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The Ghana Aids Commission has disputed media reports that there was an increase in new HIV infections by 80 percent.   This was contained in a statement issued by the Commission. According to the statement, ‘’these figures were supposedly received during the Ghana AIDS Commission’s media briefing held on Wednesday 10th January 2018. The Ghana AIDS Commission wishes to inform the general public that no such figures were provided.’’   The statement also admonished the public not to panic due to the false publication and misrepresentation of the figures.   The statement said, ‘’ The Ghana AIDS Commission recognizes that an 18% increase in new HIV infections is relatively high for a low HIV prevalent country like Ghana. Therefore, the Commission has put in place the right policies and strategies to reduce new HIV infections and expand treatment and care services for persons living with HIV (PLHIV).’’   Read Below the full statement       PRESS RELEASE The attention of Ghana AIDS Commission has been drawn to certain figures in articles circulating in the media citing a high percentage increase (80% and 70.15%) in new HIV infections in the country. These figures were supposedly received during the Ghana AIDS Commission’s media briefing held on Wednesday 10th January 2018. The Ghana AIDS Commission wishes to inform the general public that no such figures were provided. In addition, the report referenced in some of the articles, the 2017 Ghana AIDS Commission Report has not yet been produced. These figures published by the media have caused confusion and panic in the general public. Ghana AIDS Commission has also become aware that a GhanaWeb article on World AIDS Day published on 2nd December 2017, wrongly quoted the UNAIDS Country Director, Ms. Angela Trenton-Mbonde as stating that Ghana recorded an 80% rise in new HIV infections in 2016, whereas she stated that Ghana recorded an 18% rise in new HIV infections in 2016. The Ghana AIDS Commission recognizes that an 18% increase in new HIV infections is relatively high for a low HIV prevalent country like Ghana. Therefore, the Commission has put in place the right policies and strategies to reduce new HIV infections and expand treatment and care services for persons living with HIV (PLHIV). The Government of Ghana has also prioritized HIV on the national agenda and provided the needed funding as well as created an enabling environment for the implementation of HIV and AIDS interventions in the country. To this end, the Government has set up a National HIV and AIDS Fund which will ensure sustainable domestic funding for the HIV and AIDS response. The Commission urges the public not to panic but take responsibility for self-protection and healthy life-styles. The Commission further urges every Ghanaian to test to know their HIV status and be sure that those who test positive, will be placed on life-saving antiretroviral treatment.   “Ghana AIDS Commission: Working actively and in partnership towards the elimination of HIV and AIDS.”
The statistics on the number of jobs created under the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will be ready in the next three months, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.   He told journalists on Wednesday during an encounter that, his government is in the process of putting together the statistics on the exact number of jobs that have been created his the NPP government came into office a year ago. “We are barely one year in office and so we are in the process of putting the data together. I cannot provide those statistics readily, but I think in the next three months or so we should be able to provide those statistics.’’ The president in his introductory remark at the event expressed worry at the unemployment situation in the country.   He said, ‘’I would like to start this conversation with the sad scenes that were played out in many parts of the country, some weeks ago, in all the regional capitals of our country. Young people got up at dawn, and formed long queues in stadiums and parks, in the hope of getting a job with the Ghana Immigration Service. I know it is not a new story. Some eighty four thousand (84,000) people applying for jobs, and over forty seven thousand (47,000) of them meeting the minimum requirements as advertised, and the organisation only looking for five hundred (500) people to hire,’’ he added. He continued: ‘’Similar scenarios are being played out in all sectors of the public service. The Ghana Revenue Authority also advertised for various categories of staff. Some fifty nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety one (59,991) responded to the advertisement, out of which twenty thousand, one hundred and seventy seven (20,177) met the requirements, and the available vacancies are three hundred and fifty (350). ‘’The recent recruitment exercise in the Ghana Armed Forces went along similar lines. Some twenty six thousand, and thirty two (26,032) young people applied to be enlisted into the Other Ranks; twenty one thousand, and seventy three (21,073) of them qualified, and were shortlisted. The number to be taken to start training later this month is one thousand, eight hundred (1,800). The Police Service recruitment exercise tells a similar story. Some one hundred and fifty eight thousand, seven hundred and thirty four (158,734) young people applied, and seventy nine thousand, nine hundred and nine (79,909) of them met the requirements, and financial clearance has been given for two thousand (2,000) of them to be taken into the service. ‘’Once I started looking, I found similar stories all around. The grim story of youth unemployment has been a tragic part of our lives for far too long. When I became President, therefore, I knew my work was cut out. We had to do things differently, if we were going to banish the spectre of desperation, and restore hope to our youth,’’ he concluded.    
The two Guantanamo Bay detainees who are currently residing in Ghana will have their fate determined by Parliament after they resume from their recess, President Nana Akufo-Addo has said.     His response followed a question he was asked by a journalist at his media encounter held at the Banquet Hall today [Wednesday].   Some legal practitioners including Kofi Bentil, has challenged government to update Ghanaians on the two detainees or he would be forced to use legal means to demand for answers.   Nana Addo in his response said: “The GITMO detainees, the period is up, a decision has to be made and that decision is under active examination, we need to be able to say something to Parliament when it resumes,” he said He noted that government will take that decision as early as possible on whether they will stay or arrangements made for them to leave the country. “The period under which the agreement was made has come to an end, we have to decide whether or not we are going to grant them permission to stay, whether we are going to make arrangements for them to go somewhere else. Those things are being actively examined as we sit, but I am fully aware that a decision on them has to be made, and it cannot be made in six or five months it has to be made now,” the president said. Parliament in 2017, ratified the agreement between Ghana and the United States of America (USA) on the resettlement in Ghana of two former detainees of the US Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Mahmud Umar Muhammad bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih al Dhuby.   The ratification was in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling, which called for the ratification of the verbal agreement to resettle the two men in Ghana within three months.    
  The President of the republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that vigilantism will never recur in Ghana.   He made this statement during his media encounter held at the Banquet Hall today [Wednesday].   He further indicated that he ‘’is continuously working to ensure that discipline and order is maintained.   The activities of vigilante groups associated with the ruling government, painted a negative image for his administration.   ‘’Ladies and gentlemen, I should not omit from this accounting the disgraceful behaviour of some members of my party, the NPP, which has been described as vigilantism. I believe there is no longer any argument that criminal behavior wears no political colours, and is solely to be dealt with by the police. I pray that we have seen the last of it. We are continuously working to ensure that it does not recur, that we uphold the rule of law,’’ he said     By: Osei Richard Darlington (Intern, Rainbow Radio)
President Nana Akufo-Addo has touted his flagship agric programme, the Planting for Food and Jobs have been successful. The President stated that the Programme, which registered over 200,000 farmers in the 2017 crop season, has been a big success. “I am particularly excited about the institutional sub–programmes, where 20 Senior Technical High Schools, National Service Scheme and the Prison Services were supported to cultivate their own farms. Under the Youth in Agriculture programme of Planting for Food and Jobs, 10,000 youth were supported to cultivate 800 hectares and 10,320 hectares of rice and maize, respectively,” he added. Under the Programme, the President noted that average yields of maize and rice have increased, and the country’s warehouses are filling up. “Whilst the full picture of this success is yet to emerge, it is noteworthy that many farmers have expressed their satisfaction that, for the first time in a long while, a deliberate government policy has helped to boost their harvest. We are doing things differently, and we are getting results,” he added. On the fight against the illegal mining phenomenon, popularly referred to as galamsey, President Akufo-Addo stressed that his administration inherited a situation where illegal mining or galamsey had become a serious menace to the very existence of the country, explaining that Ghana’s forests and water bodies had become degraded, and the health of those engaged in the activity and their communities were all at risk. “Let me state here again my gratitude to the media for the support they are giving in the campaign we are undertaking against galamsey. This is not a short term campaign, and we need everybody’s support to make a success of it. As I have said a few times, since the Almighty blessed us with precious minerals, there has always been and always will be mining in our country,” he said. The President continued, “We are not against mining, but we cannot accept mining in a manner that risks destroying our country. The reforestation programme that we have started should help to regenerate our forest cover and water bodies, and, hopefully, provide an attractive alternative employment to galamsey. On this subject, all of us, and not just government, have to do things differently.”    
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his government, over the past year, has brought stability in the place of the erratic power situation that was inherited from the erstwhile Mahama government. According to President Akufo-Addo, adequate power supply is critical to the operation and success of industry, especially small and medium scale enterprises, which provide the bulk of employment. He explained that not only is regular supply important, but competitive rates of power are equally important. It is for this reason, the President said, that “tariff rates for non-residential users of electricity, which embrace many SMEs, have been reduced by an average of 14% to boost their competitiveness.” President Akufo-Addo was speaking at a media encounter on Wednesday, 17th January, 2018, at the Flagstaff House, marking his government’s 1st year in office, when he made this known. The President revealed further that an Industrial Development Tariff has been approved for industry to enhance its competitiveness. To this end, a new rate of US$6.50 per Million British Thermal Units (MMBtu), as against the previous rate of US$8.84 per Million British Thermal Units (MMBtu), has been established, representing a 26.5% reduction. “In addition, a review of 24 power purchase agreements, which has led to the termination of 11 power deals and the rescheduling of 8 others, has enabled us to save the government treasury about $7 billion in excess capacity charges over a 13-year contract period,” he said. The President continued, “We also issued 7 year and 10 year cedi-denominated bonds, totaling GH¢4.7 billion, which have halved the $2.4 billion energy debt we inherited, and have helped improve the liquidity of the banks, and the balance sheets of the SOEs in the energy sector.”   In 2018, President Akufo-Addo was hopeful that his Government will consolidate these gains and ensure the flow of regular, affordable power to support the economic development of Ghana.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he will only contest the 2020 polls if only he is allowed to do so by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).   He was responding to a question asked by journalists at the media encounter held at the Banquet Hall today [Wednesday].   “If at the end of the day, the NPP decides they want to renew my flagbearership and to go the country, I will do so and I will do so with a great deal of confidence.” President Nana Akufo-Addo added: ‘’ “I do not have a difficulty facing the Ghanaian people. I have been trying to do so all my life in various degrees of success and I do not have any difficulty, and especially with the opportunity that has been given me to serve them in this capacity.’’   On the issue of whether he was enjoying incumbency advantage, the president responded saying: “As far as the issue of incumbency is concerned, it should never be an advantage in a proper functioning democracy because the process should be sufficiently transparent. The voice of the people at any one stage will be kept through. It cannot be because incumbency advantage is in an advanced stage then it means the electoral plain field is being distorted or engineered to favour incumbency. That should never be the case. The only advantage you can have if you are in government is the quality of your performance.” He added that “if the performance [of a government] is good and the people feel it is worth endorsing for another round, they will do so. If they feel that the performance is poor and it is not worth endorsing, they will destool you so there should be no issue that incumbency is an advantage. Incumbency can only be an advantage in a situation where it means that some distortion, some unfair, some untoward advantage is being gained by the fact that you are in office.”     Acting General Secretary of the ruling NPP, John Boadu on Tuesday told Accra based Joy FM that, it will be extremely strange for any party member to contest Nana Addo in 2020.  ‘’If any other person also put in application- which would be strange considering the performance he has put up only in one year; the kind of things he has done in one year, by that time; even other opponents of the party  may not put in an application to contest him. How much more internally?’’    
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the 2014 World Cup rot, the probe and recommendations are not part of his agenda.   He has therefore urged the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to heal itself.   He was responding a question posed to him by Patrick Osei Agyemang popularly Country Man Songo at the media encounter held today [Wednesday] at the seat of government. In 2015, the previous administration issued a white paper on the report of the Presidential Commission of Enquiry set up to probe Ghana’s 2014 World Cup fiasco. He will do about the report, the president said “I have forgotten about the 2014 paper…it has not been very much on my radar.”     On August 4, 2014, government commissioned a three- man Committee, chaired by Justice Senyo Dzamefe, following the negative fallout from the Black Star campaign in the 2014 Brazil World Cup competition.   Established by Constitutional Instrument C.I 82 with CI 65 giving it the guidelines to operate, the Commission had Moses Foh Amoaning, a private Legal Practitioner and Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko, a Football enthusiast as the other members.   The terms of reference included; the preparations of the Black Stars team before the games, management of the team, financing of activities leading to the competition, treatment of the funds generated and to make recommendations based on the findings.   Mrs Appiah-Oppong the former Minister of Justice said the government had accepted the recommendation of the Commission to assign implementation responsibilities, in relations to payment of penalties, and the return of state property.   The Minister said government had also accepted the recommendation for the establishment of three teams on Technical and Management, Funding and Financial Administration and Management, Marketing and Sponsorship to ensure the implementation of the recommendations.   Government also accepted the recommendations of the Commission that supporters should seek their own sponsorship to participate in tournaments and the state should not directly employ public or state funds to airlift accommodate and feed supporters.   Government, however, did not accept recommendations that a special investigative team be set up to enquire into matters that require further investigations, a situation she added, would be solely done by the Bureau of National Investigations.   The Minister said government would take steps to initiate the Commission Stakeholders Review Colloquium as recommended in two years after the publication of the white paper instead of the recommended one year.    
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his administration, over the course of its first year in office, has risen to the challenge, and demonstrated that doing things differently achieves positive results. According to President Akufo-Addo, “we inherited an economy that was in distress, choked by debt, and with macroeconomic fundamentals in disarray. We had to do things differently, and those were my marching orders to all members of the government.” Thus, upon assumption of office, his Economic Management Team set to work to sort out the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals, and to find imaginative ways to deal with the oppressive debt situation. “I am glad to report that the hard work on that front is yielding positive results. The macroeconomic fundamentals have seen improvements through improved fiscal and monetary discipline,” the President said. President Akufo-Addo stressed that “Real GDP growth has rebounded, recording a growth of 9.3% in the third quarter of 2017, against the 3.5% figure for the same period of 2016. Latest information indicates that inflation is at 11.8%, down from 15.6% at the end of December 2016.” He made this known on Wednesday, 17th January, 2018, at a media encounter to mark his first year in office, at an event at the Flagstaff House. Touching on the debt situation, the President indicated that Ghana’s debt situation has improved, with the annual average rate of debt accumulation of 36% in recent years declining to about 13.6%, as at September 2017. “As a result, the public debt stock as a ratio of GDP is 68.3%, against the annual target of 71% for 2017, and end 2016 actual figure of 73.1%. Boring figures, I know, but believe me, they spell good news for the economy,” he said. For the first time in a long while, the President noted that “we have been able to give better budgetary support to the constitutionally mandated institutions that hold government accountable, i.e. Auditor General, Parliament, Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), and the Police.” He continued, “Thanks to the same figures which mean improving macroeconomic fundamentals, we have been able to transfer some GH¢3.1 billion of Tier 2 pension funds into the custodial accounts of the pension schemes of the labour unions, funds that have been outstanding for six years, and about which the labour unions had been loudly complaining.” Procurement savings Recounting the statements made in the run-up to the December 2016 elections about the threats of sole-sourcing to the economy, President Akufo-Addo outlined a few figures to illustrate this point. “In the year 2016, the Public Procurement Authority had 622 Sole Source Requests. 597 of that number, 98%, were approved, and there were 25 Rejections. There were 592 Requests made for Restricted Tenders, and 587 (99.15%) were approved, and there were 5 Rejections. A grand total of zero savings was made,” he said. The President continued, “In 2017, our first year in government, 394 Sole Sourcing Requests were made, out of which 223 (56.6) were approved, and 171 (43.6%) were rejected. There were 346 Requests for Restricted Tenders and 167 (48%) were approved, and 179 (52%) were rejected.” As a result, the President added that “the savings made over the year, as a result, amounted to GH¢145.7 million; $146.2 million; €1.85 million and £22,400.” The savings made, he noted, provide the incentive to open up government procurement.  
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