Dr Abu Sakara, First National Vice-Chairman of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), has advocated for the establishment of a National Strategic Development Agency (NSDA) to ensure a more pragmatic, coordinated and holistic development planning for the country.
He said with such an Agency, each region in the country should be made to identify areas of production in which it has comparative advantage and government made to concentrate in those areas and also commit resources to develop those sectors.
Dr Sakara said under the NSDA resources could be committed to the identified areas or projects for a maximum of five years in each region of the country with the expectation that the success of the projects could yield dividends that could be ploughed back into the development of other areas.
He said this when he addressed a workshop on “Promoting effective collaboration between traditional authority and the youth to facilitate the course of development”, in Tamale at the weekend.
The workshop was on the theme: “Effective communication and the information sharing: A platform for effective collaboration with traditional authority in Northern Ghana.”
It was sponsored by Mwanachi- strengthening citizens engagement, an NGO and supported by the East Gonja District Assembly and the East Gonja Traditional Authority as well as the Grassroots Sister Foundation an NGO involved in the fight for women’s rights to land.
Dr Sakara expressed fear that the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) would not succeed if it turns out to duplicate activities of other major interventions which tried to transform the north but failed.
He said for example, the Northern Region had a comparative advantage in water resources and a large land mass which if effectively harnessed and utilized could transform the north.
Dr Sakara said in order to achieve this a strategic development plan could be developed to harness the water resources of the White and Black Volta rivers as well as the Oti and Daka rivers and other water bodies to ensure that at least the region could crop two times a year.
He said another area in which the region had comparative advantage was in the production of sugarcane because of its abundant water and a climate suitable for sugarcane production.
He said if these two natural resources were properly harnessed it could set the pace for the establishment of agro-industrial complexes in production, processing and manufacturing that could add value to agricultural products.
Dr Sakara therefore advised traditional authorities against the habit of releasing land to investors cheaply in return for drinks and cola but rather learn how to negotiate and use land as equity or leverage to derive the maximum benefits from the investors.