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Library Assistant at the University of Ghana Medical School, Dr. Effah Baffour Gyemfi, has warned of dire consequences should mortuary workers in Ghana embark on their planned strike action. Reacting to the hint given the Mortuary Workers Association to embark on a strike action over poor working conditions, Dr. Gyemfi urged the Ministry of Health to engage the mortuary workers and address their challenges to prevent them from striking. He is also warning of an outbreak of infectious diseases should the mortuary workers be allowed to embark on their planned action. ‘’If mortuary men should embark on a strike, where are we going to preserve our bodies? Their strike will be a disaster for the country. We will not be able to handle their strike action. If mortuaries in Ghana fail to work for three days, all mortuaries would be full.'' ‘’If the mortuary man does not work efficiently and preserve dead bodies, the public could be exposed to serious infectious diseases including Cholera.’’ Currently, there are about 400 mortuary workers nationwide in all our public health institutions. The number the association says is woefully inadequate and straining their members who are not allowed to go on leave. The association is also lamenting the poor salaries, lack of protective gears among others. "It is to be noted that after several attempts, both in writing and calls to resolve an impasse with our employer, the Ministry of Health, the leadership of Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG) has no option than to resort to an industrial action of strike nationwide to drum home the pertinence of the socio-economic rights and interest of Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana (MOWAG)," the notice said. "Accordingly, we are serving you and the Ministry of Health this notice of our intention to resort to a nationwide STRIKE ACTION starting from Tuesday 20th November 2018 in accordance with Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003 (651) if by 19th November, that is seven (7) working days from the date of this letter, our proposal that had been submitted to the Ministry of Health is not fully addressed," the notice said.
The Mortuary Workers Association of Ghana has said members are at high risk of contracting five different types of cancers due to the dangers associated with their work. Chairman for the Greater Accra branch of the association, Edward Mensah, told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, aside the cancers including lung and throat cancers, they are also at risk of permanent blindness. ‘’The chemicals we use give us five different kinds of cancers, government is aware of this situation. We are also at risk of blindness but nobody is addressing our challenges.’’ He was explaining reasons why the association is planning to lay down their tools on November 20, 2018 in protest against their poor working conditions. Payment of workers he lamented ranges between GHc200-GHc800, an amount he described as insulting. Some of the issues of concern which boarders on illegalities the workers are complaining about include: Many of the Mortuary Workers are denied perpetual their annual leave in violation of section 20 of Act 651; Most Mortuary Workers work more than the required 8 hours including Saturdays and Sundays in violation of section 33 of Act 651. They are also claiming that most of the workers have been employed as casual and temporary workers in violation of section 74 and 75 of Act 651, which does not guarantee job security especially in the environment in which they work. ‘’In terms of remuneration, it is unfortunate to state that Mortuary workers are treated as most unrecognized in the sector and for that matter, least paid on the salary structure of Ministry of Health with no single allowance. Many of the Mortuary facilities are understaffed, no maintenance that compromises on health and safety rules of the sector making the workers unnecessary to suffer in silence. In terms of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), some have to struggle to get them to use making the working conditions at some facilities undesirable,’’ their statement read. Commenting on the health implications the workers may suffer, Dr. Effah Baffour Gyemfi, Library Assistant the University of Medical School said, the work of a mortuary man has been given poor attention. The job he stated is extremely difficult but it has not been given the appropriate support. The chemical used in preserving the body he lamented should not be inhaled but the mortuary men in Ghana are not given the protective gears to work hence making them exposed to serious health implications. ‘’If the mortuary man does not work efficiently and preserve dead bodies, the public could be exposed to serious infectious diseases including Cholera.’’ Dr. Effah Baffour Gyemfi said, the employer [Government] should ask if it values the work of the mortuary man? I don’t think their job is valued but they play a major role in the health sector.’’ ‘’If they embark on a strike, it will be a disaster and so I will appeal to the Ministry to quickly address their concerns. It will lead to an unexpected outbreak of infectious diseases,’’ he said.
The Greater Accra Regional Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, has underscored the need for every government to prioritise government funded road projects to avoid these projects from being stalled. The former chairman for parliament’s roads and highways committee said, such problems affect the deadline for these projects and affects the productivity and lives of citizens. ‘’Constructing road networks in Ghana is capital intensive and every government has its priority. Former President Mahama invested in infrastructure but this administration’s priority is education hence the introduction of free SHS. And any government that fails to invest in roads is increasing poverty in that particular country and that is what we are faced with the current NPP government. But I hope the government will realign themselves following the growing concerns by citizens. As a government, you need to prioritize two or three sector of the economy in order to increase productivity and make sure Ghanaians benefit.’’ He was reacting to the Adenta-Highway saga and matters arising from them and stressed that, I would be shocked if the ruling administration tell us they do not have the money to complete the project. Officials of the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) took the six contractors to the sites yesterday. The Deputy Chief Executive of GHA in charge of Development, Baba Kassim, led them. The visit was to enable GHA to officially hand over the various sites to the contractors, some of whom are already mobilizing to start work today. Sources say the contractors have been given up to four months to complete the projects.
A former Roads and Highways Minister and Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has said there have been misinformation about the Adenta-Madina Highway footbridges. He disclosed that between July-August 2016, the contractor who was working on the footbridges was paid some substantial amount. He was speaking to Kwame Tutu on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5fm. The legislator told the host that, the only thing left for the completion of the project was the access to the footbridges (stairways). The former minister said his difficulty he is having with the ruling government is their inability to complete the project because it did not form part of their priority areas adding, until the increasing deathS and accidents on the highway, the completion was not a priority area of government.'' Alhaji Inusah Fuseini said, ‘’if government had wanted to complete the Adenta footbridges, it would have done so because it had money to complete the project.’’ When asked if the main contractor, China Water should have been made to complete the work, he answered in the affirmative. ‘’The contract was not terminated and so we are yet to see the nature of the contract. Will the old contractor bring a case against government for terminating the contract? Will government ask the contractor to remove the footbridges so a new contractor is employed to do the work again? The project he noted was supposed to be completed in 24 months after it was awarded in 2006. “Before I left office, it was only left with the footbridges we had to work on…..we did everything, the only safety mechanism left on the road was to complete the footbridges. This is why am saying that, if government had prioritized the project this wouldn’t have happened because I left all the documents with them and the ministry of highway knows about it. The contractor was on site working before I left the ministry and so if the contractor had been ordered and facilitated, enabled to go back to site,this death we are experiencing, wouldn’t have happened at all” he said. He added that “The project was part of the “gang of four” which was started by President Kufour. It has no dedicated source of funding……during our time, on yearly basis, we allocate funds for the completion of the project. So I ask, 1st January 2017 to the end, how much was paid to the contractor to go and complete the outstanding work, on 1st January until now, how much was paid to the contractor to go back to site” he questioned.
The Deputy Minister for Education, Hon. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum has reiterated the commitment of government to sustain the free senior high school policy. He stated that the vision of H. E. President NANA Addo Akufo-Addo was to ensure that students have at least a senior high school education. Hon. Dr Adutwum made this known when he undertook a field visit to selected senior high schools to ascertain at first hand how the registration process for the gold track students was proceeding. At the Kinbu SHS, Hon. Adutwum noted that the school had a good reputation that needed to be built upon. He used the opportunity to address the first years and admonished them to study hard. He also encouraged newly posted teachers to put up their best and bring out the best in their students. Hon Adutwum, during his visit to Wesley Grammer SHS, where registration was ongoing smoothly, called on the students to take advantage of the opportunity offered them to build their educational career. He also inspected a six unit classroom project being built for the school by Government. During his interaction with first year students of the Ebenezer Senior High School, Dr. Adutwum advised them to stay focused on their studies so that ultimately, they will make an impact on the lives of others. He took note of their request for completion of a girls dormitory.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has praised the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for his leadership over the last twenty-two (22) months, stating that “you are governing Ghana well.” According to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the fundamentals of the Ghanaian economy, coupled with the prevailing social indicators, points to a “good example” worthy of emulation by others on the continent. The Emir of Qatar made this known on Tuesday, 13th November, 2018, when President Akufo-Addo paid a day’s reciprocal official visit to Qatar, at the invitation of the Emir. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in his remarks, applauded the conducive investment and business climate being established in Ghana, and was hopeful of forging a strong relationship with Ghana, adding that “there are lots of opportunities that we can do together.” Already, he indicated that the State of Qatar was readying the Qatar Investment Authority, the state-owned holding company that specializes in domestic and foreign investment, to explore opportunities in the areas of energy, tourism, agriculture, security, education, and infrastructural development in Ghana. With the state of insecurity in the Sahel, in West Africa, being of major concern to the world, the Emir stated that military assistance from Qatar, to help fight the scourge of terrorism in countries like Burkina Faso and Mali, was in the offing, and assured Ghana of Qatar’s support in helping to equip Ghana’s security apparatus to deal with the menace. On his part, President Akufo-Addo thanked Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for the invitation to visit Qatar. The President noted that Ghana, as a sovereign country, will not be dissuaded by anyone from pursuing a relationship with Qatar, adding that “we are determined to have a good relationship with Qatar, we value the relationship, and we will continue with it.” As alluded to by the Emir of Qatar, President Akufo-Addo noted that the preoccupation of his government, since assuming office in January 2017, has been to build a strong economy which will give investors, domestic and foreign, the confidence to invest in Ghana, and, thereby, deliver improved standards of living for the Ghanaian people. His Government, as a result, he said, is embarking on an aggressive public private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of the country’s infrastructure. President Akufo-Addo was hopeful that with solid participation from the Qatari Government and its private sector, Ghana can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages that will connect the country to Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, and to Togo. The President also reiterated the presence of several other projects in the areas of roads, water, housing, transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, and the exploitation of Ghana’s mineral wealth which are being structured to attract private sector financing. He was, thus, hopeful that the respective visits to Ghana and Qatar by himself and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will mark the beginning of a fruitful and productive relationship between the two countries, which will inure to the benefit of their peoples.
The Minority in Parliament has urged Ghanaians to prepare for [‘’hell’ as the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta prepares to present the 2019 budget statement before parliament on November 15, 2018. According to the Minority, the assurances given by government that budget will help resolve the challenges confronting the nation are only meant to deceive the public. He indicated at a press conference today [Tuesday] that the previous budget statements presented by have brought nothing good but only hardships to Ghanaians, the expected budget will only be hell for many Ghanaians. In his view, the 2019 budget will turn President Akufo-Addo’s ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ mantra, to “Ghana beyond hell.” “We say Ghana beyond hell because in the year 2017, the budget was named ‘asempa’ budget, meaning good news. But at the end, what did we see? We saw ‘asembone’ budget meaning bad news. In the year 2018, the budget was named ‘adwuma’ budget, meaning we were going to expect more employment, but what are we witnessing now? We are witnessing job losses, layoffs and no jobs. President Akufo-Addo announced that the 2019 budget will be full of hope. But judging from the outcome of the 2017 and 2018 budget and economic policy statement, what should we expect in the 2019 budget? Hopelessness,” he added.
The Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has sworn into office the newly constituted governing council for the school. This was after a meeting of the school’s interim governing council today, Tuesday. The members – four to represent government and one each to represent the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) – were led by the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, to swear the oath of office. Other members from the old Council representing other interest groups such as the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), however, remain unchanged.
The Minister of Special Initiative, Mavis Hawa Koomson has asked former President John Dramani Mahama to contact her if he wants to locate the dams constructed by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). She said if the former President cared to know where the dams are, he could call her on telephone for direction to their locations. She was reacting to comments by the former president that he was yet to see a single dam constructed by the Nana Addo led administration. At the Meet the Press today [Tuesday], the Minister said, “If he (Mr Mahama) wants to know where the dams are, he should contact me and I’ll take him there. “When you go to Kpandai we have one there, when you go to Salaga: from Yeji you cross the river to Salaga, there is one village there called Garishagu, there is one dam there. Yendi and Yeji too.” “These are some of the towns or villages that have received their completed dams,” she added. Mr Mahama speaking to some delegates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Northern region few weeks ago said, Before the election, I asked them, are you talking of dugouts or irrigation dams but they refused to answer. Apparently, they were thinking of dugouts”, he said. Mr Mahama said under the Ghana Social Opportunities Project, the NDC government did many of the dugouts and rehabilitated older ones to support rural farmers undertake dry season farming to improve food security in the region. “So, it is nothing new, and the one village, one dam, really, there was nothing in it. It is one village, one dugout and even the dugouts where is it? The dugouts are not even there”. “But, that is the problem with the NPP, they believe that promise anything just to win political power. But the point is, if you over promise and you win political power and you can’t deliver, then you create disappointment in the people for our democracy,” he added.
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