Ghana Parliament passes Local Government Amendment Bill 2012

Ghana’s Parliament on Wednesday passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2012 so that geographical areas, which are not single compact settlements, could be declared municipalities.

The Bill that was passed under a certificate of urgency and read for the second time went through consideration stage and third reading before it was passed.

Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, moved the motion which was seconded by Mr Dominic Azumah Azimbe, Chairman of the Committee for Local Government and Rural Development in Parliament.

Mrs Joyce Adeline Bamford Addo, Speaker put the question for those against to say no and those in favour to yes, there was no objection and the bill was passed.

According to a memorandum, signed by Mr Ofosu Ampofo, the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) in providing for the creation of districts in section 1 and the recommendations to be made by the Electoral Commission (EC) to the President in that regard in subsection (4) of section 1, required the EC in making recommendations for the establishment of a municipality.

This is to consider whether geographical areas to be declared  municipalities consists of a single compact settlement with a minimum population of 95,000 people.

The effect of this requirement is that where a geographical area is a single compact settlement but does not have a population of 95,000 that area cannot be declared a municipality.

This is even so when the geographical area consists of a number of contiguous single compact settlements, which together have a population far in excess of 95,000.

In the latter case, although the single compact areas are contiguous and together have a population in excess of 95,000 they do not constitute a single compact settlement.

This requirement is a stumbling block to the creation of municipalities and limits the geographical areas which can be declared municipalities.

This creates a situation where contiguous compact settlements, which for the purposes of effective administration and infrastructural and other development, will best be managed as municipalities are deprived of municipal status.

The provision was thus inimical to the development and progress of decentralisation in this country.

To remove this obstacle, government proposed that, that part of sub section (4) of section 1 of Act 462 which requires the EC in making recommendations for the declaration of a municipality, to take into consideration whether the geographical area is a compact single settlement, should be deleted.

The Bill sought to amend subsection 4 of section 1 of the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) by deleting the expression “that the geographical areas consist of a single compact settlement and.”

In a the Committee’s report signed by Mr Azimbe, and Ms Evelyn Brefo-Boateng the bill was laid before Parliament on Thursday, February 2, 2012 and referred to the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development for consideration and report.

This is in accordance with Articles 103 and 106 of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Orders, 125 and 181 of the House.

The Committee was mandated to determine whether the bill was of an urgent nature and could be taken under the certificate of urgency.

The Committee after deliberating on the issue, referred to Standing Order 119 and found it necessary to take the bill under a certificate of urgency.

This is because the bill has not fulfilled the requirement of a 14-day Gazette notification before being introduced to the House.

Government also considered that the time at the disposal for the above process was rather short as such the Bill should be considered under a certificate of urgency.

Source: GNA

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