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17.04.2004 Regional News

Deputy Minister on new district creation

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Ho, April. 17, GNA- Captain (rtd) Nkrabea Effah-Dartey, Deputy Minster of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) has entreated Parliament to painstakingly assess the many representations regarding the creation of new districts and come out with decisions that would prevent incidents of protests and recrimination when the law is passed.

He conceded that perusing 51 Legislative Instruments in order to make instruments to establish 30 new districts was a daunting task, but pleaded that it was done quickly and efficiently to enable the government to pursue policies of strengthening local governance in the country. Mr Dartey was addressing a two-day workshop of the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation of Parliament in Ho to deliberate on the instruments that would establish the districts.

He urged the Committee to be guided by the geographic, economic and demographic criteria that guide the establishment of districts and their capitals.

Mr. Dartey listed some of those prerequisites as size of area, population which should be at least 75,000 and the ability to generate income to cater for some of the expenditure needs of the districts. He said in the case of capitals, consensus among areas in the district could also be considered as well as the availability of certain infrastructures.

The Deputy Minister regretted that some areas were only pressing for districts in protest against their preferences for capitals in existing districts not being met.

He said some towns, now clamouring to be made capitals should rather be seeking for ways to make their various Town Councils operational and effective to bring development to the doorsteps of their people. Mr Dartey said too much attention was on district assemblies to the neglect of the lower structures in local governance, from where development should be generated.

He said about 72 petitions have been lodged with the MLGRD for districts, adding that expenditure for establishing each a district could be as high as 10 billion cedis.

Mr Francis Agbotse, Chairman of the Committee explained that the Committee would have to examine 51 legislative instruments because in the establishment of the new districts geographical demarcations have changed for some on the old districts.

Technical support would be given the Committee during its two-day deliberations by a team from the Electoral Commission EC led by its Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Mr David Amadu Nyankamawu, acting Chief Director and Mr Kwabena Agyekum Dankwa, Director, Planning, both of the MLGRD.

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