Tag: urges

AU Diplomat Asks Regional Blocks to Advance More in Infrastructure

The African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure, Raila Odinga, has urged regional economic blocs in Africa to strengthen efforts of infrastructure development, and thereby achieving Africa’s integration and continental development.

Odinga and the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Mahboub Maalim, on Friday held a brief meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, where the two sides dwelt upon issues related to infrastructure development and connectivity in Africa, according to an IGAD statement on Saturday. Emphasizing the importance of connectivity to spur regional and the continental development, the AU High Representative stated some of the activities he will be undertaking in the coming months, including visits to all regional economic communities such as IGAD. “With the support from the regional organizations like IGAD, I will do my best to raise resources to complete all connectivity projects for free movement of people, goods and services,” Odinga has noted.

Maalim on his part said IGAD remains fully engaged and committed to the realization of the continent’s massive infrastructure and development needs. The Executive Secretary of IGAD briefed Odinga, who was the former Prime Minister of Kenya. “Infrastructure and energy resource development would ensure faster realization of both the AU Agenda 2063 and UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Maalim said, adding that these two are the biggest enablers of development. The Executive Secretary invited Odinga to visit the IGAD Secretariat in Djibouti to further discuss economic integration matters and other issues affecting the region.

The AU appointed Odinga in October last year as part of the pan-African body’s drive to expedite the integration of the continent through infrastructure, in order to promote economic growth and sustainable development. Odinga’s mandate includes mobilizing further political support from member states and the regional economic communities (RECs) and facilitating greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders on the continent, according to the AU.

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Buhari Confident in Election Victory: Urges Campaign Council to Work Hard

President Muhammadu Buhari expressed confidence this morning that he’ll defeat Atiku Abubakar candidate of the PDP at the February presidential election.

“Even though we are confident of winning, I urge you to work as hard as you can so that we can maximize the scale and extent of our victory, he said at the inaugural meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council for the 2019 election.

“I urge you to rise to the challenge of the great expectations this party and Nigerians have for you – and the confidence that I personally have in the ability of all of you to deliver.

“Needless to add, your selection was not easy, because in forming this council, the party settled only for the best.

“You are the cream of the party and I assure you that with the unity of purpose and effective harmony and communication, there is no political opponent you cannot overcome,’’ Buhari said.

Chief Imam Calls for Calm Over Owusu-Bempah’s Revelations

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharabutu, Wednesday urged Moslems in Ghana and beyond to shun any action that would undermine the peace of the nation and bring the image of their faith into disrepute.

In a statement issued by his Office in Accra, the Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu advised them to uphold the Islamic tenets of peace, tolerance and peaceful co-existence with people of other faiths at all costs.

This follows the angry and violent reactions that have greeted the New Year’s Eve pronouncement by the Reverend Isaac Owusu-Bempah, the Head Pastor of the Glorious Word and Power Ministries International, that he had seen a vision, which indicated that the revered Moslem leader could die in 2019.

Rev. Owusu-Bempah, who asked the Muslim Community to pray for the National Chief Imam, also indicated that some other Ghanaian leaders could pass on in the year, according to his visions.

Amidst criticisms across the country over what many call the ‘doomsday prophecies’, some irate youth on Wednesday went to the Odorkor Branch of the Church and vandalized some property on the premise.

They smashed some of the windows of an uncompleted building and pulled down a giant sign post with Rev Owusu Bempah’s portrait, located at the frontage of the church.

A video of their action went viral on social media and got posted on some mainstream portals.

The National Chief Imam, however, emphasised in his statement that Islam abhorred chaotic acts and intolerance.

On the subject of the revelation, the renowned cleric, who is almost a century old, said: “Islam, indeed teaches us that death is inevitable and every soul shall taste death as enshrined in the Holy Quran,” the statement said. “Death is not bound by age or any condition of life”.

Meanwhile, the immediate past General Secretary of the Christian Council, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, has asked church leaders to stop predicting the deaths of societal leaders at their watchnight services and advised the media to stop publicising such messages.

KATH CEO Tasks Journalists to Always Seek Verification

Dr Oheneba Owusu-Danso, Chief Executive of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, has called on journalists to go the extra mile to crosscheck issues that come to their attention before broadcasting or publishing them.

He said the media was an important tool which could make or unmake things happen and it was important for practitioners to always get their facts right and make accurate crosscheck of these facts before going public.

Interacting with a cross section of journalists in Kumasi, Dr. Owusu-Danso, pointed out that reporting on issues, especially those on public health, needed careful appreciation of the facts in order not to create fear and panic among the people.

He praised journalists in the Ashanti region for their continued support to the work of the hospital, which was the second largest referral facility in the country, to deliver quality health care to the people.

Dr Owusu-Danso, said though the hospital faced a number of challenges, it had chalked a number of successes in terms of infrastructure and health care delivery.

He said the hospital would by the end of January next year, installed two new sets of oxygen plants to replace the old one which had been a drain on the hospitals’ financial resources.

Dr Owusu-Danso said efforts were also being made to complete a hostel facility for relatives of patients on admission at the facility.

He called on the media to continue to offer the needed support to the hospital to help promote quality health care delivery to improve the health status of the people.

Assemblies urged to organise frequent town hall meetings

Dr Eric Oduro Osae, a local governance expert has urged Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to hold town hall meetings at the communities to open up to criticism and transparency and not at the assembly halls.

He said once such meetings, meant to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and contribute to the developments of their respective jurisdiction was held at the assembly hall, it restricted attendance.

Dr Oduro Osae therefore called on assembly members to ensure that such meetings were held in the communities to enable the electorates to attend in their numbers, adding that, this would help the assembly members to share ideas and information with their people.

Speaking at a training programme for over 200 assembly members of the newly created municipalities and districts in the Eastern region, he said, assembly members had a role to play in the decentralization system and therefore urged them to “step up their game”.

He charged assembly members to take revenue generation seriously and also lobby for small contracts for artisans in their respective areas so that they can also be taxed for development.

The training was organized for assembly members in the six newly created districts in the region namely Atiwa West, Akroso- Manso- Asene, Okere, New Juaben North and Abuakwa North districts by the centre for Local Government Advocacy (CLGA)

Ms Gladys Gillian Tetteh of the CLGA said the training was to build their capacities in the operations of the assembly on the new Acts and emerging trends in the local governance act to enable them to function well.

Iran tasks EU to act swiftly on nuke deal

Iranian foreign minister on Monday criticized the Europeans for their “slow measures” to salvage Iranian 2015 international nuclear deal.

“The Europeans are acting slowly in the fulfillment of their commitments under the nuclear agreement (officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA),” Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by Press TV.

“We will not wait for them unless they adopt practical steps,” Zarif said.

He emphasized that Iran has many options to deal with the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and would consider them based on its national interests.

Washington withdrew from Iran’s landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May and imposed batches of sanctions against Tehran, targeting Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors.

Iran relies heavily on the European’s assistance against the U.S. pull out of the nuclear deal and their promises to guarantee Iran’s interests under the 2015 accord.

The EU has stressed that it would set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran in light of the U.S. withdrawal from the international agreement. Enditem

Zimbabwean president urges nation to persevere

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Monday that 2018 was a historic year for the country as it marked the start of a process of national renewal and recovery.

In his Christmas message to the nation, the president acknowledged that many will have a difficult Christmas due to economic difficulties but urged the nation to remain resilient and hopeful for a better future.

“There is so much more to be done and there will be further bumps along the road. I am aware that many will have a difficult Christmas. I encourage all of us to be patient, resilient and to work hard in a collective unity, as we create a better, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe for all,” he said.

The president also appreciated the role played by volunteers in helping the needy and less privileged in society.

“I would like to encourage all our brothers and sisters who volunteer their time and energies to help those in need and less fortunate than ourselves. This spirit of volunteerism is a true blessing and should be celebrated by us all.

“As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember to ‘Love our neighbor as ourselves’ and to ‘do to others what we want them to do to us,'” he said. Enditem

WANF Cautions Government Over Drones Project

The West Africa Nobles Forum (WANF) has called on Government to hasten slowly with the implementation of the drone project.

The forum also suggested broad stakeholder consultation, particularly with those who would be at the helm of affairs.

A statement signed by Dr Paul Fynn, President of the West Africa Nobles Forum and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, expressed doubt about the benefits of the project.

The Forum said; “we don’t think the project will benefit those it is intended for, since medical personnel and facilities at the health centres in the hinterlands (areas of operation) are not well equipped for the exercise”.

“Having carefully considered all the issues at stake, the WANF believes a better approach would have been to pilot the project first before up-scaling it, given the varied needs and wants of the health sector, in order to ensure that all loopholes are identified and dealt with, ” it said.

The statement said the concerns by professional bodies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) should be a cause for worry to all Ghanaians, given the state of the country’s healthcare system.

The Forum claimed that the cost of running the entire scheme would rip off the country, given that similar schemes in the past which were dollar-indexed cost far less than the cost of the current drone deal.

WANF urged the Government to suspend the project until it has undertaken broad consultation to get inputs from key stakeholders in order to make the project sustainable and fit into the country’s health policy.

It also appealed to government to allow an independent body to conduct a value-for-money audit to ensure that the country is not short-changed.

Parliament, on December 11, 2018, approved a $12.5-million service agreement for the use of drones to distribute essential medicines and blood to remote areas of the country.

The four-year contract with Zipline Incorporated International’s subsidiary, Zipline Ghana, involves the use of $88,000 per distribution centre per month when fully deployed.

Ghanaian president urges envoys to preserve country’s reputation

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday opened the annual conference for heads of Ghana’s missions, urging them to continue working hard to enhance the country’s image.

Over the last two and a half decades, he said, Ghana has managed to build an enviable reputation as a peaceful, stable country, and a beacon of democracy in Africa.

“It is in our collective interest that we do everything we can not only to preserve this hard-won reputation, but also to attract the investments that will facilitate the structural transformation of our economy, so central to the future prosperity and stability of our country,” said Akufo-Addo.

The theme of four-day conference, which is being attended by all of Ghana’s ambassadors and high commissioners, is “Leveraging Ghana’s Foreign Policy For National Development.”

Akufo-Addo urged the envoys to endeavor to interact with the executive and legislative arms of government as well as relevant stakeholders in their host countries.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said it was her expectation that, after the meeting, the ambassadors would be properly aligned to the foreign policy strategy of the government in order to properly situate their work at their various duty posts. Enditem

Tax expert urges Ghana government to increase mining royalties, scale down corporate tax

Tax Expert, Abdallah Ali Nakyea is urging the Ghanaian government to consider reviewing royalty rate charged mining companies in the country upwards and cut down corporate income tax to improve revenue mobilization.

Speaking exclusively to this reporter at the side lines of a workshop on “addressing shortfall in minerals revenue management” organized by the Institute and Financial Journalists (IFEJ) in partnership with GIZ, Mr. Nakyea observed such a move will enable the government to raise the much-needed revenue to develop resource-rich communities.

According to him most countries which fix high rates for royalties instead of the corporate income tax do so because of certainty.

Mr. Nakyea, who is a Tax Attorney, Solicitor & Consultant said, “In most countries, they have the option of looking at royalties rather than corporate income tax because of the issue of certainty of inflows. So as long as you are where we call the production point, you have a quantity of mineral, you know the market value and then the royalty is calculated on it. You don’t have deductions against it, there are no cost element in determining the royalty.”

He explained there is no certainty attached to corporate income tax hence the state may not be assured of revenue since the companies would have to offset their costs before paying that tax.

“If you take the corporate tax, you are now going to have deductions of allowable expenses, capital allowance and after that it may even throw your operations at a loss and there will be no corporate income tax or it will be left with minimal amount for corporate tax so there are those who advocate that you may have to look at taking royalties and dispensing off the corporate tax.

Others also say the royalty figure should be higher than the corporate tax to balance it so these are options most countries also look at and that is why I said we can also look at it and see which of them is beneficial. We are looking at a win-win situation because royalty is a cost of doing business and mining companies can deduct it as part of operational cost so it doesn’t lose after paying it and that is why I think these are options we can explore, Mr. Nakyea observed”

Countries including Chile, South Sudan, Libya and Zambia the expert disclosed have a fiscal regime where they charge higher royalty rate than corporate income tax in the mining sector and urged the country to consider a similar arrangement to be able to raise enough revenue to improve conditions in mining communities.

Ghana has presently charges mining companies a fixed royalty rate of 5 percent and 35 percent corporate income tax.

According to page 78 of the “Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) Report on the Mining Sector for 2012 and 2013,” the West African country generated a total of US$ 368,864,143 from mining royalties as against a corporate income tax of US$ 456,747,172 in 2013.

In the oil and gas sector, the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) reported on page 28 in its “Annual Report on Management of Petroleum Revenues for Year 2016” that the state generated an amount of US$ 58.23 million from royalties as against US$ 29.55 million corporate income tax.

South African parliament urges joint fight against cash-in-transit heists

South Africa’s Parliament on Monday urged all industry players to join hands in curbing the current spate of cash-in-transit heists.

Parliament will bring together all players in the cash-in-transit industry to discuss effective measures to end the scourge, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police said.

A public hearing will be held the coming Wednesday to discuss priorities, Committee Chairperson Francois Beukman said.

According to the SABRIC, the first two quarters of this year saw a marked increase in cash-in-transit heists, with 159 armed robberies reported.

In the majority of the incidents, commercial explosives were used and the robbers were armed with AK47s and other powerful rifles. In some cases, gangs of up to 20 heavily armed members attacked in broad daylight, using stolen or hijacked vehicles.

In a parliamentary briefing last week, Police Minister Bheki Cele disclosed that some weapons recovered during the cash-in-transit heists belong to police and the army.

“There are SAPS members who have been arrested for cash-in-transit robberies. We won’t sit here and deny their involvement,” said Cele, who listed cash-in-transit heist as a crime of priority.

Parliament has urged law enforcement agencies to directly interrogate the root causes for the current situation and re-assess their analysis and methodology dealing with serious organized crime. Enditem

 

Ghana’s health official urges funding for mental health facilities

Health authorities in Ghana could be compelled to shut down the country’s mental health facilities due to lack of funds to run them, Chief Psychiatrist Kwasi Osei has cautioned.

He said this situation might arise if no secure source of funding was set up for mental health care before June when the relationship with the development partner which has been supporting the sector ends.

“We are not doing well financially, we are still hoping that government will release finances for us. What we are really hoping will happen at the end of the day is that we have our own source of financing,” Osei, who is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority (MHA), told Xinhua on Saturday.

Budgetary allocation for the Mental Health headquarters was about 240,000 Ghana cedis (51,465 U.S. dollars) for last year and so the sector depends heavily on a development partner to sustain service delivery.

The country’s parliament has been delaying the passage of the Legislative Instrument (LI) which is meant to guide the implementation of the mental health law.

The draft LI has in it the setting up of the proposed Mental Health Levy as prescribed by the law setting up the MHA but parliament wants the proposed levy taken out of the LI before it is passed.
The legislature argues that the setting up of the fund was the responsibility of the Minister for Finance as representative of the Executive.

“Now, if we pass it without the levy, nobody is bound to give us money and we will be back to square one. So we are still negotiating to have it passed with the LI. Indeed, if we remove the LI, they will pass the bill soon but we will not want to do it that way,” Osei explained.

In the absence of a secured funding source for the sector, British aid organization Department for International Development (DFID) has been supporting mental health care delivery in the country, but this relationship ends next month.

Among the numerous consequences of this situation is the country’s inability to move away from facility treatment to community treatment where every mental patient could visit a clinic, hospital or health post for treatment when necessary.

Besides, Ghana has also not been able to set up the proposed Mental Health Tribunal where people admitted wrongly could seek redress and the inability to set up the visiting committees which will carry out monitoring and evaluation of service delivery.

However, the most immediate and serious situation is the unavailability of medication at the three psychiatric facilities in the country, Pantang and Accra psychiatric hospital in the capital as well as Ankaful at Cape Coast, about 148 km west of the capital.

“We do not have drugs. The ministry has been trying to procure some medicines for us for about one year but we have not had it procured,” the Chief Psychiatrist said.

Under the circumstances, he said patients were given prescriptions to purchase their drugs from private pharmacies, which was expensive, making mental health delivery not exactly adequate.
As a result, patients relapse very often, thereby destroying their confidence in the system.

There is an average daily intake of 40 patients into the facilities across the country.

“June ending, if we do not have funding, we might be forced to close down the MHA because we cannot run it,” cautioned the Chief Psychiatrist

“A time will come,” he warned. “that the psychiatric hospitals cannot admit patients because they will not have money to feed the patients and could even be forced to ask relatives to come for their patients who are already on admission.”

He warned that this would create a national security crisis if violent mental health patients were let loose into the streets. Enditem

Ghana’s FM urges African countries to constantly fight corruption

Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey on Friday reminded Africans of the need to constantly fight against corruption and impunity if they are to place themselves on a sustainable path to a prosperous and peaceful Africa.

Speaking at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the Africa Day in Accra, Botchwey said as stakeholders in the future of Africa, it is important for the citizens to utilize the opportunity offered by the event to reflect on the past and take stock of the achievements as well as failures of the AU.

Formed in 1963 to promote solidarity among African nations, improve the quality of life for Africans, eradicate colonialism in all its forms, the African Union came into being at a significant historic moment for the continent, especially in an era when a number of the countries were still under colonial rule.

It has become a symbol of the common heritage and identity of Africans in their collective quest for unity, prosperity and development.

The year 2018 has been declared as the African Year of Anti-Corruption.

Botchwey called on African governments to ratify expeditiously flagship AU programs and projects such as the African passport and the free movement of people and the continental free trade area (CFTA) to facilitate the implementation thereof, and to foster holistic integration and unity in Africa.

“As a palpable evidence of our commitment to this cause, Ghana deposited the instrument of ratification to the CFTA at the AU Commission on 11th May, 2018, together with Kenya, to become the first members of the African Union to do so,” she said.

The acting dean of the African diplomatic corps Ehui-Koutoua Bernard, who is also the Ivorian Ambassador to Ghana, also urged member states not to relent in the war against corruption. Enditem

Nigerian official urges more efforts to boost non-oil sector

The Nigerian government should do more to drive activities in the non-oil sector, a top official with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said.

Operators in the non-oil sector were faced with several challenges with infrastructure, funding, high interest rate, technology and skills gap, LCCI Director-General Muda Yusuf said in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub, on Tuesday.

The agriculture sector is faced with a myriad of challenges, including insecurity arising from Boko Haram, lack of fund and climate change, he added.

He called for an improvement in the country’s business environment.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, gross domestic product (GDP) rose 1.95 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of this year in real terms.

Yusuf said the growth rate is still fragile despite Nigeria’s recovery from recession, and that concerted efforts should be made across all sectors to achieve a robust and sustainable growth.

“The economy is not about the oil sector. It is about a whole lot of other sectors that are suffering very serious productivity problems,” he said.

Yusuf also stressed the need to encourage more domestic investors to participate in economic activities.

“Presently, we have an economy in which the foreigners are overruning the locals in almost all sectors which is not good for economic growth,” he said. Enditem

Make rights of children a top priority – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ghana, has urged journalists to protect and promote the rights of children through ethical reporting.

Madam E. Offeibea Baddoo, the Communications Officer of UNICEF Ghana, said maintaining ethical standards was the responsibility of every journalist.

She urged journalists to desist from using images of victims of child abuse in their publications, since they would end up exposing them to public ridicule.

Madam Baddoo, who was speaking at a seminar for journalists on Ethical Reporting on Children, said in Ghana children faced high levels of abuse, violence and exploitation in various forms.

She said strengthening of the Child and Family Welfare System would provide a safe and protective environment for children to grow and realise their full potential.

The seminar, which was organised by UNICEF, was aimed at building the capacity of journalists to report accurately on children and ethnics.

Madam Baddoo said the adolescent age group was a huge challenge, which UNICEF had not done much about.

She said in Ghana one million out of two million girls, aged between 15 and 19 years, were anaemic and they generally got tired easily, were weak, and unable to perform tasks.

Madam Baddoo said they also often did poorly at school and that menstruation and inadequate intake of iron-rich foods contributed to the problem.

“To help address the problem, UNICEF gives out one tablet of folic acid, weekly to girls in its project areas in five regions, namely; Volta, Central, Northern, Upper East and Upper West.”

She said currently their priority areas were inequality, adolescents, and Early Childhood Development.

On Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Madam Baddoo said if every household were to have its own toilet, diarrhoea would be halved and cholera epidemics would be a thing of the past.

“In Ghana, five out of every six people do not have safe household toilets,” she said.

Professor Kwame Karikari, the Dean of the School of Communication Studies, Wisconsin International University College, called for concerted efforts for child protection.

He said there was the need for a holistic approach by all stakeholders such as government, civil society organisations, the media and parents/guardians to protect the legitimate rights of children.

He noted that it was important to ensure that children were freed from all forms of abuses and inhumane treatments.

Top banking executive urges shakeup of Ghana’s central bank

As the Bank of Ghana intensified its efforts to sanitize the country’s banking industry a top banking executive urged the state here on Thursday to split the central bank to enable it play its regulatory and monetary rolls more effectively.

Frank Adu Jnr, Managing Director of Cal Bank one of the leading local banks noted that with the expansion of the financial sector, the Banking Supervision Division (BSD) of the central bank at its current state would not be able to do any effective supervision.

This came after the liquidation of two local banks (UT Bank and Capital Bank) in 2017 the appointment of Administrators for UniBank and the appointment of an Advisor for Sovereign Bank this year by the central bank as the local banks reel under low Capital Adequacy Rations and non-performing loans.

Although the affected banks were accused of bad management practices leading to insolvency, industry watchers also accused the central bank for sitting by to watch the banks go down under.

“I think today, with about four hundred NonBank Financial Services (NBFIs) more than 30 commercial banks, all these other saving and loans companies coming up, the BSD cannot just sit in their offices and be able to supervise them properly,” the MD said.

Speaking during Cal Bank’s Facts Behind the Figures encounter at the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) Adu Jnr was of the view that the BSD will need an army of about 2000 people which would make it a very large institution to be able to do its work.

He argued that Bank of Ghana had been overburdened hence his call for the reforms which would look at its various roles and responsibilities and categorize them so that the Central Bank would retain its core activity of monetary policy formulation and financial stability.

He urged authorities to take a cue from the British experience where the Financial Conduct Authority was split from the Bank of England.

On the shrinking loan books of banks in the era when government of Ghana was seeking to grow a private sector led economy the MD said banks would naturally slow down and shrink their loan portfolios looking at the recent adjustments in Interest Rates.

Adu Jnr said this was not because the banks did not find the transactions but they needed to protect their Balance Sheets.

“Until we adjust properly to these new interest rate levels where we know how much income we are losing we are not necessarily going to go up there and blow up our Balance Sheet by increasing the loan book at a very high rate. We have to tread cautiously,” he insisted. Enditem

South Sudanese leader urges regional support amid peace deal pressure

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Wednesday urged countries in the region to continue supporting Juba amid pressure from the United States to reach peace agreement with rebels.

“For those who are not South Sudanese and they have interfered in our own affairs I want them really to realize their role. There are people who have helped us during the (liberation) war all our neighbors here helped us to fight effectively and I would like them also not to forget what they did to us, now if they get involved in a sinister way we would not be happy with them,” Kiir said on State radio in Juba to mark the army day of liberation.

South Sudan marks May 16, since it was the day when the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) led by the late founder John Garang Demabior launched the struggle for liberation against the Sudanese government in 1983 in the northern Bor town of Jonglei.

Kiir called upon the rebel groups to lay down arms and negotiate with his government.

“We are now having our own people (rebels) who are fighting us. I am calling them to put the guns down and they come to the table to talk. Let us bring peace back to our country we will not bring it back by arms because it will take us long,” he said.

The U.S. and Britain recently expressed frustrations with the warring parties over continued delays on reaching peace agreement to end the more than four years conflict, and the U.S. also criticized South Sudan President for appointing General Gabriel Jok Riak who is indicted by the UN to head the SPLA.

The warring parties are set to discuss at the third round of peace talks on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital where they will be expected to reach final agreement.

“It is not easy to come to Juba by force of arms, even if you manage to come and kick out the current government that is now in Juba. The government also has its own supporters who are lying around, they may go back to these bushes that you (rebels) are using to come back and fight you,” Kiir said.

He also said the ongoing economic difficulty in the oil dependent country will be solved when peace is achieved with rebels, adding that it will be boosted by ongoing exploration for new oil wells amid international appreciation of oil price.

“It’s the war which has now brought this situation but we are hopeful that if the war stops the economy will improve. The oil production will increase because we are now working on how to discover new wells and to increase the oil production,” he said.

South Sudan relies 98 percent on oil to finance its fiscal budget but outbreak of conflict in December 2013 caused oil production to decline from 350,000 barrels per day to 160,000 bpd.
President Kiir said many people died when they were pursuing the right cause of liberation.

“I want to thank our martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation they did not enjoy. Let us work hard so that their sacrifices do not go in vain,” Kiir said. Enditem

Kurt Okraku Challenge Corporate bodies

Mr. Kurt E.S Okraku, chairman of the FA Cup Committee has urged corporate bodies to partner the yearly FA Cup competition, as it represents a unique and thriving product of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

The FA Cup competition remains one of the most prestigious football competitions since its inception in 1958, with Hearts winning the competition 10 times with their arch-rivals Asante Kotoko winning it nine times.

Speaking at the round of 64 draw held at the secretariat of the GFA on Tuesday, the astute football administrator highlighted the significant role played by MTN in rejuvenating the competition with other stakeholders playing their respective roles in making the competition a success.

”I’m sure you will agree with me that this product has been successful over the years especially during its rebirth in the year 2010, not only because we have had a very hard working team but because the FA believes this is a key product of the association and also the support from MTN a proud title sponsors.

”Through the support of MTN, we continue to offer opportunity to all our clubs, referees and our media partners, the entire media landscape and this product has had more leverage by StarTimes. The FA is grateful to MTN and StarTimes and it other corporate bodies to join this amazing story of the FA Cup.

Mr. Okraku who doubles as the President of Dreams FC, also stated the need to give this year’s competition the maximum attention especially with the 2018 FIFA World Cup around the corner.

”At this time of the year, where the whole world is getting ready for the world cup in Russia, it’s imperative that we keep our local products alive and this where I will plead and entreat the media to continue to give us support perhaps more than before as we continue with the FA Cup and other products of the Football Association.

All the 64 teams in this year’s FA Cup competition would earn a basic amount of Ghc1500 with various away teams also supported in their travels to enable them honour the respective matches.

African leaders advised to devote to corruption preventive procedures

Africa needs to invest in corruption prevention strategies if the continent is to achieve sustainable development that will not leave anyone behind, Ms Bience Gawanas, United Nations Under Secretary General and Special Adviser on Africa has stated.

“Corruption is a clear and present threat to achieving a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation,” Ms Gawanas stated at a two-day Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM) meeting at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the weekend, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra through the Economic Commission for Africa.

The RCM meeting was held on the sidelines of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

Ms. Gawanas said preventing graft would help save the continent billions of dollars, adding, graft was not only hindering essential services delivery, but also undermining governments by destroying public trust and eroding the rule of law; increasing inequality and hindering national and local economic development.

Ms. Gawanas said corruption threatened the continent’s peace and security, especially with its youthful population looking for equal opportunity, inclusive growth, decent jobs, good education and health care systems.

“Today’s youth are not ones who will sit quietly when faced with injustice. When governments and institutions loose this public trust because of corruption, they squander hard-fought gains in sustainable development, social cohesion as well as peace and security,” the Special Adviser said.

She said given the global nature of corruption, the UN had a great convening power to help fight the scourge, adding her office will continue to dedicate its resources to finding a cure for graft.

“We need to empower African civil society organizations, the media and ordinary citizens to call out corruption whether it is petty bribery or political corruption,” she said.

Ms. Gawanas explained that more importantly was the need to empower citizens to peacefully demand action against corruption and end the perception of impunity.

In most cases, she said, it is the ‘small fish’ that go to jail while those stealing billions from state coffers and institutions roam free.

“We need to strengthen judicial systems so that they are strong enough to withstand pressure when they go after high profile corruption cases. Governments also need to reward good behaviour and not persecute whistleblowers,” added Ms. Gawanas.

“I have spent all my life fighting for social justice and equal opportunities for everyone. I know very well that corruption is a disease that stands in the way of this worthy achievement and that we have to work together and work harder to find the right cure,” she said.

She commended the African Union for choosing the theme; “Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path for Africa’s transformation” for the year 2018 saying; ‘rooting out the evil of corruption will make Africa a more equitable place and bring us one step closer to the overarching aim of the 2030 Agenda of leaving no-one behind and that of Agenda 2063 of creating the Africa we want’.

Ghana’s Private Sector Tasked to Lead The Socioeconomic Transformation Process

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged the private sector to spearhead socioeconomic transformation in the ECOWAS sub-region.

“Sometimes in fact, many times, governments are too slow. Let the private sector lead the way to catalyse our social economic transformation to improve the business environment, the opportunities for job creation,” Vice President Bawumia remarked on Thursday at the opening of the Ghana Nigeria (Ghangeria) Rising 2018 Conference in Accra.

The event was on the theme: “Harnessing the Business Opportunities in Ghana and Nigeria to Accelerate Inclusive Economic Growth and Development.”

The Ghangeria Conference brought together key investors, businessmen and women, promoters and facilitators, policy makers and regulators, to discuss trade, business and investment opportunities between the two countries, focusing on the experiences, opportunities and the challenges in the agribusiness, banking and finance, oil, power and gas, and information, communication and technology (ICT) sectors of the two countries.

The Vice President said Ghana and Nigeria represented a significant proportion of the economy and population of ECOWAS.

He called for leveraging of the use of resources in each country and the sub-region; stating that “there is no reason that Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea for example, can’t cooperate fully to develop an integrated aluminium industry using energy from Nigeria to drive the processing of bauxite from Ghana and Guinea and to use the alumina to feed the Ghana’s aluminium smelter?”.

“It’s so with bauxite, as it is so with iron ore, energy resources, fertilizer production and agro processing.”

He said Ghana and Nigeria could cooperate to increase their competiveness in the sub-region and to maximise the opportunities that existed for business in an expanded ECOWAS market.

He said economic development concepts of the two countries embraced the private sector development as the cornerstone of economic and sustainable development.

He noted that both governments of Ghana and Nigeria strongly believe that support to the private enterprise was surest and most sustainable means of national economic and social development.
He said the economies and policies of the two countries must continue to support the entrepreneurial efforts of their people.

“This gathering represents to us the assembly of a diversify community, and it is expected to enable us learn at first hand, the initiatives of both countries, to address the barriers to trade, business and investments and propose pragmatic ways to address them together with the business community,” he said.

“We have the opportunity to provide our governments with the necessary feedback and innovative ideas to improve the policy and support environment for business and investment in our two countries,” he added.

Vice President Bawumia said Ghana and Nigeria had the opportunity to change their development paradigm through such engagements by the private sector, innovative thinking, cooperation and leveraging resources for growth.

He said the Government of Ghana had initiated many policies and project aimed at improving the business environment and offering direct support for businesses to thrive.

“We have as our main goal, in moving ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, the main goal therefore is to make Ghana the most business friendly economy in Africa, and we have been working at this very strongly over the last year, this why you have seen major macro-economic stability taking place in Ghana,” he said.

He said Government was working continuously to improve Ghana’s taxation policy to free additional working capital for businesses and to provide relive to consumers.

He said the Ministry of Trade and Industry was working with banks and international finances to mobilise the necessary financial support for the implementation of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme; which was a private sector initiative with the Government facilitating.

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said Ghana was committed to the implementation of all ECOWAS protocols, especially that on the free movement of persons and goods.

Mr Larry Attipoe, Chief Executive Officer, Indegene Associates Limited, said the conference, which would be an annual event, alternating between Ghana and Nigeria, was the birth of a platform for continuous conversation by Ghanaian and Nigerian businessmen and women about business opportunities, practices and challenges in both countries.

Mr Olufemi Michael Abikoye, Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, called for the integration of businesses between the two countries.

Parents cautioned to put their wards safety first

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Andrew Anyani, the Municipal Police Commander for Asante-Akim South, has asked parents to pay more attention to the security of their children.

He said the recent reported cases of murder of children in the Municipality under bizarre circumstances, indicated an emerging trend of child murder in the Municipality.

There was therefore, the need for adequate and strict security measures by parents to protect their children.

They should not leave the children unaccompanied especially in secluded areas in order not to expose them to danger.

Mr Anyani, was addressing members of the Municipal Assembly at its meeting at Juaso.

He said two children were murdered at Yawkwei and Kpone Praso under bizarre circumstances within a spate of one month.

Another child was murdered within the same period at Ohene Nkwanta in the Asante-Akim Central Municipality.

DSP Anyani urged members of the Assembly to educate members in their communities to be conscious about the movement of their children and report any suspicious character in their localities to the police.

He said the police was working around the clock to unravel the two cases while putting in place measures to avert future occurrence and called on the public to volunteer information to enable them fight crime.

He mentioned lack of accommodation as a major challenge facing the police and appealed to the Assembly to address the situation as a matter of urgency.

Mr. Alexander Frimpong, the Municipal Chief Executive, applauded the Municipal Police Command for the relative peace in the Municipality and pledged the support of the Assembly to enhance their operations

AWA urged to render apologies to physically challenged woman

Madam Otiko Afiah Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has urged Africa World Airlines (AWA) to apologise to a disabled woman it prevented from boarding an Accra-Kumasi bound flight due to her disability.

A physically challenged fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Rita Kriba, was on Saturday prevented by a domestic airline, AWA, from boarding, because it had no room for her crutches.

Madam Djaba made the appeal to the Airline on Monday in her address at the opening ceremony of the introduction of a short course on Access to Justice for PWDs at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana (UG), Accra.

The course is being organised by the Faculty of Law, UG, in collaboration with Opened Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

PWDs continue to be excluded from effective participation in justice delivery through two main obstacles expressed in the normative framework – referring to the space laws, both national and international, provide for the recognition of the rights of PWDs – and the institutional framework, which deals with law enforcement and the court systems.

These frameworks translate into access to the law; participation in the justice system as well as legal education and training.

In the light of the above, the course aims at adopting a right-based approach to improve the inclusivity and provide comprehensive access to justice for PWDs, either as direct or indirect participants and whether as victims of crime, suspects, witnesses, plaintiffs, defendants, appellants, remand prisoners and/or prison inmates.

Madam Djaba said: “Today as I speak, an issue was brought to my attention about a lady, who wanted to board a plane and she was denied, because of her disability. The question was where to keep her crutches. Seriously, can’t we keep the crutches in the luggage compartment? Can’t we keep the crutches where the air hostess stands?

“The airline should be compliant for persons with disability (PWDs). So if you cannot comply as an airline, then you should have an alternative means.”

She said in developed countries, there were systems that were automated for PWDs to get on and off planes and vehicles.

“Even the buses in terms of transportation, they have the slopes, the rumps, do we have that with our transport in Ghana? There are places designated for PWDs on public transport in other dispensations.
“And today, Ghana after 61 years of independence, can deny a PWDs from getting on board an aircraft because they had nowhere to keep her crutches,” she queried.

Madam Djaba said: “I apologise on behalf of the Airline, I apologise on behalf of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and apologise on my personal behalf as a Ghanaian. This is unacceptable”.

The Gender Minster said being a woman was a disability in itself to some people and when one was a woman and disabled, and then it was treated as a double jeopardy. Worst still, when one was a woman, who was disabled and uneducated, it then becomes a triple jeopardy”.

She noted that there would be stakeholder’s meeting with Ghana Civil Aviation and the Airlineon the issue.

She said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was the Gender Champion of the AU, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Co-Chair Person; therefore, Ghanaians must also champion the cause of PWDs.

“How do you feel as person, who denies a PWD of her right? This is Ghana at 61 year. We are developing a great nation, and we must be serious about issues. This is the time for action,” she said.

“We will leave nobody out or behind. The airline must apologise to the woman and find means and ways of ensuring that PWDs enjoy access on the flight.”

AU urges commitment of Somali stakeholders for country’s transitional plan

The African Union (AU) has urged all Somali stakeholders to fully commit themselves towards the effective implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan that seeks to transfer security responsibilities from AU troops to the country’s own security forces.

The AU Peace and Security Council has commended the Federal Government of Somalia for finalizing the Plan, with the support of the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which demonstrates the ownership and readiness of the country to take over primary security responsibility.

The council endorsed the Transitional Plan, which includes a timeframe for the transition of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali National Security Forces, as well as their capacity building, according to an AU statement on Wednesday.

“The full implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan is dependent on fully addressing the challenges raised by the Operational Readiness Assessment of regional forces, completion of discussions on the Somali troop generation, training, integration, accommodation, equipment and logistical support for the tasks related to the transition,” the statement said.

The Council has also called for the AU member states and the partners to provide the requisite funding support for the implementation of the Transition Plan.

It has emphasized the urgent need for streamlined and coordinated capacity building for the Somalia National Security Forces, particularly the training support provided to the Army, with clear distribution of roles and responsibilities among stakeholders, including AMISOM.

The Council has noted the importance of an orderly and gradual transfer of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somalia National Security Forces in order not to compromise the gains already made.

It has also emphasized that the Transition Plan should be a living document that should be regularly monitored and reviewed, and upon need, adjusted in light of emerging circumstances and prevailing security and political situations on the ground. Enditem

Journalist advised to adhere to copyright rules

Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, the Chairperson, Editors Forum, Ghana, has urged editors and journalists to avoid copyrights pitfalls in their line of duty by giving credit for other people’s intellectual properties they use.

She said the media profession in Ghana was in dire need of guidance on copyrights; stating that “I would say that most trained journalists here do know about copyright, but it’s not an in-depth knowledge. In fact, we’re quite careless about such matters.”

Ms Yeboah-Afari said this on Tuesday in her presentation at a pre-event roundtable on the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day in Accra.

The pre-event was on the theme “Authors/Journalists Rights in Africa”, was attended by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Executives and senior editors.

Other panel members include; Mr Gabriel Abaglo, General Secretary, Federation of African Journalists; Mr Zakaria Tanko, Journalism Lecturer, Barrister and Copyright Specialists; Mr Korieh Duodu, Barrister and Media Specialist; and Mr Ebo Hawkson, Reporter, Daily Graphic.

The panel discussion sought to develop an African perspective to the issue of copyright in the media.

The objective of the discussion was to put together a practical guide for African authors and journalists on what they need to know about authors’ rights and copyright.

Ms Yeboah-Afari cited that one constant source of friction in the media landscape in Ghana, between print and electronic media, was the rather brazen way the electronic media made use of stories from the print media, usually without giving due credit.

“Even when there is attribution, it is done so grudgingly, that it is difficult for the listener or viewer to appreciate the original source of the report,” she said.

“And because of the way radio or television operates, usually, not only do they steal a print media story, they go ahead and call up the people involved to do live interviews with them.

“That way, to add insult to injury, the effect is that the radio or TV station ends up owning the story that they got to know about through the sweat of a print journalist.”

She said recently, she had to remind two editors about the importance of crediting the foreign material they used, text and photos, because that was ethical; and that if somebody somewhere was using their original work without crediting them they wouldn’t like it.

“Our TV channels do the same with reports from foreign stations. Of course I have no way of knowing if some of them have special arrangements by which they are allowed to use the same video clips and or sound bites that one gets when one watches foreign stations. Maybe they do!

“I should add that the print media are also guilty of liberal use of stories from the foreign press. The only difference, perhaps, is that the print media do credit their sources religiously,” she stated.

She noted that however, with regard to that, the issue was probably not that we want to steal material from the foreign media, but rather that at present none of our media houses had the capacity to operate an office or even a desk in a foreign country – not even the Ghana News Agency.

“Talking about the Ghana News Agency, they, too complain that many times their stories are used without crediting them – and some of the media houses don’t even pay the Agency!” she said.

“But, as has been pointed out, in a digital world, an Internet world where information is so abundant and copying is made so easy, what is to be done?” Ms Yeboah-Afari quizzed.

She said: “Personally, when I was an Editor, if I came across a feature on the site of a foreign media house that I thought might be of interest to my readers, I would try to contact that media house to seek permission to use it.”

She also recalled that when she came across something written by a Ghanaian living abroad, which she thought would be of interest to people of Ghana, she would make the effort to contact them for their permission to use the material.

“I’m not sure that other editors do likewise. But maybe we have had an easy ride for a long time and there might come a day there could be trouble for an editor,” she said.

Nii Yemo calls on La citizens to stand for peace

Nii Benjamin Kojo Yemo, Acting Leshie Mantse, has underscored the importance of peace and unity among the La citizenry as vital ingredients for the advancement of the La state.

He noted that disputes continued to create division among members and as well hampered the progress of the development in the area, therefore, there was the need for them to bury their differences and forge ahead in unity.

Nii Yemo made the appeal at a joint pre-launch ceremony to commemorate the 30th anniversary celebration of Nii Obodai IV, La Mankralo and Nii Yemo Din II, the La Akwashongtse.

He said in the absence of peace, economic activities could be affected since funds earmarked for developmental projects would have to be diverted to maintain the security needs.

The Acting Leshie Mantse said because of the peace they were currently enjoying, it was just beautiful to have such a nice celebration and see the various representatives at the council level, coming together to witness the occasion.

He said it was, therefore, necessary to uphold peace and unity to pave way for the change the La citizens were craving for.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after, the launch, Nii Yemo Din II, said that as a people they would continue to resolve their own issues and would follow that diplomatic approach rather than engaging in violence and creating unnecessary tension within the vicinity.

He explained that the La State had come a long way through the thirty years whereas, outsiders on many occasions tried to mingle in their affairs, but had always insisted that the La people were capable of settling their differences.

Nii Din II, who tasked the citizenry to help strengthen the La state, again urged parents to be responsible for the up keep of their children.

He said there was abuse of drugs in the community; which he described as detrimental to the development of the youth, adding that “we should all try as much as possible to curb it before it explodes”.
Nii Obodai IV in an interview with GNA expressed gratitude to God for his guidance throughout the thirty years.

He also thanked the elders particularly those who installed him and urged all the citizens of La to exercise patience and approach the traditional council for clarity on issues they do not understand.
Nii Obodai IV admonished the people not to allow self-seeking persons to divide their ranks, and should at all time resort to dialogue during disputes.

Among dignitaries who graced the occasion were Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei, Member of Parliament for La Dadekotopon Constituency, Nii Kwartei Kojo II, Ga Mashie Akwashongtse and Mrs Gladys Mann-Dede, the La Municipal Chief Executive.

Ghanaians urged to support governments against illegal mining

Prophetess Tina Essel Agbodo, Founder of the Oasis of Joy International Fellowship, has called on Ghanaians to support the government in its efforts to fight illegal mining.

She described illegal mining as an evil act which needed to be stopped or would plunder the nation of her natural resources.

Prophetess Agbodo was speaking at the end of a three-day ‘Fruit of the Womb’ conference at Haatso in Accra.

The conference dubbed ‘I Shall Not Die’ is aimed at praying for the barren as well as praying for peace and the development of the nation.

Prophetess Agbodo stressed that illegal miners were wicked citizens who sought the destruction of the environment for their personal interest.

Lamenting the destructive nature of galamsey to the country’s water bodies and vegetation, she stated that people engaged in such activities were even more wicked and dangerous than murderers.

‘In all let us think about the future of the country and the generations to come’, Prophetess Agbodo said.

She called on the citizenry to put the interest of the nation first and desist from attitudes and activities that would destroy it.

Prophetess Agbodo commended the government for the Free SHS initiative saying that it had opened the door for many Ghanaians who could not have attained Free SHS education and urged the youth to rely on God to solve their problems instead of resorting to ‘Sakawa’ which had eaten deep into many youth in the country.

She urged religious leaders to desist from negative tendencies that may bring the clergy into disrepute.

Zambia trade union urges government to address growing income inequality

A trade union on Friday urged the Zambian government to comprehensively address the growing income inequality in the country.

In remarks ahead of the commemoration of the Labor Day which falls on May 1, the Zambia Union of Financial Workers and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) said it was unfortunate that while workers were continuing to be poorly paid, employers were reaping all the benefits.

“The term working poor should not exist in this country. The focus of our leaders should be to make sure that anyone who wants to work can find a quality job and provide for themselves and their family. The labor market should be such that it should help workers better plan for retirement so that after years in the workforce people can enjoy the fruits of their labor,” Chingati Msiska, the union’s general secretary said.

The government, he said, should intensify steps such as labor inspections to ensure that workers were treated and compensated in ways that reflected the effort they put in.

He has since urged stakeholders to use the Labor Day occasion to reflect on the immense impact Zambian workers have had in shaping the country.

According to him, the trade union movement will not relent in fighting for and advocating better conditions of service as it believed that a motivated worker was a productive worker.

Zambia will on May 1 join the rest of the world in commemorating Labor Day whose theme is “Building Partnerships for Sustainable National Development through Decent Job Creation and Social Justice.” Enditem

Mrs. Bawumia urge women to sharpen their competitive skills

The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia has urged women to broaden their horizons in knowledge and acquisition of valuable skills to make them competitive and to improve their chances of wielding influence and taking up leadership positions.

She said education was key to unlocking potential and women must take it upon themselves to push the boundaries and break frontiers.

“It is not enough to sit and wait, hoping that the tides will change. We must dictate our own progress, and it is through education that we become open to the countless possibilities available to us,” she said.

Mrs Bawumia was speaking at the 5th Anniversary Celebration of the Forestry Commission Ladies Association (FCLA) in Accra on the theme: “Empowering the Forestry Commission Woman; Five Years of FCLA.”

She said it was in recognition of the importance of education that the Akufo-Addo led government instituted the Free SHS initiative to ensure that all children and especially girls’ get access to education to enable them become global competitors and empower them in the process.

Mrs Bawumia said creating and improving access to opportunities was another way through, which women could rise to the top and said government was working assiduously to achieve the appointment of women to at least 30 percent of available public office.

“Opportunities abound but we must seek them out and take advantage of them. This means that you must look out for growth opportunities within the organisation, or within your department and take the steps to improve yourself so that you can readily apply for and fill these positions,” she said.

Mrs Bawumia urged the Forestry Commission Ladies Association to create a mentorship programme, which seeks out young girls and women in secondary and tertiary institutions to enlighten them on opportunities available to them.

“The association can even go further by creating internship opportunities and organising seminars to whip up interests. This way, you influence the future of the Forestry Commission while empowering young women,” she said.

She asked the members to challenge themselves and your leadership to do more, to reach more people and to contribute to the progress of the organisation and the nation as a whole.

Mr Kwdwo Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive of Forestry Commission, said the Association urged the Ladies Association to assess work done so far and explore ways how it could help improve and win more women into the forestry field.

He pledged his unflinching support for the ladies to rise up the academic ladder and to help enrol in other capacity building programmes to hone their skills for the various offices.

Mrs Roselyn Fosuah Adjei Zuta, President of the FCLA, said the Association had engaged in numerous activities nationwide to sensitise stakeholders on the mandate of the Commission in Forest and Wildlife Resources Management and how they could contribute effectively to the attainment of the mandate.

Architects Institute asks members to be truthful

The Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA) has urged members to uphold truth as the corner stone of their profession.

Mr Joseph E. Hayford, outgoing President of GIA, reminded architects that they were called to be members of the GIA, an institute that upholds the truth at all times.

“Truth is at the heart of the endeavour of consulting or advisory service, without which it loses its ‘raison d’etre’ or its logos. Our profession cannot stand without truth at its heart. We cannot profess to advise when our advice is dimmed possibly inimical to the interests of our clients. If truth leaves us, we are redundant,” he said.

Mr Hayford said this at the opening of the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the GIA in Accra on Wednesday.

“The truth is reflexively practiced from the will and all human beings are endowed by their maker with a will to choose or reject the truth,” he added.

The two-day meeting is on the theme; “Truth and Excellence in Professional Practice,” and marks the threshold of the departure of Mr Hayford’s led-administration and the current Council.

The outgoing President urged the members to enact the theme for the 2018 AGM as a motto for the GIA.

Mr Hayford said: “The world we live in itself is gripped with a high-minded obfuscation of truth born of relativism and our profession appears, in present times, to be suffering from this virus of a mindset. The symptoms are clearly discernible: Truth is lacking.”

“We find ourselves and our country in quite disconcerting times; times when the ethics of the consulting profession have been called into question over a number of unsavoury events that have caught the imagination of the public; events which have laid suspicion at the door of Consultants’ in the Building Industry.”

He noted that as professionals, they were called to a moral obligation; and that “this moral obligation is premised on truth. Let us, therefore, render the prefect service we are called to give to our clients.”

“Let our service be obedient to the tenets and ethics of our profession, always in obedience to the bye-laws of the Ghana Institute of Architects.”

Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, in a speech read on her behalf, urged architects and other professionals to comply with the laws and regulations guiding their profession to ensure excellence and productivity for Ghana’s socioeconomic development.

She said architects contributed immensely to the socioeconomic well-being of Ghanaians, because what they provide for governmental, private and business as well as residential facilities make all the difference.

Mr Julius Attor, a former President of GIA, delivering the AGM lecture on the topic; “The Strategic Role of the Architect in a Troubled Construction Industry since Independence,” said abandoning of previous government’s projects by succeeding governments was the bane of Ghana’s development.

Ghana’s universities’ curricular needs review

President Nana Akufo-Addo has appealed to universities in the country to take another critical look at their curricular with the purpose of producing entrepreneurs to help ensure the country’s economic development.

President Nana Akufo-Addo, whose speech was read on his behalf by Mr Mohammed Awal, Minister for Business Development during a special congregation of the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale on Wednesday, said “I want us to produce graduates, who can fit into the economy and manage our country’s resources to meet the expectations of our people.”

The special congregation climaxed the three-day Africa Leadership Lectures, an annual event introduced by the UDS in 2013, to facilitate and create an environment for a discourse on leadership as well as provide a platform to inspire positive and innovative leadership.

This year’s lectures, the sixth in the series, delivered by Mr Pedro Verona Rodrigues Pires, Former President of the Republic of Cape Verde, focused on topics including “A Vision of the Struggle for Liberation from Colonialism, A Vision of the Construction of Sovereign States, and African Challenges.”

As part of the special congregation, the UDS conferred an honorary Doctorate Degree on Mr Rodrigues Pires in recognition of his selfless commitment to the service of his country, and his courageous struggle for the emancipation of the people of Cape Verde.

Mr Rodrigues Pires served two terms as President of Cape Verde from 2001 to 2011 and in 2011, he won the Mo Ibrahim Award for Achievement in African Governance.

A total of 263 students graduated with Masters Degrees in various fields while six others also graduated with Doctorate Degrees.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said “We need graduates with competencies to find solutions to our challenges, who will help solve the problems, who will think deep outside the problems and who, will challenge the status-quo and bring improvement in the living standards of our people.”

He assured of government’s continued support for the universities in the country expressing confidence in the graduates of UDS that they were well-armed to serve the country honestly by coming up with solutions to her challenges.

He said government recognised the important roles, university education played in the development of the country more importantly as it was driven by knowledge, information and ideas assuring that government would continue to support tertiary education in the country.

He commended UDS for instituting the Africa Leadership Lectures and urged it to carry on with the discourse on good governance and leadership on the continent.

Professor Gabriel Teye, Vice-Chancellor of UDS said the issues of funding tertiary education in the country was a major challenge adding funding for public universities had been dwindling over the years affecting vital activities including staff development.

Professor Teye called for useful solutions to funding tertiary education in the country urging private sector and individuals to support the universities to train the needed manpower for the development of the country.

Mr Rodrigues Pires expressed gratitude to UDS for the honour done him promising his commitment to promote UDS in his country and the world at large.