It is with considerable pleasure that I welcome you formally to Accra, and to the seat the Ghanaian Presidency.
I recall fondly my participation in the 2011 London and 2014 Seoul Party Leaders’ meetings of the International Democratic Union. On both occasions, I attended in my capacity as leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the then main opposition party in Ghana.
Nearly three years down the line, by the generosity of the Ghanaian people and the grace of Almighty God, I am hosting you to lunch in a different capacity, as President of the Republic of Ghana. Akwaaba, as you know by now, is our word of welcome to all of you, old and new friends. I hope you enjoy your stay amongst us, a people who pride themselves on their sense of hospitality.
I applaud the IDU for the decision taken to hold its Executive Meeting and IDU Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Meeting in Ghana. This is the first time such a meeting is being held in the country of a member party south of the Sahara, and, dare I say, it is right that you chose Ghana for this meeting.
After all, we were the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence in 1957, which led rapidly to the liberation of our continent from colonial rule, and we are, today, in all humility and modesty, the beacon and symbol of democracy in Africa.
We are, indeed, privileged to host such a gathering in our country.
When the members of the United Gold Coast Convention, UGCC of blessed memory, the first nationalist party of Ghana, the party which gave birth to the NPP, gathered in the historic town of Saltpond, some 150 kilometres west of Accra, in 1947, to lay the foundation for a democratic and prosperous Ghana, free of colonial rule, they did so against the backdrop of the emerging Cold War.
The promise that freedom would lead to a significant improvement in the quality of life of the African peoples was, however, cruelly subverted by decades of authoritarian rule in post-colonial Africa.
Yet, through it all, democratic forces in Africa, like my party, the NPP, continued to believe that the application of democratic principles and the operation of strong, private sector dominated market economies, with good, honest management of public finances, provided the most effective platform for Africa’s development.
Hence, the NPP’s motto: Development in Freedom. These beliefs, in our view, have been vindicated by today’s paradigm.
In West Africa, we have made significant progress in our regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). For the first time in the 42 year history of ECOWAS, all 15 member states have democratically elected leaders.
This is an indication that democracy, equality of opportunity and respect for human rights, ideals which have stood the test of time, have now found firm anchor in our collective body politic. Indeed, this evolution inspired the decision by ECOWAS to intervene, earlier this year, in the electoral impasse in the Gambia, which ensured the enforcement of the rule of law and the assumption of the reins of government by the rightfully elected leader.
It is now generally accepted that we, who are gathered here and other like-minded people, have won the ideological battle that raged for much of the twentieth century. But, the war to build a better world, by strengthening freedom and democracy and improving the living standards of the citizenry, is far from over.
It is for this reason that the Ghanaian people, dissatisfied with their living conditions, and unhappy with the direction in which the country and, indeed, the economy was headed, voted decisively for change on 7th December, 2016, by the overwhelming victory they conferred on the NPP and my modest person. That is why I am here, today, as President.
They voted for us to fix the economy and put our country on the path of progress and prosperity.
To deliver on the wishes and aspirations of the Ghanaian people, I have put before them the most ambitious programme of social and economic transformation of any government in the history of Ghana’s 4th Republic, if not in our entire history.
This programme is hinged on restructuring the institutions of our governance, modernising our agriculture to enhance its productivity, a clear industrial policy, and rationalising the financial sector so that it supports growth in agriculture, and growth in manufacturing and industry. To this end, my government has, in our first budget in March, introduced measures to stimulate the private sector.
A monetary policy that will stabilise the currency and reduce significantly the cost of borrowing, in addition to a raft of tax cuts, has been put in place to bring relief to and encourage businesses. These interventions are already lowering the cost of doing business, and shifting the focus of our economy from taxation to production.
We aim also to enhance further the business atmosphere and make Ghana an easier place to conduct business through paperless transactions at our ports, and the removal of all internal customs barriers by the beginning of September. Our flagship programmes, “One District, One Factory”, and “Planting for Food and Jobs”, have been launched. We aim to reach our target – to make Ghana’s economy the most business friendly on the continent of Africa, and, why not, in the world.
This process of economic and industrial transformation is going along with ensuring that the most basic elements of social justice are met – making quality basic education and healthcare accessible to all – to promote a culture of incentives and opportunities.
We have been in office barely five months, but we are taking concrete action to fulfil our manifesto pledges and commitments.
We are determined to build a new Ghanaian civilisation, a Ghana beyond Aid. It is a Ghana where we aim to be masters of our own destiny, where we marshal our own resources for the future, breaking the shackles of the “Guggisberg” colonial economy of a producer of raw materials, and a mind-set of dependency, bailouts and extraction. It is an economy where we look past commodities to position ourselves in the global marketplace at the high end of the value chain.
It is a country where we focus on trade, not aid, a hand-up, not a hand-out. It is a country with a strong private sector. It is a country that recognises the connectedness of its people and economy to those of its neighbours. It is a country that is governed according to the rule of law, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability.
Our global village is being buffeted by some stormy, adverse winds – vicious terrorism; religious extremism; resurgent populism in the Western democracies; potentially devastating climatic and environmental changes; and growing inequality between the North and the South.
In my view, never has the necessity to organise, mobilise and articulate clearly our values and message been greater. I have no doubt that, in doing so, we shall prevail here on this continent and around the world, and create harmony, serenity and progress for our common planet and our common humanity, and, thereby, banish global poverty and hunger.
My expectation, at the end of this meeting, is that we share best practices in governance, marketing strategies for winning elections, and refining the tools needed to ensure that we continuously gain and maintain the support of our electorates with each other. Our political parties are at the helm of some of the biggest and most successful economies and emerging markets in the world, and are having a positive impact on this generation.
We must ensure that, with the aid of science and technology, the promotion of enterprise, innovation and creativity, and the spread of democratic values, we offer the prospects of a constructing a new era of prosperity in freedom for all the peoples of the world. I am confident that we can work together to achieve this noble goal.
Thank you, welcome to Ghana, and may God bless the IDU and us all.
The two church members who were flogged by Bishop Daniel Obinim for engaging in asexual relationship which resulted in a pregnancy have presented the baby to founder of the International Ministries for blessings.
Bishop Daniel Obinim, was in 2016 captured on tape flogging the two members who he said stayed with him during a service, for having sexual intercourse.
The video showed Obinim, whipping the two teenagers with a belt during a service at the church for allegedly engaging in sexual relations and attempting to abort a subsequent pregnancy.
The video went viral on social media provoking condemnation from most Ghanaians.
The Bishop was arrested over the issue last year after the former Minister of Gender and Social Protection filed a suit against him.
Today [Wednesday], the two minors have presented their baby girl to the Bishop to bless.
Rainbowradioonline.com also gathered that, there is a naming ceremony currently underway.
Monday, June 26, 2017 has been declared as a statutory holiday.
The day marks which is Eid Ul-Fitr, must be observed throughout the country, a statement from the Interior Ministry said.
Eid al-Fitr translates to 'festival of the breaking of the fast' in English.
It marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan, and the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It begins upon the visual sighting of the last full moon of the year and lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the year.
Muslims worldwide abstain from all food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours during the Ramadan period.
The lawyer defending the suspects connected to the murder of the late Major Maxwell Mahama, George Bernard Shaw, has suffered verbal attacks from the general public.
The private legal practitioner has been described as a ‘devil’s lawyer for deciding to represent the suspects in the case.
But a colleague lawyer, Maurice Ampaw has called for cease fire among the public.
Speaking to Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said, the lawyer is representing clients who by law deserves to be represented by a counsel in a competent court of jurisdiction.
The controversial lawyer says it does not matter what crime one commits, he/she must be entitled to a lawyer.
He said there is no lawyer who entertains wrong doing or a crime but our profession grants us to represent clients who may have committed a crime and in some cases, we may plead for lenience for the offenders.
‘’I will plead to the public to be patient. The Mahama saga is a lesson for all of us but we should allow the law to take its course. The lawyer representing them should not be threatened. He can do nothing if the suspects are found guilty of the crime,’’ he said.
An Ashanti Regional based farmer, Kofi Wayo, has disclosed to Nyankonton Nu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, they [farmers] have resorted to the use of washing detergents in the fight against the infestation of Fall Army Worm (FAW) in the country.
The farmer says they have decided to use the detergents because the approved chemical used in the fight, is not effective.
The Minister of Agriculture recently announced that chemicals would be sent to the affected districts in the Brong Ahafo Region, Ashanti Region and parts of the Western Region to help in the fight.
However, the farmer says they received notice from other farmers from other regions that the washing detergents appears to be more effective than the chemicals provided by government.
He said the chemicals rather makes the worms grow bigger whereas the washing detergent kills them instantly.
An estimated GHc16 million was budgeted to combat and minimize the level of infestation in the country.
Government of Ghana is offering cocoa farmers a terrible deal with its decision not increase the cocoa producer price due to a fall in world market prices, the Minority in Parliament has alleged.
Addressing the media today [Wednesday], Spokesperson on Agriculture and Cocoa, Eric Opoku, said the decision not to increase the price was not based on concrete consultation.
“We wish to state that, the Chief Executive officer of COCOBOD is not clothed with the mandate to determine the producer price of cocoa for farmers. It is the duty of the producer price review committee to determine producer price of cocoa taking into consideration several factors including the economic conditions prevailing in the country, in order not to inflict untold hardships on our farmers. We are therefore urging the CEO of COCOBOD to allow the committee established in 1984 which has since discharged its duties effectively and efficiently, to continue its work without any form of usurpation.’’
The Minority has also slammed government for failing to make use of the Cocoa Stabilization Fund which was established former president Mahama with annual contributions “as a risk mitigation mechanism against declines in international cocoa prices.”
“We are therefore encouraging the CEO of COCOBOD to make it public how much has accumulated in the fund and its impact on the farmers in this critical period.’’
“Surprisingly, the NPP government on assumption of office has replaced the free fertilization programme with a programme under which farmers pay (GHc80) for a bag of fertilizer. This is unacceptable, we cannot sit aloof for the government to cheat our cocoa farmers.” “Under the free fertilization programme, the cocoa farmer was entitled to 7.5 bags of granular fertilizer per every hectare of cocoa farm. So a farmer who has 100 hectares of cocoa farm was given 750 bags of fertilizer free of charge. Today under President Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government, the same farmer is to pay (GHc60,000) for the same 750 bags of fertilizer. This has exposed the Ghanaian cocoa farmer to intolerable levels of penury. We are therefore urging the NPP government to be sensitive to the plight of the Ghanaian cocoa farmer by halting the sale of the fertilizer and revert to the NDC’s free fertilization programme for the 2016/2017 cocoa season,” he said.
Ambassador of the United States to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has warned Ghana risk losing the $498 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact from the government of the United States of America if the country fails to adequately fight trafficking in persons, child labour and sex trafficking.
Mr. Jackson said, Ghana has been ranked in the second tier for the second year in a row, and it seems no effort has been employed in curbing the menace.
He said, Ghana has failed to meet “the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in person, including child labour.”
The Volta Region in Ghana he noted serves as the area for human trafficking in the country and so many children are trafficked through the lake,. on daily basis.
He decried the lack of prosecution of culprits caught trafficking children, a situation he noted, was worrying and could incur sanctions for the country.
He said at least 5 children are trafficked on daily basis in the region.
‘’Ghana’s court has not convicted people of these crimes. If there are victims, so there must be criminals as well. As you know now, the US Department of State 2015/2016 Trafficking of Persons Report, Ghana was ranked as a second tier for the second year in a row. What this means is that, Ghana did not meet the minimum standards for combating trafficking of persons.’’
He stressed that this was important because if Ghana is not able to fight the canker, it risking losing assistance from USAID, it risk losing the $500 million Challenge Account
The $498 million aims to help Ghana transform its electricity sector.
Any country ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years must be downgraded to Tier 3 in the third year unless it shows sufficient progress to warrant a Tier 2 or Tier 1 ranking.
A Tier 3 ranking indicates a government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons and is not making significant efforts to do so.
A seventeen-year-old (17) boy, Ebenezer Asamoah, suspected to be connected to the murder of the late Major Maxwell Mahama is to be relocated to the borstal home until police establishes that he is more than his current age.
This follows an order given by a District Court judge Ebenezer Kwaku Ansah on Wednesday June 21, 2017.
The court also remanded thirty-one others also believed to be part of the crime into police custody. The suspects have been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The deceased, Captain Maxwell Mahama, an officer of the 5th Infantry Battalion, is said to have been on his daily jogging routine on Monday [May 29], when some angry youth of the town attacked him, allegedly on suspicion of being an armed robber.