Some freight forwarders have expressed satisfaction at the implementation of the paperless system but insist there ‘’is more room for improvement.
According to them, they cannot say its bad but they want authorities to iron out the challenges for them.
Some freight forwarders who spoke to Rainbow Radio’s Fifi Ankoma said although the system is paperless, they still carry papers around which defeats the purpose.
‘’So far so good and we cannot say it is bad. There are challenges that we need the authorities to come out and iron them out for us…We still carry around papers. We still make declarations… There is one problem too that is happening; it is becoming herculean task to do our housing,’’ one freight forwarder said.
Director of Tema port admitted indeed, the system began with challenges but he was optimistic by six months to come, the system will work perfectly well.
On the issue why freight forwarders carry papers around he said, it is the way bill handed over to the freight forwarders and that is not part of the paperless system.
He said, after going through all the processes, you are given a way bill because without that, you could be frustrated on your way out of the port.
Government on September 1 this year launched the paperless port system to speed up the process of clearing goods from two weeks to four hours, and ensure order at the port, whilst blocking loopholes.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at the launch of the onboarding programme for National Service Personnel into the National Communications Authority, said paperless system at the country’s ports, has shown a revenue collection improvemen “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.
Rainbowradioonline.com has chanced upon a Ghanawebonline.com publication which was a result of an interview with the Deputy MASLOC CEO Alberta Afia Akoto in reaction our publication on the 350 abandoned vehicles purchased for MASLOC.
Our story was not about confiscated vehicles due to the owners’ indebtedness to the centre.
Our story published on September 30, 2017 was about the 350 brand new vehicles purchased by MASLOC for the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GRPTU) on hire purchase.
The vehicles were not distributed after former President John Dramani Mahama commissioned same in the year 2016.
We still stand by our claims that: ‘’MASLOC in 2016 purchased the vehicles, comprising 100 33-seater buses and 250 saloon cars, and were to be used for commercial operations. However, after the vehicles were commissioned on the 3rd of December, 2016 they have been abandoned at a parking space within the premises of the International Conference Centre. Parts of the brand new vehicles have started wearing out because they’ve been left at the mercy of the weather. Some of the vehicles have rusted with tyres deflated.’’
A former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Hon. Inusah Fuseni revealed on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) did not get financial clearance before purchasing some 350 vehicles for the Ghana Private Road and Transport Union (GPRTU).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MASLOC Mr. Stephen Amoah, aka Sticker, on Rainbow Radio explained reasons why the 350 vehicles purchased for the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) were not distributed.
In the said interview, he told Kwame Tutu that the cost of the vehicles were inflated by the previous administration hence the inability of GPRTU to take custody of same.
He told the host that: ‘’it was true that government through MASLOC agreed with GPRTU to purchase these vehicles on high purchase but the price for the saloon car is GHc85,000 (including insurance, one percent interest and other costs) and because of that, GPRTU said they are unable to pay back the car in two years. He explained that the GPRTU told government that their daily sales per day is GHc40 and so even if they work for three years, they will be unable to pay back the cost of the vehicle and even make profits. The cost for one 33-seater bus was also about $150,000 million (excluding insurance).
Per our investigations, the costs of the vehicles were indeed exorbitant. The average world market price for one Martiz 250 saloon car is between $1,600-$4,000 and the quotation in Ghana cedis is GHC7000-18000. The highest price or amount is GHc18,000 however, the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), is selling the same range of vehicles to the Ghana Private Road and Transport Union (GPRTU) for GHc85,000.
We wish to state categorically that we did not publish a false story as stated by the Deputy CEO of MASLOC.
She can also confirm from her boss on his position on the abandoned vehicles at the Accra International Conference Centre. We believe that she maybe misrepresentating the facts between the confiscated vehicles and the abandoned GPRTU vehicles.
The Chief Justice, Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo has unveiled plans to close down all dilapidated court structures to safeguard the safety and security of judges and court users.
She said the current state of most court structures across the country were death traps and demeaning to the administration of justice.
According to the Chief Justice, she recently visited the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) Court where conditions were so deplorable.
Addressing members of the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) at their 37th Annual General Meeting (AGM’s) annual conference in Accra Wesdnesday, Ms Akuffo planned to close the courts to make them safe for use by judges and the public.
“It is about time, we showed as a nation, respect for justice,” Ms Akuffo said.
This year’s two-day conference was on the theme: “Judiciary, A Bastian of Democracy,” and is being attended by more than 100 judges and magistrates.
Turning to financing of the Judicial Service, Ms Akuffo urged the government to consult the Judiciary before allocating budget to it.
She said funds released to the Judiciary were not enough partly because it was not consulted at the planning state.
She further stated that the 15 per cent allocated to the Judiciary from its internally generated funds (IGF) was not adequate.
She said the Judiciary could be truly independent when it was allowed to have financial independence as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Ms Justice Akuffo accordingly charged the magistrates and judges to explore new ways by which the Judiciary could be financed to guarantee its true independence.
Backlog of cases
Ms Justice Akuffo said there was currently a backlog of cases, a situation which did not create a good image of the Judiciary in the eyes of the public.
She said backlog of cases leading to delays in justice delivery was unacceptable and for that reason “we are analysing to ensure all judges do make case management plans and abide by those plans.”
The Chief Justice said a contract for the justice project under the e-governance programme had been signed.
The project, when rolled, will track cases from the beginning to the end.
For instance, in the case of criminal cases, the system would track from the arrest stage to the date of conviction or acquittal.
She said the programme would be rolled out to ensure that all people were treated fairly under the law.
Ms Akuffo also assured the gathering that all lower courts across the country would also be automated.
Ms Justice Akuffo said she had noted the problems facing the Judiciary and was poised to ensure they were all resolved.
She said there were more than 200 vacant positions yet to be filled in the Judicial Service but noted that her outfit had to be given financial clearance before it could engage new hands.
The President of the AMJG, Mr Justice Victor Ofoe, touched on the problems facing his colleagues, including promotions that had been pending since 2013, poor security and inadequate infrastructure among other issues.
Mr Ofoe expressed worry over the delays in the payment of pensions to retired judges.
Former CJ honoured
The AMJG honoured the former Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood for her sterling leadership while in office.
She thanked the magistrates, judges and staff of the Judicial Service for their support while she was in office.
Madam Faustina Thompson, a class one teacher of Richard Akwei Memorial School in the Greater Accra Region, has been adjudged the Overall Best Teacher at this year’s International World Teachers Day Celebrations held at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
She was awarded with a 3-Bedroom House which will be constructed at a place of her choice sponsored by the Ghana Education Service, and a GHC 50.000 life Insurance from SIC Life Insurance Company.
Faustina Thompson, who has been in the teaching profession for over 17 years, expressed gratitude to God and advised her colleague teachers to do their best as teachers.
The 1st Runner-up, Agnes Nutakor, a teacher at Kpeve Model School in the Volta Region, was also awarded with cash price of Ghc 110,000 and a Ghc 30,000.00 Life Insurance Policy also from SIC.
Joseph Abusa, a teacher from Legon Presec in the La Nkwantanan Municipality also in the Greater Accra Region, was adjudged the 2nd Runner up.
He was given a brand new car and also received Ghc 20,000.00 Life Insurance Policy from SIC Life as his prize package.
A Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho has lambasted President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for making claims that the recently inaugurated Wa Water project was conceived and started under the erstwhile Kufour administration.
Commissioning the water project this week, the president said President Akufo-Addo said $51.5 million Jambussi water project constructed with a facility from the Korean Exim Bank, to supply 3.3 million gallons of water per day to the 100,705 residents of Wa, was initiated under Kufour but stalled under the previous government [NDC].
But Koku Anyidoho speaking to Kwame Tutu said the NDC had been at the forefront of the project since its inception, and deserves to be commended following the completion and recent commissioning.
He emphasized that if the president cannot commend the NDC, he should not lie to the public. The president must stop lying, he added.
He said, governance is a continuous process and a government will come and go but the development of Ghana should be our top most priority…We are not begging the president to give us any commendation but lying to Ghanaians is what we are worried about. If you do not commend us, the records are there in parliament and it is very clear that the contract was signed between the Republic of Ghana and the Korean Exim Import Bank in 2012.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Samuel Atta Akyea has admitted before the house of Parliament that he cannot afford a $50,000-$100,000 house on his income as a government worker over the next 20 years.
He made the admission when he was asked by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Joe Osei Owusu, when he delivered a statement to commemorate the ‘World Habitat Day’.
He was asked if he could afford a $50,000 house on his income as a government worker excluding his financial gains from private practice.
The Minister is his answer said: ‘’Mr. Speaker…I have to admit that on my levels of income, I will not be able to afford it.’’
He was however; quick to add that, these are the reasons why we [government] are going to peg the rate of the mortgagees and the rest by the government. Because the pension fund is the money that government itself, is going to give to these houses and that is how we can make a good start because if we look at our incomes, then for the rest of our lives, nobody can own a house even under a long term mortgage basis but if the fund is for us, we can show how they will be able to pay for it with a social dimension which makes sense…’’
He indicated further that, the commercial banks and the so-called mortgage houses are running commercial arrangements in which they believe that they want to make profit but the government does not want to make profit because of the huge deficit which is staring at us in the face.
In an attempt to provide boost in the housing industry, government will put in place some regulatory framework and adopt a number of policies whose overall objectives will be to create an enabling and thriving environment for the private sector to play a leading role in the delivery of housing, he said.
Government according to him, is undertaking a number of policy reforms and initiatives to ensure sustainable development of the construction industry and to achieve this, the Ministry launched a national housing policy which seeks to improve access to land with good title for housing, outline strategies for increased production and usage of local building materials, establish a national housing fund and establish a national housing authority.
Addressing the housing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women, youth and those who live in slums must be a priority in the developmental agenda of our dear nation, he stressed.
The Rent Bill he assured will be validated and the anomalies of the existing Rent Act removed to promote a balance between the needs of tenants and landlords.
The Coalition of Concerned Teachers has indicated that the implementation of the free senior high school policy may stall due to the unresolved challenges confronting teachers.
Communications Director for the coalition, Norbert Borbochie, in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, enumerated a number of challenges why he was of the view that the policy may stall.
According to him , there is no doubt the negative impact the free SHS may face due to the lack of motivation for teachers, availability of teaching and learning materials,
He quizzed, ‘’is because we lack understanding of the research work? Or is because we want to implement a party manifesto? A government in the past invested heavily in infrastructure and yet we never saw any changes. Another government has come and decided to give out everything for free but failed to motivate teachers. We are monitoring to see if the policy will succeed or fail.’’
He insisted that if government decides to give students everything for free but neglect the welfare of teachers, we will continue to pump money in implementing the free education for the students but at the end, the results will be poor.
Teachers he said have consistently lamented over their poor conditions but it seems government has failed to address them.
‘’Teachers are suffering yet government has gone for a loan to provide free tuition, free text books, free uniforms, free meal a day for students and the teacher who will teach these students have been neglected. We are struggling to receive our pay after working. That is what we are talking about,’’ he said.
In his view, the national best teacher awards ceremony is irrelevant because of the poor condition of teachers.
‘’Payment of allowances for teachers should not be a problem. We should be the second or third highest paid workers but we have struggled for even the little we have worked for. Payment of allowances is not the only problem we have complained of. Teaching and learning materials have also been a major challenge but we will no longer talk about it again. We will rather focus on our unpaid allowances.’’
Former President John Dramani Mahama has left Accra today [Thursday] for Monrovia to lead the Observer Mission of ECOWAS to the October 10, 2017, Liberian general elections, a statement signed by Special Aide Joyce Bawa Mogtari has said.
He will head an Observer Mission which includes journalists and former diplomats from Commonwealth member countries.
As former Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Mahama has been celebrated for his commitment to ensuring the stability of the sub-region and the continent generally.
His tenure as Chair saw the quick handling of various sub-regional crisis including the Burkinabe Political turmoil, the election dispute in Togo and the outbreak of Ebola in three West African countries including Liberia.
The immediate-past Managing Director for the Graphic Communications Group, Mr. Kenneth Ashigbey has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (Telecoms Chamber).
His appointment will take effect from November 1, 2017.
Chair of the chamber Ms. Yolanda Cuba in a statement issued Wednesday said “we welcome Kenneth to the Chamber. With a customer base of more than 19 million unique subscribers in Ghana, the mobile industry continues to change how we communicate. We look forward to working with Ken to deliver a lot more excitement to customers.”
Mr Ashigbey on his part said, “I am honoured to be joining the industry at such a time of significant opportunities, despite the progress made. The Chamber will continue to positively impact the lives of Ghanaians by advocating the right policy, legal and regulatory environment.”
Mr Ashigbey holds an MBA from the Leicester University and a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering from the (KNUST).
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in January this year unveiled its flagship agric policy, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’.
The campaign forms part of efforts to generate more wealth in the agricultural sector and to improve livelihood of farmers and fisher folks as well as help grow the national economy, government has argued.
The Minister of Agric Dr Akoto at the unveiling ceremony said the spearhead of the Campaign this year would involve the production of maize, rice, soybeans, sorghum and vegetables; adding that other crops would be adopted in subsequent years.
He had said the campaign would be anchored on five pillars: provision of improved seeds, supply of fertilizers, provision of dedicated extension services, marketing and e-agriculture.
However, an agric expert, Dr. Aidoo who also lectures at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) believes the policy was rushed.
He opined that if we don’t take care, we will not be able to achieve the purpose for which the policy was launched because we are dealing with small scale producers.
‘’I think the focus has to shift going forward from small scale producers to large scale commercial farmers. We have to support them so they can employ more people.’’
The discussions surrounding food importation and agriculture he lamented has been the same narrative for years and Ghana has not done quite well in terms of agriculture.
In his view, we will continue to import food from other countries if the needed mechanisms are not adopted.
He said; let us hope that government will allocate the needed resources to cut down on importation so we can rather export.
Every government he noted must allocate about 10 percent of its budget to agriculture if really we want to see significant improvement.
The kind of agriculture that will generate employment, is not what we practice in Ghana because it is only large scale farming that will generate the jobs we want, he stressed.
He said I think so far government is showing commitment by way of policy and their public statements but we will only be able to assess if the policy yielded the necessary results by close of this year.