The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the news of the continuing and deepening crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is leading to the massive displacement of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, is very depressing.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it brings into sharp relief the urgent necessity for the continental body, the African Union, to rise to the occasion, and find immediately a lasting solution to the perennial problems of that tragic country.
“That solution has to address the twin issues of the unity and stability of the Congolese state, and the establishment of democracy, that will allow the Congolese people the opportunity, in free and fair elections, to choose their leaders,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He stressed that “it is a test of the effectiveness of the AU, which it cannot and must not fail.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 15th February, 2018, when he delivered the keynote address at an event on transformative governance in Africa, organised by the Kukah Centre, in Abuja, Nigeria.
The President added also that the Member States of the AU must demonstrate a commitment to strengthening and protecting the institutions and culture of democratic governance; respecting human rights, religious freedom, the empowerment of women, and the rights of the individual and minorities; building strong market economies and facilitating the free movements of people, knowledge, goods and services across member states.
“The time has now come for us in Africa to move on even further to deepen our democracy. It is time to make sure that we have genuine separation of powers between the various arms of government,” he said.
The President continued, “Our Parliaments, the legislative arms of government, must grow into their proper roles as effective machineries for accountability and oversight of their Executives. Our Judiciaries must also inspire confidence in the citizens, so we can all see the courts as ultimate, impartial arbiters when disputes arise, as they would.”
President Akufo-Addo noted that it is only when Africa’s public institutions are working as they should, that “we would be able to confront and deal effectively with the canker of corruption, which has been the bane of our development.”
He applauded the systematic targeting of corruption by the administration of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that it deserves the support of all well-meaning Nigerians and Africans.
“It is early days yet, but our institutions are growing, and the self-confidence of our people is become manifest. I dare say that we are even beginning to accept that a political party can lose an election with grace, and serve with honour in opposition,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was confident that “if we stop being beggars, govern ourselves intelligently and honestly in freedom, and spend Africa’s monies inside the continent, Africa would not need to ask for respect from anyone. We would get the respect we deserve.”
He was confident that “stable democracies in Africa can help unleash energies to drive the transformation of the continent. There is a lot of talk that this will be the Asian century, the Chinese century – but take it from me: the 21st century holds excellent prospects for Africa. This can be Africa’s century. We can claim it, if we believe in ourselves.”
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the urgent responsibility facing leaders on the continent is to make Africa attractive so African youths see the continent as a place of opportunities.
With the continent having the youngest population, President Akufo-Addo noted that “our youth who bear the brunt of the suffering now resort to desperate measures to get out.”
He bemoaned the fact that African youths “brave the Sahara desert on foot, and, those who survive the ravages of the desert, risk being sold in slave markets in Libya, or risk journeys across the Mediterranean sea on rickety boats, all in the forlorn hope of a better life in Europe, in countries and amongst people where they are obviously not welcome.”
To this end, President Akufo-Addo noted that “we must provide education, education and education. It means our young people must acquire the skills that run modern economies… When they are skilled, they would not have to risk drowning in the Mediterranean sea, they would be head hunted and treated with dignity.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 15th February, 2018, when he delivered the keynote address at an event on transformative governance in Africa, organised by the Kukah Centre, in Abuja, Nigeria.
Reiterating the point he made in Dakar, Senegal, some two weeks ago, at a special conference called to raise monies to fund education in Africa, he stated that there is enough money in Africa to pay for educating and training young people on the continent, and make them ready to face the world of the 21st century.
Referring to the report of the panel chaired by the highly respected former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, on the illicit flow of funds (IFFs) from Africa, it was revealed that Africa is losing, annually, more than $50 billion through illicit financial outflows.
The report added further that, between 2000 and 2008, $252 billion, representing 56.2%, of the illicit flow of funds from the continent was from the extractive industries, including mining.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the purpose for the launch of the Free SHS policy in Ghana, in September 2017, was to ensure that all Ghanaian children attain a minimum of senior high school education, adding that it is the only way we can create an educated workforce to accelerate the process of development.
“I hesitate to prescribe policy initiatives for other countries, but, on the matter of education, I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending that all African countries adopt the policy of free compulsory education from kindergarten to senior high school. This is one of the most important things we have to do, if we are to make the transformation from our current state of poverty to prosperity,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
He emphasised that no one is going to sort out matters for Africa, except Africans themselves.
“We must match those who come to do business with us, in all the skills they possess. We must have our own set of bright and sharp lawyers, our own set of bright and sharp accountants, to keep us abreast with the sharp and bright lawyers and accountants that our trade partners have,” he said.
The President continued, “In much the same way, we need to have our own bright and sharp technologists to keep us abreast with our competitors.”
Industrialisation, increase in trade
In addition to the provision of education, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the time is long overdue for Africa to take a deep look at the structures of her economies, which have, over the years, been dependent on the production and export of raw materials.
“The era of Africa’s industrialisation has dawned, so that we can also trade in the world economy, not on the basis of exports of raw materials, but on the basis of things we make,” he said.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo indicated that countries or groups of countries with the largest share of world trade are located within regions with the highest share of intra-regional trade.
With trade between African regions remaining low compared to other parts of the world, the President noted that the time for African integration should be now.
“Hence, the importance of the success of the Continental Free Trade Area. A working, common continental market has to be a very fundamental objective of all peoples and governments on the continent. The decision the AU is about to take in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on 21st March, at its Extraordinary Summit, for Member States to sign and launch the treaty for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area is one of the most important decisions the AU will ever take. It is vital that the treaty works, and that the Continental Free Trade Area becomes an immediate reality,” he said.
The Vice President of the Republic, H.E. Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has reiterated government’s resolve to deal forcefully and decisively with the issue of illegal bunkering and the smuggling of petroleum products by sea into Ghana.
Government, he said, is in the process of formulating policies aimed at nipping the situation in the bud once and for all.
H.E. Dr Bawumia gave the assurance when he paid a working visit to the Western Naval Command at Sekondi on Thursday February 15, 2018.
According to the Vice President, the visit was to enable him understand at first hand the issues surrounding illegal bunkering and the smuggling of petroleum, as well as discuss the challenges of the Ghana Navy in the fight against illegality.
He also took the opportunity to inspect a number of canoes specially modified by the illegal bunkerers to store petroleum products off-loaded at sea. According to the Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Hassan Tampuli, some of the modified canoes can hold as much as 120,000 litres of fuel, enough to fill two and a half Bulk Haulage Vehicles popularly known as tankers.
Mr Tampuli disclosed that nine persons had been arrested and handed over to the police while four tankers been seized in recent months.
Speaking to the media after the visit, Vice President Bawumia said government was disturbed by the increasing reports of smuggling, and Cabinet was considering various models to fight the canker, which has a direct effect on efforts to move Ghana beyond aid.
He stated government’s determination to deal with the matter in a decisive manner, and warned those engaged in it to desist for their own good.
“We’ve had closed door discussions, and we’ve got some decisions that we’re going to take, and I believe that the task that President Nana Akufo-Addo has set for us, to try to understand this phenomenon and implement the policies that will stop it, I think it is a task that we are going to be very forcefully dealing with.
“I am leaving here quite well informed about the challenges, and have some good ideas about what we’re going to do. We will see the implementation soon.”
Vice President Bawumia also underscored government’s ongoing efforts to adequately equip the Navy, especially with patrol boats, to address the challenges outlined by the Commander of the Western Naval Command, Commodore Isaac Osei-Kuffuor.
The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Hon Dominic Nitiwul; Minister for Fisheries Hon Elizabeth Afoley Quaye; Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo; Western Regional Minister Dr Kwaku Afriyie; Deputy Energy Minister and MP for Effia Hon Joseph Cudjoe; Deputy Minister for Aviation and MP for Takoradi Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah; MP for Sekondi Hon Andrew Mercer; Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority Hassan Tampuli, and other government officials.
The Vice President later paid a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, Nana Kobina Nketsia V.
Government of Ghana is to lose tax revenue of 47.90 million cedis on petroleum by the passage of the Special Petroleum Tax Amendment Bill 2018.
The Finance Committee in Parliament believes the bill is in tandem with government's aim of shifting the focus of tax policy from the introduction of new taxes to improving tax compliance as a basis for revenue generation.
They said it was also part of moves to shift focus from taxation to production in order to stimulate economic growth and development.
Furthermore, the committee also stated that officials from the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) informed the committee that, effective 16th February 2018, the prices of petrol and diesel are anticipated to go down by 1.39% and 2.6% respectively under the pricing mechanism.
They also stressed that with the passage of the Bill, ex-pump price of petrol will go down by 3.39% whilst that of diesel would also go down by 4.14%.
The Chairman of the committee, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, noted that, the NPA has estimated that upon the passage of the Bill into Law, petrol price would reduce from the present GHc 4.67% per litre to GHc 4.51 per litre whilst diesel would sell at GHc 4.48 per litre instead of the current price of GHc 4.48 per litre.
However, the Minority in Parliament has accused government and the Majority in Parliament for failing to completely scrap the entire tax on petroleum as promised to Ghanaians.
John Jinakpor the former Deputy Power Minister, Kwabena Donkor former Minister of Power and Emmanuel Armah-Buah who was the former Energy Minister, were of the view that, per the calculations, the reduction would be insignificant and does not represent a relief to the ordinary Ghanaian and the commercial driver.
But the Deputy Minister of Finance Kwaku Kwateng, disagree with their position saying, this reduction would rather put smiles on the faces of commercial drivers. He said the taxi driver who purchases 300 gallons of petrol in a month could save over 200 cedis per month. This he said would be significant.
The Special Petroleum tax ( Amendment ) Bill 2018 has been taking through all stages and passed by Parliament into law. The committee of Finance told Parliament that the object of the bill is to amend the Special Petroleum Tax Act, 2014 (Act 879) and Armah-Buah to provide for a change from an ad valorem rate to a specific tax rate on selected petroleum product
The Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, has given a hint of government's intention to support National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) with the GETFUND policy.
Speaking at the 48th anniversary launch of the National Vocational Training Institute under the theme: "promoting TVET to provide solutions to Ghana's unemployment challenge: The Role of NVTI", the minister ,said, unemployment is the most critical challenge of our national development today, and the role of NVTI acting as lead skills solutions to government's employment agenda cannot be overemphasised.
He added that, the urgency to create jobs for the teeming youth has become paramount considering the fact that, about 60% of our population is under 35years.
"You would all agree with me that, unemployment especially among the youth, has almost become a national security issue. Thus , interventions towards addressing this phenomenon are crucial and a paramount preoccupation to government. He said.
Hon Ignatius added that Ghana has attained a middle income status as a country and therefore, there is the need for a significant level of technocratic skilled workforce without which we cannot develop our country further.
He said a skilled workforce is required to build and maintain our roads, bridges, railways, markets, health and educational facilities and run our transportation, energy and Oil/Gas industry.
The minister said ,it is for this reason that government has decided to introduce reforms of the entire TVET system.
This is to ensure that TVET in Ghana is given not only policy coherence and harmonisation but also the technical, operational and financial support TVET requires for its transformation to enhance the employability of our youth progressively and thereby address the unemployment problem entirely.
By: Vivian Arthur
The Member of Parliament for Bia East, says the proposed reduction of petroleum tax from 15-13 percent is a waste of time.
The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday laid a Special Petroleum Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that seeks to reduce the Special Petroleum Tax of 15 percent to 13 percent to help reduce the prices of petroleum products.
The tax which was introduced by the NDC in 2016 was to shore up revenues generated from fuel prices when crude oil prices were plummeting.
But speaking on the issue, the NDC MP said the reduction is a waste of time.
According to him, although the NDC introduced the tax, it has outlived its use.
Government he noted promised to reduce taxes but has failed to reduce them.
In his view, the 2 percent is neither here nor there and it is a waste of time and would have no impact in the market.
Meanwhile, Parliament has passed into law the amended bill after going through the various stages.
The Minority in Parliament accused government and the Majority for failing to completely scrap the entire tax on petroleum as promised.
Some members of the main opposition party NDC in the Saboba constituency of the Northern Region, have expressed their anger and displeasure towards some constituency leaders of the party, for allegedly engaging in secret registration of party members in the area with the fear of being contested in any internal election.
Speaking exclusively to Rainbow Radio’s Northern Regional correspondent, Prince Kwame Tamakloe, an aggrieved member of the party, Mr. William Amuzu, explained that, some party members including some of his own family members, in the Saboba constituency are being registered by party leaders leaving out some other known members.
He claimed that, the act is as a result of some of the unregistered members of the party’s intention to contest the incoming internal intention.
“My brother if they realize you might contest for any internal election, they won’t register you.
Mr. William lamented that, “it is interesting to see how these people toil for this party even at their ages but were relegated to the background when we won elections in 2008 and 2012. Today, they are coming back to collect ID cards to register them”
The aggrieved NDC man said he has evidence to back my claims and challenge anyone in leadership of the NDC his preparedness to respond to his assertions.
”Any member of the NDC in leadership either at the National office or Regional office should please respond to this for clarification, is the ongoing NDC membership registration meant to register members in secret or public? Mr. William quizzed.
By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe
Cyril Ramaphosa has become South Africa's president after embattled leader Jacob Zuma resigned.
He was the only candidate nominated in parliament on Thursday so no vote was needed to make him president. MPs from the ruling African National Congress broke into song at the announcement.
In a speech to parliament Mr Ramaphosa, 65, said that corruption was on his radar.
The ANC had told Mr Zuma to step down or face a vote of no-confidence.
In a televised statement he said he was quitting with immediate effect but said he disagreed with his party's decision.
Mr Zuma faces numerous corruption allegations but denies any wrongdoing.
One opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, walked out of the parliamentary debate. It wants new elections, rather than the ANC deciding on the identity of the new president.
Executive Director for policy think tank, Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI-Ghana), Peter Bismark has commended the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for consolidating Ghana’s democracy.
This was contained in a write up by Peter Bismark and copied to rainbowradioonline.com.
He said in his statement that, ‘’democratic consolidation is indispensable when the right institutions are created to exhibit neutrality and that's what we are experiencing.’’
The statement was in reaction to the task ahead of the Special Prosecutor and his quest in the fight against corruption.
Corruption in his view is an organized crime, leading to deliberate "stealing" from what belongs to everybody.
He used the opportunity to admonish government pursue a path of policy formulation and implementation for measurable impact and avoid policies that will create problems for citizens especially when the population keeps increasing.
He said ‘’when democratic accountability is assured, economic growth and development is consolidated for prosperity,’’ he added.
Read Below the Full Piece
The long practice of the principles of democracy brings out the beauty to justify government of the people by the people and for the people, for the creation of matured institutions.
Institutional maturity matters and the dynamism of the principles of democracy have led to the creation of the office of the Special Prosecutor. Democratic institutional maturity is attained when all agree to strengthen the rule of law and the legal framework to fighting a particular canker (corruption) to give more credence to the need to uphold its principles. Ghanaians to some extent have understood their democratic right and national governance to help create economical, political and legal environment for peace and harmony.
As democracy matures, new institutions are created to meet the demand of the wants and needs of the political system under practice. Democracy marries lots for political ideologies such as communism, socialism, liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism and it related economic principles. The birth of the sensitive Office of the Special Prosecutor to tame the dirty hands of corruption in our contemporary political economy expounds the dynamism and an unending institutional establishment for a better society. Democratic consolidation is indispensable when the right institutions are created to exhibit neutrality and that's what we are experiencing. We have had strong institutions with weak personalities, weakening the strong institutions. However, the New Patriotic Government have created a strong institution and placed in a strong man to man the office, so institutional maturity could be achieved.
Democratic recession looks far from visiting Ghana's 25 years of consistency in democratic practice. The spontaneous democratic movement to fighting corruption has been addressed by the NPP Government. Corruption is an organized crime, leading to deliberate "stealing" from what belongs to everybody. In the coming years as the population keep increasing every decade, new democratic institutions would be created to address the failures of policies, hence the need to have a third eye for policy formulation and implementation for a measurable impact and avoid policies that create problems. When democratic accountability is assured, economic growth and development is consolidated for prosperity. Kudos to the NPP!!.
The Chairman, Technical Committee for the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), Ishmael Agyekumhene, has said it is not entirely correct that all the utility providers are demanding for 200 percent increment.
It was reported by some media portals that the Ghana Water Company Lim¬ited (GWCL), Volta River Au¬thority (VRA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) are seeking tariff increases that amount to over 200%.
But speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Mr. Agyekumhene, said it was NEDCo that had their proposal reaching 200 percent.
However, the others averagely requested for an upward adjustment of not more or less than 35 percent.
According to him, with the exception of NEDCo requesting for 200 percent, GRIDCo, Ghana Water, VRA are proposing between 31.26%-35%.
He said the PURC is to scrutinise the proposals and determine what in¬creases the utility providers deserve.