Wednesday, December 31, 2008
In the regional breakdown, Prof. Atta Mills won in eight of the 10 regions - Western (51.9%), Central (53.8%), Greater Accra (54.4%), Volta (86.1%), Brong Ahafo (50.4), Northern (61.6%), Upper East (65%) and Upper West (62.3%). Nana Akufo-Addo won in two regions - Eastern (57.5%) and Ashanti Regions (75.0%). National turnout after 229 constituencies is 72.74 per cent. Percentage of rejected votes is 1.01 per cent. ------ Akuffo Mills WESTERN 384,028 48.1 414,144 51.9
CENTRAL 325,454 46.2 378,975 53.8
GT. ACCRA 798,556 45.6 953,086 54.4
VOLTA 102,173 13.9 630,899 86.1
EASTERN 536,366 57.5 396,277 42.5
ASHANTI 1,438,820 75.0 479,749 25.0
B. AHAFO 382,202 49.6 388,463 50.4
NORTHERN 311,774 38.4 500,953 61.6
UPPER EAST 117,477 34.4 223,994 65.6
UPPER WEST 81,561 37.7 134,926 62.3 ----------------------------------------TOTAL 4,478,411 49.9 4,501,466 50.1
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
"The NDC is displeased because figures that came in yesterday from certain constituencies in the Ashanti region that and the different figures that are coming in from those same constituencies and obviously the numbers have been up. We already have a problem with the kind of figures that are coming from the Ashanti region, but even then the NDC is prepared to work with it. Then suddenly strange figures started coming from the Ashanti region again and that is the source of concern for the NDC," Anyidoho pointed out.
He said there are suspicions surrounding what he described as bloating figures in the Ashanti region, the strong hold of the ruling party.
"If you are looking at a ridiculous percentage already, you are having around 85, 86, 87 percentage voter turnouts in the Ashanti region alone as compared to the national average that is already a problem. Suddenly, you are now having 99.9 percentage turnouts per the new figures that are being churned out from the Ashanti region," he said.
Anyidoho said the opposition NDC overwhelmingly won eight out of Ghana's 10 regions, which he said should make the party's presidential candidate the winner of Sunday's election run-off vote.
"Professor Mills has won regions and even in Akufu-Addo's home region of the Eastern region, the NDC got about 40 percent. So, why are we going to sit down to allow one region to hijack the presidency? It is not going to happen. I mean assuming the numbers even existed, and so one region would take out the eight or nine regions, we have no problems. But obviously this attempt to use one region to arm-twist the democratic process is something that we are finding it very difficult to accept," Anyidoho pointed out.
He said the opposition party expects its presidential candidate to be officially declared winner of the run-off election Tuesday.
"Dr. Afari-Djan has a reputation and we hope that he would not sacrifice his reputation on the order of some parochial political expediency. And so, we expect that today, Dr. Afari-Djan going by the results and the figures that have come out and are already in the public domain that he would declare that professor Mills is the president elect of the republic of Ghana," he noted.
Meanwhile the ruling NPP said some of the results in its stronghold needed to be corrected after errors were detected. Stephen Asamoah-Baoteng, Ghana's information minister said told VOA that Ghanaians should wait for the electoral commission to declare the winner of the run-off.
"Obviously, everybody knows that the results are declared by the electoral commission, and not by political parties or radio stations. Radio stations and television networks can call in results, but they are only provisional until the EC (Electoral Commission) has certified and declared it. Some radio stations have taken it upon themselves to declare results themselves without giving the caveat that those are provisional results. So, they've declared that the opposition has won," Asamoah-Baoteng noted.
He said there are still some votes to be properly authenticated by the electoral commission.
"There are about 18 constituencies yet to be certified. The electoral commission has not come out and they (opposition) apparently want to celebrate. So, this is the problem," he said.
Asamoah-Baoteng denied the ruling party is trying to "massage" some of the election results, arguing that some mistakes were made, which he said needed to be corrected.
"Well, I don't know who has been saying that (accusation), but polling stations results are obviously declared at the stations. But sometimes you do have problems for instance in my constituency, some figures that were meant for the NPP were put in front of the NDC until somebody noticed it, and you could see clearly that the figures were then canceled and changed. And so the electoral officers obviously sometimes make mistakes so I don't know why they (opposition) has not waited for the electoral commission. The results that came from some areas have not been challenged anywhere. So, why would others be challenging and there is a question about it?" Asamoah-Baoteng asked.
He sharply denied that the ruling party is refusing to accept defeat and hand over power as is being speculated by some."The question is who is holding power and who doesn't want to hand over power? Election results are declared by the electoral commission so that is the problem with the opposition. They have put out propaganda machinery that they have won using provisional figures that they got by some radio stations. So, through that they think that somebody doesn't want to hand over power," he said.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
SOURCE:NPP DIASPORA FORUM
BY: MICHAEL FATHER AMEDOR
THE Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) has renewed a contract it awarded to Universal Redeemer Limited for another year following its successful performance at checking overloading of haulage trucks at the Tema Motorway weighbridge station.GHA first awarded the contract to Universal Redeemer Limited in July last year at a national competitive bidding for one year owing to the dismal performance of its own officials.The privatization could enforce the permissible axle limits for loading trucks using the motorway. The contract was subject to renewal based on the successful performance of Universal Redeemer Limited. Since the privatization, there had been a number of arrests and prosecution of offending heavy-duty truck drivers who exceeded the permissible axle limit of weight and height of trucks which are 11.5 tons and (mention the permissible height of loaded trucks) respectively.In an interview, Ofori Frimpong, Principal Engineer of GHA said hitherto offending drivers went unchecked because they bought their way out.He stated that overloading of trucks is known to cause extensive damage to the roads, and constitutes a source of danger to other road users.Mr. Frimpong indicated that trucks, mostly from the land-locked countries, break down frequently due to faults developed as a result of overloading, adding that most of them break down after leaving the weighbridge checkpoint.Occasionally, some of these trucks are found turned over mostly on the Accra-Kumasi road, he concluded.Mr. Frimpong stated that if a truck which is supposed to carry about 10 tons carries 20 tons, the effect on the road is equated to 16 trucks passing on it.Speaking on the performance of the privatization, the Highway engineer who is also Axle load Manager, said there had been a dramatic increase in the number of overloaded trucks whose drivers were processed for court, most of whom the Highway engineer said had been prosecuted and fined even though the fines are not deterrent enough.He said owing to the new measure at the weighbridge station, most heavy-duty truck drivers have resorted to using the Nungua beach road or other unapproved routes to avoid being caught and prosecuted for overloading.The Nungua beach road, which was constructed many years ago, is in a deplorable condition which is worsening by the day because it has exceeded its designed lifespan and therefore poses a threat to motorists.The Department of Urban Roads says it would require over US $40 million to reconstruct the 22-kilometer road from the Independence Square in Accra to the Tema Harbour Roundabout with an interchange at the Nungua barrier.GHA says weighbridge platforms are being constructed on the Nungua beach road and the Spintex road, which will have lesser axle load limits than the transit ones. This measure is to encourage heavy-duty truck drivers to use the Tema Motorway which has a higher axle-load limit.Investigations conducted last year by this reporter revealed that weighbridges constructed in various parts of the country to ensure that trucks keep to the permissible load weights were not serving their purpose due to alleged corrupt practices of GHA officials.Instead of making overloaded trucks off-load the excess goods and have the drivers prosecuted, the officials allegedly extorted between GH¢10. 00 and GH¢40. 00 and left the offending drivers off the hook.At the Tema Motorway axle load control station alone, it was estimated that these officials collected about GH¢50,000 in bribes from an estimated 500 truckers who used the station daily.This reporter obtained first hand information about these corrupt practices when he embarked upon a trip from Team Harbour to Ouagadougou and back.Consequently, GHA officials who were manning the weighbridge station on the Tema Motorway were recalled to the main office after a publication in the Ghanaian Times last year that they were allegedly misconducting themselves by extorting monies from drivers.The Chief Executive Officer of Universal Redeemer Ltd, Albert Owusu-Ansah said despite the fact that he is faced with some challenges in enforcing the legal axle-load limit, he would remain focused in the discharge of his duty.He said would ensure that the investments made by government and its developing partners yield the expected dividends.Mr. Owusu-Ansah therefore pleaded with all heavy-duty truck drivers to comply with the directive of ensuring that the permissible axle load limit is adhered to, saying the road is a national asset which must be protected.
Source:Innocent Samuel Appiah
Monday, December 22, 2008
Agbeko, who made a successful defence of his title two weeks ago against Nicaraguan William Gonzalez, courtesy a majority decision was decorated by the Association with the topmost honour at its 33rd Awards Night held at the Round Pavilion, Ghana International Trade Fair Centre in Accra last Saturday.
The petit-boxer who turns 29 next March becomes the first from the noble art of self defence to win the flagship award in recent times after almost half a decade of dominance by athletes and footballers. Dressed in a black suit with black shoes, Agbeko who was also adjudged the Professional Boxer of the Year received his prize from Special Guest of Honour, Peter Osei Duah, Managing Director of State Insurance Corporation (SIC) amidst cheers and jeers from the almost-packed pavilion dominated by the cr=E8me de la cr=E8me of Ghana sports.
"I dedicate this award to peace and to all Ghanaians and I urge all to conduct themselves peacefully during the forthcoming run-off of the Presidential election scheduled for Sunday, December 28. "I also thank my fans, members of my team and above all SWAG for the recognition," Agbeko said after receiving his award.
Injured Black Stars and Chelsea midfielder, Michael Essien was named the Best Footballer of the Year.
The London-based star, whose award was received on his behalf by ex-Black Stars defender Tony Baffoe, beat compatriots Sulley Muntari and Laryea Kingston to the prize.
The surprise package of the night was the National Paralympic Team, backed by their impressive outing at the last All Africa Games in Algiers, Algeria to claim three awards.
The Paralympic team was honoured as the Team of the Year, with Armstrong Aidoo and Ajara Mohammed picking up the Coach of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year awards respectively.Other award winners included Ransford Osei - Promising Player of the Year, Moussa Narry Discovery of the Year, John Ainoo - Dedication and Valour, Mirabel Lamptey - Female Hockey Player of the Year, Joseph Appiah - Male Hockey Player of the Year, Rozina Lomo - Handball Player of the Year, Afful Williams - Cyclist of the Year and Manyo Plange - Amateur Boxer of the Year.There were also Special Awards for Atta Eddie Pappoe, Daniel Arhin and Margaret Simpson for their contributions to boxing, disabled sports and athletics.The highlight of the night was the induction of retired commentator and first president of SWAG, Joe Lartey into the Association's Council of Patrons.In his remarks, The Special Guest of Honour, Mr Duah commended the award winners for their untiring efforts to bring sports to the limelight and urged them to build on their successes for the future. Ackah Anthony, President of SWAG also thanked corporate institutions and individuals who contributed immensely towards the success of the event.Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Graphic Communications Group Limited, Gemini Life Insurance Company (GLICO). Kenpong Construction Works, Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited, Kasapreko Distilleries, Coca Cola Bottling Company of Ghana and Voltic were amongst the main sponsors for the event.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
It is still too early to gauge the real depth of the downturn. But there is little doubt that the economic and financial weaknesses afflicting the world economy are mutually reinforcing. Many industrial countries are on the verge of recession. Combating deflation takes precedence over inflationary concerns, as headline inflation is likely to dip below zero in the coming months. While many developing and emerging economies are still growing, their economic outlook has severely deteriorated in recent months.
Despite this downward trend, however, economic activity has been resilient for some time in a number of developing and emerging economies. Before the crisis fully unfolded, domestic demand had assumed a bigger role in their growth performance and they had reduced their dependence on foreign capital by building up current account surpluses. In fact, those developing countries that have shown some resilience are those with a high share of manufactures in their total trade. These countries were able to improve their external positions in the aftermath of the Asian and Latin American financial crises of a decade ago and the associated large real exchange rate depreciations. Governments and central banks subsequently sought to maintain a competitive real exchange rate through active exchange rate management. This made them less vulnerable to speculative attacks and also allowed them to soften adjustment pressures – in other words, it considerably enlarged their policy space.
Traditional conditionality counterproductive
The countries most exposed to the crisis, by contrast, are those that combine high current-account deficits with a substantial build-up of foreign liabilities by the private sector. These countries have been the victims of "carry trade" – portfolio investment based on borrowing in low-yielding currencies and investing in high-yielding ones, which has led to overvaluation and a loss of competitiveness. Typical cases are Brazil, Hungary, Iceland, Romania and Turkey, but there are many others. Triggered by the subprime collapse, this currency speculation unwound and caused a sharp depreciation of the nominal and real exchange rates of the affected countries.
While exchange rate adjustment usually improves the overall international competitiveness of a country’s enterprises, which will eventually benefit their external accounts and help the real economy to recover, it can also entail major adverse balance-sheet effects for households and banks, at least in the short term. These short-term effects may cause severe stress in the domestic banking sector and a decline in household consumption, with serious consequences for growth and employment. A secondary negative impact stems from the efforts of central banks to defend the depreciated level of the currency through monetary and fiscal tightening. But such tightening – reminiscent of the IMF-supported policy response to the Asian crisis – is jeopardizing their economic recovery and unnecessarily tightening the global policy stance now, during one of the most severe recessions of the past century.
IMF assistance – at times combined with swap agreements or direct financial assistance from the EU or, recently, even the United States – has helped ease the immediate pressure on the currencies and banking systems of the troubled countries. But the origin of the problem – speculation of the carry trade type – raises doubts about the adequacy of the traditional IMF approach for tackling such a crisis. Raising interest rates to avoid further devaluation is rather like the tail wagging the dog (see chart). As in the Asian and Latin American crises, this policy response suggests that developed countries have failed to address the most pressing issue in international finance and trade. That issue is the need for an exchange rate regime that provides a stable international value of money and helps minimize the cost of adjusting the nominal exchange rate to differences in the cost levels of trading partners – an adjustment that is as indispensable as it is unavoidable.
The critical point is this: Traditional assistance packages or swap agreements, combined with restrictive policy prescriptions – or at least an expectation by donors that the spirit of such belt-tightening exercises will be applied by beneficiary countries – are clearly counterproductive. Indeed, countries that have been exposed to carry trade speculation need a real devaluation in order to restore their international competitiveness. They also need assistance to avoid a downward overshooting of the exchange rate, which would both hamper their ability to check inflation and unnecessarily distort international trade. But they do not need belt-tightening. Rising interest rates and falling government expenditure will only reinvite speculation and worsen matters in the real economy. In such situations, countries need expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to compensate for the fall in domestic demand, as long as the expansionary effects of devaluation have failed to materialize in a contracting global economy.
To stop an overshooting devaluation – which is the rule and not the exception – is very costly if attempted unilaterally, but very inexpensive if countries under pressure to devalue join forces with countries facing revaluation. Countries that are struggling to stem the tide of devaluation are in a weak position, as they have to intervene with foreign currency, which is available only in limited amounts. If the countries with appreciating currencies engage in a symmetrical intervention to stop the "undershooting", international speculation would not even attempt to challenge the intervention, because the appreciating currency is available in unlimited amounts: It can be printed.
Multilateral approach indispensable
Unless there is a fundamental rethinking of the exchange rate mechanism and the cost involved in the traditional "solution" of assistance packages without symmetrical intervention, the negative spill-over of the financial crisis into the real economy will be much higher than needed. In addition, "undershooting" of exchange rates will change trade structures and trade flows much more profoundly than is justified, given the losses of overall competitiveness experienced during the build-up of speculative positions. This would clearly jeopardize the effects of a conclusion of the Doha trade agenda and the attempt to abstain from protectionism – as reflected in the outcome of the recent G20 meeting in Washington.
Multilateral or even global exchange rate arrangements are clearly necessary to achieve and maintain global monetary and financial stability and to combine such stability efficiently with an open trading system. The idea of a cooperative global financial and monetary system would be to ensure, on a multilateral basis, the same rules of the game for all parties, just as multilateral trade rules apply to all trading partners. The main idea behind the creation of the International Monetary Fund was precisely to avoid destructive competitive devaluations. In a well-designed global monetary system, the advantages of currency depreciation in one country would have to be balanced against the disadvantages in another. Since changes in the exchange rate that deviate from purchasing power parity affect international trade in a very similar way to changes in tariffs and export duties, such changes should be governed by multilateral regulations. A multilateral regime would, among other things, require countries to specify the reasons for real devaluations and the dimension of the necessary changes. If such rules were applied strictly, the real exchange rate of all parties would tend to remain more or less constant, since the creation of competitive advantages for specific countries or groups of countries would not likely be accepted.
Notes: Monthly interest rate refers to the value on the 15th day of the month.
Data from December 2008 refers to the value on the 16th day of the month.
Interest rates refers to Hungary interbank overnight (middle rate), Brazil financing
overnight SELIC, Iceland interbank 1-day, South African interbank call
and US Federal funds target rate.