The Upper East Regional Minister designate, Ms Paulina Patience Abayage, says she will spearhead the construction of a dam in the Upper East Region for electricity generation and irrigation purposes.
She told the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) that she had taken a cue from the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso, which supported electricity generation and irrigation.
She said if Burkina Faso could construct the Bagre Dam, it should be possible for Ghana to develop a dam in the Upper East Region.
Ms Abayage, 54, is Ghana's Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary to Italy with concurrent accreditation to Serbia and Slovenia.
Ms Abayage said she was not going to the region to be eating Tuo Zaafi (TZ), a local dish prepared with millet flour.
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She told the ACP yesterday that she would be travelling to Accra often to knock at the doors of sector ministers to send development projects to the Upper East Region.
She mentioned the Minister of Roads and Highways, the Minister of Trade and Industry and the Minister of State in charge of Special Development Initiatives as some of the ministers she would be pursuing for roads, factories and dams.
But the Chairman of the ACP, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, cautioned the nominee against making such promises because it was difficult to get the ministers.
For instance, he said, he and his colleagues were close to the ministers but getting them to push for the execution of projects was difficult.
Ms Abayage said the Upper East had rich potential in the production of cereals and other crops.
She said her office would promote mechanical agriculture in the area to increase production and generate more income for the people.
Ms Abayage said another area of focus was the establishment processing factories to add value to the produce.
For instance, she said she would push for the revamping of the Pwalugu Tomato Factory, and indicated that the intention was to get the factory to process additional fruits and vegetables.
Responding to a question on early marriages for girls in the Upper East Region, Ms Abayage said the situation had been occasioned by poverty.
She said efforts would be made to build the financial capacity of parents to reduce the poverty level.
Besides, Ms Abayage said the girls would be educated on their rights to resist such early marriages.
She called for the laws to be applied to parents who gave out under-age girls for marriage.
The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister designate, Mr Samuel Nuertey Ayertey, also appeared before the committee and affirmed his resolve to support the Regional Minister to develop the region.
He mentioned improvement of sanitation as one of the areas he would be focusing on.
Bring Ahafo Region
There was about an hour hold up before the vetting of the Deputy Minister designate for Brong Ahafo Region, Mr Martin Oti Gyarko.
The Minority Leader and Ranking Member on the ACP, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, had raised a constitutional issue, indicating that the President was supposed to nominate the deputy minister in consultation with the Regional Minister, and indicated that when he was nominated, the Regional Minister was not at post.
Mr Iddrisu's position was supported by the Minority Chief Whip and deputy ranking member on the committee, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, and the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga.
But the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and the MP for Abuakwa South, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, disagreed with that position.
At the end of the consideration, the Chairman of the ACP, Mr Osei-Owusu, ruled that the nomination was in order and that it should proceed.
Answering questions, Mr Gyarko said he would support efforts to generate revenue to propel socio-economic development of the region.