President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the proposal to carve a new region out of the Western Region is currently at the consideration stage. He said he had received a petition from the chiefs of the region desiring the creation of the region and he had forwarded it to the Council of State for its recommendations.
The President said he had scheduled a meeting with the Council of State on the matter for August 15, 2017.
He was speaking at a durbar of the chiefs and the people of the Bibiani-Anwhiaso-Bekwai District on the first day of his three-day tour of the Western Region on Monday.
The tour was also meant for the President to thank the people of the region for voting massively for him and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2016 general election.
He is accompanied by some ministers of state, some Members of Parliament (MPs) from the region, some members of the Council of State, metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, national, regional and constituency executives of the NPP and sympathisers of the party.
If the outcome of his meeting with the Council of State was favourable, President Nana Akufo-Addo said, a commission would be set up, as required by the Constitution, after which the matter would be referred to the Electoral Commission (EC) for it to hold a referendum on the creation of the new region.
“For the first time in the Fourth Republic, a new region is going to be created and so I want you to rally solidly behind me and vote 100 per cent to make the deal successful, as the Omanhene has assured,” he urged the people.
The creation of a new region out of the Western Region featured prominently in the campaign of the then presidential candidate of the NPP in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
The President said very soon the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, would announce the transformation of the district into a municipality, in fulfilment of the desire expressed by the traditional authorities.
He also renewed his commitment to make SHS free for JHS graduates who would qualify for SHS in September this year, saying: “It will come on at all cost, as well as the one-district, one-factory policy and the other promises made by me.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo said another promise that was dear to his heart was job creation for the youth, saying that people had bastardised him on that promise.
“I tell you that the resources are there and we are going to do all in our power to make the promises realities,” he said.
The President gave an assurance that cocoa production would be increased from one million tonnes, as it was in President J. A. Kufuor’s time, to 1.5 million by the end of his tenure in 2020.
He said while the government would be working on cocoa production, it would also work to improve the road network in cocoa-producing areas.
He expressed his profound gratitude to the chiefs and the people for the massive votes for NPP in the last elections that propelled the party to clinch victory in the general election.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, also gave an assurance that many more programmes had been put in place to revamp the cocoa sector to attain its former glory.
The Minister of Railway Development, Mr Joe Ghartey, said his office had received about 200 applications from investors outside the country who had expressed interest in helping to revive the railway sector.