One of the Civil Society Organizations in the country which is very vibrant and wields so much power and influence in society is christened BONABOTO. The acronym of BONABOTO refers to the citizens who hail from the environs of the Bolgatanga, Nabdam, Bongo and Tongo (BONABOTO) Districts of the Upper East Region.
Success Story of BONABOTO
Established in the early 1970s, it is very important to stressed that as result of the impact BONABOTO had made over the years in complementing governments’ efforts in development including sharpen policies and programmes , it had led to the springing up of many of its branches in all the 10 regions in Ghana including countries in Africa and the developed world such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Aside the above , the establishment of the Education Endowment Fund, dubbed” the Bonaboto Education Assistance Fund (BEAF) and the annual award Public Servants Scheme in the BONABOTO catchment areas are among some of the contributions the Association had made to National Development.
Furthermore, one of the major achievements of BONABOTO which would go down well in the history of Ghana is the annual medical outrage programmes often organized for the Health Professionals such as Medical Doctors and Nurses belonging to the groups to travel to the Northern, Upper East and Upper West
Regions to help address the challenge confronting the shortage of doctors in the regions.
The donation of medical equipment often contributed with the support of BONABOTO members living in the Diaspora to the Bolgatanga Regional hospital in the regional capital of Upper East Region and other District hospitals in the region as well as parts of the country also needs to be commended.
Message to Government
At the just -ended11th Biennial National Congress of BONABOTO held in December 2018 at the Sumbrungu community, near the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region, the group raised a number of concerns bordering Northern Ghana and called on the ruling government to help address them.
Sustainable Funding for NDA
One of the critical concerns the Association raised was centred on the scraping of the levy (TAX) on non-petroleum import products with the coming into force the new Northern Development Authority (NDA) ACT, Act 2017 which came to replace the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
The National President of BONABOTO, Mr Andrews Akolaa , who stressed that BONABOTO as non-political, non–religious and non -ethnical group, was not worried about the back and forth change of the name SADA to NDA by the previous and the present governments, but the change of the source of funding.
He explained that apart from the seed capital, the erstwhile SADA Act 805-2010spelt out clearly a levy (TAX) on non-petroleum imports as the major and sustainable source of funding for SADA activities, but wondered why that had been scrapped under the new NDA ACT, Act 2017.
“Under the NDA ACT, Act 2017, all development Authorities including; Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern are to be funded from the one constituency one million dollar funding based on the number of constituencies in each development authority area and the consolidated fund. One may ask, has the development gap between the North and South been already bridged?” the National President queried
The National President lambasted the Northern caucus in Parliament for not backing the call of the minority leader, Mr Haruna Iddrrisu, when he drew the Speaker of Parliament attention to the issue in Parliament.
Concern about Gov’t delay in upgrading Bolgatanga Polytechnic into Technical University Another major worrying issue the group mentioned was the delay of the ruling government in upgrading the Bolgatanga Polytechnic which had now met all the requirements into a Technical University.
Roads, Regional Hospital, Airport Project and Defunct Factories
Whilst commending the ruling government for working on some of the roads in the region, the National President called on the government to complete the road linking the Bolgatanga in Upper East Region to Wa in the Upper West Region and speed up the construction of the ongoing Bolgatanga Regional hospital and the Bolgatanga Airport project which had been stalled as well as revamp the defunct Pwalugu and Zaurugu meat factories before embarking on any major venture of the One District One, One Factory
In conclusion , there is the urgent need for government to initiate pragmatic mechanisms to ensure generate sustainable funding for the implementation of the NDA activities as well as work towards addressing the other remaining concerns
of the group to help bridge the development gaps between the southern and the northern sector.
By Samuel Adadi Akapule