The introduction of the Ministry for Inner City and Zongo Development by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is important because it fits into the campaign promise of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Dr Clement Kaminta Baizie, a town planner and CEO of State Enterprises Commission, has said.
Former Transport Minister Inusah Fuseini has criticised the creation of the ministry, arguing that the president could have asked parliament to pass an Act to formulate a policy like what the NDC did with SADA, since creating a whole ministry for a particular group of people was highly unacceptable and discriminatory.
However, speaking on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Monday January 16, Mr Baizie said the idea of developing Zongos and inner cities was nothing new and should be encouraged.
He told show host Moro Awudu: “Nana Akufo-Addo as a presidential candidate promised and focused most of his campaign on Zongo redevelopment and even went to the extent of saying that there will be a Zongo Development Fund. And now as president…by the signal that he has given by creating that ministry, he is saying that: ‘I want to focus on that area, I want somebody who will wake up every morning thinking about inner city and Zongo redevelopment.’
“Now let’s put it in context again. Most Zongos throughout the country are within the inner city, and inner city redevelopment is nothing new. Most governments all the way to Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah talked about redeveloping inner cities. Particularly, Nima has always been in the view of most governments throughout our history, and inner cities have always been the focus of redevelopment in most cities.
“Now if you go to Birmingham in the UK, over the last 25 to 30 years, inner city development has been the focus and if you go to Birmingham today, it is a completely redesigned city compared to what it was about 25 to 30 years ago. So I think it is important we get a [grip] on it and then see how that is going to happen.
“Now the other aspect we have to look at is that when you talk about inner city redevelopment, it’s not just only about physical redevelopment, but we have also got the social aspect of reorganising, redeveloping these areas and when we put that together, I think it’s very important and it is clear what His Excellency wants to achieve. Now whether or not that can be achieved is a separate thing to discuss, but I think for now, it is important that that focus is brought to bear to realise the promise that he has made to the people.”