General News of Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Policy Think Tank, IMANI Africa wants the government to reconsider its plan to create new regions, and districts as it will have a dire impact on the country.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum, Vice president for the think tank, Kofi Bentil noted that the move would bloat the size of government, which will translate into extra cost to the taxpayer.
He said that it is a clear case of mismatched policy objectives and argued that the creation of more regions and districts is only a ploy for politicians to make money and urged government to reconsider the move.
He further highlighted the absence of a law that limits the number of constituencies that can be created. In his view, this may eventually be fatal for the country.
He, therefore, proposed the adoption of a convention that dictates how many districts and constituencies can be created.
“The problem with that inadvertence in the constitution is that as of now, there is no limit to the number of the parliamentary seat that can be created by the electoral commission. So we moved from where we were to 275 now we don’t know where we will be in ten years’ time.”
“This government wants to create new regions; it’s another form of slicing up the country. I have not seen a single positive benefit that can be delivered under a regime of new regions that cannot be delivered presently.”
He observed that creation of new regions or districts usually come with tribal or boundary conflicts instead of development.
“There is the immediate effect of serious tribal conflicts. That the process of regional creation will bring more heat and turmoil than it could bring development,” Kofi Bentil added.
Obiri Boahen disagrees
Meanwhile Deputy General Secretary for the governing New Patriotic Party, Nana Obiri Boahen disagreed with IMANI’s stance on the creation of new regions and districts.
“…if you look at the history of Brong Ahafo and Ashanti before 1959; developments were centered in Kumasi. In 1959, Brong Ahafo was created as a region, and there were a lot of developments in Sunyani and surrounding towns. So the creation of the region is intended to facilitate or accelerate development,” he added.
Commission of Enquiry
A Commission of Enquiry was set up by the President to look into proposals for the creation of additional regions in the Western, Volta, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions.
The Commission has so far held public hearings in the beneficiary regions and stakeholders.
It is however in the process o putting its report together and making recommendations to government on the way forward.
Minority demands detailed plan for the creation of new regions
The Minority earlier in May demanded an elaborate plan from the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Finance Ministry for the conduct of the referendum for the creation of new regions.
According to Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the Electoral Commission must exhibit a high level of preparedness before the conduct of such crucial polls.
“The Electoral Commission will have to be prepared and prepare in advance to give meaning to the President’s vision to create additional regions,” Haruna Iddrisu added.