Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Government Rolls Out Comprehensive Program To Revamp The Railway Sector

The government has rolled out a comprehensive programme to revamp the country’s railway sector. Poor management and low investment has left the once vibrant railway sector in a bad state requiring urgent revamping.

Currently due to the bad nature of the railway lines and the lack of coaches, several heavy goods, like timber and heavy equipment, which hitherto depend on the rail form of transportation, are being carted by road thus causing most of the roads to deteriorate.

But the Ministry of Transport has hinted of a plan to restore the ailing railway sector to its glory days.

This has been necessitated due to criticism of government’s rhetoric on the rehabilitation and expansion of existing rail infrastructure.

Deliberating on the railway sub-sector in an exclusive interview with Live News’ Ekow Annan, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Joyce Mogtari Bawah mentioned the progress of work in the railway industry.

“I am happy to recall that in recent times, the government of Ghana and the Brazilian government have agreed to fund almost half of the Western railway line. With respect to the next portion of it leading to Kumasi, we also have a company that is very keen to invest. With regards to the Eastern railway line, we realize that without the commencement of the railway line, it will be unable to deeply develop the Boankra inland port” she said.

In a related development,
Madam Mogtari Bawah has underscored the importance of the upgrade of the Tamale Airport to an International status.

This she noted will open up the three Northern region’s â€" which are the most deprived and poorest in the country â€" to some form of international activity which will help turn around their economic fortunes.

When completed, it will become Ghana’s second international airport after the Kotoka Airport.

The completion of this airport is expected to divert some traffic from the KIA, as Ghana makes giant strides to upgrade its airline infrastructure to rival Africa’s key hubs such as Ethiopia and South Africa.

The first phase of the project, which is being undertaken solely by the Ghana Airports Company (GAC) with a $100-million Brazilian facility, is expected to end in 2015.

The components includes a 4,000-metre runway extension, the construction of additional aprons, the installation of aeronautical ground lighting systems and the construction of a perimeter road and a security fence.

Upon completion, the Tamale International Airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, including the Boeing 747-800 series.

“The tamale upgrade will bring it to the level of an international airport which has been in the cast for a very long time. In fact even at the time when Kwame Nkrumah cut the sod for that particular airport to be developed, his vision then was for it to be a second international airport to augment the services been offered by the Kotoka international airport. But of course due to the same concern which was the lack of funding, that dream did not come to fusion then. What we have decided to do now and something that the president considers as a priority project is to develop that airport” Joyce Mogtari Bawah said.

Touching on the benefits the airport will bring to the Northern part of the country, she added that “we have several of our agricultural pro-businesses in that part of Ghana. So I believe that opening up this facility for at least, some level of international activities will also encourage business in that regard.”

Adamus Resources Nzema Exposed.....Brutal Attacks At Nkroful Area Over Mining Concession

Security personnel of Adamus Resources, a subsidiary of Endeavour mining corporation led by some military men attacked some residents of Nkroful in the Western Region including the assembly man of the area over a piece of land which the company claimed formed part of their mining concession.

But for the intervention of God, the Assembly man for the Nkroful Ebanso Electoral Area, Lord Cudjoe would have met his untimely death on Saturday 20th September 2014, after trying to protest the demolition of newly constructed buildings on a piece of land belonging to his people in the area by the mining company without any prior notice to the indigenes.

Narrating his ordeal to this journalist, Lord Cudjoe said he received a call from one of his people informing him about a demolition exercise going on at the area so he quickly rushed to find out for himself and upon reaching the area, he discovered that newly constructed buildings of the people including his own in-law was being destroyed by an excavator with a heavy security presence believed to be hired by the Adamus Resources.

He noted that due to the operations of Adamus Resources, the District Assembly has decided not to give building permits to anybody in the area with the reason that, until the mining company gives a report on the land since they claimed ownership of the area.

On the suspension of granting building permit, the assembly man hinted that“When I contacted the chief of my community Nana KwasiKutuah V, he also received the information with surprise and said he had not been informed of it, agreeing that clarifications be sought”.

Lord Cudjoe therefore lamented the situation as bitter and expects the District Chief Executive of the Elembelle District Assembly, Hon. Daniel Eshun to be more proactive in bringing a better conclusion to this matter.

“There are some reasons why I am feeling that Management has not been fair to the people of Nkroful and its leadership, especially the Assembly members and the Chief.

As Hon. Assembly members representing our people at the Assembly, we ought to get the right information to be relayed to our electorates and not the other way round.

As things stand now, the people are informing us of a critical situation affecting them. What is more embarrassing is that we (Assembly members affected) have no explanations to give them as to the rationale behind this directive.

Again, as the Convener for the Mines and Environment Sub-Committee of the Assembly, I believe that whatever is the backdrop for this directive will hinge on the environmental implications which could emanate from the building of the houses in the area being affected by this directive.

Against the above background, one is but forced to believe that the Assembly is steadily shrinking into just the core Management, waging a ‘psychological war of redundancy’ on most of its sub-committees and by extension, on the Assembly members.

However, Management ought to be cognizant of the fact that for the Assembly members to be given the respect they deserve from their electorates which will make them repose confidence in the District assembly, depend on a large extent to the quality and timeliness of information they get equipped with, largely from the District Assembly for relay to the communities” Lord Cudjoe laments.

Besides the ban on building permit, farmers of Nkroful has no access road to their farm-lands because the mining company has barricaded the area as security zone therefore one has to write official letter to the management of the Adamus Resources before it can be granted access to their farmlands, a situation which one of the residence described as preposterous and pathetic.

“How can the birthplace of Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which is supposed to serve as a tourist community be treated with such vindictiveness” she asked.

When I called the DCE to hear his response on the matter, he said he is having a big event with the regional minister and the Minister for Energy therefore we should reschedule the meeting.

Freemasons Storm Takoradi

George Ekow Mills, Dept. District Grand Master of Freemasons District Grand Lodge of Ghana English Constitution and Papa Owusu-Ankomah.

Freemasons of the District Grand Lodge of Ghana across the country at the weekend trooped to the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis for their Half-Yearly Communication programme at the plush Atlantic Hotel in Takoradi in the Western Region.

Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that traces its origin to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the 14 th century regulated the qualifications of masons and their interaction with authorities and clients.

Members of the District Grand Lodge, which comprises 58 Lodges spread across the country, used the programme to take stock of what they had done so far in the year and also to meet members of the group from all over the country.

Fundamental Principles
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE , George Ekow Mill, Deputy District Grand Master of Freemasons, District Grand Lodge of Ghana English Constitution, explained that Freemasonry is basically based on brotherly love, belief and truth.

'Freemason is a fraternal association of men who believe in moral uprightness and seek spiritual values', he stressed.

He indicated that charity is the bedrock of the institution and that the members try as much as possible to assist and be useful to the society and not only the members adding, 'We have been engaging in masonic activities for long.

'We renovate schools, assist hospitals to acquire equipment. We also give scholarships to needy students', he added.

The Freemasons took advantage of their presence in the twin-city of Sekondi-Takoradi to donate three Patient Monitors worth GH¢18,000.00 to the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital.

George Ekow Mill explained that the monitors could be used for the very ill, the unconscious and the bed-ridden patients and that they would be used in special wards at the health facility.

Receiving the monitors on behalf of the hospital, Dr. Paul Ntodi, Medical Director of the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, commended the Freemasons for their charitable works, particularly in the health sector.

He revealed that the items were precious and needed at the hospital.

He said even though the hospital already had some patients' monitors, they were not adequate.

Other Needs
Dr. Ntodi indicated that the hospital had other needs and appealed to the Freemasons to come to the aid of the health facility.

He pointed out that the hospital had not seen any major rehabilitation work since it was established so many years ago.

He appealed to the Freemasons in Sekondi to try and adopt one of the wards for rehabilitation.

He noted that the hospital might also need oxygen concentrators to help improve the supply of the gas to patients.

He also appealed to the Freemasons to help complete a care givers' hostel which was started by the Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, but had stalled because of lack of funding.

From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi 

‘Swagger Cry Baby’ Adu Asare Sacked

Helda Boadi. INSET: Kwadwo Adu Asare
Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Adenta, Kwadwo Adu Asare, has been relieved of his post as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the newly-created Youth Enterprise Support (YES).

The scheme (YES) was initiated by President John Dramani Mahama in August this year with a GH¢10,000,000 seed capital purported to assist young Ghanaians with creative and innovative business ideas and plans to achieve their full potentials.

Adu Asare was appointed the first CEO to oversee the activities and operations of the programme almost two months ago.

But even before he could settle at the office, the man has been booted out of the place with no specific reasons assigned yet, even though many believe it may not be unconnected with the reckless handling of events leading to Ghana's poor showing at the 2014 World Cup tourney in Brazil by him and his other colleagues. Unfolding events at the Presidential Commission that is probing the country's abysmal performance at the soccer fiesta have shown that the handling was embroiled in a series of scandals.

Ayariga's Confirmation
Minister of Youth and Sports, Mahama Ayariga, yesterday confirmed the dismissal of Mr Adu Asare, also known as Swagger Baby, on Accra-based Citi FM .

The former Adenta MP wept like a baby when he appeared before the Justice Senyo Dzamefe-led three-member fact-finding Commission, prompting members of the Commission to advise him to put himself together.

But the tears, which many have said were a facade to court public sympathy, could not save the man his job.

In his place has been appointed Madam Helga Boadi, who was Corporate Affairs Manager at First Atlantic Bankâ€"a bank with eight branches in the whole of Ghana and Country Manager at Fasyl Technology Ghana Limited.

Presidential Staffer
However, Adu Asare reverts to his position as a Presidential Staffer, joining the list of hangers-on at the Flagstaff House (office of the President) who have been drawing fat salaries and allowances with no job specifications.

Swagger Baby is the second government appointee to suffer a similar fate after the World Cup debacle. While he has had his appointment terminated, his other colleague former Minister for Youth and Sportsâ€"who superintended over the whole World Cup fiasco, Elvis Afriyie Ankrahâ€"has been kept in the bosom of the President at the Flagstaff House.

IMANI-Ghana's Agitation
President of policy think-tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, was one of the several people who were pushing for the removal or resignation of Adu Asare when he was first made CEO of the Youth Enterprise Support programme.

'If the gentleman who…had a simple objective of attracting corporate funds and using them for something else will be the same gentleman that will go and sit clearly on this YES fund, I think it borders on the issue of integrity. I will advise him to resign from the YES thing immediately,' said Franklin Cudjoe during an interview on Citi FM.

Calls For Afriyie Ankrah's Dismissal
Even though there were similar calls for Afriyie Ankrah (known for his 'choo boi' antics)â€"who served as Campaign Manager for the elections that saw then candidate and Vice President Mahama becoming Presidentâ€"to be dismissed from government, the President only relieved him of his duties as the Minister of Youth and Sports and honoured him with the position of a Minister of State at the Office of the President.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

The Doomsoricles of Karnia - (Light in Akan)

It is sad to note that after all the suffering Ghanaians have gone through, there seem to be no light at the end of the tunnel literally. Officials have come out to boldly assure Ghanaians that the current load shedding will continue indefinitely so to speak.

To add insult to injury, ECG officials have dutifully and timely come out with new electricity tariffs which has gone up by 6.54%.

Doomsoricles (Lights out killing us) is literally grinding businesses to a halt. What is surprising is that in the face of current economic hardship due to the depreciation of the Cedi, you would think that one of the topmost priorities of the Government is to ensure that businesses in the country run smoothly.

We continue to watch and see what unfolds.

+Ghana Leaks

Government Borrows GH¢26 Billion In First 9 Months Of 2014

Seth Terkper, Finance Minister
Between January 1 and September 19, government domestic borrowing, through the sale of short-dated instruments, amounted to GH¢26.18 billion, up from the GH¢19.03 billion it borrowed within the same period last year.

A Graphic Business analysis further reveals that the government borrowing was 37.57 per cent more than the previous period, in spite of the substantial rise in the interest rate at which the funds were borrowed.

The amount accrued from the weekly auctions of the 91-day and 182-day Treasury Bills and the one and two-year notes, through weekly tenders at the Bank of Ghana (BoG).

The interest rate on the 91-day T-Bill quoted at 19 per cent on January 4 and fluctuated along. As of September 22, the bill was quoted at 25.4 per cent, while that of the 182-day T'Bill was pegged at 24 per cent, data from the BoG showed.

The increment in government's domestic borrowing largely explains why the general lending by banks slowed down by 10 per cent on the average for last year, while their holdings in these securities rose by 43 per cent as captured in the 2013 Banking Survey report by accounting and auditing firm, PwC.

A banking consultant, Nana Otuo Acheampong, told Graphic Business in an interview that the development was disingenuous to the economy, given that it was dominated by micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), which need extra capital to grow into giant companies.

The marked increment in government borrowing from the money market was a sign of credit challenges facing businesses, he said, citing the cost at which banks lend to businesses and the general public.

He explained that once banks realise that investing in short-dated securities would give them good returns compared to lending to businesses, which came at a risk, they would channel a large chunk of their lendable funds into these instruments as against giving them to businesses. This is usually termed, crowding out the private sector.

Two industry experts, Mr Mahama Iddrisu, a stock analyst and Managing Director of EDC Stockbrokers Limited, and Dr John Gatsi, a chartered economist and Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said in separate interviews that the government's increased borrowing through the T-Bills was fuelled by a corresponding rise in its thirst for funds to finance capital projects as well as pay for maturing debts.

“If government borrowings from the sale of these instruments are going up, then what it means is that government's need for funds to support capital projects is increasing and that could be because budgetary allocations are sufficiently unavailable,” Mr Iddrisu explained.

Majority of the accrued funds, he said, were used as counterpart funding to donor-sponsored projects as well as paying contractors.

Dr Gatsi also explained that the situation was compounded by the short-term nature of the securities which forced the government to auction new securities to redeem the maturing ones.

“If you borrow T-Bills for, let's say, three months, after three months, you have to repay but what would you have done to generate revenue with which you can use to repay? You would not have done much and so you would have to go in and borrow more through the same T-Bills so you could repay and that is the cycle we have been going through,” he added. Falling revenues, rising T-Bill rates

All the government's revenue generation streams have, for the past few quarters, experienced shortfalls.

This is in the midst of rising expenditures, which, cumulatively, lead to gaping budget deficits over the periods.

For instance, total revenues and grants for the first half of the year was reported at GH¢13.3 billion against a budget target of GH¢14 billion. Total expenditures, on the other hand, totalled GH¢19.3 billion, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) said in its September 2014 Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) report.

Consequently, the deficit to total productivity (GDP) was estimated at 5.3 per cent, also above a budget target of 5.1 per cent.

To help plug that revenue loophole, fund infrastructural developments and meet other pressing needs, the government stepped up the sale of the short-dated instruments through the BoG to borrow from the general public and later repay with interest when the instruments mature, mostly between 90 days and two years.

This development, however, pushed the rates at which these instruments were redeemed to record levels in a spate of nine months, beginning from January this year.

For instance, while yields on the 91-day bill rose by 32.19 per cent between January 6 and September 15, yields on the 182-day bill also experienced a 37.43 per cent rise between the same period, from 19.18 per cent interest rate to 26.36 per cent.

That of the one and two-year notes also went up, the one-year note moving from 17 per cent in January to 25.5 per cent in September 15 this year.

These developments were a reflection of the dire nature of government's quest for funds, Mr Iddrisu of EDC said.

“It is true that government is the one auctioning these securities but it is not the one with the funds; individuals and investors do and for government to get them to lend to it, it needs to bid higher, more like entice them else they will push their funds into other investment mechanisms,” he said, mentioning microfinance companies as one place that could guarantee higher return for deposits. Implication on businesses

Nana Acheampong, who is the Executive Director of the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Centre for Executive Education and Research (OTCEER) in Kumasi, explained further that a consistent rise in the yields of T-Bills meant that the cost of money was becoming dearer to businesses.

“When I talk of cost of money, I mean the use of money both as a saver and borrower. So, for the businessman who has excess cash to save, it means they will get more interest on their savings. However, for the businessmen who are in cash deficit and, therefore, have to borrow from the financial institutions, it means they will pay more for that cash and that is not good for their operations,” he said.

The three analysts concurred that the government needed to reduce its short-term borrowing to help free cash for businesses as well as reduce the cost of credit in the country.

This, they said, could be done through a switch from short-term instruments to long-term ones such as the Eurobond as well as five, seven and 10-year bonds, which would give government the needed space to invest the borrowed funds in projects that were self-financing.

“If the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIFF), as talked about by government, is also properly structured and resourced, it can help reduce demand for these securities and all that will inure to the benefit of businesses,” Mr Iddrisu said.

Credit: graphic.com.gh

KMA boss threatens to sack city guards

Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) Kojo Bonsu has threatened to sack all city guards for dereliction of duty and bribe taking leading to congestion in the garden city.

The mayor said it has come to his notice that the city guards take bribes to allow violations of the assembly's bylaws and that the level of indiscipline among the guards was intolerable and it has come to the point where they must be disciplined.

Speaking in an emergency meeting with the guards, the mayor said “I am a good man to sack all of you and I can sack all of you and replace you today”.

He has ordered that the over 200 city guards be served with warning letters and made to go through fresh fitness training and tests in the coming weeks.

Mr Bonsu said those who fail the fitness training or are not fit enough to continue with the job will be sacked to make sure that the right thing is done.

“Those who do not pass the fitness test will be sacked, it is better to sack you than to keep you and cause problems for the assembly”.

He accused the guards of blatantly allowing market women to sell on pavements when they are not supposed to and have refused to ensure sanity on the roads.

He said he has taken the decision to make them go through the fitness test or fire them because they are the people who are supposed to enforce the law and because they have failed he has no choice but to ensure that he right thing is done.

According to him, if he fails to stamp his authority he could also be sacked by the president and in order not to be sacked he will rather ensure that they do their job.

However in their response, the city guards blamed the police for thwarting their efforts by constantly pleading anytime arrests are made.

Some of them admitted to taking bribes from people but blamed it on their poor salary which they say is not able to cater for them and their families.

They however, pleaded with the mayor to spare them and promised to execute their duties more effectively.

Speaking on Joy FMs NewsNite, Public relations Officer for the mayor Samuel Gyamfi said the mayor is disgusted at what is going on and has on several occasions cautioned them but the guards have refused to listen.

He said the mayor and the assembly will be considering a new salary structure for the guards but said it was unacceptable for them to engage in illegalities when they were fully aware of the conditions of service before they agreed to take the job.


KT Hammond punctures PURC's justification of utility price hikes

The Ranking Member on Parliament's Energy and Petroleum Committee, KT Hammond, says reasons stated by PURC as accounting for the latest upward adjustment in utility tariffs are bogus.

Mr Hammond said on Top Story on Joy FM Tuesday that factors that informed the automatic utility price adjustment by the PURC like the cedi-dollar ratio and price of crude oil should have resulted in a reduction in the cost of electricity and water.

“We have just been told that the cedi is now depreciating the dollar, what is the rationale in what we are being told?” a furious KT Hammond asked show host Evans Mensah.

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission reviewed upwards, electricity and water tariffs by 6.45 and 4.54 percent respectively -- a second of such price hikes this year alone.

Cedi USD Exchange Rate, Inflation, Price of Crude Oil and Natural Gas, Fuel Mix (Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Distillate Fuel), Generation Mix (Hydro and Thermal), Power Purchase Cost, among others informed the PURC's adjustment.

In July this year, electricity tariffs went up by 6.1 percent while water tariffs were increased by 12 percent.

The PURC explained the marginal increases in the current adjustment have been necessitated by the shift to crude oil for generation of power occasioned by erratic gas supply from Nigeria.

But these reasons, according to New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Adansi Asokwa in the Ashanti Region, should rather bring down utility prices.

“I don't accept that the shift is now in favour of thermal rather than hydro. Even if that is true it is just an insignificant part of the whole relationship. The real [issue] is the price of the crude and that of course the dollar-cedi relationship”, he argued.

According to him, so far as the price of crude has gone down, there should be a corresponding drop in cost of electricity.

PURC also cited “challenges being faced with the erratic nature of Gas delivery from the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) in Nigeria” as one of the reasons for the upward review of utilities.

But “It is a complete ruse”, Mr Hammond said.
“2001 to 2008 there was not a single gas produced from anywhere in the generation mix, but we produced electricity in this country. Saying that erratic supply of gas from West African Gas Pipeline is the problem is neither here nor there”, he added.

He said the PURC, although by law is expected to independent, is in fact not â€" and the current upward review is a clear sign of the PURC's subservience to government control.

Mr Hammond said even though the NPP pushed for an Automatic Adjustment Formula (AFF) during their tenure in government, the policy does not necessarily mean that there must always be an upward review.

In a reaction to Mr Hammond's assertions, Public Affairs Director of the PURC, Nana Yaa Gyantuah, said although it is true that there has been a drop in the price of crude oil, the many power producing plants in the country rely on crude oil and more of it too.

“We are looking at an issue where we are using more volumes because there is a dependency of crude because there is inadequacy of gas coming through at Atuabo”, she said.

She also said the Akosombo, Bui and Kpong dams are not dependable because of their low water levels, indicating that there is cause for even more reliance on gas to power thermal plants.

“We should also not forget the fact that our demand is increasing. Even though a yearly average is 12% per annum, which is even better than last year December [10% per annum] in the quarter that we are going into, we are going to do something like 15%”, she said.

Meanwhile  many Ghanaians have expressed frustrations at the recent utility price increases.

Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | George Nyavor | [email protected]

Tigo pretending to not be affected by financial crisis?

We have noticed that Tigo Ghana has been making a lot of noise lately about their latest so called value for money internet packages in the media recently.

However a closer look reveals that previously they offered unlimited browsing within the subscription period/package without bandwidth limitation, and then all other internet activities (downloading, streaming etc) fell under the capped limit for the period/package you subscribed to. The capped limit for the previous packages compared to the new ones are more or less the same with the difference being that you now cannot browse unlimited, but that all internet activity now falls under the fixed bandwidth limit given for each subscribed package.

So the question is, how is this a better offer than the previous? And why make so much noise about something that is clearly a lesser value for money than what was previously offered? Some readers have been complaining about mysterious credit deductions after topping up (currently not verified). Others say that once your internet package expires, your so called "Free Bonto Bonus" begins to run widely like an overflowing tap.

We would like to know more of your experiences with the Telcos. What have you discovered that was secretly hidden? Are the numerous promises by these Telcos for real? Or they come with hidden strings attached? What about the various text messages that forces you to gamble your hard earned credits/units away? Or the unwarranted flood of marketing text messages delivered daily to your inbox is something you would like them to stop?

Let us have your thoughts on these issues and whether you think the Government should do something about this anytime soon. These Telcos have been milking Ghanaians for a long time now, so it is fair to say that some changes need to take place to address some of these issues.

+Ghana Leaks

Electricity and water tariffs go up by 6.54 and 4.54% respectively

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission has reviewed upwards, electricity and water tariffs.

The cost of electricity has gone up by 6.54 percent while that of water has been increased by 4.54 percent.

The Ghana Water Company will, however, not be able to charge the new rates until certain challenges are fixed.

The PURC says the marginal increases have been necessitated by the shift to crude oil for generation of power occasioned by eratic gas supply from Nigeria.

Public Affairs Director of the PURC, Nana Yaa Gyantuah, said the Commission recognised that electricity consumers, for instance, are spending money on alternative sources of energy anyway, which costs them more.

More soon.

24 feared dead, several others injured in Berekum-Sunyani road crash

Twenty-four people are reported dead with several others injured when a Tipper Truck crashed into Sunyung bus on the Berekum-Sunyani road in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Monday.

The Sunyung bus was traveling from Berekum to Techiman while the Tiper truck loaded with sand was from also the same route to the same destination.

An eyewitness George Owusu Ansah who spoke to Myjoyonline.com said the Tiper Truck driver was attempting to overtake the Sunyung bus when it summersaulted bringing the both vehicles down at about 3pm.

He said both driver and passenger who were in the Tiper Truck escaped unhurt but majority of the people in the Sunyung bus lost their lives.

According to the eyewitness, the police arrived at the scene almost immediately to help transport the injured to the Sunyani Government Hospital.

PURC should stop throwing dust into our eyes- Kofi Kapito

Head of Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), Kofi Kapito has asked Ghanaians not to accept the increase in water and electricity by the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC).

“Utility tariffs keep increasing for no good reason, they should stop throwing dust into Ghanaians' eyes because we have had enough of them,” he warned.

PURC has announced new tariffs which will take effect from tomorrow October 1. The cost of electricity has gone up by 6.54 percent while that of water has been increased by 4.54 percent.

The Ghana Water Company will, however, not be able to charge the new rates until certain challenges are fixed.

The PURC says the marginal increases have been necessitated by the shift to crude oil for generation of power occasioned by erratic gas supply from Nigeria.

But speaking on Asempa FM's socio-political programme Ekosii sen Tuesday, Mr. Kapito said the PURC's reason is not good enough.

He indicated that the supposed increase in crude oil which the PURC is attributing to the increase, is not the true reflection of the case.

Kofi Kapito charged the PURC to ensure the utility service providers provide quality service than overburdening the poor consumer. 

“Electricity supply in the country is already poor and so they should stop those excuses. They should fix the challenge of electricity rather than increasing tariffs,” he urged.

The Ashesi Student Council In Collaboration With Ghana StartUp Cup Hold 3rd Annual A-4Idea Competition

On 2nd October, 2014 the Ashesi Student Council in collaboration with Ghana Startup Cup will be organising the 3rd annual A4idea Competition at Ashesi University College. A4idea is organised to create a platform for students to be able to identify creative solutions to the challenges that we face in our society.

The Ashesi Student Council aims to use the competition as a platform to encourage entrepreneurship on campus and in Ghana as a whole.

The partnership with Ghana Startup Cup, which is a member of a global network of business-model competitions focused on providing jobs through entrepreneurship, will enable the contestants to carry on with their ideas after the competition; The contestants will be connected to a network of professionals who will offer constant advice and support, as they work to establish their businesses.

The A4idea Competition was a huge success last year, as students came up with brilliant ideas such as a carpooling mobile app and a real time mobile voting platform. Thus, the Ashesi Student Council believes that collaborating with the Ghana Startup Cup will provide the opportunity for contestants to create stronger business opportunities.

The Ashesi Student Council believes that the involvement of Ghanaian entrepreneurs is crucial to accomplish their aim of supporting and encouraging the growth of entrepreneurship in Ghana. They therefore extend their invitation to Ghanaian entrepreneurs to come and share their experiences about transforming ideas into reality.

Thank you!

Akpah Prince

[email protected]

Head of UN Ebola Mission clarifies: No operational activities in Ghana

The man leading a team of the newly established UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) Anthony Banbury says Ghana will only serve as a nerve centre in efforts to stop the spread of the deadly virus to other countries.

“We will have a small headquarters here in Accra with senior officials and operational people trying to find ways to best support the main operations of UNMEER in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That is where our main activities will be”, Mr Banbury told journalists in Accra Tuesday.

UNMEER arrived in Ghana Monday to spearhead operations that aimed at ensuring efficient and rapid strategy to stop the Ebola outbreak. 

UNMEER health officials will treat infected people, reinforce essential services and take the necessary action to ensure the disease does not spread to countries that have not recorded a case.

“When that job is accomplished, this mission will close down and the sooner that happens the better”, UNMEER team leader said.

There have been widespread speculations among Ghanaians about possible repercussions of the setting up of a UN Ebola mission's command centre in the country. But Anthony Banbury said the country will not be at risk with their presence. 

Instead, he was confident UNMEER station in Ghana will be of benefit to the country.

Other sceptics have also sited administrative and infrastructural challenges in the country as the source of their apprehension over UNMEER's base in Ghana, however, the mission sees a different picture.

“Normally when UN missions are established in a country it reflects some problems in the country that need to be met. This [UNMEER] is a unique mission and its headquarters here is a reflection of just the opposite”, Anthony Banbury said.

He expressed satisfaction with Ghana's transportation and health systems, describing the country as “hospitable and well-functioning”.

“We will be delivering vehicles, helicopters and motor cycles and building Ebola treatment units and working with the national governments in the countries concerned”, he Banbury said.

UNMEER was established last week after the unanimous adoption of UN General Assembly resolution 69/1 to provide a platform for wide-ranging international efforts to put an end to the spread of the disease.

According to United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Ebola could potentially infect 1.4 million people within West Africa and beyond by end of January 2015.

UNMEER's leader explained the mission will leave nothing to chance in achieving its mandate, and urged governments, aid agencies, health workers as well as other stakeholders to come on board to stop the disease from spreading.

“The UN mission now has just one job: to stop the spread of Ebola. To prevent it from spreading”, he reiterated.

Anthony Banbury was not sure when the mission's job will end, but he was hopeful of a 90-day duration.

“It is an extremely ambitious target but we hope to achieve it”, he said.

Latest on Ebola
More than 3,000 people have died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, as the deadly virus continues to spread in the region.

In an update, the United Nations health agency said 3,091 people had died of confirmed, suspected or probable cases of Ebola. A total of 6,574 cases have been reported.

The disease remains concentrated in three countriesâ€"Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leoneâ€"which accounted for 3,083 of the deaths, according to data the WHO collected in September 23, 2014.

The WHO said four deaths were reported in the Liberian border district of Grand Kru, the first time the virus had been reported there. It also spread to the Kindia district in Guinea.

No new cases were reported in Nigeria or Senegal, two countries where the Ebola virus has been confirmed.

The WHO called exposure of health-care workers to the Ebola virus, which causes high fever and internal bleeding, "an alarming feature of this outbreak." As of Sept. 23, 211 health-care workers had died from the Ebola virus, the WHO said. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | George Nyavor | [email protected]

Auditor General's Report: NSS farming projects failed

The 2012 Auditor General's report has revealed that seven farming projects of the National Service Secretariat, failed to make profits, contrary to claims by the Secretariat that they were successful.

The report also suggests that the Secretariat failed to maintain proper records of its activities and also failed to get more young people into farming â€" which was one of the key aims of the farming projects.

Former Coordinator of the National Service Secretariat, Vincent Senam Kuagbenu, had maintained in 2011 that the farms were profitable and successful.

But the Auditor General said: “Out of a total amount of GH¢593,744.23 invested in the farms, management produced records to account for an amount of GH¢82,741.86 leaving a balance of GH¢511,002.37 unaccounted for.

“We also noted that management failed to carry out feasibility studies to inform the investments in the farms.”

The report also says a review of records made available to them indicates the management should have had a second look at the operations of the farms.

The Auditor General said an audit revealed that as at 2011 an amount of GH¢593,000 â€" excluding allowances paid to personnel â€" and then total income from sale of farm produce during the same period was about GH¢82,000 resulting in excess expenditure.

The Auditor General's report indicted the National Service Secretariat for GH¢1.3 million which cannot be account for.

“We did not sight the payment vouchers for 122 payments totalling GH¢1,314,173.01. Such act undermines controls provided for in disbursement of funds.

“We recommended that management produce the payment vouchers or the responsible officials should refund the amount involved into the Secretariat's account”, said the report. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | George Nyavor | [email protected]

Absentee teachers to lose jobs after two weeks of absence

The Ministry of Education says teachers who absent themselves from the classrooms for a cumulative period of two weeks, will be dismissed from the Ghana Education Service.

The move follows fresh reports from the World Bank and UNICEF which ranked Ghana first in teacher absenteeism in West Africa.

According to the reports, teacher idling is the major contributory factor to the low performance of pupils and students in public basic schools in the country.

But Deputy Education Minister in charge of Basic Education, Alex Kyeremeh says the situation will no longer be tolerated.

He told Joy News' Seth Kwame Boateng that henceforth, teachers who stay out of the classrooms will suffer pay-cuts for the period they absented themselves.

“We have asked the head teachers to submit [a list] those who will absent themselves to the district directorate and the district directorate will forward the names to the Director General…to tick out the number of days they [teachers] absented themselves from school so that they will not be paid the number of days they absent from school.

 “We'll build a dossier on them so that if they continue to do that for about two weeks then they will be dismissed,” Mr. Kyeremeh indicated.

The Minister said Government's declaration of “Zero Tolerance for Absentee Teachers” has yielded significant results.

According to him, cases of absenteeism have seen a dramatic drop from 27 percent in 2013 to 11 percent in 2014.

He, however, said the sanctions will not apply to teachers suffering terminal illness as well as those with genuine reasons to stay out of the classroom.

“We are talking about attitudinal problems where people intentionally absent themselves from school,” he said. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

My Work Would Speak For Itself In The 2016 Elections—Prez Mahama

On the terse statement, "My work would speak for itself in the 2016 elections," President John Dramani Mahama rounded off his 10-day visit to the United States with a lecture at the Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, on Monday.

Hundreds of students, faculty staff and other members of the Brandeis community, attended President Mahama's talk at the Carl J. Shapiro Theatre, which was hosted by the university's Heller School for Social Policy and Management’s Sustainable International Development Programme as part of the programme's 20th anniversary celebration.

At question time, a student had asked Mr Mahama to rate his performance as President of Ghana and he answered, "I'm not used to giving myself marks. The people of Ghana will decide. We have an election in 2016 and my work will speak for itself."

The topic of the lecture was," The promise of Africa."

It was the second to be delivered by President Mahama in the USA after attending the 69th UN General Assembly in New York, and he was given a standing ovation after the delivery. The earlier lecture was at the Harvard University.

About Brandeis
Founded in 1948, Brandeis is a private research university - the only non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university in the country.

Named after the late Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis of the U.S. Supreme Court, Brandeis is consistently ranked in the top tier of the nation's universities. Its enrolment in 2013 was about 3,600 students.

Ghana's development
The President said he wanted to position Ghana as the hub of electricity production in West Africa.

He said the country had become the most attractive investment destination in West Africa indicating that all the progress made were dividends of democracy and good governance.

Promise of Africa
Turning to the topic of the lecture, President Mahama said "the promise of Africa is its people."

"Throughout history, especially during the more difficult periods of Africa’s growth and development, the continent has been touted as a place of tremendous potential, a place with limitless untapped possibilities.

"But when we speak of promiseâ€"Africa’s promise to itself, Africa’s promise to the worldâ€"we speak then of Africa’s greatest resource, its people," he said.

He spoke of 'perception' as what had threatened to belittle and hide the ingenuity and innovation of the African people.

Tracing the genealogy of the African people and how they managed to overcome the obstacles to freedom and development, President Mahama, himself a graduate of history, said the continent had come a long way and the success story being told today by countries of the continent were deserving.

"In the past three years, Africa has found itself in a position that many, given the continent’s history over the last two centuries, imagined impossible," he said, adding that six of Africa’s countries have repeatedly been named among the top ten fastest growing economies in the world.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of which he is the chairman had worked to promote the free movement of people, goods and services across the sub- region.

There is also the African Union, which creates a platform for Africans to speak with one voice and to work towards the establishment of a free trade throughout the continent.

President Mahama said he would not close his eyes to challenges like terrorist groups and the deadly Ebola virus disease, which were undermining the peace and progress achieved in Africa. Rather, everything was being done to overcome the challenges.

The President of the University, Prof. Frederick M. Lawrence commended the president for his leadership qualities that had worked to push Ghana and Africa forward.

He said the university was blessed to listen to President Mahama who did justice to the topic.

Source: Kwame Asare Boadu, Waltham, USA

UN Rep On Ebola Lauds Prez Mahama For Being A Leader On The International Response

The head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) Mr Anthony Banbury, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, has lauded President John Dramani Mahama for being a leader on the international response of the Ebola crisis from the very beginning that his leadership has inspired many others in the region and the world to take the right actions to stop the crisis and protect the people of the affected county and respond to the needs of those in crisis.

Mr. Anthony Banbury, made these remarks when he met with the chief of Staff Mr. Prosper Bani and members of the inter ministerial task force on Ebola to introduce himself and his team formally to government at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

He said the United Nations was very grateful and pleased to be such a close partner with the government of Ghana in the international effort to stop and prevent the Ebola crisis from spreading and was very grateful to the government for the support for the establishing the UNMEER headquarters in Accra which would be small light headquarter for strategic direction in the operation for the other countries.

He said that as a representative his role is to ensure that his organization UNMEER would be able play an important role in the international coalition for the fight against Ebola with support provided by Ghana.

Mr. Anthony Banbury, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, who joins an advance team that has been on the ground for the past week to support the initial assessment and establishment of the Mission in all three of the countries affected by Ebola, which has sickened more than 6,500 people and killed over 3,000

He said in his discussions the Chief of Staff Mr. Prosper Bani Made a valid point on how the UNMEER operations should go beyond affected countries and the preparedness of other countries and prevention of the virus spreading to other countries, something he described as part of their core mandate together with the WHO, as part of a national effort to prevent the virus from entering those countries.

The Minister for Communication Dr Omane Boamah on his part the teams visit was to lay out its vision in the next sixty days, so as to turn the curve and hopefully resolve the issue of Ebola surveillance in the affected countries at a reasonable period with Ghana serving as the headquarters in line with President Mahamas vision of Ghana continues to be an Ebola free country not just for the unity but for Ghanaians and Africans.

Established just over a week ago by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNMEER is the first-ever UN emergency health mission. It will harness the capabilities and competencies of all the relevant UN actors under a unified operational structure to ensure a rapid, effective, efficient and coherent response to the crisis.

Mr. Banbury is scheduled to give a press conference on Tuesday in Accra, which will serve as the Mission's headquarters.

National Service personnel gear up for demonstration on Friday

National service personnel who have completed their service are gearing up for a demonstration on Friday following refusal of the National Service Secretariat (NSS) to pay the August allowance due them.

The demonstration is intended to put pressure on the NSS and National Security to release their final month's allowance due them after several calls on both authorities proved unsuccessful.

Speaking on Adom FMs 'Dwaso Nsem' President for National Service Personnel Association for last year's batch Vincent Ekow, gave the NSS between now and Friday to release the allowances. 

According to him, failure to do so will see all service personnel gather at the popular 'Obra' spot in Accra to demonstrate their displeasure.

The NSS is responsible for posting tertiary graduates to do a compulsory one-year service required of all citizens in Ghana who are 18 years and above. The programme which begun in 1973 is to encourage communal service and spirit of volunteerism among the country's youth.

Last year, about 68,000 graduates were deployed nationwide to undertake their national service.

The NSS failed to pay service personnel their August and final allowance due to an ongoing audit at the secretariat.

But Mr Ekow said the allowances are mandatory and "are supposed to be paid no matter what is happening at the NSS".

“The fact that there is an audit at the secretariat should not stop them from paying us, we deserve to be paid because we have worked for it”.

Responding to the issue, Public relations Officer of the NSS Ambros Antsewa acknowledged claims being made by the personnel but said the September 19 deadline which was decided on to pay the allowances, was too short due to an ongoing audit.

He Myjoyonline.com that an agreement had been reached with the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) to submit a formal petition to the Education Ministry informing it about the development and include the number of personnel who have not been paid.

The Ministry he said will then take up the matter and ensure that the necessary due process is followed to release their allowances.

He pleaded with them to put the demonstration on hold until the Education Ministry has provided a response.


Nurses and Midwifery Council invests GH¢2m meant for project in T-bills

The Auditor-General has revealed authorities at the Nurses and Midwifery Council invested GH¢2,000,000 in Treasury Bills instead of completing an office complex for the Council.

The funds, released in 2011 were meant to continue with the office complex project, but instead of doing precisely that, authorities at the council invested the money in Treasury Bills in violation of the law.

“Management should apply laid down procedures and abrogate the contract for non-performance and re-package the remaining works for tendering and award to a competent contractor”, was the recommendation from the Auditor General.

The report also revealed that the Council paid an amount of GH¢31,222.80 to M/S Western Automobile Center Ltd. in August 2009 for the supply of one Nissan Urvan bus, however, four years later the Company was yet to supply the vehicle.

“The Council risks losing this money if not pursued. We recommended that strenuous effort should be made to recover the amount from the company”, the report suggested.

Finally, the report stated that the Council failed to remit Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and Social Security deductions of GH¢9,196.96 made from contract (temporal) employees' salaries for the period under review to the appropriate authorities.

“Additionally, an amount of GH¢17,677.15 of the statutory deductions which had accumulated over the years were yet to be paid. The practice deprived the state of accrued tax revenue and the employees were also denied the right of saving towards their pension”, the report said.

The Auditor General's recommendation was that the accumulated statutory deductions totalling GH¢26,874.11 should be remitted to the appropriate authorities immediately to avoid penalties and employees' losses.

The Nurses and Midwifery Council of Ghana is the statutory authority responsible for the establishment of standards and guidelines for nurses and midwives in the country.

The Council also registers and maintains a list of practitioners.

  Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | George Nyavor | [email protected]

Assembly hopeful La open defecation will end by 2016

Municipal chief executive of La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly Rita Odoley Sowah says she is hopeful by 2016 all households within her municipality will have toilet facilities to put a stop to open defecation.

She expressed delight at the biofil toilet system commissioned by Vice President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, which is being piloted in her municipality. She was delighted about the high interest shown by residents as they register to purchase the facility.

Speaking on JoyNews sanitation crusade, 'Clean Communities' on MultiTV, she said the biofil toilet system is “portable and would fit into smaller spaces” describing it as the perfect toilet facility for households within her municipality.

La Dade-Kotopon Municipal Assembly has been battling with water crisis for some time now, and was therefore excited the biofil toilet system does not need enough water to operate. “The water you use to wash your hands is all you need to flush the toilet.”

Rita Odoley Sowah said to attract residents to purchase the facility; arrangements have been made to accept payment in installments.

She is confident this arrangement will encourage landlords to equip their houses with toilets.

She also noted that the assembly will intensify its fight against open defecation as well as tackling other sanitation issues within the municipality.

Sandema SHS cries for help; toilets, bathrooms turned hostel

Students of the Sandema Senior high School in the Bulsa District of the upper East Region are living in abandoned structures described by authorities as “death trap”.

With a student population of 1,962 and 83 staff made up of teaching and none teaching, the School which offers all six courses: Home Economics, Visual Arts, General Arts, Agriculture, Science and Business lacks the needed infrastructure to propel learning.

The Assistant Headmaster of the School, Mr. Kingsley Azantilow who took this reporter round the school lamented about the condition of the school.

He expressed grave concern over the lack of accommodation for staff, access roads, fence for the school, limited classrooms among others.

“Of the 83 staff, the school accommodates only 16 teachers, we have only 42 classrooms requiring 24 more to meet the growing demands,” he said.

He said the lack of fence wall exposes it to all kinds of setbacks including armed robbery, animals feeding on the school's farms as well as encroachment.

Mr. Azantilow also said the dining hall is not spacious enough to accommodate students.

“The students eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in batches and this puts pressure on time for studies,” he revealed.

He said the school there has a limited number of toilet facilities on the campus.

“The classrooms have no toilets close by and this makes it very difficult for the students anytime they have to use the toilet during classes,” he said.

“With the exception of the masters' bungalows, there is only one mechanized borehole which serves the Kitchen and the administration block with none for the boys and girls dormitories,” he added.

On accommodation, the Assistant Headmaster expressed disgust at what he called “helpless and hopeless situation for the students”.

Obviously dejected, he said most of the structures here are death traps.

“Some of the dormitories for the girls were awarded eight years ago but, no one can tell why the contractor has still not finished and handed the projects over to the school even though the school is in dire need of accommodation,” he bemoaned.

He revealed that out of frustrations the school invested its internally generated funds in an uncompleted structure to accommodate the girls temporally.

“These girls sleep in very packed rooms, heavily congested but uncompleted,” he said.

“There are no ceilings, no finishing touches, lack of space to accommodate their boxes and bags, lack of security, exposed to the vagaries of the weather, prone to insects and all kinds of reptiles,” he stated.

“At the Mandela, Azantilow and Autuga houses, the girls even sleep in uncompleted toilets and bathrooms” he lamented.

Adding that, the Abakisi house which also houses students from a Youth Centre is a death trap. “This structure has not seen refurbishment since it was built in Nkrumah's time”

The extremely shattered Assistant Headmaster called on the Ministry of Education to intervene since the plight of the school is inimical to learning.

“I think the contractors must answer as to why they are taking the school through this level of pain and frustration” he said.

“This school deserves better to be able to compete,” Mr. Azantilow concluded.

  Story by Ghana | myjoyonline.com | Listowell Yesu Bukarson

Ebola: Togo submits samples to Noguchi for testing

Officials from Togo have submitted blood samples taken from a suspected Ebola patient to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in Ghana for testing.

It is the first case from Ghana's neighbour to be brought to the country's leading biomedical research facility for testing since the outbreak of the deadly virus early this year.

Research Fellow in the Virology Department of NMIMR, Dr. Kofi Bonney disclosed this in an interaction with Joy FM's Super Morning Show host, Kojo Yankson, which was broadcast Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

According to Dr Bonney, Noguchi has gained recognition as an “Ebola Centre” because of the professional manner it has conducted tests on samples from medical facilities in Ghana.

He said the facility which was set up in 1979 as a semi-autonomous institute of the University of Ghana, Legon, has the capacity to run tests on samples from other countries in the sub-region but upon instruction by government.

“So far we have received two samples from Togo that we've tested. We've not had any samples from elsewhere in Africa”.

“I don't think it will be so much for us if we have to do testing of Ebola to help other countries…I don't think it will be so much to do,” Dr. Bonney said.

To the relief of Ghanaians, Dr. Bonney said the test results on the samples from the country's eastern neighbor came out negative.

He said, Noguchi has in recent times become synonymous to the Ebola disease because, it is the first port of call when there is a suspected case. 

It takes approximately six hours for the tests to be concluded on the blood samples. Over 80 samples have been tested from Ghana which have all come out negative.

“Now when you mention Noguchi everywhere they only think about Ebola; I think that is the only benefit that we get,” he remarked.

Listen to the interview Dr. Bonney granted Kojo Yankson, host of the Super Morning Show:

In a related development, TXT GHANA, a Software as a Service (SAAS) company, and other members of the Wireless Application Service Providers of Ghana (WASPAG) have made a donation of Ghȼ 50,000 to Noguchi in support of efforts to provide rapid testing and diagnostic kits for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

It is the only support the facility has received to support efforts at ensuring the disease is contained should it be recorded in the country.

More than 3,000 people have died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, as the deadly virus continues to spread in the region.

In an update, the United Nations health agency said 3,091 people had died of confirmed, suspected or probable cases of Ebola. A total of 6,574 cases have been reported.

The disease remains concentrated in three countriesâ€"Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leoneâ€"which accounted for 3,083 of the deaths, according to data the WHO collected in September 23, 2014.

The WHO said four deaths were reported in the Liberian border district of Grand Kru, the first time the virus had been reported there. It also spread to the Kindia district in Guinea.

No new cases were reported in Nigeria or Senegal, two countries where the Ebola virus has been confirmed.

The WHO called exposure of health-care workers to the Ebola virus, which causes high fever and internal bleeding, "an alarming feature of this outbreak." As of Sept. 23, 211 health-care workers had died from the Ebola virus, the WHO said. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

‘ Quickie Marriages And Snappy Divorces’ : 600, 000 Divorces In Ghana

I like Bishop Dag Heward - Mills for his frankness and confrontational honesty. While pundits and journalists extolled the peace - loving nature of Ghanaians and the fairness of our justice system
for allowing the results of our 2012 elections to be contested in the Supreme Court , Bishop
Heward - Mills dished out the real truth about the people of Ghana: We are hypocrites and not as
religious as we think . We are not a sincere people if we cannot conduct genuine elections when nearly 70% of Ghanaians go to church and
some 18 % go to the mosque to flaunt their faith in God . It ’ s all a façade .

Well , there is another disturbing revelation about the hypocrisy of the people of Ghana that shakes the foundations of our family values and
traditional beliefs . Last week , the Ghana Statistical Service reported that nearly 600, 000 marriages contracted in Ghana have collapsed ,
more than three times the divorce cases of England and Wales put together in 2012 . Yet we
have always lamented the divorce rates in countries in the West , and patted ourselves for not being as vane and irreligious as other
people .

On Joy FM ’s Ghana Connect , my favourite journalist , Evans Mensah, sampled the views of a marriage counsellor , radio relationship talk
show host , and married Ghanaians in Ghana and abroad. While many of them put it down to boring sex, the marriage counsellor threw some
brilliant flashes of thoughtful insight on something we all take for granted : The reasons that compel any couple to divorce predate the
marriage . In other words , the couple knew the reasons before they said ‘ I do ’ , but they decided
to ignore them. The other revelation was that men marry for two reasons : beauty and a very
canal desire for legal and regular sex. Women want comfort and good sex , and often need men to understand that sex can be rationed like Akosombo electricity .

Sex is a taboo subject in many Ghanaian marriages, it was also revealed . Couples find it
difficult or perhaps ‘ culturally inappropriate ’ to discuss details of their sex lives and agree on
sexual positions that promote better orgasms and great kinky satisfaction . Well , that is also
true for the people of other cultures, especially in the West .

The average white woman respects
the boundaries of womanly modesty, and is usually not able to demand sex from her
husband with brazen confidence . Like Ghanaian women, they can bear with bad sex and pretend
it ’ s all good and stay married , because of the children . Like our women, they know sex is
initiated by men and are only expected to respond. Those who do wife swaps are considered weird by their own families .

I know this because I have had common law relationships with English and Canadian women.
Apart from the food and language , and some manifestations of cultural differences, it is the same as living with a Ghanaian wife . ‘ Fa ma
Nyame’ is not an arbitrator in Ghana alone ; most cultures let go and let God – for the sake of
peace .

So what has accounted for the many cases of divorce in Ghana when the people of cultures
we have always branded ‘ungodly’ and ‘ culturally unrestricted ’ are keeping their marital vows ? After staying away for twelve years in
other cultures , I came to Ghana in January this year to find a society that still keeps the values
of our forefathers , but has grown with the times to put survival and interest first , and society
second. While many Ghanaian ladies would want to marry before having children , and not as
single mothers , it is no more shameful to have a child out of wedlock . There is a growing number
of middle - level career women in Ghana who have walked out of their marriages to be proud single mums . They are not in a rush to marry again , and they are not bothered .

Similarly , there are successful Ghanaian men who are happy being good fathers to children from ‘ baby mamas’ . Their refrain is ‘ we have a
child together ’ and they don ’t intend marrying the mother of the baby . The two understand the
terms of the relationship and do not see themselves as breaking any rules . They are not rushing to pose for cameras before a gathering
of hypocrites to obtain permission to be happy or accepted . If society has prescribed norms for
decency , society should accommodate the interests of people who have dared to choose
another route to happiness .

Ghanaians are marrying early these days , and it is very good . I have seen a few 25 year old young men who are married or are planning to
settle down with their young sweethearts . There are better and well - paying employment
opportunities in the country than what we found when we left university in the 90s and
early 2000 s. Our churches literally force young people to do ‘ the right thing ’ to avoid the temptation of fornication . Counselling sessions
are quickly arranged for two youngsters who give the slightest indication of some form of
friendship . They are prepared for an event, not marriage .

Marriage experts say that quickie marriages lead to snappy divorces . Similarly , very expensive marriages do not work , especially when couples use another person ’ s marriage as a target , and set out to outspend them. Roverman ’ s Uncle
Ebo Whyte warns of terrible consequences for such marriages.

These also add to the divorce
rate . Usually , we blame influences from foreign cultures for these problems . But what reasons
do we have to blame the West when our friends in Britain are sticking to their vows when 600 , 000 of us have already been married and
divorced . Some say a fraction of the huge figure may be the result of fraudulent marriages, where Ghanaians living abroad fly home to sign
marriage papers with their relatives , to facilitate
their travel abroad . Those marriages are abrogated the same day their visa is approved .

Anyhow, we have a national crisis on our hands. A society that cannot hold family together
cannot stand together . And when we don’ t stand together , we cannot build a society.

Jailed DCE can come back to post - Lawyer

The District Chief Executive jailed two weeks for insulting a High Court Judge and throwing his shoes at a bailiff can come back to office, says a private legal practitioner.

Paul Kumi, the lawyer, said on Newsnite on Joy FM Monday that although the DCE will earn a dishonourable title as an ex-convict after serving his jail term, he will not be disqualified from continuing as a public officer.

“The constitution talks about an ex-convict not qualified to be a Member of Parliament or take up public positions but that is where the said ex-convict is involved in a serious offence, like murder, rape and things of those serious nature”, he said.

District Chief Executive of Twifo Praso, Bossman Osei Hyeama was convicted Monday, for insulting the High Court Judge and the bailiff of the court of the Cape Coast High Court in the Central Region.

Presiding Judge, Nana Adjoa Coleman then sentenced the DCE to prison at the Ankaful Prisons.

The DCE became unhappy when an injunction was placed on a demolition exercise he was spearheading at the Twifo Praso market. The DCE was convinced the judges had been compromised.

Paul Kumi said although the DCE disrespected the law, his offence and subsequent incarceration will not bar him from remaining in office.

“The DCE will have the ignoble title of an ex-convict but fortunately for him, it will not go against him”, he explained.

Meanwhile, a case of contempt of court awaits the DCE when he returns from jail. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | George Nyavor | [email protected]

Ivory Coast border closed to Ghana but GIS denies claim

Reports coming from the Ghana-Ivory Coast border suggest that the Ivorian officials have closed their border to Ghana preventing free movement of persons and goods.

But immigration officials in Ghana have denied the closure of the border, noting, movements across the borders are normal.

Head of Public Relations at the Ghana Immigration Service, Francis Palm Deti told Joy News “our men indicate that the movement across the borders is normal. It's true that the roads at Elubo are a bit narrow but when the trucks park, they cause a bit of inconvenience but there's movement.”

He continued the Service had information Saturday that haulage truck drivers plying the Ghana border into Ivory Coast had some challenges undergoing customs processing at the French border.

The drivers, according to Mr. Palm Deti, felt frustrated by the delays in the processing of their documents.

In the event, they were made to park their trucks in a manner, which blocked traffic on both directions, holding up traffic to more than two hours.

“The matter has been resolved and everything has been restored to normalcy. So, as I speak the borders are not closed and there's movement across the borders,” Mr. Deti said.

Joy News' correspondent Kwaku Owusu Peprah, who spoke to a source at the border however, confirmed that the haulage trucks had been blocked from entering the other side of the border.

The French authorities suspected goods contained in those trucks were not shipped through the Ivorian habour, hence the decision to stop them from entering the country.

Their intention was to give direct escort to those trucks into Ivory Coast to undergo an entirely new customs processing.

But Mr. Deti explained the situation of goods fell within the ambit of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS).

“And I think that they will be in the better place to explain what the Ivorian custom officials are complaining about,” he said.

Aspiring Assembly Women Trained In Media Relations Skills In Wa

A nongovernmental organization, Foundation for Security and development in Africa (FOSDA) has organized a one day workshop for women aspiring to become assembly members in the Upper West region. The forum was organized in Wa, the regional capital and saw women from various districts of the region participating.

In all, about eleven women aspirants were present; some were incumbent elected assembly members, others government appointed assembly members and others women chiefs (pognamine) who have the ambition of being elected to their various assemblies. A major fear expressed by the director of FOSDA madam Afi Yakubu is the dwindling number of women who contest for assembly elections in the Upper West region. She was amazed at how almost all aspirants of the assembly had higher education this is the inverse in the Northern and Upper East regions yet many women put forward themselves for these positions.

The workshop focused on training the women aspirants on how to relate with the media in order to market themselves to their electorates. A resource person to the workshop Mr. Alhassan Imoru took the participants through how to court the media and how to issue press releases. He told them not to fear about the cost involved in engaging the media since; an effective relation with the media wouldn’t involve any cost at all.

The participants raised several issues which were a hindrance to women contesting elections. Issues of marriage and the lack of support from their husband is a major concern. They also raised financial challenges as a major factor since their counterparts who are men have a larger financial muscle. They were quick to point out their abilities capabilities and suitability for the position but not just merely seeking votes because they are women.

Madam Afi went further to state that ‘in decision making, those who take decisions have women representing less than twenty five percent. She bemoaned the culture of area she prevented women from speaking in public or taking part in decision making.

The participants after the program expressed their gratitude to FOSDA for offering such a rare opportunity to them. They also were enthusiastic to convince fellow capable women to contest for the January, 3rd district assembly elections.

'We did nothing in Brazil', World Cup ambassador C.K Akunnor confesses

One of Ghana's World Cup ambassadors and ex-captain of the Black Stars Charles K. Akunnor has expressed frustrations at how he and 13 others were flown to Brazil to do nothing.

“We weren't doing anything”, he confessed Monday to the Justice Dzamefe Commission of Inquiry which is investigating circumstances surrounding Ghana's poor FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil.

The Ministry of Sports unveiled 14 ambassadors who were supposed to rally support for the Black Stars, help raise funds and brand Ghana, an African football powerhouse, while in Brazil last June.

But after helping raise funds, C.K Akunnor lamented how he and others were cramped into the popular stand to watch Ghana's first World Cup match against USA.

The former Black Stars captain said he was surprised to know that some Ghanaians got VIP tickets.

 “We got popular stand tickets, not VIP,” he said.

But things got worse. The ambassadors were stranded at the airport before the second game against Germany and had to sleep at the airport.

Demoralised by the happenings, C.K Akunnor declined to go to the stadium to watch the last game against Portugal. He watched it on T.V

“It was really embarrassing. We were very furious. If it is Brazil, we have been there during our active days. What exactly are we doing here?”

He acknowledged that although the idea by the former Minister of Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah to send ambassadors to Brazil was laudable, “the approach and the people he worked with didn't do the job.”

C.K Akunnor said as a former captain of the Black Stars, he was disappointed  not to have a single opportunity to meet the players while in Brazil.

“We didn't know where they were, we weren't close to them”, he said.

With nothing to do as an Ambassador and a former Black Stars player, he said it was no wonder that a former player and an ambassador Kwame Ayew left Brazil to attend to his personal matters. Story by Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Edwin Appiah|[email protected]

8th Edition Of Success Africa Set To Impact Over 50 Tertiary Institutions

Over the past 7 years, the Leadership Empowerment Consult (LEC) now LEC Foundation has contributed to transforming the lives of over 25000 young people through its annual conference; Success Africa, all over the country.

Success Africa is a motivational, career and youth development programme which creates a platform for young people to gain knowledge from the rich experience of diverse speakers from various industries in Ghana to enable young people make informed decisions for their lives for maximum and positive impact in society.

This year the theme for Success Africa is “Living your Dream”. The conference will explore on how participants can dream big and have realistic dreams for their career and life and also help them identify ways to make their dreams come true.

This year, the conference will bring over 50 tertiary institutions to four different regionallocations; University of Cape Coast for the Central Region on the 11th October, 2014; KNUST for the Ashanti Region on 18th October, 2014; University of Development Studies- Tamale campus for the Northern Region on 25th October, 2014; and University of Ghana for Greater Accra on 1st November, 2014.

The conference is organized by LEC Foundation; a youth development organization with a focuson empowering the next generation of African Leaders and entrepreneurs with quality and life transforming information aimed at assisting them to make informed decisions about their lives.The Foundation has for the past seven yearsempowered youngentrepreneurs and leaders in Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia through career development programmes like the “Success Africa”, “After school, What’s Next” and many others.

The 2014 edition of Success Africa,organized in collaboration with Tigo Ghana and other key partners like First Capital Plus Bank,CIM UK Ghana and Safina Mineral Water.

The resource persons includes Kofi Mensah of First Capital Plus Bank, KSM, Obafemi Banigbe of Tigo, David Ganesha of Cal Brokers, Rev. Sam Korankye Ankra of Royal House Chapel International, Dr. Stephen Enchil of HMI and Emmanuel Dei Tumi and the convener, Mr. Albert Kusi, Executive Director of LEC Foundation and many others.

The conference will have the resource persons share experiences and knowledge on Leadership,Entrepreneurship and Career development. Workshops on the three thematic areas (Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Career Development) will be conducted at a breakout sessions to allow participants have time to explore the various issues within the three chosen areas.

This year’s Success Conference is opened to all students in the various tertiary institutions. All tertiary students within each region are invited to converge for the conference in the designated venues in the regions.

Albert Kusi
Executive Director and Founder
LEC Foundation

Reduce Land And Chieftaincy Disputes…Veep Tells Ga-Dangme Chiefs

Vice President KwesiAmissah Arthur, on Saturday afternoon urged traditional chiefs in the Greater Region to bury their differences and minimize the numerous reports on land and chieftaincy disputes in the country.

The Vice President noted that the unending chieftaincy conflicts in the country have propelled potential investors and has slowed development in some parts of the country.

VEEP therefore urged the traditional chiefs to reduce reports on land and chieftaincy disputes in the country inorder to attract investors in to the country.

He said this when he joined the chiefs and people of Ga-Dangme to celebrate this year’s “Homofest 2014”tocommemoratethe World Tourism Day in Accra.

The creation of jobs, according to VEEP,continue to remain a challenge partlybecause of the activities of land guards which has created insecurity scaring away both domestic and foreign investors.

He therefore urged the traditional chiefs to use dialogue to resolves any act of violence and use festivals as ways to promote development in their respective traditional area.

VEEP said since June, this year, his government had had to deal with the cholera outbreak which claimed so many livesin some parts of the country.

Vice President KwesiAmissah Arthur called for collaboration between the chief and the various assemblies to mobilize the support of the people to help clean their communities.

Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts indicated that this year’s "Homofest" seeks to stimulate peace and love among the Ga-Dangme people, the society and nation at large.

She said the festival which was mooted by His Excellency President John DramaniMahama would be an annual event to foster unity, security and stability for future generations.

According to the sector minister, the celebration the festivalsbrings people from all corridors of live to reflect on their experiences, challenges and to chart a path of progress for the Ga-Dangme people.

The festival, which was on the theme: “Unity and Development,” brought all the chiefs and people of Ga-Dangme to showcase the rich culture and tradition through their history, songs, stories, rituals and dance.

Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare noted her outfit thought it wise to package “Homofest” to generate an upsurge in tourism visitation and help transform the local economies of the host communities.

With support from President Mahama and her outfit, she indicated, launched the Domestic Tourism Promotion drive and has taken other initiatives in the promotion of the creative industry to achieve its set targets.

Monday, September 29, 2014

USAID Partners With Government Of Ghana To Control And Eliminate Cholera In Eight Regions

As of September 21, 2014, the Ghanaian Ministry of Health has reported 16,613 cumulative cases of cholera and 130 deaths from 9 of the 10 regions of Ghana.

The U.S. Government is committed to strengthening the Ghanaian healthcare system to prevent and contain future outbreaks and treat those who become ill. In line with the Ministry of Health's desire to integrate cholera prevention and treatment into overall health programming, the U.S. Government is working more broadly on the prevention and treatment of all causes of diarrheal diseases. To reduce vulnerability to cholera and other diarrheal diseases, the U.S. Government through the Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting Government of Ghana efforts to improve access to treated drinking water at the community and household levels in urban and rural communities.

USAID donated 768,000 tablets of Aquatabs to the Ghana Health Service, which are being distributed through health facilities including Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) in the "hot spots" of the cholera epidemic in the eight regions. These tablets will purify over 15 million litres of water.

This support demonstrates the U.S. Government's continuous collaboration and support of the Government of Ghana and their objectives in the area of health, nutrition, water, and sanitation. Additional support includes:

• Supporting cholera prevention and treatment efforts through social marketing and distribution of drinking water purification products, oral rehydration salts, and soap for washing hands and household items.

• Working side-by-side with the Ministry of Health, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and other partners to establish a national system for tracking cases of cholera, responding to cholera outbreaks, and routinely testing suspected cases of cholera at the National Public Health Laboratory.

• Supporting treatment for cholera and other diarrheal diseases at public and non-governmental organization health facilities nationwide at the height of the epidemic.

• Providing technical assistance and support to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and MMDAs to improve its capacity to provide clean water, sanitation, and improved hygiene.

• Providing training for over 240 community health workers and volunteers who are deployed in 8 regions, where they promote community water system operations, disinfection and distribution of Aquatabs.

• Developing cholera education materials to train more than 240 community health workers and volunteers to conduct outreach activities on cholera prevention and treatment.

• Improving access to clean water in communities by providing support to drill new wells, rehabilitate broken wells, and promote safe household water practices and the campaign on "Open Defecation Free" (ODF) through facilitation for the construction of sanitation facilities.

Ghana should declare 5years of power crisis - Dr Amin Adam

Executive Director of the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, says the country should declare five years of power crisis to do adjustments and proper planning for a revamp of the sector.

Our main problem with power rationing today, according to Dr. Adam, is because government hasn't been truthful to Ghanaians, making many promises to end the load shedding; yet with no end in sight.

He made these remarks in a conversation with the Head of Communications at VRA, Sam Fletcher and the Executive Director of KITE, Ishmael Edjekumhene on Dr Amin's Take, on Multi TV.

He wondered if the utilities companies, are properly briefing the President, in view of his many pronouncements on the issue, or whether there is simply no political will to inform the citizens on what exactly the state of affairs are.  He maintains that, “unless we get the citizens to build confidence in the system, there will be too much doubts about our competence to address key issues facing the sector”.

Sam Fletcher, in his response, emphasised that all stakeholders in the sector mean well and doubts that there is anyone out there who wishes doom for the sector in the work they do. He maintains: “there are major things which are not under our control: Gas and crude oil, the falling water levels, and because we mean well, you have to calm down Ghanaians and tell them good news, while we work hard to remedy the situation”.

He recounted, that at the time of independence, the Akosombo dam was operating at sixty percent capacity, due to low population, and not many people were hooked to the national grid. However, with the growth of population, industries and small scale businesses, pressure began to mount on production. “At a point, we all went to sleep, thinking we had enough, to the extent of exporting to neighbouring countries”, he added.

Demand is between 10 to 12 % a year, which is very huge for a country with a population of twenty five million people. He compared this to an African average of 3%.

Ishmael Edjekumhene asked how a country could have series of crisis, almost becoming a cycle for the past ten years. “We have one of the best plans. Energy Commission is doing all its long term forecast, VRA has a whole planning unit, ECG and all the other key players. It is our inability to take critical decisions.”

The KITE Director admitted that investments in the power sector have been generally slow, with a tariff regime that has also not helped much. He insists that Electricity is expensive and "we must be prepared to pay for it in order to stay in business and meet the supply".

Dr Amin Adam questioned how government intends to address the investment challenges by attracting independent power producers (IPPs) to invest in the sector.

Mr Edjekumhene answered; IPPs are into maximising profits and always have alternatives for investments. Ever since the power sector was opened up in 1997, many investors have not come in, which presupposes there are major inhibitions. “...When the private sector comes in, they look at negotiations with PURC, which is sometimes not attractive.” The issue of a reliable off-taker, he mentioned, also remains a challenge. In this case, ECG is not able to pay and most of these IPPs are looking for sovereign guarantee from government before they sign power purchase agreements.

The ACEP Boss again enquired why it has taken us almost four years to complete the Atuabo Gas project when it could be done in two years, considering that Nigeria's gas supply to Ghana is not enough. “ECG has proved to be a credible off-taker by going for badges to bring in 450 megawatts of power and creating two escrows to guarantee they will pay for the power if supplied”, he revealed.

According to the VRA Communications Director, the Kpong Hydro Electric Project, which started in 2009, is currently under retrofitting and expected to add forty more megawatts to the existing capacity. It is scheduled for completion by December 2014. The kpone thermal plant, when completed is also expected to generate 220 megawatts capacity.

Fletcher feared that, if the losses in the system continue, with time they will grow even bigger. “We can build capacity, spend on investments, build fuel security to provide power but we keep wasting thirty to forty percent, and within the next ten years, we will not be producing at 5000 megawatt capacity as projected.”

Currently, we don't have enough generation from hydro any longer. The total potential is about 2500 megawatts, 1600 megawatts is out from Bui, Akosombo and Kpong. The remaining 900 megawatts is scattered across many sites, about 21 small dams.

Sam Fletcher is optimistic that the country will soon get out of the current power crisis, provided we do things right, with patience, understanding and hard work from the VRA and all stakeholders.  


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