From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani
The Chairman of the Planning Committee of the Brong-Ahafo at 60th Anniversary and former Minister of State, Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, has observed that the Bono East region is rich in minerals and tourism resources, which need to be tapped for the benefit of the people.
He made the observation at a symposium as part of activities marking the 60th anniversary of the creation of the erstwhile Brong-Ahafo region in Sunyani. The celebration is under the theme; “United in Separation for Progress”
Speaking on behalf of the Bono East region on the topic: “Bono East, the Centre of Ghana,”, Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi said the region has a land mass of 23,645.54 square kilometres, but lacks adequate infrastructure and, therefore, called on all 11 municipal and district assemblies to work hard for the accelerated development of the area.
“The Bono region is endowed in terms of land size and natural resources yet we do not have the correspondent development”, he said. According to him, the creation of the new region should lead to accelerated development in all sectors of the economy.
The region consists of eleven districts and municipalities, each of them with human and natural resources to propel development. The municipalities are Techiman, Atebubu-Amantin and Kintampo North.The districts in the region are; Kintampo South, Nkoranza North,Nkoranza South, Pru West, Pru East, Sene West, Sene East and Techiman North.
Speaking on the topic; “Ahafo, the Land of Milk and Gold,” a former Secretary of Youth and Sports, Dr Kwame Saarah-Mensah, on behalf of the Ahafo Region said besides the production of food and cash crops, the production of gold in the area is also contributing significantly to the economy of the country.
He said through the use of funds set aside for the implementation of corporate social responsibility programmes of Newmont Goldcorps, a lot of development projects are being undertaken in the area and expressed the hope that the creation of the region would assist in addressing the lack of adequate social amenities.
He called on people in the three regions to view the splitting of the Brong-Ahafo Region in a positive light so that together, they can harness the potential in the three regions for growth.
A veteran journalist and a member of the Board of Directors of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Ms Adjoa Yeboah-Afari, called for the documentation of the Bono dialect into a written form to promote the culture of the Bono people to serve as a guide and a sense of pride for the new generation.
“I believe that when the Bono language is in a written form, it will generate more pride in our young people and give them a sense of self-worth. It will also help to uplift the Bono identity,” she added.
Making a presentation on the topic: “Reflecting on the Brong Ahafo story: A tale of two promises,” Ms Yeboah-Afari said even though the Linguistics Department of the University of Ghana started a programme in the 1970s to develop written Bono, the exercise fizzled out, and, therefore, entreated chiefs and the political leadership in the area to pursue the matter.
Meanwhile, the Ashanti Region Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, is encouraging Ghanaians to pay attention to the use of local languages in communication both at home and in school. He said the continued neglect of Ghanaian dialects in favour of foreign languages is contributing to the loss of cultural identity and societal indiscipline.
United Nations statistics show 7,000 languages are spoken worldwide but some local media of communication are gradually going extinct. Out of 83 of Ghana’s recognized languages, only 40 are written.
Mr Osei-Mensah says it is time Ghanaians pay attention to learning and speaking of languages of their ethnic groups the same way they attach importance to the English language.
“Sometimes, it is mind-boggling that when I hear people from this country saying those who can speak the English language like parrots are more intelligent than those who speak our local languages.
In Ghana today, especially in Ashanti Region you go and speak Twi at a function and it means you are the least knowledgeable because you cannot speak the English Language. It’s time we have to accept the importance of our local languages. That’s more important,” he said.
Mr Osei-Mensah’s call is supported by Director of Non-Formal Education, Francis Asumadu, who wants promotion of multilingualism, especially at the basic level.
“It is time that we look at the multilingual aspect of it not forgetting that as a country, we also have about 83 languages of which only 40 have been written and only 11 is widely used by the Ghana Education Service in schools
The question is what about those languages that cannot be used in schools? How would they and others whose language are not recognised there have a mother tongue delivery because there is a strong correlation between the mother tongue being used for learning,” he said.
The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo gave assurance that government is working out other financing options to compliment budgetary allocation for the newly created regions to speed up their socio economic development agenda.
Mr Osafo-Maafo explained, the complimentary budget would address the current disparities in the distribution of national resources in meeting developmental needs of the new regions.
He said that stated that the initial GH¢20 million seed capital given to the new regions was not enough to meet their development needs hence the move to further resource them, and added that President Nana Akufo-Addo has constituted an inter-ministerial committee for the development of the new regions. The Committee consists of the Ministers for Finance, Roads and Highways and Energy and chaired by Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development.
The Senior minister said the reason for the creation of the regions was to give the people more powers to define and determine their own pathway for their development and assured the chiefs and the people of the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions that government would not take them for granted and urged them to continue to support it to succeed.
Pix: Professor Ameyaw-Akumfi