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General News (7978)

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has hinted that the 2018 budget will largely focus on job creation. However, the Minority in Parliament says that is impossibility due what they termed as distress in the commercial bank sector. Addressing the press today [Monday] at the Minority’s roundtable discussion ahead of the budget presentation, Leader on the side of the Minority Haruna Iddrisu  said “We expect that the 2018 budget will signal how the governemnt will address the growing unemployment in this country… Ghanaians are expecting the 2018 budget to address the issues of unemployment.” “We believe that the 2018 budget  won’t create jobs. How can you create jobs when commercial banks are in a big distress? The local banks don’t have the liquidity to lend to the private sector to create jobs. “The budget deficit in IMF’s article four is projected to be 3.8%, so ladies and gentlemen, next year, let us be assured that there is going to be there will be severe austerity and hardships equivalent to 1983,” Mr. Ato Forson added. He also accused the ruling government of intimidating members of the opposition NDC who are seeking for jobs.      
NORSAAC, a non-governmental organization based in the northern sector of Ghana has empowered young girls in the Senior high schools within the northern region in dealing with issues related to adolescent health through their Young Female Parliament initiative.   In an inter schools debate competition held in Tamale, the contestants based their submissions on adolescent health especially menstruation and problems associated with it and how to deal with it among female students.   Nancy Yeri, an official from NORSAAC who spoke to reporters after the program said, the Young Female Parliament (YFP) project was established to address the low participation of women and girls in leadership and decision-making processes. It will also serve as a learning platform for young girls in the Northern Region and encourages them to deliberate on various developmental and governance issues, particularly those affecting the growth, education and development of females.   It was presided over by FYP members from the Northern School of Business (Nobisco) with participants coming from Business Senior High School, Tamale Islamic SHS, Savelugu SHS and the Tamale Girls SHS (Pagnar).   NORSAAC is an empowerment for change organization committed to women and young people in Ghana’sNorthern Region.   Dedicated to championing an improved quality of life for empowered women, youth, and marginalized groups asserting their rights, NORSAAC actively engages in community and policy-based work in the following four areas: Sexual Rights and Reproductive Health, Gender and Governance, Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development, and Education.     By Prince Kwame Tamakloe 
The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament has accused Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia of peddling falsehood when he made claims that revenue collection at the ports shot up as a result of the introduction of the paperless port system. Dr. Bawumia claimed that an initial assessment of the implementation of the paperless system at the country’s ports, helped in  revenue collection improvement of 56 percent. According to him, revenue at the ports increased from GHc130 million in the first week of September 2016, to GHc213 million in the same period for 2017. Speaking at the launch of the onboarding programme for National Service Personnel into the National Communications Authority, Dr. Bawumia stated that, “On September 1, we launched the paperless [system], but of course not without attempts to actually derail the process, because it’s hurting a lot of people who were making free money and people who used to take two weeks to clear a container after one day of delay were protesting.  Are you protesting the system or something else?” “The results are amazing. We just looked at data this morning – first week of collections under the paperless system in September this year compared to last year first week of collections in September 2016, and collections have gone up by 56 percent; 56 percent from around GHc130 million to GHc213 million in one week,” he added. But the Minority at a press conference said: “We are told by the vice president of the republic on the September 12 that Customs revenue at the ports had increased by 56 percent after the implementation of the paperless system. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, the claim has proven to be untrue.” He explained that as at September 30 customs revenue was projected to be over GHS1.92billon but the actual outturn was GHS1.179billion representing a deviation of GHS12.8million an equivalent of 1.1percent. “So how can this be an increase of 56 percent?” he asked, saying “unfortunately, another untruth.” The address which was delivered by Ato Forson, spokesperson on Finance for the Minority said spoke of the “huge gap” that had emerged between projected tax revenue and on what had actually been the collected revealing that a shortfall of about GHS3billion in revenue was recorded in the third quarter of this year.     He added: “We expect the government to learn from this practice of over projection of taxes and tax revenue because of their desire to fund campaign promises,” Mr. Ato Forson who is also the MP for Ajumako -Enyan- Essiam noted. “This poor performance which is self-inflicted should, however, not become a pretext for government to impose additional nuisance taxes that will further burden Ghanaians especially the poor.’’
The Minority in Parliament is warning of extreme hardship and a possible return to HIPC [heavily indebted poor countries] by the end of 2019 due the current rising debt stock under the Nana Addo led administration.     The Minority at a press conference addressed by Cassiel Ato Forson, spokesperson on Finance said the ruling government has done nothing after assuming office despite the promise they gave Ghanaians in 2016.   “How can you create jobs under severe austerity under fiscal consolidation? The budget deficit in IMF article 4 is projected to be 3.8, so ladies and gentlemen, next year, let us be assured that there will be severe austerity equivalent to 1983. How can you create jobs when you have mandated the central bank to pursue tight monetary policy? How can you create jobs when the real sector, the non-oil GDP, is projected to grow in 2018 almost at the same level as 2016?” “We believe that unfortunately, government economic policy for 2018 will bring about severe hardship and Ghanaians must be well informed,” he added. Meanwhile, the Minority has also alleged that government is planning to introduce mobile money tax.   “Ghanaians expect a reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 25 percent to 20% to be included in the 2018 budget statement. It is our expectation that government will follow through with the firm promise that they made and we hope that we are not going to see another 419 budget,” the Minority spokesperson on Finance added.
The Editor of the Informer newspaper, Andy Kankam, has alleged that the Forces Pay Regiment (FPR) formerly known as Forces Pay Office, is sinking under a very heavy weight of unprecedented levels of blatant stealing of state resources. He was speaking to Kwame Tutu, on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm following a publication in his Monday’s edition of the Informer newspaper under the headline, ‘’Alarm Blow! NPP’s Stinking Corruption Eats Into Armed Forces –Multi million Fraud Unconverted At Pay Regime.’’   According to him, the investigation conducted by him has revealed that, the fraud being perpetrated has to do with the payroll of the Armed Forces. He also alleged that some dead persons still have their names on the payroll of the Ghana Armed Forces and, on a monthly basis, huge sums of monies are paid into some selected banks.   Andy Kankam said the paper is holding on to names of the officers and civilian collaborators and the specific banks involved in the allege fraud. He has since promised to release the names of the officers in subsequent publications. The outspoken news editor said, he was scandalized especially when the current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo campaigned in 2016 on corruption and his readiness to fight the canker. The NPP he said lambasted the former NDC administration and accused the former President, John Dramani Mahama of being corrupt. Andy Kankam referring to the publication said, the Data Centre located at the Headquarters of the Armed Forces, been fingered as the base unit which is using its information technology system to support the payroll fraud that is being condoned by some senior officers. He added that, some senior officers who are sympathizers of the ruling government, are also preventing a report captured on the saga to be released.   This is being perpetrated by a cartel. A board was instituted to investigate and after concluding their investigations and presented their report to the Minister of Defence but he has failed to released the report, he said.. The Minister is sitting on the report because the report is stinking to the extent that, some officers who are known to be sympathizers of the NPP, are part of the looting and the Minister is finding it difficult, to release the report. This has brought tension at the Ghana Armed Forces, he alleged.   He said, when we start releasing documents of corruption under this administration, Ghanaians will weep.
A hectare of degraded land caused by the activities of illegal small-scale miners would cost the government GHc60,000 to restore it to the natural state, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has said. He said so far, 238,000 kilometre square of the country’s lands had been degraded, which constituted four per cent of the country’s total surface area. He said it would cost the nation millions of dollars to reclaim all the degraded lands across the country, adding that government was expecting financial support from the Australian, Chinese and Canadian governments to help the country raise the needed funds to undertake the reclamation. Mr. Amewu told journalists at Kyebi in the Eastern Region after inspecting some degraded mined sites, to acquaint himself with the extent of damage caused by illegal mining in the area. The Minister, earlier launched Kyebi Reclamation Project at the Okyehene’s Palace, to restore 18 mined areas in Kyebi Township. Mr. Amewu said Cabinet had approved the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project, which would be rolled out in February next year. The project would reclaim degraded lands, clean polluted water bodies and provide alternative livelihoods for artisanal small-scale miners aimed at ensuring sanity in the mining industry. The Minister said government has extended the moratorium on small-scale mining for three extra months. He noted that some recalcitrant illegal miners were secretly engaging in illegal mining in spite of the ban and, therefore, urged the Ghana National Small-scale Miners Association, Progressive Miners Association and other mining associations to report those who were still engaging in galamsey to the authorities for the necessary action to be taken against them. Mr. Amewu commended the Rebecca Akufo-Addo Foundation, Okyeman Foundation and Richie Foundation for volunteering to partner the government to reclaim the degraded lands. He said government would welcome other private entities that would express interest to join the reclamation exercise. The Minister said government would adopt multi-stakeholder approach in dealing with the galamsey menace and asked for support from all well-meaning Ghanaians to end the practice permanently. Madam Perpetual Asante, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rebecca Akufo-Addo Foundation, said the Foundation would mobilise at least 1,500 women in each region across the country to support the reclamation exercise. She said combating illegal mining required collaborative efforts from all stakeholders and thus, pledged the Foundation’s unflinching support to eradicate galamsey. In the last decade, Ghana witnessed massive destruction of her natural vegetation from the activities of illegal small-scale miners resulting in pollution of the water bodies. The phenomenon attracted all manner of people into the country, including Chinese, Malians, Russians and Ukrainians who invaded the country’s forest reserves destroying the forest cover and polluted the major rivers. Successive governments have tried various interventions to resolve the practice but to could not halt the menace. The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led government, upon assumption of office in January, embarked on unrelenting campaign to halt the phenomenon once and for all. Government placed a six-month moratorium on all activities of small-scale mining in March this year, and also deployed 400 joint military and police taskforce in July, to the Western, Eastern and Ashanti regions to enforce the ban. SOURCE: GNA
Former President John Dramani Mahama has admonished leaders to accept criticism from the public in good faith.     In a speech he delivered at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the EP Church, Trinity Parish, Madina, the former president said leadership is not an easy task and urged Ghanaians to respect all leaders and pray for them to succeed. Mr. Mahama called on Christians to emulate the lives of biblical David and Joseph who were humble. He said Ghana has the potential to be greater and urged all to believe in themselves, work harder and desist from denigrating people in authority.      
The Accra Regional Police Command, arrested 50 land guards in October 2017. The 50 (21 of whom are on remand, whilst 20 are on court bail, and nine on police enquiry bail) were arrested from five divisions of the Accra Regional Police Command. A statement signed by the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) George Alex Mensah, said the suspects were arrested in areas such as Ngleshie Amanfrom, Ofankor-Obimpe, Ashiyie, Quartey Papafio, Adjen Kotoku, Oyarifa, Asalaja, Mayera, Tuba, East Airport and Ayimensah in the Adenta, Weija, Amasaman, Airport and Baatsona divisions of the command. SWAT It said a team from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), and the Counter Terrorism units of the police made the arrests. “Again, a team of crack investigators were mobilized to land guard-related cases to ensure such cases were properly investigated and sent to court without delay. “The police, through their operational exercises, were able to impound and retrieve, among other things, one Toyota Corolla (private car), military uniforms and some accoutrements, one pickup vehicle, a pump action gun, machetes, jack knives, live and empty cartridges and motorbikes,” it said. The statement emphasized that the operation was part of the command’s resolve to clamp down on land guard activities in the Greater Accra Region. It appealed to the public to constantly furnish the police with credible and reliable information that would help smoke out land guards, and bring them to book in order to end the menace.   Source: Daily Graphic
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) and chairman for the Security Council IN Awutu Senya East, Mr. Michael Mensah has said the issue of land guards have reached its peak within the municipality. He indicated inconclusive boundary disputes have also contributed to the increasing rate of the issue.   According to him, land developers are being frustrated by land guards with people storming developing sites to demand for digging fee, lengthening fee, roofing fee, painting fee among other ridiculous demands.   He described as barbaric the killing of the commercial driver by name Samuel Tetteh aka Alleby by some land guards last week. Two suspects he added have been arrested and the issue would be pursued to the logical conclusion. The issue of land guards he said, is illegal and efforts are underway to find solutions to the increasing rate of their activities in the Kasoa Municipality. The president he said have also formed a special task force to curb the issue of land guards because they are not part of our system.   In a related development, the Greater Accra Regional police command has arrested 50 land guards.   The 50 (21 of whom are on remand, whilst 20 are on court bail, and nine on police enquiry bail) were arrested from five divisions of the Accra Regional Police Command.   A statement signed by the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) George Alex Mensah, said the suspects were arrested in areas such as Ngleshie Amanfrom, Ofankor-Obimpe, Ashiyie, Quartey Papafio, Adjen Kotoku, Oyarifa, Asalaja, Mayera, Tuba, East Airport and Ayimensah in the Adenta, Weija, Amasaman, Airport and Baatsona divisions of the command.
All elected officers for the All People’s Congress (APC) from the constituency, regional and national levels have been dissolved, founder Hassan Ayariga has announced. At a press conference last weekend, the disqualified 2016 presidential candidate said the leadership has been dissolved because they were not competed in a competitive manner due to the run up to the 2016 general elections.   According to him, the APC has notified the Electoral Commission to that effect, and that members of the party who are interested in managing the affairs of the party are welcome to begin campaigning for available positions.   Hassan Ayariga added that “the APC is the only party that anyone from any party will find principles he supports and I call on people from the various political parties to join us reorganize the APC.”   “Other committees such as the new Council of Elders, Youth Wing, Women Executive Wing and Zongo Wing would be formed during the tour.”   He also announced that a committee has been formed to embark on a nationwide tour from November 15, 2017, to all constituencies, to organize polling station executives and activate party activities across the country.     “The leadership has declared 2018 as the year for the national delegates’ congress where national executives as well as a Presidential Candidate would be elected. The polling station, constituency, regional and national executives at all levels are encouraged to support in the effort to ensure the success of this important mission,” he said.
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