Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
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FDA • T BOSS EXPOSED •
Where is the Media Dev’t Fund
))Dr. Stephen Opuni, FDA Boss
HE Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is calling on the Ministry of Information and Media Relations (MIMR) to publicly disclose the current status of the Gh¢1million Media Development Fund (MDF) to Ghanaians and the media community. Following a media release by the MFWA raising questions about the whereabouts of the
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e s p a ll o c to ts a e r th d e g Over alle ls a c ti u e c a m r a h P o c in Tob
REPOT BY S.O ANKAMAH & SIMON AGBOVI
T has now come to light that, the impasse between Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has become a personal issue between the FDA Boss, Dr. Stephen Opuni and Tobin-
This came to light during a press conference held by Tobinco at its new manufacturing industry off the Spintex road in Accra yesterday. At the said press conference, management of Tobinco, seemingly having exhausted their patience with FDA over the
issue, poured out their pent up feelings by bringing to public, what they termed as threatening statements made about Tobinco by Dr. Opuni. According to management of Tobinco, Dr. Opuni on an occasion used threatening statements to the effect that, he would wipe off Tobinco from the surface of the earth, quoted as allegedly saying,“you wait, i am not done with you yet, if you do not know, i am a merciless being and will bring TOBINCO down.” Dr. Opuni was also alleged to have stated that, “if you do not know, go and ask Semenhyia, I harassed her until her husband committed suicide and she went mad dying in a shrine,” journalists were told yesterday at the press conference.
Dr. Peter Tobbin, a member of Tobinco Communications Team, delivering his speech, stated that, following the statements made by Dr. Opuni, Tobinco has reasons to revise its initial thoughts that, the CEO of FDA, has been acting in the interest of public health without any personal vindictiveness. He said, following the recent ban placed on GVS BLISS products by FDA, which products were imported by Tobinco, the latter company stated that, FDA had no basis in respect of scientific proof to take such a position, but rather declared such a war merely based on a letter written by a pharmaceutical company
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Dismiss Appiah Ofori from NPP Youth group charges
REPORT BY SIMON AGBOVI
YOUTH group of the New Patriotic Party has descended on Hon. P. C. Appiah Ofori, a high ranking member of the party and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma-Odoben Brakwa,
describing him as a “disgrace” to the party and whose actions are pushing the NPP to the ground. Among others the Youth group contend that, P. C. Appiah Ofori is one of those whose actions and utterances caused the defeat of the party in the 2008
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Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
FDA BOSS EXPOSED firstname.lastname@example.org
The VAT Increase and What Effects!
LAST Friday, the government, through the Majority in Parliament, increased the VAT rate by 2.5%, a move that sent the Minority out of the House. THE issue has already become the talk of the country with each Ghanaian looking at how the increase will affect him or her. BUT as this development goes on, some organized groups have already spoken openly against the increase, and one such group is the Minority in Parliament. THE Minority at its press conference yesterday, said a lot of things and we on The New Independent need not repeat them, but we are only making a humble appeal to the authorities to take time and read the press statement to see if they could make any sense out of it and adopt some of the suggestions being made.
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stating that, the products were “fake”, adding that, “if a company writes to FDA to state that, the efficacy of its products is good, would that be enough evidence to declare to the public that, the company’s products are good, without any scientific proof,” Dr. Tobbin stressed. “Under section 116 of the Public Health Act 2012, Act 851, it is only the Minister who may, by executive instrument, prohibit the importation, manufacture, exploitation, advertisement or sale of a drug,” he stated. He added that, based on these, 30 containers of Tobinco products have been stalled at the port suffering the adverse effects of the sun, because of the FDA ‘s refusal to grant clearance, saying, even as at the time the impasse began, the medicines were either at the port or on the high seas even before October 1, 2013. He mentioned that, most
of these products are from other manufacturing partners of Tobinco, including but not limited to CIPLA, IPCA, ALLY PHARMA, OSAKA, who equally manufacture drugs for other pharmaceutical companies in Ghana. Dr. Peter Tobbin, said, FDA has refused Tobinco clearance of the goods at the port and (FDA) has further extended its restriction to port authorities to prevent re-exporting of the products back to the manufacturers and instead asking that, the medicines be moved to the State Warehouse to further incur cost in respect of demurrage and other incidental charges, meaning that, it becomes subject to Dr. Opuni’s objective in conformity with his early statement to collapse Tobinco Pharmaceuticals, a locally- owned Ghanaian company. Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Ltd is calling on government to intervene to address the situation before it creates a bigger problem.
Where is the Media Dev’t Fund- MFWA asks P Cont’d from page 1
WE believe that, if this is done, it will go a long way to ensuring maximum co-operation between the two major groups in Parliament. WE do not want to see a situation where the Minority will use last Friday’s development as an good excuse to stay away from Parliamentary business. They are a major stakeholder and we believe they should be listened to. ALSO, some groups within organized labour have spoken against the VAT increase, and we again call on the government to look for ways of listening to all divergent views and to attempt to resolve differences over the VAT increase so that, the increase does not turn out to be counterproductive. Like Us on Facebook.com
))Prof. Kwame Karikari, Director, Media Foundation for West Africa
Gh¢1million MDF allocated in the 2012 budget, it emerged that all the key media stakeholders in the country were unaware of what has happened to the Fund. The National Media Commission (NMC) the statutory body with a constitutional mandate of ensuring high journalistic standards in the country insists that as far as the Commission is concerned the Fund has not become operational. Executive Secretary of the Commission, George Sarpong, says though, he had heard that there have been some disbursements from the Fund, he cannot confirm it because if it was true, then it was done without recourse to the NMC. President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Affail Monney, has also said that he is unaware of any disbursements from the Fund. Even though the Information Ministry presented some computers to the Association during the 2012 GJA awards, the GJA cannot confirm those computers were purchased from the MDF. Executive Secretary of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Gerald Ankrah has also indicated that as far as GIBA was concerned, the fund had not become operational. He indicated that at some point, the Information Ministry had offered to present laptops to GIBA but the Association rejected the computers. Nii Laryea Sowah of the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), said though PRINPAG received some computers from the Information Ministry, the Association was not told the computers were coming from the MDF. “It is the Ministry of Information that should answer the question about the status of the Fund,” Sowah said. The MFWA is concerned that all the above key media groups say they are not clear about the status of the Fund. It was however surprising that at the recent GJA awards which was a platform for raising critical media issues in the country, none of the media stakeholders raised the important issue about the lack of clarity on the whereabouts of the Fund. We are also worried about the silence on the part of the Ministry of Information regarding the operationalisation of the Fund. The MFWA therefore calls on the Ministry to make public the current status of the Fund and also indicate why the Fund has not become operational despite the President’s promise in February that the Fund was going to be operational this year.
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
USAID Sponsors High Level Forum On Water And Sanitation
HE Pan African Inter-governmental Agency Water and Sanitation for Africa has in cooperation with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, organized the third High Level Forum on Water and Sanitation for All. The programme was sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the theme: To promote vibrant and effective co-operation among Southern countries to accelerate access to hygiene, sanitation and water for all in Africa. “Access to water and sanitation remains a major development issue in Africa,” said Bradley Wallach, USAID West Africa Deputy Mission Director, at the conference which took place between November 21-23, 2013 in Abidjan. “For over a decade, USAID has worked with African governments and the private sector to improve populations’ sustainable access to water and sanitation. This forum will allow leaders in this sector to assess current gaps and seek collaborative ways to provide sustainable services.” A release on the forum said, “in addition to contributing $100,000 to sponsor the forum, USAID supported the participation of ten individuals, representatives of governments as well as non-governmental organizations, from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger. Because USAID’s
water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities in West Africa target those three countries, the Agency also held side meetings with their ministers in charge of WASH issues. At the forum, USAID representatives gave presentations on the Agency’s WASH activities and mounted an exhibit focused on these activities.” The USAID WA-WASH Program, implemented by Florida International University, is a fouryear, U.S. $28 million project that contributes to meeting West Africa’s Millennium Development Goal of providing improved access to water and sanitation to 50% of the population. In addition, WA-WASH provides access to water for productive uses via multiple use systems and improves resilience to climate change in three target countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger. The goal of USAID in West Africa is to promote social and economic well-being advanced by West Africans. Spanning 21 countries, the USAID/West Africa regional office designs and implements programs with West African partners to strengthen systems of non-violent conflict management, support economic growth, and expand quality health services. The American people, through USAID, provide economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Dismiss Appiah Ofori from NPP P Cont’d from page 1
))P. C. Appiah Ofori, former MP, Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa
general elections, citing his allegation against his colleague NPP MPs, including Nana Addo, then Presidential Candidate, in which he accused them of having taken bribes without proof, thus causing the party so much suffering. The youth claim that, for some time now, P. C. has been making some negative utterances against Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, trying all possible means to diminish his integrity without any grounds. “This has gone on for far too long and we are forced to a point where we have to tell P. C. to stop the dirty politics to save the party from another defeat,” the group charged. “We can understand his frustration because he has lost relevance in our politics of today, and as a matter of fact, his type of politics does not fit into the 21st century, that is, the name-callings and his loose talks, have no place in the political debate of our time,” a release from the group said. “We want leaders who will be worthy examples enough for others to follow, but not those who resort to negative thinking of others,” they said, adding, “all the party needs now is unity, not one by mere words, but by action,” the group added. The group urged party authorities to urgently dismiss P. C. as his “wrong and weak denigration” of Alan is a doom for the party in 2016 just like 2008, and must be stopped.” They claim that, P. C. has no respect for anybody, including his person and shouldn’t be granted the permission as a member of the party going in to 2016, lest he ruins the party.
MAKROSEC Celebrates 45 Years Anniversary & Founders’ Day FROM LOVELACE OPOKU-AGYEMANG , MANYA KROBO
ROFESSOR Gabriel Ayum Teye, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Development Studies (UDS), who was the Guest Speaker for the Founder’s Day Celebration of the Manya Krobo Senior High School (MAKROSEC), has noted that, educational institutions where the second stage of schooling takes place constitute a crucial formative stage in the educational ladder of an individual. The Guest Speaker made this assertion when delivered his speech at the 45th anniversary and founders’ day of the school at Manya Krobo in the Eastern region
recently. Prof. Teye noted further that, over the past 45years, MAKROSEC has made tremendous contributions to the production of competent human resources, who he said, are in the fields of agriculture, business, engineering, medicine, adding that, sustained and equitable development remains the greatest challenge facing this country and that, the way forward for MAKROSEC is to strive to be a centre of excellence to become an institution of competitive choice. In his welcome address, Rev. Isaac Sackey Kwao, Headmaster of the school, described the founders’ day as an event constituting the climax of activities marking the 45th Anniversary of Manya Krobo Senior High School under the theme: MAKROSEC@45: Producing Human Resource for National Development.
He stated that, 45 years of existence as a school, puts Manya Krobo on the threshold of jubilee year, a year of restoration, MAKROSEC at 45 years, he said, beckons us so urgently “to take stock of the human resource we have produced so far since 1968.” The Headmaster pointed out that, supposing “we kept track of the genesis and development of MAKROSEC, we could appreciate the complementary role of the state, the traditional authority and the church and bring to a close the controversy as to whether MAKROSEC is a state or mission school.” Rev. Kwao said, with such a heritage of enviable proportions, nothing stops us, within the next four years, from expanding our infrastructure to include an assembly hall complex, bungalows for staff, an upgraded road network, a power generating plant and a
fence wall around the school. In His Address, Nene Sakite II, Konor of Manya Krobo, urged well-wishers of the school to engage the students to determine where they are with their academic experience and what they can learn from you and what their future desires are. Nene Sakite expressed his appreciation to those who continue to support the school, extend loyal and non-stop assistance to the development of the school, from the PTA and Old Boys Association, referred to as MAKOSA, adding that, these groups have been fantastic over the years. He said, they have relentlessly helped transform MAKROSEC community to a first class environment for learning for both boys and girls for a better Ghana, and “that this is good news indeed.” He stated that, education is
the foundation for all professions and must not be tampered with by politicians, quoting the former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, who, according to him, said, “education is too precious to be left in the hands of politicians alone.” Nene Sakite II said, he certainly agreed with the prime minister’s assertion and this is the main reason why “we need a National Policy on Education to guide the political education as far as manifestoes are concerned. “We must have a consistent direction that must not be tainted by party politics,” he said, “we need an educational system that will meet the skill requirements of our fast growing economy,” adding that, “life is what you make it and therefore we have the opportunity to make it and to make good choices.”
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
STRATCOMM Africa Holds Communications Clinics At Business Sense Expo
TRATEGIC Communications Africa Ltd., (Stratcomm Africa), is giving small and medium enterprises participating in this year’s Business Sense SME Exhibition, a rare opportunity to learn about the use of effective communication approaches for business growth and survival. This is the second of the Stratcomm Africa communication
clinics for SMEs. The SME conference with the theme “Empowering SMEs through Finance and Knowledge” is being held at the National Theatre in Accra, from 21 – 22 November, 2013. In addition to showcasing its wide range of offerings, Stratcomm Africa will hold communications clinics for companies to help them understand how professional communications services could be em-
ployed to facilitate organizational growth and development and also achieve profitability. Ms. Esther A. N. Cobbah, Chief Executive of Stratcomm Africa and 2012 CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year, says, “Stratcomm Africa is very well positioned to share with SMEs appropriate communication strategies and approaches for business growth. We are an indigenous Ghanaian company with deep lo-
Award Of Certificates To Two Graduants From The Centre For Financial, Economic And Banking Studies (CEFEB) Of The AFD
))The French Ambassador, H. E. Frédéric Clavier and Mrs Amélie July, Resident Manager
of AFD Accra flanked by Mr Elliot Gligui of GCB (left) and Mr Desmond Torsu of Ecobank Ghana (right). With them are some of the members of the CEFEB alumni in Ghana
HE Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has organised an award ceremony at which H.E. Frédéric Clavier, French Ambassador to Ghana, presented the European Professional Master Certificate in “Economic Analysis and International Development in Private Sector Financing” from the Centre for Financial, Economic and Banking studies (CEFEB) to Mr Desmond John Torsu of Ecobank, Ghana and Mr Elliot Gligui of Ghana Commercial Bank, at AFD Residence. CEFEB is the corporate university of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which delivers high level technical training in banking, finance and management to decision-makers and senior managers of partner countries of France, mainly in Africa. Specifically designed to meet the challenges encountered on the field or the need expressed by collaborators of AFD within its zone of intervention, this mas-
ter’s programme invests in talents that will drive the future of countries with whom AFD works. A release from the French Embassy in Accra said, here in Ghana, 28 executives from various companies, agencies and government ministries such as Databank, Ecobank, Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Bayport Financial Services, SG Ghana, Ghana Home Loans, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Volta River Authority (VRA), Bank of Ghana, the Ministry of Finance, etc have benefited from CEFEB’s annual training sessions. In addition to that, it said, many senior executives have benefited from CEFEB’s ad-hoc seminars here in Ghana (and in other parts of Africa or in Marseille, France) about specific themes such as Public Private Partnership, Public Finance Management, etc. The release said, every year calls for submission of applications to the annual session are
sent in January or February to organisations from both public and private sectors of the economy, especially financial institutions and ministries. It said, successful applicants get the opportunity to go to Marseille – France, to do this professional Masters Programme with each programme broken down into two sessions of 2 ½ months each within the year. Candidates, it said, are thus able to return to Ghana in between the two sessions to continue their official duties. “This ensures that, even though the candidate is pursuing higher studies, his or her professional duties are not seriously perturbed.” “As the quality of the human capital of every country plays a vital role in determining its economic growth, France is particularly happy to be able to contribute to the development and growth of Ghana through CEFEB’s training programmes under the auspices of AFD Accra.”
cal knowledge and international expertise with an appreciation of the communication needs of SME’s operating in Ghana”. “We have the capability to help SMEs get their message down to raise their bottom line” she added. The Business Sense 2013 Expo is an annual networking event, trade show & conference for business owners, entrepreneurs & company decision-makers. The ex-
hibition and conference is aimed at creating a well organized and conducive platform for discussing business improvement discussions. It will be attended by business owners, President, CEO, CFO, CMO, COO, Directors, Financial Services Representatives, Partners, Marketing Professionals, Business Development Executives, Sales Executives and Vice Presidents of organization.
Assessment Workshop on Pilot Institutional Performance Contracts
RÉDÉRIC Clavier,Ambassador of France in Ghana and Alhaji Alhassan Azong, Minister of State in charge of the Public Sector Reform on 20th of November opened a successful Assessment Workshop on Pilot Institutional Performance Contracts. Under the framework of the Government of Ghana reform agenda for subvented agencies, France is providing support and expertise to develop the tool of institutional performance contract. This led to the design and the signature of the first two pilots in 2012: Accra Polytechnic with the Ministry of Education ; Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (Kumasi) with the Ministry of Health. Organised by the Public Sector Reform Secretariat (Office of the President) at GIMPA with the support of the French Embassy, the Assessment Workshop on Pilot Institutional Performance Contracts was a one-day seminar to draw lessons from the two pilot contracts and to foster the replication
of this experience in their respective sectors, education and health. It was a successful seminar as the two pilots, Accra Polytechnic and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (Kumasi), after a first year of implementation, expressed appreciation for this new management tool, a release from the French Embassy in Accra said. The ministries of Education and Health, their sectors being the focus of the reform, involved new institutions to replicate the experience: Tamale Teaching Hospital, Kumasi Polytechnic and the Sunyani Polytechnic. In his address to the participants, the Minister underlined the need for the Ghanaian public sector to improve its productivity and efficiency, with subvented agencies gaining autonomy, wining off the public budget. The French Ambassador commended the reform agenda of the government and explained the preparation of a new cooperation project to support mechanisms to make central and local administration in Ghana more accountable.
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
Rita Dominic Wins Best Movie Producer At ELOY Awards
PConrad Murray says he OPULAR actress, Rita Dominic has been announced as the winner of the 2013 edition of Exquisite Lady of the Year (ELOY) Awards.
The fashionable screen diva grabbed the award alongside her manager, Mildred Okwo. Both of them won the award for the film ‘The Meeting’, which was released in 2012 and has been
doing well at the big screens. The occasion was held last night, Sunday, November 24, 2013. This award is one of the awards the actress has won in 2013.
and Michael Jackson were like ‘brothers’
OCTOR Conrad Murray has insisted he and the Michael Jackson were like ‘’family’’, and has claimed he didn’t kill the star, despite being charged with involuntary manslaughter over the singer’s death in 2009. The disgraced former doctor - the ‘Thriller’ hitmaker’s private physician who was charged with involuntary manslaughter when the singer died in 2009 - has claimed he and the late star were like ‘’brothers’’. He told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that Michael had held
his hand and said: ‘’There are only four people in my family now. Paris, Prince, Blanket and you, Dr Conrad.’’ Conrad added: ‘’[It was] one of the happiest days of my life. This man who had been so lonely, who had spent so many long nights telling me about his pain and anguish, finally felt he could trust someone in his life apart from his children. ‘’We were family. We loved each other as brothers.’’ He has also insisted he did not kill the iconic singer, instead claiming he overdosed himself on propofol as he was suffering from insomnia, which Conrad claims could have been because of with-
drawals from demoral, which he was apparently given by another doctor. He said: ‘’I never gave Michael anything that would kill him. I loved him. I still do. I always will ... That night he just couldn’t sleep. ‘’I prescribed him drugs to help, including valium and lorazepam, but he was begging, pleading ... I told him, ‘This is not normal. What I’ve given you would put an elephant to sleep’. ‘’In the other bedroom [Michael’s private chamber], the police found an open bottle of lorazepam. They found tablets in his stomach. I didn’t give him those. Michael took extra tablets. And he injected himself.’’
Ronnie Coaches’ Fifth wife pops up
BEAUTIFUL young lady by name Priscilla Nyarko has popped up with a seven-week-old baby who she says belongs to the late hiplife musician, Ronnie Coaches of Buk Bak fame. Ronnie died last Thursday morning at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, and since then four women, apart from Priscilla, are claiming Ronnie was their husband. Though the late hiplife artiste had four children with four different women, he spent most of his time with Priscilla at her residence in Abeka Lapaz New Market, a suburb of Accra, and their relationship was known to everybody including friends of the late music star. ‘Beatwaves’ learnt Ronnie had been taken ill for some time, and had been seeking medical attention. Though medical report on his death has not been made public, ‘Beatwaves’ gathered some of Ronnie’s close pals were speculating that their friend left more questions than answers. However, when Priscilla was asked whether she believed Ronnie did not die a natural death, she said she did not have spiritual eyes to see what happens in the spiritual realm and so
could not tell. Priscilla Nyarko, an obviously sad and worried mother of a new born baby said she was yet to come to terms with the reality that her son’s father was truly dead because she found it difficult to believe that the man whom she loved and had a baby with was no more. “I am very sad. I don’t even know what to say. I have one month three weeks old baby boy with him. He did not name his son before he died. I will always remember him...The last time I was with him in my room, Ronnie predicted his death saying he would not live to see his son grow. He knew he was going to die. It was like he knew he was never coming back from the hospital,” Priscilla said whilst breast feeding the baby boy. Priscilla admitted that Ronnie had not been well for some time and had complained of severe heartache: “The very day he complained bitterly about severe heartache, I rushed him to the Achimota Hospital where he was treated at the emergency unit and discharged on the same day. A day or so after, he again complained bitterly about severe pains in the heart. When I realized that the situation was getting out of hand, I quickly informed his relations who quickly rushed him to the hospital.”
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
Letter from Africa
Red tape and visas
FEW years ago I had an interesting conversation with an Ethiopian businessman as I was sitting at a bar in a hotel in Addis Ababa. He had come over and introduced himself, telling me that he was an exporter of meat products and business was going well. I asked him where his major markets were; he responded: “Mainly the UAE and Gulf region.” What about other African countries I enquired. He gave me a quizzical look as if I was asking him a silly question. He then explained why it was cheaper to send his products to the Gulf than across the border to another African country. He gave me a long list of complaints from red tape bureaucracy to transportation costs and other
“hidden fees”. Ironically he claimed that someone in the Gulf was re-exporting his meat with a different label to the African countries that he found too expensive to export to. His sentiments are backed by numbers: Whereas roughly 60% of Europe’s trade is with other European countries, only 12% of African trade is with other African countries. I can relate to some of the issues my businessman friend raised. I have had the pleasure of travelling to several nations across Africa - and each country has given me extraordinary experiences and there are many places that now really feel like home when I touch down: Johannesburg, Maputo, Nairobi or Lagos. However the process of getting from point A to point B can still be a struggle. Earlier this year I travelled to Morocco for a big African conference. Everyone from politicians and economists to non-government
activists and journalists gathered in Marrakesh for debates and discussions about Africa’s future. The week-long event was well attended and wonderfully engaging, with a lot of frank talk. While the general tone of these discussions was quite optimistic there were some legitimate gripes. One issue which was not the headline topic of any panel discussion but was talked about nevertheless was travelling in Africa. Many of the participants narrated tales about how flying to parts of Africa meant a mandatory connecting flight through Europe. Though the skies above the continent are opening up, the cost and complexity of air travel leaves a lot of room for improvement. Then there is the additional layer of complexity when it comes to visa requirements. Again I have had a wide range of experiences. I am a Ghanaian; I hold a Ghanaian passport; I can travel freely
within West Africa without needing a visa. I can travel to Kenya and Tanzania without a visa; I need one for Uganda though. Angola, Botswana and Mozambique also require a visa. My first trip to Addis Ababa left me frustrated as I was pulled out of the line at immigration and subjected to pretty severe scrutiny by immigration officials. My frustration was exacerbated as I watched “preferred passport holders” breeze through the process with welcoming smiles from immigration officials. I have since returned to Addis many times and the kindness and generosity of Ethiopians has more than compensated for the immigration headaches. Pioneering Rwanda However, even for the places I like to visit for work or pleasure, the thought of applying for a visa is a turn-off.
I love South Africa for a whole range of reasons but every three months, I have to apply for a new visa which includes letters from my employers in London and the bureau in Johannesburg along with adequate evidence that I will return to London when I finish my assignment. My British colleagues do not have that problem. Change definitely seems to be on the horizon. At the beginning of 2013, Rwanda took the extraordinary step of lifting pre-travel visa requirements for African travellers. For me that is an extraordinary step: Arrive in Kigali; get a stamp in your passport; move on with your business. The African Union celebrated 50 years of unity earlier this year and many agree that the movement of goods and people across borders is necessary to make the concept of unity more than just a conversation. -BBC
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
USAID Awards Scholarships for Water & Sanitation-Related Studies
HE U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has, at the University for Development Studies in Tamale, honoured six recipients of scholarships awarded through the USAID West Africa Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (USAID WA-WASH). The WA-WASH scholarships provide funds to students pursuing Master’s Degrees in the fields of Soil and Water Conservation, Innovation Communication, Development
Studies, and Science. A total of 30 students from 6 universities in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Niger will be granted scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year for study in these countries. These students will receive a scholarship package covering tuition fees and research and field work expenses, as well as health insurance and a monthly stipend. The students will conduct research on topics related to the USAID WA-WASH Program, the goal of which is to increase sustainable access to safe water and
sanitation and to improve hygiene in the three targeted countries. “Through the WA-WASH Program, USAID is helping to develop the capacity of faculty and students, local, national and regional organizations, and communities, equipping them with technical knowledge and skills so they can replicate models for sustainable service delivery,” said Bradley Wallach, USAID West Africa Deputy Mission Director. “This is why this scholarship program targets students of advanced studies and applied re-
search to address needs related to water, sanitation and hygiene.” The USAID WA-WASH Program, implemented by the Florida International University, is a four-year, U.S. $28 million project that contributes to meeting West Africa’s Millennium Development Goal of providing improved access to water and sanitation to 50% of the population. In addition, WA-WASH provides access to water for productive uses via multiple use systems and improves resilience to climate change in the three target countries.
The goal of USAID in West Africa is to promote social and economic well-being advanced by West Africans. Spanning 21 countries, the USAID/West Africa regional office designs and implements programs with West African partners to strengthen systems of non-violent conflict management, support economic growth, and expand quality health services. The American people, through USAID, provide economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Official Launch: Feed the Future USAID Agriculture Technology Transfer Project
HE Feed the Future (FTF) USAID Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) project HAS BEEN launched on Thursday, November 21, 2013, at the University for Development Studies in Dungu, near Tamale. The five-year, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project aims at increasing the availability of appropriate and affordable farming technologies to sustainably improve the competitiveness of the maize, rice and soya value chains in northern Ghana. FTF is United States President Barack Obama’s flagship program to increase food security and improve nutritional status around the world. The Agriculture Technology Transfer Project aims to assist with one of the key constraints to improved agricultural productivity and growth - the development, availability and adop-
tion of agricultural technologies here in Northern Ghana. Over the next five years the activity plans to reach over 100,000 maize, rice, and soya farmers in Northern Ghana through public and private sector partners. The FTF USAID ATT project is implemented by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC). Key partners with the IFDC include the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, as well as other agencies relevant to private sector agricultural investment in Ghana. In conjunction with today’s official launch, the project organized a technology exhibition with private and public sector partners. The exhibition showcased small planting and threshing machines, drip irrigation and market information tools that will all contribute to increasing agricultural productivity.
Controversial Oil Drill ship
Emotional KT Hammond pleads innocence with ‘mysterious’ document
Keep M Ghana Clean
EMBER of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa Kobina Tahir Hammond has in a rather emotional fashion argued his innocence before the Judgement Debt Commission charged among other things, to investigate how an oil drill ship belonging to Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) was controversially sold in 2001. Almost in tears, Mr. Hammond presented to the Commissioner, Justice Yaw Apau, a 65 paged document which he claimed indicated how an amount of 3.5 million dollars was disbursed. The 3.5 million dollars was the remainder of the 24 million dollars realised
from the sale of the ship. The document, which he claimed was God sent to vindicate him, was dropped mysteriously into his pigeon hole in Parliament. He did not know who dropped it but stated the document contained “shocking” revelations about how proceeds from the 3.5 million dollars were withdrawn and disbursed. He told the Commission his mother in the village is dying because he had been wrongly accused in the media of embezzling the 3.5 million dollars when all he had done, was to offer diligent and selfless service to his country and the GNPC. The sale of the Oil Drill ship belonging to the GNPC had been an object of controversy and a
subject of inquiry by the Sole Commissioner appointed by President John Mahama to investigate all judgement debt cases in the country. The John Agyekum Kufuor government, which superintended over the sale had been accused of legal and procedural breaches by not consulting the Board of the GNPC which had the legal mandate to sell. Some also accused K.T Hammond and his boss Albert Kan Dapaah of misappropriating an amount of 3.5 million dollars which was left from the 24 million dollars realised from the sale of the ship. An amount of 19.5 million dollars had been used to pay settlement agreement with Societe General.
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
New AGI President assures Industry of dev’t
HE newly elected President of the Association of Ghanaian Industry (AGI), Mr. James Asare-Adjei, has assured Ghanaians, especially industry players of dynamic leadership for growth and development. Mr. Asare-Adjei gave this assurance when he was elected as the new AGI President on Thursday, 21st November, 2013 at the Trade Fair Auditorium, Accra. Providing his vision for AGI for the next two years of office, Mr. Asare-Adjei said, “I would ensure effective organization of Member companies at regional branches to present a formidable force in strengthening the advocacy drive of AGI to position industry at the heart of government policies”. The new AGI boss added that he would champion the setting
up of an SME bank through the aggregation of Japanese grant, Italian fund, EDAIF, MASLOC, etc to make credit easily accessible and cheaper to AGI members “I will provide dynamic leadership for industry growth and development through effective engagement of government in solving utility tariff hikes, high cost of credit, excessive business taxation, depreciation of the cedi, lack of market access and many more”, Mr. James Asare-Adjei added. He is the Founder and CEO, of Asadtek Group Limited, with subsidiary companies; Asadtek Kitchenware, Asadtek Roofing both in Manufacturing and Asadtek Properties Limited. Mr Asare-Adjei, who takes over from Nana Owusu-Afari, holds a BSc degree in Engineering from the Kwame Nkurmah University of
Science and Technology (KNUST). He is also, a Chartered Marketer (CIM – UK) and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA – Birmingham City University, U.K). He is currently a Doctoral Researcher in ‘Building Growth Model Strategy for Manufacturing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ at University of Birmingham Business School, U.K. He worked as Chief Executive & Manpower development Manager, with several years of experience in capacity building, Human Resource Management and General Management prior to setting up Asadtek Group Limited. He also has a long-standing academic experience as a Lecturer in International Marketing and Strategic Marketing Management at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana (Senior Managers Programme), at GIMPA.
NCA to charge annual rent on new phone numbers
HE National Communication Authority (NCA) is now going to charge an annual rent in addition to initial fees on new blocks of phone numbers it would issue to the telecoms operators beginning immediately. The NCA initially gave each telco a block of 10million numbers (the 02X numbers) as part of their licensing package for free and subsequently the telcos were charged a flat rate of US$1million for new blocks of 10million numbers (the 05X numbers). But the NCA says the telcos are not managing the numbers efficiently because they keep requesting for additional blocks of numbers while most of the ones they already have remain inactive. Speaking to ADOMBUSINESS at the just ended ITU World Conference on International Telecoms (WCIT-13) in Bangkok, Thailand, Deputy Director of Regulatory Administration at the NCA, Patrick Laryea said the new regime is to ensure efficiency in number management. He said the initial flat rate was just the cost of the new code that came with the new block of numbers, so that initial charge would remain and the annual rent would be added to motivate telcos to manage the numbers judiciously. “But the rent fee will not be the same for all telcos. It will depend on the number block one is requesting for. For those requesting numbers beyond the first 20million, the rent per number is 40cents (over 91Gp) per number but it is less for those below 20million,” he said. So far, MTN, Vodafone and Tigo have already crossed the 20 million mark, having already requested for and deployed the second block of 10million numbers with the 05X code. Airtel, Glo and Expresso are yet to have the second block. Mr. Laryea noted, for instance, that records available to NCA indicates about 500,000 new SIMs are activated on MTN every month, but an average of about 100,000 remain by the close of the month, and MTN is required to deactivate the remaining 400,000 and reassign them to other people after 90 days, but they hardly do. “The telcos usually give the excuse that some customers travel outside the country and return to reactivate their numbers so they find it difficult reassigning those numbers to other people even after the mandatory 90-day deadline,” he said. Mr. Laryea said the phone numbers are a national
resource and the telcos are required to obey the law in managing them efficiently so the rent system would motivate them to follow the law, adding that it would also push them to educate their customers on the need to keep their numbers active or their lines would be deactivated. “If you pay annual rent on numbers that remain inactive on your network and do not generate any revenue for you that would be a loss to you as a telco so you now have reason to obey the law and deactivate inactive numbers and reassign them,” he said. He explained that this annual rent would strictly affect numbers in the new block, which would not include the 02X for all telcos. But for some telcos who are yet to request for the 05X number, those would be affected, except the annual rent would be less than 40 cents per number. Extra cost for consumers This new fee regime comes at a time when the ITU is expressing concern about the numerous taxes, charges, and levies being placed on telecom industry players, which would eventually be passed on to consumers. The telcos in Ghana have already been absorbing charges such as the ‘double’ Communication Service Tax (CST), MNP fees and others on behalf of their customers, but it is not clear whether they would absorb this one. It is however not a secret that some telcos have made it a habit to be distributing their SIM cards for free to tourists on some partner airlines arriving in Ghana as a marketing strategy. Most of those SIMs are activated and used briefly and the telcos are required by law to deactivate them after 90 days of remaining inactive and reassign them but the records show they do not. Thetelcosalsoassignsomeblocksofnumbers,usually up to 1,000 numbers to organizations, even when those organizations do not use all the 1,000 numbers at a go. The telcos themselves have also assigned certain blocks of numbers to themselves to be given to new staff and partners as and when they get employed. They have also assigned some numbers as short codes for promotions and some of those numbers are still waiting to be used. Meanwhile, some MTN and Vodafone customers have told ADOMBUSINESS they have lost possession of some phone numbers in the recent past because those numbers remained inactive for a while. According to those customers the networks told them the numbers have been churned and reassigned to other users.
))Prof Cletus Dordunoo
2014 budget is ‘heavily overloaded’ with statements p Policy Analyst
N economic and public policy analyst, Prof Cletus Dordunoo, has described the 2014 budget as suffering from “a triple vacuum”: no vision, no medium-term plans and no specific plans. Prof Dordunoo, says the Finance Ministry “has tried very hard to put together some statements for the year... but it is heavily overloaded with a lot of statements”, adding that it poorly reviewed achievements of 2013 targets. Speaking on a panel discussion programme, Talking Point on GTV on Sunday, Prof Dordunoo also noted that the policy document presented by the Finance Minister to Parliament last week lacks a medium-term plan that will guide the country for 2014. He noted “the medium term plan [which the country] had expired at the end of the [fiscal] year.” He said initiatives in the budget also lack “scenerios and simulations” for adequate appreciation of how the Finance Ministry hopes to achieve them. One of such initiatives is the Infrastructural Development Fund (IDF). A key element of the 2014 Budget and Financial Statement which was presented to Parliament last Tuesday was the setting up of the Infrastructure
Development Fund (IDF). The fund, according to Finance Minister, Seth Terpker, will seek to provide a sustainable source of income for infrastructural development. But Prof Dordunoo said the 2012 Auditor General’s report for instance pointed out several “financial malfeasance” with similar funds which makes the IDF a bit dangerous for the economy. “With the huge fiscal deficit we have, plus the deficit on infrastructure, which is also very high, this IDF is something we have to look at...very well”, he added. He said already there was a number of Funds, such as the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Common Fund etc which were burdening the economy, hence the proposed IDF could be detrimental to the economy in 2014. He also cautioned government against allowing IDF to suffer the same financial misappropriation which existing funds have suffered. Dr Akoto Osei, a former Minister of Finance, who was also on the programme, however said conceptually, the IDF is good, but government would have to “flesh it out”.
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
UN sets January date for Syria peace talks
Netanyahu: Iran Nuclear deal a ‘historic mistake’
HE United Nations has set a date for talks between the Syrian government and opposition, in an attempt to push through the first such meeting since the start of the country’s 32-month-old war. The organisation’s secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said on Monday that the conference, to be held in Geneva on January 22, was “a mission of hope” to end the civil war and agree a transitional government “with full executive powers”. However Laui Safi, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Coalition, said shortly after the announcement that the group would only attend if the Syrian regime met its preconditions: the release of prisoners and relief for besieged towns, and that the current president, Bashar al-Assad, has no part to play in the new transitional government. The SNC has also said it would need the support of all rebel brigades on the ground, including al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, before it began peace talks. Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor, James Bays, said that setting a date was no guarantee that talks would go ahead, and was announced more out of frustration than a clear plan. “The UN has tried to coax the opposition to the table previously. When that didn’t work, they have had to set a date to try to force them to the table. Delegations will probably attend, but will they represent those on the ground? Probably not”. The announcement was made after talks between the UN’s peace envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, met Russian and US diplomats on Monday in Geneva. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr said that the Assad regime was itself emboldened, had the upper hand on the ground militarily, and felt strengthened by Iran, its main ally, returning to the international fold following the agreement to suspend its nuclear programme in return for easing of sanctions. Sketchy detail The UN said the Geneva talks would be international, but it was not clear from Ban’s statement whether Iran would be invited. He said he expected “all regional and international partners to demonstrate their meaningful support for constructive negotiations”. “We will go to Geneva with a mission of hope,’’ Ban said in his statement. The Geneva conference is the vehicle for a peaceful transition that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of all the Syrian people for freedom and dignity, and which guarantees safety and protection to all communities in Syria.” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky added: “The secretary general expects that the Syrian representatives will come to Geneva with a clear understanding that this is the objective, and with a serious intention to end a war that has already left well over 100,000 dead, driven almost nine million from their homes, left countless missing and detained, sent tremors through the region and forced unacceptable burdens on Syria’s neighbours.”
))Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago
SRAEL’S Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu harshly condemned the international community’s nuclear deal with Iran on Sunday while Saudi Arabia remained conspicuously quiet, reflecting the jitters felt throughout the Middle East over Iran’s acceptance on the global stage. Elsewhere, many welcomed the agreement as an important first step toward curbing Iran’s suspect nuclear program. Israel and Western-allied Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia have formed an unlikely alliance in their opposition to Sunday’s deal, joined together by shared concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran and the Tehran’s growing regional influence. While most Gulf countries remained silent in the first hours after the deal was reached in Geneva, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted little time in criticizing it, calling it a “historic mistake” and saying he was not bound by the agreement. Speaking to his Cabinet, Netanyahu said the world had become a “more dangerous place” as a result of the deal. He
reiterated a long-standing threat to use military action against Iran if needed, declaring that Israel “has the right and the duty to defend itself by itself.” Sunday’s agreement is just the first stage of what is hoped to bring about a final deal ensuring that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. Under the deal, Iran will curb many of its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for limited and gradual relief from painful economic sanctions. The six-month period will give diplomats time to negotiate a more sweeping agreement. The package includes freezing Iran’s ability to enrich uranium at a maximum 5 percent level, which is well below the threshold for weapons-grade material and is aimed at easing Western concerns that Tehran could one day seek nuclear arms. International monitors will oversee Iran’s compliance. For Iran, keeping the enrichment program active was a critical goal. Iran’s leaders view the country’s ability to make nuclear fuel as a source of national pride and an essential part of nuclear self-sufficiency.
Kampala mayor impeached amid power struggle
HE mayor of Uganda’s capital Kampala was ousted from office by local councillors on Monday after a lengthly power struggle with supporters of President Yoweri Museveni, officials and reports said. Erias Lukwago, who has been accused of misconduct, incompetence and abuse of office, was voted out by 29 votes to three, and his ouster prompted violent clashes in the capital. Lukwago, elected in January 2011, is a member of the opposition Democratic Party, while the municipal council is dominated by Uganda’s governing National Resistance Movement (NRM). Lukwago’s supporters have long accused the NRM of seeking to retake
control of the city, and the impeachment vote went ahead even though Lukwago’s lawyer, Abudullah Kiwanuka, had secured a temporary court injunction, the Daily Monitor reported, but was not allowed into the meeting to deliver it. Kampala police commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi confirmed the lawyer had “not been invited” so had been blocked from entering. “Some elements tried to cause trouble by blocking streets. Police intervened and dispersed them,” the police official said. Local media said tear gas and rubber bullets were used to disperse the protests. Ugandan police regularly crack down on any protest against Museveni’s 27-year-old grip on powe
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
Urgent: Stop Parliament Before It Is Too Late!
HERE is currently a very bad Bill at the Consideration Stage before our Parliament. It is called the Plant Breeders’ Bill. Parliament is sitting tomorrow, Tuesday, 26 November, 2013. to vote for amendments to propose and vote on amendments to the Bill. There is very little time left. This Bill, once passed, can never be revoked. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, even if a Least Developed Country, LDC , introduces a TRIPS-compliant obligation on IP-protection, it would no longer be able to reduce that scope of protection, regardless of the fact that the LDC is not required to implement the TRIPS Agreement. The Bill contains provisions that are highly disturbing. For instance, Clause 23 of the Bill is asking the Parliament to evacuate their solemn responsibility to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Ghanaians. This Bill, if passed, will hand over the ability of the Republic of Ghana to take measures to regulate within Ghana, in terms of the production certification, and marketing of material of a variety or importation or exportation”, to the plant breeder, mostly giant foreign multinational corporations like Monsanto which dominate the world market, irrespective of its impact on public health or the environment! The Bill is arrogantly calling on Parliament to make the rights associated with a commercial activity independent of any measures by the state: Clause 23 on Measures regulating commerce. “A plant breeder right shall be independent of any measure taken by the Republic to regulate within Ghana the production, certification and marketing of material of a variety or the importation or exportation of the material.” Food Sovereignty Ghana is desperately lobbying the MPs to amend the obnoxious elements in the Plant Breeders’ Bill. I support these efforts. So far, I have noticed a few dissenting voices in Parliament mainly coming from the Minority side. This is not good enough, if we must succeed in freeing Ghana from such a dangerous trap. What is urgently lacking is an opposition to the Bill from the Majority side. If we must make any headway in this action, this is crucial. Dear reader, we have only one Ghana. I am therefore pleading with you to make this a priority to warn the NDC that they risk being tagged the “sellers of farmers’ rights to foreign multinational corporations”! President Mahama must send the appropriate signals to his Attorney-General and Minister for Justice that the game is over! He needs to do that if he does not want to be impeached, or at best thrown out at the end of his first term. It might be instructive to remind the NDC MPs that this call is against the following backdrop. In the run-up to the Presidential elections in 2012, one of the key elements cited by the NDC supporters against the NPP was the accusation of “the opposition New Patriotic Party and its presidential candidate, Nana
Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of being puppets of multinationals such as the United States’ agricultural company Monsanto.” For example, in predicting a win for the NDC, Africa Confidential published an article on 16 November 2012, Elections 2012: Mahama ahead by a hair, in which it pointed out that “NDC critics claim the NPP’s agricultural expansion policies are based on imposing Monsanto’s genetically modified seed varieties on local farmers. More widely, they paint the centre-right NPP as the party of ‘bosses in
picture, even less, to be informed! We are going to discuss this, whether they like it or not! And we are going to inform the good people of Ghana. There is something fundamentally flawed in the bid by the NPP to seek the mandate to assault our agriculture under false pretences. We want the NPP to come out to clearly explain that anomaly, or to formally rule out the introduction of GM crops under their administration. The people of Ghana need to know if a vote for the NPP is equal to a vote for GM
“Like the poor cat in the adage, who wanted to catch the fish but did not want to wet its paws, the NPP wants a mandate to introduce Genetically Modified Organisms into our food chain, but they do not want a discussion! They do not even want the people to get the full picture, even less, to be informed! We are going to discuss this, whether they like it or not! And we are going to inform the good people of Ghana. suits’ who have little understanding of or interest in the lives of the urban or rural poor.” [See: Elections 2012: Mahama ahead by a hair, 16 November 2012, http://www.ghanaweb. com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel. php?ID=257839] Perhaps the NDC MPs also need to be reminded of the fact that the NPP would be happy to put off the label of being the porters of Genetically Modified Foods in Ghana, and gladly offer the mantle to the NDC. The Pan-Africanist International has already flagged the NPP 2012 Manifesto on Agriculture. In an article “The NPP Manifesto on Agriculture is Bogus and Fraudulent!”, the P-AI argued that: “Like the poor cat in the adage, who wanted to catch the fish but did not want to wet its paws, the NPP wants a mandate to introduce Genetically Modified Organisms into our food chain, but they do not want a discussion! They do not even want the people to get the full
crops. The NPP is being unfair to Ghanaians by asking them to vote NPP on the basis of promises to provide “improved seeds”, a well known term commonly used to disguise and greenwash the fact that those seeds are genetically modified organisms that carry with them a myriad of dangers.” See: NPP Manifesto on Agriculture is Bogus and Fraudulent! September 10, 2012, http://www.panafricanistinternational.org/?p=1832 The Bill is perhaps the most outrageous encroachment of our sovereignty since the Crown Lands Bill of 1896 and the Lands Bill of 1897, which triggered the formation of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society. You all know how hard I worked for the Mahama victory. I personally feel sad and disappointed in the Mahama Administration for attempting to introduce such a colonialist adventure, fifty six good years after our political independence! It is a sad commentary, not only on their sense of priorities, but also on their sense of
loyalty. Is the loyalty directed at UPOV in Geneva, or the poor Ghanaian farmer expecting our government to take care of their interests? A preamble of the Petition to Parliament on the Plant Breeders’ Bill eloquently expresses the reason why we all need to put pressure on Parliament to do the right thing: NOTING WITH DISMAY that the Plant Breeders’ Bill currently before Parliament has moved to the Consideration Stage; DESIROUS to urgently contribute to the debate in order to help ensure the rights of the small farmer are not trampled upon in our zeal to protect the rights of the plant breeder; CONCERNED that the Bill, as it stands, contains clauses that have serious implications on our sovereignty as a people, including unacceptable limitations on the policy space it leaves for the state to regulate the activities of plant breeders vis-à-vis measures to protect public health and the natural environment; DEEPLY TROUBLED that the Bill, as it stands, facilitates bio piracy in that it does not require a breeder to disclose the origin of the genetic material used to develop the variety it wishes to protect and neither does it provide mechanisms for prior informed consent and access and benefit sharing, although African nations have championed these mechanisms in various international forums. ALARMED that in the absence of these elements, the Bill sets up a framework for commercial breeders – most of which are likely to be foreign entities – to use local germplasm to develop varieties that are then exclusively appropriated by such breeders through the PVP system established by the regional legal framework: WORRIED that the Bill will lead to erosion of crop diversity and thus reduce resilience to threats such as pests, disease or climate change. FURTHER CONCERNED that the Bill hinders Ghana’s ability to fulfil its commitments under the international Treaty on Plant Genetic Resource for Food and Agriculture in particular, to realise, protect, and promote farmers rights, including the right to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and other propagating material, and to participate in decision-making regarding, and in the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. EAGER TO help block a reckless loophole that is bound to saddle us with huge judgement debts, as a nation, we particularly oppose Clause 23. This clause will, at best, present us with a dilemma of regulating the activities of the plant breeder for the sake of public health or the environment and face judgement debts, or accepting the right of the breeder and be damned. As it currently stands in Clause 23, a plant breeder’s right is “independent of any measure taken by the Republic to regulate within Ghana the production, certification and marketing of material of a variety or the importation or exportation of the material”, irrespective of the consequences; Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheOdikro,
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
Who Is Watching The Watchman?
T was in my JHS 3 class when my social studies teacher told me that Ghana is “an elephant meat”. When it gets to your time, cut as large as you can chop and move on…. I now realise he was right. A working visit to CEPS by the immediate past President of Ghana, the late Prof. J. E. A. Mills lamented in his speech “Every day we hear reports about malpractices, people collecting bribes with careless abundance - people who think they are entitled to take bribes”. When we keep on doing the same things all the time, we should not expect any different result. In Ghana we have made it a condition that people should give money before services are rendered to them especially in the public sector. Corruption has been covered up and the rot permitted to continue at all levels of the Ghanaian society. Everyone is trying to make the most of the other. The average Ghanaian can elaborate all the problems in Ghana but simply lack the will to solve them when there is an opportunity. The big question is “Who is watching the watchman?” Government properties are handled carelessly. In Ghana, public workers or officials do not protect government properties; since it belongs to the government they rather handle them carelessly. Government drivers drive on rough roads just as fast as they drive on good roads. They do not make a distinction between potholes and good roads because they know that they will not have to pay for the repairs. If it is public property, the Ghanaian worker will handle it carelessly. No wonder government cars wear out faster than commercial vehicles. Government properties and vehicles break down more frequently than our own and it is not because of usage but because of carelessness. Office furniture becomes write-offs, computers break down more frequently and government buildings become death traps simply because they lack proper usage, supervision and maintenance. That is not all; in Ghana no policeman will dare arrest a politician or a big man. A big man in Ghana does not only refer to age, but to position and authority. It is an unspoken law that you simply do not arrest an important man in Ghana especially if he is a politician. When a big man or a politician breaks the law, they get cover especially when their party is in power. Our big men and politicians sometimes turn to undermine our legal system but however seek to use the same system and defend it, thereby enhancing bribery and corruption. It is an established fact that the Ghanaian society demands absolute respect for these big men and politicians and so forbid us from questioning any action, statement, decision and even the motives of them. Coupled with this let’s assume that once someone becomes a big man or politician, all his actions, decisions and motives are noble. So under normal circumstances no committee of enquiry in Ghana will find a big man guilty if he can be helped. In Ghana therefore our big men or politicians are clothed with automatic integrity, decency and dignity and any attempt to question that integrity and nobility is regarded as disrespectful and unacceptable. Our young people cannot see how they can make it in Ghana because they have been destroyed by someone higher who felt threatened by the youths’ prospects. Addition to that, our big men or politicians will always cover each other and speak a lot of “fine-fine” English to us. The only time they attempt to do their duty is
when the media keeps a matter alive, let the media moved on to another issue and the matter is left behind. Anytime there is a problem committees of enquiry are set up and as usual it is always constituted by high powered and experience persons but nothing comes out of their finding. What we usually hear is that investigations are still on going and this can take several months and even years. Watch the outcomes and findings of the many committees of enquiry and the way certain allegations against corruption have been handled and you will understand what I mean. Aside all these problems we still give ourselves awards for excellence, aren’t we ashamed of ourselves? The Judges also are frustrating Ghanaians, criminals are granted bail in court even when all evidence connects them. The Police will gather enough intelligence on criminals, arrest them some time at night despite the risk involve and when they are sent to court they are granted bail. An example is a case in Kumasi the Ashanti region , where the KMA court granted bail to three suspected armed robbers standing trial of murder and robbery although the police had gathered and presented enough evidence that links them to the crime. These robbers were arrested in connection the robbing and murder a security man at Bantama Ash-food court hotel. In most cases the Police will provide all evidence needed in their trial but some Judges are making money out of the pains and sweat of complainants and the Police. A time will come where the Police will go to sleep and we all will live under the command of these criminals. In some cases the police turn to do us more harm than good by lancing with suspects or team up with the court to release criminals and at the end of the day they are out there terrorizing people again. The police on its own are making money out of these criminals and granting them bail without proper prosecution, thereby giving them the opportunity to committee more crimes. Their investigations end there after granting bail and even if investigations continue it wouldn’t be proper enough to convict them. Sometimes instead of the Police to go after these criminals rather go to them for monies making room for them to operate or allow them to escape. The Police on the other hand will relent in its work hence conduct poor investigations into cases reported. We shouldn’t put all the blame on the police because they sometimes do not get Justice anytime criminals are put before court. This I think has compelled the Police to now sometimes open fire on suspected criminals and the result - some innocent people are killed. A typical example is that of Winneba in the central region, where policemen mistook their colleagues for suspected armed robbers and opened fire on them, killing them instantly. In Ghana you cannot get anything done without paying a bribe, this include getting admission into schools, to get a bed at the hospital when admitted, etc. The person who wants to protect the interest of the state against the corruption of greedy people is given a bad name and sent parking. People who stand up against corruption in any setting are framed up and dismissed and those who did that get away with it. Why do these things happen? Who is going to make society a better place? – it begins with you. [AUTHOR]BAYOR, Cephas Kanyiri Kumasi, Ghana E-mail: email@example.com
Tuesday, 26th November, 2013
World Cup Trophy finally arrives in Accra courtesy Coca Cola
HE highly anticipated FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca Cola made its stop at the Air Force in Accra on Monday from Morocco. The arrival in the capital is the 42nd stop out of 89 countries to receive the trophy. This tour will go down history as the largest
and longest tour ever. The magnificent trophy was welcome by the minister of Youth and Sports Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi. Accompanying the trophy were representatives of FIFA Pekka Martensson and other football administrators and also on board was
Multimedia Sports presenter Kofi Asare Braako who won an incentive package by the renowned beverage Coca Cola to fly him to Morocco to experience the tour. The Trophy also visited the Lizzy’s Sports Complex in East Legon where a group of school children were playing a gala match. The Trophy will also be received
by the President of the republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama at an exclusive Gala dinner on Monday evening. The Trophy will be exposed to the public at the Accra International Conference Center and this will give consumers a once in a life time opportunity to take pictures with the real trophy.
The event comes on the occasion of qualification of the Black Stars to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil following its win over Egypt last Saturday on a 7-3 aggregate. Ghana have qualified alongside Nigeria, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon to represent Africa as a continent.
Kwadwo Asamoah’s Juventus set new record
HE 2-0 win at Livorno on Sunday ensured that this is the best start to a Serie A season for Juventus under boss Antonio Conte. After 13 games, the Old Lady had collected 29 points in Conte’s first season and 32 during the last campaign. Juventus presently have 34 points in the standings, thanks to 11 wins and one draw. The Bianconeri’s only defeat this season in the top flight came in the 4-2 reverse at Fiorentina during Week 8, a tie they were winning 2-0. They were also held to a 1-1 draw at Inter in Week 3. Juventus are going for a hattrick of Scudetti under their former midfielder.
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