Cambridge Researcher and Convener of the #FixTheCountry Movement, Oliver Barker-Vormawor has called for the reconfiguring of Ghana’s 16 regions into administrative provinces/counties to enhance the decentralization of governance.

According to him, the current makeup of regional governance entirely defeats the purpose of decentralization.

He noted that even the proposal for election of MMDCEs instead of their being appointed, will do very little to solve the problem of low development in their respective areas as espoused by decentralization.

“The idea here is that the substance of governance is development – must be brought down to the local government. That’s the big gamble on the constitution. Now if we go only to elect these individuals, have we solved some of the problems that are inherent in local government in general?

“Rather than amending itself, we have to rethink the framework. We have other places whereby instead of regions, our regions are not governance units per se. You may have a regional minister but it’s not a functioning bureaucracy that controls. Why don’t we reconstitute them as provinces?” he said.

In his latest submission on why Ghana needs a new constitution on JoyNews, The Law, on Sunday, Oliver Barker-Vormawor stated that for true development to take off, a true decentralization would have to occur in order for indigenes of regions to take an active part in local governance and the allocation of resources.

He added that government could start by increasing the percentage of internally generated revenue to be kept by regions from a paltry 15% to 60% while the central government takes the remaining 40%.

“So that when you have a province, which then appoints its own health administrators, have persons who advise on planning and development at the regional level, we’ll start to think of our regions as bodies that are in charge of helping us develop.

“In fact, it brings the process of development closer to the people where they become more incentivized and they know the problems that are inherent there that Accra-based politicians do not know,” he explained.

According to him, such an action could lead to inter-regional competitions thus fueling innovation and more development.

He continued, “So I am thinking let’s reconstitute them as provinces with governors or counties and governments where these are the people we know that they are setting in place a team which is supposed to deal with the region…

“…If you turn the process around such that you say whatever is generated from the region you keep 60% and give 40% to national, the 40% of national will be used to address inequities, for instance, in regions which are orphan regions you can recentre them.

“And then the resource-rich regions become a hub because you cannot necessarily develop the entire country at the same pace, but certain places can become a lever to move your economy up.  And that’s what you would want to be able to see,” Oliver Barker-Vormawor noted.

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