Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale
A NEW Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant, Mr Papa Owusu-Ankomah, has stated that when given the nod, he would create a special economic zone for the northern sector using Tamale as the focal point to facilitate conducive business environment and create wealth for the area that is deprived.
He noted that the measure was part of his vision of enhancing “political and economic sectors through improved decentralisation process”.
Mr Owusu-Ankomah stated this in Tamale on Monday during an interaction with media practitioners as part of his two-day campaign tour of the Northern Region.
It also formed part of the last leg of his campaign to canvass for votes towards the NPP national delegates’ congress slated for December 22, 2007.
“Tamale needs to be a leading business centre in the Sahelian regions of West Africa; when given the chance, I will ensure that the area becomes a hub in business for the north,” the presidential hopeful pointed out.
According to him, it was important the necessary measures were put in place to ensure a growth rate of 12 per cent per annum, stressing that the north had a lot to offer if a conducive environment was created for business to boom.
“Currently Ghana ranks 87th in terms of countries with conducive business environment and opportunities. However, when I am elected as the president of this country I would improve upon our ranking to ensure that we move up the ladder to the 50th position during the first term of my office,” he further stated.
He expressed his determination to also help make the nation take “a quantum leap forward; but let us think out of the box and offer concrete solutions to the nation’s problems”.
“I will create toll-free phone lines to the presidency and the ministries to get feedback from the citizens; citizens service centres will be located in every district to enable people to express their views and increase citizen participation in governance,” he indicated.
The aspirant noted that the NPP needed to be transformed from a mere electoral machine to an organisation that offered services to its citizenry.
Mr Owusu-Ankomah stressed the need for delegates to elect a flag bearer who could help rejuvenate and inspire the rank and file of the party.
“I am an inter-generational flagbearer that would effectively combine the dynamism and agility of the younger generation and the experience and maturity of the older generation,” the presidential hopeful stated.
Responding to questions about his trump card, the former Minister of Education, Science and Sports, stated that before he resigned as a minister, he had initiated the Schools Under Trees Project that identified 5,000 schools as deprived and expressed the hope that within the next five years that programme would yield the needed benefits.