The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Monday, 16th April, 2018, met with the leader of the UK’s Labour Party and leader of the Opposition, Rt. Hon Jeremy Corbyn, MP, on the sidelines of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, currently ongoing in the United Kingdom.
In the meeting, President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana and the United Kingdom continue to maintain strong bonds of friendship and co-operation, adding that the UK remains one of Ghana's most significant trading partners, and a major source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Again, as members of the Commonwealth, the President noted that Ghana and the United Kingdom continue to share common values of democratic accountability, good governance, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the rule of law.
President Akufo-Addo and Jeremy Corbyn also discussed issues bordering on the deepening of democracy amongst member states of the Commonwealth, the worsening humanitarian crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria, United Nations Reforms, in particular reform of the UN Security Council, BREXIT, an increase in trade co-operation between Ghana and the UK, and migration.
Touching on the problem of migration, President Akufo-Addo noted that the structure of most of the economies on Africa, including Ghana, have been dependent, largely, on the production and export of raw materials.
These economies, the President noted, cannot create opportunities, wealth and prosperity for the African peoples, a situation which has fuelled the waves of migration of African youths from the Continent, who move to Europe in search of jobs.
It is for this reason, President Akufo-Addo told Jeremy Corbyn, that Ghana had decided to turn its back on the “old economy”, and focus her energies on building an industrialised, value-added economy, with a modernised agriculture, which takes full advantage of the digital revolution.
The President added that discussion on migrations and refugees cannot be complete without also including discussion about the nature of African economies, as it is only such a comprehensive discussion, which leads to appropriate policies, that will enable satisfactory solutions to be found to the crises of refugees and migration, especially from the African continent.
President Akufo-Addo invited the Labour Party leader, whose parliamentary constituency of Islington North has a high concentration of Ghanaians, to visit Ghana later in the year, an invitation which was warmly accepted by Jeremy Corbyn.
‘’The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in collaboration with the Lands Valuation Division of the Lands Commission has begun an exercise to revaluate all properties in the metropolis to enable the Assembly determine and charge the required rate,’’ s statement signed by Metro Coordinating Director Sam Ayeh Datey has said.
According to the AMA, the exercise is expected to be completed in three months.
It said: ‘’the exercise which is expected to be completed in three months, will adopt a digitised approach to ensure accuracy and efficiency. The exercise is to reduce human interference between property owners and the commission/AMA while promoting speed and accuracy in revenue mobilization.
‘’The exercise will increase the Assembly internally generated funds, establish a comprehensive data base and halt the substantial losses in revenue from property rates. ‘’
The statement further indicated that, ‘’the last time properties were revaluated was in 2006.
‘’In view of this, the AMA wishes to remind the public that, the exercise has begun in earnest and the revaluation officers within the various sub-metros have been moving from house to house in a special uniform and tags for identification purposes.
The Assembly has also provided a telephone line (0302906463) for verification purposes if they are in doubt of the identity of the revaluation officers.
We humbly request the general public to cooperate.’’ It concluded.
Violent clashes between students of the Mensah Sabah and Commonwealth Halls, all of the University of Ghana and the Katanga hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology have led to one person sustaining serious injuries.
The students from the two separate halls had gathered for an intellectual debate by tertiary students at the University of Ghana.
Information gathered by rainbowradionline.com has it that a viral video of an alleged molestation of a student from KNUST sparked the clashes.
There is a heavy police presence on campus with many of students fearing further reprisals.
Ten persons have been arrested by the East Legon Police Command.
Major Mahama’s trial case was thrown into further jeopardy Monday morning at the Accra High Court when some jurors begged the court to exclude them from the trial of the 14 people accused of killing Major Maxwell Mahama.
At its last sitting on April 12, 2018, six jurors were empaneled, falling short of the required seven.
But the court’s attempt to get the last juror Monday was thrown into jeopardy when a member of the six jurors, presented a letter to the court, praying the court to exclude her.
Her exclusion brought the number of jurors to five, but the process to select other jurors failed when two potential jurors told the court that they were not comfortable being part of the panel.
One of them, a male, was excluded after one of the accused persons rejected him, but the other juror, a female, even after her selection begged the court to exclude her.
When asked by the presiding judge to give a tangible reason, she said she was not “comfortable and capable.”
The court finally excluded her and adjourned the case to April 25, 2018 to continue with the jury selection.
To help increase students enrolment in all public basic schools and to also ensure that pupils are adequately fed especially among students living in deprived communities, the government has indicated its preparedness to continuously expand the programme to cover all public basic schools in future.
The national Coordinator of the school feeding Programme, Dr. Kwame Adu-Nsiah, disclosed this in an interview with some journalists in Accra.
"The objective of the programme is to ensure that all children of school going age will go to school and so the government has increased beneficiaries from 1,671,777 to 2,174,000 pupils. This move will also prevent students from absenting themselves from school and also help them to desist from giving one form of excuse or the other especially in some of the rural communities where children are sometimes used as farm hands by their parents. He stated that, some of the students sometimes move from one school to the other as a result of some neighbouring schools providing food to their students hence the need to continuously expand it to cover more public basic schools in future. He noted that the government has not only expanded the beneficiaries but it has also increased the feeding fee from 80 pesewas to 1 cedi to help increase the quality and quantity of the food provided. He said "The 1 cedi may not be enough to provide a meal but the government saw the need to at least increase it a bit to help increase the quantity and quality of the meal for the students but the amount will be increased in future as it has to be done gradually looking at the number of beneficiaries and school feeding days". When asked if government has paid school feeding caterers all arrears owed them, Dr. Adu-Nsiah, said all arrears from 2016/2017 third term academic year to first term 2017/2018 academic year have all been paid.
He said "We have paid 2015/2016 third term arrears, we paid June first term 2016/2017, October 2016/2017, we again paid some also in the same month of October, then we paid in December 2016/2017 third term and 2017/2018 first term academic year. They have all been paid, we are only left with the second term which has just ended to pay and also pay some few people who provided names which were wrongly spelt among others. The national Coordinator however indicated that affected persons will be paid soon as such challenges have been resolved.
By: Ebenezer Kofi Amponsah
Local governance expert, Amon Kotey, has said the claims by Special Initiatives Minister, Mrs. Hawa Koomson, that only 5 per cent of the total budget allocation for the ministry and the three development authorities will go into administrative work, cannot be true.
The minister told Kwame Tutu on Frontline today [Monday] that, only 5 per cent of the total budget for the ministry will go into administration which would include office space and other administrative cost.
However, the local governance expert reacting to the claims said: ‘’that cannot be true. That cannot be true. The authorities cannot rent a chamber and hall and operate them as offices because the offices for the caliber of people appointed, will not be located in localities like Alajo or any third class area. They want to be in the prime areas. These are issues and facts; they are already riding heavy cars and so are you going to take them into any kind of office and give him Tico or what?
Amon Kotey, said the minister lied adding, when the various authorities officially start work, we will find out the cost involved.
He told Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, we have to sit down and study the whole new structure to see if it will suite the governance system.
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) he noted created the impression that, each constituency in the country was going to receive $1 million annually but after winning power, they have asked that, constituents should go and search for projects that would amount to $1 million before the money is distributed through the three development authorities.
He said, people started asking questions when the NPP made that promise to distribute $1 million per constituency because there were no administrative bodies in the constituencies. But they have now gone to the drawing table to develop the authorities.
He opined that, the move by government is a bit complex for every development student and quizzed whether existing structures, cannot be directed to distribute the funds than to create new authorities.
‘’These are questions we need to ask whoever is moving the agenda,’’ he added.
Member of Parliament for Tamale Central and former MP former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Inusah Fuseini, has shot down reports that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), has directed some former appointees under the erstwhile Mahama administration, to provide details of their bank accounts over the alleged double salaries saga.
Report has it that the CID is currently investigating some nine former appointees under Mahama for taking double salaries.
The CID has already written to the ex-government officials and demanded that they appear for questioning.
Some of the names mentioned are Alban Bagbin, MP for Nadowli West in the Upper West Region; ET Mensah, one of the ‘three wise men’ under Mahama’s presidency and former MP for Ningo Prampram; Haruna Iddrisu, former Minister of Employment and Labour Relations and MP for Tamale South.
The rest are Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, former Petroleum Minister and MP for Ellembelle in the Western Region and Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, former Youth and Sports Minister and MP for Odododiodioo Constituency and Former Roads and Highways Minister, Hon. Inusah Fuseini.
But responding to the claims on Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the legislator rubbished the double salaries allegations insisting, ‘’no appointee received double salaries under Mahama. It is not possible.’’
In his view, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is intentionally targeting former government appointees.
According to him, “it appears that the value of fairness, equity and justice is not being followed”
“…if a public servant has been given a double salary, they are not reported to CID. The person is called to refund the money and if that is not done; that is when you report the person to an investigative authority. But this was not done…why the discrimination?” he quizzed.
Office of the National Chairman for the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, had his office ransacked by alleged thieves.
The robbers managed to get away with a cash sum of GHC 6000.
Speaking to Nyankonton Mu Nsem, the politician said: ‘’ “Of the four offices that we have, all of them; the furniture, computers, printers and even the reception desk, everything has been cleared from the place. It is now just rooms that we have. We don’t have anything apart from the workstations and thing they have scattered.
“I have been with the investigator. I don’t what they are suspecting. Since yesterday, this is about the third time we have come here. He is just taking pictures in order to make an appropriate report,” he said.
Local governance expert, Mr. Albert Kyei Baffour, has disagreed with those alluding to the fact that, the establishment of the three development authorities is waste of state resources and an overlap of existing bodies including the Local Government Ministry.
The three Development Authorities – Coastal Development Authority, Middle Belt Development Authority, and Northern Development Authority – are tasked with the implementation of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) – the Programme which will ensure the disbursement of the equivalent of $1 million per constituency per year, in fulfillment of President Akufo-Addo’s 2016 campaign pledge.
Some individuals and bodies have alluded to the fact that, the three bodies is a waste of resources and duplication of existing bodies.
But in an interview with Rainbow Radio’s Kwame Tutu, Mr. Kyei Baffour said, the decision by the president to establish the authorities is to achieve specific goals.
The president have realized that the country is behind in terms of development and has outlined marshal plans to help the country develop within a short time just like Malaysia, Indian and China.
‘’There are existing bodies but they all have their functions. The three authorities is to help achieve government’s ambitious programme with budget allocation and timelines,’’ he noted.
Meanwhile, the Minister in Charge of Special Development and Initiatives, Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, says her ministry will not overlap with existing bodies or ministries because it is an autonomous body established to provide oversight responsibility for the three development authorities.
She also indicated on the show that, the ministry will through the authorities close the development gap which would be different from how it has been tackled in the past.