It took the intervention of the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to convince the minority members to stay in the chamber on Saturday to approve the budget estimates of the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development, after swearing to boycott the process.
The ministry had been allocated GH¢122.9 million in the 2019 budget for its operations in 2019 but the minority led by its leader, Haruna Iddrisu, had threatened to boycott the approval of the budget estimates describing the allocation as unconstitutional.
According to the minority leader, any money appropriated for the regions should be given to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and not any other ministry.
He explained that the laws as specified in the Constitution give the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development the sole control and management of the regions and thus giving resources to the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development for regional purposes contravenes that constitutional provision.
“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 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.”
According to the minority leader, the creation of that ministry is only a waste of time and resources.
“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.
He therefore called for the scrapping of the Ministry of Regional Reorganisation and Development as soon as the six new regions are created.
“The 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 GH¢122 million going to that Ministry for a decentralized community council. That is wrong constitutionally. That is not their mandate”, he noted
The ministry has scheduled December 27, 2018, for the referendum on the newly created regions which are the Western North, Oti, Savannah, North East, Ahafo and Brong East regions.
Each of the regions will receive GH¢20 million for the provision of key infrastructure to start its operations.
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