President Akufo-Addo has re-emphasized his commitment in the fight against corruption.
‘’We are determined to use all available tools to fight the canker of corruption, for we know how much it destroys our chances at progress and prosperity. The Office of Special Prosecutor is going to be established so that the prosecution of corruption is taken out of political controversy, and thereby enhance the integrity of the rule of law.’’
Speaking at this year’s May Day Celebration, the president revealed that through a payroll audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance in the last two months, some 26,589 workers’ salaries have been suspended from the April 2017 payroll.
The president said: ‘’I want to bring another important reform to your notice. Through a payroll audit conducted by the Ministry of Finance, under the impressive leadership of Ken Ofori-Atta, in the last two months, some twenty six thousand five hundred and eighty nine workers’ salaries have been suspended from the April 2017 payroll.’’
According to him, ‘’these "workers" have not come forward to be biometrically verified by SSNIT, despite numerous calls by the Controller and Accountant General to do so. The idea of biometric verification is essentially to isolate ghost names from the payroll.’’
‘’The cost of maintaining these twenty six thousand five hundred and eighty nine names on government payroll is thirty six million, one hundred and sixty six thousand, two hundred and three Ghana cedis per month. This means that Government stands to save the country over four hundred and thirty three million Ghana cedis on this year’s budget alone by this exercise,’’ he stated.
Other efforts aimed at cleaning the payroll being undertaken by government include: ‘’A new payment system that will integrate the GHIPSS payment platform for salaries to be paid directly to workers without any manual intervention, as has always been the case. This will be implemented on a test basis this month and envisaged to cover finally all workers in June 2017.
SSNIT has also been asked to create a separate database for the Controller, by biometrically registering close to two hundred thousand CAP30 workers. Government payroll will now have a direct interface with this and the existing database, thus reducing payroll fraud to the barest minimum. This will provide a complete end-to-end visibility of the entire payroll system, while having a seamless integration between payroll cost and the government’s general ledger.’’
‘’If we are to pay workers well, we must do at least two things: get rid of ghost ones and enhance the efficiency of genuine ones,’’ he posited.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has underscored the need for Ghana to intensify the fight against child labour.
Delivering his speech at the 2017 May Day Celebration, the president warned that, Ghana could face sanctions by its global agencies.
He said, ‘’It is worth pointing out that, if we do not stop these shameful practices, there are global agencies that have determined to institute punitive measures against us in some critical industries, which would lead to the loss of markets for our goods and the loss of jobs.’’
He also gave the assurance that his administration will work together with all stakeholders to bring an end to the shameful phenomenon.
‘’Under my watch, government will work with all partners towards the goal of eliminating child labour. We will work to ensure that our children do not work under hazardous conditions to support themselves and their families. We will work to eliminate, in particular, the disgraceful practice of forcing children into fishing and illegal mining activities, ’’ the president assured.
He was responding to a concern raised by the TUC’s General Secretary on the negative of child labour and the need for government to address it.
‘’The TUC Secretary General in his speech alluded to the sad issue of child labour, and especially its manifestation in some key sectors of our economy. It is a shameful phenomenon and an indictment on all of us, and it is time to stop hiding under a so-called cultural practice to find excuses. Children are children; they are our most important asset and deserve to be protected from being exploited in the labour field,’’ he said.
He added: ‘’It is important to keep reminding ourselves that child labour and child trafficking are not only crimes, but also now pose veritable threats to our national security. We all have a responsibility to protect our children from the criminality of child labour. Let me at this stage acknowledge the efforts of my wife, Rebecca, for the determined manner in which she is speaking out against the evil of child labour and child trafficking, and for the memorandum she has signed with her counterpart in Cote d’Ivoire to this effect.’’
The Ghana Actors Guild (GAG) has elected Sammy Fiscian as the new president and will run the office for a year.
The celebrated filmmaker beat Abeiku Sagoe at an election held on April 29th, 2017 at the National Culture Centre.
The election was necessitated following the demise of Reverend Eddie Coffie who occupied the position.
Van Vicker a popular Ghanaian actor cum producer emerged as the Vice President. Kalsoum Sinare was also elected as the Welfare Officer.
Mr. Samuel Fiscian, aka Fish is an actor, writer, director and producer.
He is the founder and director of Vision Theatre Company, the only surviving group at the Arts Centre after 22 years.
As an actor, he has featured in countless stage, television and movie productions, winning the Ghana Union of Theatre Societies Best Actor award in 1997 among others. He has written and directed many stage, television and movie productions. He is currently the writer and director of the seven awards winning Cow & Chicken. Several stars have gone through his tutelage over the years.
Mr. Samuel Fiscian who won by 338 votes out of 667 votes cast revealed to SeanCityGH that though he has lot of plans for the Guild , one of the main things he is going to focus on now, is to make sure he brings unity among the members of the Guild.
“I will bring everyone on board, both the screen actors and those who seems not to find the Guild Attractive, so we can all help to propagate our agenda,” he told SeancityGH
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured that workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) will not be laid off under the second Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact programme.
According to President Akufo-Addo, government is taking a second look at the Compact, stressing that in addition to finding long term resolutions to the nation’s electricity problems, the $495 million Compact will not lead to involuntary job losses.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 1st May, 2017, in a speech delivered to mark this year’s May Day celebrations, the event which was held at the Independence Square.
The President revealed in his speech that “government has amended the terms of the concession agreement.”
The new terms of the agreement, he stated, require that “(1) Ghanaians own at least 51% of the concession; (2) there should be no involuntary lay-offs as a result of the concession; (3) the term of the concession would be reduced from 25 to 20 years. “
These amendments, the President was confident, “meet the aspirations of Ghanaians in protecting the jobs of workers and the control and viability of ECG.”
The assurances by President Akufo-Addo is aimed at assuaging the fears of the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU), who are of the view that the second MCC compact will impact negatively on ECG and result in lay-offs.
It will be recalled that PUWU, in August 2016, went on strike for three days then in protest against the compact, calling on government to review the compact which sought to cede ECG to private investors for a period of 25 years. PUWU also urged government to rescind its decision to sign onto the compact which could also lead to lay-offs.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured organised labour that the policies and programmes outlined by his administration will set the nation onto the path of progress and prosperity.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the overwhelming vote of confidence given to him and the NPP in the 2016 election had everything to do with the belief that his government would revive and grow the economy and generate jobs in our country.
It is for this reason that, upon the assumption of the highest office of the land, the first priority of his government was to get the economy out of the doldrums and create the atmosphere for entrepreneurs to bring on the jobs.
“We, in government, have set about our part of the task with zeal. Our first budget, the Asempa Budget, has set out clearly the roadmap to bringing prosperity to Ghana. We have taken important steps to create an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 1st May, 2017, in his May Day speech to workers, at the Independence Square.
“We have reduced taxes, including taxes on kayayei; inflation is on the decline; interest rates are on the decline; and relative stability of the exchange rate has been restored. The budget also reduced the fiscal deficit from some 9% in 2016 to a projected 6.5% in 2017, bringing Ghana back to the path of fiscal discipline. Macroeconomic stability, which is key to economic growth and job creation, is, therefore, being restored,” he said.
Government, the President stated, is also instituting policies to make it easier for people who want to set up businesses to do so and remove the impediments in the way of entrepreneurs.
“We must get more people in jobs and expand the formal sector of the economy. We are also upholding our social commitments. As from the next academic year, beginning in September, our Free SHS policy will kick into action. We are also making a determined effort to ensure the financial sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also outlined the innovative and urgent steps taken by his government to address the severity of joblessness in the country.
“That is why, in government, we have taken the step of rolling-out promptly the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, which I recently launched in Goaso, in the Brong Ahafo region. We are committed to ensuring that the target of 750,000 direct and indirect jobs earmarked under this intervention will come to fruition,” he said.
In addition to the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, the President noted that the one-district-one-factory, one-village-one-dam, the Zongo Development Fund, and the equivalent of one million dollars per year per constituency policies are all being pursued to stimulate job creation opportunities across the country.
Again, through the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, President Akufo-Addo noted that government is also in the process of reviewing existing Youth Employment Agency (YEA) modules with the view to introducing new employment modules, and expanding existing ones to create over 200,000 jobs for the youth.
President pays homage to organised labour
In paying homage to the role played by organised labour in making “today’s ordinary things possible”, President Akufo-Addo recalled the Haymarket Affair that gave the name May Day.
“Some people lost their lives so we could have the 8-hour working day and it took years of struggle before we could have Saturday as part of the weekend. The role of organised labour in our nation’s struggle for freedom and independence is written in letters of gold. Indeed, Kwame Nkrumah’s historic call for Positive Action in 1950 would not have succeeded without the active support of the trades’ union movement,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo paid tribute to “Pobee Biney, Vidal Quist, Anthony Woode and the other workers’ leaders”, who he said, have secure places in the pantheon of great nationalists through whose work and sacrifice we have inherited the free, independent Ghana of today.
“On this day, May Day, in the period when we are commemorating the 60th year of our independence, it is fitting and proper that we pay tribute to their memory and the memory and work of their successors such as Joe-Fio Meyer, John Tettegah, B.A Bentum, A.M Issifu, A.K. Yankey, Christian Appiah Agyei, Kwasi Adu Amankwah and Kofi Asamoah,” he added.
A Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho has slammed the president for employing inexperienced hands at the presidency-a situation he stated has led to protocol gaffes.
The Executive Director of the Atta Mills Institute using the late Prof. Mills as an example said, the late president confronted me [Koku] and told me that, I know you are doing everything for me but after our victory, I will employ Mr. Dubako Mensah as my secretary because once we are in government, these things must be handled by experienced hands, he told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm.
The fierce critic of President Akufo-Addo said, protocol officers in UK, are not touched because they are public servants and they are allowed to work until they rise to the top.
In his view, the president has surrounded himself with family, friends and cronies who are inexperienced and committing blunders and mistakes that could have been prevented.
He was speaking on the protocol gaffe at the presidency last week; where the national flag was turned upside down during the visit of Adama Barrow, The Gambian President.
The brand Ghana he fumed, has been badly damaged and the damage started on January 7, 2017 after the president plagiarized his speech, he added.
‘’It is important that seasoned people are employed to handle the president...People are observing...Governance is not a tea party and the blunders are becoming too many.'’
He singled out Asante Bediatuo, the Executive Secretary to Nana Addo, questioning his competence. ''What does he [Asante Bediatuo] know about handling a president as an Executive Secretary?
Mr. Anyidoho stressed that, the level of inexperience at the presidency is disgusting. No wonder the president in 2016, asked Ghanaians to try him and here we are today, it has become an error for us.
President Akufo-Addo has taken a swipe at Ghanaian workers over what he terms, negative attitude towards work.
The president lamented over how some workers abandon their duties and engage in unproductive activities yet expects to make profits.
He also spoke passionately about thievery at work places.
He made the call when he delivered a speech at the 2017 May Day Celebration at the Independence Square.
“We arrive at work late and then spend the first hour in prayer, we become clock watchers and leave in the middle of critical work because it is the official closing time. Everything comes to a stop when it rains and we seem to expect the rest of the world also to stop.”
“We have no respect for the hours set aside for work. We pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone… we take a week off for every funeral and then we wonder why we are not competitive,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
The president also spoke about shoddy works done on government projects.
‘’How come very old classroom blocks withstand storms and heavy rainfall whilst the roofs of nearby newly built ones are ripped off regularly. How come that we built roads that are expected to last through five years but do not make it through one rainy season before the fail and potholes appear.”
“The workers on the road, the contractors and all the consultants all conspire to deliver the shoddy work that prevents us from getting from where we ought to b
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Celestial Company limited, organizers of Celestial Praiz, Celestine Donkor has confirmed to Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, Ideal Finance has rescind its earlier decision to withdraw its sponsorship package for the 2017 edition of the annual event.
The musician in a studio interview with Agyemang Prempeh last Saturday, lambasted the company accusing them of withdrawing the sponsorship package at the last hour.
According to the musician, organizers of the event approached Ideal Finance to sponsor her annual event but withdrew their package only four days to the event which is scheduled for today [Monday] May 1, 2017 at the Perez Dome.
She described as disrespectful to her brand and insisted that, Ideal Finance should pay for the sponsorship adding, ‘’It is a highly disorganized organization because we gave you the proposal last year December and four days to the event, you call to withdraw the sponsorship.’’
But speaking to Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow 87.5Fm, Celestine Donkor confirmed that, the CEO of Ideal Finance has resolved to sponsor the event.
She indicated that, on the Saturday’s show, she spoke angrily and used serious words against the company and was surprised at the way the CEO handled the issue.
''I was expecting the CEO to confront me in an angry manner but he approached me in a respectful manner and handled the issue maturely. That gave me a good impression about the man. I saw him as a great and exceptional leader
She also used the opportunity to offer an unqualified apology to Ideal Finance and retracted the words she used and congratulated Nii Kotei Djani for his style of leadership.
The revival of the ailing cocoa industry will help in the fight against illegal mining aka galamsey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Ghana Coco Board, Mr. Boahen Aidoo has asserted.
According to him, the dwindling fortunes of the sector, has contributed to the menace.
Some cocoa farmers he noted have lost hope and selling their farms to 'galamseyers' because the sector is no longer lucrative.
The current administration he assured will implement policies that will ensure that, farmers get money in their pockets to improve their standards of living.
The youth he opined will also venture into cocoa farming when they see improvement in the sector, and that forms part of our flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs.
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2016 lambasted the Mahama led administration for to sustain the growth of the cocoa industry after 8 years in power.
President Akufo-Addo during the 2016 campaign promised to build the legacy of former president Kufour and revive the ‘’ailing cocoa sector’’.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, with Ghana barely managing to produce 740,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in the 2014/2015 crop year, from a peak of 1 million metric tonnes in 2010/2011 which was achieved with programmes initiated by the Kufuor-led NPP administration, the cocoa sector, once a major foreign exchange earner for the country, is in dire need of rescue.
Akufo-Addo said his government will institute measures including the payment of significantly higher producer prices of cocoa above the levels which the NDC administration has provided to farmers in the last seven years; the reintroduction of bonuses scrapped by the NDC government; ensuring that wards of cocoa farmers gain access to COCOBOD scholarships; and the reintroduction and non-politicisation of the mass spraying exercise and the hi-tech programmes.
Engineers and Planners [E&P] the construction firm dragged before court for non-payment of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for employees, has issued a statement to discount the claims.
According to SSNIT, E&P allegedly failed to pay the social security contributions of its workers between the periods February to July 2015, June to August 2016 and October 2016.
But E&P in its statement indicated that, it entered into an agreement with SSNIT over the payment plan.
Below is the full statement
Engineers & Planners has settled SSNIT contributions
• On 22nd December 2016, SSNIT entered into a negotiated agreement with Engineers and Planners as it does with all clients for the payment of arrears of social security contributions of GHc1,601,051.78.
• By the terms of the agreement, E&P were required to make 12 monthly instalments commencing February 2017 ending in January 2018.
• As at 28th April 2017, E&P had made a total payment of over GHc 2 million (GHc2,723,212.36) in full satisfaction of all outstanding arrears and penalties.
• JUST TWO DAYS DELAYED PAYMENT - On March 2 2017, SSNIT wrote to E&P to serve notice that it had abrogated the negotiated agreement due to the failure of the company to make the instalment payment for February 2017, as a result of two (2) days of delay in paying the first instalment.
• E&P informed SSNIT that it had made efforts to make the payments for February as agreed but for unexpected delays in their receivables on current contracts and convincingly committed to paying. A promise it has fulfilled.
• E&P further made a request for SSNIT to reconsider its decision to abrogate the negotiated agreement. SSNIT declined the request.
• Instead, on 13th April 2017, a summons was issued to E&P to appear before the District Court on 29th April 2017 to answer a complaint of failing to pay SSNIT contributions of GHc668,754.75 and penalty of GHc387,709.31 totalling GHc1,056,464.06.
• Once again it is worth noting that, E&P has paid over GHc 2 million (GHc2,723,212.36) in full satisfaction of all outstanding arrears and penalties.
• Counsel for Engineers and Planners has informed the court that the company has fully paid off the outstanding amounts due SSNIT.