Mixed feelings expressed on creation of new region
The various stakeholders have expressed mixed feelings on the creation of the “Western-North” region from the existing Western Region.
Though majority of the public opinion expressed during a public hearing in Takoradi by the Commission of Inquiry on the substantial demand and need for the creation of a new region were in favour of the subject, a few thought that what was needed to be done was to strengthen the existing institutions and ensure proper decentralization practices.
Mr John H. S. Kwofie, who described himself as a Timber Economist, opposed the creation of a new region adding that there is the need to make the district assemblies work better in terms of service delivery.
“I am not convinced that the new region will do anything better, what has to be done is to build the capacity of personnel within the Regional Coordinating Council and resource the various assemblies to function well in meeting the development needs and aspirations of the people”, he said.
Mr Kwofie said: “I have not seen any project in the districts or regions which has an inscription on project notice board that is assembly or Region sponsored, all have the inscription central government and this means that the Government of Ghana was solely responsible for the provision of amenities and other social interventions…development must go to every corner of the country yes but that does not hinge on the creation of new regions, it is about priorities and how we spend state monies”.
The Timber Economist said: “I don’t believe that if we a lagging somehow and somewhere, we create new institutions to cater for developments omissions, there are lots of ways to channel development to the grassroots”.
Mr Kojo Brace, a Radio Presenter, attributed the lack of development in the Western North to institutional failure.
He said proper resourcing and retooling of the various departments of state as well as opening of new offices such as the Land Commission, National Service Secretariat and Commercial Courts among others would help relieve inhabitant of the area.
Mr Yusif Gyamson a retired NCCE official, was enthused about the creation of the new region due to the distance people had to travel before reaching Sekondi/Takoradi to transact businesses.
He was not happy that successive governments have not helped in advancing the development of the Western Region which serves as the major resource base of the country.
However, he noted, creation of the new region may not translate into measure of development needed.
Mr Baron Kwofie, a service personnel at the Registrar General’s Department could not understand why businessmen and women would have to travel from long distances to the twin-city to either sign a document or register a business and prayed that the creation of the region would address such issues.
Mr Thomas Mintah, an Assembly Member from Sefwi-Wiawso, said hospitals, tertiary institutions were seriously lacking in the northern part of the region adding that the creation of the new regions would improve their lot.
“How can we be in the Western Region and transact business in Kumasi”, he queried.
Mr F. K. Tuffour, from Adabokrom in the Bia East District, wondered why a person travelling from that part of the Western Region may have to pass through about four Regions before entering the Regional capital.
He recounted how Societe General Bank lost millions of cedis to fire in that district just because fire fighters had to travel from Central Region to the place.
Ms Mercy Quarshie, an assembly member, said the creation could help speed up the process of development in that part of the region.
Mr Francis Hagan, former Regional Chairman of the NPP, was not happy about the continual neglect of the Region in terms of development saying he was in support for the creation the new region.
Mr Bediako Agyeman, a representative of the Petitioners requesting the creation for a new region, said the cost of travels, risks and loss of productive man-hours to just come to the city centre for business was unbearable and time consuming.
He said the area was also confronted with bad road networks, unstable telecommunication networks and standard hospitals which often scared technocrats and other expertise from coming to contribute towards the development of the area.
The Representative of the Petition said the quest for a separate region dated back as far as in the 1970s and it was prudent that a new administrative capital was created in earnest.
The Commission of Enquiry, chaired by Justice Stephen Brobbey, have been mandated to solicit public opinion on the creation of new regions across the country after the C.I 105 and in accordance with the Chapter five of the 1992 constitution.