Mr Speaker, in respect of the Hon Daniel Kwaku Botwe, I always describe him as “unlucky Dan” and I am sure when I say “unlucky Dan”, the Minister- designate for Youth and Sports would understand.
In our days when we worked variously for the political parties -- When Dan Botwe was General-Secretary of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), he was the Youth Organiser of the NPP who worked very closely with him.
But Mr Speaker, to many teachers, they say their reward is in heaven. I believe, for politicians like Dan Botwe, his reward is in Government. And if his reward is to play the role of reorganisation of regions, that is very interesting and exciting for our purpose.
Mr Speaker, what was significant was that, by his understanding of his role from the President as a Minister responsible for reorganisation, he would lead the President's way for deeper decentralisa- tion, centring on the creation of new districts.
He assured us that President Akufo- Addo intends to create four new administrative regions subject to the amendment on theTerritories of Ghana under article 4 of the Constitution of Ghana.
We expect that whether petitions have been received or not, he would take action to initiate the process for an amendment to the Constitution under article 4, which should be subject to a national referendum, the decision which will guide whether or not we can create new or additional districts or not. He indicated that we should expect that the 2018 district assembly elections will see this happen.
The Ghanaian people will monitor his progress and wish him well.
Mr Speaker, he indicated the relation- ship between the creation of these regions and poverty.
We believe that this administrative decentralisation when done and done well -- [Interruption.] but we advise that he should be interested in better economic opportunities in those areas.
Mr Speaker, one of the far-reaching decisions that President Rawlings took as President of Ghana was PNDC Law 208, which deepened the decentralisation regime of this country and many were those who were critical of him when he created the Upper West Region. Therefore, in principle, it sits with the NDC Manifesto of five, four.
Former President Mahama anticipated the creation of five administrative regions. Now, President Nana Akufo-Addo is looking at four, but I am sure the petitions and public interests in this matter would guide that particular process.
Again, Mr Speaker, we believe that Hon Dan Botwe, undoubtedly, is a fine gentleman. He is not a type of politician who can hurt a fly. Therefore, by consensus, we support him. We believe that he would bring more to bear.
Mr Speaker, our difficulty is that, after creating the regions, what would he do with that Ministry for Reorganisation? After creating the regions, we would be at a loss what that Ministry would be doing. Just to create four regions, you create a whole Ministerial portfolio for that purpose and say you are seeking to protect the public purse. Yet you are going to incur public expenditure by creating that portfolio.
Mr Speaker, there are sensitive ethnic and social issues that may hinder the progress and vision of President Akufo- Addo in terms of the demarcation. You may not be able to put this paramountcy or this ethnic group because of traditional sentiments that are attached to it. However, Mr Speaker, since it is in harmony with our beliefs on this side, he has our utmost support.We look forward to him following due process in realising that particular dream.
Mr Speaker, the next nominee is for my purpose of this commentary, Hon Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister-designate for Employment and Labour Relations. I just left that very exciting Ministry.
Mr Speaker, again, a very humble young man and gentleman. He speaks less. Mr Speaker, my assurance to him is that, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations -- I was teasing him with the wife, that he would be sleeping on the bed of thorns. Therefore, many of the industrial disputes, inevitable, and many of the industrial conflict strike actions, demonstrations would emanate from the performance of the economy.
Therefore, many of the issues that would confront him would not be his creations. It would be the inability of the Economy to absorb them.
But I trust that, if for nothing at all, he would leave the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations with a disciplined temperament. That is my experience. By the time he leaves the Ministry, he would be a better person with a disciplined temperament.
Mr Speaker, he can rely on the Trades Union Congress (TUC) as an ally while seeking the good of the country, but they would insist on him respecting the rights of workers. I reminded him of President Mahama's pledge and promise to the TUC at their last Congress in Kumasi, to support them to renovate the TUC building and give them other supports.
Mr Speaker, a matter he must pay attention to, is unresolved and unfinished business which can trigger some conflict which may probably deny him peace and rest. First, the Second Tier pension regime where custodians bonds' are expecting immediate disbursement of the about GH¢3 billion sitting at the Temporary Pension Fund Account with the Bank of Ghana and to let it work.
Mr Speaker, in the last five years since the passage of the National Pensions Act, we have had to defer many of these issues because of the conflict that existed between government and the twelve workers unions. I reminded him that I have attached a concluded understanding with the twelve workers unions in my handing over notes.
Mr Speaker, permit me again to comment on what would be his nemesis and a national crisis. In my handing over notes, I hinted quietly that the growing unemployment in this country remains a national security crisis which requires urgent attention and the collaboration of the Government to address it.