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General News (6005)

Ghana’s longstanding challenges can only be resolved through ambitious and sustained reforms in key policy areas, going beyond the central government to encompass the broader public sector, the IMF mission to Ghana has said.Speaking at a press conference at the end of a two-week visit to Ghana, the IMF Mission Chief, Annalisa Fedelino, said more needed to be done to restore macro-economic stability and anchor confidence.The mission’s discussions focused on recent economic and policy development, and the outlook for 2017 and the medium-term, including prospects for restoring high economic growth and job creation.It also discussed the parameters of the programme, consistent with restoring macroeconomic stability.“In our view, the immediate priority is to ensure fiscal discipline by bringing down the budget deficit to a level required to place public debt on a clearly declining path.“Continued fiscal consolidation would also facilitate ongoing disinflation and anchor confidence,” she said.Government has committed to achieve the budget deficit of 6.5 per cent announced in the 2017 budget through a step up in revenue collection.Annalisa said the significant unpaid commitments incurred in 2016, and weaknesses in the financial position of state-owned enterprises in the utility sector, could undermine fiscal adjustment, and add to spending and public debt.She called for the need to bring fiscal discipline to SOEs, especially those in the utility sector.She said economic prospects in 2017 were encouraging, as economic growth was expected to pick up, inflation was declining, and prospects for a significant increase in net international reserves, boosted by recent sizable exchange inflows.Ms Fedelino said the IMF would continue to support the Ghanaian authorities’ policies aiming at macro-economic stabilization and enhancing the growth potential of the economy.Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, said government was taking pragmatic steps to achieve macro-economic targets and policy outcomes outline in the budget.He said both the IMF and government were working hard to address the challenges of the economy, especially ensuring debt sustainability anchored on the reduction in fiscal deficit.“I think with the fund as a partner, we will manage that exit in a way in which we won’t compromise growth and private sector development, but at the same time never take our eyes off the general issues of macro-economic stability, fiscal and debt sustainability,” he said.Mr. Ofori-Atta said government would continue to be creative, while it pursued fiscal consolidation by embarking on growth enhancing initiatives in agriculture, industry and services sector in order to accelerate growth.Besides, the private sector, a key driver of growth, will be provided with the incentives to spur growth, but to reduce poverty.“We are optimistic that growth will rebound, and rather strongly against the general belief that fiscal consolidation will lead to declining growth,” he added.The Minister also said Ghana was committed to ending its programme with the IMF as scheduled in April 2018, adding that there would be no extension.Source: GNA
The Queenmother of Asante Akyem Agogo, Nana Serwaa K. Boadum encouraged the youth to identify their talents and make good use of them. She urged them to avail themselves of opportunities to develop and sharpen their skills. The nation she indicated is blessed with young people who are extremely talented hence they should not shy away from making the best use out of them. The Queenmother gave the advice while addressing the youth as part of the Easter celebration in area.   She also asked them to avoid negative words for themselves since that may have serious impact on them. She said, you have to strive hard and identify your God-given talents and make good use of them. It was part of an activity under the auspices of lawyer Appiah Kubi to identify some talents in the youth in the constituency.  
Three (3) revelers are reported dead in the Gomoa East district of the Central region. Reporting the incident to Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, our correspondent, Kwabena Agyekum Banahene said, the 3 drowned because they were drunk.The bodies are yet to be identified. The bodies he added were between 20-40 years. Meanwhile the police has retrieved and deposited the bodies at the morgue.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has given a hint that a forensic audit would be conducted into the suspected arson into Ghana’s largest drug supply and distribution centre which occurred in the year 2015.The Vice President gave the hint when he addressed the Townhall meeting organised by Accra-based Joy FM on Monday April 17, 2017 to appraise government's policies in its first 100 days. He said: “We have not had a forensic audit after all the request… We will have that forensic audit.”   It will be recalled that on January 13, 2015, the CMS was consumed by fire, resulting in the destruction of medical supplies and equipment.A Committee set up to investigate the Central Medical Stores fire says the fire was deliberately set to destroy evidence of theft, massive fraud and widespread irregularities. “It was established that the fire was deliberately set and that property damaged was worth millions of Ghana Cedis,” former  Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong told said. The suspected arsonist was named as Samuel Dogbe, who used to be a labourer at the CMS. The act, according to her was triggered after the then Health Minister, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah tasked the Economic and Organised Crime Unit to look into some suspected irregularities at the CMS.Subsequently, the government interdicted some 12 officials of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) who were suspected to have played various roles in the fire outbreak at the CMS. The 12 were identified as Peter Ekow Gyimah, Former Head of CMS, Alhaji Yusif Inua, Member of the Interim Management Committee, Iddrisu Abdul Karim, Acting Head of CMS, Esi Makankatha, Principal Pharmacist/Warehouse Mangaer and Zeboat Doh, Warehouse Manager.The rest were Ibrahim Laryeh Amartey, Line Warehouse Manager/General Pharmaceuticals Unit, Kwami Foli, Warehouse Manager, Mathias Senaya, Warehouse Manager/General Pharmaceuticals, Victoria Anning, Senior Supply Officer/Stores, James Benjamin Annan, Pharmacist/systems Analyst and Peter Ataba Addah, Store keeper.Drugs purchased by the state for the treatment of Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and some Ebola PPE’s which were all kept at the Central Medical Stores for distribution across the country got burnt.The Vice President said:  “The terms of reference have been completed to enable the selection of auditors to undertake the forensic audit of the January 22, 2015 Central Medical Stores fire outbreak.”
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has reiterated that government will deal with the existence of vigilante groups in the country. He was speaking at the Townhall meeting organized by Accra-based Joy Fm in Accra Monday April 17, 2017. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said the activities of vigilante groups like the Delta Force is a state sponsored terrorism. According to the NDC, President Akufo-Addo is responsible for the activities of Delta Force and the Invincible Forces.   “The NDC is calling on President Akufo-Addo to act swiftly and bring his fellow party members perpetrating these ignominious acts to book in order to redeem the enviable image of Ghana as a peaceful exemplary democratic country which was bequeathed to him less than 100 days ago.” The NDC further noted that, there had been a rise in actions of vigilante groups since President Akufo-Addo took power. “It is extremely shameful that less than 100 days after being handed over a peaceful Ghana by the outgone NDC Administration, the Government of President Nana Akufo-Addo has shown unprecedented levels, of, WEAKNESS,  GROSS INCOMPETENCE, and an INABILITY  to maintain the basic tenets of law and order and its attendant twin of the  protection of life and property.” “The recent incident of raiding a law court and freeing criminals on remand brings to the fore the high rise in the practice of organised political thuggery and terrorist activities by the NPP since President Akufo-Addo got sworn-in as President,” the statement from the NDC added. But Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says: “The message that he [The President] has sent as a result of the arrest, remand, fining of these people who broke the law is a clear message to the country that regardless of your political party, you cannot hide behind the cover that I am an NPP member so I can break the law with impunity. If you break the law you will be dealt with. You will not see Ministers lining up to sign petitions to release them.” On the issue of illegal mining popularly called galamsey, he said government is committed to curbing the menace.     “We have suspended the issuance of mining licenses so that we can restructure the sector. We have developed a five year multilateral mining integrated project to improve the management of small scale mining to protect the environment, but at the same time to allow Ghanaians to mine in a regulated and sustainable manner under this five-year multilateral mining integrated project, we will be identifying prospective areas for small scale mining where we will then direct the small scale miners to those particular areas so that they are not just mining haphazardly. We are also banning mining around water bodies and making sure there is surveillance around those water bodies and also establishing a processing plant for gold processing.” 
  New companies would only spend a day to get their establishments registered, Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed. He said a government that prides itself with working with the private sector cannot continue taking forever to register new companies. He gave the hint when he addressed a Townhall meeting organised by Accra based Joy Fm as part of efforts to appraise the policies of government in its first 100 days after taking over office from the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC). The Vice President said the case where Ghanaians spend almost three weeks to register their new companies will be a thing of the past. Ghana’s laws, the Company’s Act, he noted makes it   After visiting the Registrar General's Department, days after assuming power, the vice president said it was observed that Ghana's laws, the Company Act, makes it impossible for the companies to be registered in one day. As a result, Dr Bawumia said the government has begun drafting new laws to amend sections of the Company's Act that inhibits a speedy registration of new companies. The draft he added is almost done and will soon be passed into law.    
  President Nana Akufo-Addo has delivered on 103 campaign promises in his first 100 days, Vice P-resident Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has hinted. He gave the hint when speaking at  a Townhall meeting organised by Accra based Joy Fm. He said,  though a lot of work still needs to be done to see to it that the country's economy is transformed, the Akufo-Addo-led administration has done a significant amount of work in just hundred days to set the right foundation for much needed change Ghanaians voted for.   Among the issues talked about at the Townhall event include:   - Real GDP with oil was down 3.6% in 2016 from 9.1% in 2008.   - Declining growth in agriculture and industry   - Rising unemployment   - High fiscal deficits   - Rising public debts   - Accumulating arrears on government obligations   - Weakening of the banking system   - Dumsor   - Cancellation of teacher and nursing training allowances   - Depreciation of the exchange rate   - Return to cash and carry under NHIS   - Freeze on the hiring of Extension Officers in agriculture   - High and pervasive taxes   - High electricity prices   - Corruption   - IMF bailout   Here is a breakdown of the 103 achievements of the NPP government in the past 100 days according to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.   Moving the Focus of Economic Policy from Taxation to Production   The NPP has;   - Abolished excise duty on petroleum.   - Abolished levies imposed on ‘kayayei’ by local authorities.   - Abolished levies imposed on religious institutions by local authorities.   - Abolished the 1% Special Import Levy.   - Abolished the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets.   - Abolished the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on financial services.   - Abolished the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally.   - Abolished the 5% VAT/NHIL on Real Estate sales.   - Initiated the process to abolish duty on the importation of spare parts.   - Reduced National Electrification Scheme Levy from 5% to 3%.   - Reduced Public Lighting Levy from 5% to 2%.   - Reduced special petroleum tax rate from 17.5% to 15%.   Restoring Fiscal Discipline and Macro stability   The NPP has;   - Replaced the 17.5 VAT/NHIL rate with a flat rate of 3 % for traders.   - Granted Capital Gains Tax Exemption on stocks traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange or publicly held securities approved by the SEC.   - The 2017 Budget returned Ghana back on to the path of fiscal consolidation with a budget deficit target of 6.5% of GDP.   - Government created fiscal space by capping of earmarked funds to 25% of government revenue and realigning expenditures to government priorities.   Restoring Fiscal Discipline and Macro stability   - Re-profiling Ghana’s public debt: USD2.25 billion cedi sovereign bonds, up to 15 year tenor, at 19.75%.   - Massive boost to our gross international reserves from $6 billion $8 billion.   - Reduced Inflation Rate from 15.4% to 12.8%.   - Allocated the cedi equivalent of $1million( GHs 4.1 million) to each constituency for economic development and poverty reduction.   - Restored confidence in the macro-economy by anchoring fiscal policy on the pillars of credibility, clarity and transparency.   Food and Agriculture   - Ghana and Ivory Coast have agreed to collaborate to tackle the volatility of cocoa prices.   - 1200 agricultural extension officers have been hired and trained nationwide to support Planting for Food and Jobs.   - Reduced fertilizer prices by 50%.   - Imported 300,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers; this is higher than any annual import since 2007.   Culture and Tourism   - Established a Safety Audit Unit at the Ghana Tourism Authority to conduct safety audits across tourist sites.   - Established the Creative Arts Council.   - Launched the Presidential Museum at the Christiansborg Castle.   Fishing Industry   - Spread the allocation of premix fuel to more OMCs. Previously only 2 OMCs were allowed to sell premix. As part of government’s effort to ensure transparency and stamp out corruption, we have increased the number to 9.   - Halted the issuance of fishing licenses to stop overfishing.   - Trained Watch dog committees along the coast to fight the menace of light fishing.   ICT and E-commerce   - Government has awarded a contract for the capacity building of 1,400 teachers/education leaders in ICT to be undertaken by Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT.   - Awarded contract for Information Management System for Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.   - Awarded contract for Case Management System for Judicial Service of Ghana. Software being installed now.   - Contract awarded for E-Procurement system for use by the Public Procurement Authority.   Power   - $300 million saved by reviewing and prioritizing Power Purchase Agreements   - Secured financing for two major rural electrification projects (Hunan and China Water). This project when implemented would extend electricity to over 800 communities.   - Transparent allocation of petroleum blocks: A team of experts has been constituted to work with the Petroleum Commission to develop regulations for the transparent allocation of petroleum blocks as provided by Act 919.   - New policy on sulfur content introduced. Effective1st July, the sulfur content in our fuel will be reduced from the current 3,000pmm to 50pmm. This will reduce respiratory diseases triggered by fuel toxins with high sulfur content. Same level as western world and East African countries.   - For new PPAs, Government is moving from thermal to renewable energy .   Railway   - Renewed focus on Railway: There was no allocation to the sector in the 2016 budget. However in 2017, Ghs518 million has been allocated to the sector.   - Ghana Railway Company is now generating enough revenue to pay their salaries.   Social Sector achievements   - Free SHS : Redefined Basic Education to include SHS and made allocation of Ghs 400 million in the budget to start free SHS for first year students in September 2017.   - Completed draft bill for the National Research Fund.   - Increased National Service Allowance effective April from Ghs 350 to Ghs 559.   - Allocated Ghs 43.9 million for the establishment of a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan.   Health   - Approval has been given to employ 11,000 health trainees who graduated between 2012 and 2016.   - Dissolution of the Health Training Institute Secretariat.   - Reduced cost of nursing training admission forms from Ghs 160 to Ghs 100. This will cover all processes leading to admission   - Restored nursing training allowance.   - Secured financial clearance to employ 181 Doctors who completed their housemanship 7 months ago.   - Terms of reference completed to enable selection of auditors on competitive basis to undertake forensic audit of the January 2016 Central Medical Stores fire Outbreak.   Governance   - Completed appointment of Ministers within 6 weeks of coming into office.   - All ministers have declared their assets.   - Established a functional Delivery Unit at the Presidency.   - Established a functional Economic Management Team.   - Established a policy not to buy new cars for government machinery.   Zongo and Inner City Development   - Completed the draft bill for the historic Zongo Development Fund and made an allocation of Ghs 219 million for the fund.   - Established Ministry of Zongo and Inner City Development: For the first time in the history of Ghana, Government has appointed a minister to focus on the needs and infrastructural demands of the Zongos around the country.   Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs   - Sword cut for the construction of a National Cathedral. Established a board of trustees to oversee the construction.   Local Government   - Increased the proportion of DACF that goes directly to assemblies from 33% to 50% as a result of fewer deductions from the centre   Accountability achievements   - Policy approval given to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Work on draft bill is in progress.   - State prosecutors had been on strike since November of 2016 which crippled the justice system. The AG office successfully negotiated with the state attorneys who have since resumed work   - Successfully freed up AG's account that the courts had garnisheed.   Military   - All allowances due soldiers at the various missions have been fully paid. $39 million in arrears have also been paid.   - Peacekeeping allowance increased and paid from $31 to $35.   - Successfully participated in ECOMIG Operations (GAMBIA): We moved away from "dzi wo fie asem" and actively participated in the restoration of democracy in Gambia while helping to ensure peace and stability in that country.   Diaspora   - Established the Office of Diaspora Affairs within the Office of the President.   - Worked with international bodies to secure election of three Ghanaian nationals to high profile positions within the African Union System   •Hon. Kwesi Quartey (Deputy Chairperson of the African Union)   •Ms. Kathleen Quartey-Ayensu (Member of the AU Commission on International Law), Mr. Daniel Batidam (AU Anti-Corruption Board).   Energy   - Capped electricity power purchases at 10 cents per KwH.   - Established policy to separate VRA’s thermal operations from hydro.   - Established a policy to move all major government buildings, schools, hospitals, military, and police to solar energy.   - Uninterrupted production of oil and gas in the Jubilee Field due to a temporary mooring solution. A long term permanent solution is being discussed. This solution has saved Government USD 5million per month.    
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that government has began processes aimed at restructuring Ghana’s public debt stock. The Vice President was speaking at Joy FM’s town hall meeting.   According to him, Ghana issued a total of 2.25 billion dollars in four bonds as part of measures to ensure that government successfully implements its debt reprofiling plan.   He said, “Last Friday Ghana issued a bond essentially to do this reprofiling and in that context we raised some 2.25 billion dollars of investment that came in to buy this cedi denominated bond. There was a cedi bond which was issued for 15 years tenure and that brought in 2.25 billion.” “What is so remarkable about this transaction is that we have been able to reprofile our debt, get more foreign exchange without increasing our debt stock and that is so remarkable.”   He also debunked assertions that government was rather increasing the debt stock through these bonds, saying “Many people did not quite understand the transaction and they thought that we had gone to borrow 2 billion dollars to add to Ghana’s debt. No, we are actually replacing more expensive debts with less expensive ones.” 
President Nana Akufo-Addo has reiterated that his 2016 campaign promises are not fake promises but real; and he is committed to delivering those promises. According to him, his critics have doubted his promises and claimed that he cannot deliver on them. However, I have delivered on some of them and I will continue to deliver on the rest, he added. The president said: “before the elections, my opponents criticized most of my campaign promises. They said there was no way I could achieve them, but gradually, we are getting there. As my government has promised, the free SHS is starting this September.” On the free senior school he said: “as my government has promised, the free SHS is starting this September. All fresh Senor High students will enjoy this policy till they complete school. Before my tenure ends, you will know that I have fulfilled all my promises. I cannot deceive Ghanaians. That won’t happen.” He was addressing the chiefs and people of Kwahu on Saturday. He said just as promised, the tax cuts promised businesses, was factored in the budget presented by the Finance Minister and we will continue to work on the rest, he noted. He also touched on railway development assuring that, his government will do all it can to revive that sector,  to promote businesses and growth in the economy. The Special Prosecutors Office he stressed, will deal ruthlessly with cases of corruption in the country.      
Celebrated heart-surgeon and Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has been recognised for his distinguished medical practice over the past two-and-a-half decades.   He was presented with the ‘Legend of the Year’ award at the “2017 People’s Choice Practitioners Awards” held at the Golden Tulip Hotel, in Kumasi, and attended by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.   For his prize, he received a gold medal and brass bust. In addition, a yet to be determined first aid facility, would be named after him.   A citation accompanying the award read, “With an extreme can-do spirit, you were poised to initiate the seemingly impossible dream regardless of the numerous conspicuous obstacles and lack of resources.   Through your unstoppable dream, Ghana now boasts of a world-class Cardiothoracic Centre, Red Cross Society and Heart Foundation.”   Seventeen (17) other individuals and organisations were also honoured at the ceremony, the first ever to be organised by the Media Men Ghana Limited – a Consulting Firm.   They included Prof Sir Joseph Acheampong, a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Dr Ellen Boakye and Dr Tabitha Botwe, both General Medical Practitioners, Dr Agyekum Addo, a Pharmacist, MMsFaustian Tengye, a Nurse, Tamale Teaching Hospital, Pediatokorpe Hospital and Pfizer a Pharmaceutical Company.   Unity Television and Vodafone - a telecommunications company, were also rewarded for contributing to the growth of the health sector. Their prizes included sashes, citations and certificates.   Otumfuo Osei Tutu applauded the awardees for their service to humanity and encouraged them to continue to do more to save lives.   He asked that healthcare providers showed compassion for the sick and upheld high standards of professionalism.   He suggested to the organisers to strive to institutionalise the event to serve as a motivation for healthcare practitioners.   Dr Benedicta Ohene-Manu, Managing Director of Media Men Ghana Limited, said the goal was to inspire health professionals to work with passion and dedication to bring relief to their patients.    Source:Graphiconline
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