The Executive Secretary of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) Ing. Samuel Kwadwo Sarpong has been relieved of his post.
He is expected to hand over to the senior most -person at the Commission, Ms. Mami Dufie Ofori, as he proceeds to collect three (3) months’ salary in lieu of the notice.
Executive Secretary to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Nana Bediatuo Asante, in a letter said, “reference is made to your appointment letter dated 11thFebruary 2013, appointing you as the Executive Secretary of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission that took effect from 10th December 2012. In accordance with paragraph 7 of the said Letter, your appointment is hereby terminated.”
The letter further directed Mr. Sarpong to “hand over your office to Ms. Mami Dufie Ofori, and proceed to collect three (3) months’ salary in lieu of notice.”
According to the letter, Mr. Sarpong must cease to act as the Executive Secretary of the Company, and ensure that he hands over every document of the company to his successor by Friday, October 13, 2017.
Kenya's government has banned demonstrations in three major Kenyan cities - the capital Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
Interior Minister Fred Matiang'i said the ban was aimed at protecting Kenyans and their property.
Opposition supporters have been holding regular protests in the three cities, which have resulted in looting and violent clashes with police.
They are pushing for electoral changes before a fresh election is held.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga pulled out of the 26 October poll earlier this week.
The Supreme Court had annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta's win in the August election, after it found that the election commission had not followed the constitution and the electoral laws.
Mr Matiang'i said the ban was not meant to curtail the constitutional right to demonstrate but that it was agreed on after security authorities found that there was "imminent danger".
He told a press briefing that he had received complaints from the business community about the negative effects the protests were having on their businesses.
"We cannot go on this way. It is unfortunate to see people's cars being smashed, property being destroyed in the guise of a peaceful demonstrations. We must respect the law," he said.
He also said that a top official of the opposition coalition, Nasa, would be held responsible for damages caused during Wednesday's protests.
Mr Odinga withdrew his participation in the re-run election because he said the election commission had refused to implement changes to correct the problems he blames for the bungled election.
Nasa has called on its supporters to hold regular street protects to pressure the commission to agree to its demands.
The Deputy Minister of Transport Nii Kwartei Titus Glover says the Ghanaian economy is becoming more attractive to foreign investors to invest in the country.
According to the MP for Tema East, the Ghanaian economy has led to a number of foreign companies establishing in the country and one of such companies, is Somoco Ghana.
The Deputy Minister said, the establishment of such companies shows the confidence imposed in the economy and the commitment of foreigners to contribute to the growth of Ghana’s economy.
He said, government was committed to creating an enabling environment and the framework for businesses to thrive in the country.
He made the remarks at the launch of the new Boxer X150 motorbike in Accra by Somoco Ghana, distributors of Bajaj Boxer Bikes.
He described Bajaj Auto Limited as the leading auto company in the world adding, the company has demonstrated together with the distributors Somoco Ghana that, they are committed to facilitating industrial growth.
He also indicated that the two companies have taken steps to construct an assembling plant in Ghana to assemble motorbikes in Ghana.
This he described as laudable since it will create jobs for the youth, improve our GDP and transformation of technology into our Ghanaian space.
The vision of the transport Ministry he said, is to create the necessary regulatory framework and provide the enabling environment to ensure safe, secured, efficient, reliable, effective and assisted transportation system in the country.
The motorbike population he noted has risen shapely and has become the mode of commercial transportation in the country despite its illegality.
He was however quick to add that, since the law allows private use and courier services through the use of motorbikes, safety standards must be met in the manufacturing of motorbikes.
He said, safety must not be compromised and I believe that the new Boxer 150 has met all the safety standards.
He called on the company to assist the National Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders in championing the road safety campaign to reduce the high rate of motor accidents in the country.
The Boxer 150 is a bike that stays strong and takes all the load with ease. Boxer 150 is a great combination of power and fuel efficiency that makes it an ideal bike for city travel as well as for longer rides and across terrains.
Its rugged and solid styling is meant for those commuters who seek better bike performance.
A motorcycle that delivers power on all load and speed conditions. A bike meant to outlast the toughest of roads.
The Ashanti regional police command have conducted a swooping leading to the arrest of over 245 suspected criminals and commercial sex workers.
The suspects are currently being screened at the Regional Police Command.
The screening, according to the police was aimed at gathering enough evidence for the suspects to be arraigned before the courts.
COP Ken Yeboah, addressing journalists on the swoop described the exercise as one of the biggest swoops in the region.
He indicated that, five (5) of the suspects who were found with substances suspected to be Indian hemp, have been handed over to the Drug Law Enforcement Unit for further investigations.
He added that, thirty-five (35) other female suspects also believed to be sex workers have been handed over to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit for further investigations.
The Young Women's Christian Association of Ghana (Y.W.C.A.) finds it extremely difficult to hold it tear for the lost souls and all who fell victim to the Atomic Junction gas explosion in Accra over the weekend.
The feminine group with outstanding mothering model for the girl child feels that its children are being swallowed by disaster and as parents they cannot easily remain unconcerned but sympathize with affected families and the entire nation to mourn in such difficult times.
National president of the association, Mrs. Vera Naana Appiah together with her executive members noted the time is right for Ghana to see the issue of gas explosion and all other disastrous events as bad omen that should not be allowed to devour people and property any longer. The president said, the association is sharing the pain of victims, asking the lord to give them the fortitude to withstand this moment of their lives. "As we console with them, we wish them the strength to recover with speed and also get out of the trauma quickly" she added.
Mrs. Appiah was for the School of Thoughts that filling stations, especially gas, be moved out of town to reduce the tension it pose on human life adding, the need to educate women to handle domestic gas should be in the interest of the state to reduce or do away with all round gas related injuries. She appealed with media houses to offer some space for safety education in their daily programming to help deal with the issue.
By: Daniel Asuku
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has destroyed 4,500 cartons of unwholesome canned fish that were said to be on transit to Togo, but were diverted onto the Ghanaian market.
The exercise was supervised by the police and officials of the FDA at the Achimota Mile Seven Police Station on Wednesday.
The Head of Communications for the FDA James Lartey said, these unregistered products were imported into the country by Dotsisco Ventures and were subsequently impounded by the Mile 7 District Police following a tip-off by residents of Ofankor, a suburb of Accra.
He said the products were cleared from the port on September 30, and were set to expire in February 2018, according to their labeling.
“We discovered that ‘So Nice mackerel’ and Asahi mackerel were shipped into the country by Dotsisco Ventures, but the documentation covering them indicated that they were on transit to Togo.
The United States has withdrawn from Unesco over what it claims is the organisation's "continuing anti-Israel bias".
The State Department announced its intention to withdraw from the UN's cultural, scientific and educational organisation and become a permanent observer instead.
"This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at Unesco, the need for fundamental reform in the organisation, and continuing anti-Israel bias at Unesco," the State Department said in a statement.
The country hopes to remain a non-member, observer state, in order to contribute US opinions and expertise on issues like press freedoms and protecting world heritage, according to the Department.
Unesco was funded in the wake of the Second World War, with the aim of ensuring peace through the free flow of ideas and education.
The US has withdrawn from the organisation once before, during the Reagan administration. Former President Ronald Regan withdrew the country from Unesco in 1984, claiming it was biased in favour of the Soviet Union. President George W Bush rejoined the organisation in 2002. The US stopped funding Unesco in 2011, after the organisation accepted Palestine as a member.
Israel recalled its ambassador to Unesco last year. The organisation had recently adopted two resolutions that Israeli leaders said ignored Judaism’s connection with one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites. Israel's relationship with Unesco had long been rocky, after officials accused the body of making decisions out of political considerations.
The Country Director of the Hunger Project Ghana, Mr Samuel Erasmus Afrane has charged the society, especially parents to invest towards the advancement of the girl child to aid reduce societal burden.
Speaking at the Celebration of the “International Day of the Girl Child” at Akode located within the Akuapem North District in the Eastern Region of Ghana on Wednesday, 11th October, 2017, Mr. Afrane asked parents to give twice to the girl child, whatever the boy child deserves.
The International Day of the Girl Child is an international fulfillment day declared by the United Nations. The Observation which commenced on 11th October, 2012 supports more opportunity for girls and increase awareness of gender inequality faced by many girls across the globe. This inequality includes right and access to education, nutrition, legal rights, protection from discrimination, violence against women and early child marriages.
The Hunger Project Ghana under the “Her Choice Program” marked this remarkable day at Akode in the Eastern region of Ghana to echo the successful rise of girls and young women as contributors and stakeholders to national development. The Eastern Regional Coordinator of the Girl Child Education Unit under the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mrs. Cynthia Anim stated that, gender in-equality will be a thing of the past, if all stakeholders will join the fight to make the girl child a better individual. She insisted that the society must accept the girl child and the woman as a contributor to national development. “The world will continue to wallow in poverty, if the progression and interest of the girl child is deserted,” she added.
Also speaking at the event, the Eastern Regional Program Officer of the Gender Department, Mrs. Ama Nyantah Boateng pleaded with chiefs and traditional authorities to be instructive and firm when dealing with violent related cases against women. Mrs. Nyantah Boateng asked the community to also re-orient itself on customary observations that impede the progress of the girl child and women.
The Celebration which was under the theme “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision 2030” began with a procession through communities under the Akode Epicenter in the Akuapem North District before gathering at the epicentre where the remaining activities took place.
By: Ekow Burt-Fletcher
Ghana reached a major milestone on October 4, 2017, after using US$200 million of its oil and gas resources from a Sinking Fund account, as well as proceeds from previous bond issues to “buyback” or redeem the last instalment of the 10-year Sovereign Bond issued in 2007.
The decision to progressively retire the US$ 750 million bond before maturity—with a package of “buyback” and refinancing strategies—was taken in 2013, as part of the Home Grown policy. This bond was also the first to be issued on a foreign capital market by a sub-Saharan African nation, besides South Africa.
Cabinet and Parliament approved the measure as part of the 2014 Budget to avoid retaining the full value to maturity in October 2017. Back then, Ghana faced significant “roll-over” risks since it did not set up a plan to repay the principal sum under the bond’s half-yearly “interest-only” payment or “bullet” structure.
Measures being used to pay down the 2017 and other bonds
In the absence of a fiscal plan to create reserves to repay the principal sum when it fell due on October 4, 2017, investors expected Ghana to go to the markets to raise funds to refinance or roll over the bond. This was becoming difficult because of continuing fall in commodity prices, huge fiscal overruns and stoppage of gas supply from Nigeria.
Hence, the need for a progressive plan in the new Debt Management Strategy (DMS) to retire the bond fully on due date.
Sinking Fund and Buyback: The Sinking Fund flows used to retire part of the bond was from oil revenues in the Stabilisation Fund set up under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA),(Amendment) 2015 (Act 893).
Further, the October 4 final installment was from a Sinking Fund transfer into a Debt Service Reserve (DSR) account for retiring bonds to support debt repayment and improve yields. Overall, Ghana had used US$336 million of the Sinking Fund by December 2016 to buyback the 2007 and other domestic and foreign debt.
Refinancing: Ghana also used US$100 million of the 2014 and US$216 million of the 2016 Bond proceeds to augment the retirement of the 2007 Bond, through a liability management or exchange plan for its new and old bonds. It is important to note that the bulk of the amount for overall domestic and foreign debt exchange and “buyback” came from the US$1billion worth of bond that the World Bank guaranteed in 2015.
Soft-amortisation: At end of 2016, Ghana’s last “bullet” was the 2013 Bond. Those of 2014 to 2016 fall under a soft-amortisation plan—under which, instead of the1-year “bullet” payment, the maturity periods were extended by three to five years. These were to enable Ghana redeem/buyback or refinance the principal sum gradually from the Sinking Fund.
Hence, Ghana has been able to extend the maturity for the 2014 to 2016 bonds to 2030 and expects to cover 75 per cent or more of the annual average obligation of US$300 million from the Sinking Fund and flows from commercial projects under the DSR’s “self-financing” plan.
Enabling laws (PRMA and PFMA)
The arrangements described above are now backed by law, a move that now makes our debt management plans certain on the capital markets where Ghana trades its bonds. As noted, the Stabilisation Fund falls under the PRMA, 2011 (Act 815) while Parliament approved the annual limit or cap on this fund to set up the Sinking Fund—as well as the Contingency Fund, established under Article 177 of the Constitution and funded for the first time since it came into force in 1992.
The laws supporting the Sinking Fund are Article 176(2)of the Constitution and the new Public Financial Management Act (PFMA), 2016 (Act 921). Originally, the Sinking Fund was set up in 2014 under the Financial Administration Act and Regulations (FAA and FAR). The PFMA now has more comprehensive provisions on the Sinking Fund and DSR account, among other debt management provisions.
Conclusion— Making our debt sustainable
While Ghana appears to have its back against the wall, we can’t point the right signals to the Capital Markets through these policies. The buyback-cum-refinancing of the 2007 Bond and, ultimately, the debt management provisions in the PFMA and PRMA hold the key to making Ghana’s fast-growing public debt more sustainable. We cannot achieve this goal by focusing on deficit reduction as the sole or overriding fiscal anchor.
These redemption plans form part of the new DMS—or its more appealing street name:“smart borrowing”. We must continue to build the Sinking Fund from additional crude oil and gas revenues—and investments under the World Bank Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) for Sankofa—to make our debt sustainable.
In the budget, we cannot devote these resources to consumption only; learning from the advanced and middle-income countries, what also matters is infrastructure development through careful debt management.
We must augment the Sinking Fund with other measures, notably the “self-financing” strategy that requires that we repay loans from the revenues generated by commercial projects and not put the burden on the taxpayer. We must establish the Debt Management Office (DMO) proposed in the PFMA to implement these proposals—to make our debt sustainable again.
The writer is the immediate past Finance Minister
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manso-Adubia constituency, Ashanti region, Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo has promised to see to it that the scrapped allowance for agric students is fully restored.
He was however, disappointed in the over 4,000 agric students who besieged the Ministry of Agriculture Wednesday to demand from the Ministry restoration of their allowance.
He told Kwame Tutu that, if they [Students] had appealed to the Committee on Agriculture in Parliament, the committee would have pursued the matter on their behalf.
The MP speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the services of extension officers is crucial to farming and so the students deserve to have their allowances restored.
He said, ‘’Nana Addo’s government believes that agriculture is the cornerstone for whatever he is doing. The revolution that he wants to see in our industry, will come from raw materials and these raw materials will only come from agriculture. He [Nana Addo] wants us to turn the cocoa sector into a multi million dollars industry but we are only recording 800,000 metric tons, how do we see to it that the industry get the needed raw materials for the value addition?
‘’And so we will need the services of these extension officers and if we need them just we like need nurses and teachers, I will do everything in advocacy and lobbying to ensure that their allowances are restored.’’
Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo said the reason why he described as wrong the method used by the agric students, to demand for the restoration was because, whatever they demanded for was not captured in the budget.
The restoration of the nursing and midwifery allowance was captured in this year’s budget and so if we have not captured it in the budget, it cannot be implemented.
He said, between now and December there is no way anyone can do something about it. However, it will surely be captured in the 2018 budget. Some of us will champion their concerns and ensure, the allowances are restored. We will appeal to the Agric Ministry to make provision in the 2018 budget for the restoration of the allowances.