President gets nod to create more regions
The Council of State has given the green light to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to constitute a commission of enquiry to come out with the modalities for the creation of more regions in the country.
At a meeting with the President at the Flagstaff House on Tuesday, the Chairman of the council, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, said: “Mr. President, the Council of State has the honour to inform you that, having studied the petitions submitted and the detailed briefing by the Minister for Regional Re-organisation and Development, it is of the unanimous opinion that there is a substantial demand for the creation of new regions.
“The council, therefore, advises that Your Excellency appoint a Commission of Enquiry to enquire into the need and make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation of the new regions.”
In June this year, President Nana Akufo-Addo sent a request to the Council of State seeking its advice on the creation of new regions.
Enclosed in the President’s communication were copies of petitions from the chiefs and the people of the Western, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Volta regions from where the demand for the creation of new regions had been the loudest.
Nana Siriboe said the Council of State had meticulously gone through those petitions, which numbered some 312 pages, with accompanying maps and statistical data.
He said the council was also briefed by the Minister for Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr. Dan Kwaku Botwe, on his interactions with the chiefs and people of the four regions.
He said Mr. Botwe did impress the council with the elaborate homework he had done on the exercise, including the extensive literature review on Ghana’s geopolitical structure.
Functions and powers of the Council of State
One other issue which was raised by the Council of the State at its meeting with the President was in respect of the constitutional provisions that set out the functions of the council.
Under Article 91, Clause 3 of the 1992 Constitution, Nana Siriboe said, the Council of State might, upon request or on its own initiative, make recommendations on any matter being considered by Parliament and other organs of the State.
However, Nana Siriboe said since the inception of the Fourth Republic some 25 years ago, there had not been any formal structures to give depth and breadth to that constitutional provision.
To remedy that situation, and particularly to afford the Council of State the opportunity to contribute to bills being considered by Parliament, he said the Legal, Constitutional and Petitions Subcommittee of the council had an initial meeting with the Speaker and the leadership of Parliament to discuss processes to be laid down to ensure a harmonious working relationship between the Council and Parliament.
He said judging from the desire of the Speaker and the leadership of Parliament to establish that linkage, the Council confidently looked forward to avenues for the two important state institutions to work closely together.
Returning the Assembly Press to Parliament
He also reported that a very interesting request was made by the Speaker and the leadership of the House for the former Assembly Press, normally referred to as the Government Printer, to be returned to Parliament.
He said the military governments removed the Assembly Press from the control of Parliament, since there was no Parliament, and converted it to the State Publishing Corporation.
Since Parliament no longer had a printing house to publish the gazette, bills and, most importantly, the Hansard, the public was also denied access to the valuable tool for the democratic governance of our dear country, Nana Siriboe said.
Responding, President Nana Akufo-Addo said he was elated that the council had given an expeditious and positive response to his campaign promise to create more regions for the country, saying it was an issue that was long overdue.
He said he had been giving consideration to the constitution of the Committee of Enquiry and that it should not take much time for him to constitute the committee.
He said the reversion of the Assembly Press to Parliament ought not to be a difficult one, saying that matter could be ironed out through conversations with the appropriate stakeholders.
On the powers and functions of the Council of State, he said there was the need for constant engagement with Parliament to ensure that the structures and functions of the council were well defined and streamlined for it to smoothly carry out with its constitutional functions.