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The first batch of students of the double-track system have started reporting to the various schools they were placed. The schools have also positioned themselves to receive the students. The first batch of the Green Track students are expected to spend 81 days in school while the Gold Track (second batch) will report on November 8, 2018. Nyankonton Mu Nsem visited a number of the schools to find out how the process has been. Whiles some parents complained bitterly of delays and their frustrations, others commended government and described the track as good. Other parents who preferred their wards to be placed as boarders but were placed as day students, have expressed their willingness to pay for the fees to have their wards admitted as boarders. A parent speaking from the St. Johns Senior High School was furious the ward was denied a boarding facility. She said, ‘’I am not a poor woman and I am willing to pay my ward's fees so why deny him boarding and give him day when I can pay the fees myself. The process is not the best. Why should some have boarding and others day? Some of us are willing to pay. If you cannot run the system effectively, why frustrate parents?’’ She spoke to Rainbow Radio's Afia Kwarteng, who also reported parents were not happy because the Gold and Green Tracks, have been missed up for the registration instead of allowing only the Green Track students to report. Reporting from Tamale, Prince Kwame Tamakloe said, a female student was wrongly placed in a boys school. According to him, out of the 50 schools in the region, only 40 were running the double-track system. The process he added was slow and parents complained bitterly. From the Presbyterian Boys School in Accra, Daniel Asuku said parents had brought in their wards to register. Some parents were worried at the slow pace the registration was going and called on authorities to intervene. Parents from some schools in Kumasi where Kwabena Amoateng reported lamented the cost of extra items they had to purchase for their wards. A parent said, ‘’it would have been better for us to pay the fees than what we are witnessing today. The items I was presented with amounts to over GHc1, 000. This amount could have paid my ward’s fees.’’ A total of 189,323 candidates on the Green Track have so far printed out their placement forms for the admission process, while 173,971 candidates on the Gold Track have also printed their placement forms for the admission process. The Ghana Education Service (GES) released the placements of 423,134 students who successfully made it under the 2018 Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS). The placements were released on Wednesday (September 5, 2018). The release from the GES means that 67,382 students who have qualified to SHS could not be placed under the system because they could not be matched with any of their school choices. Meanwhile, the Education Ministry has assured that all 67,382 students who have not been placed under the computerised school selection placement system (CSSPS) will have schools by the end of the week. The GES has directed first-year students who have not been placed to visit www.cssps.gov.gh to choose from a number of available schools with vacancies. has activated a second portal on which BECE candidates who are not able to print their placement forms to go through the admission process can do so. The two websites are the cssps.gov.gh and myjhssresults.net. The decision of the GES to add another website, which was used last year by the candidates, is in response to the number of candidates who are unable to print out their placement forms because the first website, cssps.gov.gh, is slow.
Prices of chop boxes in the Sefwi Yawmatwa Electoral area in the Western region have increased astronomically due to the implementation of the free senior high school policy. The situation has made if difficult for some parents to afford the chop boxes for the wards who have been placed under the free senior high school policy. Following this, the Assembly Member of the area, Mr Abass Mohammed, has donated 800 chop boxes to students who have been placed as boarders under the double-track system. He has been commended by parents, beneficiaries and traditional leaders for his kind gesture, which residents say will go a long way to assist parents and students especially to go to school without hindrance. The residents in the area are predominantly cocoa farmers and because the harvest season is not due, majority of them, were unable to buy the chop boxes for their wards. Mr Mohammed in an interview disclosed that, his aim was to support the beneficiaries in accessing secondary education, which is now free, without any hindrance. He has pledged to provide any form of support to needy but brilliant students to ensure they get access to quality education. M
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has disputed stories saying he has endorsed certain personalities contesting for various positions in the upcoming National Democratic Congress’ internal polls. A statement issued and signed by the Communications Director of the former leader, Kobina Andoh Amoakwah said, Mr Rawlings ‘’… wishes to make it clear that he has not endorsed any individual or group vying for roles in the party.’’ He has however reiterated the need for party supporters and delegates to elect committed patriots ‘’… whose object and focus is to re-establish the noble core of our tradition and values.’’ The statement further urged the media to ‘’… crosscheck information concerning the former President before publication to avoid the dissemination of false and propaganda related material, especially during the campaign for national office holders in the NDC.’’ Read the full statement belwo: The attention of the office of former President Jerry John Rawlings, has been drawn to publications in the media claiming the Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has endorsed certain personalities who are campaigning for the roles of party flagbearer and national executive officers. The Founder of the NDC wishes to make it clear that he has not endorsed any individual or group vying for roles in the party. He reiterates that the consultative process which was initiated by the Council of Elders will not be stampeded. This should allow the party to pave way for the emergence of true and committed patriots, whose object and focus is to re-establish the noble core of our tradition and values. The media is urged to crosscheck information concerning the former President before publication to avoid the dissemination of false and propaganda related material, especially during the campaign for national office holders in the NDC. Issued By: Kobina Andoh Amoakwa (Communications Directorate)
International relations expert , Professor Kwame Agyenim Boateng, has predicted the legacy of late former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan will forever live on. The selflessness, dedication and service to mankind he noted will boost confidence of people and encourage them to come over to Ghana to learn about him. He also challenged authorities to help in telling the positive stories and the good works the late diplomat championed. This he said will help dispel all the negative stories told about Mr Kofi Atta Annan. Africa, the third world and advanced countries he posited benefited immensely during the tenure of Mr Annan as Secretary General. The lecturer who lectures at the Kings University College, underscored the need for children to be educated and informed about the works of the illustrious son of Ghana adding, ‘’even if we have to put up a statue of Mr Annan, in all the ten regions or something significant to inform and teach our children about the man who put Ghana and Africa on the map as a UN Secretary-General, it will be a bad idea.'' ‘’This will encourage young people to emulate his example and pursue a path that would help them achieve similar exploits.’’ The mortal remains of the late Mr Annan arrived in Accra on Monday at the Kotoka International Airport. Ghanaians are filling past his body at the Accra International Conference Centre today [Tuesday]. Filling past and paying of last respect by dignitaries including recognized groups, Chiefs, Members of Parliament and Ministers of State on Wednesday September 12, 2018. Burial Service and Final Interment on Thursday September 13, 2018. Kofi Atta Annan was born in Kumasi, in central Ghana, Africa, on April 8, 1938. Since 1960 Ghana has been a republic within the British Commonwealth, a group of nations dependent on Great Britain. Named for an African empire along the Niger River, Ghana was ruled by Great Britain for 113 years as the Gold Coast. Annan is descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family. His father was an educated man, and Annan became accustomed to both traditional and modern ways of life. He has described himself as being "atribal in a tribal world." After receiving his early education at a leading boarding school in Ghana, Annan attended the College of Science and Technology in the capital of Kumasi. At the age of twenty, he won a Ford Foundation scholarship for undergraduate studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he studied economics. Even then he was showing signs of becoming a diplomat, or someone skilled in international relations. Annan received his bachelor's degree in economics in 1961. Shortly after completing his studies at Macalester College, Annan headed for Geneva, Switzerland, where he attended graduate classes in economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales. Following his graduate studies in Geneva, Annan joined the staff of the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the United Nations. He served as an administrative officer and as budget officer in Geneva. Later UN posts took him to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and New York City, New York. Annan always assumed that he would return to his native land after college, although he was disturbed by the unrest and numerous changes of government that occurred there during the 1970s. Annan became the Alfred P. Sloan fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the end of his fellowship in 1972, he was awarded a master of science degree in management. Rather than return to Ghana upon graduation, he accepted a position at the UN headquarters in New York City. In 1974 he moved to Cairo, Egypt, as chief civilian personnel officer in the UN Emergency Force. Annan briefly changed careers in 1974 when he left the United Nations to serve as managing director of the Ghana Tourist Development Company. Annan returned to international diplomacy and the United Nations in 1976. For the next seven years, he was associated with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. He returned to the UN headquarters in New York City in 1983 as director of the budget in the financial services office. Later in the 1980s, he filled the post of assistant secretary-general in the Office of Human Resources Management and served as security coordinator for the United Nations. In 1990, he became assistant secretary-general for another department at the United Nations, the Office of Program Planning, Budget, and Finance. In fulfilling his duties to the United Nations, Annan has spent most of his adult life in the United States, specifically at the UN headquarters in New York City. Annan had by this time filled a number of roles at the United Nations, ranging from peacekeeping to managerial, and the 1990s were no different. In 1990 he negotiated the release of hostages in Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait. Five years later, he oversaw the transition of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR), a UN peacekeeping organization. In this transfer of responsibility, operations in the former Yugoslavia were turned over to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In recognition of his abilities, Annan was appointed secretary-general, the top post of the UN, by the UN General Assembly in December 1996. He began serving his four-year term of office on January 1, 1997. Joining him was his second wife, former lawyer Nane Lagergren of Sweden. She is the niece of the diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (1912–c.1947), who saved thousands of European Jews from the German Nazis during World War II (1939–45), when American-led forces fought against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Annan and Lagergren were married in 1985. The couple has one child.
The Ministry of Health has appointed Mr Elorm Ametepe as the new Public Relations Officer. He takes over from Mr Robert Cudjoe who has been reassigned to the Information Services Department at the Ministry of Information. The new PRO according to a statement issued by the Ministry said, Mr Ametepe was posted from the Information Services Department. The statement further directed the media to direct all public relations related matters and inquiries through Mr Ametepe. It concluded by thanking all its stakeholders and partners for the continuous support.
On August 7, 2018, Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Premeph announced government was going to absorb cost for extra classes for students under the double-track system under the free senior high education policy. Addressing the media at the meet the press series in Accra, Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh said the government was adopting the system while putting in measures to build enough educational structures. During the implementation of the policy, the Education Minister said, “government is going to provide per head GHC50 to every student as academic intervention, where the teachers if they have to organize extra lessons in Maths and English, will not charge their students. “The government will give them money to be able to pay for the extra classes.” He added that for students who will be on the green track, breaking frequently, “we are organizing to have extra classes at home and give them work when they are going home so that they can fulfil it.” He added government “will provide centres in the constituencies for them (students) to engage [and] meet teachers.” Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service who has said government will not organize extra classes for students has contradicted his statements. Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, addressing the press on Monday, the GES director said the extra vacation classes ‘’is not part of the consideration’’ of government. He was responding to a question on whether plans have been adopted to keep students under the green track busy after they complete their first semester. In answering he said, government considered a number of options including sending linking students to industry so they could learn. ‘’We looked at a lot of options…It is possible that we could organise the extra classes in churches. But what we saying now is that vacation is vacation, government, GES would not want to interfere with students vacation.’’
The Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, has indicated that there would be no extra classes for double-track students under the free senior school policy. Addressing the press on Monday, the GES director said, the extra vacation classes ‘’is not part of the consideration’’ of government. He was responding to a question on whether plans have been adopted to keep students under the green track busy after they complete their first semester. In answering he said, government considered a number of options including linking students to industry so they could learn. ‘’We looked at a lot of options…It is possible that we could organise the extra classes in churches. But what we saying now is that, vacation is vacation, government, GES would not want to interfere with students vacation.’’ His comments however contradicts that of Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Premeph, who in August announced government will spend GHc50 per student so they could attend extra classes in their respective constituencies when they complete the first semester under the double-track. At a press conference organized by the Information Ministry, the sector Minister said, the extra classes would be part of the interventions by government and that ‘’government is going to provide GHc50 per head to every student where teachers will organize extra classes. The teachers would not charge the students [because] government will give them the money.’’ He also announced Saturdays and Sundays could be declared academic intervention days to assist students and allow teachers to provide extra tutorials. The classes would be undertaken by the Nation Builders Corps (NABcO) teachers, he added. The government announced that its Free Senior High School policy would run on a double-track system from September 11 this year to create room for more students to be admitted, using the available educational facilities. SHS infrastructure not increased to meet growing student numbers – Akufo-Addo admits The policy, which takes effect with a first batch labeled ‘Track Green’, is expected to convert the senior high school calendar into a semester system. With the new system, the first year students will be split into two groups: Green Track and Gold Track, and attend the first phase of the first semesters in 81 alternating days. This means that while the Green Track is in school for 41 days, the Gold Track will stay at home.
The US has threatened sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it goes ahead with prosecutions against Americans. The court is currently considering prosecuting US servicemen over alleged detainee abuse in Afghanistan. National Security Adviser John Bolton called the court "illegitimate" and vowed the US would do everything "to protect our citizens". The US is among dozens of nations not to have joined the court. What is the ICC? The court investigates and brings to justice people responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, intervening when national authorities cannot or will not prosecute. The ICC was established by the Rome Statute in 2002, and has been ratified by 123 countries, including the UK. Some African countries have called for withdrawal from the court over perceived unfair treatment of Africans. Why is John Bolton opposed to it? He has long been an outspoken critic of the court but his speech on Monday in Washington focused on two areas. The first was ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's request last year for a full investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, which would include any committed by US military and intelligence officials. A 2016 report from the ICC said there was a reasonable basis to believe the US military had committed torture at secret detention sites in Afghanistan operated by the CIA, and that the Afghan government and the Taliban had committed war crimes. Mr Bolton said neither Afghanistan nor any government signatory to the ICC's statute had requested an investigation. However, ICC prosecutors also have the ability to take independent action, although any prosecutions must be approved by a panel of judges. The second area Mr Bolton addressed was the Palestinian move to bring Israel before the ICC over allegations of human rights abuses in Gaza and the occupied West Bank - a move dismissed by Israel as politicised. Mr Bolton said the Palestinian move was one of the reasons the US administration had decided to close the Palestinians' diplomatic mission in Washington. In his tirade against the court, Mr Bolton said it: Was a threat to "American sovereignty and US national security" Lacked checks and balances, claimed "jurisdiction over crimes that have disputed and ambiguous definitions" and failed to "deter and punish atrocity crimes" Was "superfluous" as the US administration did "not recognise any higher authority than the US Constitution" Mr Bolton said: "We will not co-operate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us." White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed Mr Bolton, saying President Donald Trump would use "any means necessary to protect our citizens [and] those of our allies from unjust prosecution from the ICC". What steps could the US take? ICC judges and prosecutors would be barred from entering the US and their funds in the US would be targeted. "We will prosecute them in the US criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans," Mr Bolton said. More "binding, bilateral agreements" would be signed to stop countries submitting US citizens to the court's jurisdiction. What has the response been? The ICC said in a statement: "The ICC, as a judicial institution, acts strictly within the legal framework of the Rome Statute and is committed to the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate." Liz Evenson, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, told AFP news agency that Mr Bolton had shown "callous disregard for victims of atrocity crimes" and that the US was "more concerned with coddling serial rights abusers... than supporting impartial justice". How have previous US administrations dealt with the ICC? The US has a complicated history with the ICC. The US signed the Rome Statute in 2000 under President Bill Clinton's administration, saying it strongly supported "international accountability" but believe the treaty had "significant flaws" that still needed addressing. However, the US never ratified the treaty. Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W Bush all took different approaches to the ICC In 2002, shortly before the court was formally established, President George W Bush's administration told the UN that the US would not join the ICC. President Barack Obama took a more positive approach to the ICC. He sought to develop co-operation with the ICC and sent observers to the court, although his administration also opted not to ratify the Rome Statute. Source: BBC
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia sheds more light on the Sinohydro agreement and clearly it is loan agreement. (1) In presenting Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2018 Budget Statement to the Parliament on 19th July, 2018. the Finance Minister said, and I quote: “the agreement between the Government of Ghana and Sinohydro is a barter agreement, a new financing model for Ghana, hence will not add to the public debt”. The Finance Minister and his team re-echoed same when they met with the Finance Committee of Parliament to seek approval for the agreement. Subsequently, the Majority members in Parliament approved the Barter (Loan) Agreement by a Resolution. The Minority in Parliament identified some inconsistencies in the supposed barter arrangement between the Government of Ghana and Sinohydro of China as well as some legal and technical issues, and wrote to the IMF seeking clarification on whether it was a loan or barter arrangement. The request is currently being reviewed by the IMF. (2) However, during the 2018 Economic Forum on 5th September 2018, the Vice President of the Republic, Dr. Bawumia, when engaging the business community, shed some more light on the arrangement between the Government of Ghana and Sinohydro of China as stated below: “What this arrangement does basically is to say that we agree with Sinohydro that they provide us our choice of infrastructure worth two billion dollars ($2bn). We should note that some people misunderstand this deal and this is why it's important. The Sinohydro Corporation which is going to provide the infrastructure is not the same company that is going to mine the bauxite and they are not taking our raw bauxite. I know Sinohydro is not a mining company. Rather the government, in our plans, has set up a holding company by an Act of Parliament, the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Authority, which will soon enter into joint venture arrangements with potential mining and aluminium refinery companies. The takers will establish bauxite mines and a refinery. We are going to have a situation where it will not be Sinohydro. Sinohydro will be providing the infrastructure but Ghana will choose its own partner to set up the Integrated Aluminum Development Industry in Ghana. The partners could be from the US, Australia, Canada or China. Wherever we are confident of the capacity of the potential partners we can enter into partnerships with them to mine. We are talking about refining the bauxite, we are not taking raw bauxite outside Ghana. After mining and refining, government of Ghana will then use her share of the refined bauxite to pay off whatever cost of the infrastructure provided by Sinohydro Corporation after a period of three years, on condition that Sinohydro would have completed the infrastructure projects that the people of Ghana have asked them to do. So it's a quite different arrangement. We want to add value to our bauxite reserves which are around 900 million metric tons, worth about $50 billion in the market. If we refine this bauxite it could be worth almost $400 billion and we are talking of using a two billion dollar facility to unlock all of this potential” – Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, 5th September, 2018. (3) Clearly, the Sinohydro Corporation of China is playing no role in mining the bauxite, refining it into Aluminum, and finding an off-taker to buy the aluminium. (4) Basically, Sinohydro is only a contractor coming in to build infrastructure to be paid for with the proceeds from the refined Bauxite. (5) From the structure of the arrangement presented to us in Parliament, Sinohydro is borrowing from International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to fund the infrastructure projects for GoG. Sinohydro therefore requested for a Letter of Support from the Government of Ghana as a Sovereign Guarantee. With the letter of support, Sinohydro then assigns all its rights and obligations under the arrangement to ICBC. Is Ghana so unattractive in the capital market as to fall on a Chinese company to front for us in borrowing from the International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) which we have done business with in the past? (6) Mr. Vice President, you and I know that in conventional practice, a Letter of Support as a Sovereign Guarantee is only required in loan transactions and not in barter arrangement. (7) Furthermore, the terms of the transaction also mandates Government of Ghana to open an escrow account into which all future proceeds from the refined bauxite (our natural resources) will be paid into for the purposes of servicing the $2 billion debt. Also, the Government of Ghana is mandated to ensure that the escrow account has enough balances to settle debt service and repayment when due. The Government of Ghana is to top up any short fall for debt service and repayment. This totally contradicts the Vice Presidents claim that government of Ghana will use her share of the refined bauxite to pay off whatever cost of the infrastructure provided by Sinohydro Corporation. (8) Mr. Vice President, this is simply a supplier’s credit and cannot be so complex to comprehend. (9) As was stated in the Midyear Budget Statement, the infrastructure deficit of Ghana is $30 billion. How can a country with an infrastructure deficit of $30 billion give out his whole bauxite concession worth about $40 billion for $2 billion barter/loan arrangement? (10) I will like to point out that the structure of this arrangement is similar to the petroleum-based CDB loan arrangement for the gas infrastructure. First, under the CDB Loan, the GoG is tasked to sell crude oil, which is a natural resource, to an off-taker and then pay 49 percent of proceeds into an Escrow Account which is used for debt repayments for the gas infrastructure. Second, Government of Ghana is to ensure that 1.5 times of all debt service due is always kept in the escrow account. Third, GOG is to engage Chinese contractor's to build those infrastructure approved as part of the subsidiary agreement. It has the escrow and debt service accounts that have become innovative to the Veep. (11) So if CDB arrangement is a loan arrangement, what makes Sinohydro arrangement a barter agreement? (12) The attempt to confuse the issues is understandable since the NPP vociferously rejected this structure while in opposition. The writer is the Member of Parliament for Ajumako/ Enyan/ Essiam Constituency and a Ranking Member of the Finance Committee
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