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General News of Sunday, 16 December 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Giving funds to Regional Reorganisation Ministry ‘unconstitutional’ – Minority

The Minority in Parliament is objecting to government’s allocation of funds to the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development for its core mandate of creating new regions.

The Finance Minister, during his presentation of the 2019 budget, announced the allocation of a total amount of GHC122,787,463 to the ministry.

Earlier, the Minority threatened a walkout in Parliament but were calmed down by the Second Deputy Speaker, Alban Bagbin.

Although the amount has been approved by Parliament despite the Minority’s protest, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu says the disbursement of funds to the ministry is unconstitutional.

According to him, the laws give the Local Government Ministry sole control over the regions hence, diverting resources to the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation would contravene those constitutional provisions.

“Why are we taking away the powers and mandates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to a new Ministry of Regional Reorganisation? I don’t find this as constitutionally acceptable. The constitution says regions are under the Ministry of Local Government and so if anyone needs money for [regional activities] it should be the Ministry of Local Government.”

“We are creating a new monster of bureaucracy in the Ministry of Regional Reorganization. I find that constitutionally objectionable. The money should be given to the Ministry of Local Government for the purposes of the regions,” he added.

Already, the Regional Reorganisation Ministry has begun steps towards the creation of the new regions, with the referendum slated for December 27, 2018.

Scrap Regional Reorganization and Development Ministry

Meanwhile, Haruna Iddrisu also wants the government to immediately scrap the Ministry as soon as the regions are created.

“That Ministry of Reorganization should be [scrapped] after the referendum. It cannot exist unless we want to create new regions or reorganize new regions. I cannot support 120 million going to that Ministry for a decentralized community council. That is wrong constitutionally. That is not their mandate.”

Background

Government budgeted GH¢120 million as seed money for the provision of critical infrastructure in the proposed six new regions should electorates vote in favour of the creation of the regions.

Each of the regions will receive GH¢20 million for the provision of key social amenities.

Recently, the Supreme Court dismissed a suit challenging the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) to only allow residents in selected areas earmarked for the creation of the new regions to vote in the referendum.

The recommendations of the 19-member Justice Brobbey Commission which held nationwide consultations urged the government to create the administrative regions to be known as the Oti, Ahafo, Brong East, Western North, North East, and Savannah regions.

Although many have described the move as needless, President Akufo-Addo continues to mount a strong defence for the new regions.