Major (retired) Albert Don Chebe, Chairman of the Northern Development Forum (NDF) has criticized the current pricing policy for cement in the country, saying it was unfair and requires critical attention at this time.
He indicated that Ghana’s impoverished areas will not get the desired development if the pricing of such vital physical development materials were left unchecked.
Major Don Chebe therefore called on the government and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to take a serious look at the pricing to ensure fairness to accelerate the development of the entire country.
He was speaking at the North East Regional Co-ordinating Council during a courtesy call on the Regional Minister, Mr Yidana Zakaria, at his office in Nalerigu.
He indicated that all the development indicators were tilted against the North and therefore serious steps were needed to arrest the deepening deprived situations.
According to Major Don Chebe, studies showed that Accra and Kumasi received 85 per cent and 14 per cent respectively of investments into the country, while the North received only one per cent, “so, for the North to pay more for cement, is increasing the vulnerability of the North and deepening poverty.”
The (Retired) Major said while the price of cement was about GH¢38 and GH¢40 in Accra, it was sold at about GH¢50 and GH¢54 in some parts of the North.
“Physical and infrastructure development are key factors in development and we need to look at the prices of cement critically”
He said the Ministry of Trade and Industry must adopt the pricing policy and methods used in the distribution and sale of beer and fuel across the country for cement too, to ensure fairness and rapid development of impoverished areas.
The NDF Chairman also bemoaned the declining standards of education in the North, arguing that about 25 secondary schools in the North scored zero percentage pass rate in the 2019 WASSCE, a situation he described as “appalling and dangerous to the development of the North and Ghana”.
According to him the situation needed special attention to nib it in the bud.
The Regional Minister, Mr Yidana Zakaria thanked NDF for its strong advocacy for the development of the North.
He assured the NDF of government’s commitment to addressing the development disparity between the North and the rest of the country.
Mr Zakaria mentioned that the creation of the Northern Development Authority and the implementation of the Pwalugu multi-purpose dam project were bold steps taken by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led government to bridge the gap between the North and South.
He mentioned that his office was meeting all the MMDCEs in the region to discuss the education situation in the area and follow up with a Regional Education Forum to find solutions to the problems.
The Regional Minister assured all and sundry that the government was working hard to reduce poverty and improve the welfare of the citizenry.
Mr. Zakaria urged the people of the Region to support the government to succeed in its agenda to develop the new region.