Banu paramountcy appeals for electricity connectivity

Pio Alhaji Yakubu Sumaila Chirsiru, the paramount Chief of the Banu Traditional Area in the Sissala East Municipality has appealed for electricity extension to all communities in the area.

He said only six out of the 14 communities in the Banu paramountcy had been connected to the national grid, which was a worry.

Pio Chirsiru made the appeal when Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper West regional minister visited the Banu paramountcy as part of his regional tours to introduce himself to the chiefs and people.

Pio Chirsiru said the communities had the right to be connected to national grid since they were part of Ghana’s governance system contributing to the country’s development.

He explained that without electricity, the area would continue to remain deprived with development eluding them, hence the reason they must not be neglected.

He also identified the lack of access roads from Kunchokor- Kwapun, Kwapun – Wuru, Tanla – Nitalu and Tangvielle, which need urgent attention.

Other poor roads he mentioned inclu
ded Pido- Wuru as well as Kassana- Tangvielli – Konsola and Katinia.

‘We have serious water challenges here because there are fewer boreholes to serve communities that have a population more than the water source and this is affecting community cohesion,’ the Chief bemoaned

He added that several communities lie on the borderline but had no access to communication networks and appealed for telecommunication networks for the communities in the area.

He stressed the importance of the completion of a security post under construction at Ban, which started almost four years ago.

Some inhabitants of Tanla, Nitalu and Tengvielli expressed worry about the poor conditions in the area and appealed for support.

They said, ‘We live in darkness every night, even flour for our meals, we have to take it to other communities to mill, during the hot season, we developed strange skin rashes and snake bites are usually common.’

Mr Musah Kwarasey an indigene said teachers and other workers don’t sleep in the community becau
se of the absence of electricity and that they spend about GHS6.00 every day travelling to nearby communities with lights to charge their phones. Mr Stephen Yakubu assured the people that the challenges were problems the government of the NPP had always tried to resolve.

He urged all that the government was committed to providing their needs saying, ‘I don’t usually promise but this particular road before December would be sorted out.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Accept divergent views, NCCE urges Ghanaians

Mr. Robert Kwesi Boame, the Oti Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has appealed to Ghanaians, especially political party leaders, actors, supporters, and agents to accept divergent views to sustain the peace in the country.

He said the political parties; especially NDC and NPP, should help the Commission in sensitising their supporters to engage in a decent campaign devoid of insults.

The Regional Director said politics was about numbers and that it was the duty of all supporters to convince others into their fold, and not to insult them or their candidates.

Mr Boame said this at an Inter-Party Dialogue Committee (IPDC) meeting at Chinderi, the District capital of Krachi Nchumuru District in the Oti Region.

The meeting organised by the Krachi Nchumuru District Office of the NCCE, with support from the European Union (E.U) brought together political parties, security agencies, among other groups in the district to drum home the need for tolerance ahead of the 2024 gene
ral elections.

He called on the political leaders to educate their support to use persuasive language during their campaigns and should not resort to lies and unsubstantiated propaganda.

He also called on them to desist from instigating the youth into engaging in violence as no political party or leader wants to rule over a divided nation.

Mr Boame charged them to help maintain Ghana’s image as the beacon of peace in the sub-region by avoiding violence before, during and after the December 7 polls.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Vincent Foli, the District Police Commander, called on all Ghanaians to be always alert as there are violent extremist groups working within the West African sub-region. These extremist groups, he said, are looking for places where there is political tension and violence to penetrate.

DSP Foli thus, asked Ghanaians not to make a mistake and plunge the country into chaos because of political power.

He also appealed to the citizenry to support the Police and other security
agencies in maintaining law and other in the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ablakwa petitions CHRAJ to investigate sale of SSNIT’s hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited

Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, National Democratic Congress (NDC), Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, has petitioned the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate and stop the sale of Social Security and National Insurance Trust’s (SSNIT) six hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited.

Mr Ablakwa, who made this known on Friday at a press conference at Parliament House in Accra, indicated that intercepted documents in his possession confirmed that SSNIT was far advanced in selling a controlling 60 per cent stake in six of its hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited owned by Mr Bryan Acheampong, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Abetifi and Minister of Food and Agriculture.

He reiterated that Mr Acheampong was a Director and the sole beneficial owner of Rock City Hotel Limited.

According to Mr Ablakwa the six SSNIT hotels being sold were Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Resort and Trust Lodge Hotel.

The North Ton
gu Lawmaker noted that he was inviting CHRAJ to investigate grave matters bothering on conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft.

He said he had also drawn attention to blatant violations of Article 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution as diligent checks from Parliament’s Committee on Office of Profit revealed that Mr Acheampong had not applied and did not have the permission of the Speaker of Parliament to hold an office of profit.

He said 16 years ago, he and Dr Omane Boamah dragged the late Mr Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, who was then a Minister of State, to court over attempts to buy his official bungalow; saying ‘I have always maintained that it is wrong, unethical and reprehensible for public officials, particularly, Ministers of State to participate in the purchase of state assets. It is a matter of principle.’

He mentioned that a number of these SSNIT hotels were very profitable and one wondered the rationale for the sale.

Mr Ablakwa cited t
he Labadi Beach Hotel was one of the viable state hotels, which had been paying dividends to the Government.

He said the Minority in Parliament was going to follow up on the petition to its logical conclusion.

He urged CHRAJ to be bold and fearless and carry out their investigations according to their constitutional mandate in a very timely order, adding that because time is of essence because they (SSNIT) had given the minority shareholders at Ridge Royal Hotel 45 days, which had elapsed.

He appealed to CHRAJ to save these six state hotels and the Ghanaian workers.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Parliament approves 24 Ministerial Nominees despite Minority boycott

Parliament has approved 24 Ministerial Nominees of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo despite a boycott by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Minority.

Prior to the Minority boycott of the approval of the Ministerial Nominees, Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader, informed the House that his side did not support the approval of the Ministers Designate because of the difficult times the country had gone through and continue to go through, including crippling employment crisis, food insecurity and dumsor (eratic power outages) and debt crisis as a result of reckless borrowing by the Government to finance construction.

‘Mr Speaker, ordinary Ghanaians continue to bite the bullet and businesses are suffering under high tax regime, and a high inflation. Mr Speaker, and again slide depreciation currency,’ he said.

‘Mr Speaker, in times like this, we expect the Government to signal to the people of Ghana and the investment community that the Government is ready and willing to do thi
ngs differently restore the needed confidence in our economy.

‘Right Honourable Speaker, it cannot be the case that while the Government asked the people of Ghana to tighten their belts, this Government will rather lose their belt.

‘Mr Speaker, merely piling up Ministers and Deputy Ministers does not signal to the people of Ghana that the President understands the seriousness of mess that has been created in this administration.’

He said there was the need for the President to down size his Government to signal to the people of Ghana that he cared and that the Government was ready to reverse some of the economic losses.

Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, said the NDC Minority was part of the approval process of the Ministerial Nominees at the Committee level and that the Committee’s report for the approval of the Ministers, which has been laid before the House was by consensus.

‘Mr Speaker, only for them to make a last minute turn to say that they d
on’t want to be part of this, hence the report should be amended to reflect the majority decision. Mr Speaker, that is their right, we’ve granted them. But Mr Speaker, that does not stop, Government from conducting the business of Government and for us to approve these Ministers for them to mount the various Ministries to deliver what is expected of them for the benefit of the people of Ghana.’

Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who congratulated the Ministers Designate on their approval by the House, reminded them that they were both accountable to the President and Parliament.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Parliament approves $150 million additional loan for Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development Project

Parliament has by majority voice votes approved the Additional Financing Agreement between the Government and the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group for an amount of $150 million.

This is to finance the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project.

The approval came amid strong opposition from the Minority.

The facility is for the construction of storm drains within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) as part of efforts by the Government to address the perennial flooding situation in the nation’s capital, Accra.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Minority, which voted against the approval of the facility said they had concerns about the application and utilisation of the mother loan facility of $200 million so far allocated to the same Project.

They claimed that out of the $200m approved, only about $65 million had been awarded on contract for works, and only $8 million disbursed in these works out of a draw of $127m.

therefore, took the position that the solution is not extra resources but the accelerated implementation of works and speeding up of disbursement of the project funds to warrant the approval of additional funds for the project.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, Chairman Finance Committee of Parliament and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West, in his report to the House noted that in the aftermath of the June 3, 2015 floods in Accra, there was renewed commitment by the Government and all key stakeholders to prioritise issues that were crucial for resilient urban development and flood mitigation.

He said the commitment to reduce the vulnerability of people, livelihoods, property and the economy at large to flood related risks led to the development of the Greater Accra Spatial Development Framework (2017-2037) and the City Strength Diagnosis (2017).

He reiterated that the flooding in the Greater Accra Region (GAR) was usually severe along the Odaw River Basin due to the impact of Clim
ate Change, poor solid waste management, informal settlements and low income communities along the banks of the Odaw Raver.

He said the flooding situation along the Odaw River Basin was exacerbated by Weak Integrated Planning and Coordination among Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the project area.

‘To address these challenges, the Government of Ghana, among other interventions, initiated the GARID Project in 2020 with a financing of $200 million from the Bank,’ he explained.

‘However, in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, an amount of $65 million was reallocated to finance COVID related expenses.

‘Additionally, the original financing does not include compensation for affected persons.’

Mr Kwarteng said this additional financing had, therefore, become necessary to reinsure the $65 million and to make funds available for the payment of compensation to the affected persons.

The Chairman said by a majority decision, therefore, the Committee, having examined the financing agreemen
t for the GARID Project, recommended to the House to adopt its report and approve the Additional Financing Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the IDA of the World Bank Group for an amount of $150 million to finance the GARID Project in accordance with Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The Minority also stated that the refund of $65 million re-allocated from the project to support COVID-19, if refunded by the Government, would augment the resources to the project, and should be prioritised.

The NDC Minority, however, expressed their concerns about the extent of borrowing by the Government, saying that the Government should rather deepen measures to maximise domestic revenue.

They strongly objected the approval of many the tax exemption applications before Parliament, which they cited as as avenues from which domestic revenue could be mobilised.

Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, a Member of the Works and Housing Committee of Parliament and NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho West, in his s
ubmission said a visit by his side of the Committee to the project areas indicated that one of them was at 25 per cent completion stage, while another was at 20 per cent.

The project development was initiated in 2020.

He said for two years now the Odaw drain had not been desilted, adding that on their way to the Project site at Nima, they called the contractor on phone, and that the contractor, who had already been paid $2 million for mobilisation, had informed them that he was yet to move to site and that he (the contractor) did not know the Project site.

Mr Bedzrah, therefore, urged the House to conduct a forensic audit of the Project to ensure value for money.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, the Minister of Finance, in his remarks, noted that the Government would address the concerns raised by the NDC Minority.

He said, he would be providing the House with an update report on the state of the project within two months.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Dr Forson explains why Minority boycotted approval of Ministerial Nominees

Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader and National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, has explained why his side of the House decided to stage a walkout during the approval of the 24 Ministerial Nominees of the President.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament prior to the Minority’s boycott of the approval of the President’s Nominees for Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial positions, Dr Forson informed the House that the Committee’s report was a majority decision and that this was because they could not approve the Nominees by consensus.

‘All Members of the Minority Group voted en bloc against the Nominees,’ he stated.

He reiterated that the Minority voted against the Nominees not because they held anything against them; saying ‘No, we hold nothing against the Nominees. In fact, a good number of them are our colleagues and friends. But (the) decision to vote against them was motivated by Ghana first.’

Dr Forson said the Minority voted against the Nominees
because the country had gone through (and continues to go through) very difficult periods, including crippling economic crisis, food insecurity, debt overhang as a result of excessive borrowing, and wasteful and reckless expenditure.

‘Ordinary Ghanaians continue to bite the bullet and businesses are struggling under high tax regime to contribute to the development of country. What is expected on the part of (the) Government would have been prudent management of these contributions from the people of Ghana,’ Dr Forson said.

‘But hardly a day passes without one reckless and wasteful expenditure or the other by this government being uncovered.

‘Mr Speaker, while (we) are happy for the Nominees because we know that it is just a matter of time and colleagues from our side will begin appearing before the Appointments Committee, we cannot pretend that things are still the same. Indeed, we cannot do things the same old way.’

He underscored that Ghana’s present unfortunate situation occasioned by the Government di
d not only call for new, creative and radical ways of confronting challenges but also modesty and sacrifice by the political class.

He said in times like this, the Government side, especially, must signal to the people of Ghana and the investor community that they were ready and willing to walk the talk to restore the needed confidence in the economy.

He said the Government, in times like this, must show its real commitment and determination to improve the quality of life of Ghanaians.

He reiterated that it could not be the case that while the Government asked the people to tighten their belt, those in Government would have no belt at all.

Dr Forson said it also could not be right that while the Government urged the people to bite the bullet, those in Government and their family and friends chew chocolate.

‘Our side is deeply convinced that at this point in time, this Government must seize the opportunity to be creative, dynamic and think out of the box,’ he said.

‘Merely piling on numbers by way of app
ointment of ministers and deputy ministers does not signal to the people of Ghana that the President understands the seriousness of the mess that his government has created.’

The Minority Leader said the least that President Akufo-Addo could do was to down-size the Government.

He said adding more ministerial appointments, which only balloons the expenditure of the executive, does not sound like a very bright idea at a time when the Government had clearly lost a grip on the economy, and unemployment, hardships and shrinkflation had become the order of the day.

‘Mr Speaker, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo must down-size his Government to signal to the people of Ghana that, at the very least, he is in tune with feedback and the challenges triggered by his government as a result of their bad economic policies.’

At the very least, the two top political parties, the NDC and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), agree that down-sizing (or right-sizing) the Government was the way to go.

Source: Ghana News

EC cannot rig Election 2024 in favour of any political party – Commission

The Electoral Commission (EC) has stated that it is in no position to rig the 2024 General Election in favour of any political party.

The Commission said elections are won or lost at the polling station and ‘not at the EC’s headquarters.’

Addressing a press conference in Accra on Friday, Mr Samuel Tettey Deputy EC Chair in charge of Operations, said the transparent nature of the electoral processes from registration to collation and declaration of results makes it impossible for the Commission to determine the outcome of elections.

The Commission was responding to allegations by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at a press conference in Accra on Thursday.

Mr Tettey said there was no loophole in the electoral process that could enable the Commission to rig the elections in favour of any party or candidate.

He said political parties had the will to put in systems to collate their figures from across the over 38,000 polling stations and match it with the figures of the Commission at the close of polls.

‘…if a political party has participated in all the above processes and has been able to collate results from all the 38,622 polling stations, their results should match the final results that the Electoral Commission would eventually declare,’ Mr Tettey said.

‘Elections are won or lost at the polling station, and not at the Head Office of the Electoral Commission. Parties should train their Agents well to observe the process and not blame the EC for the outcome of the elections,’ he added.

Responding to concerns about the recruitment of Returning and Deputy Returning Officers for the ongoing voters’ registration exercise, the Commission said the process was open, fair, and transparent.

Mr Tettey said following the advertisement of the positions in the dailies, some 20,561 persons applied, adding that an in-house committee shortlisted the applicants.

‘…all successful applicants at the interview have no less than 8 years working experience with the Commission as Temporary Election Officials,’ he said.

Mr T
etteh said that all political parties received the list of registration officials during Regional IPAC (RIPAC) and District IPAC (DIPAC) meetings ‘several days before the commencement of the registration exercise.’

The EC acknowledged the challenges experienced in the first two days of the registration exercise and said that the challenges had been resolved since the third day.

The Commission said as of the ninth day of the registration exercise, a total of 391, 111 new voters had been added to the electoral roll.

Responding to other issues, Mr Tettey said the EC played no role in disenfranchising the people of Santrokofi, Apkafu, Lolobi, and Lipke (SALL) /Guan District in taking part in the 2020 Parliamentary elections.

‘Given that the Legislative Instrument that created the Guan District came into force on 9th November 2020, the same day Parliament went on recess, and with Parliament only returning from recess on 14th December 2020 after the general elections, the Constitutional Instrument creating the
Guan Constituency could not be laid before Parliament, and in time for it to mature into law before the parliamentary election on 7th December 2020,’ the Commission explained.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana to sign bilateral creditors’ MoU next week – Finance Minister

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Minister of Finance, has disclosed exclusively to the Ghana News Agency that the country is waiting to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its official bilateral creditors next week.?

He said the country had agreed to all that was needed for the second review to go to the IMF Board in June, adding ‘we’re waiting for the draft next week to sign.’

He said this on the margins of the launch of the 2025 Africa Prosperity Dialogues in Accra.?

The signing of the MoU is critical for Ghana to get its third tranche US$360 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), having reached a Staff Level Agreement with the Fund’s Mission Team in April this year.

It forms part of efforts by the government to restructure some US$13 billion external debt to meet debt sustainability parameters under the ongoing Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme.

The IMF Executive Board is expected to meet next month (June) to consider the second review and approve the country’s third tranche, pavin
g way for the disbursement of US$360m to the country.

Signing the MoU, together with the disbursement of the US$360m, would be critical in stabilising the Cedi against its major trading currencies, particularly, the Dollar.

At the time of reaching the agreement of the second review of the programme, Dr Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana (BoG), expressed confidence that the US$360m would help shore up the country’s foreign currency reserves.

According to the World Economic Forum, foreign currency reserves, comprising cash and other assets are important in maintaining stability of domestic currencies and providing liquidity during economic crisis.

Professor Godfred Alufar Bokpin, an Economist with the University of Ghana, has stated that the development would go a long way to help in stabilising the Cedi, which has been experiencing some depreciation in recent times.

He noted that a vacuum has been created because the country had not signed an MoU with its bilateral creditors, though it reached an agr
eement in principle in January 2024.

However, the finance professor said a positive news with the IMF Board approval of the US$360m would engineer some confidence in the economy as people would trade their Dollars, which would lead to some relative stability.

Meanwhile, speaking at the second quarter CEOs Breakfast Meeting earlier this week, Dr Stephen Amoah, a Deputy Finance Minister, advocated high patronage of domestic tourism and hospitality centres.

The tourism and hospitality is among Ghana’s top four sector contributors of foreign exchange inflows, as such, he said a high patronage would help in keeping money in the country to contain the depreciation of the Cedi.

He, therefore, encouraged Ghanaians to patronise domestic tourism, saying, ‘let’s begin to show that high level of patronage and keep the money here… if you stay here, [and] the dollar people come, they will demand our currency.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Vice President Bawumia to commission waste recycling plant at Kperisi

Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President, is expected to commission the Zoomlion Ghana’s waste recycling plant at Kperisi, a community in the Wa Municipality on Monday, May 20, 2024 as part of his visit to the Upper West Region.

The commissioning of the facility would pave the way for the operationalization of the plant to help improve solid waste management in the region, particularly Wa, which is being engulfed by solid waste.

The facility is a public-private partnership (PPP) between the government and the Jospong Group, and is expected to receive, sort, and process waste in the municipality and its environs.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, cut sod for the construction of the solid waste treatment plant at Kperisi, which is envisaged to create over 200 direct and indirect jobs when completed.

Dr. Bawumia, who is also the presidential candidate of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), is also expected to pay a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief of the Wala Traditional Area and me
et with the Muslim clergy in Wa and later meet with a section of party members on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

The Vice President and NPP flag-bearer would also hold meetings with the Christian clergy, the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs and the youth on Monday, May 20, 2024.

Source: Ghana News Agency