The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has responded to the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU) threat to withdraw their directive to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) asking it to suspend its new billing, threatening a regulatory sanction.
The PURC ordered the ECG to suspend the use of its new billing software until further notice a month ago.
Th commission said the order was necessitated by the overwhelming complaints the commission had received from ECG consumers regarding issues of over-billing.
But PUWU at a press conference yesterday gave the PURC a seven day ultimatum to withdraw their directive.
Failure by the commission to withdraw the order PUWU warned will lead to a strikke action by the uninised workers.
“Accordingly, the workers have decided that PURC as matter of urgency should retract the directive within seven working days with effect from today [Monday, June 6],” the utility workers said.
. “As a result of this, workers of ECG have been exposed to several acts of intimidation, abuse, threats and some instances, physical assault,'' the statement added.
But speaking to the issue, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah said PUWU cannot order them to withdraw their directive.
According to her, they are an independent body that cannot be ordered about or influenced by any external body.
She urged them to go read Act 528 Section 4 and understand the workings of the PURC. She explained, the consumer is their number priority hence they will do all possible to protect the consumer.
''We are an independent regulator. We not in the direction or control of any institution. That is the law.Members of PUWU should read Act 528 Section 4; PUWU cannot give us an ultimatum because we are not one of them neither are we answerable to them. They should write to us if they have any problem with the directive. We cannot react to a press conference by PUWU.''
She added, the PURC is there to regulate the ECG and not the other way round. Nana Yaa Jantuaah wondered why the union workers are behaving like the 'ostrich' when their mother bother has accepted that, there were challenges with the new billing system.
Nana Yaa Jantuah maintained, ''the directive by the PURC was in order and so far, ECG has met the deadline and has submitted to the PURC, a report which will be accessed, and if the problem persist, we will extend the deadline for them to resolve the challenge.''
She revealed, the PURC will sanction the ECG for the insubordination exhibited by PUWU.
''PUWU has given us ultimatum right; okay, they should write to us formally and we will apply the regulatory sanction. We are not bluffing like they did. If they claim they've given us an ultimatum, then they should bodily write to us formally and see if we will not sanction them. Going to the media, will not solve their problem. PURC does not react to threats given through the media. They should do the right thing.''
She stressed, ''the ECG will do what we direct them to do. That is what the law says.''
Nana Yaa Jantuah concluded, ''i heard PUWU says they've been exposed to attacks and assault; are they the only ones attacked? Are they aware of the insults and attacks on my me, both physical and on social media? They are not the only ones under attack.''
She was speaking with Kwaku Owusu Frimpong on Frontline on Rainbow Radio.
Victims of the 6th May 2016 rainstorm disaster that hit the Chereponi district of the northern region have received assistance from the Chereponi district assembly and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO).
The district assembly led by the DCE of the area Hon, Hajia Mary Nakobu have roofed all seventeen schools which were ripped off as well as giving 50 packets of roofing sheets, cooking oil, rice, buckets, bowls, blankets, among others. Speaking during the handing over of the items to the victims, the District chief executive Hajia Mary Nakobu advised the community members to practice afforestation in order to help reduce the effects of rainstorms in the district.
As the District Chief Executive, I'm not happy witnessing this disaster within my district, but we can all help to prevent this problems when we begin to plant trees. She added. Hajia Nakobu lamented that the practice of cutting down trees without replacing them is not a good habit and the district cannot continue using its limited resources to be providing relief items to disaster victims.
The District Chief Executive have entreated all electorates to consider the good works of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama and the NDC government and cast their votes for them in the upcoming November 7 general elections.
By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe
The Public Relations Officer (PRO), of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), Nana Yaa Jantuah has said, they have not approved of the piloting of the new billing and payment system proposed by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL).
The GWCL has introduced a new billing and payment system. It is being piloted in the Tema metropolis.
The areas include all the communities in Tema, Kpone, Ashaiman, Spintex, Baatsonaa, Sakumono, Kpong, Akuse, Tema New Town, and surrounding areas.
This new billing and payment system will eventually be scaled up to cover the whole country upon successful implementation at the Tema Region.
A statement signed by the Head of Public Relations and Communications, Stanley Martey, said: “With effect from 1st June, 2016, GWCL meter readers will be capturing customer consumption data with a hand-held android device equipped with a software, which already has customers’ data comprising the following: customer name, customer phone number, customer’s last captured consumption data, customer’s geographical location and other relevant information”.
“The system will calculate customers’ water consumption and automatically send them their corresponding bill via text message (SMS) and or e-mail. Customers are, therefore, required to make available to GWCL, two reliable cell phone numbers each, and email addresses if possible, to receive their bills,'' the statement added.
But speaking to Kwaku Owusu Frimpong on Frontline on Rainbow Radio, Nana Yaa Jantuaah said, the GWCL cannot go ahead to implement the new billing system, since the PURC has not approved of it.
According to her, the GWCL presented to the PURC the new billing system, but they were told on to hold on until the PURC is able to examine and approve of the new system before they implement or pilot it.
She revealed, the PURC will hold an emergency meeting with GWCL, to discuss the issues since they do not want the current challenges with the new electricity billing software to be experienced with the water sector.
She stressed, the PURC will have to meet with the GWCL before they can roll out the pilot billing system.
Nana Yaa Jantuah said they want to ensure that consumers have value for their money, therefore they will take the necessary steps to ensure that the new billing system by the GWCL, is examined critically before approval is given for the piloting and full implementation.
A car bomb attack targeting a police bus has killed seven officers and four civilians in central Istanbul.
The explosives were remotely detonated as the vehicle passed through the busy Vezneciler district at the morning rush hour, officials said.
No group has said it carried out the attack, but Kurdish militants have recently targeted security services.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will "fight the terrorists to the end".
The explosion happened near the city's historic Beyazit Square neighbourhood, a major tourist attraction, and an Istanbul university building.
About 36 other people were injured, Istanbul's governor, Vasip Sahin, said.
Visiting some of the wounded in hospital, Mr Erdogan said: "These (attacks) are being carried out against people whose duty it is to ensure the security of our people.
"These cannot be pardoned or forgiven. We shall continue our fight against terrorists tirelessly until the end."
Turkey's Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said the attackers were "cold-heartedly" for exploding bombs on the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which is in its second day.
At the scene: Mark Lowen, BBC News
Broken windows on a building near to the scene of an attack in IstanbulImage copyrightGETTY
The force of the blast is clear, with windows of surrounding buildings shattered.
The bomb exploded in front of a hotel which, thankfully, was largely empty because of the current tourism decline here. But among the dead are police and civilians while some of those injured remain in a critical condition.
The most likely culprit is the PKK Kurdish militant group, which resumed its conflict with Turkey last year. The PKK, considered terrorists by Turkey, the EU and US, also targeted police vehicles in Ankara in February and March.
A Kurdish group calling itself TAK claimed responsibility then but the Turkish government and western intelligence believe they are simply an alias of the PKK. This is the fourth attack in Istanbul this year. A nervous, vulnerable country waits to see when the next strike could come.
An eyewitness told Reuters news agency that there was a "loud bang", strong enough to topple all the goods from the shelves of his store.
"We thought it was lightning, but right at that second the windows of the shop came down. It was extremely scary," he said.
Turkey has been hit by bloody attacks in recent months by so-called Islamic State (IS) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) or one of its offshoots.
The country is part of the US-led coalition against IS and allows coalition planes to use its air base at Incirlik for raids on Iraq and Syria.
It has also been waging an offensive against the PKK, which fights for autonomy in the majority-Kurdish areas in Turkey's south-east.
A two-year-old ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK broke down last summer. Since then, violence has killed hundreds of Turkish security forces, Kurdish fighters and civilians.
Gabby Otchere –Darko and I engaged in one of our irregular Twitter exchanges recently. It was short and polite enough not to make social media headlines.
In response to my comment that “the EC could not give a toss whether this year’s election was held on Nov 7 or Dec 7”, Gabby wondered if I had become the unofficial Spokesman for the EC”, I responded that I accepted the position gratis if it would assist in telling Ghanaians the truth about the EC’s activities.
The trigger for the above exchange was the latest pronouncement on Election 2016 from the Danquah Institute, a think tank founded but no longer fronted by Gabby. Addressing a news conference on Thursday 2nd June, the current Executive Director of the DI, urged the minority in Parliament as follows: “In as much as the country appears to be desirous of and impatient for change, the Minority should not allow the EC to impose a November 7, 2016, date on us if it cannot convince the country that it has taken the necessary, legitimate, logical, efficient and impartial steps to give Ghanaians a clean register as ordered by the apex court of the land”
The November 7 date was pushed by the political party representatives (including the NPP) on the Electoral Reform Committee set up by the EC after the 2012 December elections. Like most reforms proposed by the political parties, the EC agreed to the November 7 date. Why is the EC being vilified for simply implementing a proposal made by the political parties?
From the date of her appointment, there has been a ferocious and, dare I say it, obsessive attack on Charlotte Osei led by The New Statesman, Danquah Institute and Gabby Otchere-Darko, including the infamous “A love letter from Gabby to Charlotte” penned in August 2015. The actions of the three in one single source has acted as the catalyst for the irrational attacks on the EC chair since.
Here comes the punch line: “So far, the Charlotte-Osei-led electoral management body of Ghana has shown nothing but odd contempt at all efforts to address the issue of Ghana’s bloated register”. The DI was making its latest fixation with Charlotte Osei, the Executive Chairperson of the EC, for it is this demonic woman who has supposedly and single-handedly thwarted every manoeuvre, fair or foul, to get what the DI and the many guises posing as ventriloquists for the NPP constitute a credible register for this year’s elections.
Even though the DI boss gave a very comprehensive historical account of what led to the suggestion for Nov 7 to be adopted, he still went on to make the absurd and inaccurate assertion that “the Minority should not allow the EC to impose a November 7, 2016, date on us”. Alas his own account contradicts his assertion for the simple fact that the EC did not initiate the process, it was the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC): and, more crucially Charlotte Osei was appointed long after the process which resulted in a unanimous adoption of the Nov 7 date. So where from this ‘Charlotte Osei- led EC Imposition?
The ink had barely dried on the above effort to demonize the EC and its chairperson, when the General Secretary of the Christian Council, Rev Dr. Kwabena Opuni Frimpong, weighed in with a call on the Electoral Commission of Ghana "to do all it can to be transparent as that is the only way Ghanaians, as well as the world, can trust it and the credibility of the 2016 general elections.” He suggested that “it will only take the openness of Madam Charlotte Osei and her commission to avert any doubt that may lead to another marathon court battle. “
Unfortunately, the man of God did not anchor his charge on any factual or checkable evidence of Charlotte Osei’s supposed obfuscation with the EC’s preparation towards this year’s election. When you read between the lines, it was yet another voice asking the EC to adopt the so-called validation process for achieving a supposedly credible register for this year’s elections, as promoted by the NPP and totally rejected by the Supreme Court of Ghana on May 5, 2016. Despite the court ruling and the EC’s constitutional status to conduct elections, the good Reverend opined “I want to hear EC do an independent assessment of the current voters’ roll and come out with concrete steps and solutions in ensuring that we have a credible voter’s document devoid of doubt; this will rest every argument as soon as all parties are satisfied”
Let me try to debunk the EC’s so-called lack of transparency with some verifiable facts to the contrary. The present EC has been the first in the 4Th Republic to publish a calendar setting out all of the major activities and scheduled dates right up to the presumed election date of November 7. This timetable was presented to the IPAC meeting of 22nd December 2015 and is available on the EC’s revamped website for anyone who cares to know facts from fiction. This Charlotte Osei led EC has also been the first to publish the minutes of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), which minutes are circulated and discussed by all who attend IPAC meetings.
I could go on and to list the firsts of the many steps the EC has taken towards making its preparations towards this year’s elections very transparent. Rather than do that, I challenge all those who believe otherwise to offer verifiable evidence for their claims or forever hold their peace and not disturb the peaceful environment necessary for the elections and beyond.
In saying this, I separate the genuine differences of opinion about what the SC ordered unanimously on May 5, 2015. As everyone should know, I have publicly called for clarity on the judgment. You also know that I announced I would be going to the SC to seek clarification on public interest grounds. Sadly, the best legal advice I have obtained indicates that I have no locus as I was not a party to the original suit and the matter is now decided. The EC has interpreted the judgment as consistent with its already established process for cleaning the register to make it public. Alas contrary to the raging debate amongst legal luminaries about what the order means, I believe that it is now up to the plaintiff to carry out its intent to go back to the SC to get the clarification and other reliefs for the presumed intransigence of ‘the Charlotte Osei led EC’.
Ever since she assumed the position of Executive Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission on 1st July 2016, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, has been abused, pillared, harassed and subjected to many wild accusations about her suitability, competence and presumed political bias. Who can forget the ridiculous photo-shopped image of her as a supposed NDC Parliamentary Candidate in 2008? or the bogus petition to the President to have her removed as Chairperson on the ignorant grounds of her membership of the board of Ghana Reinsurance Company?
Instead of wasting so much capital on fighting and resisting her appointment, Mrs. Charlotte Osei is our current EC Chairperson. She is young enough to be in the position for the best part of the next 30 years. She is qualified, assured and not easily ruffled or brow-beaten into submission into accepting positions that she believes are untenable and unlawful. If she has to she will seek to show leadership by trying to persuade her six other colleagues, whip together with her make up the Commission, to deliberate and arrive at a conclusion that is consistent with the EC’s mandate and laws of Ghana.
It is both an insult to the other members of the EC and we the people of Ghana for anyone to seek to put sand in our eyes and suggest that Madam Charlotte Osei has been imposed as an inflexible dictator to ensure that the NDC wins the forthcoming 2016 Elections for the NDC. Ironically, it is the persistence of this obsession and its inevitably doomed efforts to demonize her, instead of focusing on convincing Ghanaians that it is capable and ready to offer a real change for the better that may lose the NPP the next election.
I support the Electoral Commission of Ghana as I have done consistently since Dr. Afari-Gyan assumed the position of Chairman in 1994. Anyone who needs proof of this can find it in the opinions I have shared since 1993 to date. It is founded on the 1992 constitution that makes the EC independent of political party influence and direction in its duty to conduct public elections in Ghana.
As I have observed since the birth of the 4th Republic, the EC is always seen as being in the pocket of the incumbent government. But the same Opposition accepts the result of an EC-conducted poll when it wins. And when it does, it accepts the processes that guide the EC work, including the appointment of new Commissioners when old ones retire. That was how Charlotte Osei was appointed, and we must all learn to embrace her appointment and work with her commission to deliver a free, fair, and above all credible election in 2016, whether on Nov 7 0r Dec 7.
Source: Charles Wereko-Brobby Tarzan
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Hon. Dr. Musheibu Mohaammed Alpha has indicated, the region has benefited immensely when it comes to infrastructural development in the education sector.
He said ''government has seriously perused and continue pursue innovative policies to transform the educational sector, this is evidence in the general improvement in educational infrastructure in our region. There is an ongoing construction of 8 community day senior high schools across our region and very soon we shall be cutting sod for the construction of yet another senior secondary technical school at Felimour in the Sisala West district.''
The deputy minister added that a lot of teaching and learning activities were been carried on under trees, but government has transformed and replaced them with well constructed structures.
''There are hundreds of schools which were under trees which have been transformed and those are replaced with well constructed and comfortable structures across the region,'' he added.
Hon. Alpha however lamented over the bad attitude of some teachers and students in the form of lateness absenteeism and other practices contributing the failing standard of education in the region.
He therefore challenged teachers to work hard to over turn the falling standard of education in the the Upper West Region.
This was revealed when he was speaking at a graduation ceremony organisied by the NJA College of Education over the weekend to graduate the college's 2013, 2014 and 2015 batches of students who have successfully completed their course in Basic Education, Diploma certificate.
This was the second graduation ceremony since the college was established as a diploma warding institution in 2007.
By: Saaed Fatawu
Adanse Abedum, Ayiase and Adomenu residents in the Adansi North district of the Ashanti region have threatened to boycott this year's elections if government fails to atr their roads.
The chiefs and people in these communities are up in arms against government for failing to deliver on it promise and give a fair share of the nation cake.
Road networks within the communities are in a very deplorable state making it unmotorable.
The residents says, politicians come to the communities to make promises but reject them when they are able to win political power.
Drivers in the communities currently charge exorbitant prices due to the poor nature of the roads.
The chiefs and people have also hinted that they will not be pay any revenue to the district assembly if their plea is not addressed.
Head of communications of the Central regional branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Eric Offei has lambasted the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), for their 'evil wishes' against the refurbished Komenda Sugar Factory.
The NPP since President Mahama commissioned the refurbished sugar factor,y has predicted the factory will suffer the same fate just like the first one.
According to them, the challenges that led to the collapse of the factory which was originally established by Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah in 1960, and was closed down in the 1980s after years of mismanagement, still exist.
The NPP has described the refurbished edifice as a white elephant, and an act of propaganda by government to solicit for votes in the upcoming elections.
But Mr. Eric Offei in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem said, the NPP are only doing this because they've realised that, the Mahama led administration is on course with his better Ghana agenda promise made to Ghanaians.
The factory he opined will not collapse as the NPP predicts and has cautioned Ghanaians not to be deceived by the plot of the elephant family.
Mr. Eric Offei was optimistic that the factory will succeed and create jobs for the youth in the region.
President John Dramani Mahama commissioned the resuscitated Komenda sugar funded by the Indian Export and Import (EXIM) Bank about a week ago.
The sugar factory, one of Ghana’s oldest factories, is located in the coastal community of Komenda, near Cape Coast, 144 km west of the national capital.
The EXIM bank invested 35 million U.S. dollars while the government of Ghana provided 1.5 million dollars.
President Mahama on the day of commissioning the factory told the chiefs and people that “Every single cube of sugar that we eat here in Ghana is imported but Komenda is going to change that.''
“The revival of the Komenda Sugar Plant was one of our major plans in the transforming lives agenda. It was providing jobs to 1,000 people directly when it was established. The collapse of the old factory led to a loss of jobs. We must keep this. Keep a watchful eye on this factory so it doesn’t go the way the old one went,” the president urged the locals.
One person is reported dead after a truck loaded with casual workers of the Komenda Sugar Factory crashed.
The accident occurred at Apewosika in the Central Region at around 7:30pm Monday evening.
The KIA truck with registration number CR 878-11 was carrying about 75 passengers when the accident occurred.
Twenty-five of the passengers have sustained very serious injuries while 49 others have also sustained minor injuries.
A victim of the accident Akua Kwansimaa speaking in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio said, they are casual workers at the factory and were on their way to work when the unfortunate incident happened.
She said, she is currently going through severer pains and currently on their way to the hospital.
The deceased Sister Afua aged 45, died on the spot. The body has since been deposited at the morgue.