Friday, September 25, 2009

Editor speaks on Nkrumah in London via telephone.

The Editor of,Michael Father Amedor will be speaking on Press TV,London today at 14:30 GMT to voice out his view on the topic "whether Nkrumah’s vision for Ghana was able to be achieved, or was power used to serve other purposes?" through a telephony interview.
The Editor recieved the invitation yesterday via email and can be confirmed. This interview will be granted by Sarah Khalil a Tv producer at Africa Today for Press TV, ( who is currently producing a show in the light of the Nkrumah@100 celebrations.

The intended interview is expected to last several hours. Other topics to also incude the interview are "commenting on Ghana’s current development status" among others.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Outstanding Arrears Choke NHIS

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) are reeling under a shocking GH¢115 million arrears left behind by the erstwhile New Patriotic Party government (NPP). The National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration had from January to June this year released a whopping GH¢ 142,483,546.60 to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). This represents 96.2 per cent of government’s budgetary obligation for the period. Regrettably, this releases have gone into clearing of the arrears of the 2008, thereby generating an indebtedness to healthcare providers for the period March 2009 to date to the tune of GH¢120,933,849.The huge indebtedness to healthcare providers, is currently crippling the scheme nationwide. A letter dated August 23, 2009 and intercepted by The Heritage, detailed the cry of the scheme's boss, Mr. Sylvester Mensah to government. The letter reveals a very sorry situation that can collapse the rather laudable health policy which has and continues to save the lives of thousands of Ghanaians. According to the NHIA boss, the scheme urgently 'requires a minimum of GH¢75million within the next 24 hours, to avert a looming massive withdrawal of healthcare service delivery to NHIS subscribers, a situation that would cause a major setback to the NHIS programme.' Amongst the many challenges that are also threatening the existence of the scheme the letter stated, is the headache of how to clear an outstanding debt of GH¢115,567,612 owed the scheme as at the end of December 2008. As the Acting Chief Executive puts it, 'the precarious state of the National Health Insurance Fund, and the impending threat this poses to the NHIS as a programme to secure affordable healthcare services to residents of Ghana.' Mr. Mensah further laments that the current situation of the National Health Insurance Scheme and its resultant effect is that 'healthcare providers across the country have run out of essential logistics to provide healthcare services to our subscribers; most providers are turning away NHIS subscribers whilst others have threatened to close down, situations which have consequences for the government.' According to the acting chief executive, 'any further delay in advancing funds to the NHIA would severely damage the confidence that people have in the NHIS and derail Government's policy of a one-time premium payment expected to commence late next year.' 'We also urge that urgent mechanisms are put in place to settle all outstanding payments owed to the NHIA, whilst ensuring prompt transfers of all future funds due to the NHIA, Mr. Mensah appealed to the sector ministry in a distress letter dated August 23, 2009.
Source: The Heritage -Ghana

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Without a coherent supply chain strategy Ghana will not become a middle income status country…. Dr. Douglas Boateng

The failure of governments since 1966 to develop and implement a coherent supply chain and logistics strategy in support of the country’s gateway initiative continues to be a major impediment towards Ghana’s goals of becoming a middle income country.
Abundance of resources yet still relatively socio-economically poor!

Ghana is one of the few countries in the world to be endowed with much needed resources that can easily serve as a catalyst for major long term socio-economic growth. …..Gold, Cocoa, Industrial diamonds bauxite, manganese and now oil! ……In addition the country is blessed with one of the most fertile agro soils in the world….Yet the country’s unemployment rate among the 18-35 years has remained among the highest in the world since 1970. In tandem with this, the country’s infrastructure is among the least developed in the world.

Having benchmarked the country’s development and economic growth with other developed and emerging economies one realized that the relative underdevelopment is mainly due to amongst others our inability to use simple supply chain principles to harness the enormous wealth at the country’s disposal.
Since the late nineties one has had the opportunity to have both formal and informal discussions with our politicians and decision makers. In most cases they are proud to pontificate about countries like Singapore Malaysia, USA, Chain India and even more recently South Africa….and how they are able to add value to imported commodities, plus move goods from various points of production to points of need within and outside their respective countries. Yet when it comes to Ghana it seems they are content to export the country’s raw materials to other countries for processing and then import it back at premium to sell locally in the regional market!

Supply chain management and Ghana’s Gateway Initiative

Ghana’s gateway initiative in theory is a resplendent model if supported by the right modus operandi. Successive governments have pontificated about the status of the country as the potential gateway into the sub region. Yet when one looks at the policies of government to date, no where has one seen any concrete long term plans to harness the potential vantage position of Ghana as a sub regional country. As a country that is supposedly the gateway into the sub region aero logistics connections is not only poor but among the most expensive in the world!!
What puzzles ordinary citizens like myself is why our leaders continue to accept that value added to our resources can only take place outside Ghana……..!!! The time has come for our leaders to rather look at Ghana as a sub regional workshop where companies with interest in marketing their products to 250 million regional inhabitants will use the country as it decoupling point.
Could Ghana have benefited more from Cocoa with a coherent supply chain strategy?
Like most economies, Ghana could have easily used cocoa to sustainably transform the economy if there was a strategic supply chain blue print. More recently one has been hearing about Cocoa Board ambitions to produce 1 million tons per annum. What difference will it make to graduate students looking for a job if most of the beans are going to end up in Europe where value adding will take place?”
Would Ghana benefit from the OIL?
There seem to be a propensity for our leaders to pontificate that the recently discovered oil is the panacea for all Ghana’s economic woes. The sad reality is that jobs are not created from the crude oil. Rather it is from the supply chain services that are associated with crude oil….!
Govt must have a supply chain and beneficiation strategy for each of Ghana’s major commodities
Through out history countries that depend on the exportation of raw commodities have relatively failed to achieve major long term socio-economic growth. The shortism in economic policies coupled with governments’ lack of strategic thought vis-à-vis supply chain management and local beneficiation continue to be an impediment for socio- economic growth. The time has come for our elected leaders to be more strategic and start thinking about:

1. How Ghana can use supply chain management as a weapon for competitive advantage
2. Positioning Ghana as sub regional workshop and decoupling point
3. Branding Ghana as a source of quality products, i.e. proudly Ghanaian,
4. Empower Ghanaians through supply chain related services
5. Creating real and much needed jobs through local beneficiation of minerals and agro commodities
6. Laying a solid socio-economic foundation for future generations
7. Thinking seriously about harnessing the potential of the gateway initiative…..d leaders to be more strategic and start thinking about:

In so doing we will be laying a solid foundation for future generations. After all, Ghana’s resources do not belong to the current generation……Rather we are just custodians (irrespective of local tribe or party affiliation) collectively tasked to harness these resources to build a better and sustainable socio-economic future for the next generation!

Dr. Douglas Boateng is the Founder, President and CEO of PanAvest International a 5PSCM niche business advisory, education, training, coaching and mentoring company. Dr Boateng’s goal is to assist companies to profitably extend their market reach through the application of long term innovative, Business Development Logistics and Supply Chain Management solutions. Dr Boateng is a FELLOW of the (a) Institute of Directors-UK & Southern Africa (b) Chartered Management Institute -UK (c) Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport-UK and the (d) Institute of Operations Management-UK

Monday, September 14, 2009

VAT Taskforce gets tough on importers for evading taxes

Reverend John Buabeng, head of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Service Taskforce has tasked traders, who import goods into the country, to supply their tax identification number to the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) or have their goods impounded.He said it was a crime to import one item and label it differently or in some cases, one item could be registered using different names and with the quantities reduced to evade the payment of the appropriate taxes.Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview, Rev. Buabeng said a combined taskforce from the VAT Service, National Security and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service have impounded five vehicles in Takoradi. The vehicles were carrying 1,310 bags of rice with one of them loaded with a quantity of shirts and other clothing, he said, adding that, "The taskforce could not trace the invoice to the supplier of one of the vehicles and this is a lost of revenue to the state" he said. He said the impounding of the vehicles was part of an ongoing nationwide exercise to arrest defaulters of tax.He said importers should endeavour to register and obtain tax identification number before importing goods into the country. "Tax evasion and smuggling of goods is a heinous offence, which is tantamount to prosecution and some times jail sentences", he said. He advised importers to give correct information of their businesses to make tracking easier for VAT officials. He warned people who serve as agent of importers to desist from such acts and register with the service.

New global alliance to increase access to financial services

Nearly 100 central bankers and other financial policymakers gathered in Nairobi on Monday for the official launch of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), a coalition of countries from the developing world committed to making savings accounts, insurance, and other financial services available to millions of people living on less than $2 a day.A statement from AFI received in Accra on Monday said research had shown that better access to financial services can fuel economic growth by raising national income via increased savings and investments in poor households as well as in small and medium enterprises."This access also enhances financial stability by injecting formal savings into the system, diversifying the capital base, and providing stability during global downturns. Yet, an estimated 2.5 billion people - over half the world's adult population - do not have access to savings accounts and other financial services," the statement said.AFI said its global network would enable developing countries to share knowledge so they can more effectively develop and implement policies designed to expand access to financial services. It brings together central banks and others representing nearly 70 percent of world's unbanked and the network will develop and implement policies to reach millions across developing world.It said while many of the smartest policies to expand financial access had come from developing countries - such as mobile phone money transfer services in Kenya and agent banking in Brazil - knowledge of these solutions was scattered in pockets around the globe. "The unique aspect of AFI is that it puts us members in the driver's seat to identify and create solutions to increase the availability and choices of financial services in our own countries," said Tarisa Watanagase, governor of the Bank of Thailand and AFI member. "Since we understand our countries' circumstances better than outside organizations, AFI creates an exceptional forum for us to share policies that work and learn from other policymakers about solutions that work for them," Watanagase said.AFI members have chosen to focus on six policy areas to increase financial inclusion for their respective countries - agent banking, diversification of financial products and providers, state bank reforms, financial identity, consumer protection and mobile phone banking. Based in Bangkok, Thailand, AFI is managed on behalf of its members by the German development organization Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH and supported with a $35 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."AFI's peer-to-peer knowledge exchange model is playing a key role in amplifying policy solutions that work," said Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of AFI. "The most realistic and successful solutions for including poor people in the formal financial system are being innovated among our members in developing countries," He said. This grant is part of the Gates Foundation's Financial Services for the poor initiative, which is working with a wide range of public and private partners, to harness technology and innovation to make safe places to save and other financial services accessible to poor people in the developing world.AFI is a global network of central banks and other policymaking bodies in over 60 developing countries. AFI provides its members with a learning platform for peer to peer knowledge exchange on financial inclusion policies that work, and grants to help implement them.

Ras Wayo out of Big Brother Revolution

In a surprise announcement, Ghana’s representative to the just started Big Brother Africa Revolution, Ras Wayoe became the second Housemate to leave the BBA House during the show's first Eviction Show!
Wayoe entered the stage to a crowd chanting his name to a Reggae tune. Wayoe told IK he was not surprised to have left the House and does not think his Rastafarian way of life played a part in viewers not voting for him.
The first Housemate to leave the BBA: The Revolution House was Teddy from Kenya. Teddy leaves the House much to his and the crowd's surprise because he was on of the strongest personalities in the house. IK, the host, asked him if he regrets sitting on the fence with making up his mind about The Smokers' Alliance. Teddy leaves with the $2500 in his kitty.
Source: gna

Ghana charms Busta Rhymes at live concert

International hip hop icon, Busta Rhymes, nodded repeatedly Saturday night at the Accra International Conference Centre, left in no doubt his industry and dexterity has affected so many Ghanaian lovers of hip hop.Taking the stage in a Busta Rhymes Live in Ghana Concert, an initiative of CharterHouse and sponsored by telecoms giant MTN, the ace musician thrilled the crowd with several of his favourite hits, including It's a Party, I Know What You Want, Blessed, Gimme Some More, Make It Clap, Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See, Woo Hah Got You All in Check and Arab Money. “I love this”, “I made a great decision to come to Ghana” and “I love your beautiful city” were some of his confessions as the overflowing main auditorium of the Conference Centre virtually wrenched lyrics of the over a dozen songs he performed, including the latest and controversial ‘Arab Money,’ from him and rendered it perfectly.“You will definitely see us again” was his emphatic promise after what he described as “a most wonderful and successful show” that charmed the enthusiastic crowd to abandon their seats and wriggle the night away.And so powerful was his performance, supported by Spliff Star, that the joyous crowd was almost overflowing onto the stage, barred only by crash barriers thoughtfully planted there for the purpose.An enchanted fan threw him a piece of kente cloth, which he strapped over his shoulders.

Source: Isaac Yeboah

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bagbin backs calls for ministerial reshuffle

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has told Citi FM that a reshuffle in the nine-month old Mills administration will do the young Government a lot of good.He says there are weak links in the government which need tightening. Earlier, rumours of an impending reshuffle by President John Mills were brushed aside by government officials.The widely speculated reshuffle found footing in an earlier indication but nine months into the Mills administration, the Majority Leader tells Citi FM a ministerial reshuffle is critical towards strengthening the Mills administration.“There are weaknesses here and there…so I think there are areas that we need as a government to look into and maybe try and invigorate them with some new faces that could assist to get things going,” he said.Mr Bagbin also lent a limb to former President Jerry Rawlings’ open criticisms of the Mills administration.Mr Rawlings spares no punches anytime he gets the opportunity to lash at President Mills. He has on several public platforms attacked President Mills, accusing him of lacking what he terms “the revolutionary zeal” in his government.He has numerously questioned the reasoning behind President Mills’ decision to maintain some carry-over appointees from the Kufuor-administration.Mr Bagbin says there must be more of such criticisms from Mr Rawlings to put the Mills administration on its toes.“I think that it is good for the country, and I want to encourage the former presidents whether Kufuor or Jerry to keep coming up with criticisms because they have a store of experience and knowledge that is needed for the country.”

UniBank joins Moneygram Transfer Services

UniBank, financial services provider, has teamed up with Global Payment Services provider MoneyGram to offer money transfer service at the bank's 13 branch locations in the country. An agreement to that effect was signed on Thursday between the Management of uniBank and the West African office of MoneyGram International.There are currently 12 agents offering money transfer services across 1,600 locations in Ghana. "Our collaboration with MoneyGram Transfer Services represents a vast opportunity to deliver our commitment to provide safe and reliable Money Transfer Services to beneficiaries," Mr Clifford Mettle, General Manager Sales and Client Services, UniBank, told journalists at the launch of the initiative in Accra On Monday. Mr Mettle said the bank would leverage on its branch expansion programme and the relationship with Ghana Post Company to scale the competition and meet the expectations of customers. He said UniBank was using the expansion in the money transfer service as key growth strategies to enable it grow its non-funded business.Mr Mettle assured all users of the service of good and quality customer care, saying that the bank would deliver on its core values of flexibility, caring, vibrant and teamwork. Ms Funmi Omitowoju, Regional Director MoneyGram International (Anglophone West Africa), said uniBank's impressive performance was a major strength in the collaboration.She said MoneyGram had put together English-Speaking countries in West Africa to enable it address peculiar needs of the people in the region and to also build strong relationship. Ms Omitowoju said despite the global financial meltdown, the money transfer business was still robust and doing well and lauded Ghana as one of the dominant forces in the business. She pledged MoneyGram's continuous support to uniBank in meeting the goals of the collaboration for the mutual benefit of the two institutions.MoneyGram is present in 190 countries with over 18,000 agents.

Journalists to benefit from GETFund

Ghanaian journalists can now access the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for overseas training, a government minister said on Thursday. "Even though government does not wish to interfere with the work of the media, we have made it a policy to allow individual journalists to access the GETFund for overseas training if they so wish," Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information, told journalists in Accra.He made the announcement at a press conference dubbed "Matters Arising" during which he spelt out the achievements of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in the areas of education, youth in agriculture and the fight against narcotic drugs trafficking. As per the theme of the press conference it was to keep the public updated on what government has been doing over the past eight months on matters of concern to the public.Mr. Ablakwa said government would, from a distance, continue to assist both the state and private media to develop their capacities in order to ensure that the "fourth estate of the realm" remained dynamic and independent in the country.He said government preferred a strong and independent media to a praise singing one, adding "we do not want the kind of media that will sing our praises only for the public to tell us something different about ourselves at the elections".Touching on the substance of his address, the minister observed that the perception that powerful people in government may be collaborating with drug barons was now a thing of the past due to effective measures put in place by the government to stem the drug menace. Over the past few weeks some arrests have been made both at the air and sea ports, with various quantities of narcotics drugs seized, and the minister said structures had been strengthened to ensure that those seized exhibited did not either vanish or metamorphose into "kokonte" overnight.On education, the minister recaptured some of the measures mentioned in either the recent Supplementary Budget or in other addresses by sector minister in the Meet the Press series. Some of the achievements, he reiterated, included 50 per cent increase in the capitation grant per pupil, GH¢13 million for the School Feeding Programme, and over GH¢11 million for free exercise books and school uniforms.Mr. Ablakwa said government had also decided to pay full tuition fees for all teachers who would be pursuing further studies through distance learning, adding that the decision was to ensure that teachers stayed in the classroom to teach while learning. "Government has also confirmed its commitment to science and technology education with the introduction of 41,000 scholarships accessible by mathematics and science students across the country," he said.The previous government dissolved the Ministry of Science and Technology and made science and technology an addendum of other ministries, a move that the minister criticized as negligence that led to the near collapse of the sector. Concerning youth in agriculture, the minister said GH¢10.7 million had been invested into the sub-sector to ensure the cultivation of some 14,000 hectares of land and jobs for more than 20,000 people in seven selected regions - Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Central, Ashanti, Volta and Brong-Ahafo.Mr. Ablakwa said to ensure food security and poverty reduction, government was investing heavily in irrigation in strategic parts of the country. The irrigation projects include 5,000 hectares of land in the Accra Plains Project and rehabilitation of 70 dams in the northern regions to irrigate 360 hectares of land, adding the part of the irrigated land would be used for rice cultivation in the north. "In the fishing industry, government has also approved the construction of two fishing habours and 12 landing sites at the total cost of US$200 million," he said He added that six cold stores would be built in selected fishing communities with seven million euros Spanish government loan. Mr. Ablakwa said six speed boats had also been ordered, out of which two had been paid for and due to be delivered in December 2009 to assist the navy to protect the country's marine domain, protect fishermen and stem the activities of pair trawlers.

Ghana to host Africa Regional Capital Market Development Conference

Ghana will host a special five-day Africa Regional Capital Market Development Conference in Accra from Monday, September 14, according to a statement issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Conference, being organised by the SEC in collaboration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, is under the theme, "Towards Effective Regulation and Development of an Efficient Market in Africa". It is being supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).The statement said the Conference was being organised in the wake of the global financial credit crisis, which is not only having serious resource mobilization constraints on the economics of most African countries but also a negative impact on stock markets in Africa. Areas to be examined at the conference include current capital market development issues; building blocks needed to establish and develop efficient equity and bond markets in Africa; capital market integration and regulation in Africa; development of a viable commodities market in Africa; and challenges of securities regulation in emerging markets.

Sir Paul Reeves Concludes Visit to Fiji

Sir Paul Reeves, Special Representative of Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, departed Suva early on 11 September following a two-day visit to the Republic of the Fiji Islands.

At the invitation of the Interim Government, Sir Paul visited Fiji to explore opportunities for continued Commonwealth engagement with Fiji. The objective of his visit was to support the early restoration of constitutional democracy in the country, in line with Commonwealth principles.

Speaking on the eve of his departure, Sir Paul said his discussions with the Interim Prime Minister, members of Cabinet and others had been cordial, frank and informative.

“While I do not wish to pre-empt my report to the Secretary-General, I can say that I depart Fiji with a clear understanding of the Interim Government’s plans for Fiji following the abrogation of the Constitution in April. I welcome the importance Fiji attaches to its relationship with the Commonwealth, and the willingness of the Interim Prime Minister and his government to remain in discussions with me.

“I reiterated to Commodore Bainimarama and his Ministers that the Commonwealth stands ready to support an inclusive and time-bound national political dialogue, to facilitate the return of constitutional democracy. I also emphasised the importance Commonwealth members place on the fundamental principles that underpin our organisation, including representative government, respect for human rights and the rule of law.”

The Interim Prime Minister conveyed to Sir Paul his government’s intention to implement the “Strategic Framework for Change” announced by him on 1 July 2009, which entails elections being held in 2014. “I reminded Commodore Bainimarama that such an extended timeframe for the restoration of democracy was not one the Commonwealth could support”, Sir Paul said. “In particular, I expressed my view that it is vital to re-start broad-based dialogue on electoral and constitutional issues as soon as possible, rather than delay this important work until 2012.”

Sir Paul said he was disappointed that he had been unable to meet with leaders of other political parties during this visit to Suva. “In deference to the Interim Government of Fiji as my host, I complied with its specific request not to meet with other political leaders. I remain convinced, however, that an inclusive national dialogue which recognises and respects the voices of all major political players is the only way Fiji can find its way back to a sustainable democracy. The Commonwealth will continue to listen to the viewpoints of all sectors of Fiji’s community and political life, in its efforts to assist Fiji resolve the current situation and find long-term solutions to its significant challenges.”

Sir Paul will provide a report to the Secretary-General on his discussions and findings, which will inform the Secretary-General’s briefing of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), and his consideration of the Commonwealth’s ongoing engagement with Fiji.

During the visit Sir Paul met with Interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, other members of the Interim Cabinet, government officials, and selected representatives from the private sector, civil society and the diplomatic corps. Sir Paul was accompanied by two senior officials from the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Source:Commonwealth Secretariat

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three American Drug Suspects Picked at KIA

Three Americans were yesterday arrested at the Kotoka International Airport on suspicion of drug trafficking. Two of them, Abena Serwah, 19, and Shadrack Ntiamoah Bamfo, 23, are of Ghanaian parentage while the third, Joanne Gabriel, 21, is an African-American.Besides concealing the suspected drugs in the three pairs of snickers they were wearing, Abena and Joanne had stuffed their private parts with four large lump-sized drugs. Joanne alone carried three of the four lump-size drugs in her private parts. Also found on Abena Serwaa was a talisman believed to have been secured to protect them against arrest.For his part, Shadrack also concealed 19 pellets of the suspected drugs in his underwear. They were arrested while going through departure formalities to travel to New York. The three suspects had arrived in Ghana on September 2, this year, on the sponsorship of someone identified only as Alhaji Saibu. The suspects were allegedly sent to Ghana by the boyfriend of Abena Serwaa, whom they identified as Abubakari Issaka, who is based in Bronx, New York.Interestingly, Abu, as the suspects called him, is also the former boyfriend of Joanne. Confirming the arrests to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the acting Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, Mr Yaw Akrasi-Sarpong, said Abena and his boyfriend, Abu had earlier visited Ghana in May this year. He said information gathered by NARCOB indicated that Abena and Shadrack knew they were coming to Ghana for the drugs.Joanne, he said, was, however, convinced by Alhaji Saibu and one Black Sunday while in Ghana to carry the drugs along. Mr Akrasi-Sarpong said efforts were underway to apprehend Alhaji Saibu and Black Sunday. He explained that Alhaji Saibu and Black Sunday met the suspects on arrival, booked a hotel for them and also provided them with the drugs.
Source:Daily Graphic

"Galamsey" operators at Kenyasi to be licensed

An office of the Minerals Commission is to be opened at Kenyasi to allow illegal miners (Galamsey) to register and obtain licenses to regularize their activities. The commission has an office at Bibiani in the Western Region that gives licenses to small scale miners.Mr. Nelson Ahedor, Senior Mining Engineer of the Minerals Commission, said the commission would provide technical assistance on mining to the licensed "galamsey" operators. He was addressing the chiefs and people of Kenyasi and Nkaseim, mining communities in the district, at separate forums on Tuesday. The forums, organised by the Brong-Ahafo Regional Security Council (REGSEC), was aimed at negotiating with the operators in finding ways to bring their activities under control.Mr. Ahedor said the government recognized the important role small scale mining played in the growth of the economy and it was against this background that the commission had demarcated 44 mining concessions across the country for its operators.He said since galamsey was illegal its operators worked sometimes during the night to outwit security agencies and this often resulted in some of them getting trapped in pits and loss of lives.He appealed to the operators to go through the procedures and obtain licenses so that they would operate in an atmosphere of peace. Mr. Eric Opoku, the Brong-Ahafo deputy Regional Minister, said the government had no intention to clamp down on "galamsey" operators but was worried about the dangers associated with their activities. He said the rate at which galamsey was gaining prominence in the Asutifi District since the advent of Newmont Ghana Gold in the area was alarming and there was the need to educate operators to obtain licenses to regularize their activities.Mr. Opoku said unemployment and poverty were the major contributory factors that led the youth to go into galamsey in mining communities. He assured the people that the government had initiated some policies such as the youth in agric programme to create job opportunities for the youth.Mr. Haruna Seidu Aboagye, Chairman of Sakamraso Galamsey Committee at Kenyasi, said the committee's membership of 4,000 in 2006 had jumped to 10,000 operators.He said members were not violent and appealed to the government to negotiate with the management of the Ahafo Project of NGGL so they could obtain concessions. At Nkaseim Nana Adjei Danso Ababio, the chief, said because of the poverty level in the area most families depended on galamsey for their survival and any attempt to collapse the industry would bring extra burden to the people. Mr. Kwadwo Bosea Kese, spokesman of the illegal miners, appealed to the district assembly to extend electricity to their operational sites.

Ghana cannot achieve Roll Back Malaria targets

Ghana would be unable to achieve the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) target of reducing the disease morbidity and mortality by 50 per cent in 2010. Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey, Country Director of the Voices for Malaria Free Future, Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) made this known at Apam, in the Gomoa West District of the Central Region on Thursday.He said although the country had made some progress to reach the target, malaria still accounted for 19 per cent of deaths of all ages with 22 per cent of the mortality rate among children under five. Ghana adopted the World Health Organisation's RBM strategy in 2000, and was expected to have reduced malaria deaths to at least 7.5 per cent in all ages and 11 per cent in children under five. Mr Fiagbey said this at a forum organised by the NGO for stakeholders in the fight against malaria.According to the RBM Country Needs Assessment report in 2008, Ghana's malaria morbidity ratio stood at 120 per 1,000 cases for all ages instead of meeting the target of 86 per 1,000. Malaria was also responsible for 35 per cent of morbidity in children under five, which fell short of the RBM target of 23 per cent. Mr Fiagbey noted that the country had however made some significant progress in the management of severe malaria, preventive treatment of expectant mothers and the use of insecticide treated nets by pregnant women and children under five.He therefore called for more government and public commitment for the adoption of interventions that would help to scale up the country's progress in meeting the RBM goals. He indicated that the heavy rains experienced in the Sub-Saharan Region this year, would likely increase malaria cases, adding that, this calls on all African government to commit more resources to fight the pandemic instead of solely relying on the Global Fund. Mr Fiagbey appealed to government to consider allocating a percentage of the country's oil revenue to interventions that would help reduce malaria cases.He also urged the district assemblies to ensure that they commit the mandatory 0.5 per cent of their share of the District Assemblies' Common Fund to fight the disease. Mr Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, District Chief Executive, expressed worry about malaria deaths and its impact on the national economy and entreated all stakeholders to do more to eliminate the disease. He noted that malaria accounted for more than 40 per cent of all Out Patient Department cases in the district hospital and appealed to opinion leaders at Apam to facilitate the fight against the pandemic.

Wereko-Brobby's counsel protests against procedure

The Counsel for Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana @50 secretariat, Mr Akoto Ampaw, Wednesday told the Commission of Inquiry probing the activities of the secretariat that the procedure by which a witness gave his evidence-in-chief did not follow laid-down rules.He, therefore, appealed to the commission to ensure that the right thing was done.He said the commission gave witnesses the opportunity to rehash their evidence-in-chief after they had made their submission and had been cross-examined by counsel present.Mr Ampaw said the commission did that when it got to its turn to cross-examine the witnesses, a situation he said made him worried about the deliberations at the commission's sitting Wednesday.But the Chairman of the commission, Mr Justice Isaac Douse, quickly rebutted, saying that the probe was not a courtroom and that they had to play some advocacy role for witnesses who had some difficulty.The case in reference by Mr Ampaw was that of the Manager of Dorotpress Engineering Ser-vices, Mr Theophilus Pesseh, a witness, who submitted memoranda to the commission on an outstanding balance of ¢62.4 million in respect of work he had done for the secretariat.Mr Justice Douse said the memoranda submitted by Mr Pesseh was not clear because the language could not be read and understood so he was given an opportunity by the commission to submit his case in a local language of his choice.Mr Pesseh said he was .given an initial payment of ¢10 million by Dr Wereko- Brobby at the AU village while the remaining ¢62.4 million was not paid.He said Dr Wereko-Brobbey, through a contractor, called Arikamah and gave him contract to undertake plumbing works at the village.Mr Pesseh said he completed plumbing work on 13 houses at the village but Dr Wereko-Brobbey personally paid him only ¢10 million, which he took out of a polythene bag when he visited the site.He said Dr Wereko-Brobbey often visited the project site personally with polythene bag containing money to pay workers.Mr Pesseh said the workers including masons and carpenters normally formed long queues to receive their money on daily basis from Dr Wereko-Brobbey at the village. The witness was cross-examined by Mr Ampaw.On whether he had any document to show that he had entered into a contract with his client to render services to the secretariat, Mr Pesseh said he had no document to that effect but stated that orally he had a contractual agreement with Dr Wereko-Brobbey and that it was based on that that he (Dr Wereko-Brobbey) paid him ¢10 million.Mr Ampaw maintained that his client had no business with Mr Pesseh because he did not contract him to undertake any work for the secretariat.He, therefore, directed Mr Pesseh to contact the said Mr Ankamah for his outstanding balance.A member of the commission, Madam Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, told the witness that he had a serious difficulty because he did not have any document to prove the fact that he was contracted by the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat to work for the secretariat.She, therefore, asked Mr Pesseh to provide the commission with names and contact addresses of witnesses, if he had, to enable them to ascertain the truth of his assertions.Mr Justice Douse told Mr Pesseh that if he could not provide witnesses to corroborate his claim then he had to contact Mr Ankamah who sublet that work to him for his balance.The Chief Executive Officer of Starship Ventures, Mr Felix Quartey, said he had obtained judgement in his favour against the Ghana @50 Secretariat to pay him his outstanding balance with interest totalling GH¢120,159.27.He said the outstanding balance was GH¢72,538, which the secretariat defaulted in paying, a situation which compelled him to seek relief at the court of law.The Manager of Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Mr Kwaku Manu-Asiamah, told the commission that the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat owed two companies, Novotec and Adhro, that undertook the work at the park.He said Novotec provided air conditioners which were fixed at the memorial park but had not been paid his ¢ 150,300,000 while Adhro had an outstanding balance of ¢721,934,275 to be paid.
Source:Daily Graphic

West Africa flooding affects 600,000

Torrential rains and flooding since June have affected 600,000 people in Ghana and 15 other West African nations, the United Nations has reported.The worst hit have been Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana and Niger, said Yvon Edoumou, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. So far, 159 people have died, he said. Sierra Leone has also been hard hit, according to the UN.The UN has not yet received reports of waterborne diseases, but a real threat exists of diarrhea or, worse, cholera.The UN World Food Programme said on September 8 that it has begun distributing food to tens of thousands of homeless flood victims.WFP has set a goal of feeding 177,500 people, mainly in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, where 150,000 people have been affected and key infrastructure - including a central hospital, schools, bridges and roads - has been damaged.

Forestry Commission gets new Board

Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, on Wednesday inaugurated an 11-member Board of the Forestry Commission and tasked it to preserve the nation's natural resources by dealing urgently with the activities of illegal timber operators.Alhaji Dauda congratulated the new Board members and said they were being ushered into office at a time when the forestry sector was facing serious challenges pertaining to the sustainable management of forest and wildlife resources.Members of the Board, chaired by Mr Yaw Boamah, a businessman, swore the oaths of allegiance and secrecy. Other members are Mr Attah Nantogmah Alhassan, Osahene Kwakui Aterkyi II, a representative National House of Chiefs, Mr Owusu Amankrah, a representative of timber trade and industry, Mr Gerald Boakye, a representative of the wildlife trade and industry and Dr. Kwame Asamoa Adam, a representative Ghana Institute of Foresters. The rest are Mr Ofori Frimpong, a representative, NGOs involved in forestry and wildlife management, Dr Wordworth Odame Larbie, a representative Lands Commission, and Dr (Mrs) Cecilia Amoah, Mr Siisi Crentsil, and Mr Samuel Kwasi Appiah, all Government Appointees. Alhaji Dauda said current records indicated that the existing forests estimated to be about 1.6 million hectares, would be gone within the next 23 years, if adequate measures were not put in place to stem the high deforestation rate of 65,000 hectares per annum. The Minister attributed the alarming situation to the upsurge of illegal forestry activities, particularly chainsaw operations, wild fires and encroachments in the forest reserves and, in some instances, wildlife protected areas as a result of illegal farming activities. Alhaji Dauda said the situation called for serious efforts to conserve the little that was left and embark on vigorous re-afforestation through large-scale plantation development to restore what had been lost.He charged the Board to, as a matter of urgency, tackle the unrelenting siege mounted on forest reserves by illegal operators. They should do this by involving the local fringe communities in protecting the resource and encouraging them to preserve commercial timber trees in off-reserve areas and also protect wildlife resources in these areas. Alhaji Dauda said dwindling forest resources had affected the finances of the Forestry Commission, particularly internally generated funds that in the past accounted for more than 60 per cent of the Commission's financial requirements. He added that the wildlife sub-sector had a lot of potential for eco-tourism development to generate revenue and foreign exchange for development and poverty reduction. The Minister also mentioned the issue of climate change and global warming, which had negative impacts on forest conservation, and urged the Forestry Commission to explore avenues for appropriate benefit sharing schemes for all stakeholders. Mr Yaw Boamah, Chairman of the Board, said it would ensure that the challenges facing the sector were given urgent attention and tackled with much expertise to save the depleting forest reserves and other natural resources from further exploitation and distraction.
Source: GNA

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Government to give up stake in GCB

Rumors are rife in media circles about government’s intended decision to sell off a significant portion of its stake in the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), to raise badly needed revenue and to offer the bank full autonomy to run its operations.Government is expected to at least reduce its share holding from the current 2..% to aA Financial Intelligence source close to government relate that the issue has been topical within cabinet, and has come up for discussion at the Economic Advisory Council level.Even though the Finance Minister tells the FI there is no such intention, with Professor Kofi Afful, a member of the Economic Advisory Council denying any knowledge of this intent in an interview, evidence keeps mounting in support of the intended sale.Unusual price appreciations in the share price of the nation’s largest commercial bank on the Ghana Stock Exchange has raised eye brows that some insiders may be privy to some privileged information.From an all-year low of GH¢ 0.48, the price of GCB led a pack of recoveries in the past two weeks hitting GH¢ 0.82 before receding to GH¢ 0.81 at the close of trade last Friday. The stock has also been one of the most actively traded.There is also a corresponding attempt by government to clean up the debt sheet of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), and this is expected to be a move to free GCB’s loan portfolio of huge TOR debts to prepare the grounds for the intended offloading.As to the sale strategy, it has been speculated that government will trade off its stake in bits, in order not to violate the stipulation for the regulator’s approval before such trades in excess of 10% of total holdings are executed.It has also been said that government might off-load its stake to a strategic partner, a move that would require the bank to call for an extraordinary General Meeting before it is carried through.Should the intended offloading occur, many believe the bank could now be more profitable.Even though the bank is tauted as the country’s most widely networked bank with over 152 branches and agencies dotted all over the country, it has not returned much to its owners.Some industry experts however claim lending to government and governmental institutions has been one of the most secured investments for the bank since risk of default is low.Speculations are also rife that the unknown strategic investor could be using proxies in the current buy offs of GCB shares on the bourse.If this happens, the regulator could still find a lee way of reversing the trades if there is evidence of circumvention of any of the trading regulations.
Source:Financial Intelligence

Land Survey Holds 2009 Annual Seminar

The land surveying Division of the Ghana Institute of surveyors has held this year’s annual seminar in Accra. The 2009 Seminar was under the theme “Using geospatial technology to promote peaceful and sound environmental management”. The seminar witnessed 500 professional surveyors across the country.
Speaking at the 2009 annual seminar, president of the Ghana Institute of Surveyors called on surveyors to have a meticulous knowledge of algebra, basic calculations of geometry and trigonometry. K.H. Osei-Asante said “It is very important for us to know the law that deals with surveys, property and contracts”.
He finally told them to also be smart in using delicate instruments with accuracy and exactitude.
The Chairman of the Land Surveying Division said surveyors are required to direct, regulate and standardize the practice of all the various special aspects of the land surveying profession. Edwin Adoo-Tawiah said his outfit intends examining the best practices in terms of government policies, technology, institutional and financial approaches and their ultimate effect on the advancement of the country and improve the quality life of citizens.
At the seminar 13 technical papers were presented for discussion. Some issues accessed included the current Spatial Data Infrastructure initiatives, Geographical Information System (GIS) among others.
Source: Ghanaianreactoronline/Michael Amedor Ghana now available on your TV Screens

Without any fanfares, bells or whistles, Ghana, the newest television station in Ghana quietly hit the airwaves with a sneak preview of the programming viewers can expect to see during the final test transmissions.

Says Mr Akwasi Agyeman, CEO: “We had to check the quality of the programming lined-up for broadcast and in the process those viewers who are already tuned to Ghana, got a sneak preview of some of our programmes that we have been running.”

Viewers who still are not tuned to Ghana, here are the quick and easy steps to follow.

Tuning in to Ghana – quick and easy

Test transmissions for the free-to-air commercial channel Ghana is now available on your television sets.
How to tune in to Ghana – 4 easy steps

.Select the channel on your remote where you would like Ghana to be

.Press Menu and go to “Set-up”

.Select “Manual Search” on the UHF band and scan

.Keep scanning till you reach frequency 687.25 MHZ. Ghana is Channel 48.

This however does not mean the channel number for Ghana displayed on your screen must be 48. It could be different.

The management of Ghana would also like to appeal to viewers to bear with us if there are any breaks in transmission during the test transmission period. This is to enable our technical team to resolve any minor adjustments that still need to be done to ensure a perfect picture when we officially go on air on 1 October 2009.
Source: Brooke Nuwati/GMA

Bundestag elections: press centre for foreign journalists

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany has the honour to inform the distinguished media houses in Ghana that for the 17th German Bundestag elections the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government will set up a press centre for foreign correspondents.

In this way, the Press and Information Office aims to support the foreign journalists who will travel to Germany specifically to report on the Bundestag elections and who have no other workspace in Berlin.

The press centre will offer work stations (with wireless internet, telephone, fax and a limited number of PCs), a television broadcast of the results on the evening of the election and shuttle service to the German Bundestag and the different party headquarters.

The press centre, located in the press and visitors centre at the Press and Information Office, will open at 1.00 p.m. on 27 September 2009.

On Monday, 28 September 2009 leading opinion pollsters will present their analysis of the election results at the Press and Information Office. Foreign correspondents are also welcome to attend this event. Further details will follow.

Correspondents will need to obtain a separate accreditation to access the press centre on election night and to attend the election analysis event on 28 September (with the following exception: access to the election analysis event is also possible for those who have a standing accreditation from the Press and Information Office); please note the included information regarding registration.
Media registration information

Registering for access to the press centre at the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government for the German Bundestag elections on 27 September 2009 and the election analysis event on 28 September 2009
.Where to register: Press and Information Office of the Federal Government, Berlin or Bonn accreditation office

.Deadline: Registration with the Press and Information Office’s accreditation office must be completed by Monday, 21 September 2009 at 4.00 p.m.; please submit the attached form when registering.

.Badges will be distributed beginning at 1.00 p.m. on 27 September 2009 at the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government, located at Reichstagufer 14, 10117 Berlin. Please note that it will not be possible to pick up badges on Saturday, 26 September 2009.

.To receive a badge, you must present a valid passport or identification card and the original editor’s letter of confirmation that were submitted with the registration.

. This accreditation is valid only for accessing the press centre on 27-28 September at the Press and Information Office, located at Reichstagufer 14, 10117 Berlin.

.The accreditation ceases to be valid at the end of the day on 28 September 2009.

Source : German Embassy /Ghana Ghana available on Sky TV Ghana, the latest free-to-air television channel, with very exciting and scintillating programming has entered into a broadcasting agreement with Sky television network, a pay-television provider in Ghana.

This agreement adds Ghana to the Sky TV bouquet. This means that viewers outside Accra with a Sky TV set-up box will be able to enjoy Ghana in the comfort of their homes.

CEO Akwasi Agyeman says “we are very happy to be involved in this venture with Sky TV. Ghana stands for quality and true entertainment. We believe Sky TV channel is a good partner who also does not compromise on quality. Together with Sky TV, we hope to reach every home in Ghana with all the stimulating programmes on the Ghana menu”.

“We’ve had a lot of complains ever since etv was taken off our bouquet. This new development with Ghana will be of great joy to our numerous viewers across Ghana. They have been spoilt with’s quality programming and cannot accept anything less” says Mr. Wilson Arthur, CEO of Sky Digital TV.
Source: Brooke Nuwati/Global Media Alliance

Exopa busted with Cocaine @KIA

Mr Ibrahim Sima, Chief Executive Officer of Exopa Model Agency in Accra, was arrested on Monday evening just before he boarded a Lufthansa Airline at the Kotoka International Airport, for attempting to carry five kilogrammes of cocaine onto the plane.Security officials who briefed journalists, said based on suspicion during random checks on passengers, Mr Sima was invited for a urine test by security operatives but could not produce any urine.The security operatives said Mr Sima's luggage was ordered to be off-loaded and a check revealed that it contained four tubers of yam that had been sliced and re-fixed making them look as a whole.They said when the tubers were detached, holes were found in each of them containing substances which proved to be cocaine following a field test. When interrogated, Mr Sima said one Salifu at Nima gave them to him to be given to someone.The security officials are investigating the case.

Paga Crocodile Pond In Danger

Paga is a very small town with its own market North of Navrongo right on the Ghana/Burkina Faso border. It is noted for its sacred pond, which is a sanctuary for crocodiles.The crocodiles are said to be totems for the people of Kassena who reside in Paga and the surrounding communities. It is believed that each native of Paga has a corresponding crocodile representing each person's soul.To this day there are plenty of crocodiles in the Paga pond and crocodile meat is forbidden. At the Paga pond you can see people collecting water or doing their wash very close to crocodiles. Local tradition THE SUN was told by a caretaker has it that, there have been actual instances when deaths of important personalities in the community coincided with that of some crocodiles.The reptiles are normally enticed out of the pond by the whistling of the caretaker and the brandishing of a fowl, which the crocodiles quickly snatch with their snouts. If you are courageous, you can sit on, or hold the beast's tail for a good camera pose.The caretaker charges a fee for the fowl and basic interpretation. On the more commercial side of things the crocodiles have brought a sort of road-side tourist attraction to Paga. The caretakers of the Paga crocodile pond have said that if the place is not distilled it may ruin the existence of the tourist attraction.Speaking to THE SUN in an interview one of the guards MR. Salifu Awewozem said that the existence of the pond is because of the torrential rains experienced for the past three years. One of the crocodiles which he said is ninety years old and many other of it type needs special feeding to keep them alive. Mr. Awewozem said the only source of feeding the crocodiles is when visitors buy fowls to attract them which he noted is not enough. He therefore appealed to government, friends of animals and other organizations to assist keep and sustain the existence of the crocodile pond.
Source:THE SUN


Yersterday, September 8th was International Literacy Day. The Day was set aside by the UN to sensitize the world generally about the problems and challenges posed by illiteracy to personal growth; community development; national progress and global advancement.

The platform has been used every year to roll out the debilitating effects of illiteracy and its ramifications to development into the public domain Through this the public is informed about the dangerous effect of illiteracy which is subtly eating deep into the social, economic and political fibre of our society.

Illiteracy is not a respecter of persons, communities and nations. Its striking effects could be seen wherever it shows its ugly head. It is the main cause for ignorance, poverty, disease, squalor and underdevelopment. Nations that bear the brunt of illiteracy have often shown visible signs of underdevelopment. It has been established that literacy has undeniably very strong links with development. Nations with high levels of literacy are found in the top echelons of development.


Literacy is the diagnosis for addressing the problems and challenges created by illiteracy. There is certainly an invisible power in literacy that can overturn the gloomy picture created by illiteracy. It has the power to turn ignorant persons into knowledgeable people; poverty stricken families into economically sound ones and dependable economies into independent ones. The theme for the 2009-2010 biennium of the United Nations Literacy Decade is “Literacy and Empowerment”.

This year’s International Literacy Day therefore puts the spot light on the empowering role of literacy and its importance for participation, citizenship and social development.


Flowing from the above, the theme for this year’s International Literacy Day Celebration in Ghana is “Functional Literacy-Key to National Participation, Good Citizenship and Social Development” There is no doubt that the three core areas of this year’s theme are heavily dependent on functional literacy. Functional literacy is an indispensable means for ensuring sound human development which is the main tool for expressing good citizenship, national participation and social development.


The Week long celebration is being commemorated with clean-up exercises at the national, regional, district and community levels. In Accra, the clean-up exercise was undertaken at the Maamobi Polyclinic. Special Christian and Moslem Thanks Giving Services were also held to thank the Almighty God for His support for literacy work as part of the celebration. Learners from adult literacy classes, staff of the NFED and other stakeholders will participate in the exercise. There will also be radio and TV discussion programmes on the significance of the day.


It is widely accepted that literacy skills are basic necessities for informed decision- making and personal empowerment. It is an undeniable fact that the National Functional Literacy Programme (NFLP) being implemented by the Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education has contributed immensely towards ensuring good citizenship, national participation and socio-economic development.

It has provided graduates with the essential life, civic and occupational skills which are prerequisites for participation in national development programmes. Its civic awareness component has prepared learners to actively and effectively take part in governance programmes at the community levels and accept the views of others as necessary ingredients for deepening democracy and community participation.

The infusion of income generating projects as part of the overall literacy delivery of the NFLP has given thousands of adult learners the impetus for their economic liberation and that of their families. In addition, learners have also contributed towards the direct socio-economic development of their communities through the empowerment received from the discussion of the pictures in the primer. Some have led their communities to provide market sheds, wells, schools and other social facilities to improve the living conditions of their people.

The NFLP has also churned out literacy graduates into the mainstream formal educational sector and have through that opened wider opportunities for climbing to further heights in life. Some of the learners have also taken-up responsible roles in their communities such as Traditional Birth Attendants, Pastors, Deacons, Assemblymen and Women, Catechists, Businessmen and Unit Committees members.

As we celebrate International Literacy Day today, September 8th, 2009, we extend warm felicitations to all who have contributed towards the success of the NFLP, especially, facilitators, supervisors, district, regional and national staff as well as collaborating agencies, community based organizations, donors and other adult literacy providers.

We want to take the opportunity to call on all stakeholders of literacy not to relent on their oars but to continue to strive to ensure the reduction of illiteracy to single digits in the not too distant future. To achieve this vision, we want to urge each literate person to teach one adult learner.


GH¢5million Used On tea cups

Common Fund Administrator testifies at Ghana@50 Commission of Inquiry Accra, Sept. 8, GNA - Mr Joshua Magnus Nicol, Administrator of the Common fund on Tuesday said the "huge deductions" that District Assemblies claimed were deducted from their Common Fund allocations was on the instructions of the office of the President.Testifying at the Ghana@50 Commission of Inquiry, Mr Nicol said:"My Lord, I was only acting upon instructions from the Minister of Local Government, who received a letter from the Office of the President stating that the cost of the Ghana@50 plastic cups supplied to the Assemblies should be deducted from their Common Fund allocations".Coordinating Directors of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, who appeared before the Commission, complained of huge deductions made from their respective Common Funds in respect of the anniversary souvenirs.While some of the Assemblies claimed the deductions did not correspond to the quantity of items received, others said although they did not receive such souvenirs, deductions were made from their Common Funds.The allegations by the Assemblies compelled the Commission to subpoena the Administrator of the Common Fund to appear before it to offer explanations.Mr Nicol said his outfit received a letter from the Office of the President instructing him to deduct GH¢5,160,000 from the Assemblies' Common Funds in respect of 5.4 million anniversary plastic drinking cups with a unit price of GHp97.The cups were to be distributed to school children in the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDs) in lieu of the Jubilee celebration.He said acting on the directive, he wrote to the Ghana Education Service (GES) to make available the number of beneficiaries in each district after, which deductions were made in respect of the number of children per the unit cost of the cups.Mr Nicol told the Commission that payment was to be spread in four quarters and that after the deduction from the third quarter, his outfit, received complaints from the various Assemblies about the deduction.He said, the Assemblies were therefore asked to submit letters stating their grievances adding "But as I speak now My Lord, none of the Assemblies have done so. It is only Gonja West, which submitted a letter indicating that they had not received any cups".When the Commission's counsel asked Mr Nicol whether he sought the consent of the MMD's before the deductions were made, he said that he assumed the former Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani had discussed the issue with them since the directive came from the Office of the President."My Lord, it was not my duty to do so. I was only acting on the directive from the Minister of Local Government," he said. When asked about what he intended to do with Assemblies that had not received the cups but saw deductions made to their Common Funds, Nicol said when confirmed that the Ghana@50 Secretariat did not supply the cups, government would give them (Common Fund Secretariat) the authorization to refund the monies.Mr Willie Odoi, Managing Director of F.Malawi Engineering Company Limited, said the company supplied to the Ghana@50 Secretariat the public address system that was used at the Independence Square on the day of the celebration.He said the company received part payment of GH¢44,137.45 from the Secretariat on February 4, 2007 leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢44,137.45.Sivnesh Kumar, General Manager of Interplast Limited, who also appeared, told the Commission that the Ghana@50 Secretariat owed it 49,687 dollars for windows it supplied for the 60 presidential houses built by the African Union Development Consortium Limited (AUDCL) projects at Ridge and the La AU village at Cantonment.The company was, however, asked to demand such claims from the AUDCL and not the Ghana@50 Secretariat since AUDCL contracted them to supply the windows.

Silverbird Rewards Theatre Goers – Young Girl Wins Tickets to Chicago, USA

Silverbird Cinemas, the number one movie theater complex in Ghana has honoured its promises of granting an opportunity to a lucky theatre goer to go see where the blockbuster Harry Potter 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince) was made.
The promotion, which started a few weeks ago when the movie was released, attracted thousands of movie lovers to the Silverbird cinemas. This resulted in Silverbird cinemas topping all cinema rankings across East and West Africa including Nairobi and Lagos.
"The movie pulled a lot of people to the cinema. We were amazed at the huge turn-out which was also an indication that Ghanaians like quality and would always come to the cinemas to see a good movie. We are very delighted and for that matter would want to encourage more and more people to come and see movies on our gigantic screens in our world-class beautiful theatres" says Mr. Albert Mensah, MD of Silverbird Ghana.
The winner of the draw, fifteen year old girl, Darley Ofosu Dorte has the singular opportunity to travel to Chicago, USA with an adult partner to visit the site where the Harry Potter movie was shot and also an opportunity to see President Barack Obama’s hometown.
"I am very happy to be the lucky winner. I can’t believe I’m going to Chicago and more especially to the Harry Potter movie set. Maybe I’ll go with my mum or daddy" says young elated Darley who has just completed Corpus Christi Catholic School (JHS) in Sakumono, Accra,
This draw is in line with Silverbird’s commitment to rewarding loyal customers and also to serve as an incentive for customers to return to watch latest blockbuster movies at their plush cinemas.
Silverbird Entertainment Ghana Limited is a joint venture between the Silverbird Group, a full service media entertainment and real estate Company with holdings in radio, television, retail malls and cinemas and Global media Alliance an integrated pan African media and entertainment company with offices in South Africa and Kenya and affiliate offices in Nigeria and the UK. Silverbird with its wide and excellent product offering offers premium advertising opportunities such as branding of popcorn cups and fliers, and on-screen advertising where advertisers are able to capture their audiences in a relaxed and receptive mood as they sit glued to their seats for their movies.
Souce: Brooke Nuwati/Global Media Alliance

Zita testifies in Asabee's case

Mrs Zita S Okaikoi, Minister of Information, on Tuesday at a Fast Track High Court in Accra, testified for the prosecution in the case involving Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, former Minister of Information and National Orientation, his wife Zulieka Lawria, six other officials and a legal non-entity.They are being tried for allegedly conspiring to defraud the state of GH¢86,915.85 as a result of renovation works carried out at the Ministerial Block of the Ministry during Mr Asamoah Boateng's tenure. The other accused persons are Frank Agyekum, former Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation and Dominic Aloysius Yaw Sampong, former Acting Chief Director of the Ministry, Kofi Asamoah Boateng, Chief Director of the Ministry, Kwabena Denkyira, former Director of Finance and Administration of the Ministry and Yasmine Domua and Prosper Arku of Supreme Procurement Agency Limited.The non-legal entity firm is Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited (SPAL).The officers are being tried for various counts of conspiracy to defraud the state, contravening the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, forgery of documents and uttering forged documents and deceit of public officer.They have pleaded not guilt at the court presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, which has admitted them to bail in the sum of GH¢10,000 each with a surety each.In her evidence in chief, Mrs Okaikoi said when was going through some files on assumption of office as a minister on June 5, she came across documents signed by Sampong requesting payment to Phlexicom Ventures for renovation works carried out at the Ministerial Block of the ministry. The minister said she quizzed Sampong as to why he should sign a letter for the release of funds without her consent and the knowledge of the two deputy ministers at the ministry.Mrs Okaikoi, who is also a legal practitioner, said out of her amazement over Sampong's conduct, she wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance on June 8 halting any payment.The minister said she also sent a memorandum to the Chief of Staff informing him about the developmentAt a meeting held at the ministry, she said issues concerning Phlexicom ventures came up and Sampong apologized for his conduct. Mrs Okaikoi said Sampong told her that the renovation included the tiling of the offices of the Minster and Deputy Minister. According to Mrs Okaikoi, Sampong said the minister in 2008 could not effect payment because, Mr Lawrence Dzakpa, the Principal Accountant of the Ministry, refused to approve the payment for the renovations works. Mrs Okaikoi said Mr Dzakpa in his explanation stated that he (Mr Dzakpa) had two requests on his desk.The requests, the minister said, were payment in respect of renovation work to Phlexicom Ventures and payment for three vehicles acquired from PHC Motors.Mrs Okaikoi said Mr Dzapkpa told her that he had signed for the payment for the three vehicles from PHC but declined to pay for the renovation works because it lacked proper documents to facilitate payment.The Minister said she asked Mr Sampong whether he had rectified and regularized the contract.The witness said she was concerned about the payment of the GH¢86,915.85 because the Ministry had been given a ceiling of GH¢50,000 cedis for renovations under the Public Procurement Act. Mrs Okaikoi said soon after the management meeting, she expressed her displeasure over the signing of the documents and wrote letters to the Chief of Staff with copies to the security agencies. She said Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information, handed over the letters to the Bureau of National Investigations for further investigations.The minister said later Sampong came to her office to apologize for his conduct.The minister said while she was on admission at the SSNIT Hospital, she received a phone call from Sampong informing her about his (Sampong) retirement.According to the minister, she told him that he would call him to inform him about who he should hand over to.Meanwhile, lawyers of all the accused persons have responded to the charges preferred against their clients.Nene Amegatcher, who represented Asamoah Boateng and his wife, said the story of the prosecution was unsustainable and that could be seen in the way and manner the charges were withdrawn and substituted. Nene Amegatcher said Asamoah Boateng on assumption of office in May 2008 paid working visits to the Ministry's regional and district offices to find out the prevailing situation on the ground. During his visits, defence counsel said, one of the major problems he found was the poor and bad state of offices.This, counsel said, posed danger to workers of the Ministry. The problems included worn-out carpets, noisy air conditioners and poor urinal and toilet facilities.Counsel said it was Asamoah Boateng's vision to see to it that workers of the Ministry of Information worked in a "conducive environment".According to the lawyer, there was nothing criminal about Asamoah Boateng leaving a "lasting legacy" when he dealt with unhygienic conditions at the Ministry.Nene Amegatcher disclosed that it was at a directors' meeting that they unanimously agreed to improve conditions at the Ministry. Counsel denied that his client appointed Kofi Asamoah Boateng to the Ministry explaining that it was the Head of Civil Service that transferred Kofi Asamoah Boateng to the Ministry of Information. He also denied that Asamoah Boateng suspended all investment programmes and re-directed funds to the renovation of the Ministerial Block of the Ministry of Information (MOI).Nene Amegatcher said Asamoah Boateng did not fabricate any invoice or documents.In the case of Zuleika, Nene Amegatcher said she did not rob the state of the GH¢86,000 cedis because she was a self-made business woman.Mr Egbert Faibille, who represented Agyekum, said his client signed the letter so that government could not be sued. Mr Attah Akyea who represented Denkyira noted that charges preferred against his client were anaemic adding it was difficult for a contractor to conspire with Asamoah Boateng and Agyekum.Mr Daniel Asare Mintah, who represented Kofi Asamoah Boateng and Denyira, said they were dedicated civil servants who discharged their duties well.He said they were only waiting for what the prosecution would put across.Mr G.S.K. Babanawo, who represented Supreme Procurement Agency Limited and Proper Arku, said the agency since 2006 had successfully conducted consultancy businesses with some Ministries and Agencies without any hitches. According to him they had not conspired with anyone to defraud the state. The matter was adjourned to September 17.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

May’s Day Care holds 20th anniversary graduation, speech and prize giving day.

May’s Day Care and Educational Centre has held its 20th anniversary graduation, speech and prize giving day in Accra. The event which took place over the weekends at Dansoman was under the theme “Linking fun with learning, the dawn of a new era”. Students at the graduation put up displays to entertain parents and visitors who trooped in.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Minister of Women and Children Affairs congratulated the proprietors of the school for its enormous achievements over the past 20 years and encourage them to take higher steps to realize the objectives of the school. Gariba Hawawu-Boya said education of the child is an important investment and therefore challenged parents to invest more in education. “When you educate your child it’s a good sign of giving hope to your child therefore this should always be at the heart of every parent”.
Government will also play an effective role in providing citizens with good formal and non formal education through the provision of subsidies including effective programs such as school feeding and free uniform among others “said Hawawu-Boya. Nevertheless we appreciate the efforts of the private sector in terms of education and pledge high support towards their good works in the country.

The Minister further charged private school operators to make their school fees more moderate to help the less privilege in society to also enjoy education and join the literate train for better socio-economic developments. She challenged students to take extra interest in their studies to help them achieve their aims in life and also emulate good behaviors of high profile personalities in society to help them in realizing their dreams.

The Director of the school also called on parents to visit the school at all times to ascertain the performance of their children. Mrs.Efua Bram-Larbi also added that children play a lot through playing and therefore parents should adhere to these methods even when they are home.
The Head of Academics of May’s Day Care and Educational centre said the general performance of the students are encouraging and most students make excellent grades during their basic certificate examinations due to the professional methods of teaching adopted by her outfit. Ewuraba Bram-Larbi encouraged students to read more and make story books their friends. Some dignitaries at the event included Prof. Badu Akosa of Ghana medical School, Stephen Adongo from the Departments of Social Welfare, Ato Ahowi and Rev.Laryea-Adjei among others.
Source: Ghanaian Reactor Online (GRO)

Compulsory insurance cover for commercial buildings is imperative

The Executive Secretary of Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), has disclosed that owners of commercial buildings and those under construction were obliged to take compulsory insurance cover against natural hazards such as fire, earthquake and flood. Mr. Gabriel Glover made this call last week during the closing ceremony of a two-day information session organized the GIA for the media in Accra. Journalists were taken through the basic law and importance of insurance in the country from all categories and most relevantly the media role in promoting insurance. “Insurance Act 2006 which established the Fire Service Maintenance Fund required owners of such buildings and those under construction to contribute a percentage of their gross premium received by each insurer into the fund” he added. The Act stipulates that "every commercial building shall be insured with an insurer against the hazards of collapse, fire, earthquake, storm and flood and an insurance policy issued for it".
Mr. Glover reiterated that the fund would be used to equip state institutions assigned with fire fighting functions and other organizations determined for the purpose of fighting fires. He said the law preferred drastic actions against insurers who failed to comply and these included actions such as the revocation of the insurance licenses of recalcitrant companies among others. Participated Journalists were awarded certificates.

Source: Ghanaianreactoronline (GRO)

Monday, September 7, 2009


This year’s international Literacy Day of the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED) commemorated with a clean up exercise at the Maamobi Polyclinic in Accra. The main theme of the celebration which falls tomorrow 8th September 2009 is “Functional literacy –Key to national participation, Good citizenship and social development”. The clean-up exercise which took place over the weekends witnessed huge number of workers of the division who weeded, cleaned, swept and fumigated the entire clinic with anti- mosquito ides to make the hospital malaria free with the help of some workers from Zoom lion Ghana Limited.

Speaking to Journalists at the event, the Director of the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED) said the main idea behind the cleaning on Saturday was because Tuesday which is a working day will not be appropriate for the activity. Mr. Samuel salifu Mogre stated that the clean-up exercise signified the achievement of the National Functional Literacy Programme’s (NFLP) which spelt’s out clearly the empowering beneficiaries to maintain a clean environment and indeed all Ghanaians should apply that in their communities at all times. “Undoubtly a clean environment is a necessary ingredient for creating a healthy society which is also a key requirement for socio-economic development.”

Mr.Mogre further called all to address the sanitation problems in the country especially a quite substantive number of illiterates who are unaware of the damaging effects of filth on the their health. Any society that is not health conscious is bound to face challenges with its socio-economic development.

“I call on Ghanaians to contribute to the reduction of illiteracy in the country in order to bring our illiterate ones into the train of development” said Mogre.This call is very important because the country can never meet its desire when large number of population is denied participation in the national developmental efforts through illiteracy and ignorance. He thanked all stakeholders who contributed fervently towards the success of the NFLP program.
Source:Ghanaian Reactor Online (GRO)

University of Ghana introduces Masters Degree in Petroleum

The University of Ghana, Legon, has introduced a Petroleum Geoscience course as part of the university's new post-graduate programmes to respond to the high professional demand in Ghana's petroleum industry.The new master's degree programme was developed in collaboration with the university's Geology Department and supported by the Ghana National Petroleum Company.Professor Clifford Nii Boi Tagoe, Vice Chancellor of the University announced this on Saturday in Accra at the matriculation ceremony held for students admitted for the 2009/ 2010 academic year.Other newly introduced programmes include a master's degree in Clinical Trials, mounted by the School of Public Health and higher degrees in Biotechnology and Plant Breeding.The university had also introduced a Graduate-entry programme in the Medical School aimed at giving science graduates the opportunity to pursue medicine over reduced duration.Prof. Tagoe said the university had introduced bachelor's degree courses in Adult Education and Sign Language as well as professional programmes in Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine. He said the university had made conscious efforts to revise the course curricula to meet national demands and added that more than 130 courses had so far been revised.Prof. Tagoe said the university had put in place scholarship schemes to complement the 10 scholarships, sponsored by a US charity organisation, for bright but needy students admitted this year at an average amount of GH¢ 2,000 per year.Speaking on the issue of accommodation he expressed the hope that the construction of the university's hostels complex would facilitate the accommodation of some 3,000 students in order to ease the stress. He said the university authority would start investigating the several allegations of students who sublet their beds to their counterparts."Let me say that those caught to have indulged in this as well as the so-called tenants will be summarily dismissed," he said. He cautioned students against the flippant use of the media in resolving matters that could otherwise be amicably addressed, through dialogue with the university authorities and stressed the use of institutional channels available on campus to solve complaints and other concerns.Prof. Tagoe told the matriculants to take advantage of other activities such as seminars, studio performances and sports to enrich their life on campus."While developing your intellectual capacities, do not forget to also develop your spiritual life by devoting some of your time to worship and serve God," he said.The university offered 16,943 applicants admission to pursue either the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes out of which 9,361 so far have enrolled.

Palestinian group protest Israeli Foreign Minister Visit

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and its allies in Ghana have condemned the visit of Israeli Foreign and Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Avigdor Liberman to Ghana on Monday. A statement issued by Dr. Yao Graham, a member of the group described Liberman as a man whose actions and pronouncements stokes racist violence."He is a leading promoter of apartheid in Israel against non- Jews. Such is his hatred of Palestinians that he once offered to help drown the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails in the Dead Sea. That Ghana, a country that prides itself on being a model of democracy in Africa and has been in the forefront of anti-racism, anti-colonialism and peace in the international arena should host such a man raises questions about the principles guiding the foreign policy of the National Democratic Congress government," the statement said.The statement said Liberman's visit to Ghana was part of an offensive by the Benjamin Netanyahu- led government to find friends and allies at a time that Israel was facing pressure to respect international resolutions for supporting the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state.It said Liberman was bitterly opposed to the key principles, which have been recognised by the United Nations and International bodies as basic elements towards the possibility of a just and lasting peace for the Palestinian people.It claimed that in May 2006, Liberman called for the killing of Arab members of the Israeli parliament who met the members of the Palestinian authority which was then led by Hamas. The statement urged all democratic and peace loving Ghanaians to denounce Mr. Liberman's visit to Ghana and communicate their displeasure to the government of President John Evans Atta Mills.