Operations Director for Small Scale Miners, Mr. Emmanuel Yirenkyi Antwi, has described as sad and unfortunate the extension of the ban on small scale mining.
The Lands and Natural resources, John Peter Amewu, last week Friday announced an extension of the ban on all forms of small scale mining in the country by three months.
According to the Minister, who made the announcement the ban is expected to be lifted by January 2018.
The government earlier in 2017 imposed a six-month ban on small-scale mining as part of efforts to end illegal mining and its related activities, which adversely affected the environment, particularly water bodies and forest reserves.
Some miners in Kumasi some few months ago held a demonstration in protest against any extension.
However, government has extended the ban. This Mr. Antwi believes was unfortunate.
He insisted that small scale miners who are licensed, should not be compared to illegal miners.
He told Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, the extension of the ban, will not arguer well for licensed small scale miners.
He further referred to the extension as discriminatory especially when large scale miners are on the field working.
Small scale miners he said, have contributed immensely to the fight against illegal mining and cannot understand why they are being marginalized.
He used the opportunity to appeal to members to exercise restraint as leadership will engage with government on the issue.
Meanwhile, he has called on the Nana Addo lead administration, to keep the promise he made to small scale miners behind closed doors and stop infringing on their rights.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that African journalists have a duty to help change the image about Africa, and establish a narrative, which is more positive.
According to President Akufo-Addo, African media practitioners have faced many challenges, ranging from a highly polarised media environment, lack of technological support, limited investment in the sector, poorly paid journalists, threats to their lives, corruption, and lack of requisite training.
These challenges, he said, have led to the African media, largely, shirking its responsibility in telling the African story.
“As a result, the narrative has been shaped and told by foreign journalists through their own lenses and words. The projection of the continent, as a result, has often been about war, disease, poverty and famine,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 13th November, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the ongoing Bloomberg Africa Business Media Innovators Summit, held at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra.
The President noted that the externally generated story of Africa might be hard to take, but, so long as there is widespread poverty and inequality, that will be the image that is going to be portrayed.
“This means that you, our writers, our journalists from the continent, the writers of the African story, carry a great responsibility. When you write, what you write, must be about the limitless possibilities on the continent. What is written about Africa by African writers must have the ultimate reference status,” he said.
African writers, the President stressed, played remarkable roles in the liberation of the continent from imperialism, and, thereby, set the tone for the discourse about the identity of Africans.
“It is now for you, our business and financial journalists, to set the tone for the economic development and prosperity of Africa. When our young people do not see a future in their countries, and cross the Sahara desert on foot and drown in the Mediterranean Sea, in a desperate bid to reach the mirage of a better life in Europe, no amount of beautiful lyrics will change our image,” he bemoaned.
The President noted that when African economies grow and improve, and its youth get educated and are self-confident and full of hope, “the world finds its way to our doors, and the language and history of our countries become attractive to our own and foreign universities.”
“When African economies improve and there is increasing prosperity, we will find that more and more people will become interested to invest in our continent, resulting in thriving economies, and the creation of progressive and prosperous nations.”
President Akufo-Addo was confident that technological advancement and innovations will help change the face of Africa’s media, and present the continent with even more greater control to tell its own story.
“That is why the Bloomberg Media Initiative in Africa (BMI) is a great initiative to help build the capacity of Africa’s media. This programme, I am confident, will deepen the capacity of our media, and equip them with the relevant skillset to tell the African story – the story of potential triumph over adversity, economic successes over failures, and initiatives that will lead to the sustainable development of the continent,” he said.
Through their work, President Akufo-Addo urged financial and business journalists on the continent to bring to the attention of governments and decision-makers why the promotion of business-friendly environments is important.
“They need to understand that the way to building that environment is when government and regulatory policies enhance, rather than inhibit or frustrate, trade, commerce and investments. Promoting the rule of law by our governments assures and gives confidence to the investor community that their investments would be safe.
When we master the narrative, we can, then, effectively tell the story about the looting of Africa, and the huge amounts of illicit funds that flow from our continent, funds which, if we are able to control, would be available to finance the development of the continent,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo applauded the Ghanaian media for being active in tackling the social ills of the country, and advocating for the investment that will contribute to the sustainable development of the country.
“This generation of African media practitioners has to be the generation that refuses to be either victim or pawn, and accepts to travel down the path of genuine popular empowerment, which represents the strongest guarantee of our independence and sovereignty. Freedom of expression, encompassing media freedom, is a critical element of that journey, which we must guard jealously at all times,” he added.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that as waste is generated every day, Ghanaians have an obligation to keep the environment clean every day, indicating that the citizenry have to do so daily, and not on a monthly basis.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “EVERY DAY IS SANITATION DAY”. I recognize, however, that the government cannot do it alone. This is where I wish to call on all of us, especially our Chiefs and Queen Mothers, religious and opinion leaders, civil society organisations, private sector operators, to rise up to the challenge and help make a difference this time around.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 13th November, 2017, at the launch of the National Sanitation Campaign at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
In leading by example, President Akufo-Addo noted that every government department and agency, including the Seat of Government, is assigning two officers, to be designated Sanitation Marshal and Deputy Marshal, to oversee compliance of their outfits and their staff to the laid down by-laws with regard to sanitation in their respective offices.
Ministers, Chief Executives and Chief Directors of government departments and agencies will be held accountable for any lapses in the failure to comply with this directive, the President stressed.
He added that “the heads of departments have one week within which to identify and assign these officers. The Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate must take steps to train these appointed officers on their new roles within one month of their appointment.”
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo revealed that a corps of young men and women, the National Sanitation Brigade, will see to the enforcement of rules and regulations on sanitation, whether in state establishments, in private establishments or households.
“The personnel of this outfit would conduct regular visits to all offices to ensure that there is compliance and, where it so requires, take legal action against those infringing on the laws,” he added.
On his call for Accra to be cleanest city in Africa, President Akufo-Addo noted that “we will commence with the Government business district, which covers the Presidency, Parliament House, the Ministries, and the Courts. We will focus on the ceremonial and arterial roads going in and out of the city, to ensure that they are regularly cleaned up.”
He assured that “we shall take special care of the airport, major hotels and shopping malls/centres. Residential areas, and zongos, Central Business District, including the inner city periphery, markets and lorry parks, university campuses, schools and hospitals, and beaches and public places of entertainment and tourist centers are all going to elicit special attention.”
Touching on the value chain of sanitation in Accra, President Akufo-Addo noted that a rezoning the concessions, equipping of tri-cycle operators and construction of mini-transfer stations to facilitate the rapid collection and transportation of waste from the cities will be done.
Additionally, the deployment of automated sweepers in main streets, and the deployment of Sanitation Brigade personnel along the streets and in major concentrations will be undertaken.
“I will not be left out of this exercise. I will be directly involved, as I intend to monitor activities of the national campaign, to ensure that its goals are attained. I will review, on a quarterly basis, with the Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, the performance of each Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly, and publish the results of the review,” he said.
The President continued, “This campaign is not going to be a nine-day wonder. It will run over the entire period of my mandate to ensure that Ghana is clean. I remain committed to this, and I am determined to ensure that the job is done.”
Landfill sites, modern equipment, discipline
President Akufo-Addo announced at the campaign launch that Government has taken measures to acquire, for the Accra Metropolitan Area, three new sites to serve as integrated material recovery sites to address the issue of disposal of waste.
The three sites are located at Otinibi, Nsumia Number 3 in the Adoagyiri Municipality, and another in the Gbawe/Mallam area. Similar undertakings, he said, are being explored in the other regions to ensure that there are adequate, modern, engineered and environmentally acceptable sites for the processing of waste nationwide.
“I wish to stress that it is the policy of government to acquire and own these sites, in partnership with the private sector. Management service contracts of these sites will be awarded through a competitive tendering process. This policy will ensure fair play and avoid monopoly,” he added.
Government, the President noted, is also providing assistance to environmental service providers, who clean up the cities and towns.
“These measures include assisting them with access to credit facilities, and defining a tax regime that will enable them procure new and effective tools for their work… Modern, new state-of-the-art trucks and equipment are of the utmost necessity to deliver on this objective, and I intend to make it happen,” he assured.
Notwithstanding, the President stated that indiscipline has been a major cause of the unsanitary situation in most parts of the country, adding that it is not in the nature of Ghanaians to be dirty.
“We keep our immediate surroundings at our homes very clean. However, for one reason or the other, when we step out of these immediate surroundings, we seem to ignore all of these positive attitudes. Successive Ghanaian governments have tried to reverse this trend and inculcate a habit of greater discipline in the care of our surroundings. It has not succeeded. My government intends to walk a new path,” he added.
Deputy Energy Minister, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, has said in furtherance with government’s desire, to make open contracting an important feature of our governance of our petroleum resources, the Petroleum Commission, has commenced the development of an online public register of contracts.
The exercise he said would be completed by the close of this year to allow public access to petroleum contracts and other relevant information of public interest.
The Energy Ministry he added, is also pursuing an addressing exploration drive with the aim of replacing and increasing Ghana’s oil and gas reserves.
According to him, Ghana is currently producing from our depleting resources and if we do not make more discoveries, we will not have an oil and gas industry in the near future.
Mr. Adam announced further that, an environmental impact assessment has been conducted on the Voltaian basin in Ghana measuring about 103,600 sq. km in size.
Contracts he said have been awarded by the GNPC for work to commence on the basin, with the necessary community engagements being conducted to educate communities on the potential impact on oil and gas development.
Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, who was speaking at the 3rd African Oil and Gas Summit said, maximizing the benefits of our petroleum resources requires that, the revenue generated from these resources, are equitably and efficiently distributed.
He said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, this year, committed significant portion of our oil revenue, to pro-poor sectors of education, agriculture and health.
The president is committed to the full implementation of the free senior high school policy.
He indicated that government allocated an amount of GHc211 million from the annual budget funding from the oil revenue, for the implementation of this policy.
He added, the figure represented about 53% of the financing requirement and this in our view, ensures the most equitable manner of distributing our oil revenue the best way, to maximize benefits from our oil.
This will also provide a convenient foundation for the development of our human resource base whose development impact we believe will outlive our oil wealth, he concluded.
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.
Two male students of the Tamale Technical University have been arrested by police in the Northern regional capital on suspicion of robbing and killing a head pastor.
The two, Dojie Kwame, 28, and Akwasi Bio, 18, were arrested Saturday in Tamale a day after Pastor Ocran Ebenezer of the End Time Believers Fellowship, was attacked and killed at his private home in Kumbihiyi near Malshegu in the metropolis.
According to DCOP Mr Patrick Sarpong the head pastor was murdered with a pestle on Thursday at 10pm by the suspects and his Blue Toyota Highlander vehicle with registration number, GN 1764-14 and unspecified amount of money were also taken away by the suspected killers.
The case was reported to the police by another pastor of the church named, Ben Asamoah the next day and the body of the 64-year old preacher, was taken to the Tamale Teaching Hospital morgue.
However, at about 3pm same day, [Saturday], the stolen Toyota vehicle seen in a fitting shop at Lamashegu Industrial area, the police said at a press conference.
The owners had brought the vehicle to be re-sprayed and sold but the mechanic became suspicious and called police.
Police undercover investigators were dispatched to the scene and the informant was made to call the suspects.
The two students were then arrested when they arrived after informant told them someone wanted to buy the vehicle.
Dojie Kwame was identified as a co-tenant of the murdered pastor and the one who brought the vehicle and asked that it should be put up for sale.
The two, however confessed killing the man of God and are currently in custody for further probe.
Cases of theft and murder in recent times have been on the rise in and around the Northern regional capital but Mr. Sarpong assured the general public of the Northern regional police command's commitment to ending the menace.
By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe
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 Ghana Union Traders (GUTA), is advocating for the scrapping of the 2 percent special import levy on goods.
The union has also lamented over the cost importers incur on their declaration forms at the ports.
Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Executive Member, Benjamin Yeboah said invariably, the cost of importation is going between 47-50% of the total cost for the importer.
He said although government can justify it, the cost to the importer is too high.
The daily review of the dollar rate is so high and as importers, this is having serious impact on us, he complained.
The 2018 budget he said should have room for the issues he outlined so importers would be relieved.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta will present the 2018 budget on Wednesday November, 15,2017.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has hinted that the budget will largely focus on jobs as well as give room for the reduction in electricity tariffs.