Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Wednesday said policies and programmes being implemented by the government are intended to address the age-long issues of geographical exclusion from national development.
He noted that policies such as the Free Senior High School, the Ghana Card, Digital Property Addressing System and the establishment of the three Development Authorities were designed to ensure that the challenges militating against nationwide access to development opportunities were addressed in a holistic manner.
Vice President Bawumia said this when he addressed the ongoing 2018 Annual Conference of the Ghana Geographers Association and the Geography Teachers Association at the North Campus of the University of Education, Winneba.
The event is being held on the theme: “Geography- The Missing Link in Ghana’s Development Agenda?”Vice President Bawumia said over the past 19 months, the government had taken a number of giant steps to develop the country including efforts to address the challenges facing the geographical exclusion from development.
“If you look at the sort of policies that government has been implementing in the last 19 months, at the heart of these policies, is the attempt to make sure that regardless of where you are in this geographical space called Ghana, you will be included in the development of this country.
"That is really fundamental, and if you want to understand what the President and the government is doing, it is in the whole area of inclusion, “he said.Vice President Bawumua said, for instance, the Free Senior High School programme was meant to ensure equitable utilisation of the national cake, adding; “Wherever you live, we must provide you the opportunity to free yourself from poverty through education.
"We see education as key to success and whether you live in rural or urban areas, whether poor or rich, the country owned you the responsibility to get you educated".The Vice President explained that having a unique national ID card was a prerequisite for any nation aspiring to modernise, and the Akufo-Addo government was determined to ensure Ghana takes her place in the comity of developed nations.
“There is no modern society where you don’t have individuals who work within or live within their geographical area and are not uniquely identified."If you take away the system of unique identification, those economies will fall apart. That is why in Ghana, we have begun the process of issuing a unique ID card for Ghana.
“Registering and having the Ghana Card defines the territorial integrity, safety and security of Ghana. President Nana Akufo-Addo has a firm belief that every Ghanaian, living in the city or village, rich or poor neighbourhood must be known, must be uniquely identified to speed up our development,” the Vice President said.
He underscored the need for the creation of new regions and rationalisation for development was in direct response to the complaint by some Ghanaians about how far they were away from their respective regional capitals, hence, they were deprived of their fair share of the national cake.
Dr Bawumia said: "Some say they live in 'overseas'. Government’s effort is to ensure equitable regional development and, therefore, bring governance to the door steps of the people."We are interested in the creation of new regions to bring balanced development.
"Again, politically and socially defined development agencies and Institutions are being reorganised into Geographic Regional Development Agencies, namely; Northern, Middle-belt and Coastal Development Authorities,” the Vice President added.
Dr Bawumia outlined other initiatives such as the land digitisation agenda, the One Village, One Dam, One District, One Factory, and the Planting for Food and Jobs, meant to create jobs, ensure food security, and address the mass migration of unemployed youth to cities in search of non-existing jobs.
He noted that all those initiatives were designed to create jobs, reduce migration to big cities, create balanced spatial development, improve local economies, and make use of regional potentials.