Mr. Speaker, indeed, I heard him mention the Volta Region and other regions. But once he mentioned the two regions I am entitled in my contribution to refer to the two regions, if that is what helps to strengthen the point that I seek to make. If mentioning the other regions becomes relevant I will mention them. So I do not think that there is any need to take issue with my mention of the two regions to the exclusion of the other regions.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to point out that
the political economy of colonialism was arranged in such a way that the south was industrialised and developed through the conscious use of labour from the north, to the exclusion of development in the north. This pattern of development continued into the early period of our independence as a country and to address this certain structural measures were proposed to advance the north so that the north could catch up with the rest of the country.
Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that free education was one of those structural measures that were taken to address this issue. Attempts were made subsequently by various governments to incorporate the north developmentally into the rest of the country through the development of certain infrastructure.
In this regard, for instance, that you see that the north has benefited a lot in terms of highway construction during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime, linking the north to the rest of the country -- the development and extension of electricity to the northern part of the country, linking the north to the rest of the country; the development of the telecommunications sector to link the north to the rest of the country.
So historically steps are being taken to ensure that the north is added to the rest of the country in terms of development. This is an effort that we must all commit ourselves to continuing, irrespective of whichever government is in power.
Mr. Speaker, this has not in our opinion addressed the widening inequality that exists between the north and the south. So in spite of all these interventions today we still see a yawning gap in terms of development between the north and the south, and its effects.
For instance, you go to town and you will see the kayayei; you will see the
street vendors; you will see the many un- employed youth and if you investigate their backgrounds many of them are from the north.
Again, you go to the cocoa farms, you go to the mines, you go to all those industrial hubs of this country and you find out that the very lowly paid watchmen, the toilet cleaners, et cetera, are all migrating from the north, where they have no opportunity to the south where there are some opportunities; and they wish to benefit from those opportunities. So this points to the fact that we still need a lot in order to address the inequality that exists between these two parts of the country.
Now, we have been budgeting for several years but our budgeting system has been sectoral and not regional. So even though at the beginning of the year we say the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has obtained this much, the Ministry of Health has been allocated this amount, et cetera, these budgets are sectoral and so we cannot track and indicate how much is going to which regions of this country. This sectoral system of allocation of national resources has papered, if I may put it that way, the inequality that actually exists on the ground.
Mr. Speaker, let me point out that this country is faced with a serious national security problem. Most of the time we hear that there are conflicts up north, wars are being fought, et cetera; and then we say that it is chieftaincy -- We should ask ourselves, is there no chieftaincy in the southern part of the country? And why would the southern part of the country which has chieftaincy and where chiefs sit and control gold and diamond mines, not engage in conflicts; but rather it is those who are in control of almost near deserts who are engaged in conflicts because of chieftaincy?
The real reason is not necessarily chieftaincy but the poverty, the suffering,
the hardships and the conditions in which the people find themselves. They have nothing to lose and easily these transform themselves into serious ethnic conflicts; and we have to deal with them as a national problem. So Mr. Speaker, there is still a need for us to ensure that there is some equity in terms of the distribution of the national resources.