Accra (Greater Accra) - The Upper East Regional Minister, Mahami Salifu, on Tuesday appealed to investors to make the region an investment destination to help raise incomes and the standards of living of the people.
He said the region abounded in investment opportunities such as gold mining, stone and clay quarrying, tourism and agro-processing. The minister said a brochure on the investment potentials of the region had been produced to assist potential investors with the necessary information.
Salifu said these when he took his turn at series of press encounter, dubbed "Meet the Press", in Accra on Tuesday to explain the progress of development projects in the region since January 2001.
He told the forum, which was initiated by Ministry of Information and Presidential Affairs that the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) was collaborating with Trade Aids, a local non-governmental (NGO) organisation to organise a trade fair to advertise the trade and investment potentials of the region before the end of the year.
He also said the RCC in association with the Ghana Tourist Board, Nature Conservation Research Centre, the Dutch Development Organisation and the United States Peace Corps had initiated a community based eco-tourism project.
Salifu said the effort was aimed at providing directional signs, brochures, visitors' registers and receipt system of the Paga Eco-tourism, Tongo Hills and Tenzuk Shrines and Zongoyire sites along the Red Volta Basin.
He said there were large gold deposits in the Tili and Natinga areas, but only the Ashanti Goldfields Limited had so far shown interest in the resource. Salifu said the Minerals Commission with assistance from the Bolga District Assembly had established a Mining District Office.
He said it had been equipped with the requisite personnel to extend technical services to miners in a bid to regularise mining in a 28 square kilometre area gazetted and reserved for small scale-mining in the region.
Salifu said currently, 24 individuals groups and companies have been granted licensed concessions to operate in small-scale mining in the region, but inappropriate technology has made most of them inactive.
He noted that small-scale gold mining held a great potential in the socio-economic development of the region. He, therefore, called for adequate investment in simple but adaptable mining machinery to be extended to well organised groups to make them more efficient.
Salifu said there were stone quarrying sites at Pwalugu, Tongo, Bongo, Pusiga, Zebilla, Chuchuliga and Chiana and urged investors to invest there. He said though there were clay deposits in commercial quantities, with estimated total resources of 20.9m tonnes at the Gombigo, Tono and Navrongo sites, they remained unexploited.
Salifu said the deposits could support ceramics and brick and tile factories. The Upper East Regional Minister said an information technology centre valued at ?181m had been established at Navrongo for use by schools in the Kasena Nakana district and the local community.
He said there had been an increased in telephone facilities in Bolgatanga and said in the Builsa district, a radiophone with a capacity of 60 lines has been installed. Salifu said plans were far advanced to bring "one touch'' mobile phones into the region by the first quarter of next year.
He stated that the Bawku telephone exchange system would be modernised and Zebilla and Navrongo would also get 1,000 exchange lines by December 2003. He appealed to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to replace the transmitter at Bawku to improve the quality of television transmission in the Bawku East District.