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A former President of National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), George Kyei Baffour, the man who was appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as MCE for the Asante Akim Central Municipal Assembly but rejected on two occasions, says his rejection was purely political.   According to him, although his expertise in local governance is extensive both in and outside Ghana, and was appointed by the president on merit, unnecessary local politics got him rejected. He said the assembly wanted a particular person they have related to and other influences that he could not disclose on radio, also affected his appointment. Speaking to Kwame Tutu on the need for an effective leadership in the management of our local governance system as against the creation of more districts, he said although he is well experienced and was ready to apply his expertise, he was rejected based purely on politics.   He said the politics practiced in Ghana does not allow for effective leaders to be appointment to man our various institutions due to individual interest. He said, usually effective leaders appointed by the president, are rejected by people without any basis.   The nominee, Mr Kyei Baffour, who is a local government expert, served as a Presiding Member for the Asante Akim Central Municipality for six years during former President Agyekum Kufuor’s era.
Local governance expert, George Kyei Baffour says he does not agree with people who have kicked against the creation of new districts. In an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said decentralization is not only about economic factors but added to it is participation in governance, he said. He explained, the governance of a nation is done by the people and with the people. Our constitution requires that we have a president, regional ministers and MMDCEs and to get such persons to work effectively, the people they will work with, must understand the agenda and identify with the development processes involved and must also express readiness to work in achieving them.   He stated further that, sanitation may not necessary bring us money, however, serious insanitary conditions will bring diseases and that will affect our finances. All these factors have indirect and to some extent, direct implications on our economy and when government decides to manage sanitation in the country, and the people identify with the policy, it helps the nation develop. He stressed that when Ghanaians participate in governance at the local level, the nation develops. The benefits of the new districts are enormous, he stated. Government  has presented a Legislative Instrument (LI) to Parliament, for the creation of 38 new districts and municipal assemblies.        Local Government Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, in an interview with journalists said the LI will also give legal backing to other districts and municipalities which have been elevated or split.       “We’ve decided that we need to deepen our democratic process and decentralization system. There are some districts that have grown. We started district assemblies in 1988, the population of some of the district assemblies have even doubled. And the essence of our local government system is to ensure that all persons in the district participate in the governance system and feel part of the governance system. So we’ve decided to increase the number of districts, the districts that are big, divide them into other districts.”    
The Minister of Regional Re-organization and Development, Mr. Dan Kwaku Botwe, has announced that hearings for the creation of new regions in the country will take place from November 21 to December 5, 2017. He says a Commission of Enquiry will attend to petitioners from the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Western and Volta Regions. The petitioners he added would be allowed to explain further their request. After the hearing, the Commission will hold public hearings and other stakeholders to allow them make contributions to the process.   He also revealed at a press briefing that six petitions had so far been received from petitioners from the four regions requesting for new regions out of our existing 10 regions.   “The Commission will meet the representatives of the petitioners  from the Western Region on November 21, the Volta Region on November 22 , those from Brong Ahafo on November 23 and 28 while petitions from the Northern Region will be heard on November 29  and December 5, 2017 respectively,” he said. “Should the commission be convinced that such a need pertains, it will recommend the places and issues for a referendum. The matter will then be referred to the Electoral Commission for a referendum to be held according to the recommendations of the commission,” he added.   The Minister concluded that the referendum was underpinned by the fact that, the Constitution required 50 per cent of persons living within the proposed areas to endorse the proposal for new regions with 80 per cent of the votes being for or voting yes for approval.
  Government  has presented a Legislative Instrument (LI) to Parliament, for the creation of 38 new districts and municipal assemblies.    Local Government Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, in an interview with journalists said the LI will also give legal backing to other districts and municipalities which have been elevated or split.   “We’ve decided that we need to deepen our democratic process and decentralization system. There are some districts that have grown. We started district assemblies in 1988, the population of some of the district assemblies have even doubled. And the essence of our local government system is to ensure that all persons in the district participate in the governance system and feel part of the governance system. So we’ve decided to increase the number of districts, the districts that are big, divide them into other districts.”   Some of the new assemblies to be created after the passage of the LI by Parliament, include Ayawaso East and North, carved out of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, and Kwadaso and Oforikrom, from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.   The Minister added: “So we have some districts that the President has elevated into municipalities. So in those instances, they are not new assemblies, it’s just elevating their status so that category is there. And some metropolitan assemblies have grown big and the president thought that he should carve some out and make them their own municipalities. For example, Ayawaso East, which is the Nima area, it’s been carved out to be a municipality, and Ayawaso North, which is the Newtown area, is also a municipality on its own. And Oforikrom and Kwadaso for example, can all stand on their own.’’
Zimbabwe’s long-time President Robert Mugabe is reportedly refusing to step down immediately, despite growing calls for his resignation. The 93-year-old was put under house arrest during a military takeover on Wednesday, amid a power struggle over who would succeed him. The military said on Friday it was “engaging” with Mr Mugabe. It also said progress had been made in targeting “criminals” around the president, but did not elaborate. Several senior officials are said to have been detained since Wednesday. In a televised statement, the military said it would advise the nation on the outcome of talks with Mr Mugabe “as soon as possible”. President Mugabe held talks on Thursday with regional envoys and the army chief. Sources say he has so far refused to agree to move aside. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said earlier it was “in the interests of the people” that Mr Mugabe “resign… immediately”. The army moved in after Mr Mugabe last week sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, signalling that he favoured his wife Grace Mugabe to take over his Zanu-PF party and thus the presidency. The BBC’s Andrew Harding, in Zimbabwe, says that if President Mugabe can be persuaded to step down officially it could help legitimise the military’s dramatic intervention. On the streets, it is hard to find anyone who wants Mr Mugabe to stay on, our correspondent adds, but negotiating the manner of his departure and some sort of transitional agreement to follow could take some time. It is very unclear. Photos in the Zimbabwe Herald earlier showed Mr Mugabe meeting army chief Gen Constantino Chiwenga and the two envoys from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) at State House in Harare. Alongside them was Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Roman Catholic priest known to Mr Mugabe for years, who has been brought in to mediate. Sources close to the talks say Mr Mugabe – who has been in control of Zimbabwe since it threw off white minority rule in 1980 – is refusing to stand down voluntarily before next year’s planned elections. “I think he is trying to buy time,” one source close to the army leadership told the AFP news agency. Some observers suggest that Mr Mugabe may be trying to seek guarantees of safety for himself and his family before stepping aside. Zanu-PF officials had earlier suggested Mr Mugabe could remain nominally in power until the party congress in December, when Mr Mnangagwa would be formally installed as party and national leader. How did the military takeover come about? In the early hours of Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s military took over the headquarters of national broadcaster ZBC and issued a statement saying they were targeting “criminals” around President Mugabe. Troops and armoured vehicles encircled parliament and other key buildings throughout the day. On Monday, Gen Chiwenga had warned the army would intervene to end what he called the “purging” of Zanu-PF members “with a liberation background”, referring to the country’s struggle for independence. Mr Mnangagwa is one such veteran of the 1970s war which led to independence.     Source: BBC
The Deputy Energy Minister, Joseph Kudjo has taken a swipe at the Minority in Parliament for doubting proposal by government to have electricity tariffs reduced.   The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in his presentation of the 2018 budget on Wednesday announced that, government has proposed the reduction of electricity tariffs. The minister in his presentation proposed a 13 percent reduction for residential consumers. Consumers in the non-residential category will also see a 13 percent drop in tariffs.   However, members of the Minority in Parliament were skeptical of the government’s pledge to reduce electricity tariffs in the budget.     Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu admonished Ghanaians not to be happy over the insignificant reduction of tariffs as promised.   He added that the reduction will not be any significant, even if the PURC eventually approves the proposal.   But the Deputy Energy Minister in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the Minority are only skeptical because it was subject to PURC approval. Explaining it further, he said tariffs reduction will be possible and negotiations have been undertaken before the figures were announced.   Government he stressed is only recommending for the approval of the tariffs and he was optimistic that PURC will certainly approve of the reduction.
President of the Ghana Institute of Engineers, Mrs. Carlein Buo-Chedid says the countries of the world have all signed up to the shared vision of sustainable development. According to her, the World Commission on Environment defines sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. She made the remarks at the 48th Presidential Address of the Ghana Institution of Engineers on the theme,’ ’An Illusion  Without Disaster Risk Management.’’ She said, these countries are working to ensure that their citizens enjoy peace and prosperity.   The president emphasized the need for countries to be guided by the vision to ensure their citizens are not negatively affected.
In order to realize Ghana’s Beyond Aid agenda, we will need a strong and efficient financial sector, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said. He made the remarks when he delivered the 2018 budget statement before Parliament on Wednesday. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has consistently reiterated his commitment to  growing Ghana's economy thereby opening opportunities for every citizen. President Akufo-Addo  at a roundtable-meeting with some selected chief executive officers of leading African and international companies on the sidelines of the recently held Fifth Edition of the Africa CEO’s Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, said, “We want to build a Ghana beyond aid; a Ghana which looks to the use of its own resources. We want to build an economy that is not dependent on charity and handouts, but an economy that will look at the proper management of its resources as the way to engineer social and economic growth in our country.’’   Reiterating the president’s commitment, the Finance Minister said: ‘’Mr. Speaker, a strong and efficient financial sector is fundamental to realising “Ghana Beyond Aid”. This requires innovative and long term  instruments to support economic development for higher productivity, jobs and inclusive growth.’’   He said, ’’to achieve this, Government will design the requisite financial architecture that is capable of mobilising resources to help rapidly advance the country’s development through the following:  Launch a national development bank, with the capacity to mobilize private· capital towards agricultural and industrial transformation, among others.     Government has set-up a task force to develop a roadmap for its establishment;  Restructure the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) with the· capability to mobilise foreign private capital for critical infrastructure development using a private sector model; and  Enhance the capacity of Ghana Exim Bank to support agriculture and· industrialization for export. 
A former deputy minister of finance and agric with the erstwhile Mahama administration, Mr. Fifii Kwetey has said that the ruling New Patriotic Party is good at building castles in the air. He was reacting to the budget as was read by the finance minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta in Parliament today. In his view, what has been themed "Putting Ghana Back to Work" was only a promise in the vacuum that needs to be debated to bring out the lies carried on it. He says it's not out of place to see the NPP government work to find solutions to what confronts the nation but they are nowhere near the task. For government to claim to have offered job to the youth, the Ketu South MP says it's nothing new of a government since public sector always offer thousands of job to graduates from the various collages. He has therefore challenged the Nana Addo led administration to hit the grounds and create real jobs to fulfill it's promises.   The Minister in his presentation said government has proposed the reduction in electricity tariffs for  Residential 13%, Non Residential 13%, Special Load Tariff- Low Voltage 13%, Special Load Tariff -Medium Voltage 11%, Special Load Tariff -High Voltage 14% and High Voltage Mines 21%. Growth rate was targeted at 6.8%. He also indicated that,Government will continue to explore every necessary measure to find an efficient way of managing the public sector payroll. Studies will be undertaken to evaluate various options including outsourcing the payroll. ‘’As part of measures to cut back on the administrative overheads of all public institutions including State Owned Enterprises, government will undertake comprehensive rationalisation of all administrative costs. This will include vehicle running cost, capacity building, printing, workshops and seminars among others. As a first step, effective 2018, the production of dairies and calendars by public institutions will be discontinued, the Minister added.    By: Daniel Asuku
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday presented before Parliament, the 2018 budget statement christened, “Putting Ghana back to work” announced the reduction in electricity tariffs.   The budget also announced the establishment of the Builders Corps which is expected to provide jobs for about 100,000 graduates.   The new programme dubbed the Nation Builders Corps is focused on solving public service delivery in the health, education, agriculture and sanitation sectors as well as drive revenue mobilization and collection.      Full Text has been atatched
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