Sexual Abused Victims’ Chances Of Contracting HIV/STIs Are Higher

Despite the United Nation’s adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by the UN General Assembly in 1979, violence against women and girls has remained a pervasive problem worldwide.

As of today, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. Likewise issues of defilement, rape, physical assault, domestic violence, child marriage, among others, which constitutes violence against women and girls, is on ascendancy.

In view of this, the United Nation’s has set aside 16 days of activism against gender violence as part of efforts to harmonize the action against perpetuators of abuse against women and girls, spanning from 25th November, 2018 to 10th December, 2018.

Briefing the media in Accra on Wednesday 28th November, 2018, on the real situation on the ground as far as violence against women and girls is concerned, the Country Director of Plan Ghana, Mr. Solomon Tasfamariam, expressed the organization’s displeasure on how cases of perpetrators of domestic violence against women and girls are handled in the country.

According to the country Director, many are women and girls who suffered sexual abuse and other forms of abuse but never gets justice due them, thanks to the country’s legal system. He said, “Many perpetrators of these forms of cruel crime against women and girls are walking freely among us.”

He lamented that, these perpetrators are always let off the hooks and goes unpunished, thus women and girls continues to be abused in the country like nobodies business.

Mr. Solomon, indicated that, only 52% of women married or engaged in a union, could freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care. However, 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide were women and girls, whereas 3 out of 4 of these women and girls were also sexually exploited.

He strongly revealed that, violence against women has caused deaths in some circumstances, as well as incidents of acid baths leading to permanent incapacitation, among others.

Mr. Solomon further intimated that, domestic violence used to be the main issue when talking about abuse against women, but it’s now escalated to a more bigger problem to handle and it’s happening in all sort of places, underpinning happenings in churches by people who call themselves men of God, work places as bosses use their superiority to abuse their subjects at work, schools. In some cases, some fathers abusing their daughters sexually. “Why should this be so? He quizzed.

He further expatiated on the fact that, those who face sexual abuse goes through longer-term poor physical and mental health, higher risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as restricted choices in terms of accessing education and jobs. The could also likely get lower levels of education, income and productivity.

These consequences, Mr. Solomon said, were not only life-changing for the women, but also for their families, communities and wider societies, as gender inequalities becomes entrenched.

He drew minds back on the happenings at Midland Savings and Loans incident where a woman was beaten to pulp by a police personnel who should’ve been protecting her from abuse rather inflicting injuries on her. “What would make a man treat a woman like that? We were all appalled by the situation in Kumasi when boys gang raped a lady and they had the guts to film it, and put out the video of that. What sort of upbringing are these children getting? Where are they learning such wicked acts from? He asked.

Another case he mentioned was the report by Atinka FM which aided a family to raise money to pay for the hospital bill of a 10 year old girl who was raped by a school mate’s relative who lived in the neighborhood on the 14th and 17th of July, 2015. He indicated, the girl has now become semi paralyzed and the family still need a sum of GHS12, 000 for her to undergo a surgery either in Ghana or India, as the Doctor’s diagnosis indicates that some tissues in her womb have been torn due to the cruel crime.

“Ghana has, in many ways, led the way with its pioneering legislation on domestic violence for example. The Domestic Violence Act 732, adopted by Parliament in 2007, outlines a comprehensive legal framework for the prevention of and protection against domestic violence and criminalizes various acts of physical and sexual violence, economic and psychological abuse, and intimidation in domestic relations. But the story should not end there.

“We as Girls Advocacy Alliance of Plan International Ghana, Ghana NGO coalition on the rights of the child and Defence for children International expect the government of Ghana and all existing legal systems to ensure that those who inflict these types of crime can be prosecuted. This will deter and ensure that no other women or girls fall under the same crime.

“We welcome the new minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Hon. Cynthia Morrison to this very sensitive position. We are counting on her to use her office to strengthen various efforts at protecting women from gender based violence.

“We expect her to work with other ministers to help resource the security agencies, particularly, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, too took the lead role in helping stop violence against women, and work with the judiciary to ensure those who engage in such evil acts get the most severe of punishments to serve as a deterrent to others. We expect the Gender Ministry and Interior Minister to work together on this.

“We will expect that when it comes to budgetary provisions for the Gender Ministry, all the allocated monies should be given to them to be able to execute the programmes they plan to. Without resources, the protection of women will be a mirage,” He called.

The country Director however charged the Media in to exhibit their knowledge and ability in the capacity to investigate and bring out hidden causes and violations of rights of girls and women, draw the attention of government, stake holders and public to these abuses and call for redress.

In his remarks, Mr. Abubakari Adamu, the Child Protection and Advocacy Specialist of Plan Ghana, indicated that, there were over 1,300 domestic violence cases in the country awaiting court hearing.

According to him, day-in-day-out, domestic violence cases are happening, and they keep encouraging the public to report on it, yet the delays in giving justice to the victims, discourages the public from reporting cases of abuse as it should. Saying “It is very frustrating because we are urging people to report cases of abuse but when they report, they don’t see justice.”

Meanwhile, he encouraged the public to keep reporting, but to report every early enough to aid the police to get the necessary evidence that could fast track court proceedings.

Financial Sector Clean-up Amounted To Gh¢9.9 Billion – BoG

Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison

The Governor of the Central Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, has said, Economic activities continued to pick-up although the trend remained below potential because the Bank’s real Composite Index of Economic Activity (CIEA) recorded an annual growth of 4.2 percent in September 2018, compared with 4.0 percent in the corresponding period of 2017.

Dr. Addison at a press conference in Accra on Monday 26th November, 2018, said this was mainly supported by exports, industrial consumption of electricity, private sector credit expansion, domestic VAT, and key manufacturing sales.

He also revealed that, the latest business and consumer confidence survey conducted in October 2018 showed some softening of sentiments.

He however indicated that, the overall rebased GDP growth for 2018 was projected at 5.6 percent, based on the half-year performance of the economy, with strong quarterly GDP growth turning in at 5.4 percent for the first two quarters of the year. This compares with an overall growth of 8.1 percent recorded in 2017. Non-oil GDP is also projected to expand at 5.8 percent, compared with 4.6 percent in 2017.

Adding that the provisional data on the execution of the 2019 budget indicated an overall fiscal deficit of 3.0 percent of rebased GDP in September 2018, above the target of 2.6 percent, as revenue and grants were below the programme target.

Dr. Ernest Addison, revealed that, total revenue and grants amounted to GH¢32.2 billion (10.8% of rebased GDP) compared with the programmed target of GH¢35.6 billion (11.9% of rebased GDP).

He said again that, total expenditures, including arrears clearance was GH¢41.3 billion (13.8% of rebased GDP), marginally below the target of GH¢ 43.4 billion (14.5% of rebased GDP). The deficit, according to him, was financed from both domestic and external sources.

However, he mentioned that, “Total public debt increased to 57.2 percent of GDP (GH¢170.8 billion) at the end of September 2018 from 54.1 percent of rebased GDP (GH¢138.8 billion) in the same period a year earlier. Of the total, domestic debt was GH¢84.2 billion, out of which the bonds issued to assist in the financial sector clean-up amounted to GH¢9.9 billion or 3.2 percent of rebased GDP. The external debt component was GH¢86.6 billion with a share of 50.7 percent in the total debt.”

Read The Full Release Below

Bank of Ghana
Monetary Policy Committee
Press Release
November 26, 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, welcome to this morning’s press conference following the 85th regular meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the last for the year. The Committee has reviewed recent economic developments and I present highlights of the discussions that informed the decision on the stance of monetary policy.

1. The strong growth momentum in advanced economies appears to be moderating amid escalating trade tensions, rising global inflation pressures and financial market volatility. In Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs), growth prospects have weakened considerably reflecting country-specific vulnerabilities and tighter financing conditions. The normalization of monetary policy in the U.S. strengthened the U.S. Dollar, triggering portfolio reversals, and resulting in weaker local currencies in emerging markets.

2. Global inflation has been steadily rising, supported by tightening labour market conditions, but core inflation remains largely subdued.
In emerging market economies, inflation remains broadly wellanchored. In the near term, global inflation pressures are expected to pick up further on concerns of diminishing spare capacity and rising inflation expectations.

3. On the domestic front, the disinflation process has continued but at a slower pace. Headline inflation decelerated to 9.5 percent in October 2018, well within the target band of 8±2 percent. The decline in inflation observed in the year so far has been driven in large part by a steady decline in non-food inflation, on the back of relatively tight monetary policy stance. Non-food inflation fell by 3.9 percentage points to 9.8 percent in October 2018, the lowest since July 1992. A similar trend was observed in all the core measures of inflation monitored by the Bank of Ghana, indicating easing underlying inflation pressures. Business and financial sector inflation expectations remained broadly unchanged.

4. Economic activity continues to pick-up although the trend remains below potential. The Bank’s real Composite Index of Economic Activity (CIEA) recorded an annual growth of 4.2 percent in September 2018, compared with 4.0 percent in the corresponding period of 2017. This was mainly supported by exports, industrial consumption of electricity, private sector credit expansion, domestic VAT, and key manufacturing sales. The latest business and consumer confidence survey conducted in October 2018 showed some softening of sentiments.

5. Overall rebased GDP growth for 2018 is projected at 5.6 percent, based on the half-year performance of the economy, with strong quarterly GDP growth turning in at 5.4 percent for the first two quarters of the year. This compares with an overall growth of 8.1 percent recorded in 2017. Non-oil GDP is also projected to expand at 5.8 percent, compared with 4.6 percent in 2017.

6. Provisional data on the execution of the budget indicated an overall fiscal deficit of 3.0 percent of rebased GDP in September 2018, above the target of 2.6 percent, as revenue and grants were below the programme target. Total revenue and grants amounted to GH¢32.2 billion (10.8% of rebased GDP) compared with the programmed target of GH¢35.6 billion (11.9% of rebased GDP). Total expenditures, including arrears clearance was GH¢41.3 billion (13.8% of rebased GDP), marginally below the target of GH¢ 43.4 billion (14.5% of rebased GDP). The deficit was financed from both domestic and external sources.

7. Total public debt increased to 57.2 percent of GDP (GH¢170.8 billion) at the end of September 2018 from 54.1 percent of rebased GDP (GH¢138.8 billion) in the same period a year earlier. Of the total, domestic debt was GH¢84.2 billion, out of which the bonds issued to assist in the financial sector clean-up amounted to GH¢9.9 billion or 3.2 percent of rebased GDP. The external debt component was GH¢86.6 billion with a share of 50.7 percent in the total debt.

8. Growth in monetary aggregates has generally slowed in the year, consistent with the disinflation process. Broad money supply (M2+) grew by 17.2 percent year-on-year at end-October 2018 to GH¢74.6 billion compared to a 25.5 percent annual growth recorded in the same period last year. The slower growth in broad money was influenced by declines in Net Foreign Assets (NFA) and Net Domestic Assets (NDA) of the banking sector. Similarly, annual growth in Reserve Money has decelerated sharply to 4.3 percent in October 2018, compared with 14.4 percent for same period last year.

9. The latest credit conditions survey shows an easing of credit stance with increases in banks’ credit and loans to both households and enterprises as banks continue to strengthen their balance sheet and the deadline for meeting the minimum capital approaches. As a result, private sector credit has continued to recover, but at a moderate pace. Private sector credit grew by 11.4 percent in October 2018 compared with a growth of 14.9 percent in October 2017. In real terms, private sector credit expanded by 1.7 percent compared with 2.9 percent over the same period in 2017.

10. There have been marginal increases in money market interest rates across the maturity spectrum. In October 2018, the 91-day Treasury bill rate increased to 13.6 percent from 13.3 percent a year ago. Similarly, the 182-day instrument increased to 14.4 percent from 13.8 percent. Rates on the secondary bond market also increased, reflecting tight financing conditions. The yields on the 7-year, 10-year and 15-year bonds all edged up to 19.3, 19.3 and 19.5 percent in October 2018 from 17.5, 17.4 and 17.9 percent respectively, in October 2017.

11. The weighted average interbank lending rate, that is, the rate at which commercial banks lend to each other, however, declined to 16.2 percent in October 2018 from 20.9 percent a year ago, in line with the monetary policy rate. The average lending rates of banks also declined to 26.9 percent in October 2018 from 29.1 percent a year ago, consistent with the marginal increase in credit to the private sector.

12. The key Financial Sector Indicators (FSIs) have broadly shown improvements since the last MPC meeting, reflecting gains from the on-going reforms in the sector. The gains are expected to further increase after the recapitalization process is completed in December 2018. The industry’s total assets increased to GH¢106.3 billion in October 2018, representing a year-on-year growth of 19.6 percent. Of the total assets, advances and investments constituted 33.4 percent and 40.3 percent respectively. The latest FSIs show that the banking system remains solvent, sound and profitable. The industry’s solvency, measured by the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), improved to 20.0 percent in October 2018 from 18.0 percent in the same period of last year, well-above the prudential requirement of 10.0 percent. Asset quality has also improved marginally, indicated by the decline in the NPL ratio to 20.1 percent in October 2018 from 21.6 percent in October 2017.

13. On the international commodities markets, crude oil prices rose by 40.9 percent on a year-to-date basis to an average of US$73.4 per barrel in October 2018 largely due to demand growth concerns. However, since then, the price of crude oil has dropped below US$60.0 per barrel, the first time since last year. On cocoa, the combined effect of a higher than expected main crop output and a stronger U.S. dollar, resulted in a softening of cocoa prices to US$2,152.3 per tonne in October 2018, representing a year-to-date contraction of 24.5 percent. On the other hand, gold price inched up by 2.9 percent on year-to-date basis to US$1,286.30 per fine ounce on the back of increased purchases by some central banks.

14. These developments in the key export prices, together with higher production outturns, impacted positively on the trade account. Provisional estimates show a trade surplus of US$1.7 billion (2.6% of rebased GDP) at the end of October 2018, compared with a trade surplus of US$730.8 million (1.2% of rebased GDP) recorded in October 2017. Consequently, the current account deficit narrowed to US$934 million (1.4% of rebased GDP) in the year to September 2018 from US$1.2 billion (2.0% of rebased GDP) over the same period last year. The current account outturn, together with a relatively lower net capital and financial surplus, resulted in an overall balance of payments deficit of US$757 million, compared with a surplus of US$379 million over the same comparative period.

15. Gross International Reserves (GIR) stood at US$ 6.4 billion (equivalent to 3.3 months of import cover) as at end-October 2018, compared with US$7.6 billion (equivalent to 4.3 months of import cover) at the end of December 2017. The latest reserve position (as at 19th November, 2018) was US$6.9 billion, equivalent to 3.6 months of import cover.

16. The strengthening of the US dollar in the international markets has exerted pressure on currencies in emerging markets and frontier economies, including Ghana. In the year to November 22nd, the cedi cumulatively depreciated by 7.8 percent, compared with 4.6 percent depreciation in the same period last year. The cedi has also depreciated by 3.2 percent and 3.1 percent against the pound and the euro respectively over the same period, compared with depreciation of 11.1 percent and 14.4 percent respectively in the same period of 2017. In real terms, the cedi remained broadly in line with the underlying fundamentals. The real effective exchange rate, in trade-weighted terms, remained within the band of ±2 percent standard deviation.

Summary and Outlook

17. Ladies and Gentleman, to summarize, global growth momentum moderated in the second half of the year, with some divergence between the U.S. and other advanced economies. In the mediumterm, steady growth is expected in most advanced economies as output gaps narrow alongside normalization of monetary policies. For emerging market and frontier economies, growth is projected to moderate on the back of heightened risks emanating from tightening global financing conditions, trade tensions and country-specific vulnerabilities.

18. On the domestic economy, growth has remained modest but the negative output gap is expected to close at a fast pace over the medium-term. This will be supported by further increases in crude oil production. In particular, with the resolution of the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire maritime dispute and the commencement of oil production by new oil companies is expected to provide an added boost to the economy. As a result, GDP is projected to record an average growth of 7.0 percent over the medium-term. Similarly, non-oil GDP growth is expected to average 6.6 percent.

19. In addition, the 2019 Budget Statement seeks to provide some fiscal impulse to boost economic expansion, especially in the non-oil sector, which is positive for the growth outlook. This is on top of the expected increase in activity in the real sector of the economy after the bank recapitalization exercise.

20. While execution of the 2018 budget has been affected by lower-thanexpected revenue, all indications are that the fiscal consolidation is broadly on track. The 2019 budget focuses on improving efficiency in revenue administration to underscore the continuation of the fiscal consolidation process over the medium-term. This would require extra vigilance and disciplined economic management to protect the gains made so far.

21. As Ghana completes the IMF-supported ECF programme, the full burden of entrenching macroeconomic stability will rest on domestic policymakers and there will be the need for more effective monetary and fiscal policy coordination. In particular, steps to legislate a fiscal policy rule that caps the deficit at 5.0 percent of GDP together with the setting up of a Fiscal Council should help to bring certainty and thereby promote confidence in the economic outlook.

22. The financial system, dominated by the banking sector, continues to be sound, well-capitalized and resilient. Recent stress tests of the banking sector showed across board improvements in the system’s resilience, even though some residual risks remain due to high NPL ratios, relatively high level of concentration of exposures in a few banks, related party exposures, weaknesses in some specialised deposit-taking institutions, and the high level of interconnectedness both among group structures and across the various sub-sectors in the financial sector. On-going reforms by the Bank of Ghana, including supervisory vigilance and strict enforcement of prudential regulations, are expected to address these residual risks, restore confidence in the financial sector, and should bolster the capacity of banks to lend to support the growing Ghanaian economy.

23. Ladies and Gentlemen, although inflation is forecasted to remain within the medium-term target band, the latest assessment shows that there are underlying pressures including risks from the continuing escalating global trade tensions, steady rise in global inflation, further hikes in US interest rates, and a stronger US dollar. On the downside, the recent significant decline in crude oil prices since mid-October 2018 by about 24 percent could lower ex-pump prices, and help moderate the risks going forward.

24. In the circumstances, the Committee decided to maintain the policy rate at 17 percent.

Update on Bank Recapitalisation and SDIs
25. The deadline for the bank recapitalisation is unchanged at end-year 2018. The Bank of Ghana has been closely monitoring and working with the banks towards their recapitalisation efforts. We are happy to note that many banks are close to meeting the new minimum capital requirement and a few are concluding discussions on mergers. We will communicate the outcome when the exercise is completed. We expect 2019 to commence with a well-capitalised and robust banking system with no weak institutions.

26. The Bank of Ghana is monitoring the savings and loans and MFIs and is aware of pockets of distressed institutions in the sector. We are working closely with the Ministry of Finance on a plan to resolve these problems in the sector with a view to restoring trust and confidence.

Information Note
The next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting is scheduled for January 23-25, 2019. The meeting will conclude on Monday, January 28, 2019 with the announcement of the policy decision.

Sexual Abused Victims’ Have High Risk In HIV/STIs Contraception

Despite the United Nation’s adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by the UN General Assembly in 1979, violence against women and girls has remained a pervasive problem worldwide.

As of today, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. Likewise issues of defilement, rape, physical assault, domestic violence, child marriage, among others, which constitutes violence against women and girls, is on ascendancy.

In view of this, the United Nation’s has set aside 16 days of activism against gender violence as part of efforts to harmonize the action against perpetuators of abuse against women and girls, spanning from 25th November, 2018 to 10th December, 2018.

Briefing the media in Accra on Wednesday 28th November, 2018, on the real situation on the ground as far as violence against women and girls is concerned, the Country Director of Plan Ghana, Mr. Solomon Tasfamariam, expressed the organization’s displeasure on how cases of perpetrators of domestic violence against women and girls are handled in the country.

According to the country Director, many are women and girls who suffered sexual abuse and other forms of abuse but never gets justice due them, thanks to the country’s legal system. He said, “Many perpetrators of these forms of cruel crime against women and girls are walking freely among us.”

He lamented that, these perpetrators are always let off the hooks and goes unpunished, thus women and girls continues to be abused in the country like nobodies business.

Mr. Solomon, indicated that, only 52% of women married or engaged in a union, could freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care. However, 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide were women and girls, whereas 3 out of 4 of these women and girls were also sexually exploited.

He strongly revealed that, violence against women has caused deaths in some circumstances, as well as incidents of acid baths leading to permanent incapacitation, among others.

Mr. Solomon further intimated that, domestic violence used to be the main issue when talking about abuse against women, but it’s now escalated to a more bigger problem to handle and it’s happening in all sort of places, underpinning happenings in churches by people who call themselves men of God, work places as bosses use their superiority to abuse their subjects at work, schools. In some cases, some fathers abusing their daughters sexually. “Why should this be so? He quizzed.

He further expatiated on the fact that, those who face sexual abuse goes through longer-term poor physical and mental health, higher risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as restricted choices in terms of accessing education and jobs. The could also likely get lower levels of education, income and productivity.

These consequences, Mr. Solomon said, were not only life-changing for the women, but also for their families, communities and wider societies, as gender inequalities becomes entrenched.

He drew minds back on the happenings at Midland Savings and Loans incident where a woman was beaten to pulp by a police personnel who should’ve been protecting her from abuse rather inflicting injuries on her. “What would make a man treat a woman like that? We were all appalled by the situation in Kumasi when boys gang raped a lady and they had the guts to film it, and put out the video of that. What sort of upbringing are these children getting? Where are they learning such wicked acts from? He asked.

Another case he mentioned was the report by Atinka FM which aided a family to raise money to pay for the hospital bill of a 10 year old girl who was raped by a school mate’s relative who lived in the neighborhood on the 14th and 17th of July, 2015. He indicated, the girl has now become semi paralyzed and the family still need a sum of GHS12, 000 for her to undergo a surgery either in Ghana or India, as the Doctor’s diagnosis indicates that some tissues in her womb have been torn due to the cruel crime.

“Ghana has, in many ways, led the way with its pioneering legislation on domestic violence for example. The Domestic Violence Act 732, adopted by Parliament in 2007, outlines a comprehensive legal framework for the prevention of and protection against domestic violence and criminalizes various acts of physical and sexual violence, economic and psychological abuse, and intimidation in domestic relations. But the story should not end there.

“We as Girls Advocacy Alliance of Plan International Ghana, Ghana NGO coalition on the rights of the child and Defence for children International expect the government of Ghana and all existing legal systems to ensure that those who inflict these types of crime can be prosecuted. This will deter and ensure that no other women or girls fall under the same crime.

“We welcome the new minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Hon. Cynthia Morrison to this very sensitive position. We are counting on her to use her office to strengthen various efforts at protecting women from gender based violence.

“We expect her to work with other ministers to help resource the security agencies, particularly, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, too took the lead role in helping stop violence against women, and work with the judiciary to ensure those who engage in such evil acts get the most severe of punishments to serve as a deterrent to others. We expect the Gender Ministry and Interior Minister to work together on this.

“We will expect that when it comes to budgetary provisions for the Gender Ministry, all the allocated monies should be given to them to be able to execute the programmes they plan to. Without resources, the protection of women will be a mirage,” He called.

The country Director however charged the Media in to exhibit their knowledge and ability in the capacity to investigate and bring out hidden causes and violations of rights of girls and women, draw the attention of government, stake holders and public to these abuses and call for redress.

In his remarks, Mr. Abubakari Adamu, the Child Protection and Advocacy Specialist of Plan Ghana, indicated that, there were over 1,300 domestic violence cases in the country awaiting court hearing.

According to him, day-in-day-out, domestic violence cases are happening, and they keep encouraging the public to report on it, yet the delays in giving justice to the victims, discourages the public from reporting cases of abuse as it should. Saying “It is very frustrating because we are urging people to report cases of abuse but when they report, they don’t see justice.”

Meanwhile, he encouraged the public to keep reporting, but to report every early enough to aid the police to get the necessary evidence that could fast track court proceedings.

Tain DCE Promised To Get A New Bus For Nkoranman SHS After Donating A Jersey

Tain District Chief Executive, Madam Charity Akua Foriwaa Dwommoh on Friday, donated a set of jersey and 2 footballs to Nkoranman Senior High School at Seikwa to aid the school’s preparations towards this year’s second cycle schools inter zonal soccer competition at kintampo.

The DCE reminded the students that one of the cardinal principles of sports was to enhance unity among people, which she noted was paramount for peaceful socio-economic development.

According to her, sports is a cost effective, flexible and powerful tool in promoting peace and development objectives. It brings people together regardless of their origins and backgrounds, creates strong social cohesion and bonds and facilitates mutual understanding and dialogue.

Sports promotes universal values that transcend language and culture. Therefore, sports has unique potential and can be used for social change.

She also impressed on the students to train harder to win more laurels in sports for their school and promised them that the Assembly is doing everything possible to get a new bus for the school.

The headmaster of the school, Rev. Andy K. Gyabaah thanked the Chief Executive for the donation and said it would boost the morale of the students in their upcoming zonal competition.

He pledged that management of the school would put it into good use to enable it achieved the intended purpose.

Trees For Water Protection In Northern Ghana

The Tampion Dam

Aisha Yakubu is a mother of 3 children. She is a resident of Tampion community in the Northern Region of Ghana. Aisha and many other women in Tampion directly depend on the only dam in the community for domestic and commercial uses.

For the residents of Tampion, having water available all year round, is good. “We now have water throughout the year, we can always do our washing. We also use it to cook and drink it”, indicated Aisha.

For over 3 decades, members of this community occasionally depended on silted water from the Tampion dam for their daily water needs. This dam, which is being used for many purposes including drinking and fishing, also gets almost dried up during the dry season and becomes muddy, making it difficult to get clean water for use. Changes in climatic conditions such as decreasing and increasing rainfall patterns are adversely affecting rural livelihoods in the area.

The community has a population of about 5000. Their new array of hope is a project (http://www.gh.undp.org/content/ghana/en/home/operations/projects/environment_and_energy/Adaptation_Fund_Project.html) being implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from Adaptation Fund.

The project, which aims to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities to climate impacts and risks on water resources in Northern Ghana, has supported the Tampion community to plant about 1500 trees on one-hectare land, fenced with galvanized chain wall as a buffer zone, to prevent pollution.

The buffer zone is maintained up to 50meters from the protected water body, preventing farmers from farming close to the water body, as farming activities close-by lead to sediments (sand and stones) getting into the water body. The trees in the buffer zone were planted by the local people in the community, with funding from the project.

According to members of the community, the buffer zone provided since 2017, is preventing erosion and protecting the dam.

“The acacia trees we planted around the dam are protecting the water and preventing stones and sand from our farms from going into the water. It is also making it difficult for flooding from the community to get into the dam these days”, said Honorable Inusah Ibn Hassan, Assemblyman of Tampion.

The elders of the Tampion community appreciate the buffer zone support and the many other initiatives being provided including the provision of boreholes, support for vegetable farming, fish farming, beekeeping, nurseries and agro-processing, which they believed will uplift people from poverty in the area.

The project, which is being implemented in 50 communities in 10 districts of the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions of Ghana, is to help protect water bodies and improve livelihoods in the three northern regions of Ghana. It is also expected to contribute to Ghana’s efforts towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on climate change (SDG 13); the goals on poverty eradication (SDG 1), hunger (SDG 2), and access to clean water and improved sanitation (SDG 6).

By : Praise Nutakor / UNDP

Increase Budget Allocation For DOVVSU To Carry Out Their Work – CDD-Ghana

The year 2018 has witnessed an increase in reportage on sexual misconduct cases involving school teachers and female students at different levels of our schools’ system.

This is a worrying trend which has given rise to calls from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the general public for the relevant state agencies mandated to protect women and girls from sexual violence to put stringent measures in place to stop the growing abuse.

According to a release copied Newsghana.com.gh, it said, the theme for this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – Orange the World: #HearMeToo – is thus, very instructive.

While the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) would like to commend the Ghana Education Service (GES), the management of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and other educational institutions, which have taken punitive action against teachers found culpable of sexually abusing students, the Center believes it is equally important to let the law deal drastically with all perpetrators of sexual violence.

United Nations Women figures for 2018 indicate that approximately 15 million adolescent girls, aged (15 to 19) worldwide, have experienced forced sex (forced sexual intercourse or other sexual acts) at some point in their life.

Out of these, 9 million adolescent girls were victimized within the past year. A research commissioned by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in 2016 findings states that 30% of Ghanaian women experience sexual violence at least once over their lifetime, and 10.6% of women reported having experienced sexual violence at least once over the 12 months that preceded the survey.

The report again stated that the incidence of lifetime sexual violence was higher among younger women: 38.2% of women aged 15–19 years, 40.4% of women aged 20–24 years and 38.3% of women aged 30–39 years reported having experienced at least one act of sexual violence.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexual violence can negatively affect women’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, and may increase the risk of acquiring HIV in some settings. For victims of such unfortunate circumstances, there is also the need to provide the needed psychological and emotional care and assistance to victims.

The Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732) directs the setting up of Victims of Domestic Violence Support Fund supported by voluntary contributions and monies approved by Parliament into the fund for the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) to provide basic support to victims and assist with matters of rehabilitation and reintegration.

It is imperative for the Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, as well as the Committee on Gender and Children to make a strong case for increased budget allocation for DOVVSU to carry out advocacy and education on the Domestic Violence Act, the services available to victims and how to access such services.

In order to effectively help young girls who have been sexually abused, reduce the stigma and re-integrate them into the society, it is necessary that state agencies mandated to provide such support are well equipped, both financially and in human resource by the State.

Government, through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection should make it a priority to provide shelter for women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence in accordance with the Domestic Violence Act, 732.

The Ministry should also strongly consider partnering organizations such as the Ark Foundation Ghana, one of the few institutions which has been creating facilities to support victims of sexual abuse and other forms of violence, to cater for more victims whose circumstances will need such assistance.

Likewise, there is the need for the Education Ministry and the Ghana Education Service to revive the existing Guidance and Counseling Centers in schools to provide first hand support to students. While giving priority to enhancing the teaching skills of educators, attention should also be given to regularly sensitizing teachers on the code of ethics guiding the teaching profession. The Center also urges the GES, DOVVSU and the Ghana Police Service to work closely in attending to matters of sexual abuse with urgency.

Finally, CDD-Ghana calls on the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to strengthen its advocacy and public education on sexual violence especially in schools and deprived communities.

CDD-Ghana believes the social and economic impact of violence against women have far reaching consequences on the society and it is, therefore, important for government, CSOs and the general public to offer their support in whichever form to protect and preserve the lives of our young ones who are the future leaders of this country.

For more information, please contact:
Efua Idan Atadja
Communication Specialist, CDD-Ghana
+233 242147970
Email: [email protected]

MTN Ghana Assures Customers Of A Lasting Quality And Affordable Service

The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Selorm Adadevoh, has assured customers that they would continue to invest in the network in order to provide them with quality and affordable services in the country.

Concerning the issue of quality service, Mr. Adadevoh, explained that the problem wasn’t only centred within the telecommunication companies alone, but then, there were also external factors which affected the quality of service.

According to him, it was beyond their capacity to control the external factors, however, they were trying their very best to solve the problems. In line with that, he said, they had invested US$ 300m into their network for the past two (2) years.

The Chief Executive said this in an interaction with members of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA) when they paid a courtesy call on him at the MTN Head office in Accra, on Friday, 23rd November, 2018.

As part of their long standing relationship with MTN, JBA seized the opportunity to officially congratulate Mr. Selorm Adadevoh, on his appointment as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana in June 20th, 2018.

In reaction to the recent National Communications Authority’s (NCA) fine of GH¢34m on the telecommunication operators in the country, Mr. Selorm optimized they were going to conform with the decision of the regulator.

According to him, MTN Ghana received their fine letter two days back as at the day of JBA’s visit. He however noted that, they were planning to meet the National Communications Authority (NCA) over the fine, in order for them to get detailed information on the fine.

In his answer to a question asked by Cephas Larbi of JBA, as to whether they would need more spectrum, Mr. Seloem said, “Yes, because the way spectrum has been allocated in Ghana, there is no mechanism to allocate spectrum based on the size of a company, right…. So you’ll see that different companies with different sizes have the same or ….in some cases, smaller companies have more spectrum and in a lot of advanced markets, there is a provision for under utilization of national assets.

“So if you are given a national asset with spectrum and is under utilized, there are policies around reallocation of under utilized spectrum, and that reallocation is done with the view of the different sizes of the operators so that they can rebalance the resources available to the operators.

“We’re hopping that we can influence some of this policies here as well, because today as it is, we have significant disadvantage in terms of spectrum and therefore, we have to find ways to reallocating we’re under utilized spectrum so that we can get balance.”

The leader of the delegation, Suleiman Mustapha, who is the President of the Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), called on MTN Ghana to harmonize their partnership with JBA, in order for the association to also intensify their advocacy on the National Fiscal Stabilisation Levy (NFSL), imposed on the telecommunication companies as well as other sectors.

He said, “Specifically, apart from the fact that we’ve had a lot of working relationship with several organizations, the relationship we’ve had with MTN over the years has been super, and I can enumerate some of the things we’ve done with MTN.”

Key amongst projects the association had extensively advocated on on behalf of MTN Ghana Mr. Mustapha enumerated were their strong advocacy on mobile money fraud, optical fibre cuts along construction areas in the country, battery theft, and as well as expatiating on various activities of MTN Ghana Foundation’s CSR impact on society.

“There are other things that we’ve been doing but, not done much on it so the result cannot be measured. All of these things that I’ve mentioned we can confidently measure the result and say it’s been successful, but this one….the National Fiscal Stabilization Levy (NFSL), we’ve not done much on… is because we’ve not had MTN give us the real facts and engage us really what is the situation and what is it now. Because, with this FSL, it’s a fiscal regime that the government has instituted and there was supposed to be a sunset clause for which government will review it and take it off….but up till now, it’s still in force in the tax laws of the country,” Mr. Mustapha emphasized.

Also present were, MTN Ghana Corporate Service Executive, Mr. Samuel Koranteng, MTN Ghana Senior Communications Manager, Mrs Georgina Asare Fiagbenu.

UPSA/UVI To Equip Senior Staff Through CPM Course

The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and the University of Virgin Islands (UVI) in USA has struck a partnership for the rolling out of the acclaimed Certified Public Manager (CPM) training programme in Ghana.

The CPM course aims at equipping senior staff, especially in the public sector, to function more effectively and innovatively in addressing institutional and developmental challenges in a business conscious manner.

In addition, the course helps public sector workers to develop a dynamic mindset about public service, leading them to operate as agents of change and solution through creative leadership and innovation.

The two universities agreed to collaborate for the introduction of the course in Ghana, at a meeting at the UPSA between the Vice President of UVI, Dr Haldane Davies, the Vice Chancellor of the UPSA, Professor Abednego Okoe Amartey and Mr Austin Gamey, CEO of Gamey& Gamey Group, which is UVI’s local partner.

It is expected that the CPM programme would be run under the UPSA’s Institute of Work, Employment and Society (IWES).

The meeting which was also attended by the Director of IWES, Dr Mary Naana Essiaw, set February 2019 for the initiation of the programme in UPSA.

They also resolved to work out the partnership modalities for an agreement to be signed between the parties to pave way for the running of the professional practical training programme.

Prof. Amartey lauded the objectives of the CPM, saying it falls in line with the aim of university in promoting professional development of workers.

“We accept to fully collaborate with UVI and Gamey & Gamey in rolling out this project for the desired results,” he said.

For his part, Dr. Davies, who is in Ghana to promote collaborations with his university, thanked the UPSA for accepting the programme, and promised quality assurance and effective support system from the UVI.

Mr Austin Gamey, explaining the structure of the programme, said that Ghana would serve as a hub for the CPM in Africa, adding that the UVI and the Gamey Group were working on other institutional partnerships in Ghana and other African countries.

Dr. Mary Essiaw, in her remarks, described the collaboration as timely, saying the IWES was keen in getting partners to help in addressing critical capacity building needs in Ghana’s labour force.

By : Edmund Mingle

GCM Positioned To Continuously Support National Development

Prof. William K. Buah, a professor of Minerals Engineering at the University of Mines and Technology at Tarkwa, and currently the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies at the University, has noted that, the mining industry has been a great contributor to national development.

Explaining that, the industry, under the auspices of the Ghana Chamber of Mines has committed to responsible and sustainable mining practices and has therefore been positioned to continuously support national development.

Prof. Buah, in expatiating on some of the contributions of the mining industry to national development, at the second public lecture held in Accra on Friday, November 23, 2018, organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines in commemoration of its 90th anniversary celebration, indicated that gold export increased from 3.84 million ounces in 2016 to 4.61 million ounces in 2017.

He therefore attributed the increase to the up turns in the outputs of large scale producers and there were also an increase in volume of gold exported by licensed gold exporting companies.

With Bauxite, Prof. Buah noted that, there was a shipment expansion from 1.14 million tonnes to 1.47 million tonnes over the same period.

He further noted of an increase in Direct Domestic Tax Receipts (DDTR) from 15.8% in 2016 to 16.3% in 2017. This he indicated that, in nominal terms, the sector’s fiscal payments to GRA increased by 31% year-on-year from Gh¢ 1.65 billion in 2016 to Gh¢ 2.16 billion in 2017.

However, he explained that, the industry’s fiscal contributions to DDTR from 2011 to 2017 remained consistent. Below is the indication

Year – Amount (GH¢) – % of DDTR

2011 – 1,034,221,712.00 – 27.6%
2012 – 1,461,202,977.00 – 20.7%
2013 – 1,104,047,315.00 – 18.7%
2014 – 1,238,634,779.00 – 16.2%
2015 – 1,354,379,971.00 – 14.8%
2016 – 1,648,183,049.00 – 15.8%
2017 – 2,160,742,773.00 – 16.3%

On Corporate Social Investments (CSI)

In the area of corporate social investment (CSI), Prof. K. Buah noted that, the industry had supported in the training and development of local people in engineering, construction, electrical and other technical fields, and as well as providing support for research and charitable projects that were beneficial to the host communities and the entire nation.

Below is the indication of the expenditure

2010 – 17,590,469

2011 – 43,732,833

2012 – 26,676,354

2013 – 12,124,053

2014 – 20,769,049

2015 – 17,094,776

2016 – 12,203,889

2017 – 19,888,164

Sustainable Alternative Livelihood (SAL)

On Sustainable Alternative Livelihood (SAL), he said the industry has supported small, micro and medium enterprises in the host communities, trained local people in farming and animal husbandry.

Other areas he also mentioned were support for responsible income-generating initiatives, agribusiness and aquaculture, reengineering of mined out areas for tourism and improvement in tourism facilities in catchment areas.

Responsible And Sustainable Mining

Prof. Intimated that, the industry has a strong partnership EPA and it also ensures that environmental compliance is observed holistically.

He seized the opportunity to announced that in the next few months,a proposal from UMaT for consideration for the establishment of a reactor plant will be ready. This plant, he said when established will also create more jobs in the country.

Corruption Denies The Poor And Marginalized Access To Quality Services

Corruption in its form is costly and its impact is pervasive. It affects economic growth, level of GDP per capita, investment activity and its efficiency especially in the health and education.

Corruption Denies access to quality services for the poor and marginalized, weakens the effective distribution of wealth and incomes, and has the potential of magnifying child mortality in society.

It also increases the cost of goods and services and in the absence of an effective social protection mechanism, it puts the poor and marginalized in society at a great disadvantage. It is probably known to have caused more non-violent harm to humanity than any human intervention, and has 70% more impact than its actual occurrence according to empirical evidence.

There his been a wide speculations that corruption is high in the health and education sectors of Ghana, but there is death of empirical evidence at the national, regional and district levels on the extent of corruption in those sectors of the country and its impact on the citizens.

Institutional strengthening and transparency are known to minimize the occurrence of corruption and its impact.

In view of that, the Country Director for SEND Ghana, George Osei Bimpeh, underscored the need to inculcate in children anti-corruption or ethics and values in order for it to becomes part of their formation processes, and as well as help them while growing up to accept the fact that corruption is something that society must not entertain.

He said, inasmuch as we always quickly point fingers at politicians, probably the biggest of it is done by civil servants and public servants. However, he said there was the need to pay attention to that when address corruption in these two sectors.

Mr. George Osei Bimpeh, was speaking in a presentation at a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the cost and impact of corruption on education health sectors in Ghana, organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) on Thursday, 22nd November, 2018, at the Coconut Groove Hotel in Accra.

The consortium comprised the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), SEND Ghana, and funded by the USAID.

According to Mr. Osei-Bimpeh, the study which was undertaken under the Accountable Democratic Institutions and Systems Strengthening (ADISS) project, sought to ascertain if citizens perceive any cost and impact implication of corruption on their lives, to also determine or estimate the cost of corruption to citizens regarding access to social services like health and education and economic opportunities, to determine the impact of corruption on the lives of the citizens.

The study he said, employed both quantitative and qualitative methods and surveyed 49 districts in all the ten regions of the country, in order to achieve its objectives.

According to him, they used a questionnaire to collect information in the 49 districts with a minimum of 100 copies administered in each district with 4,907 respondents across the 10 regions in the country.

Key Findings:

Less than half of the respondents had experienced at least one form of corruption activity in the education sectors with varying regional and district level occurrences. 54% of the respondents indicated they hadn’t paid bribe, whereas 34% admitted paying bribe.

With regards to spatial frequency of bribe payment on regular basis, Greater Accra Region, had the highest, followed by Central Region and Brong Ahafo respectively.

Buying of certificate, paying for placement in senior high school, buying of examination questions, paying money to get into tertiary institutions including grade changing dominated bribery activities in the education sector.

In the health sector, 43.8% of the respondents indicated they had experienced corruption, with Ashanti Region recording the highest proportion.

According to him, even the regions with the least proportion of respondents alluding to high levels of corruption in the health and education sectors had over 60% of respondents confirming in the Upper West Region.

The Ashanti Region recorded over 90% of respondents confirming existence of corruption in the education sector.

Generally, the survey said, about 53% spends up to 30% of their disposable income on excess payments in accessing education and health services, whereas about 6% of the respondents spends above 30% of their annual disposable income in excess payment on gaining access to education and health as a result to corruption.

Recommendations:

Mr. Osei-Bimpeh, however recommended that institutional and legal frameworks systems and processes ought to be put in place or strengthened to deal with corruption in the education and health sectors of the country. This, he said, will undoubtedly not be successful without the necessary will and concerted effort to enforce those legal frameworks.

Weaker institutions incentivise corruption and therefore, institutional strengthening will be key in addressing corruption in Ghana.

He said, more efforts were needed to reinforce on-going anti-corruption campaigns, in line with National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) Framework, as led by GII, GACC and others.

The country, he said, should take advantage of the investment in ICT in the areas of teacher/registration and patients management, examination and access to education and health services in general.

Also present were Dr. Esther Oduraa Offei-Aboagye,a social policy analyst and Director, Institute of Local Government Studies, Mrs. Beauty Narteh, Executive Secretary of GACC, Mrs. Mary Addah, programmes manager, GII, Abigail Gyimah, Project Coordinator ADISS, Stakeholders from the health and Education sectors, CSOs and many others.

Ghana Neglects The Health Of Its Caregivers

Beyond 1957 independence, Ghanaian nurses & midwives have either through the rain/sun shine worked tirelessly to make sure Ghana’s work force is very healthy and strong.

Sometimes these caregivers will have to be on their feats all night long to safe mothers and babies lives at the same time (safe delivery), regardless of complications these tasks posses to them physically in future/ after retirement.

We (Nurses and midwives) put our lives on the line to remediate all forms of emergency cases to alleviate pain and restore lives regardless of the numerous infectious risks we young men and women put ourselves into.

Sometimes we (nurses & midwives) neglect the series of occupational hazards and put our lives in the peak of dangers just to reach out clients and care for them. We wade through and across river bodies despite potential poisonous reptiles in these river bodies,all in the name of bringing health care to the doorstep of Ghanaians in the hinterlands.

As Ghanaian citizen and caregivers(nurses/midwives), we do all these tirelessly to ensure Ama-Ghana is free from TB,Guinea worm infestation, Polio, Tetanus, Trachoma, just to mention few….What do we see now?

We feel sad and heart broken any time we see our fellow colleague Nurses and midwives on the media soliciting for funds to cure a condition he/she acquired in line of duty.

The worse part is when we retire from active service and we can’t afford to petty ill cost.
AmaGhana totally neglect our health as if we never contributed our quota to the nation’s health. This is really heartbreaking in our home land Ghana.

We have nurse & midwives who are perishing in I’ll health and wallowing in frustration. Some with severe Eye & brain tumors,numerous cancer forms,several health conditions which demand urgent treatment to safe ourlives but for funds most of these victims are left at the mercy of emotional touchers and death. …Oh Ghana,what did we do wrong to deserve such treatment from you?

The current system in most hospitals across the country is also that,if the caregiver is not careful and do not have fund for insurance top-ups,he/she should forget treatment anytime he/she falls ill..

This is the cry of the poor caregiver over Ghana. … who listen to us??
… who begin this sensitive initiative?

As if Ama Ghana can’t afford,,,,
Ghana offers free medical care to its numerous Military services personnels,Police services personnel’s, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Cocoa board Ghana, The Tema Harbour Security personnels’, GHAPOHA, SSSNT, State Oil Refinery & mining workers,GBC,Our politicians,Parliamentarian, etc.

Some of them are additionally on medical care allowances.Those that foot their bills by themselves retrieve them back from the state with receipts.The state houses all these people and care for them and their immediate families’ medically free of charge.

To the extent of putting some on life support machines and give every possible care free of charge and if the need be,fly them off shores for treatment, all by the state. Woow, so motivating!

BUT EXCLUDES THE VERY SAME CAREGIVER WHO RISK THEIR LIVES TO TAKE CARE OF ALL THESE PERSONNELS.

This is total arrant breach of fairness to us(Nurses & Midwives-Ghana)
Ghana,why can’t the caregiver be entitled to at least the free medical care privilege?

Our plea:
*Passionately,we by this humble write-ups appeal & draw the attention of His Excellency The President of the Republic of Ghana,Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo to this ancient historic oversight yet needful “care” for our gallant all-weather hardworking caregivers and life savers.

*That: Your Excellency,Lets roll all nurses/midwives on the free medical service scheme so we care for the nation all our heart out

*A Nation that neglect its caregivers has no working force, and a nation without healthy workforce is doomed forever

By : Yaw Citizen,
Chairman (GRNMA)
Ejisu-Juaben Municipal/Free Health Care Campaign Member.

2019 Budget Failed To Outline Government’s Vision For Promoting Inclusive Development

The Ghana Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has indicated that, there is lack of policy direction in the 2019 budget statement to enforce inclusivity in compliance with the principle of leaving no one behind.

According to the platform, even though the 2019 budget statement clearly presented government’s commitment to the SDGs, the budget failed to specifically outline government’s vision for promoting inclusive development, especially for those at risk of marginalisation. Adding that, “The basic principle underlying the implementation of the SDGs is the commitment to leave no one behind.”

The platform in a statement copied to Newsghana.com.gh, also said, this commitment entails that no goal considered mets the SDGs unless it benefits all, including women, children, youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities who represent the most impoverished, excluded, disadvantaged and discriminated, and are often marginalised in Ghana.

“We would like to urge government to develop, as part of its commitment to the SDGs, an ‘inclusivity objective’ that clearly itemizes government’s vision for ‘leaving no one behind’.”

However, the Ghana Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform, commended government for taking the bold initiative to align the 2019 budget statement to the SDGs.

Pointing out that, the 2019 budget specifically linked policy and programme interventions to the 17 SDGs and also outlined how the various sectoral interventions will
contribute to the achievement of the goals.

“According to the Minister for Finance: ‘Ghana is the second country (after Mexico) to fully integrate the SDGs framework in the budget to track progress on the SDGs and ensure budget allocations’.

“It is worthy to note that the Ministry of Finance plans to continue producing, on an annual basis, an SDGs budget report to show how the country is tracking the financing of the SDGs,” The platform noted.

Find The Full Statement Below;

PRESS STATEMENT:
GHANA CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS PLATFORM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS OBSERVATIONS ON THE 2019 BUDGET STATEMENT

The Ghana Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would like to commend government for taking the bold initiative to align the 2019 budget statement to the SDGs.

The 2019 budget has specifically linked policy and programme interventions to the 17 SDGs and has also outlined how the various sectoral interventions will
contribute to the achievement of the goals.

According to the Minister for Finance: ‘Ghana is the second country (after Mexico) to fully integrate the SDGs framework in the budget to track progress on the SDGs and ensure budget allocations.’ It is worthy to note that the Ministry of Finance plans to continue producing, on an annual basis, an SDGs budget report to show how the country is tracking the financing of the SDGs.

The first report was produced in 2018, and provides a methodology and framework that can help to ensure
Ghana’s financial priorities are aligned with essential SDG targets in future budgets. While we commend government for the innovative approach of integrating the SDGs into the 2019 national budget, we, however, note the following:

1. The lack of a policy direction in the 2019 budget statement to enforce inclusivity in compliance with the principle of leaving no one behind: Even though the 2019 budget statement clearly presents government’s commitment to the SDGs, the budget fails to specifically outline government’s vision for promoting
inclusive development, especially for those at risk of marginalisation. The basic principle underlying the implementation of the SDGs is the commitment to leave no one behind.

This commitment entails that no goal is considered met unless it benefits all, including women, children, youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities who represent the most impoverished, excluded, disadvantaged and discriminated, and are often marginalised in Ghana.

We would like to urge government to develop, as part of its commitment to the SDGs, an ‘inclusivity objective’ that clearly itemizes government’s vision for ‘leaving no one behind’.

2. Absence of clear timelines for implementation of some programme interventions: Some sectoral policies and programme interventions in the 2019 budget aligned to the SDGs have no clear timelines.

The CSOs Platform has identified more than 20 of such interventions without clear timelines. For example, on paragraph 738, the budget indicates that ‘The Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources through the Community Water and Sanitation Agency will construct nine water systems each in the Northern and Central Regions, five in Brong-Ahafo Region and two in the Upper West Region.

In addition, the Agency will drill 250 boreholes in the Brong-Ahafo Region and 750 nationwide. Furthermore, the Ministry will construct 12 fully reticulated small
town pipe systems and six limited mechanized systems in the Volta Region.’

The absence of timelines poses a great challenge to monitoring progress toward attainment of the SDGs targets, which are time bound. It also raises concerns in regard toconsistency; while some interventions clearly indicate that they will be implemented in
2019, others do not.

3. Failure of the 2019 budget to adequately address specific SDGs targets: We have also observed that sector specific interventions in the budget do not adequately address the SDGs targets.

For example, we note that in the health sector, the budget pays little attention to specific issues of maternal mortality, sexual and reproductive health services, malaria, HIV/AIDs, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

According to the SDGs baseline report, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has been falling, but still remains high. Between 1995 and 2015, the MMR fell from 532 to 319 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

The 2019 budget does not specify how government aims to address the high maternal mortality rate to achieve the SDG 3 target of less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births. Additionally, the budget does not address the human resource needs of the sector as per SDG 3c, which ‘enjoins government to substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce…’

We would like to urge government to specifically show in subsequent budgets the progress markers and benchmarks toward meeting the various targets of the SDGs.

We would like to urge government to take another look at the inputs made by the CSO Platform, in particular reference to SDGs 3, 6 and 16, as well as inputs from the youth, which were not captured.

Issued by the Ghana CSO Platform on the SDGs, Thursday Nov. 22nd 2018.

Today Marks World Television Day

As the past, present and future of Television in Africa, it has over time, become one of the greatest gifts of electronic engineering given to mankind.

Although the birth of TV broadcasting in some parts of the world is widely known – 1936 in Europe, 1939 in North America the evolution of TV in Africa is less well understood. Some reports say that the establishment of a Moroccan television station in 1954 marked the beginning of the television age in Africa, while others maintain that the first terrestrial television broadcast signals on the continent occurred on Saturday 31 October 1959 and belonged to the Western Nigeria Television Service.

Algeria, Kenya, Uganda and Senegal launched television stations in the late 50’s and mid 60’s, however South Africa, Cameroon and several other African countries did not have TV stations until the 70’s and early 80’s.

Nigeria was a front runner in introducing news and specific genres of content too. The nation-wide Nigerian Television now known as the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) began with a takeover of regional television stations in 1976 by the then Nigerian military authorities, and became the mouthpiece of government. News programming was the bedrock of government’s plan to forge national unity, and scripted news was introduced by this monopoly in the late 70’s.

By 1980 efforts to increase the level of original content from Nigerian producers gained momentum, and the NTA network set a ceiling of 20% broadcasting time for foreign programming in order to stimulate interest in local content. Between 1980 and 1985, NTA started producing Africa’s first local soap operas, children’s programmes and comedy series. This marked the birth of the Nollywood film industry, which now produces in excess of 50 movies per week, surpassing Hollywood as the world’s second largest movie industry by volume after India’s Bollywood.

Pay-TV was introduced to Africa in 1992, when M-Net launched an analogue service to over 20 countries. A year later, MultiChoice Africa began expansion outside South Africa’s borders, and is now present in 49 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1995 MultiChoice introduced digital technology to the continent with the launch of the DStv bouquet and in 1996, analogue satellite services to Africa were cancelled. DStv was one of the first broadcasters outside of the United States to launch a satellite platform which enabled high-quality transmission to Africa’s most remote regions.

Streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) services have started supplementing broadcast TV for some time mostly in the area of news. Today most news consumers are no longer reading lengthy articles but watching video of events as they unfold from news agency sites or social media networks. The era of consumer led journalism and social networking has considerably shifted the power of traditional news agencies and at the forefront is video however this has also lead to other problems such as the era of fake news and hence the need for news consumers to check authenticity with well-known news agencies.

However, with relatively slow and expensive internet connections being the norm in Africa, commercial VOD and streaming services have seen slower growth than in markets where data speeds allow for more efficient live streaming. Pay-TV is still growing on the continent. According to Dataxis, Africa’s pay-TV revenue for 2016 stood at $4.4 billion and is forecast to reach $6 billion by 2021. In 2016, Africa’s pay-TV subscribers stood at approximately 18.7 million, an increase of approximately two million subscribers compared to the previous year.

Increasing broadband penetration and the reduction in data rates in Africa will increase the penetration of online video content. We expect online video consumption to be a supplementary service to traditional pay television as online providers do not provide news channels and live sport which are so key to household viewing. The traditional video shops now stand empty on each street corner and consumers no longer need to leave their homes to get a video – alternatives to this are DStv Box Office services on the Explora decoder it provides an option where consumers don’t have to pay for the delivery of the movie while streaming requires the delivery cost and the bandwidth.

Local content will remain a crucial cultural and economic factor in African markets and must be invested in and nurtured if it is to grow in the rapidly changing video entertainment space. Home-grown content employs more than a million people directly or indirectly in Nigeria and is the country’s second-biggest source of jobs after agriculture. According to a PWC report, Nigeria’s entertainment and media revenue could more than double to an estimated $8.5 billion this year from $4 billion in 2013, and is considered one of the major pillars on which to grow and diversify the Nigerian economy.

Massive and continued changes in the entertainment industry are afoot, and the recent AT&T acquisition of Time Warner in the US is a perfect example of how the lines between content producers and the owners of distribution platforms are being blurred. The full impact of this disruption on the global landscape remains to be seen.

Here on the huge and diverse continent, we will need to marry global best practice with our unique needs, challenges and opportunities to navigate our own path through this shifting media environment and ensure that we protect local industries, culture and economic growth. It’s going to be a bumpy and fascinating ride, just like it has been since TV began transforming Africa in the fifties.

ACEP Calls On Government To Suspend Sale Of VRA Thermal Plants

The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), in its analyses of the 2019 budget statement and economic policy of the government of Ghana on 20th November, 2018, has recommended that, government should suspend the sale of VRA thermal Plants.

According ACEP, government planned on divesting its interest in the thermal plants of VRA. However, when sold to private companies, it will require additional Power Purchase Agreement with take or pay conditions.

This the centre said, “Will increase the surplus requirement and consequently, government’s commitment to capacity charges. Government can rather retire the plants for emergency use and allow IPPs to generate power for domestic consumption. This will ensure that the IPPs do not become idle and still get paid.”

ACEP also recommended that, government should increase the hydro Tariff for VRA and assign cheap power for industry. Saying, “The need to consume the excess capacity requires that industry benefits from cheaper power to increase consumption and productivity. Government should increase the hydro tariff to offset the loss of revenue to VRA for shutting down their thermal plants. Government can then blend some thermal plants from the IPPs with VRA’s hydro to achieve internationally competitive tariff for heavy industry.”

It also said, government should develop a robust mechanism to monitor the availability of power plants, where the Energy Commission will have a robust dispatch monitoring system for all the IPPs to ensure that all plants declaring availability are genuinely available. “This will prevent invoices from plants that are not supposed to bill the consumer,” it added.

With respect to the oil revenue, ACEP urged government to check the deliberate use of oil revenue for debt servicing at the expense of public investments, and the regulations to the PRMA should also be passed to define rules for capping the Ghana Stabilization Fund (GSF). This, the centre said, will bring clarity to the basis for capping and remove perceived discretionary powers of the Minister in the treatment of oil revenues and the GSF.

According to ACEP, “To prevent encumbrances of unutilized ABFA, the Ministry of Finance must ensure that existing infrastructure projects yet to be completed are adequately funded by the ABFA. Fully utilizing ABFA will prevent time and cost overruns of existing uncompleted projects.”

Find The Full Analysis Below;
ACEP’s Comments on 2019 budget

No PhD, No Job Policy: Hostile And Unachievable – Lecturer

The Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh recently announced that if a lecturer has no PhD, he or she cannot teach in any university in Ghana.

According to Napo “Now if you do not hold a PhD, you will not be able to teach in a university,” the Education Minister said this at Meet The Press series on Tuesday, 20 November, 2018, and caveat that, “But most of the lecturers in our colleges of education do not hold PhD. So, we are giving them time to improve their knowledge through the British government support”.

According to an ace lecturer, Dr Da Costa Aboagye, the policy of “No PhD, No Job” is ill- thought, hostile and unachievable in any university in the world.

Dr. Aboagye Da Costa, one of the assessors of the United Kingdom National Academic Excellent Frameworks at University of West London said, the policy is over ambitious, short sighted and could deprive Ghanaian universities of experience professionals capable of teaching at that level.

Speaking to Newsghana.com.gh, Dr Aboagye noted such a policy will only broaden the lecturer to student ratio in Ghanaian universities.
“Why would we want to do this as a country with limited human resources at the university level? What is a lecturer to university student ratio?” he quizzed.

“We, as a country should find ways to develop our human capital at all levels through innovative and practical ways far from hostile interventions because the greatest assets or resources we have are the Ghanaian people,” he added.

Dr Aboagye encourage the government to extend some of the educational reforms recently introduced for secondary school teachers like licensing to experience professionals and people with masters degree to teach in the various universities.

This can be developed by national accreditation boards through a portfolio-oriented skill based training or a higher institution teaching qualification which is easily achievable.

He however suggested that, teaching and research careers within Ghanaian universities should rather be categorised into tiers like academic practitioners, research practitioners, teaching academic and etc.

This according to him will create more employment for young master degree holders and experienced professionals wanting to teach in our universities.

This will also be in line with the government’s effort to restructure tertiary institutions to absorb high number of students being trained under the Free Senior High School Policy.

Dr. Aboagye supported the efforts made by Ghanaian universities to encourage staff to undertake PhD’s but this should not be a universal policy as a sole qualification on employment within the academia considering the various staff tiers.

“At best, a PhD should be a desirable requirement on a person’s specification for employment within Ghanaian universities if staff are equipped on Teaching Excellent Frameworks,” the fellow of Higher Education Academy of England and Wales advised.

Ghana’s 2019 Budget Hinges On Donor And Private Funding – SEND-Ghana

SEND Ghana

SEND Ghana in its preliminary assessment of the 2019 budget statement identified several cross-sector and sector-specific concerns. One of which was that, after over 60 years of independence, the Government of Ghana still heavily relied on development partners and the capital market for funding.

According to SEND Ghana in a release signed by George Osei-Bimpeh, its Country Director and copied to Newsghana.com.gh, while sector-specific exists, issues such as overdependence on donor and private funding, fragmentation and weak governance, short-changed goods and services, and poor targeting also cuts across assessed sectors.

It also said the projected budget for 2019 was too dependent on donor and private funding. Indicating that,
in the health sector, government failed to allocate enough GoG funding to the Ministry of Health for capital expenditures in 2019.

“In fact, 73.9 percent of the allocation for capital expenditures is expected to come from development partners, with the Annual Budget Funding Amount and Internally Generated Funds providing the remaining 26.1 percent, whereas in the education sector, free primary and secondary education has increased the number of children in schools. However, this increase has led to overcrowding and exposed wide infrastructure gaps within the education system. Without predictable funding, we have observed that many education infrastructure projects are stalled and require critical financial support to progress past low levels of completion,” SEND revealed.

Read The Full Release Below:

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

SEND GHANA
Telephone: 0245-021-871 | Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @SEND_GHANA

SEND GHANA ASSESSES 2019 BUDGET

SEND Ghana’s preliminary assessment of the 2019 budget statement has identified several cross-sector
and sector-specific concerns. Issues such as overdependence on donor and private funding,
fragmentation and weak governance, short-changed goods and services, and poor targeting cut across
assessed sectors, while sector-specific also exist.

Cross-sector observations:
The projected budget for 2019 is too dependent on donor and private funding

After over 60 years of independence, the Government of Ghana still heavily relies on development
partners and the capital market for funding.

In the health sector, government has failed to allocate enough GoG funding to the Ministry of Health for
capital expenditures in 2019. In fact, 73.9 percent of the allocation for capital expenditures is expected to
come from development partners, with the Annual Budget Funding Amount and Internally Generated
Funds providing the remaining 26.1 percent.

In the education sector, free primary and secondary education has increased the number of children in
schools. However, this increase has led to overcrowding and exposed wide infrastructure gaps within the
education system. Without predictable funding, we have observed that many education infrastructure
projects are stalled and require critical financial support to progress past low levels of completion.

Government has made it so that the main source of funding for education capital expenditures in 2019,
including the construction of fundamental education facilities, is set to be the capital market. Since
private funding can be unpredictable, government must ensure a sustainable source of adequate funds
for infrastructure development. It is time government made use of its mineral revenues to raise human
capital in the country.

When it comes to water, hygiene and sanitation, 84.6 percent of money allocated to the Ministry of
Sanitation and Water Resources was sourced from development partners in 2017. In 2018 the amount
was 60.3 percent.

This trend is set to continue in 2019; 70.3 percent of projected funding for the WASH
ministry will be donor-driven. According to our analysis, donor support is unpredictable and puts water,
sanitation and hygiene interventions at risk. In 2017, only 4.6 percent (GH₵ 9,227,763) of the expected
GH₵ 201,824,097 was actually released to the WASH ministry. Goods, services and capital expenditures
suffered the most, meaning WASH facilities across the country were not provided.

In the food and agriculture sector, government has for years failed to meet Comprehensive Africa
Agriculture Development Programme obligations and invested less than 10 percent of its annual
expenditure in agriculture. According to our analysis, more than half (51.2 percent) of the Ministry of
Food & Agriculture projected expenditures in 2019 are set to be sourced from donors.

With Ghana’s attainment of lower middle income status, donor support may start to dwindle. To make Ghana self-sufficient and attain a Ghana Beyond Aid as well as Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 17.1, (i.e., no poverty, no hunger and strengthened domestic resource mobilization), government must find a sustainable way to fund and implement its own capital investments.
Fragmentation among ministries, departments and agencies will cause weak governance, incur transaction costs

“A common observation we have made is that the 2019 national budget is characterized by too much fragmented allocation,” said SEND Ghana Country Director George Osei-Bimpeh. “This is a recipe for duplication of functions, poor implementation and coordination, and likely low or no value for money. This must change to avoid unnecessary increases in transaction costs. The ambition of the budget can be greatly undermined by the current poor allocation and implementation framework.”

The Ministry for Special Development Initiatives, through its three development authorities, has been allocated GH₵ 1.3 billion in the 2019 budget statement to fund infrastructure for health, education, water and sanitation, agriculture, and roads. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is also projected to receive GH₵ 846 million for capital investment.

Allocations and interventions for the education, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food and agriculture sectors have also been fragmented between sector ministries and the Ministry for Special Development Initiatives.

Fragmentation also exists in the 2019 budget statement when it comes to social protection. Allocations for the School Feeding programme have been split between the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.

The ministry has been allocated GH₵ 262 million and GH₵ 200 million has also been earmarked under the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) for the feeding programme. We have observed that disbursements to the DACF are often irregular and institutional collaboration is weak, so implementation of the programme is likely to be negatively impacted by the fragmentation. Indeed, SEND Ghana’s “WHO IS MONITORING?

A Potential Financial Leakage In the Ghana School Feeding Programme” report has already revealed financial leakages caused by poor financial management of the programme.

Since the projected allocation to the Ministry for Special Development Initiatives is set to be a lump sum without specific allocations for infrastructure projects in different sectors, budget transparency and the ability to track allocations and expenditures has been obstructed, putting government commitment to the Open Budget Initiative into question.

It should be noted that transparency issues also exist in information provided on health priority programme areas and the National Health Insurance Scheme. The 2018 budget statement provided detailed information on programmes government intended to implement in the areas of HIV, maternal and child health, malaria and nutrition.

However, the 2019 budget statement lacks detail on these health priority programme areas, with the exception of neo-natal and under-five mortality.
It reads that government intends to continue with interventions in “…Ensuring affordable, equitable, easily accessible and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and reducing disability, morbidity and mortality.”

When it comes to NHIS, the scheme is projected to receive a total of GH₵ 2,381,014,749 from the National Health Fund in 2019. Government plans to transfer GH₵ 1,692,678,294 of that to the National Health Insurance
Authority and use GH₵ 187,967,235 to purchase essential vaccines.

However, the budget statement has neglected to provide a purpose for the remaining GH₵ 500,369,220. This raises serious questions about government transparency. What does government intend to use this huge amount for?

To improve transparency, the Ministry for Special Development Initiatives must provide clear information on how much money is supposed to be spent on each of the relevant sector ministries and adequate information about health priority programme areas must be provided.

Further, persistent poor coordination among ministries and project ownership issues raise serious concerns as to how departments and agencies will effectively coordinate their activities. Indeed, the transaction cost of more than one institution implementing the same or similar activities would be enormous.

To avoid the duplication of functions and needless costs, and ensure efficient infrastructure delivery, government should adequately equip sector ministries rather than the Ministry for Special Development Initiatives to take charge of capital investment and development.

Government must also increase funding to operationalize the existing institutional structure for coordinating social protection programmes at all levels and fast track the passage of the social protection law.
Low budgetary allocation and overspending on government salaries is short-changing goods and services

In 2018, government gave 25.6 percent of total allocation to the Ministry of Food & Agriculture to goods and services. The allocation was used to fund initiatives like the Planting for Food and Jobs programme. Despite the fact that government has introduced new initiatives for 2019, such as the Rearing for Food and Jobs programme, Planting for Export and Rural Development, and the establishment of 13 commercial greenhouses, allocation for goods and services to the Ministry of Food & Agriculture has declined by 6.7 percent.

AThe decline poses a potential challenge to the implementation of continuing and new initiatives, and risks government missing its target of having 1 million farmer beneficiaries.

Low budgetary allocation to goods and services is even more worrying considering the Ministry of Food & Agriculture only received 33.3 percent of what was allocated to goods and services in 2017, the most recent year available.

We believe our trend analysis for the education sector at least partly explains this fact. According to our analysis, government has been prioritizing the payment of compensation, such as salaries and benefits, over disbursements to goods and services, which are used for the implementation of sector initiatives.

In 2016 and 2017, payment of government salaries went over budget by 32.2 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively. Goods and services in the education sector suffered significant setbacks in those same years, receiving only 0.8 percent and 14.8 percent of allocated budget.

For 2019, government has budgeted a 25 percent increase in funding to goods and services for education. However, after the amounts for SHS and compensation are allocated, we feel the increase will be insufficient to deliver quality education at other levels of education.
This is especially true if good and services funding is not actually paid out in full. To attempt social interventions at all levels of education next year, government must at least ensure budget allocated to goods and services is released on time and in full.
To attain the Sustainable Development Goals, government must increase allocations for goods and services overall, and ensure they are released as promised.

Inadequate targeting of marginalized groups
The 2019 budget statement is silent on how to track the poor and vulnerable to include them in social protection programmes.

For example, the budget statement does not include a strategy to link women, disabled farmers and abled-bodied LEAP beneficiaries to the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, which has great potential to lift them out of poverty. In 2017, only 4.6 percent of PFJ beneficiaries in the Northern Region were women.

To link the poor and vulnerable to PFJ, government should enrol LEAP beneficiaries on the programme as a graduation measure and implement a quota system to target marginalized groups.

Further, government must fast track the completion of the Ghana National Household Registry to improve targeting. Currently, disaggregation of data to identify vulnerable beneficiaries is bad.

The Ghana National Household Registry has suffered undue delays and transactions costs since it started in 2015, with completion only taking place in the Upper West and East regions to date. As a result, the creation of a database to target the extremely poor, and improve transparency, accountability and efficiency has also stalled. Government must prioritize and provide a timeframe for completion of the registry in the other regions.

This is especially important given that government intends to operationalize a new productive and financial inclusion programme with livelihood creation opportunities linked to LEAP and other social protection beneficiaries in 2019.
Other issues by sector:

Health

Low health staff employment provision will prolong human resource problems
Through Minister of Health Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, government stated in October 2018 that the ministry would recruit 40,000 nurses by February 2019. However, the 2019 budget statement makes a provision for the employment of only 6,280 health staff. This huge difference risks increasing unemployment in the health sector as well as health staff shortages.

To address the human resource needs of the Ministry of Health and ensure high quality health care, government must provide additional allocations toward the employment of health staff during its midyear budget review.

Education

Children at foundational levels of the school system need teaching and learning materials, too
Under the government SHS education policy, funding for senior high schools increased from GH₵ 400 million in 2017 to GH₵ 1.1 billion in 2018. That represents 83.9 percent of the goods and services allocation, leaving less than 20 percent for other levels of education. In 2019, it is set to be GH₵ 1.6 billion, representing 88.8 percent. Inconsistent funding across levels of education results in the inconsistent provision of inputs.

For example, while pre-schools, primary schools and junior high schools only received furniture and school uniforms in 2018, senior high schools received those inputs and many more, from exercise books, textbooks and accessories to iBox education portals and E-learning multimedia laboratories.

To ensure that “every child is equipped with foundational reading, writing, arithmetic and creativity skills by the time they complete Primary 6” as envisioned in the budget statement, government must equitably supply teaching and learning materials, such as textbooks and exercise books, at all levels of the education system.

Develop strategies to absorb tertiary school swell up before 2020

In addition to increased provision of inputs, the government SHS education policy has led to increased attendance at senior high schools. With free SHS, the student population has soared from 361,771 students in 2017 to 490,882 in 2018.

While improved access to SHS is cause for celebration, government has been silent to date on the swell up expected to hit high-level education at tertiary schools in 2020. We have observed that tertiary institutions already have limited space. Government must develop strategies, such as expanding the infrastructure base and human resources, to absorb increased enrolment into tertiary institutions in order to ensure students are able to continue their education past SHS.

Institutions for persons with disabilities received zero compensation money in 2016 or 2017

According to reports of the accountant general, none of the compensation money released in 2016 or 2017 was for special education. In those years, institutions for persons with disabilities also received 0 percent of the goods and services line item. This is especially concerning compared to the 100 percent received by the Office of the Chief Director and 97 percent received by general administration last year.

Without proper funding, institutions for persons with disabilities will continue to have challenges providing teaching and learning materials, such as braille for the visually-impaired, allocating appropriate human resources, or making accessibility considerations, such as building ramps. Government must improve its responsiveness to special institutions in 2019 to ensure the country does not digress from its quest to attain inclusive lifelong learning.

WASH

Rural areas require drinking water
Access to potable drinking water remains a challenge in hard-to-reach, underserved rural communities. According to the Sustainable Development Goal Indicator Baseline report, only 6.7 percent of the population in rural areas had access to safe drinking water services in 2015, compared to 44.7 percent of the urban population in the same year.

Despite this disparity, 2019 budget allocations and plans to provide potable water are heavily concentrated in urban centers. To achieve SDG 6.1 – universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 – government must develop a clear strategy to reach rural communities.

Schools cannot wait for accessible WASH facilities

Water, sanitation and hygiene in schools is poor across the country, with only about 60 percent of schools having adequate sanitation, such as urinals and toilets, and 40 percent having adequate water facilities. However, the budget statement for 2019 does not include a strategy to incorporate WASH facilities at educational institutions.

Government should develop and fund a strategy to provide these facilities to ensure good hygiene at existing and new schools. The design and execution of the strategy should also ensure facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Social Protection

Bring LEAP beneficiaries above the extreme poverty line
As it stands, a single member household on the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme receives a GH₵ 64 cash transfer every two months. However, since the extreme poverty line was GH₵ 2.69 a day in the 2018 Ghana Living Standard Survey, a single member household should receive GH₵ 161.4 bimonthly from LEAP.

This means LEAP beneficiaries are receiving 60 percent less than what they require to meet daily nutrition requirements. Despite government promises to scale up the programme, projected funds for LEAP are actually lower than last year. The allocation to LEAP in the 2018 national budget was GH₵ 168,369,800 million. In the 2019 budget statement, funding allocated for LEAP is GH₵ 168,000,000 million, a decrease of more than GH₵ 350,000.

To ensure LEAP beneficiaries are living above the extreme poverty line, government should scale up its funding for the programme and increase cash transfer amounts. Increased cash transfers for LEAP beneficiaries would contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 10 (i.e., No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Reduced Inequalities).

Address the NHIS funding gap

Government currently spends about $30 (about GH₵ 144) to provide care to National Health Insurance Scheme members, however, the World Health Organization recommends spending $86 per member. This low level of funding leads to delays in payment claims to suppliers and facilities, forces out-of-pocket payments and compromises healthcare quality.

To address the NHIS funding gap, government must guarantee financial sustainability of the scheme. Additionally, government should ensure efficient utilization of NHIS funds. The ongoing NHIS audit should be expedited to support these recommendations and the strengthening of financial systems.

Tax

Proposed review of personal income tax band is not revenue enhancing
The introduction of the personal income tax band rate exceeding GH₵ 10,000 at a rate of 35 percent in the 2018 mid-year budget review was seen as a key revenue enhancing measure. Indeed, by our estimation, the revenue targets for the last half year of 2018 were exceeded partly due to this and other progressive tax measures that were introduced.

From the 2018 performance indicators, records show that personal tax revenue projection out-turn recorded a 0.6 percent increase over the revised budget figure. It can be inferred that the tax band contributed significantly to this achievement and has the potential to reduce increasing income inequality in the country.

Unfortunately, the 2019 budget proposal to review the income tax band to exceeding GH₵ 20,000 at a lower rate of 30 percent will adversely affect revenue generation. The question is, how many Ghanaians are in such a high income bracket? We see the proposed upward review of the income tax band as a move by government to bow to pressure from various interest groups and economic elites.

Signed:

George Osei-Bimpeh,
Country Director

Media Contact:
Benedict Mensah,
Communications Assistant
0245-021-871
[email protected]

COCOBOD Starving Cocoa Farmers And LBCs Of Cash – CSS Agric Desk

The Agric Desk of the Centre for Socioeconomic Studies (CSS) learns with grave concern some negative developments in the cocoa sector for the 2018/2019 crop season. Cocoa is Ghana’s major cash crop and highest agriculture export earner.

CSS Agric Desk has, in recent weeks, received several complaints from cocoa farmers across cocoa growing regions of Ghana about unusual delays in payments for their produce. Farmers who sell their produce to the Produce Buying Company (PBC) and other local License Buying Companies (LBCs) are the most affected.

CSS Agric Desk, through its further investigations, understands that COCOBOD has either refused, neglected or failed as it is obliged to allocate the local LBCs portions of their annual syndicated loan for the 2018/2019 crop season. Local LBCs are being compelled to source for loans from banks at considerably higher interest rates to buy produce this season.

Again, in cases where the LBCs have taken loans, purchased and delivered cocoa beans to COCOBOD, COCOBOD has failed to pay these local LBCs. These developments explain the unusual delays in paying cocoa farmers this crop season.

CSS believes these developments are incentives for cocoa smuggling, which makes Ghana the net loser as it adversely impacts the revenue projections of Government and denies Ghana the long-term benefits of investments made in the cocoa sector.

As a matter of urgency, the CSS demands that
COCOBOD and Government:
1. Provide prompt and adequate explanation on these developments.
2. Take immediate steps to make available funds for prompt settlement of all financial obligations owed local LBCs and, in effect, cocoa farmers and banks to restore confidence in the cocoa sector.
Finally, the CSS brings these developments to the attention of Finance and Agric Committees of Parliament. CSS also cautions COCOBOD and Government to take these developments in the cocoa sector more seriously to avert negative socioeconomic implications on rural livelihoods and the hardworking cocoa farmers.

SIGNED
SETH DOE
Fellow, CSS
0206057729 / 0243827455

GCB Bank Donates Medical Items To Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

GCB Bank in partnership with the Global Outreach Consortium, a Non – Governmental Organisation has donated medical items and equipment worth GHS 28,850.00 to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The items include ultra sound transmission gel, respironics, pediatric airway circuit, urine transfer straw, ice packs, chemo spill kits, theatre light handles, limb restraining product, hemi-knee brace, absorbent pad, blankets, water jugs, bed pans, lead jacket, neurosurgery equipment among others.

The items will be distributed to various units in the hospital namely; Anaesthesia, Laboratory, General Surgery, Orthopedic, Plastic Surgery, Urology, General and Radiology.

The Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Anselm Ray Sowah together with Dr. Priscilla Vandyck – Sey, the Executive Director of Global Outreach Consortium, made the presentation to the Chief Executive Office of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Daniel Asare. And Mr. Sowah indicated that, the items were to support Ghana’s premier medical institution.

He also thanked the Global Outreach Consortium for partnering with the Bank to provide critical equipment necessary for the delivery of efficient and effective health care.

On behalf of the Global Outreach Consortium, Dr. Vandyck – Sey expressed gratitude to GCB Bank for its support towards this good cause.

Dr Asare on behalf of the hospital, expressed gratitude to both Global Outreach consortium and GCB Bank.

He also appealed to the Bank for financial assistance to help revamp the wards towards the hospital’s centenary anniversary celebration in 2023.

Dr. Asare also assured that the hospital would strengthen its business relationship with the Bank.

Earlier this year, GCB Bank partnered Global Outreach Consortium to organise the Restoring Hope Outreach programme, where some doctors from the USA and Germany performed surgeries in some communities like Labadi, Ridge and Korle-Bu among others.

Ghana Is Very Committed To Achieving The SDGs : Afrobarometer Survey

The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), in its first report in the Afrobarometer PanAfrica Profiles Series on Round 7 results, provided an initial broad-brush assessment of how governments were performing in key sectors of the economy as defined by the UN SDGs.

Based on the recent public-opinion surveys which was conducted in 34 countries, it was indicated that Ghana scored 68%, as the highest mark with respect to being able to meet most of the priorities the citizens wanted as far as the SDGs were concerned.

The survey said, respondents underpinned education (80%) and reliability of electricity supply (71%) among others as areas that the Ghana government was performing well on.

The analysis, according to the Centre was designed to help governments and advocates design more effective interventions through a better understanding of how their intended beneficiaries – ordinary citizens – perceive and prioritize these goals.

According to the Centre, the new report linked the most important problems which were identified by more than 45,800 Africans, and as well as their assessments of their governments’ performances on these issues to the goals of the UN SDGs 2030.

The event was organized by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) in Accra, at the Holiday Inn Hotel on Monday, 19th November 2018.

Dr. Edem Selormey, the Afrobarometer Fieldwork Operations Manager for West, North and East Africa, in a presentation of the new Afrobarometer report on a survey findings tracking citizens’ priorities, SDGs, and government performance in Africa, noted that “decent work and economic growth” happens to be Africans’ highest priority among the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, it is also remains an area where governments are performing poorly.

Dr. Selormey, also outlined hunger, health, and peace, justice and strong institutions as other highly prioritised SDGs.

Key among the findings she also mentioned were
unemployment, topping the most important problems that Africans wanted their governments to address, and then health, followed by infrastructure and roads, water and sanitation, education, management of the economy, and the ‘almighty’ poverty.

According to mapping the “most important problems” identified by Afrobarometer respondents onto the SDGs, She indicated that, “decent work and economic growth,”
which is the SDG8, emerged as the highest-priority with 57%.

Dr. Selormey further explained that, there were seven other SDGs which captured the attention of respondents ranging between 20 to 31%, as well as SDG2 – “zero hunger” – 31%,
SDG3 – “good health and well-being” – 27%,
SDG16 – “peace, justice and strong institutions” – 26%, SDG9 – “industry, innovation and infrastructure” – 24%, SDG6 – “clean water and sanitation” – 24%,
SDG1 – “no poverty” – 22%,
SDG4 – “quality education” – 21%.

Sbe said the the rest of the SDGs drew only modest levels of attention from respondents as “most important” priorities.

Other Afrobarometer data, She said, also revealed that African publics typically valued goals like, gender equality, climate change. Saying, “Even if they are not the first things on their minds in the struggle for daily survival.”

She said “People place a higher priority on fighting hunger and having adequate supplies of clean water and energy.”

Deputy Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Dr. Franklin Oduro, intimated that, since when over 190 world leaders committed to the 17 SDGs to help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and justice, and fix climate change from 2016 to 2030, one of the obvious challenges that kept pupping up was where to start and how to translate the agenda into a plan of action.

He intimated that, Afrobarometer believed one critical area to start from was by asking the people. Thus, as a pan-Africa research network, they were very committed to giving a voice to ordinary Africans in policy making.

According to him, the purpose of the gathering was to access the outcome by asking the people. At the end of the event, the assertions gave a clear indication that indeed, it was one of the critical areas to have start from.

Present at the event was the Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, and key among discussants were, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, (Research Professor, Development Sociology), Radhika Lal, (Economic Advisor, UNDP), Dr. Louise Carole Donkor, (Policy and Communications Analyst, SDGs Advisory Unit, Office of President), George Osei-Bimpeh, (Co-chair, CSOs Platform for SDGs) and many others.

Ghana To Loss Position On World Cocoa League – CAL

Government has on Monday, November 19 2018, commenced an engagements with cocoa farmers across the country seeking to strengthen interaction with the Cocoa Sector.

The engagements began in Koforidua, Tafo in the Eastern Region and will continue in other Cocoa growing districts in Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Western and Central Regions of Ghana.

Following this, we at the Centre for Agro Liberty (CAL) have observed that government is about trying to show concern that it cares, but is government really going to tell the framers the truth about why their cocoa beans are so important, how it is sold and how gainful its export is?

This, CAL thinks, should not be the aim to score political points on score sheets for votes but once its contributions to GDP is significant, it must be done in the interest of the farmers and of the economy.

Again, we do not know if farmer groups or associations were given notice of the purpose of their visits and what kind of discussions and what form would it take so they could prepare to document their grievances and recommendations to enhance productions on a win-win base between government and the farmers.

We know most of the discussions would be centered around fertilizer subsidies and distributions as well as diseases. These are not new thing to the farmers. It’s indispensable for innovative discussions to secure the sector when most are moving away from cocoa to rubber.

We are therefore very surprised that the government under the leadership of Nana Akuffo-Addo, after all the lofty promises it made to the farmers when in opposition, would now take a u-turn and be charging farmers for fertilizers marked “not for sale”.

However, this is the first time such a high delegation from government is meeting farmers across the country. Is this going to be the first and the last and if not, how often is government going to engage these farmers? Any roadmap of engagement?

That notwithstanding, CAL in engaging most of these farmer associations in the Eastern, Ashanti and the Brong Ahafo Regions, they were not aware of any government’s engagement with farmers across the country. Those they first engaged in the Eastern Region said called them in a meeting all of a sudden and they new virtually nothing about it.

Speaking to Asunafo North Co-operative Cocoa Farmers and Marketing Union in the Asunafo North Municipality of Brong Ahafo Region, which constitutes a membership of over 7,000 in about 69 communities, as well as leading cocoa production in the Region for two consecutive times, they said they haven’t heard of any engagement of farmers across the country with the government.

Government has however, secured an amount of US$ 1.3 billion to produce and purchase cocoa for the 2018/19 season, we think because government wants value for money, there is the needs to engage the farmers as to how to bring out quality produce in order to avoid losses.

The visit is in the interest of the government, as to how it can export more tonnes of cocoa than the previously did, so it can use that as an achievement in the sector.

This comparative analysis is what the government is seeking. Regardless of this, the government also wants to assure farmers of their support.

Total Cocoa production under the previous administration 778,000 metric tonnes, which was a shortfall of 72 tonnes of the targeted 850 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said Ghana ‘s cocoa production is expected to hit two million (2m) metric tonnes by 2019.

According to Satista.com, cocoa production in the 2014/2015 season was 740.000MT, and the 2015/2016 season was 778.000MT.

However, the 2016/2017 season saw an increase to 970.000MT, but was further declined in production from 970.000MT to 880.000MT in 2017/18 season, thus it is gradually killing the interest of Ghanaians in cocoa sector.

Below is the year-on-year statistics by Statista.com

2014/2015 – 740.000MT
2015/2016 – 778.000MT
2016/2017 – 970.000MT
2017/2018 – 880.000MT

Cocobod CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo said in an interview with Reuters that “Output by the number 2 grower of cocoa, Ghana was falling short.

“The high price has led to a 2 billion cedi deficit at Cocobod, and in January the government proposed cutting the price, pegging it to 70 percent of world market prices. However that plan is subject to approval by President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Personally, I see it as a very tall order and a tough call for the President because it hinges on sustainability of the industry.”

Surprisingly, when COCOBOD was crying over lack of funds as a result of declining world market prices, they were able to raise over Gh¢ 1million for the renovation of the residence of the minister for Food and Agriculture.

The question is, is the minister’s comfort a priority over the welfare of our Farmers?

The standard of living has become hard and the price of everything in the economy has gone up, meanwhile the income of the hard working cocoa farmer has remained static nominally, and decreasing in real terms. So, while the cost of living is rising, the real incomes of farmers are dwindling.

The real producer price after accounting for inflation, declined by 16% in 2017 and further down by 8% in 2018. So cumulatively, the real price paid to cocoa farmers diminished by 24% from 2016 up till today.

So the decision to maintain cocoa prices in these hard times, the cocoa farmer is far worse off than he was in 2016. Why should government in the first place fail to improve the welfare of the farmer whose labour brings value to the entire country?

According to Send-Ghana, “Governments have for years failed to meet Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme obligations and invested less than 10% of its annual expenditure in agriculture. According them, more than half (51.2 percent) of the Ministry of Food & Agriculture projected expenditures in 2019 are set to be sourced from donors.

“With Ghana’s attainment of lower middle income status, donor support may start to dwindle. To make Ghana self-sufficient and attain a Ghana Beyond Aid as well as Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 17.1, (i.e., no poverty, no hunger and strengthened domestic resource mobilization), government must find a sustainable way to fund and implement its own capital investments.”

Cocobod said the current total national capacity was woefully inadequate to generate the needed revenue to support national development, thus they are resolve to work tirelessly to put pragmatic measures and other innovative programs and policies in place to achieve that.

Meanwhile, let us not forget that Farmers are not expanding their cocoa farms like before. Others are cutting it down to make way for other purposes. This means that, the uncountable tonnes of cocoa the government needs for export may not be met. You know, cocoa farms are shrinking while rubber is getting the expansion.

This is because, CAL has recently received several complaints from cocoa farmers across cocoa growing regions of Ghana about the unusual delays in payments for their produce. Farmers who sell their produce to the Produce Buying Company (PBC) and other local License Buying Companies (LBCs) are the most affected.

We further observed that, COCOBOD has either refused, neglected or failed as it is obligated to allocate the local LBCs portions of their annual syndicated loan for the 2018/2019 crop season, thus the Local LBCs are being compelled to solicit for loans from banks at considerably higher interest rates to buy produce for this season.

Again, in cases where the LBCs have taken loans, purchased and delivered cocoa beans to COCOBOD, COCOBOD has failed to pay these local LBCs. These developments explain the unusual delays in paying cocoa farmers this crop season, which signals a negative effect on the cocoa production in the country.

So this tells clearly that, there is a shift commodity cultivation of cash crops for export and Ghana may lose it position on the world as one of the leading cocoa producers and exports.

About CAL;
Centre for Agro Liberty (CAL) under ILAPI – Ghana), is a Ghanaian based free market and policy Think Tank whose mission is to provide innovative economic research and pensive multidisciplinary public policy advocacy through intellectually inspired leadership to help create freedom and prosperity for a free society. You can visit our website on www.ilapi.org

Signed;

Ernest Danso Abiam,
Director – CAL
0244033571

Samuel Adjei Kwarteng,
Co-Director – CAL
0246330513

NFC And DISCOP Signs An MOU For The First Annual Business Summit In Nigeria.

Amidst the busy DISCOP Joburg 2018, the Nigerian Film Corporation managing director Chidia Maduekwe and DISCOP Markets CEO Patrick Zuchowicki signed an MOU to confirm the first annual DISCOP Business Summit in Nigeria. It was agreed that it will commence in December 2019 during the annual ZUMA Film Festival in Abuja.

This landmark partnership reflects the global interest and confidence in the emerging markets of Africa, with a particular focus on Africa’s fastest growing creative economy, Nigeria. This event will incorporate into the creative industries the vital role of banks and financiers who up until now are yet to fully participate in this massive growth sector of the Nigerian economy.

With a focus on finance and the economic imperatives of the content and creative industries, the DISCOP Business Summit Nigeria 2019 will include many players in Nigeria’s strong and forwardly focused banking sector. From the importance of production finance, to the role of micro-payments, banks and financial institutions must be part of the processes that drive the creative industries forward.

The Nigerian Film Corporation has identified this sector’s importance for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy and in partnering with the globally recognised DISCOP brand, will continue to drive the Nigerian film, TV, and digital content industries further.

Based on its decades of experience and networks, DISCOP Markets will leverage its global reach of international players who are all interested in the rapidly expanding West African and Nigerian markets.

Through this partnership, creative producers will be able to engage in focused discussions with their banking and technology counterparts as co-participants. This business focused event will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and will provide unparalleled opportunities for attendees.

The NFC’s Chidia Maduekwe went further to explain, “the importance of this partnership cannot be lost on the present administration’s focus on diversification of Nigeria’s economy away from the fossil dependency towards the creative economy. The collaboration of DISCOP and Nigerian Film Corporation is a welcome development that marks an important milestone in the policy direction of the Industrial Advisory Council on Technology and Creativity under the chairmanship of His Excellency, the Vice President of Nigeria. It should be recalled that HEVP recently lead Nigeria’s creativity team in a visit to California earlier in the year. The continuous development of quality productions in the Nigerian motion picture industry will be given fresh impetus following from this signed MOU between NFC and DISCOP.”

Patrick Zuchowicki CEO of DISCOP Markets also elaborates, “It is time for the banks, financial institutions, and investment funds to take the pulse of the opportunities available in the African Entertainment & Media marketplace. “Show Me The Money” will help lenders understand how important a role they can play in the development of the world’s fastest growing marketplace for film, television, digital and musical content.”

AfricaCom Awards Stars For 2018 Announced

The AfricaCom Awards show, supported by Founding Awards Sponsor, PCCW Global, was a colourful and festive Mardi Gras themed event last night.

Held in Cape Town during AfricaCom, guests celebrated and acknowledged those trailblazers who are leading digital inclusion, connectivity and digital development on the African Continent.

“AfricaCom continues to grow and with it the Awards,” commented Tom Cuthell, Event Director of AfricaCom. “I would like to thank everyone involved, our judging panel who rigorously vetted the entries, sponsors and partners for their ongoing support and all the companies who continue to show how dedicated they are to ensuring that Africa advances into the digital ecosphere.”

Here are the AfricaCom Awards stars for 2018:

Best Network Improvement – Liquid Telecom – Completion of the Cape to Cairo fibre route

Delivering Excellence in Customer Experience – Huawei Technologies – Customer Experience Management (CEM) for Ghana

Fintech Innovation Award – Econet Wireless (Cassava Fintech) and Mahindra Comviva – EcoCash Merchant Payments powered by mobiquity Money

Most Innovative use of AI Technology – Huawei Technologies – Huawei PowerStar

Most Innovative Service – Orange – Rural Electrification

Changing Lives Award – Ericsson and Wot-if? Trust – eHUB Diepsloot South Africa

Best Sustainable Power Solution – Huawei Technologies – Huawei PowerCube 1000

IoT Product / Service of the year – Yego Innovision Limited – Yegomoto

Digital Entertainment Solution – Kwesé iflix – Best Innovation in Digital Entertainment

Also, winners on the night of two very special peer-voted awards were: Abdikarim Mohamed Eid – CEO, Telesom who was acknowledged as the AfricaCom CXO of the Year and, Priya Thakoor – Chief Digital Officer, Coca-Cola South Africa who was recognised for outstanding achievements in driving ‘Digital Africa’ forward and walked away with the award for the AfricaCom Enterprise CXO of the Year.

Cuthell concluded by saying: “Congratulations to all of the award winners. The bar has been set high and we all look forward to seeing what next year holds.”

UNDP And Partners Supports Farmers With Solar-powered Irrigation Pumps

Imagine having to walk 12kilometers daily to a farm, to produce food to feed your family and many others. This notwithstanding, the biggest challenge is having to look for money especially during the dry season, to hire a petrol or diesel-powered water pump to irrigate your crops.

The unsustainability of this irrigation process in the face of climate change was forcing many smallholder farmers like Iddrisu Aboubakar, a Vegetable and Fruit Farmer in Tamalgu in the Northern Region of Ghana, to rely on rain-fed agriculture.

This was making it difficult to farm all-year round because Northern Ghana has only one farming season and it is much drier than the South.

Since 2001 when he started farming, due to his inability to afford the expensive fuel-powered irrigation pumps in his community, Iddrisu was farming only a quarter acre of plot and only once in a year. Life, he said, was unbearable, as he had to be living with his father with his family of ten (2 wives and 8 children) and taking care of them was challenging.

Thanks to an intervention by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Energy Commission of Ghana and NewEnergy, a local NGO, Iddrisu’s farming career is now a different story.

Solar-powered irrigation pumps provided by UNDP and the Energy Commission is supporting Iddrisu and 36 other farmers, including 17 women in Tamalgu to irrigate their vegetable and fruit fields all year-round, resulting in increased yields.

Today, Iddrisu, can boast of two and half-acre farm plot, with different crops such as cabbage, okro, tomatoes, pepper and banana, which he produces 3 times in a year. According to him, ever since the solar-powered irrigation intervention was provided in 2014, proceeds from his farming activities have helped him build a house.

He has therefore moved from his father’s house with his family. Just last year, he also bought a motor-bike, which is facilitating the daily 12kilometer-journey from Tamalgu to Pashiguni where he has his farm near the dam and where the solar power facilities are located.

For Iddrisu and the many other farmer beneficiaries of the solar irrigation pumps, the intervention is not only providing them more incomes, but it is also helping to improve the nutrition of their households because of the increased yields and the ability to produce food crops throughout the year.

As the leader of the solar-powered irrigation farmers, Iddrisu appealed for more solar-powered pumps to help other farmers in the community to derive the maximum benefits being enjoyed.

The solar-powered irrigation pumps were provided in four communities including Tamalgu, Nakpanduri, Datoyili and Fooshegu, all in Northern Ghana, to help 78 smallholder farmers to irrigate their farm fields regularly.

The pumps are capable of watering up to a total of 15 hectares of land and the solar panels with a capacity of 22.5 kilowatts deliver up to 1 million litres of water each day.

By Praise Nutakor/UNDP

Government Reaffirms Its Commitment To Pursue Social Intervention Programmes

President Nana Akufo Addo, has reiterated government’s commitment to pursue social intervention programmes to ensure the protection and support of the vulnerable in society, and as well as continue to strengthen the Free SHS and expand the LEAP programme to the benefit of all.

President Akufo Addo, said this in a speech read on his behalf at the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of La Mantse, Mankralo and the Akwashongtse at La in Accra.

He noted that government’s determination to building a prosperous nation cannot be realized if agriculture and the fishing industries were not developed.

He said, in the coming year, government would take steps to modernize agriculture to ensure that Ghanaians produce what they eat and halt the importation of basic staples.

Touching on the budget, the President noted that the six (6) key strategic pillars emphasized the vision needed to move ahead. These were: Social Intervention; Accelerated growth; Modernization of Agriculture; Infrastructure development; Job Creation and Domestic Revenue Mobilization.

“The above-mentioned six (6) key strategic pillars will guide us in our efforts to ensure that we build on the gains made in stabilizing the macro economy and propel the nation to prosperity” he said.

A Deputy Minister for Communications and Member of Parliament for La Dadekotopon, Hon. Vincent Sowah Odotei, outlined some social intervention programmes being undertaken in the community.

These includes; free public day nursery and free health insurance for the youth and aged. He thanked the people of La and the Traditional Council for the confidence reposed in him and promised to spearhead sustained development in the area.

Hon. Odotei also called on all the clan houses to respond to the request and forward the names and locations for the scholarship to the day nursery and other projects in their neighbourhood.

“I would also like to remind all those over the age of 60 and children who do not have health insurance to go to the NHIS office and register or renew FREE of charge. I have deposited money there and they will not pay anything”.

He urged the media to visit the Neighbourhood centre, the NHIS office, locations where toilets are built and other areas where interventions would be made to help educate the public.

Hon. Odotei however, congratulated Nii La, Nii Mankralo and Akwashongtse for their achievements.

The Paramount Chief of La, Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III expressed his gratitude to government for giving the La township paramountcy status and noted that, this attainment was of great value to the La State and would help enhance local governance administration.

Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru lll, appealed to La citizens to forge ahead in unity to ensure a peaceful township for the continuous wellbeing of the people and the country as a whole.

Nigeria To Stop Importation Of Rice By 2020

Following guidelines by Nigeria’s electioneering body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Sunday 18th November has been declared the official commencement date for election campaigns, the front runners being President Mohammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress, APC and former Vice President Atiku of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

Ahead of the official commencement of campaigns in Nigeria, the Ghana chapter of the APC, led by its Chairman, Hon. Charles Michilette, organised a Press Conference in Accra on Friday 16th November to discuss the state of the nation and successes of the Buhari-led administration.

In his presentation, Hon. Michilette praised President Buhari and his team for putting Nigeria back on track. He highlighted three main sectors where the Buhari-led government had made tremendous gains as economic management, agriculture and infrastructural development.

On the issue of the economy, he praised the President for his resilience in stabilising an economy against all odds; an economy, which was set on track of failure due to poor management from previous governments. He states that the President’s ability to resist pressure and his dynamic approach to economic management is what has brought a hitherto doomed economy back on track of recovery.

President Buhari’s ability to continue projects, which were started by previous government, is a character that is not common amongst politicians in Nigeria who would rather disregard and denigrate projects and initiatives started by previous governments.

He further states that President Buhari’s policies and investment in agriculture has increased returns in agriculture and has made the sector more lucrative and attractive. The President’s resolve to stop importation of rice by 2020 has significantly increased investment in local rice production and boosted the quality and quantity of production. He refers to the statement issued by Nigeria’s Bank of Agriculture, which states that Nigeria saved $800 million due to increase in local rice production.

On security, Hon. Michilette commended the continuous investment in the security agencies, which he believes will motivate Nigeria’s security personnel has it has provided modern combat equipment making security easier to manage. He berates those influencing and sponsoring the pockets of violence happening in some parts of Nigeria. Stating it does not only attack the performance of the present administration but the peace of the Nigerian people.

On infrastructure, he says “infrastructure is at its best in recent times. There are on-going projects or newly completed projects in every state of the country.”

He described persistent media reports, which describes the present administration as ineffective as mere “propaganda being spread by the opposition to deceive Nigerians just because this government has blocked all illegal means through which certain politicians have been milking the common wealth of the country.”

Hon. Bola Koleade & Hon Saheed Owolabi General Secretary and Organizing Secretary respectively, also expressed their optimism on the success of the party in 2019 referencing the outstanding performance of the Buhari-led government particularly in the fight against corruption, which they consider the biggest menace to growth, development and unity of Nigeria.

They advised every registered, eligible Nigerian voter living in Ghana to ignore the rumours and bad press about the current administration and encouraged them all to go home during the election period to vote for the continuation and consolidation of the good works being executed by the current Buhari-Osinbajo led administration.

Chief Akintola, a leading member of the party called for total support for the Buhari-Osinbajo ticket in order to complete the process of transitioning Nigeria from poorly managed economy to a first world economy.

The Ghana Chapter expressed its determination to fully launch a campaign for Buhari/Osinbajo group and also Sanwo-Olu, APC Governorship candidate for Lagos state in few days after followed by a visit of the Ghana Chapter to the National Headquarters.

Local Participation In The Oil And Gas Sector Is Imperative – Energy Minister

The Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu has noted that, local participation in the oil and gas sector is increasingly becoming challenging amidst lack of capacity in local firms as oil exploration activities gets deeper and deeper.

According to him, although some success has been chalked, there was the need to encourage more local participation in the oil and gas sector. He however, predicted that, implementation of local content policies could become very challenging in the near future, when
local firms now struggle to make an impact because of their limited capacity.

The Sector Minister further underscored the need to highlight the implementation challenges being faced as country, and also the need to begin to realize that the era of cheap oil is gone, and as International Oil Companies begin to migrate into challenging waters implementation challenges of local content will be visible for everybody to see.

He was speaking at the opening of the two-day 4th Annual Africa Oil Governance Summit 2018, organised by African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), dubbed, “Harnessing the Potential of Local Content for Economic Growth and Inclusive Development” From 13th To 14th November, 2018 At The Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra.

The Minister indicated that, “There is a need for improved technology, there is a need to improve skills, and all the items and facilities that are necessary to lift the oil. On this basis, challenges are therefore open and become visible in our attempt to implement local content policies.”

Some of the challenges he underpinned that goes a long way to adversely affect competitiveness in the industry were; lack of finance, human and capital development, technology and many others. “These barriers to local participation, has resulted in over concentration of local companies in the ‘low-hanging fruits’ and less participation in high-value capital and technological intensive services. Another challenge is the inability of indigenous companies to meet international standards, coupled with inadequate certifications,” He revealed.

Mr. Amewu, intimated that, these challenges were partly caused by factors like higher cost of certifying employees and companies, as well as poorly small structured nature of most companies and failure for them to meet competency requirements.

According to him, the IOCs always opt to work with experienced service providers, thus information on tendering processes often goes in favour of international service providers. This he said was due to the limited capacity of local companies to deliver services required, because they lack the required infrastructure to support development of the petroleum industry, limits the volume of work to be carried out in the country.

Mr. Amewu noted that, “It is therefore important to be conversant with the role of information asymmetry in the tendering process. Indigenous companies always receive information on tendering very late as against early notification for international service providers. This state of affairs clearly does not create a level playing field for indigenous companies.”

However, he noted that as of September 2018 there were over 600 indigenous registered companies providing goods and services to the industry. Pointing out that Sankofa Gye Nyame Field, has even awarded over 320 contracts with about US$1.8 billion to indigenous Ghanaian companies, whereas ENI project also awarded about US$6.2 billion worth of deals.

He further revealed that, out of these awards US$1.7 billion were awarded to local firms, which represents 28%.

La State To Celebrate 30 Years Of Relative Peace And Stability

Ahead of the La State 2018 Annual Homorwor durbar, in Commemoration of 30 years of relative peace and stability of his enstoolement as Chief of La Township, together with the installation of Nii Yemoh Din ll as La Akwashonggtse and Nii Obodai Adai lV as La Mankralo, HRM Nii Dr. Kpobi Tettey Tsuru lll, has urged citizens of La to take advantage of Government’s Free S.H.S Policy, to help educate their wards to become competent Leaders in the future.

Scheduled to take place on Saturday 17the November, 2018, HRM Nii Dr. Kpobi Tettey, in a media interaction on Thursday, 15th October indicated that, the people of La were patiently waiting for their own share of the One-District One Factory project (1D1F) to employ some of their youth in order to reduce the unemployment rate in the area.

With deep sense of humility, Nii Dr. Kpobi expressed his immense gratitude to the members of the La Traditional Council for their unwavering support and co-operation for steering the affairs of the peacefully stabled and beautiful Township of La. “I also thank all citizens of La for these years of relative peace and stability under our leadership. We appreciate all the efforts of our Youth Groupings in moving our Township forward,” He added.

According to HRM Nii Dr. Kpobi Tettey Tsuru lll, “The journey has not been full of roses. We have had our ups and downs as a people; La Beach Resort administration issues, Trust Land administration issues behind the Ghana International Trade Fair, Court Cases, occasional differences among ourselves Traditional Rulers, just to mention a few are the issues that we strongly believe the Almighty God will guide us to go through.

Let us continue to forgive one another, forbear one another and to forge ahead as a united, loving, peaceful and stable Township for continuous wellbeing of our people.”

He noted that, as they reflect on the theme of this year’s Homorwor celebration, “Thirty (30) Years of Relative Peace and Stability”, “There is the need to remind ourselves that it is not by our might, nor by our power, nor by our authority as traditional rulers of this beautiful township of ours. Rather, it is by the mercies of God, and divine wisdom and directions from the Almighty that has brought us this far.

” ‘Thirty Years of Relative Peace and Stability’….and so what? As critics may rightly ask. It is not an overstatement to indicate that, these three decades of peace and stability have been immensely beneficial, not only to the people of our great ancient La Township, but also to national socio-economic development at large, He indicated.

He however seized the opportunity to thank the Almighty God for how far he has brought them and appreciated the office of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for his assured readiness to help tbem repossess La Lands from the Ghana Armed Forces which were wrongly, forcefully and illegally taken over by the Army.

Ably assisted by the La Traditional Council Members, Nii Dr. Kpobi Tettey Tsuru lll, said, “However modest it may seem, we have been able to chalked some achievements. Prominent among such milestone achievements are as follows;

• Municipal Status

Through the relentless efforts of our Traditional Rulers, as well as other prominent La citizens, the La Township has been blessed with Municipal Assembly called, “La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly, LaDMA” for short. This development has created a lot of job opportunities for our people, improved the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry, undertaking a lot of development projects within the Dadekotopon catchment area, and lastly but not all, the recently constructed beautiful La market by the Assembly. All these developments and many more are happening as we speak now because we have had our relative peace and stability.

• Paramountcy Status

In a land where there are fierce and deadly battles among feuding factions with regard to chieftaincy matters, it would be extremely inconceivable, if not impossible, for any government to gracefully bestow on such a township a status of Paramountcy. Thankfully, by God’s Grace, by Allah’s Will, the La State, through the untiring efforts of our Traditional Council and some La citizens, has been given a Paramountcy Status. Simply put, this attainment means a lot for township and local governance administration.

• La Traditional Council Office Edifice

Related to the Paramountcy Status has come the construction of the La Traditional Council Office building. Today, we have such an edifice where we sit in council to receive State Officials, other dignitaries, our citizens, corporate bodies, pressure groups, identifiable bodies, and all other people and individuals as part of our day to day operations and administration. We thus have our peace of mind; the benefits are enormous. This has come about as a result of relative peace and stability.

• Establishment of Community Council

Under our leadership, La Mansaammo Kpee was given parcel of land where it has constructed its office premises, the mentioned Community Clinic, and recently established Radio LATENU on the same parcel of land. These combined efforts of the Traditional Rulers and La Mansaamo Kpee have thus created a lot of employment, income, and revenue generation for the State.

• Establishment of La Presec S.H.S

The heart of the La Township has been blessed with a Senior High School- known as “La Presec”, to cater for the educational needs of our children. The instrumental role played by the Office or the La Chief and traditional authorities is written in gold in the history of the school.

• La State Contributions to National development

Undoubtedly, the La State has immensely contributed towards the socio-economic development of our country. For instance, the La State can boast of the presence of the Airport City Project with its economic benefits to the State, the International Airport, buildings accommodating top-government officials, offering space for the Military, World-class Hotels that can host international State Officials, the Legon University Project, just to mention a few.

• Looking Forward

Library and Computer Lab Project
As part of the 30 Years Anniversary celebration, discussions are underway to bequeath to the La State a befitting, modernized “Library and Computer Lab Project” for our children’s education. Had the drawings been finalized, we would have displayed it here for all of us to see. When we start, where to site it, and when to complete are being discussed as I speak now. The project is being designed to come with a mini-supermarket and a restaurant.

• Establishment of a Teacher Training College

It is my expectation that we strategize to kick-start the process of having a Teacher Training College established not far from the heart of the Township. To this end, we will look forward to receiving further engagements with our state officials and government functionaries present here to have this realized, even for our generations yet unborn.”

GhLA And BAI To Restock Ghana Library

The Ghana Library Authority (GhLA), an agency of the Ministry of Education has signed a partnership in collaboration with Book Aid International, one of the world largest book donor in Accra to begin a book shipment to support Ghana’s public, school and special libraries.

In a release copied to Newsghana.com.gh, the signing of the partnership was as a result of series of meetings between Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) led by the Chief Executive (Ag), Hayford Siaw and Alison Tweed, Chief Executive of Book Aid International .

Mr. Siaw, In April 2018 reached out to Book Aid International in a bid to negotiate a restoration of a broken partnership of more than two decades with Ghana. This was followed with visit by Mr Siaw to London to meet with Book Aid team. Alison Tweed paid a reciprocal visit to Ghana in July 2018 to assess the state of the Ghana library.

The two Executives agreed on the need to revive libraries in Ghana through making available, new and appropriate materials that meet the aspiration of library users in Ghana.

Mr. Siaw, during his analysis, explained that past policies, as well as inertia on the part of the GhLA, have all contributed to the stagnation of growth at GhLA. He was happy to note, however, that the current President, H E Nana Addo Danquah AKufo-Addo, as well, the Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh are all personalities who deeply cherish and have the development of libraries in their immediate priorities.

“Fortunately for the GhLA, our current President has an astounding interest in Education, and he is committed to ensuring quality learning environments for everyone, especially children, hence the renewed commitment to strengthen the public library system to deliver on its mandate Mr. Siaw, affirmed.”

‘’In the past few months, GhLA has created the largest book Processing Unit for any public library system in West Africa. We have established a new Acquisition and Distribution Unit, all in a bid to support the transformation of libraries in Ghana’’. He added.

Alison Tweed after the signing stated that “Book Aid International is proud to be partnering with the Ghana Library Authority as it works to become once more a first class service to the general public. We urge all those who want to read for pleasure or to improve their life chances to use their local libraries, where they will soon find brand new up to date books on all subjects donated by Book Aid International. We commend Mr Siaw, his team and all at the Ministry of Education for this renewed commitment to the importance of libraries for national development”.

Ghana Library Authority will be receiving Books of commercial value of over half a million British pounds per year, unprecedented in recent years of the agency. This will compliment other government investments in book acquisition to resource libraries in the country.

NDC Flagbearer Hopefuls Throws Support Behind Abodakpi For Chairmanship Position

It appears that almost all the flagbearer aspirants of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have expressed their support for the candidature of Dan Abodakpi for the party’s chairmanship.

The flagbearer hopefuls are confident that the party’s quest for effective reorganization, unity and cohesion to win the 2020 election can best be achieved under the chairmanship of Mr. Abodakpi.

They also believe in the restructuring strategy and vision of Mr Abodakpi of healing and uniting the party, reconnect it to its grassroot membership base, and restoring its fortunes for election victory, and pledged their support.

The flagbearer aspirants who called on him separately to express their solidarity and seeking his blessing for their respective campaigns include former President John Mahama, Mr Alban Bagbin, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Mr Sylvester Mensah and Prof Joshua Alabi.

Mr Abodakpi confirmed the visits by the flagbearer aspirants, during a meeting with NDC executives in the Nadoli-Kaleo district of the Upper West region.

He was responding to a question on allegation that he preferred a particularly flagbearer hopeful.

According to him, when elected as chairman, he would support and work with whoever emerges as the flagbearer, to pursue the interests of the party.

“Every one of them has visited me, and we have had good discussions aimed at rebuilding our party,” he said.

2019 Commonwealth Essay Competition Launched By Duchess of Cornwall In Ghana

The Royal Commonwealth Society is delighted to announce that The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2019 was yesterday launched by our Vice-Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to Ghana International School in Accra.

This followed an event that heard pupils read their gold award winning pieces from 2018 and the presentation of certificates by Rebecca Akufo-Addo, First Lady of Ghana and The Duchess of Cornwall.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall announced the 2019 theme ‘A Connected Commonwealth’, which calls upon young people to consider how they can work to use cultural, technological and environmental connections for positive change across the Commonwealth.

Across Africa, nearly 2,000 entries were received in 2018 and we hope to increase this number in 2019.

The Competition is an opportunity for all young Commonwealth citizens and residents, regardless of region, education or background, to share ideas, celebrate their story and have their voice heard – all whilst developing key skills.

The launch is the first in recent memory to take place in an African country, and will raise awareness of the Competition for children across West Africa, particularly those from rural areas. It is one of several engagements in support of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition during The Royal Tour, including a school visit in The Gambia and a literacy event today in Nigeria.

This unique and highly regarded competition aims to challenge young people’s thinking and the means by which they can express their views, using creative forms of writing such as essays, poems, stories or scripts. Since 2010, the Competition has received more than 87,000 entries including almost 12,000 in 2018 alone from 600 schools across almost every Commonwealth nation. Entries to the Competition are judged by 150 pan-Commonwealth volunteers, with winners selected by an expert panel including poets, publishers, scriptwriters and journalists.

The Competition has been managed by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883 and will be open to all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under, until 1 June 2019. A Winner and Runner-Up from both the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a weeklong programme of educational and cultural events, typically including