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Jun 29, 2017
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has introduced an online reporting system called Safety Watch System (SWS), to enable health workers to report on safety issues related to drugs, vaccines and other regulated products to the Authority.   The SWS was also to complement the already existing system for reporting adverse events using the paper Adverse Reaction Form. The introduction was made during a regional workshop for pharmaco-vigilance Officers in Tamale, which was supported by Access and Delivery Partnership Programme and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO).   The event was to provide refresher training for health workers and also inform them on some of the new initiatives of the FDA to improve patient safety and how to use the SMS.   Mr George Sabblah, the Head of the Safety Monitoring Department at the Food and Drugs Authority, said the SWS would help to reduce side effect of adverse drug reactions on patients and help regulate other medicinal products used in the country.   He said the SWS system could also be used by patients and the pharmaceutical industry to report safety issues on the side effects of drugs and vaccines.   Mr Sabblah said patients who had difficulty in accessing the SWS can report safety issues through designated community pharmaceutical centres to the FDA.   He said the training had already taken place in six regions and that about 700 health workers are targeted to be trained nationwide on how to use the system.   Mr Sabblah said health workers and patients can report to the FDA through the Safety Watch System at http://adr.fdaghana.gov.gh/ or www.fdaghana.gov.gh       Source: GNA
Jun 29, 2017
The United States Embassy in Ghana has explained in a statemnt that the notification on visa allocations to government officials, including MPs and former Presidents visiting the US unofficially is in accordance with already existing US law. The statement said, “This is not a new policy. In such limited and special circumstances as having a former president come in, we have procedures established to ensure the appropriate courtesies are extended. When a diplomat or official applies for a visa for personal travel, it is neither necessary nor appropriate for the applicant to be accompanied to the interview by protocol assistants.”   The statement added that, “as a general policy, only visa applicants are allowed in the waiting room. Our communication to the Government of Ghana was meant to clarify this policy. We will continue to work with the government to facilitate legitimate personal and official travel.”   Find below the full statement   Statement from the U.S. Embassy on Visa Interview Policy   Under U.S. law, travelers seeking a nonimmigrant visa for travel to the United States must generally appear in person for an interview with a consular officer.   U.S. law also designates limited exceptions under which the visa interview may be waived, such as for diplomats and officials traveling on official government business. However, under U.S. law, when a diplomat or official applies for a new visa for personal travel, that applicant must appear in person for an interview.   This is not a new policy. In such limited and special circumstances as having a former president come in, we have procedures established to ensure the appropriate courtesies are extended. When a diplomat or official applies for a visa for personal travel, it is neither necessary nor appropriate for the applicant to be accompanied to the interview by protocol assistants.   As a general policy, only visa applicants are allowed in the waiting room. Our communication to the Government of Ghana was meant to clarify this policy. We will continue to work with the government to facilitate legitimate personal and official travel.       Sara Veldhuizen Stealy, Press Attaché   U.S. Embassy Accra    
Jun 29, 2017
 One of the two ex-Guantanmo Bay detainees being hosted by Ghana, has gotten married during his short stay in the country. Lawyer for the detainee, George Clarke made this known in an interview with Accra based Citi Fm. Bin Atef’s wife, Haia, is a Yemeni national, and they have been married for about two and a half months, he said. The ceremony was held in the presence of a few family members of the two, he said. According to the lawyer, the marriage was contracted while he [Atef] was in Ghana, but I don’t believe the woman is from Ghana,” he said. Meanwhile, the lawyer says his client wants to live a normal life in the country but he is currently being used as a political football due to the change of government. He said, “the transfer of power, “certainly doesn’t help, and it is unfortunate that it appears to me that he is being used as a political football when he has nothing to do with that.”
Jun 29, 2017
The Chinese government’s private sector development corporation has injected an amount of $2 billion into the ‘One-District-One-Factory policy. This followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a funding facility worth up to $2 billion between a number of Ghanaian banks and the private sector, led by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI). Per the agreement,  the China National Building Materials and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CNBM), will provide up to 85% financing for viable projects recommended by the One District One Factory secretariat, which is under the Office of the President of Ghana, and accepted by the banks. The facility will be offered to the banks at low-interest rates, in the single digits, and has a minimum of 8 years for repayment depending on the project. Among others, CNBM is to construct the factories for Beneficiary Companies and equip the factories with the requisite and necessary equipment on a turnkey basis, to make them fully operational for the successful implementation of the programme.   The MOU was signed in Beijing, China on Wednesday June 21, 2017, on the sidelines of the four-day official visit of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to China, the first by a high level government official since the New Patriotic Party took office in January 2017. Ghana Commercial Bank, Access Bank, Universal Merchant Bank and the Ghana Import and Export Bank have so far signed up to the compact, although other banks have the opportunity to join. Speaking to the media after the signing ceremony the National Coordinator of the ‘One District, One Factory’ secretariat, Gifty Ohene-Konadu, explained that the facility will also cater for technical training and the provision of support services. “The most exciting part of the financing is, the Chinese will provide a huge market access for most of the export commodities, which is expected to bring $2.5b revenue to Ghana annually “This clearly shows how the NPP government is poised to make the private sector the engine for growth of the Ghanaian economy.” The ‘One District One Factory’ programme is a flagship project of the Nana Akufo-Addo government designed to establish at least one viable factory in all 216 districts in Ghana as part of an industrialisation drive aimed at providing jobs and transforming the economic fortunes of the ordinary Ghanaian.
Jun 29, 2017
 Botswana has declared three days of national mourning after the death of former President Sir Ketumile Masire, aged 91.   Sir Ketumile, who led the country from 1980 to 1998, is credited with being the architect of the country's famed stability, reports the AFP news agency.   He was also involved in peace initiatives across Africa, including ending Mozambique's long civil war.   Botswana is one of Africa's richest and most stable countries.   Sir Ketumile became president after the death of Botswana's first post-independence leader Sir Seretse Khama in 1980.   He had served as the country's first minister of finance and vice-president before becoming president, the Botswana government states.   Sir Ketumile stepped down in 1998 after overseeing a period of strong economic growth based on the effective management of the Botswana's vast diamond wealth.   He was also involved in backing South Africa's anti-apartheid movement and other independence struggles in the region.   As an elder statesman he was involved in mediation efforts across Africa, including Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland and the Democratic Republic of Congo.   Sir Ketumile was also chair of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities which investigated the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Source: BBC
Jun 29, 2017
  ACI Construction Company Limited, a subsidiary of Agams Holdings, says it is cooperating with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) towards a speedy resolution of tax issues which resulted in the tax agency locking up the offices of the company early this week.   According to the company, since the figure is in dispute, it is unfair for GRA to make categorical statements on it.   Officials of ACI Construction told The Finder that its tax consultants are working with GRA to reconcile the figures and when agreement is reached on the actual amount owed, the company would make plans to pay.   They explained that figures in the books of ACI Construction show that the amount owed is not up to the GH₵14million (GH₵14,312,974.19) that the GRA has put out.   “Like all other state agencies, we have a great deal of respect for the GRA, the reason we are co-operating with them to resolve the disputed amount and ensure its eventual settlement”, a company official told this paper.   The National Coordinator for the Task Force at the GRA, Henry Sam, declared Roland Agambire, the Agams Group Chairman, wanted but lawyers for the company described it as defamatory to his person.   According to the lawyers, declaring Mr Agambire wanted was in bad taste.   The company official said just as it had done in the past complying with statutory and all other legal obligations, it will not undermine the efforts of state institutions to ensure right things are done. Source: The Finder
Jun 29, 2017
The Majority caucus of Parliament has refuted claims by the NDC Minority caucus that government is treating cocoa farmers unfairly by not using part of the Cocoa Stabilisation Fund to increase the producer price of cocoa as the world market price of cocoa has declined.   The Majority caucus also described as false, a claim by the NDC Minority caucus that government is cheating cocoa farmers by deciding to sell cocoa fertilisers to cocoa farmers instead of distributing the product free to the farmers.   The Majority caucus responded to the issues raised by the NDC Minority caucus at a press conference at Parliament House yesterday [Friday] which were addressed by the Chairman of the Committee on Food , Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Hon Kwame Asafo - Adjei and the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture Hon William Agyapong Quiattoo.   According to Hon Quaittoo the Cocoa Stabilisation Fund was set up in 2007 / 2008 Cocoa season by the government of former President Kuffour to cushion cocoa farmers by stabilising the producer price of cocoa even if the world market price declines as it is happening currently . He said the Cocoa Stabilisation Fund was not set up in 2014 by former President Mahama as the Minority Caucus claimed. Hon William Agyepong Quaitto also defended government's decision to sell cocoa fertilisers to cocoa farmers at a subsidised price and said that will make all cocoa farmers benefit instead of just a few farmers benefitting when the fertilisers are distributed freely. By: Naa Darkuah Dodoo
Jun 29, 2017
The Council for Independent Universities (CIU) has called for a review of the current affiliation system of young universities imposed by the National Accreditation Board (NAB).   Professor Osei K. Darkwa, the Chairman of CIU, said he believed that private universities had reached a stage where they needed a radical departure from the current affiliation system.   “The university affiliation system should be a facilitator to foster collaborations and innovations, but it is not the case. The number of private tertiary institutions has increased over the years, which has increased the number of mentee institutions assigned to the limited mentor institutions,” he said.   Prof. Darkwa, who is also the President of the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC), made the call at the 11th Anniversary Celebration of the CIU coupled with the launch of the Union’s Second Education Fair, in Accra.   It was under the theme; “Private Tertiary Institutions Affiliation with Public Universities in Ghana: A Bane or A Blessing”.   An affiliated university or affiliated college is an educational institution that operates independently, but also has a formal collaborative agreement with another, usually larger institution, that may have some level of control or influence over its academic policies, standards or programmes.   Prof. Darkwa said the huge number of mentee institutions assigned were likely to hamper standards and educational quality at the mentor university itself, as majority of the faculty members were likely to spend part of the academic time in monitoring the activities of mentee institutions.   “The rigidity of the current affiliation system is a major hindrance for creativity and imaginative activities. There is a need for a new model and transformation of the current affiliation system if we are to achieve educational quality and excellence. We call for universities to be made completely autonomous so that they can design their own academic programs, select their students, appoint and promote their lecturers, and determine their own methods of teaching. This would help promote academic excellence and provide a long cherished academic freedom to enable them to develop and offer innovative programmes consistent with their mission and vision,” he said.   Prof. Darkwa said that there was the need for dialogue among all educational stakeholders to work towards the implementation of a new system that would regulate the establishment of a new tertiary institution and implement a new road map for the progressive facing out of the affiliation process.   He said as a matter of urgency, a process should be initiated to review the years in existence requirement for existing universities to initiate the charter process.   “Aspects of the charter standards could be applied to private universities so that once these standards are met, a private tertiary institution could be granted the power to issue its degree similar to the public universities established by Act of Parliament,” he said.   Mr Kwame Dattey, the Executive Secretary of NAB, acknowledged the sensitivity of the theme of the celebration, saying it had been a bother to the Council for some time now and expressed the hope that the Union would come up with implementable suggestions.   Touching on curbing the disparity in submissions between the mentor institutions and the National Accreditation panel, he said the panel had written to the mentoring institutions to send an expert in the subject area to contribute to ensuring that the panel’s recommendations were implemented.   “If you are an expert in the field and you think what the accreditation panel says is not what should be done, you have every right not to accept and lodge a complaint to the Accreditation Board to reverse the recommendation,” he said.   He said prospective students should check the NAB website to confirm if their desired schools had been accredited before applying.   Dr Koryoe Anim-Wright, the President of African University College of Communications, said it was time to closely look at the accreditation process holistically with an eye towards phasing out the system of affiliation and streamlining the accreditation process for quality assurance and maintenance of university standards.   She said a proactive way in which the Government could assist private university colleges was by modifying the GET Fund Act to allow access to infrastructure support.       Source: GNA
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