Tuesday, June 30, 2015

(From left) Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Biadu,Mary-Ann Acolatse, Mrs Kudom-Agyemang and Audrey Gadzekpo.
Communication Consultant in Environmental, Science and Climate Change Ama Kudom-Agyemang, has called on journalists to increase their reportage on issues concerning climate change and environment.

The veteran journalist admitted that though reportage on climate change and environment had gone up over the years, more has to be done.

Mrs Kudom-Agyemang who was speaking at International Conference on Climate Change and National Development held at the University of Ghana(UG), Legon in Accra said reports regarding climate change if carried out effectively would inform the general   public and go a long way to help the nation.

“In the last couple of years, we say reportage on climate change has gone up because there are a lot of training activities going on for Journalists. Our reporting in this country, it is mostly event based but  with climate change stories, you need to sit down, come up with a plan, get and issue that which  is relevant to climate change and how they are affecting ordinary  people . If we are able to do this then I will say we are doing our work better,” she said.

She disclosed that if the public is properly informed on issues regarding climate change and environment, people would stop associating man-made disasters to climate change.

Commenting on the series of floods that have been hitting the country, Mrs Kudom-Agyemang noted the country needs to have structures in place to prevent the disasters rather than blaming them on climate change.

Director of Next Generation of African Academics at UG, Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Biadu said journalists and scientists in the field of  climate change and environment needed to work together in order to communicate its negatives and positives to the public.

The conference was mainly to strengthen the climate courses in the university level and strengthen capacity for research, climate change and food security, health as well as  water resources.
Dr Bawumia
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate of Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2016 presidential elections, has accused the National Democratic Congress government of stealing $1.3 billion.


According to him, the amount reflecting in public corruption scandals under the NDC government was so huge that five of such amounts of money totalled GH¢2 billion, equivalent to $1.3 billion.

Speaking at a fundraising programme in London over the weekend, Dr Bawumia noted that corruption is being perpetrated in public circles with impunity.

Dr Bawumia, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, wondered how President John Mahama’s administration could steal $1.3 billion through public corruption and later run to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout of $920 million.

“The increase in fiscal deficits has also been compounded by pervasive corruption in the public sector in the areas of over-invoicing of contracts underpaid by the practice of sole sourcing in the award of overpriced contracts and corruption related to judgement debts, SADA, SUBAH, GYEEDA, ghost names on government payroll and so on,” he noted.

The reputed economist added that government has no fear for the consequences of its corruption because it thinks it could conspire to get away with it.

“These acts of corruption are very costly to the nation and take away the opportunities for government expenditure in critical areas,” Dr Bawumia said.

He disclosed that the current administration has no cause to blame the country’s current economic predicament on shortfall in resource inflows because it had had more financial resources than any other government in the history of Ghana.

He also made reference to former President Rawlings’ comments on the ongoing corruption levels in the country, noting, “Indeed, former President Rawlings has recently noted that the corruption for which he overthrew the government in 1979 is not up to 10 percent of the corruption we are seeing today.

“The financial resources that have been available to this government are actually mind-boggling. In the eight years of the NPP’s administration between 2001 and 2008, it raised taxes of GH¢15.2 billion in contrast to the last six years of this NDC government – 2009 to 2014. It has raised GH¢62 billion in taxes, compared to GH¢15 billion under the NPP,” he underscored.

Dr Bawumia recalled, “In the last six years, Ghana’s total debt has increased from GH¢9.5 billion to GH¢88 billion. Ghana’s gold export between 2001 and 2008 was $9 billion. In just six years of the NDC, total gold exports were $25 billion and government earns significant tax revenues from this.”

He recounted that under the NPP, cocoa in a space of eight years generated $7.4 billion in exports but after six years under the NDC, “we have had $14.5 billion of cocoa exports; meaning, we are getting a lot of revenue from that.”

Ghana, he added, “has also become an oil exporter during the period of the NDC. Oil exports in the last four years totalled $13.7 billion and we have earned revenue of over $3 billion from this.”

Dr Bawumia wondered why government had to run to the IMF for a bailout, despite the availability of resources such as taxes, lots of revenue from cocoa, gold and oil exports, among others.


Ex-President J.A Kufuor cutting the tape as management of the bank looks on.
Societe Generale Ghana has officially inaugurated an ultramodern branch at East Legon in Accra.

According to Gilbert Hie, Managing Director of the bank, the new branch of the bank is strategically positioned to serve as a hub for its retail and SME activities to meet the needs of customers.

Speaking at the event recently, Mr Hie said the East Legon branch was the 40th branch to be opened in addition to the Kasoa, Osu, Takoradi and Ashiaman branches, which were opened this year.

“The bank is committed to providing quality products and services that best satisfy customers’needs by employing the highest standards in professionalism, team spirit and innovation.  The East Legon branch has modern banking premises which will serve customers in East Legon and its environs,” he stated.

Kofi Ampim, Board Chairman of Societe Generale Ghana, disclosed that the bank’s long-term strategy is to build customized branches to cater for the specific needs of customers in each community.

“At Societe Generale, our watchword is ‘customer satisfaction is our business’. Superb service to our clients is the only way through which Societe Generale Brand can be upheld as the preferred banking institution of choice in Ghana,” Mr Ampim said.

The colourful ceremony was attended by dignitaries such as former President John Agyekum Kufour, the Board of Directors, management and staff, among others.
Gene Cretz
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Gene Cretz has expressed optimism that the ongoing energy crisis in the country will end soon.

According to Mr Cretz, the US was currently involved in several projects with the government that would produce more megawatts to address the energy crisis in future.

US envoy made this known at a roundtable with journalists in Accra to announce his departure from Ghana after three years of service.

“I think that the pieces are in place now and there are several projects that the US has been involved in. In addition, once the Millennium Challenge Compact really kicks in, you will see a revamp of ECG and its ability to generate electrical power, transmit it and get revenue to the point where it makes that particular enterprise efficient. I think it is all there in a mix; it is just taking a little bit of time.

“One has to be positive but I don’t know if we can put definite end dates to when the power situation is going to end, but I think Ghana is on the way towards really revamping its power sector for future needs,” Mr Cretz said.

The US government is expected to release over $500 million through the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) Fund to help improve power distribution in the country under the second compact of the MCC programme.

Under the MCC, which will last for five years, Ghana has agreed to offer the management of ECG to a private company to boost efficiency.

Mr Cretz said Ghana government has made a decision with regards to the kind of concession under which ECG would be managed for a few years.

“The board had been constituted on the Ghanaian side and papers had been drawn up to specify the requirement of the concession here that would guide the activities of the project for the next several years,” he said.

Hardship

The US Ambassador disclosed that Ghana was not out of the woods yet but was hopeful the economic situation would improve in the next couple of months.

“I see a confluence of events in developments that would be taking place over the next couple of weeks and months that I think would lead the government and the country out of its current economic troubles. I’m very optimistic that over the next several months you would see a turnaround,” he added.

Joep van den Broek
GhanaVeg, an initiative of Netherlands Embassy, has provided a business platform to ensure that the commercial vegetable sector works effectively to meet local and international demands.

According to Joep van den Broek, Programme Leader for GhanaVeg, the business plan, which includes a Business Opportunities Fund and Research and Development (R&D) Co-Innovation Fund, was implemented because of the available market for produce on the local and international front.

The Business Opportunities Fund is a 50 percent matching fund aimed at mobilizing innovations and investments in the vegetable sector while the R&D Co-Innovation Fund is also a 50 percent matching fund to provide applied research for companies to address specific agronomic or technical bottlenecks in the vegetable sector.

Over the years, some products from Ghana have been banned in the largely lucrative European Union (EU) market due to some poor agricultural practices.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Demand Driven research for a Private sector-led Growth in Ghana’s vegetable Sector’ at forum in Accra recently, Mr van den Broek said research is crucial in addressing the challenges that operators in the commercial vegetables sector face in terms of pests, diseases, soil and climatic change.

Hanson Arthur, Fund Manager and Monitoring Expert at GhanaVeg, disclosed that the proliferation of malls in Ghana had increased demand for vegetables on the market.

“What we intend to see is a more competitive sector both locally and international. What I am seeing is a sector that is picking its nose up and we hope that with the conditions that GhanaVeg brings and also the interventions of others, farmers can take advantage of it and grow their businesses.

“Right now, the sector is ripe for a take up so if farmers take advantage of the demand to fill these lines by the supermarkets, then we can say that domestically it is big,” Mr Arthur said.

He added that his outfit was ready to support the private sector to offer extension services in order to complement the existing national extension landscape to help address some of the challenges in the sector.

Project Development Specialist, Adu Mensah, also entreated research institutions to harness their intellectual resources to improve the sector.

European countries invest so much effort, logistics, time and resources into agriculture but the reverse is what we see in Ghana and Africa at large, Mr Mensah said.

“We have to move from the ancient way of farming and see agriculture as a business venture. This is the only way we can make progress,” he said.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Deplorable state of the road
Residents of Okpoi Gonno at Spintex Road in Accra have blamed government over the deplorable state of roads in the community.

According to the residents, the roads have not seen any development over the past two decades.

This they said is creating nuisance to pedestrians, motorists and other road users in the community.

“I have been staying here since 1994 and to be frank with you, this road has been in bad shape since. This road serves as a major artery to Manet Estate therefore a lot of people use it but no government has thought it wise to construct it for us.”

“We constantly have to change shock absorbers and other parts of our cars due to the deplorable state of the road,” a resident who spoke to DAILY GUIDE on anonymity said.

He added that every year the situation worsens when the rainy season starts and this year, it was terrible.

When DAILY GUIDE visited the community over the weekend, major parts of the road had been damaged due to the recent downpour.

However, some concerned residents were seen filling the giant potholes on the road with stones and debris to make it motorable.

“We have on countless occasions complained to the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) but all they have been telling us over the years was that they have awarded the project to a contractor yet we do not see any development,” another resident said.

Commercial Drivers Angry

When this reporter caught up with some Taxi drivers in the community, they could not control their anger, stating that sometimes they are forced not to use the road because it ends up damaging their vehicles.


They have therefore appealed to the government to help fix the road and make it motorable .
THE PRIVATE Universities Students Association of Ghana (PUSAG) has called  on government to investigate authorities at the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) following an unpardonable leakage of Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) papers that forced authorities to cancel the exams and order a re-sit.

According to PUSAG, the leakage poses a threat to undermine the credibility of the Ghanaian educational system.

Speaking to the DAILY GUIDE in Accra, Media Relations Officer of PUSAG, Raphael Apetorgbor, said the phenomenon is deplorable and must be rooted out.

He said stern action must also be taken in order to restore public confidence in the credibility of WAEC.

“We want a full-fledged investigation into this leakage and for heads to roll and for decisive actions to be taken because if we don’t do that we will be gambling with the future of our young Ghanaians.

“It is unfair for the pupils -as it would be mental torture for them- to have to re-sit the five papers. Not only have the pupils been stressed out, parents as well have all been tensed up by the issue,” he stated.

Mr Apetorgbor called on stakeholders, including parents, students to join hands in curbing the malpractice and the leakage of examination questions.

“The battle against leakage of papers cannot be won by WAEC alone. There needs to be concerted efforts from parents, teachers and candidates themselves to forward whenever they suspect that someone has examination papers.”

PUSAG urged teachers to work hard so that pupils pass and stop coming up with criminal ways to achieving good results.

“PUSAG believes government has to work hard to improve the education system which is now the envy of many across the Africa sub- region and we must not allow such efforts to be destroyed by irresponsible people,” he said.

The media relations officer further advised WAEC to put appropriate measures in place to prevent examination leakages in future.

The West African Examination Council (WAEC) last week Wednesday cancelled five BECE papers after it detected a massive leakage of the questions on social media.

The examination council explained that the cancellation was necessary in order to protect the integrity of the examination.


Meanwhile, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is investigating the leakage and some top officials of WAEC have been questioned.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Musah Abu Juam,
Musah Abu Juam, Technical Director of Forestry at the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, says illegal timber are being sold on the local market at an alarming rate.

According to him, about 80 percent of timber sold in Ghana are illegal and inferior.

Mr Juam, who was speaking at a workshop in Accra on the theme, ‘Supporting the Implementation of the Public Procurement Policy on Timber and Timber Products in Ghana,’ said government is the major buyer of illegal timber on the market.

He stated that to address the problem, government must start using legally-acquired timber for all its construction projects.

Mr. Juam called for an effective implementation of the Public Procurement Policy on Timber & Timber Products to curb the trade of illegal timber in the country.

He said under the policy, sellers would be required to register with the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission to obtain documents that would show that their timber are legal.

“We are now seeking Cabinet’s approval for the policy. Once we get the approval, the entire monitoring infrastructure would also be put in place,” he said.

Director at NDF, Mustapha Seidu disclosed that the implementation of the policy would indicate that government would no longer countenance illegal timber trade.

He said the policy would also reduce the amount of illegal timber on the market as well as maintain forest integrity.

“It is good for those of us who are consumers because when this policy is out, it means that there would be legal timber available on the market because as it is now you buy what you get.

“Secondly, this will be good for forestry because if it degrades to a certain level, it can’t recover,” Mr Seidu.
Haris Broumidis
Telecommunication company Vodafone Ghana has launched a new initiative to help provide mobile services to offer relevant information on improved farming practices in the agriculture sector.

The initiative dubbed, ‘Vodafone Farmers’ Club’ would also provide farmers with information on prices of commodities, expert advice on farming practices and crop information  in their preferred language.

The initiative, which is in partnership with Esoko - an information service provider for agricultural markets in Africa – is meant to bridge the gap between farmers and critical farming information.

According to the company, the partnership would assist in connecting farms, agribusinesses and rural communities to drive productivity, profitability and innovation.

“One third of humanity relies on food grown by 500 million smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land. As Ghana’s population continues to expand, farmers have an urgent need to produce ever-increasing amounts of food without destroying habitats or depleting resources in unsustainable manners.

“Smart and forward-looking initiatives such as the Vodafone Farmers’ Club concept can make a real difference in addressing the global challenge of food production and security,”Serpil Timuray, Regional CEO of Vodafone Africa, Middle East & Asia Pacific Region said.

Haris Broumidis, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, disclosed that weather forecast and virtual market places where farmers can sell their produce and other mobile services have important roles to play in increasing agricultural resilience and enhancing the lives of farmers.

Vodafone Group has launched the Farmers’ Club initiative in three other countries – India, Kenya and Tanzania – to boost its position in local markets and help create new opportunities for citizens.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ishmael Ackah
The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has called on government to be accountable and transparent in the disbursement of oil revenue.

According to the policy think-tank, government needs to ensure accountability and transparency in the allocation of revenue for projects in sectors like Health, Education and Agriculture as indicated in the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).

Ishmael Ackah, Head of Policy at ACEP, in an interview with BUSINESS GUIDE after the launch of a report on the Role of Extractive Resource Revenues in Bridging the Financial Gap in Pro-Poor Sectors, called for mineral revenue law to promote accountability and transparency to help track projects that are funded with mineral funds.

This, according to him, would go a long way in promoting sustainable development.

He said government has over the years failed to allocate and disburse oil revenue to execute projects in the health, agriculture and education sectors which results in delay of these   projects.

“The various sectors in question here come out with certain projects they want to do. They normally cost these projects and activities, so if you allocate an amount to them and you don’t disburse, what it means is that either the project would be delayed or the project will not happen that all.

“Therefore there is an issue of cost overrun and time overrun, these are very expensive for the country. There are even some projects that were started and because of lack of disbursement, they were not continued. Projects that are supposed to take three years to finish sometimes take 10 years for completion,” he stated.

He suggested that oil revenue should be committed to specific projects, adding that “perhaps on oil school or oil hospital and with that it helps with the tracking, it helps us to finish the project and cost and time overruns.”

Ian Gary, Senior Policy Manager, Extractive Industries at Oxfam America, said Ghana must to do a better job in prioritizing the spending of oil revenue in sectors that actually benefit the poor.

“That spending should be transparent and accountable and focused on a few projects. The oil revenue is coming into the existing system in terms of budget, and expenditure is weak so government goes through the process of creating budgets but sometimes the allocations don’t happen, sometimes the expenditure don’t correspond with what was created in the budget, sometimes there are problems with procurement and contracting,” Mr Gary said.

He disclosed that the country’s major challenge has to do with the weakness in the budget system.


“All these weaknesses that existed before oil was discovered are worse because more money is flowing through the system and so there is a big challenge for Ghana to make sure that these weaknesses in the budget system are managed and improved.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Lee, the veteran actor and star of many of the world's biggest film franchises, has died aged 93.


The English-born actor, who made his name playing Dracula and Frankenstein's monster in the Hammer horror films, appeared in more than 250 movies.


He was best-known for his villainous roles - including Scaramanga in James Bond and evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.


The actor's other credits include The Wicker Man and Star Wars.


The actor is reported to have died on Sunday at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London, after being hospitalised for respiratory problems and heart failure.


A Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council spokesman said: "We can confirm that the Register Office issued a death certificate for Mr Christopher Lee on Monday 8 June, Mr Lee died on Sunday 7 June."


He was knighted in 2009 for services to drama and charity and was awarded a Bafta fellowship in 2011.


Christopher Lee playing Saruman in The Lord of the Rings
One of the first to pay tribute was James Bond actor Roger Moore, who tweeted:"It's terribly [sad] when you lose an old friend, and Christopher Lee was one of my oldest. We first met in 1948."


His Lord Of The Rings co-star Dominic Monaghan said: "So, so sorry to hear that Christopher Lee has passed away. He was a fascinating person."


Sir Christopher also worked with director Tim Burton on five films including Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Burton described him as "an enormous inspiration".


"The great, always criminally underrated Sir Christopher Lee has left us," actor and writer Mark Gatiss tweeted. "A Titan of Cinema and a huge part of my youth. Farewell."


Actor Reece Shearsmith called him "an amazing gentleman who brought us so many iconic roles. He will be missed."
Broadcaster Jonathan Ross said: "So sad to hear that Sir Christopher Lee has died. A great actor, a great star, a surprisingly good singer and a lovely, lovely man."


Writer Neil Gaiman said he was "so lucky and proud" to have had Lee in the cast of BBC Radio 4's recent dramatisation of Neverwhere. "Great actor, great loss," he tweeted.


"We are deeply saddened to hear that Sir Christopher Lee has passed away," the British Film Institute (BFI) said.

Daniel Amlalo
Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has stated that waste- organic and biomass- generated by industries and humans could provide 30 percent of the nation’s energy if harnessed effectively.
The impact of renewable energy on production cost and competitive pricing of locally produced goods and services is immense and could as well influence domestic expenditure on energy, he indicated.
Mr Amlalo made this known during the celebration of this year’s World Environment Day under the theme, ‘Sustainably energy and converting waste to energy, the responsibility of all’ in Accra recently.
Dr. Daniel Bour, Vice Chancellor of Valley View University, also stressed the need to generate energy from the huge amount of waste being created in the country.
He said it was imperative for the country to take advantage of non-recyclable waste materials and convert them into electricity and usable heat or fuel.
This, according to Dr. Bour, could be done through a variety of processes, including combusting and gasification, among others.
He said there was a huge potential for converting waste into energy, which is central to the development of every community.
“Our nation is currently battling with energy problems, which are having devastating effects on our economic and social life.
“In our search for solutions, we must make effort to recover energy from waste by converting non-recyclable waste materials into usable heat, electricity or fuel through a variety of processes including combusting, gasification, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas recovery,” Dr. Bour said.
He said “the problem of energy generation must be a problem of all irrespective of anybody’s political biases, because energy is central to the development of every community”.
It is estimated that Accra Metropolis generates between 1,800 and 2,00 tonnes of solid waste a day with about 500 tonnes of the waste left to deteriorate.
Nana Addo consoling a family of a victim
Some Ghanaians who lost their loved ones in last Wednesday’s flood and fire disaster at the Goil filling station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra following a heavy downpour yesterday wept uncontrollably during the national memorial service held in honour of all the 152 victims.

The memorial service, led by some renowned Ghanaian pastors, was held at the forecourt of the State House in Accra.

In attendance were President John Mahama; former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor; flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his running mate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, gurus of all the political parties as well as people from all walks of life.

The twin fire and flood disaster left several people who were seeking shelter as a result of the heavy downpour burnt beyond recognition.

In a solemn address, President Mahama asked Ghanaians to put what happened last Wednesday behind them and focus on the future and how the problem of the perennial flooding in some parts of the city during the rainy season could be solved.

“This is not time for finger pointing and apportioning of blame for negligence,” the President pointed out and stressed that Ghanaians must rather dispassionately assess the problem of perennial flooding in the city and suggest what government must do to solve the problem permanently, claiming that his government was ready to do that.

DNA

He however said the government was prepared to use DNA to identify all those who were burnt beyond recognition for them to be remembered eternally.

“These are 152 human lives—152 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children and Ghanaian citizens. With each number, there is a face; there is a story. With each number there are dreams, hopes and achievements that have died,” he said.

The President said government had directed the release of funds to repair roads and support survivors and displaced persons – reported to be about 8,000.

Weeping Not Solution

Reverend Eastwood Anaba, founder of Fountain Gate Chapel, said as Ghana mourns the dead, the country should involve the expertise of every individual in dealing with the challenges.

According to him, though the country was in a state of mourning, weeping would not solve the problems.

Rev Anaba stated that the nation needed to make sacrifices and act positively to help handle the situation.

“Ghana is in a state of mourning but weeping does not solve problems. Positive action involves expertise. Positive action is a virtuous action, which ultimately results in positive happiness. Our engineers, doctors, contractors, businessmen and even the ordinary person in the citizenry must be able to have the necessary expertise to deal with challenges like this. We are a nation of prayer; let us add positive action to the prayer. For those that pray, let them provide the material things,” he said.

He urged President Mahama to tap into the tanks and reservoirs of wisdom from his predecessors to help prevent such disasters from recurring.

There are reservoirs and tanks of wisdom we can fall on in times like this.We have two ex-presidents who are monumental figures I have strongly admired over the years, and they are reservoirs of wisdom we can fall on. We must continue to improve on every aspect of our society so that things like this don’t happen again in our society,”Rev Anaba said.

He disclosed that the nation needed to operate outside her comfort zone to be able to help the flood victims and the victims of the fire outbreak.

“If we want to operate within our comfort zone, there is no way we can help the flood victims and the victims of the fire outbreak. Every one of us will have to make some sacrifices,” he urged.

The event brought together a host of religious leaders like Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, Bishop Christie Doe Tetteh and Archbishop Nicolas Duncan Williams among others, who took turns to pray for the victims of the disaster, their relatives and for the country as well.

The Christian Council of Ghana also held a similar service at the Ebenezer Presby Church, Osu, last night.

Victims

When DAILY GUIDE caught up with some relatives of victims of the flood and fire tragedy, a lady who only gave her name as Maame Ama recounted that she lost her sister, Vida Sackey, who left behind three kids.

“My sister, Vida Sackey, was on her way home on that fateful day when she received a call that her provision shop was flooded. She died on her way back to her shop.  When we got to the 37 Military Hospital mortuary, she was the second body seen. She left behind three kids. The eldest is about18 years, the second is writing the BECE on Monday and the last born is 13 years,” she said as she wept uncontrollably.

An elderly man, Sir Louis Kwao, said he lost his 43-year-old  daughter, Millicent Daade Tagoe, in the flood that hit the Pedestrian Mall near Odawna at the Nkrumah Circle.


“She sells lingerie at the Pedestrian Mall. When the rain started and the place started getting flooded she was with her three kids so she called for help and a Samaritan came to carry her kids to safety. Before the Samaritan got back, the flood had taken my daughter away.  I was at home on Thursday – the day after the flood – when one of my daughters came to inform us that she had received a call that my daughter died in the flood. They found her body under a container at the Pedestrian Mall. We rushed to the 37 Military Hospital and after going through the bodies at the mortuary, I found the lifeless body of my  daughter lying there,” he sorrowfully narrated.


By Thomas Fosu Jnr & Nii Ogbamey Tetteh




Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dr Omane-Boamah 
The introduction of the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) by the National Communication Authority (NCA) has boosted competition in the telecommunications sector.

According to Edward Omane-Boamah, Minister of Communications, the MNP policy ultimately guarantees that telecommunication companies meet the needs of their consumers.

Dr Omane-Boamah disclosed this at a four-day industry workshop for delegates from the West Africa Telecommunication Regulators Assembly (WATRA) under the Mobile Number Portability and Quality of Service.

“Consumers have a right to demand and expect value for money. In this regard, the ministry, as part of measures to ensure that consumers are empowered to choose the provider whom they feel would give them the best value for money, introduced the MNP Policy. This policy encourages competition, improves the functioning of the internal market by lowering prices and improving products and finally guarantees that consumers’ needs are met.”

In a speech read on his behalf, the minister said customers have become very sophisticated and more interested in the kind of experience they receive and not the network performance or functionality, which may affect their experience.

“As operators and regulators of the industry, the goal should be how to achieve Quality of Experience (QoE). I have been following with keen interest the activities of the WATRAfor sometime now, and I must say I’m impressed by the efforts being made to promote the growth of telecommunication within the ECOWAS sub-region,” he said.

Deputy Director-General of NCA, Albert E. Enninful disclosed that the success of the MNP in Ghana was based on collaboration between the regulator, the operators and providers of the service.

MNP, which started three years ago, gives customers a very unique opportunity to port from one network to another without having to change the mobile telephone numbers. At the end of February, this year, the NCA had recorded over 2 million successful porting requests, with each porting process taking place in less than six minutes.

Monday, June 8, 2015

(from left) Mrs Safo-Duodu and Kojo Mattah
President of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG), Shola Safo-Doudu has urged marketers to be proactive in order to keep up with new trends in the profession.

According to the CIMG Boss, innovation has become an integral aspect of marketing, which practitioners have to adopt in order to remain relevant in the profession.

She disclosed this at the launch of the 2014 CIMG Awards in Accra under the theme, ‘The Future of Marketing: Evolve or Die’ on Thursday.

The 26 edition of the event is slated for August 15.

“Marketing as a profession thrives on innovation, hence practitioners must be proactive so as to be able to move with the times, new technologies and social engagements, among others. Change, they say, is the only constant thing in life. Every living thing responds to one stimulus or another and where necessary, rearrangement, adjustments and appropriate steps are taken to fall in line.  The inability to respond to your environments or stimuli may result in extreme cases in death,” she stated.

She said the profession has over the years been responding to new trends and developments to ensure that the awards scheme reflected the practices, standards and principles expected from the winners.

“Innovation is an important aspect of marketing and this requirement becomes very demanding in the face of economic challenges within the society, and Ghana at this time, needs to seriously consider how to effectively innovate in order to come out of this complex economic, social and political quagmire we find ourselves in. Over the decades, we have seen firms innovate constantly on their products, business processes and technology. However, the most practical changes have been seen in the field of marketing,” she said.

The CIMG Boss added that innovation has emerged as a key ingredient in ensuring that marketing strategies are used to deliver new products, services and brand positioning.

“Companies have done incredible jobs in the area of innovation by connecting with their audience through understanding their motivations and tailoring their marketing plans accordingly. Companies and the nation must continue to innovate in order to work their way out of the current problems and thereafter.”

Vice President of CIMG, Kojo Mattah explained that the awards would cover six major areas-the CIMG Hall of Fame, Personalities, Media/MARCOMS organizations, Business organizations, Products and Not-for-Profit organizations.

He noted that the institute has introduced two new awards -e-Commerce Company of the Year and Emerging Media (Digital) Company of the Year in view of the many changes in technological platforms and emerging media.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A. J. Kruger
Metropolitan Life Ghana, an insurance company, has trained several insurance brokers on the various products in the insurance industry to help improve insurance penetration in the country.

Insurance penetration in Ghana, according to the National Insurance Commission (NIC), is below two percent.

Speaking at a workshop for brokers in Accra on Wednesday, Chief Executive of Metropolitan Life, A. J. Kruger stated that brokers act like independent marketers who counsel the populace on various insurance products from several companies.

“Brokers are key partners or allies that you would want to court. When you use brokers as part of your distribution strategy, then you need to make sure that you have a unique and competitive offering. In all our products and other processes, we make sure that we have element building that makes us unique on the market – whether in turn around time in terms of claim payment or service delivery. It is all about service and having processes and applications in place to make sure that your service is better than other competition,” Mr Kruger said.

Brand and Communication Manager, Henry Nii Dottey disclosed that a market segmentation programme held recently showed that people trust broker channels.


“For us, this session is to do two things and that is to educate the populace about insurance and insurance products. The second thing is that it helps us to let the brokers understand the offerings so that when people contact them, they can give them the various solutions available, including that of Metropolitan so they can place their business possibly with us. It is not what is in it for us as a business but what is in for the general public,” Mr Dottey said.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson
A law professor at the University of Cape Coast, Philip Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, says the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) is unsustainable and needs to be reviewed.

According to the law professor, the relationship between what is paid by government to the public sector by way of remuneration and compensation and what is collected by way of tax revenues does not match in anyway.

Prof. Bondzi-Simpson disclosed this while speaking at this year’s inaugural Mfantsipim ‘Dwen Hwe Kan’ Lectures under the theme, ‘Nation-Building and the National Interest: A Regime for Public Sector Compensation’ in Accra recently.

He said government spends more on payment of public sector remuneration and compensation than it collects through taxes.

“All together, the ratio between what is paid out and what is collected is about 70 percent. In other words, the public sector compensation issue matters because the more that is paid out as wages, salaries, allowances and other remunerations, the less money would be available for infrastructural development. So the 70 percent that is paid out is an unattainable and unsustainable arrangement,” Professor Bondzi-Simpson said.

He added that the idea behind the single spine salary structure was good but “in my respectful view concretization of that concept was either flawed or its implementation processes flawed.”

“About seven years ago, the SSSS was introduced. Everybody in the public sector was put on one ladder or the other but then a number of problems started emerging. You can identify amongst these problems the quantum issues and the relativity issues. Quantum issues simply say we are not getting enough and relativity issues simply says how can we be getting less than those in that profession or in that sector. It started off with the police and they got huge hikes. Not too long after that those in the security services and the revenue agencies had theirs out and the parities were disconcerting,” he recounted.

“The present salary structure has multiple spines, and it is confusing and prone to unjustified and significant intra and inter-sectoral variations,” he said.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter is expected to resign as president of football's governing body Fifa amid a corruption scandal.

The 79-year-old had earlier called an extraordinary Fifa congress "as soon as possible" to elect a new president.

Blatter was re-elected last week, despite seven top Fifa officials being arrested two days before the vote as part of a US prosecution.

But he said: "My mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody."

More to follow soon

Source: BBC
CARTEL’s behind the scene
A 74-second trailer of Cartel: The Genesis, a yet to be released Ghanaian action movie on narcotics, has become the latest sensation and talk among the country’s film industry players and enthusiasts.

The trailer, currently on YouTube, is spreading fast on social media. It centres on a Narcotics Investigative Unit agent (Adjetey Anang) trained regularly by the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States.

On the agent’s return from one of such trainings, he is met with a case of a lady arrested for drug trafficking. With his past experience with drugs and how it once led to his brother’s untimely death, he is motivated to hunt and bring to justice all persons involved in the importation/exportation and distribution of illegal drugs and to prevent a recurrence of what happened to his brother.

The movie’s executive producer and script writer, Dayan Fields, told NEWS-ONE the movie is the first of a four-part sequel which probes the real issues of illegal drugs in Ghana.

“I wanted to do a real story based on real events with names of persons involved in narcotics and places and times but I realised it was very sensitive and even risky so I had to do it in the form of a fictional story. I spoke to the Ghana Police and they helped me with props and security equipment. They read the script and felt it was good to be told, though they were uncomfortable with the corruption angle I added,” Dayan explained, adding, “Later, I also spoke to the Narcotics Control Board and they are also okay and have made some additions to the sequel.”

CARTEL’s behind the scene
He continued: “The first story looks at the layers in the narcotics industry and the various factors and mysteries in the distribution and circulation process. The person who brings it in does not know who would pick it up, the one who would pick it up does not know who would package it, and the one who would package it does not know who would distribute it. It deals with the secrecy and tight-lipped nature of the narcotics world. This story was not written out of the blue but based on an in-depth research work.”

Dayan added, “Cartel: The Genesis is an action movie which had a professional stun director, Kofi Adjei-Marfo, taking the cast through months of training and rehearsals.

“It has a sequence of actions tailored in a manner that arouses the audience. We have hand-to-hand combat scenes where you have Joselyn Dumas kicking some ass and Adjetey Anang giving some hard punches, and full gun fire battles,” he added.

The movie premieres in the third week of June and was directed by Pascal Amanfo.


Source: News One
Abu Ibrahim
Abu Ibrahim, son of renowned model Sima Ibrahim, former CEO of Exopa Modelling Agency, has spoken emotionally about his late dad, who met his unfortunate death on Thursday, December 4, 2014 while serving time at the Nsawam prison.

According to Abu, Sima was not only passionate about the modelling and fashion industry, he was also a loving father.

He told NEWS-ONE’s Francis Addo in this exclusive interview that Sima left behind a great legacy in the modelling and fashion industry as well as a solid team to continue that legacy.

Abu spoke about the prospects of Exopa, Sima, and the modelling and fashion industry.

How is Exopa doing?

Exopa is fine; we are still working.

Some think Sima is no more so Exopa is dead too.

Exopa is not dead. Exopa is a company and Sima had people he was working with. He left a legacy and that legacy must live. Sima brought Exopa to Ghana to change the fashion and modelling industry in Ghana and we are still keeping it up.

So what’s happening at Exopa right now?

Currently we have some students we are training in our modelling school and we have a couple of shows coming up this year. We are going to start with the L-Fashion Nite (a show for plus size models) and another show for upcoming designers, then we end the year with Sima’s anniversary show. We are also looking at reviving theGhana Fashion Weekend which has been on hold for some years now next year.

When is the L-Fashion Night? What is its essence?

We are looking at ending of July… It’s a show for plus size models. Plus size models, models of size 12 and above. More often in Africa, when you hear of models, people think it’s only skinny girls but models are not only skinny. There are different types of models. So we need to also give our plus size African women the platform to showcase their skills on the runway and to also promote our African fabrics and designs.

Sima Ibrahim

How about Sima’s anniversary show? When and how is it going to be like?

Yeah as I said earlier…we will have Sima’s anniversary show this year. But we are still in the planning stages. I will let you know when we are done with everything.

But are we going to see the old-time models on the runway?

Yes, for sure. We will have some of the old models and some international models and designers on the runway as well. I will like to take this opportunity to thank all models and designers who have worked with my dad in the past years and for their continued support after his death. Even though some of you were at the burial in Tema, a lot of you couldn’t make it to Kumasi for the funeral because it was impromptu and far away. So the upcoming show is a platform for you to celebrate him and pay your last respect.

People remember Sima in various ways; how would you want us to remember him?

He is a lovely father who also loves fashion. I want people to remember him as a man who changed the face of fashion and modelling in Ghana. He placed Ghana on the world map by organising Ghana Fashion Weekendand brought international and local designers together whilst giving our young designers and models the platform to showcase their talents on the international market.

What do you have to say about the stories surrounding his death or how he died?

I have much to say but we as a family have left it to Allah. Sima is already gone. There is nothing we can do or say to bring him back. Can we talk about something else? (Getting emotional).

Sima grew with a dream to pursue a career in the fashion and modelling industry. What did you want to become?

Growing up, my passion was to play football. Playing for the national team was my dream but after seeing my dad’s passion for modelling, I followed. He also loved playing football.

Did he support your passion for football?

Yes, he supported me fully. When I was a kid, he used to buy me football boots and jerseys from Germany all the time.

Are we likely to witness a football match in his memory aside the modeling show?

Yes, there will be a football gala with a trophy.

What do you think about the fashion industry now?

The industry is picking up but there is more to be done. There are no associations or rules governing us. So people are just taking advantage of the situation and doing what they want.

Thanks for your time; and any last words?

I like to say thanks to the media for their support in all the good times and sad times. We hope to always fall on you anytime we need you.

By Francis Addo (Twitter: @fdee50 Email: fdee500@yahoo.com)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Yusupha Crookes
The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group has approved a US$45 million loan for the Ghana Public Financial Management Reform Project to assist the country to improve budget credibility.

The loan, offered by the International Development Association (IDA), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, is also to help strengthen public investment management systems, as well as contain fiscal risks.

The project would improve financial oversight and accountability through the strengthening the capacity of the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) to expand its activities at Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, as well as build its proficiency to audit Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based financial information systems.

“Bolstered by high gold and cocoa prices and new oil production, Ghana’s economic growth peaked at 14 percent in 2011, but a combination of external and domestic imbalances contributed to economic instability, fueling government debt and inflation, sharp depreciation of its currency and a weaker pace of economic growth.  High levels of debt, large fiscal deficits and lack of fiscal space for public investments are major constraints to Ghana’s economic growth,” Yusupha B. Crookes, World Bank Country Director for Ghana stated.

The project would focus on priority areas of the government to promote transparent and accountable fiscal governance in Ghana.

The key beneficiaries of the project include the Legislature and Ministry of Finance, as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

Ismaila B. Ceesay, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project said, “Ghana has invested in programmes aimed at strengthening Public Financial Management in government, but significant institutional, policy and system weaknesses continue to manifest themselves limiting the impact of these reforms.”


The project would also help facilitate the reversal of the current trend of fiscal imbalances impacting the country’s economy and improve the delivery of basic services to the many poor families in Ghana.
Dr. Yaw Ansu
The Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) says government can improve the current economic situation by promoting new approaches to farming.

According to a study conducted by ACET, by adopting new approaches in the cultivation of cassava, cocoa, poultry and rice, Ghana could raise the standard of living of rural farmers and address the food deficit in the country.

Chief Economist at ACET, Dr. Yaw Ansu, who was speaking at the launch of the report in Accra last Thursday under the theme, ‘Promoting Sustainable Rural Transformation,’ said government should inculcate modern science based agricultural techniques in the sector and make farming businesslike.

“Ghana is importing a lot of food from Brazil, South Africa and other places. These are jobs that we could be having here and the foods that would be produced here would considerably be cheaper. Link it up to the rest of the economy in the process of economic transformation that ACET is promoting,” Dr. Ansu  said in an interview.

The report also revealed insights into how agriculture can improve Ghana’s economic transformation.

Presenting the report to stakeholders, Dr Julius Gatune, a Senior Policy Advisor at ACET and principal author of the report, said most of the local industries in Ghana are in desperate need of varieties of cassava for various reasons.

“Take cassava, most of the local production is geared towards varieties that make good fufu. As a Kenyan expatriate, I too have come to appreciate the value of fufu, but local industries are in desperate need of varieties that make good beer and starch too. That’s opportunity,” Dr Gatune stated.

He added that the industry is dominated by ageing and illiterate farmers who do not have the resources to rehabilitate farms and cannot take up new technologies, which presents an “opportunity for a middle class sharecropper- one who brings capital and technology in return for share of profits.”

The report is part of a broader study of five countries -Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, which was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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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