the fact that “a significant proportion of Ghana’s natural resources, such gold and cocoa, as well as food stuff” can be found in that part of the country, the creation of the “Western-North” region is long overdue.
The creation of the region, he added, is to ensure a more equitable development of the region, as well as address the unwieldy size of the Western Region.
IPEP, Free SHS, Revival of NHIS
Outlining some of the other policies for the development of the region, Nana Akufo-Addo reiterated his commitment towards the establishment of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), which will see every constituency receiving the equivalent of $1 million every year to deal with problems of sanitation, roads, electricity and other infrastructural needs of the constituency.
The NHIS, which he said has collapsed under the leadership of President Mahama, “will receive new life and strength under an Akufo-Addo government, so we can provide healthcare that is affordable and accessible for all Ghanaians”. In this regard, Nana Akufo-Addo pledged to restore the nursing training allowances in full when he wins the December 7 elections.
The Free SHS policy, he added, will be effectively implemented because “we are determined to secure the future of our country”. This policy, in addition, will reduce the financial burden of parents who want to provide their children with a good education.
“Apart from education of the children, we are going to revive, in full, adult education so that adults who did not have the opportunity to go to school will also benefit from knowledge and education. We want to have a nation where everybody can improve on their lives and circumstances. That is what we are fighting for, and that is why we are going to restore the allowances for teacher trainees,” he added.
To the Zongo communities spread across the region, the NPP flagbearer reiterated his commitment towards the setting up of a “Zongo Development Fund” aimed at solving basic infrastructure problems existing in Zongo communities across the country. He said that proper management of the country’s public finances will allow the Fund to be established. The Fund, he assured, will be a line item in the 2017 budget to be presented by his government.
Nana Akufo-Addo also assured the tens of thousands gathered that the NPP has the men and women with the “capacity, imagination and competence” to bring into fruition all the plans he has espoused for the region, and as a result return the country onto the path of progress and prosperity, without discrimination.
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