By the end of this month, the administration of the six newly created regions will be operational, the Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development, Dan Botwe, has indicated.
On a working visit to inspect the foundation infrastructure of some of the new regions last Friday, Mr Botwe said the take-off of the regional administrations would enable residents to access basic social services within the shortest possible time.
This assurance comes nearly a month after the capitals of the newly created regions, carved out of four existing ones were named by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Though the naming of the capitals was largely incident free, every major town in the new regions – Savannah, North East, Western North, Bono East, Ahafo and Oti – naturally wished they were made the capital.
That desire for their respective towns to be made the regional capital was pushed by different forms of lobbying – press conferences, articles, demonstrations, among others.
Some youth, ‘disappointed’ in the choice of regional capital town for the Savannah Region, Salaga, expressed their disappointment by burning to the ground the governing New Patriotic Party’s office in the town.
Their anger is underlined by the fear of being left out of development projects, a fear which has been allayed by the President.
“I want to assure residents of the new regions that government projects and structures would be equally transferred across the regions,” President Akufo-Addo said at a ceremony to name the regional capitals at the Jubilee House in February.
The creation of the new regions was in itself necessitated by the lack of development in those areas over the years.
According to proponents of the need to create new regions, apart from the lack of development in the new regions, from road to hospitals to educational institutions, having access to government agencies has become a headache for them.
For example, residents of the northern part of the Western Region, now North West Region, complain of how they have to endure a treacherous eight-hour journey, sometimes up to 10-hours to reach the epi-centre of government business which is Takoradi.
Per the post-independence architecture of the regions, government agencies are centralised in the national capital with directorates in the regional capitals making it difficult for residents in rural areas to access services of the state agencies.
To avoid this phenomenon in the new regions, spreading development projects across the major towns in the new regions will go a long way to ensure equitable development.
The Ghanaian Times supports the Government’s decision to spread development projects in the new regions in order to decentralise governance in those areas.
With a seed capital of GH¢20 million to each of the six new regions, we urge government to expedite the building of facilities to house the Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC) to give meaning to the creation of the new regions.