Saturday, August 29, 2015

The R&E Group site at Adenta 
Residents of SDA, a suburb of the Adenta Municipality in the Greater Accra Region, are groaning with pain over excessive noise and dust being generated by a concrete manufacturing company.
They have therefore issued an SOS to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to come to their aid.
The EPA had earlier warned the company of excessive noise and environmental pollution.
Even though the company claims that it’s doing everything to ensure the safety of the environment, residents say its efforts are not enough.
When DAILY GUIDE visited the place recently, a resident said the banging noise created by the buckets of the trucks when offloading sand and stones, normally wakes them up in the middle of the night or sometimes at dawn.
“The tipping and loading processes of sand, stones and concrete onto the trucks on the company’s premises generate so much dust and noise which affect us greatly. The worst part is that the people work 24 hours. As for the dust, it is so bad that I have to clean my furniture and sweep my rooms all the time,” the resident said.
Another resident, who couldn’t hold back his anger, poured out his frustrations, saying that he found the sitting of such a concrete company in a residential area as unfortunate.
“I don’t understand why such a company would be made to put up such a structure in the middle of a residential area. What is the Environmental Protection Agency doing about this? They work day and night with noise and dust all over the place. We hardly sleep in this neighborhood. The EPA needs to do something about this,” he charged.
But one resident said he was not bothered about the operations of the company, asserting that vehicles that ply the Adenta highway close to the company rather make a lot of noise.
EPA Warning
A report by EPA on the operations of the company – a copy of which is available to DAILY GUIDE – also confirmed that dust and nuisance levels recorded at the southern, western and the northern ends of the concrete batching plant were above the EPA guidelines for residential areas.
The report was based on an environmental quality-monitoring test, which the R&E Group had contracted the EPA to do in order to get an EPA Compliance permit.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that EPA had recommended that the company should ensure that the discharge of raw materials unto the loading hopper was controlled by lowering the sacks containing the raw materials closer to the hopper to minimize the release of dust into the environment.
EPA also directed the company to install enough water sprinklers on their site and raise Geotextile screens which would serve as dust collectors around the batching plant to minimize the level of dust pollution in the area.
Relocation
Most importantly, EPA had also asked the company to relocate from its current site when its lease permit expires in December 2017.
Company’s Reaction
When DAILY GUIDE visited the site on Tuesday, Kennedy Amoako, External Relations Officer for R&E, said based on the report they received from the EPA, his outfit had also conducted a survey involving some residents and was trying to address some of the concerns raised to minimize the negative impact of its operations.
“Since we received the report from the EPA, we have been installing machines and trucks that meet European standard. These new machines generate less noise. We have also installed the dust screens and the sprinklers that EPA directed us to do. We are making everything possible to make sure that our neighbours are happy with our operations,” Mr Amoako said.
He however, denied that his outfit operates 24 hours.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Group photograph of award winners with the CEO
Metropolitan Group of Companies has rewarded its employees at an awards ceremony dubbed, ‘Night of the Stars’ in Accra.
The three employees, who excelled in the year under review, will embark on an all–expense paid trip to Cape Town, South Africa.
Patrick Tekpor was adjudged Best Performing Link Officer while Vida Bervell won the Best Performing Corporate Accounts Manager.
Patrick Quarcoo was also adjudged Best Sales Agent.
The hardworking winners would also visit the parent company of Metropolitan – MMI International at Parc du Cap in Belleville to interact with colleagues and learn how to improve their performance.
Speaking at the event, Alhaji Dr. Abdul Rashid Pelpuo, Minister in-charge of Public Private Partnerships, stated that the government has done a lot to improve the fortunes of the private sector and would do everything possible to strengthen the private sector, especially players in the financial services sector to ensure that they help grow the nation.
Dr. Pelpou said measures were being put in place by government to ensure an improvement in the country’s economy for businesses to thrive and propel the growth of the nation.
He added that the insurance and pensions trustee companies were important players in the economy because they mobilize critical funds for investments and “these funds are also needed to help in the provision of infrastructure and for the development of the country.”
He applauded Metropolitan for helping to develop the financial sector in the country and providing employment to many youth.
The CEO of Metropolitan Life Insurance and Executive Director of Metropolitan Health Insurance and Metropolitan Pensions Trust, AJ Kruger, said although new ideas such as Bank Assurance were gaining root in the industry, the penetration rate was still low.
“It has become imperative to motivate the sales channels to take advantage of the low penetration to ensure the ultimate benefit to clients, Metropolitan companies, the industry and the Ghanaian economy as a whole,” he said.
Mr. Kruger added that the current economic downturn was posing many challenges to businesses, including the insurance sector.
“The need for insurance and savings products to cover the risks of the unknown becomes even more imperative in challenging economic times.  The need to provide for inevitable occurrences such as death or disability and the need to provide for future expenses such as a child’s education, health, income protection for the family, as well as planning for retirement do not reduce with a reduction in the growth rate of the economy. On the contrary, the importance of these needs is highlighted during difficult times,” he said.
He therefore urged the sales teams to take advantage of opportunities to assist clients plan adequately for their financial wellness through the companies’ various wellness solutions.
Gras Savoye Limited was also awarded the Best Broker for the year while All Risk Consultancy Limited placed second.
Various awards were presented to back-office and support employees, who excelled in the past year.
Peter Quarcoo of the Koforidua office emerged the Overall Best Retail Sales person for the year while the Life Corporate team of Emma Ocansey and Vida Bervell won the corporate award.
Other winners were Daniel Doe, Best Zonal Manager and Seth Sorgah, Best Branch Manager.
James Baiden–Amissah, Rita Zongbil and Daniel Sackey were adjudged best workers for Life, Health and Pensions operations respectively.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Prof. Dr. Bour
Prof. Dr. Daniel Buor, outgoing Vice Chancellor for Valley View University (VVU) has called on the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to apply stringent measures on all who are found to be in connection with leakages of examination questions.

According to him, WAEC needed to ensure strict control in their dealings to prevent the examination process from compromise.

Prof. Bour who made this call at Association for Educational Assessment in Africa (AEAA) conference in Accra on Monday, said strategies must be adopted quickly to overcome the  social cacophony and menace that  leakage of examination papers bring about.

“Corruption has worked into the fabric of society, such that, it is weaving into the training process. The collapse of moral standards could compromise quality. There is the need for a search for new models and strategies that would break through creeping compromises and ensure quality,” he stated.

He added that the recent trend in leakages of examination questions were induced by the desire for material benefits which in turn compromised on the quality of training in educational institutions.

Prof. Bour disclosed that majority of Ghanaians blame examination leakages on WAEC with the suspicion that the main source of leakages was WAEC’s strong room where examination questions are printed.

“The role of social media in the heated saga cannot be underestimated. The social media network easily spreads leakages from a source to a wider geographical space making the problem very difficult to address,” he said.

He recommended that that the long chain that examination papers go through before they get to their final destination must be shortened by decentralizing the printing of examination questions in the various regions.

The Minister for Education, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang said the leakages of examination questions were generally caused by individuals who worked at WAEC. Such individuals she pointed out needed to be identified and brought to justice.

“All efforts to improve quality of assessment could be undermined by examination malpractice ranging from leaks through irregularities committed at exam centers. Validity and reliability are affected when outcomes are not based on abilities and independent work of students taking the test,” the Minister emphasized

She urged WAEC to engage the public constantly on the detriments of such a criminal act.

It would be recalled that early this year, WAEC cancelled 5 papers from Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) after they realized that questions had been leaked and were circulating on various social media platforms especially Whatsapp. In a quest to control the situation, the examination body quickly called for a re-sit of those papers.


The main purpose of the event which brought together various representatives across the globe was to promote co-operation among examining and assessment bodies in Africa.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

From left: David Osafo Adontenh and Ing Obiri-Yeaboah
THE NATIONAL Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has officially launched the fifth edition of its National Road Safety Awards (NRSA) to reward transport operators, journalists and other road users.

According to Ing May Obiri-Yeboah, Executive Director for (NRSC),  the event which is slated for November 13 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, has been repackaged to respond to emerging trends and also to whip the campaign on the  need for road safety environment.

The main purpose of the event, she told journalists in Accra on Tuesday, is to get operators to understand and exercise safety policies and standards in their operations for a reward or recognition.

“Road traffic crashes are responsible for an average of 2,000 deaths a year. Almost 60 percent of crash victims are within the productive bracket of 18-55 years. This situation impacts us negatively. The sad reality is that these crashes are avoidable if   we apply some diligence to hire the right driver with the right attitude and training. This and many other reasons justify the need for the Road Safety Awards,” Ing Obiri-Yeboah stated.

The award event which was instituted in 2010 has nine categories ranging from the Best Road Safety-Oriented, Best Driver Award, Best Road Safety Journalist Award and Best Commercial Passenger Transport Organisation, among others.

She urged journalists in the print, radio and TV categories to submit their stories on road safety published in the local or international media between August 15, 2014 and August 15 this year to win in the  Best Road Safety Journalist Award category.

“It is our expectation that the media will continue to demand accountability from all of us stakeholders in road safety management. Since, the introduction of the award, media reportage on road safety has seen improvement in the frequency and content. Journalists are getting interested in road safety accountability stories and that is encouraging,” the NRSC boss said.

This year, the awards committee is collaborating with Origin8, an integrated marketing communications agency, to organise the event and help project the outcome for significant impact.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dzifa Attivor
Minister of Transport, Dzifa Attivor says about 75 percent of tyres imported into the country are used tyres and are also sub-standard.

According to the Transport Minister, most of the tyres have either exceeded their manufacturers’ guaranteed age threshold or have a reduced life span.

At a dialogue session to  discuss the enforcement of Regulation 62 of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012, LI 2180 with stakeholders in Accra recently, Mrs Attivor stated that the use of sub-standard ‘second hand’ tyres increase the risk of accident by 30 percent.

“The use of sub-standard tyres in Ghana increase the risk of crash occurrence by 30 percent by reducing braking capabilities of vehicles , and the probability of accidents in wet conditions. Studies also show that over 15 percent of vehicles involved in fatal crashes had some form of tyre defect prior to the crash. 3 out of 4 tyres sold in Ghana are used tyres,” she said.

She added that the responsibility of ensuring that vehicle tyres of only standard quality and safety are used in Ghana requires a concerted effort of all stakeholders including the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), tyre dealers and vulcanizers among others.

Regulation 62 of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012, LI 2180 which is expected to be implemented by September this year would ensure that tyres imported into this country are pneumatic tyres manufactured for use in hot and normal weather areas. Under the LI, a person who drives a vehicle shall ensure that that the vehicle is fitted with tyres that meet the required standards.

Attivor said government was considering the introduction of 20 electronic scanning devices known as Shearographers at the country’s ports to assist in the detection of bad tyres imported into the country.

Ing. Mrs. May Obiri-Yeboah, Executive Director for NRSC in her address said her outfit through the Ministry of Tranport was working tirelessly to sensitize stakeholders as well as the general public on the impending ban on the importation and use of sub-standard tyres as the Road Traffic Regulations 2012, LI 2180 defines.

David Osafo Adonteng, Director of Planning and Programs at NRSC advised drivers and tyre dealers to look out for the manufactured date on tyres before they buy them because tyres –whether new or used- become unusable 4years after its manufacture.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Muazu Issaka
Muazu Issaka, the younger brother of the late Adams Mahama has called on the judiciary and the police to administer justice in prosecuting the gruesome murder of their beloved brother.

According to Issaka, who is also the spokesperson for the Adams family, the untimely death of his brother was a big blow to the family therefore finding and convicting the murderers would bring some relief to the family.

“We as a family are pleading with the judges at the court and other stakeholders to help us get justice for our brother. We want to know who is behind the death of our brother. We want to know who sent the suspects and why he sent them or why they decided to kill our brother,” Muazu Issaka said.

He continued : “We the entire family, we are really confused, his death shocked us because we were not expecting it but we take consolation in the only verse in the Quran which says ‘It is  God who gives and it  is He who takes”.

Adams Mahama had acid poured on him by two assailants and was confirmed dead at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in May this year.  The motive and masterminds behind the murder are yet to be ascertained.

Currently, Gregory Afoko – brother of the national chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Paul Afoko- and one Musah are before court for allegedly intentionally and unlawfully causing the death of Adams on May 20, 2015 at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

Muazu Issaka asked the national chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Paul Afoko to step aside and allow the law to take its course since his brother, Gregory Afoko is the principal suspect in the murder case.

“I want to appeal to the NPP that if Paul Afoko the national chairman of NPP believes he is not aware of what happened to our brother then I beg him to hold himself aside. He should not be intervening in the matter. It is really hurting that till now the guy has not been remanded but he is still in police custody. We are not happy at all,” he stated.

In another development, Muazu Issaka discredited a media report which sought to suggest that the Adams family had a clash with the Afoko family in court.

He said he and his family had left the court peacefully before the scuffle began on Tuesday.

“We have been hearing from the media that Adams Mahama family and Afoko family clashed at the court to insinuate that we were fighting at the court. I was in court today and it was never true.”


“After the court hearing, we –the Adam family- left but before we went into our car, we saw a lot of people insulting each other but they were not our family,” he noted.
Samuel Thompson Essel
Samuel Thompson Essel, Chief Executive of Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), says criminals have currently invaded the Mobile Money platforms to perpetrate their illegal trade.

According to FIC Boss, the Mobile Money platform might be the next big challenge in dealing with money laundering if telecommunications companies and financial companies do not put serious security measures in place.

Speaking at a workshop yesterday in Accra on cash handling and security, Mr Essel stated that the registration of SIM cards by the telecommunication companies had not entirely prevented criminals from accessing mobile networks for their fraudulent activities.

The cash handling and security workshop is an annual event designed to create the platform to bring stakeholders within the cash handling ecosystem together to deliberate on challenges and best practices to enhance cash handling and management within the financial services and other allied sectors.

“Currently, criminals operating on the internet have resorted to the use of mobile money payments to perpetrate their illicit trade.  Issues of identification of Mobile Money patrons–both physical and electronic identity will thus become a major challenge in combating money laundering if stakeholders do not marshal forces to adequately regulate this sector,” he said.

He added that efforts being made by stakeholders to ensure uniformity of customer identification procedures on the mobile money platform needs to be commended.

“In particular, effectuating the provisions of the National Identity Register Law, 2008 (Act 750) with respect to mandatory use of the national identity card in conducting transactions and registration of SIM is very crucial. Accordingly, the National Identification Authority (NIA) needs to shore up its operations to achieve the desired mandate,” he noted.

Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Founder and Principal Consultant at e-Crime Bureau, also disclosed that it was important to create awareness of the risk that the Mobile Money platform poses in order to put the necessary mechanisms in place to avert any unforeseen events relating to security.

“Security implications of mobile money have to do with identity of mobile money patrons. “We have instances whereby criminal suspects have actually used fraudulent documents to register SIM cards and other things. We need to come to terms to know what is coming in the industry so that we stay one step ahead of the fraudster,” Mr Antwi-Boasiako said.

He said the electronic platforms required constant monitoring and auditing to ensure that they are fit for purpose.


“Security is work in progress. We also need to be aware of the emerging dimensions, share best practices on how to prevent and detect some of these issues. The risk we are exposed to is technology like hacking threats, software configuration issues and insider related attacks, among others,” he disclosed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Walter Nunez-Rodriguez
Chief of Party for USAID Ghana, Walter Nunez-Rodriguez, has thrown his weight behind the inception of the Crop Varieties Licensing Policy saying that would promote agricultural development immensely.

According to the USAID Ghana boss, the policy would provide an effective and efficient industry to address the many aspects that are hindering agricultural development.

Speaking to BUSINESS GUIDE at a crop varieties licensing workshop in Accra, he said the licensing would help define the language and format of licensing contracts between the country’s National Agriculture Research Organizations (NAROs) and seed enterprises.

“Crop Varieties Licensing has to do with the capacity of delegating to third parties the possibility of multiplying foundation seeds. Once we have sound, vibrant, effective and efficient seed industry, the many of the aspects that are hindering agricultural development can actually be solved.

“Seed is an input that is part of the important course element into the production sector so by providing improved seeds at a competitive price, farmers become more competitive,” Nunez-Rodriguez said.

He said when the licensing procedures are well in place that would be an input into developing the seeds industry in Ghana.

The Crop Varieties Licensing Policy would multiply actors in the seed industry which in turn would multiply seed availability.

The USAID Ghana boss said the many of the aspects of the policy needed to be strengthened as also is the connection between producers and researches.

“Once this happens, and there is a licensing manual, then eventually the availability of improved seeds would be increased,” he said.


The workshop brought together representatives from the Ghana Seed Inspectorate Service, Seed Industry Associations and the Crop Research Institute (CRI) among other stakeholders.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Walter Nunez-Rodriguez
Chief of Party for USAID Ghana, Walter Nunez-Rodriguez, says with the inception of the National Seed Policy, the seed industry in Ghana will attract foreign investments.

According to the Chief of Party, the USAID has been working closely with the National Seed Council (NSC) to provide assistance to improve the seed industry and increase investment in that sector.

Speaking to Nii Ogbamey Tetteh at an inception workshop for NSC in Accra recently, Mr. Nunez-Rodriguez stated that Ghana is well positioned to meet the needs of countries in Europe, as well as US through the seed industry.

“Ghana has the potential to attract foreign investments for seed adaptation and variety release, among others. We are working and would be working with the NSC on strengthening those regulations to actually improve the environment to increase private sector investment. But of course, it is up to Ghanaians to develop that potential,” he said.

The NSC has been mandated to oversee the implementation of the National Seed Policy, (Seed Act 803, 2010) and regulations concerning the seed industry in Ghana.

NSC’s board, chaired by the Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), has been mandated to regulate and provide guidance for seeds development in Ghana.

“Our task is basically to support the technical knowledge of the law and respond to the demands to comply with the roles as provided by the law. We are also here to support and provide assistance to ensure that the NSC does what the law wants you to do.

“But the most important area of support has to do with capacity building with training, providing technical assistance to access compliance with the law to device mechanisms to improve seeds development. Part of the objectives of this event has to do with identifying those technical needs,” Mr. Nunez-Rodriguez said.

Emmanuel Asante-Krobea, Director of Crop Services at MoFA, said the policy would address bottlenecks in the seed sector, as well as tackle some fraudulent activities in the sector.

“As we develop as a nation, we really look at gaps and things that we have to take into consideration and find solutions to these so that development can go on smoothly. One area which we were lacking as a nation was that we didn’t have a policy in place to guide the seed industry,” he said.

He added that the policy would also make the entire seed value chain efficient.

“When we say seed value chain, we are looking at the farmer who grows it, the researcher who breeds it to the one who markets it. All these people have challenges within their work environment.

“Efforts have been made to ensure that farmers get good seeds to plant so that the yields would be good and economically viable. It means there should be some guiding principles and these guiding principles are what we have put together into a document and referred to it as seed policy. It is to guide all stakeholders in the seed industry –both public and private,” he said.

He disclosed that the policy would ensure that farmers obtain very good seeds to plant to boost yield.

“Their production would be cost-effective and they would be able to make much income. It will also help us as a nation to ensure that we are food secure. That is exactly what the seed policy document wants to achieve,” he said.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) has ranked Ghana first among 23 African countries for implementing most road safety action plans developed within the framework of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety initiative.

According the ECA, Ghana’s ranking meant that the country had fully implemented the mid-term of the decade-long global initiative with all of its commitments within the context of its national blueprint, the National Road Safety Strategy III (2011-2020) and the African Road Safety Action plans.

The Mid-term review report which was released in Addis Ababa recently sought to assess the extent to which African countries have implemented the African road safety Action Plan since its adoption in 2011.

“Though progress is being made, performance of the Plan based on 5 pillars (road safety management; mobility; vehicle; road users; and post-crash response) has been varying with some countries performing well in some pillars but failing in others, a statement stated.
About 40 percent of countries are in the process of implementing road safety management activities, with more than about 30 percent yet to take significant action to harmonise data formats and use international standards.

Ghana was praised for its efforts at developing a national strategy and the strong coordinating profile of its lead agency the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC)   that had led to the avoidance of duplication and waste of scarce resources.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From left Francis Sallah, Mr Awuah-Darko and Mr Owusu signing the MoU
Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company Limited, Kingsley Kwame Awuah-Darko says the 2015 half-year profit of his outfit is in excess of $21 million.

According to the MD, the 2015 half-year profit was achieved through the hard work of staff, board and management of the company.

Speaking at the signing of MoU on conditions of service between unionized members of BOST and management in Accra yesterday, Mr Awuah-Darko said as part of measures introduced in 2014, his outfit would disburse 10 percent of the profit generated to the staff and management.

“BOST today has moved away from the culture of entitlement to a performance based institution and this has been evident by the various levels of performance bonuses that have not been generated by an individual but by the team collectively. We went from 2013 from having a project loss of about $50 million to 2014 when we started this programme of having product gain of $3.5 million.

“This year, we’ve gone from basically breaking even or making losses historically as a company in general to generating profit in excess of $21 million,” he said.

Mr Awuah-Darko stated that he was confident that union members, staff and management would be highly motivated to effectively deliver and get performance bonuses for themselves.

He added that he was pleased that management and the board together with the union members had been able to finalize the process which started about 15 years ago.

Bernard Owusu, Local Unionized Chairman at BOST, commended the board and management of the company for engaging the unionized members in the re-structuring process which was 90 percent complete.

“Over the past nine months, we, members of the Unionized Staff, have performed well which has brought in bonuses totaling about GH¢700, 000,” Mr Owusu said.

He said they would fully support the Kakra Essamanh-led board in an ongoing corruption investigation at BOST that had led to the interdiction of some general managers and senior staff.

“We are of the view that whoever is found culpable must not be spared but made to face the full rigors of the law,” he said.

Friday, August 7, 2015

From left: Constant Gladzah, Dr Daanaa and Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru
The Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Henry Seidu Daanaa, has asked members of the Ga royal gates to exercise patience and allow the court to rule on who is the rightful Ga Mantse.

According to Dr Daanaa, his ministry found it prudent to appeal to those who enstooled Dr Kelvin Nii Tackie Abia Tackie as the new Ga Mantse on August 2, 2015 to slow down and allow the court process to work.

The installation of a new chief as the new Ga Mantse last weekend has sparked controversy within the Ga State but Dr Daanaa, speaking to the press on Thursday, stated that under the Chieftaincy Act 759, people who are dissatisfied with the entry of the name of any person as a chief in the National Register of Chiefs have the right to challenge such entry before a court of law.

As it stands now, only one name – Nii Adama Latse- is gazetted in the National Register of Chiefs by the National House of Chiefs as Ga Mantse. His position as Chief is being contested in court by a section of Gas who believe that he is not the rightful chief.

“The ministry is therefore appealing to those who enstooled a new Ga Mantse on Sunday, August 2, to slow down so that the court process will work accordingly, considering the fact that the issue of the induction of Nii Adama Latse, whose name for the time being is in the register, is presently before court,” Dr Daanaa said.

He added that though Nii Adama Latse had been sent to court about his position as Ga Mantse, he had the obligation to perform statutory functions as Ga Mantse until the court ruled otherwise.

“In other words, as long as a person’s name remains in the National Register of Chiefs for the time being, he is qualified to perform statutory functions,” he explained.

It would be recalled that in the year 2000 the National House of Chiefs’ research project on the Codification of Lines of Succession to Stool/Skins in Ghana began research into Ga chieftaincy history with the aim to codifying the lines of succession to the Ga Mantse Stool.

“The ministry is again by this medium appealing to all those who matter in the Ga royal estate to exercise patience in the spirit of wisdom of chieftaincy so that it will be possible for the ministry and National House of Chiefs to pursue the Ga chieftaincy research into succession to its logical conclusion,” he added.

The event was attended by Nii Kpobi Tettey Tsuru III, La Mantse and Vice President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, as well as some members of the Ga Traditional Council.
Lawyer Atta Akyea 
Samuel Atta Akyea, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South constituency, has lambasted the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for misappropriating funds meant for the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) project.

The Abuakwa South MP wondered why government was not interested in an initiative that would serve as a   special vehicle to address the economic imbalance between the north and the south but was rather interested in giving money to a  wrong person.

Mr Atta Akyea, who was speaking at the Hawa Yakubu Memorial Lecture at the British Council in Accra, said SADA, which was a powerful arrangement to help the people of the north, was mismanaged leading to the nation being ripped-off deliberately by some individuals.

“This arrangement was so good that everybody, including those of us in the south, believed that we needed to push it so hard for if it happened, the north prospect would have taken care of most problems in the country. The economic potential there is so serious. They gave opportunity for this project to prosper and to develop the north to a gentleman also from the north to partner SADA in order to bring about some prosperity to the place. It turned out to be scam,” he stated.

He lamented the fact that in the heat of the scam, NPP MPs from the north did not speak against what was happening.

“I never saw even from my own party serious members of parliament from the north who said this was bad. But I can tell you that the nation was ripped off. The whole situation was so bad and terrible that we are talking about something in the neighborhood of about GH¢15 million went down the drain in the name of trying to do reforestation and also guinea fowl production,” he underscored.

Women Empowerment

The MP said that it was about time women became bold, stood their ground  and spoke their minds just like the late Hawa Yakubu  did.

“One thing I found about this woman as a politician is her capacity to speak the truth.  When we talk about women empowerment, we should also cry for women who will stand their grounds, be bold and speak their minds. I want to address that the power of being bold, I think defines Hawa Yakubu of blessed memory,” he claimed.

He continued, “A nation where we have all the women in the cemetery and nobody is going to speak up their mind relating to serious matters of national importance would not be consistent with the whole persona of Hon Hawa Yakubu.”

Dr Kwesi Botchway Launching the Report
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) says the implementation of the Capitation Grant scheme has failed to eliminate extra fees and charges at the basic school level.

The Capitation Grant Scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (MOESS) in 2005 with the ultimate objective of abolishing all school levies which were hitherto, hindrances for most children who wanted access to basic education.

But according to a  citizens’ assessment report on the Capitation Grant scheme, about 75 percent of households in Ghana who have children in public basic schools pay some form of levies and charges.

“Some of the levies being charged at the basic school level include examination fee, extra-classes fees, PTA levies, sports and culture, Computer (ICT) fees and utility bills among others,” the report stated.

 Speaking at the launch of the 2014 citizens’ assessment report on the capitation grant scheme in Accra recently, Minister of Education, Prof Jane Naana Opoku- Agyemang, stated that despite the challenges associated with the implementation of the scheme, it has increased gross enrollment from 83 percent in 2004 to 105 percent in 2014.

Prof Opoku- Agyemang said one of the key challenges faced by the Capitation Grant was delays in the release of funds basically due to fiscal and economic conditions often unforeseen and unplanned.

“The objective of the scheme was to remove the barriers posed by school fees but sometimes we get reports of children being sent home to bring such levies. I’m sure some of these things would be reduced if funds meant for the scheme are released on time,” she said.

She urged the Ministry of Finance to release funds meant for the scheme on time to address the various challenges faced by public schools across the country.

Dr. Kwesi Botchway, chairman for NDPC who launched the citizens’ assessment report on the Capitation Grant scheme said the report would help stakeholders  learn about the pitfalls in the scheme and strengthen it to serve its purpose.

“ It is therefore my hope that the findings contained in the 2014 Citizens’ Assessment Survey Report on the capitation grant, will help us learn more lessons aimed at strengthening its implementation and making the necessary adjustments to the scheme so that the benefit of the introduction of the initiative will be maximized,” he noted.

Government introduced the Capitation Grant in 2004 on a pilot basis and scaled it up nationwide in 2005 with a per capita amount of GHC 3.00

Under the Capitation Grant scheme which was introduced in 2009 and implemented across the country during the 2011/2012 academic year, public basic schools in Ghana were entitled to receive GHC 4.50 per pupil every academic year and the funds generated used principally for the day-to-day running of the school.

The scheme entails the school feeding program, free textbooks and free uniforms among others.
(from left) Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Joanna Adamson, Mrs Bawumia and Atta Akyea
Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, wife of the founder of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Jerry John Rawlings says she pushed the agenda that led to getting the late Madam Hawa Yakubu into parliament.

According to the former first lady, despite their political differences, she mobilized women in the Upper West to campaign for Hawa Yakubu several years ago because her husband –Jerry Rawlings had directed her to do so.

Nana Konadu who made this known at the maiden edition of the Hawa Yakubu Memorial Lecture at the British Council in Accra on Tuesday said Hawa Yakubu had become an icon in Ghana and Africa  because of her capacity and capability in the areas of women empowerment and conflict resolution among others.

“The issue of Hawa sometimes pulls on my heart. One day I was preparing for my campaign trail, I got a call from my husband who was in Bawku doing some political work and he said Nana, I have a request for you. He asked me to get my women so we campaign for Hawa Yakubu in her constituency.”

“He said he knew that the NDC had a candidate there but he asked me to get my women to stop campaigning for the NDC man and go campaign for Hawa Yakubu.  I told him that I didn’t know that there were two candidates for us there and he said no not us but it is the woman -Hawa Yakubu- and since you are fighting for women,” she recounted.

Nana Konadu added that she sent a word out to the ladies in that constituency to campaign for Hawa Yakubu and all women on the campaign trail because “we wanted as many women in parliament as we can afford and that should be the objective.”

“That is what we did and we moved all women away from campaigning from the man and they haven’t forgiven me up till today. If we had not been able to push her into parliament, we would not have seen that strength that she had. She may have made it in her constituency maybe but today we are talking about her on the national level. We actually pushed the agenda for her to get into parliament,” she said.

Until her death in 2007, Madam Hawa Yakubu was a staunch member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The Hawa Yakubu Memorial Lecture which was meant to celebrate the hard work and contribution of the former Member of Parliament for Bawku Central was in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of Network of Women in Growth (NEWIG), a civil society group that trains women in skill building and developing self-sustaining attitudes in entrepreneurship.

Nana Konadu urged lawyers and other stakeholders in society to educate the general public on laws that protect women and children in Ghana which would go a long way to affect change in society.

The lecture brought together high profile personalities like Mrs. Samira Bawumia, wife of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP); H.E. Joanna Adamson, Australian High Commissioner and Lawyer Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South among others.

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