Thank you, Hon Member.
Yes, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankornah. Papa Owusu-Ankomah (NPP -- Sekondi): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
The object of the Bill, we are told, is to amend the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) to enable geographical areas which are not single compact settlements to be declared municipalities. I believe the object is in the right direction.
However, is it the intention to make all contiguous geographical areas irrespective of historical, political or so, history to be made municipalities provided it can get the necessary numbers‘? I do not believe so. This is because it is possible to have districts whose sizes may be over 95,000 but which may not necessarily be deemed to be given municipal status. I think we should try and preserve this
I am sure the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development agrees with me because if it is just to make contiguous, then any group of contiguous settlements with a population of 95,000 may be made. A group of hamlets may be made a municipality but that should not be the essence.
That is Why I believe the arguments raised by the Hon Member for Amenfi East (Mr Joseph B. Aidoo) ought to be considered because I know that for instance, the Hon Member for Ketu North (Mr James Klutse Avedzi), if he decides to add some settlements to Ketu North to get 95,000, it may not be practical to make it a municipality.
However, if for instance, you Want to create Aflao, get an Aflao municipality, it may be possible to get some other settlements to come together. Why? It is because Aflao is a major commercial centre, a border town.
You talk about Techiman. Historically, Techiman has been a major trading centre. Historically, you talk about Axim. Axim had a District Commissioner long even before independence. So I am saying that, while I agree in principle to the deletion of that expression, we should not also by that amendment create a situation where you can put together small hamlets spanning an area of 50 or 60 kilometres and say it is a municipality. If it is done that Way, then municipality loses its essence.
So like earlier contributors, I believe that with this amendment, the principle is right but when it comes to the Consideration Stage, probably, We must give salt to the arguments that have been raised earlier. Thank you, Madam Speaker.