Thursday, April 30, 2015

Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah
Minister for Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, says Ghana’s oil and gas sector presents an exciting prospect despite the current global outlook.

He said Ghana, in its quest to be the hub for oil and gas activities, has put in place the necessary legislative framework and institutional structure to simplify oil and gas business transactions in the country.

Mr Buah, who was speaking at the opening of the 6th Annual Oil & Gas Summit in Accra on Wednesday, said the new Petroleum Exploration & Production Bill 2014, which is currently before Parliament, would strengthen the management of our petroleum resources.

“Two projects, the Tweneboah Enyeara and Ntomme (TEN) and ENI Sankofa projects are being developed steadily and are poised to deliver first oil in the last quarter of 2016 and that of 2017 respectively,” he stated.

According to him, the gas discovery in ENI Sankofa projects would provide the critical infrastructure that would deliver gas for the catalytic development of the country’s economy.

“The ENI project, which is a major gas project, will deliver gas for the catalytic development of our national economy. We are proud that we can now feed our power plants with indigenous gas. This will among other measures certainly go a long way to cure the power challenges we have been facing and bring stability to our power supply,” he added.
From left: Casely-Hayford, Franklin Cudjoe and George Andah
OccupyGhana has called on all Ghanaians, especially workers to wear red attire on May 1 in protest against the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for subjecting workers to harsh living and economic conditions.

Sydney Casely-Hayford, a leading member of OccupyGhana, who was speaking at a press conference, hinted that “we are asking that the significance of May Day on this particular May Day should be shifted, let it become a voice of protest and a voice of complaint to the government.

“Let them understand clearly that as much us we are not going to walk the street attempting to destroy anything and create mayhem, we are at least going to register our protest by making sure that we symbolise the day with something red.

“A red shoe, a scarf, a red pair of earrings, pair of socks, anything that we can think of that would enhance that day.”

Speaking on the theme: ‘Red Friday on May Day’, he said government’s refusal to reduce fuel prices at a time when world oil prices had been drastically reduced by more that 50 percent was also a major contributing factor for the high cost of living being forced on the Ghanaian worker.

Mr Casely-Hayford urged all Ghanaians who believe that government must fix the current energy crisis put in more efforts in fighting corruption and ultimately those who believe that workers deserve better to “wear their voices in demand for better governance.”

“As Leonardo da Vinci puts it, nothing strengthens authority so much as silence. So we should never be afraid to wear our voice in demand for better governance that will eventually create better environment and living conditions for all. If workers all over the Ghana will do this, we will affect lives positively. So on May Day, let your voice be seen in red,” he stated.

Power Crisis

The leading member of OccupyGhana disclosed that industries were shutting down while production levels were being reduced due to government failure to effectively deal with the currently energy crisis resulting in massive layoff of workers at all level.

“By conservative estimates, over 12,600 formal workers have lost their jobs this year due to the extremely difficult business and economic conditions under which they are operating. This excludes the many undocumented job losses at the micro-enterprise levels; dressmakers, welders, bakers, corn-mill operators and all manner of small businesses that rely on power for their operations,” he said.

Depreciation of Cedis

Mr Casely-Hayford added that workers were being faced by the rapid decline of real wages due to the depreciation of the cedi, increasing inflation and declining rates of wage increase.

“.…Clearly therefore, the real wage of the majority of Ghanaian workers especially those who earn just or above the minimum wage is under intense pressure, making it almost impossible to put food on the family table and to keep body and soul together.”

He hinted that OccupyGhana was working on a major event on July 1 as they prepare to mark their anniversary.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Agnes Emefa-Essah
Ahead Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards event, telecommunication company, Vodafone Ghana, has been nominated for the ‘Organisation with Best Social Media’ and ‘Best Twitter Organisation’ categories.

The Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards is an annual event that recognises businesses and individuals that have distinguished themselves in the blogging and social media space.

“It has always been our ambition to be at the forefront of the social media agenda in the telecommunications industry in Ghana. We are therefore truly excited with the nominations. As a company, we will continue to create new and innovative ways to satisfy our customers – the most important beneficiaries of all that we stand for,” Agnes Emefa-Essah, Marketing Director at Vodafone Ghana stated.

This year’s event has categories spanning from Best Blog, Best Blogger and Best Organisational Blog, among others.

The winners of Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards would be announced on April 25, 2015.


It is recalled that earlier this year, Social Media Awards Africa named Vodafone Ghana the Social Media Brand of the Year while its #Letsnotpretend won Hashtag of the Year.

Monday, April 20, 2015

French business delegation with President Mahama
France Ambassador to Ghana, Frederic Clavier has expressed confidence in Ghana despite the numerous economic challenges.

He said France was ready to collaborate with the Government of Ghana to help address the various economic challenges.

Mr. Clavier, who made this known at his residence when a French business delegation paid a courtesy call on him, said the partnership would also deepen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The delegation, made up of representatives of about 37 companies in various sectors like energy, transport and logistics, industrial projects and banking and financial services, among others, was in the country to explore investment opportunities.

“The French Government is very confident in the future of Ghana. We have delivered the message that we have to partner by investing now in Ghana.

“We know that the competition is much opened and many stakeholders are participating but France has many qualities in terms of quality of service,” Mr Clavier said.

France is currently investing over $1.2billion in bilateral trade with Ghana, and it plans to double that amount in next two years.

The envoy revealed that French business represents only three percent of the market in Ghana and “that is why we do need to have more partnerships.

“We came to see what type of joint ventures that can be made with the Ghanaian companies so as to accelerate this capacity for the French companies and to create jobs in Ghana.

Chairman of the African Committee for MEDEF International, Patrick Lucas, who was the leader of the delegation, said once the current energy crisis has been resolved, the investments of Ghanaian and French industries as well as European would increase.

“Energy is the key issue to facilitate the development of the economy in years to come. We know the difficulties you are facing but we know as well the possible and potential you have got subject to a few problems that can be solved.

“With energy and infrastructure, it is possible.  Once it has been done, it will open a way for Ghanaian industries as well as French investment and surely European investment,” he said.
Vice chancellor of Valley View University Ghana, Professor Daniel Bour says the ongoing energy crisis is crippling the country’s economy.

Prof Bour
According to him, the current energy crisis has seriously affected industrial development and deepened the unemployment problem in Ghana.

Prof Bour, who made this known at the maiden edition of the annual School of Social Sciences Colloquium at University of Ghana, legon, said the numerous challenges, including the energy crisis could be attributed to rapid population growth.

“The inability to balance population growth with the use of environmental resources has resulted in the degradation in the environment through its abuse. energy crisis in such areas have seriously affected industrial development and resulted in the deepening of the unemployment problem. In Ghana, the current ‘dumsor dumsor’ is crippling the economy. Forest and other resources are over exploited, especially in Third World countries. Climate change and attributed threats to life are partly linked to this reckless exploitation of natural resources,” he stated.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Theory and Practice of Social Science in a changing World,’ Prof Bour noted that “on the health front, preventable diseases keep emerging and the inability to control pollution is beginning to have serious effects on countries, especially in the sub-Saharan region.”

He pointed out that Ghana allocates about 0.3 percent of the GDP to research unlike other countries and urged government to improve the situation.

During the event, Dr. Martin Oteng-Ababio was adjudjed the Best researcher, while Dr. Michael Danquah was declared as the Most Promising young Scholar. Dr. Edward Nketiah-Amponsah was also adjudged the Best lecturer for the 2013/2014 academic year.

Prof. Kwabena a. anaman was given the special award his efforts in the 2013/2014 academic year.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) topped the official 2014 foreign development-aid list as world’s largest donor, according to figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

A press statement issued by the UAE Minister of International Cooperation and Development and Head of the UAE Committee for the Coordination of Humanitarian Foreign Aid, Sheikha Lubna bin Khalid Al Qasimi, revealed that the Gulf statedonated $4.89 billion in 2014, equivalent to 1.17 percent of  its Gross National Income (GNI) to top the global aid chart.

“This confirms the UAE’s commitment to its global development mission and to the principles on which UAE was founded. We will continue to reinforce our position as a global hub for humanitarian relief for all those in need of our help,” Vice-President and Prime Ministerand Ruler of Dubai,His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in a statement.

He also lauded the generous spirit of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid pointed out that besides its strong levels of official development aid, the UAE is also home to numerous humanitarian and charitable institutions, and a global humanitarian city.

He emphasized that the UAE does not offer assistance conditionally, and cares only to promote welfare and stability for all people.

“The UAE was founded on the principle of doing good. Its leaders have always been passionate about helping people. We expect nothing in return for we are driven and guided by the principles of Islam and our Emirati national values,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said.

In the data released on Thursday, April 9, Sweden placed second, providing 1.10 percent of its gross national income, Luxembourg came third with 1.07 percent, followed by Norway in the fourth position,providing 0.99 percent.

Denmark placed fifth with 0.85 percent, while the UK was ranked sixth with 0.71 percent.


The Netherlands was seventh with 0.64 percent of its national income.
FINATRADE FOUNDATION, a subsidiary of the Finatrade Group of Companies has helped to restore the sight of two-year-old Bright Agyapong who was earlier diagnosed with a bilateral eye swelling.

As part of their corporate social responsibility, the foundation paid the entire medical bill valued at GH¢5,000 for Bright’s treatment.

The Executive Secretary of the foundation, John Awuni, during the presentation stated that they decided to foot the entire medical bill to ensure that the little boy recovers fully from the ailment.

He added that under the circumstances, the foundation realised that a timely intervention was needed to reverse the situation immediately in order to save the sight of little Bright.

The foundation, established about a decade ago, has been supportive of such vulnerable groups in society.

“We have special interest in supporting such needy people because a life saved could possibly become a corner stone for the nation in the near future,” Mr Awuni said.

He, however, disclosed that the foundation was optimistic little Agyapong would recover fully to enable him to have the best of life and also contribute his quota to Ghana in future.

According to Joseph Agyepong, father of the boy, the swelling made it impossible for his son to see.

A letter from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital signed by Dr Laryea on behalf of Dr Segbefia, consultant haemoncologist, said little Agyepong was admitted to the hospital on March 10 with a bilateral eye swelling which was five months old.


“He cannot see with the right eye and investigation showed that the eye had been affected with a type of cancer diagnosed as neuroblastoma acute myeloid leukemia or retinoblastimo,” the letter stated
From left :Richard Omane, Mohammed Adams Sukparu and Raphael Apetorgbor
Private University Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) has called for the dismissal of the Deputy Educational Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, over what they claim to be gross incompetence and lack of interest in the affairs of private universities and their students across the country.

PUSAG executives at a media briefing on Tuesday pointed out that Mr Ablakwa had his priorities misplaced with regard to running the affairs of tertiary institutions in Ghana.

They, therefore, called on President John Mahama to “immediately remove Ablakwa from office” for embarking on the Campus Connect Series, which they termed as “a fruitless venture at the expense of the taxpayer” or they would be inimical to the electoral fortunes of the NDC government in 2016.

The Campus Connect Series is a programme which was rolled out by the Tertiary Education Division of the Ministry of Education under the leadership of Okudzeto Ablakwa that would see ministers of state as well as other government officials visit tertiary institutions across the country to interact and connect with students.

According to PUSAG President, Mohammed Adam Sukparu, the association was dissociating itself from the entire programme because it is an absolute waste of time and energy for Ablakwa and his outfit to spend huge amount of money on such a programme.

“As we speak now, the nation’s education sector is overwhelmed with several seemingly intractable challenges which ought to be the preoccupation of Ablakwa and not this so-called Campus Connect Series which we see as a deliberate attempt and a clandestine move to woo students into coming to terms with government propaganda message ahead of the elections 2016,” PUSAG President stated.

Mohammed Adam Sukparu disclosed that since his appointment, Ablakwa has treated matters pertaining to PUSAG with absolute disdain.

“For that matter, we also do not need him and his team in our schools and we are accordingly directing all SRCs in private universities not to cooperate with the so-called Ablakwa’s campus connect team should they make any attempt to visit them,” Mohammed Sukparu added.

Tax Imposition on Private Universities

The association mentioned that it was dealing with government’s decision to slap a needless 25 percent corporate tax on private universities which they claimed is very unpopular because of the rippling effects it would have on students.

“If Ablakwa pretends that he and his government are unaware of our problems, then we wish to remind them as we always do; even though we doubt very much that they would make any attempt to address our issues. In as much as we are not calling for parity with respect to how government treats our counterparts in the public universities, we nonetheless think that as Ghanaian taxpayers and in the letter and spirit of our national constitution which enjoins us to see education as a due right and not a privilege, government must consider some of its actions and policies which do not augur well for the educational well-being of students in private universities,” he said.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Telecommunications company, Tigo Ghana has launched the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones.

At the launch last Tuesday, Head of Mobile for Tigo Ghana, Tara Squire said the move formed part of Tigo’s plans to encourage Ghanaians to use smartphones.

“For us in Tigo, we set out this year and made a promise we will be their digital provider of choice and one of the campaigns we put out there was drop that yam. That campaign was our first step into getting Ghanaians to own smartphone,” Mr Squire said.

According to him, Tigo has a package to lessen the financial burden of customers by providing a 12 month flexibility payment plan in partnership with Stanbic Bank for both Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones.

As part of the package, customers would receive free wireless chargers and 15GB internet for 12 months.

“We know that the Samsung Galaxy range is one of the leading devices when it comes to smartphones in the world and therefore the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are just the newest pieces to this amazing galaxy products.  Due to our commitment, it is only natural that we launch this amazing product and offer it to Ghanaians with lots of amazing offers,” he said.


Mr Squire disclosed that the S6 offer is designed to deflate all excuses that prevent people from living a digital lifestyle, explaining that the flexible payment plan with Stanbic, the 15GB free for 12 months and the opportunity to use the free data on various channels on Tigo were carefully designed to make the user maximize the benefits from the device.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mustapha Seidu
Director at Nature & Development Foundation (NDF), Mustapha Seidu has accused government of contributing to illegal logging in the country by buying illegal logged timber from the market.

According to him, government has over the years been inadvertently using the taxpayer’s money to purchase illegal logged timber.

Mr Seidu, who was speaking at a workshop organized to train district procurement officers on how to procure legal timber products, stated that as part efforts to address the problems, government was implementing the Public Procurement Policy on Timber and Timber Products in Ghana.

“This policy is not about trying to prevent people from getting their livelihood. The implementation of the policy is one of the efforts of government to actually sanitize the domestic timber market because government is inadvertently contributing to illegal logging by buying the illegal logged timber. If you buy illegal timber and at the same time you go to the bush and chase illegal timber loggers, then you are actually not helping the situation,” he said.

The timber procurement policy was developed by the Forestry Commission with the help of NDF and Sebastian Jerry Ackotia, a consultant for the commission.

The policy is expected to be laid before Parliament.

In an address, Mr Ackotia disclosed that the workshop was to help procurement officers understand their responsibilities under the policy to ensure that they procure wood products from legal sources.

“With this policy, illegal logging of timber would definitely reduce. It will not be encouraged at all because all along, most of the procurement that government does on wood products are from illegal sources. We haven’t put in any particular measures to prevent the illegal wood products from entering the government procurement system. But with this policy, the procurement officers are being shown how to attract legal timber. Certain documentations would be required of the service providers,” he said.

He added that under the policy, procurement officers, as well as Ghanaians who go on the market to purchase wood, would have to inspect the seller’s document.


Sellers must have registered with the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

(from left) Michael Nelson, Nana Addae-Mensah, Ebenezer Amankwah
Vodafone Ghana says it loses about GH¢1.8million annually to cable theft which interrupts the company’s voice and data services in Ghana.


Nana Addae- Mensah, Corporate Security Manager, commenting on the matter, said the money spent to fix cable cuts could be used for service improvement to satisfy customers. 


Mr Addae-Mensah, who was speaking to journalists on Monday at a press briefing in Accra, noted that Vodafone Ghana had fixed underground cables that carried about 2,500 smaller cables.


About 40 percent of the telecommunications provider’s underground cables are vulnerable. 


“Whenever there is an interruption, we need to notify the regulator that is National Communications Authority (NCA) on the number of cuts that has occurred and the number of customers who have been affected. There is a timeframe which we have to get it fixed. If we are unable to meet that deadline, we need to notify the NCA and tell them why we were unable to fix that particular issue,” he stated.

  
He disclosed that most of the thieves cut through the cables, pull them out of the chamber, burn off the insulation to access the copper and then sell them on the market to scrap dealers for export. 


“We don’t produce copper as a nation but somehow some ways we are exporting copper. Where is the copper coming from if not from our cables?”  Mr Addae -Mensah quizzed. 


Cable theft is an offence punishable by law. If found guilty one stands to be jailed between 5 and15 years.


Preventive Measures 


Vodafone has issued a permitting system that allows private contractors, who work for the company to provide their permit on demand to the police or the general public. 


“There are certain things that we are doing internally like issuing permits to contractors who do some of our engineering works.  A copy of that permit is kept by the contractor and he should be able to produce it on demand,” he said. 


Nana Addae- Mensah urged Ghanaians to call 155 or the police anytime they suspect any body of stealing cables in their neighborhood. 


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About Me

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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