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The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has given an indication that, their side will not accept the appearance of a Deputy Minister before the House questions. Haruna Iddrisu stressed that, unless it is compelling, the House should not entertain Deputy Ministers in the House when their Ministers are supposed to be the ones to appear before the House on matters. ‘’Mr Speaker I want to indulge you that from henceforth, maybe from now till the House will ,rise; unless its compelling, we will not accept a Deputy Minister standing in the seat of a Minister. We will not,’’ he warned. The legislator said, the President recently placed a ban on foreign travels to allow appointees have time for their core duties hence the House will not accept any excuse that a minister is not able to appear before the House and so, the deputy is made to appear. Reacting to the concerns raised, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah described the mode by the Minority as a threat. According to him, the Minority Leader cannot issue that threat. ‘’I am saying the Minority Leader on his own cannot issue that threat. It has to be a collective decision by the House. You cannot on your own get up to say that, the House is not going to allow it. He should be told that he doesn’t even control one half of the House. He [Iddrisu] may have his say but I represent the entirety of the House. Notwithstanding, I appreciate the issues that he has raised,’’ the Majority Leader said. He admonished the Minority Leader to be in communication on matters like this instead of saying things on his own.
Residents at Agona East in the Central Region has expressed fear the in the rampant cases of social vices that has risen in their area and have further pleaded with the Ghana Police to come to their aid. Speaking on Nyankonton Mu Nsem today (Friday), Rainbow Radio’s Nana Yaw Asare said, some alleged criminals is said to be Sakawa boys have invaded the area and are claiming human lives in the area. They wake up to witness the dead bodies of people whose parts such as leg, head and genitals have been chopped off. They have pleaded with the police in the area to take drastic measures to bring these criminals to book, he explained. “If our plea is not heard, we would be compelled to find gadgets and security tools to rid the area of these criminals”, they complained bitterly. By: Priscilla Obeng Asantewaa (Intern, Rainbow Radio)
Member for Parliament for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak has taken a swipe at the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) over an attempt to change the narrative regarding the Auditor-General’s report. The legislator is arguing that the NPP then in opposition slammed the Mahama administration based on the report released by the Auditor-General. However, the NPP is trying to change the goal post after that of 2017 was released. The public accounts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 have revealed that the overall financial impact of weaknesses and irregularities discovered by the Auditor-General amounted to over GH¢892 million. The breakdown is: tax irregularities GH¢655 million; cash irregularities GH¢190 million; stores/procurement irregularities GH¢41 million; payroll irregularities GH¢1.7 million; outstanding loans/advances GH¢2.6 million; and rent irregularities GH¢195 million. The Finance and Economic Planning Ministry recorded the highest irregularities, amounting to GH¢697 million. It is followed by the Employment and Labour Relations ministry with GH¢l35 million. Reacting to the report, the former presidential staffer under former President Mahama said: ‘’Corruption and the Auditor Generals (AG) Report - The NPP in opposition accused us of corruption on the basis of the AG report, the 2017 report is out and suddenly they seek to change the narrative. The AG report is the AG report, it has not changed. ‘’ He also raised concerns about the commitment of government in the fight against corruption and wondered if President Akufo-Addo is committed to the fight as he promised. He added: ‘’Is it not interesting that the 2017 report, the 1st under NADAA'S NPP and the Special Prosecutor, shows the Finance Ministry topping the charts with 697 million cedis! The infraction indicated as responsibility for the inability of the Finance Ministry to justify the expenditure of 697 million is irregularities! In total, a gargantuan amount of 892 million cedis can't be justified by MDA's in the year ending 31st December 2017. So much for prudent management and fight against corruption!’’
The successful operation between officials of Ghana Nigeria has led to the arrest of 22 persons by the Nigerian drug enforcement agency , NACOB of Ghana and the Ghana Police Service as well as their respective donor agencies. The joint press statement indicated that the operation involved two periods of activities over the past two months, with a total duration of 15 days, code-named ‘Operation Eagle’. The operation resulted in the arrest of 22 suspects, the seizure of substantial quantities of drugs, namely: 15.7kg cocaine, 9.21kg heroin, 8.17kg methamphetamines, 596.338kg cannabis, 4kg of khat, 267 tramadol pills(225 mg) and$22,000 USD cash. Read Below the full statement: Joint Press Release Operation Eagle – Law Enforcement Working Beyond National Borders 12 July 2018 – Simultaneous counter-narcotics operation in Nigeria and Ghana with the support of UNODC bringing operational results. To tackle drug trafficking activities of organized crime groups operating in Nigeria and Ghana, simultaneous intelligence-led counter-narcotics operations targeting the movement of drugswere undertaken in both countries, supported bytwo United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) led projects, namely ‘CRIMJUST’ and ‘Response to Drugs and Organized Crime in Nigeria’,both being funded by the European Union. This joint operation was conducted between the Drug Law Enforcement agencies in Ghana, namely Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Ghana Police Service-Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) and Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The operation involved two periods of activities over the past two months, with a total duration of 15 days, code-named ‘Operation Eagle’. This operation resulted in the arrest of 22 suspects, the seizure of substantial quantities of drugs, namely: 15.7kg cocaine, 9.21kg heroin, 8.17kg methamphetamines, 596.338kg cannabis, 4kg of khat, 267 tramadol pills(225 mg) and$22,000 USD cash. In addition, the operational effort also generated knowledge and intelligence related with other forms of organized crime namely: the identification of 20 potential victims of human trafficking; circulation of travel documents for potential use in illicit activities;movement of high value assets linked to money laundering;tax evasion modalities; new methods of drug concealment and suspected cyber-related offences. 129 law enforcement personnel were involved in the operation. Following detailed analysis and planning, law enforcement actions against drug trafficking and related organized crimeswere intensified at key cross border points of both countries comprising land borders and airports, including postal and courier services. To respond to the illicit activities of criminal groups that are not limited by national boundaries, both countriesenhanced the responsesthrough this actions in this joint operation to detect, seize, arrest and prosecute those involved in the trafficking of drugs and related organized crimes.The interceptionof illicit drug consignments bound to Europe, USA and Asia, either directly or via transit zones in Ghana and Nigeria was one of the main objectives to boost enforcement responses. Throughout the operation, UNODC supported the planning processes, as well as the deployment of liaison officers that facilitated real-time information exchanges and coordination between both countries. Based on the lessons learnt from this pilot joint-operation, it reinforced the need to align actions and share intelligence between both countries to tackle the clandestine operations of organized criminal groups in order to enhance the efficiency of law enforcement responses. This operation has demonstrated that working in close partnership among law enforcement agencies has proven to be highly effective in generating operational results and intelligence dividends. It is expected that this type of operation will be replicated and expanded in the near future. The CRIMJUST Project funded by European Union Cocaine Route Programme, UNODC and its partners (INTERPOL and Transparency International) aim to assist Member States to enhance their capacity and integrity of criminal justice institutions to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate illicit cocaine trafficking cases, and to foster cooperation at the interregional level for effective action to tackle drug trafficking and related organized crime. The UNODC implemented and European Union funded project “Response to Drugs and Related Organised Crime in Nigeria” commenced in 2013 and has been working closely with counterparts with the objective of supporting the Nigerian Government “in its efforts in fighting drug production, trafficking and use and improved access to quality drug prevention, treatment and care services in Nigeria.”
The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) has confirmed Ghana’s participation in the upcoming 3rd Africa Youth Games (AYG) scheduled to take place from July 17, 2018 to July 27, 2018 in Algiers, Algeria. Chef de Mission for the Games and Team Leader for Ghana will be Mr Albert Frimpong, Executive Board member of the GOC and President of Ghana Skate Soccer Association. The country will also compete in four sporting disciplines namely; Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Hockey 5s and Swimming. According to the GOC, the disciplines were basically selected because their events will serve as a qualifier to the Youth Olympic Games to be held later this year. The African Youth Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years to complement the current All-Africa Games. It is eligible to athletes between the ages of 14 and 17. It is thought to contribute to the development of African sport and to the growth of Olympic values, as well as act as a trial run for the Olympic Games. The first Games were hosted by Rabat, Morocco. The Games was created by Lassana Palenfo, current President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA). The idea came in 2006, but the very first African Youth Games only occurred in 2010. The second edition of the Games took place in Gaborone, Botswana's capital City.
Chartered Economist, Emmanuel Amoah Darkwa, has suggested increasing the Value Added Tax (VAT) is a lazy way man’s approach. He made the remarks in an interview on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm in reaction to reports that government is set to increase VAT from 17.5 per cent to 21 per cent. Information gathered by rainbowradioonline.com has it that, government will increase the VAT in the mid-year budget review from 17.5% to 21% in the mid-year budget set to be presented to Parliament on Thursday, July 19, 2018. But Amoah Darkwah says it would not be prudent for government to increase the VAT. He argued that, less than 2 million people are taxed and the tax burden is gradually increasing and making tax payers overtaxed. He is rather calling for an approach where more people would be taxed instead of the tax been increased. Ghana he noted is not poor but the major problem has been about poor management and the loopholes are one too many. ‘’We have to go the harder way and block the loopholes. We have a very large informal sector; why don’t we solidify our efforts and get a formal sector so more Ghanaians will pay tax.’’ ‘’When you examine the principles of taxation, there should be equity; tax payers should benefit from the taxes they pay and when there is no equity, it defeats the purpose of the principles of taxation. I don’t think this the time to increase VAT from 17.5 per cent to 21 per cent.’’ In his view, government is trying to rob Peter to pay Paul because the decision to reduce the ‘’nuisance taxes’’ were not really calculated well before they were scrapped. Vice President Bawumia recently bemoaned the poor tax paying culture in the country, indicating that though potential employees in the country are estimated at 6 million individuals, only about 1.5 million persons are registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority and pay their Pay As You Earn (PAYE). “In fact, Ghana ranks below Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Cape Verde and Swaziland in terms of the contribution of payroll tax to GDP. In 2015/2016 fiscal year, PAYE contributed about 15% of total domestic revenue, the self-employed about 1.1% and corporate tax about 19%. The combined contribution of about 35% is significantly below Singapore’s 50%, South Africa’s 54%, Canada’s 58% and Denmark’s 60%.” “Let me reiterate that filing of tax returns, in addition to being the civic responsibility of every Ghanaian, is also a requirement by law. The Income Tax Act 2015 (Act 896) and the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) mandate every eligible person to file an income tax return with the Commissioner-General not later than four months after the end of each year of assessment. “This campaign is therefore meant to remind and educate all categories of persons on this civic requirement and encourage the general public to visit any of the offices of the Ghana Revenue Authority across the country and file their tax returns if they haven’t already done so before the end of April, 2018.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2017 promised that his administration will roll out a programme that will see every school going child from basic to the secondary level enjoy free chocolate every day. Speaking at this year’s World Cocoa Day celebration in Kumasi which coincided with the 70th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Ghana Cocoa Board, President Akufo-Addo said the government had already received support from some international chocolate companies to kick start the exercise. “It is for this reason that the Ministry of Agriculture through COCOBOD, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection through the school feeding programme, and the Ministry of Education through the Ghana Education Service, are to ensure the sustained provision of cocoa beverages and chocolates to school children from primary school to secondary level,” he said. The President further explained that “…[our] target is to provide every Ghanaian student with a bar of chocolate or cocoa beverage each day whilst in school.” This he said “has been given the needed impetus by some manufacturing companies who have agreed to support the programme.” However, the programme is yet to be rolled out as promised by President Akufo-Addo. Commenting on why the programme has not been rolled out, Chairman for Government’s Assurance Committee in Parliament, Mr Frimpong Addo gave a strong assurance that, the programme will soon be rolled out. He explained that we need to process more of the cocoa in Ghana and encourage Ghanaians to patronize made Ghana cocoa products. He also announced that, government has engaged with COCOBOD and other stakeholders and the process will soon begin because COCOBOD says we have to produce more. ‘’Ghanaians should have patience. I am sure the process will soon begin and I am hopeful by next year, the programme will start. The programme will be linked with the school feeding programme. We are engaging with COCOBOD and we will soon roll out the programme,’’ he added. Mr Frimpong Addo told Kwame Tutu on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, it would not be practical to give the students a chocolate on a daily basis due to our production level. When he was reminded of the promise by the president on the programme of free chocolate on daily basis, he said:‘’I am not interpreting what the president said because it does not lie in my bosom to do so. But I am speaking about practicality due to our production level.’’ He added, the president has said it but it is up to the implementers to see the practicality of it. The legislator said the committee will meet with the Cocoa Marketing Company and will seek ask if the daily distribution of the chocolate would be possible.
Member of Parliament for Akwapim South, Hon. OB Amoah has cut sword to commence the construction of a chip compound to provide basic healthcare to constituents. According to the legislator, what propounded this initiative was because there was no major healthcare facility in the area. “The health of people is at the heart of the President Nana Akufo-Addo and myself. This is why we engaged a lot of efforts to secure GHc60 million to facilitate this chip compound project”, he stressed. This is a project that we seek to engage all resources within the shortest possible time for the facility to start running as soon as possible for the benefit of the people of Agyemanti, he added. Queen mother of Agyemantiman in Akwapim South Constituency, Obaapanyin Awoyaa Atue 1 has also expressed her profound gratitude for such an initiative by the MP and the others political leaders. “Other communities around us have all experienced tremendous growth and development except for us so if Hon. OB Amoah has lobbied in government and is about to provide such a facility for our people, I must say that I am happy and thankful”, she said. She further urged all leaders and people who trace their routes from Agyemanti should come on board to champion the course of developing the area. “There are a lot of leaders in the country who trace their lineage in Agyemanti. In order for Agyemantiman to experience growth and development like other communities, I plead that all people who come from the area who have now become lawyers, doctors, politicians and the like should come back home to champion this course”, she urged. This clarion call if responded to can make our community a nice place for sightseeing, she concluded. By: Priscilla Obeng Asantewaa (Intern, Rainbow Radio)
Government and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has delegated some officials led by the Volta Regional Minister, Archibald Yao Letsa to meet the Asogli State in the Volta Region following the demand for an unqualified apology from Chairman Freddie Blay over his verbal attack on Togbe Afede XIV over his comments on the 275 mini buses. The reliable information gathered by Rainbow Radio 87.5 Fm has it that, the officials are currently in a meeting with the Asogli State Council over the matter. The Asogli State Council in a statement signed by Secretary Stephen Tetteh, described response from Freddie Blay as disrespectful and demanded for an unqualified apology. Mr Blay took a swipe at the traditional ruler over his comments on the controversial bus saga. “Maybe he (Afede) got his money from selling palmwine to get there” Freddie Blay said. “It is silly. I am sorry to use that words. For people to think like that, I find it disturbing”, he said. “My only worry is that an individual like Togbe Afede has come in … mentioning it. Former President Mahama has come in from a different angle. Togbe Afede says what? He says perception of corruption and vote-buying. Maybe he doesn’t understand what he is talking about.” Mr Blay said. “In his position as president of the House of Chiefs in this country, maybe from nowhere he has also risen to become a businessman. He has become a big businessman in this country. He has never asked for loans. Maybe he got his money from selling palmwine to get there” Freddie Blay jabbed. But the statement from the Asogli State Council said: ‘’Our attention has been drawn to the above publication purported to be the reply of Freddie Blay, the Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), to Agbogbomefia Togbe Afede XIV on his advice to Nananom on the 275 buses saga. “We take strong exceptions to the statements, names and comments in this reply as they are insulting and disrespectful. “A statement such as this and from the President of the National House of Chiefs and an astute businessman does not warrant the kind of response from the National Chairman of the ruling party, a former First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and a lawyer. “This statement, in our view, is aimed at addressing the issue of the perception of corruption and corruption and to repose trust in our leaders, thereafter. It also calls on the most noble and respectful indigenous institutions to be actively involved in the crusade. In addition, it applauded the current government that similar acts that have been swept under the carpet in the past, are being given the needed attention [they] deserve. “Therefore, the Asogli State Council demand an unqualified apology from the NPP and its Chairman for this their misconduct and disrespect shown to Togbe with immediate effect. Since the NPP remained silent, we can only conclude that this might be part of their boardroom decisions. Failure to heed this clarion call and the next line of action would be announced ASAP. ENOUGH is ENOUGH”.
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