“The 2019 budget made a GH¢20 million allocation per region as seed money for the provision of critical infrastructure to enable the new regions to take off smoothly, in anticipation of the referendum.”
This disclosure was made on Thursday by the Minister for Regional Reorganisation, Mr Dan Kweku Botwe, when he took his turn at the ‘Meet the Press’ series in Accra.
He asserted that the government afterwards would provide more funding to accelerate the growth of those six potential new regions.
According to Mr Botwe, who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere in the Eastern Region, government has no interest in the outcome of the referendum, which comes off on December 27 this year to create the new regions.
The Minister explained that as President Nana Akufo-Addo stated, the creation of the new regions is driven by people who have petitioned for them to be done and are using their own resources to campaign for them.
“What government is doing and will continue to do is to facilitate the process and already it is the work of the EC to at any point in time do voter education…
“We are not involved in any campaign…if the results come and indeed they have 50 percent turnout and they have at least 80 percent voting ‘Yes,’ then Mister President will issue a constitutional instrument leading to the creation of the new regions,” he indicated.
On July 19, this year, pursuant to Article 5(5) of the 1992 Constitution, the President forwarded the Justice Brobbey Commission’s recommendations to the Electoral Commission (EC).
The Commission established the existence of a substantial demand and the need for the creation of new regions in all the six petition areas. It also said voting in the referendum should be restricted to registered voters in the proposed regions.
The six new regions – Western North, Bono East, Ahafo, Savannah, North East and Oti – are to be created from the present Brong-Ahafo, Western, Northern and the Volta Regions after studying and investigating several petitions submitted.
However, there have been a number of criticisms with some arguing that the whole process will be a drain on the country’s meagre resources.
To this, Mr Botwe – one time Information Minister – said, government is not doing so to score political points.
“It is instructive to note that the 2016 Manifesto of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the main opposition party, contains a pledge to facilitate the creation of five new regions, had the NDC been successful at the 2016 elections.
“The 2016 Manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the ruling party, pledged the creation of Western North Region out of the existing Western Region. This clearly demonstrates that there is meeting of minds of the two major parties on the issue of creating new administrative regions,” he said, adding that when President Akufo-Addo assumed office, many traditional authorities, civil society organisations and responsible citizens had all registered their support for the creation of new regions