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President Akufo-Addo has noted that if Ghana is to make any meaningful change in the lives of the people, her efforts must be directed at agriculture, as the majority of people can only feel a change in their lives when agriculture is developed.   With Ghana’s agriculture predominantly hinged on the production of cocoa, President Akufo-Addo noted that the country has not made much progress in the cultivation of staples, like rice, maize and soya, urging, therefore, for a fundamental change in attitudes towards agriculture. He made the statement when he launched the ‘Planting For Food and Jobs’ at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo Region.   “Agriculture is not and cannot be a single-crop industry. Farming is a business and it is a profession that must be promoted and studied like all other professions. Ghana has the unique potential to feed its growing population, meet the raw material requirements of our processing industries, achieve food security, and compete successfully as a leading supplier to countries around us and beyond,” he said.   The vision of his government, he stressed, will be to modernize agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for farmers, all aimed at significantly increasing agricultural productivity. Additionally, a value-addition strategy, aimed at rapidly ramping up agro-processing and developing new and stable markets for products will be pursued.   “Our policies and interventions will encompass the full agricultural value chain and create additional businesses and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, processing, packaging and marketing of agricultural produce, all of which will ensure that our farmers and fisher folk earn higher incomes,” he added.    
President Akufo-Addo has expressed strong optimism that, the flagship agricultural progromme by his administration, ‘Planting For Food and Jobs’, will succeed. He gave the assurance when he launched the programme in the Brong Ahafo Region. According to the president, the programme, is expected to modernize agriculture, improve production, achieve food security and make Ghana more self-sufficient, whilst creating jobs for the youth. The president said he is aware of the expectation from Ghanaian farmers and their interest in government’s policy intervention in modernizing agriculture.  He said: “I am happy to inform you that ‘Planting for food and Jobs’ is the basis of the answer to the twin problems you have been confronted in recent years.” He added, the policy “is anchored on the pillars that will transform Ghana’s agriculture; the provision of improved seeds, the supply of fertilizers, the provision of dedicated extension services and marketing strategy. The initiative is expected to increase the production of maize by 30%, rice by 49%, soybean by 25% and sorghum by 28% for current production levels. The president further noted that agriculture must be prioritized to ensure that the lives of Ghanaians are affected positively. According to him, government will  “pursue a value addition strategy aimed at rapidly ramping up agro-processing and developing new and stable markets for our products.” “Our policies and intervention will encompass the full agriculture value chain and creating additional business and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, processing and marketing of agriculture produce, all of which will ensure that our farmers and fisher-folk earn a higher income.”        
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has given traders around the Circle Interchange, two weeks ultimatum to relocate to the Pedestrian Shopping Mall. The traders have expressed their anger at the directive from the AMA and vowed not relocated to the market. Meanwhile, former chairman for the traders, Charles A. Akomea is accusing the new chairman, Adu Boahen for conniving with the AMA to frustrate the traders. According to him, before the interchange was constructed, they were promised a compensation package because some of the traders were affected but they are still pursuing it in court and the new chair appears unconcerned. He further alleged that, the current chair has sold some portion of land at the market instead of allocating it to the traders. He said the traders that were affected by the construction, were supposed to get access to the portion of land allegedly sold by the chair. When called and asked to comment on the allegation, Adu Boahen refuted the claims and questioned whether the former chair sold lands like he has alleged. He said, the traders are now trading on the pavements because trading activities at the market have halted. He said, the traders selling outside have spaces in the market but they don’t want to use it. Mr. Boahen went on to threaten that,  the other traders in the market will join their colleagues on the pavement should the AMA fail to eject them. The interview nearly turned sour as they used unprintable words on each other but were asked to retract.      
The Head of Research Centre at the University of Ghana, Legon Professor Ofosu-Budu has lauded efforts by government in initiating the ‘Planting For Food and Jobs.’ He described it as a good initiative that will benefit Ghanaian farmers and give us more food in our food baskets if well executed. He was however quick to add that, this is not the first time a government has initiated a programme like this hence, the need to review and learn from our past, identify our failures and success to inform how this new initiative is rolled out.   President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo  today [Wednesday], launched the government’s flagship agricultural programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’. The launch was held at Goaso in the Asunafo municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region. The programme, according to the government, would motivate farmers to grow staple foods such as maize, millet, and beans. Interested farmers are to be provided with free seedlings among other agricultural inputs and agro-chemicals such as fertilizer at reduced prices. But commenting on the programme, Prof. Budu raised questions over the distribution of farm inputs under previous governments and cautioned against any undue political interference.   He called for accountability and transparency under the new programme so farmers, will not use other means to sell their produce since that will frustrate the process.   Government has expressed strong optimism at the success of the programme. The sector Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto  has said the programme will create over 750, 000 jobs.   “This year, we expect that with these interventions and only the 200,000 farmers, we would be able to increase the demand for jobs on the farms, and create 750,000 jobs. Government has also resolved to build a 1000-metric tonnes capacity warehouse in each of the 216 districts to ensure that we have enough storage capacity to store and market the expected increases that we get from this program,” the minister said.     It is estimated that the programme will kick start with GHc 560 million cost.    
Deputy Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye has noted that, the power purchase agreements signed under the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and cancelled under the current administration may save the country money. According to him, the new administration may have reviewed the deals and concluded to cancel the deals based on what they have reviewed and seen. He was however quick to add that, the cancellation is a step in the right direction but we do not know the immediate impact it will have on us. They do not put in public details of the agreement and so if there are loopholes, and you cancel, they may seek legal redress and that may create a judgment debt. There were number of agreements signed but not working and so it was prudent to review the agreement and cancel the ones that could be cancelled. The Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at the Townhall meeting held on Monday revealed that, government has abrogated about 20 power purchase agreements signed by the erstwhile Mahama government. According to him, this has saved the country a whopping $300 million. “We have saved the country $300 million by reviewing and prioritizing the existing power purchasing agreements. We’ve essentially cancelled about 20 of them, we’ve asked four of them to go ahead and the rest to delay by two or three years and in so doing, we have managed to reduce government’s liabilities,’’ the Vice President said. The NPP had argued that some of the power deals signed by the former government were bloated, and were not value for money. Mr. Boakye stressed that in ensuring value for money, it will be proper for government to review the deals and select those that will serve our best interest. ‘’You have to sign the contract to assure the company that they will have value for their services but after signing the agreement and for some time they have not started offering their services, you can cancel it or review it before signing with a new company. Because if you fail to do that, and they still generate power for you together with the new one, you will have to pay them and that will mean excess power which you do not need but paying for it…The World Bank had estimated that we will be paying an amount of $2.5 billion for excess power.’’   He added: ‘’We have to work with a plan to prevent corruption in the sector. We don’t usually work with a plan and that is why people use that to corrupt the system. We do not plan and so when we are faced with crisis, we rush to go for emergency procurement and that is where people corrupt the system, ’’ he said.
The leadership of Old Fadama at Agbogbloshie in Accra has placed a temporary ban on all forms of social gatherings in the community as a measure to prevent further violent clashes in the area.They have also begun an initiative to educate and sensitise the feuding factions in last Tuesday's violent clashes that claimed a life to use dialogue to resolve any impasse between them.As part of the initiative, the Chairman of the Konkomba Yam Market, Mr Noah Kwame Upuin, last Sunday visited some churches and opinion leaders in the area with a peace message that urged all aggrieved persons to smoke the peace pipe.Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Mr Upuin explained that the decision to temporarily ban social gatherings such as naming ceremonies, graduation of apprentices and launching of programmes was to ensure that criminal elements did not take advantage of such gatherings to perpetrate more mayhem.Presently, most of the people who sustained injuries have been treated and discharged, with the exception of three who need further medical attention.Also, most of the people who were arrested for minor offences during police operations have been granted bail or released, while those whose cases border on criminality are going through legal processes.PeaceMeanwhile, the Head Pastor of the Evangelical Church of Ghana (ECG), Rev. Maxwell K.K. Liwangol, has urged the residents to collaborate with the security agencies, especially the police, for law and order to be restored to the community."Even though the police are doing their best to protect lives and property, it is important to also safeguard your lives by staying away from public activities that have the tendency to inflame passions," he told his church members last Sunday."Let us use the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a bridge to cement all relationships that have gone sour,” he added.Meanwhile, checks by the Daily Graphic show that the Konkomba Yam Market which was closed to business a day after the violence has been reopened and business is picking up there.The leadership of the slum is also engaging the factions to ensure that property that was taken over is returned to the rightful owners.Source: GraphicOnline
The Minority in Parliament has alleged that, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta sold the ninety five percent of Ghana’s recent 2.25 billion dollar bond to friends and cronies. They have therefore called for a full scale investigation into the case since they believe it smells.   The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, claimed at a press conference on Tuesday that  a non-executive director on the board of investment firm, Franklin Templeton that purchased majority of the bonds is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group; a company closely aligned to the private interests of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. “Honourable Trevor Trefgarne  is also a Director of Franklin Templeton which is the main participant in the recent bond issue. Putting this apparent fact together, we have a reason to believe that there was a relational interest between our Finance Minister and his good friend Trevor Trefgarne which creates a potential lack of transparency and a conflict of interest. As we all know, the constitution of the republic provides unequivocally that a public officer should not put themselves in a situation where their private interest conflicts with their public obligation. There is no record available to us to the effect that the Finance Minister made known publicly his relational interest that conflicts very much, so in the interest in his company with Trevor Trefgarne  to the extent to which the relation might have potentially affected the decision to sell majority of the bonds to Franklin Templeton.”“There is no disclosure as to the extent to which the determination of the price of the bond could have been affected by the relationship between the Finance Minister and his friends; Franklin Templeton. Now that a  good link has been established between the Finance Minister and his friend, Trevor, it is clear that the Finance Minister issued the bond in a way that will favour his friends, family and business partners. This situation is best described as cronyism and nepotism.''Meanwhile, a Deputy Minister of Finance Kwaku Kwarteng has called the bluff of the Minority asking them to go to court.He said, there is no truth in the allegation, daring the minority to head to court if the they believe the recent bond issuance was riddled with irregularities.Hon, Kwarteng added, of the bonds that had been issued by government of Ghana since 2015 Franklin Templeton participated and that “they are not some new investors that the Finance Minister[Ken Ofori-Atta] has interest in that we have gone to bring because there is a new administration.”He said: “If anybody says that the finance Minister or some Ministers have friends or have interest in any company and they think is conflict of interest…I have heard that they say they’ll seek parliamentary enquiry or they will go to CHRAJ or they will go to court. I support whatever anybody wants to do.”“I think in the end…the truth will come out and going forward we will be guided by the truth,” he added.
The Ghana Prisons Service has cautioned the general public against a scam regarding an ongoing recruitment exercise.A statement issued by the service asked the general public to be vigilant to avoid being lured into buying fake recruitment forms from fraudsters who claim to be agents of the recruitment exercise.The statement which was signed by the Director of Public Relations of the service said, “There is no recruitment exercise currently going on and the public should take note and avoid being lured into buying fake Prisons recruitment forms.”“Therefore, the public is advised to disregard rumours making the rounds in that direction, and avoid being lured into buying fake Prisons recruitment forms’.’The statement added: “The public is also entreated to report individuals who would claim to be recruiting persons on behalf of the Service to the nearest Police Station or Prisons establishment or call these phone numbers: 0299320000, 0299320637, 0299320976, and 0299320686.”‘’The Prisons Administration however wishes to state that, whenever there is the need for any recruitment exercise, same will be advertised in the media including its website www.ghanaprisons.gov.gh, for the information of the public,'' the statement concluded.
The brave police officer who shot and killed two armed robbers in a fierce gun battle after they robbed a cocoa purchasing clerk of almost GHc580,000 is set to be rewarded.The robbers attacked the Onuapa cocoa purchasing clerk after he had withdrawn the money from a bank and was about to distribute it to his colleague clerks when the robbers pounced on them, at Asankare in the Ashanti Region. Superintendent Ohene Boadi Bossman, the Divisional Police Commander in an interview said,  “last Thursday around 5:45pm two men on motorbikes went to Asankare where the Onuapa cocoa purchasing clerk works.” “Unfortunately on that day, the cocoa purchasing clerk had gone to Konongo to withdraw a very huge amount of money, that was 580,000 cedis ostensibly to distribute it to the cocoa purchasing clerks. In the process, two guys on motorbikes who had covered their faces with the helmet of the bikes stormed the place and ordered the Purchasing Clerk to hand over the money to them. Fortunately, the tyre of the motorbike got deflated along the way and they stopped a taxi cab and dropped all the passengers at gunpoint except the driver, put the money in and sped off.”He further added that when the Lance Corporal was informed about the robbery, he quickly picked up a weapon and stopped a Land Cruiser vehicle belonging to the Juaso MP, sped off and chased the guys.“The driver[taxi] noticing that the people were difficult elements decided to run into a ditch so he can free himself. Unfortunately when the driver managed to escape, they [robbers] shot at him, instantly killing him. The robbers stopped another taxi, dropped all the passengers from the car and took charge. When they got to Krofa, the policeman in the Land Cruiser shot at them and they lost control and run into a house.”“They then exchanged fire with the policeman who miraculously sneaked from the car and went behind the robbers and entered a resident’s bedroom and shot the robbers from the bedroom instantly killing both of them. Then the money was retrieved. It was subsequently given to the district commander and later handed over to the cocoa marketing board,” he said.
Executive Director for Social Impact Studies, Richard Kojo Elimah says we cannot have a one major solution or a one sided fixed solution in curbing illegal mining in Ghana.He said it will be proper for Ghana to look out for a basket of solutions in resolving galamsey since those involved have different reasons for engaging in the activity.He said, ''when you go into our communities, the miners have reasons for engaging in the activity. Some do that so they will be able to fend for themselves. Apart from galamsey they have nothing else doing because they have no better education. And so such an individual may need another alternative to survive after he is asked to stop galamsey.''''He added, we should look for a sustainable solution. We should identify those who are not well educated and give them some form of training so they can self employed, generate income and be self dependent.''It will not be possible for us to rely on soldiers in dealing with the menace,'' he said. The ultimatum given by government he indicated has helped in maintaining some sanity but was quick to add that, the illegal miners have seen this kind of approach before and so, I will stress the need for a sustainable solution.According to him, we cannot eradicate galamsey because it is not possible. Some of the miners depend on that for the source of livelihood...We also need regulation in the mining sector. The various institutions should also enforce our laws and regulations. ''Let us strengthen our institution to help fight galamsey. If they need capacity building, we have to give it to them. If they have to travel abroad and learn from other experiences, they should be allowed to travel. The approach should look at strengthening the EPA and other bodies to help fight galamsey. We also need to regulate activities in the sector and ensure that operators don't destroy our water bodies. The final approach should be on the foreigners. We should use our soldiers to arrest these foreigners...We should ask the Ghana Immigration Service whether these foreigners have work permits. If you travel to other countries,  foreigners without work permits are not allowed to work in those countries. Why don't we monitor foreigners who come into this country and ensure that they are complying with our laws?So one side of the equation is institutional strengthening. Let us strengthen our institutions to fight galamsey. ''  
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