Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Frontpage, March 31, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah & Henrietta Brocke
THE ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) have taken a swipe at current agitations among a section of National Democratic Congress (NDC0 youth and described them as unacceptable acts of indiscipline and lawlessness.
While the NDC said the actions of the youth were unacceptable and called on them to use proper channels to address their grievances, the CPP called on President John Evans Att Mills to use his executive powers to arrest the disturbing trend of affairs.
The calls come in the wake of demonstrations for the removal of some district chief executives (DCEs) and government officials.
The agitators have also expressed their frustrations as a result of lack of jobs more than a year after the NDC, which promised them jobs during the 2008 electioneering campaign, had been in power.
Addressing a press conference in Accra today, the Communications Director of the CPP, Mr William Dowokpor pledged the party’s support to any action by the government to deal with the disturbing situation.
Mr Dowokpor expressed grave concern about the recent spate of threats of attacks, kidnappings and killings adding that “we also view the threat of reprisal attack said the threat of reprisal attacks as an assault on the very foundations of law and order in our society and at the very least an outspoken vote of no confidence in the institutions of state charged to maintain law and order.”
He said another formidable threat to peace and national development was the way partisan politics seems to have seeped into the noble institution of chieftaincy.
He noted with regret the unfortunate and unhealthy events around the Ga stool, the Tuobodom-Techiman disturbances as well as the killing of a chief in the Northern Region and the consequences thereof.
He advised chiefs to desist from engaging in partisan politics to preserve the institution and their own dignity.
Earlier in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the National Youth Organiser of the NDC, Mr Ludwig Hlodze said the party was doing all that it could to ensure that jobs were created to satisfy the demands of the youth, but condemned attacks on government officials, explaining that “the NDC is a disciplined party that will not tolerate such acts of indiscipline”.
Mr Hlodze said the country was governed with rules and regulations and it was incumbent on the youth of the party to be law abiding by using the right channels to register their concerns.
He said while demonstrations were lawful, they should always conform to laid down rules and regulations governing the country.
Touching on lack of employment, which had been the concern of the youth, he explained that it was due to that problem that a youth summit was held recently at Ho to collate view to see how best to create jobs for them.
Mr Hlodze explained that the youth training institutions across the country were being empowered to increase their intake to train the youth to be self employed.

Parliamentary C'tee briefed on biofuel policy paper

Page 17, March 29, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
THREE non-governmental (NGO) organisations leading advocacy actions to highlight the food security and environmental implications of large-scale biofuel production last week met the Parliamentary Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs.
The NGOs are the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), Actionaid Ghana and Food Security Advocacy Network (FoodSPAN).
The meeting, which was also attended by chairmen and ranking members of the Parliamentary Committees Lands and Forestry, Local Government and Rural Development, Environment, Science and Technology, and Employment enabled the NGOs to brief the committees on a policy paper they had prepared.
The policy paper was prepared after a comprehensive nation-wide study as well as consultations with affected communities and various stakeholders.
Briefing the MPs, the Secretary-General of GAWU, Mr Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, noted that the policy shift of developed countries towards the use of biofuels as an alternative source of energy for heating and transportation had resulted in the rush to grab land for biofuel production in developing countries.
He said because it was seen as an alternative, relatively cleaner and cheaper source of energy, biofuel could help meet energy needs of rural populations if managed and in a desirable manner.
Mr Ofei-Nkansah said, however, biofuel production could have serious negative implications for food production and livelihood security, land and water use, environmental and human rights.
He stated that crops that had become ready candidates for the development of biofuels include corn, soya beans, sugar cane, sorghum, cassava, ?????rapeseed, palm oil, coconut oil, sunflower and jatropha.
Mr Ofei-Nkansah said significant proportions of these crops, which otherwise would have been used for food, were being diverted into ethanol and bio-diesel production, thereby raising food prices and affecting food availability and accessibility among poor small-scale farm families and households.
He noted that if not checked, the competition for fertile land for biofuel production by rich and powerful companies would inexorably lead to low food production and food insecurity among Ghanaians.
On the impact on livelihoods and rural development, Mr Ofei-Nkansah there was real concern that large-scale foreign-dominated companies establishing biofuel plantations were destroying the environment on which rural people depended for their livelihood and threatened rural development.
He added that already some communities in the country had evidence of how the operations of biofuel companies were adversely affecting the food security and threatening their livelihoods.
“Biofuel production could help in improving livelihoods and rural development, only if it is produced in sustainable manner by the rural people themselves to address local/community energy needs”, he said.
He said the NGOs, therefore want the government to put in place a comprehensive policy framework that was an embodiment of a nationally-driven biofuel agenda, which was complementary to food and livelihood needs of the people.
Mr Ofei-Nkansah said policymakers should also carry out further in-depth investigations into the industrial plantation system of monocultures that entailed drastic land use changes and adaptation by local communities.
In addition, companies investing in biofuel production in the country should be compelled by a legislation to make full disclosure of their plans for land use and other resources, in order to improve the knowledge of the local communties and help them make informed decisions.
He called for a mandatory Environnmental and Social Impact Assessment before permission was granted for large-scale biofuel plantation development.
Mr Ofei-Nkansah said there was also the need for a five-year moratorium to be placed on further development of large-scale biofuel production to enable the country to right what was wrong and prevent further social and environmental abuses.
After the briefing, MPs who contributed to the ensuing discussion thanked the NGOs for their early wake-up call.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa, Mr P.C Appia-Ofori, said all efforts should be made by the government to halt the destruction of the country’s virgin food land which were being used for the cultivation of jatropha.
He said if efforts to halt further developments of large-scale biofuel plantations failed, he would send the matter to court to seek redress.
For his part, the Chairman of the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Committee, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, said every effort would be made to ensure that the concerns of the NGOs received the necessary attention.

Beverages Association complain about high tarrifs

Centre spread,March 27, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

MEMBERS of the Beverages Association of Ghana have painted a gloomy picture of the cost of doing business in the country as against neighbouring countries, and called on Parliament to intervene to promote the country’s quest to be the gateway to West Africa.
They noted that the present high tariff regime on imports was gradually forcing them to reduce their imports, explaining that the situation would eventually prevent the government from meeting its revenue targets while high tariffs would be passed on to consumers.
At a meeting with members of the Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee of Parliament they expressed concern about the re-introduction 20 per cent import duty on rice, saying the argument that reintroduction would increase government’s revenue was not automatic.
A member of FABAG, Mr John Awuni, stated that the increasing revenue from imports or taxes depended on demand and supply, which eventually dictated whether more or less products would be imported.
Comparing rice imports to Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Awuni disclosed that while Ghana imported 305 metric tonnes of rice in 2009, Cote d’Ivoire imported 950 metric tonnes during the same period.
He said that was so because importers found it cheaper to import rice into Cote d’Ivoire rather than Ghana as a result of Ghana’s high tariff regime.
Mr Awuni explained that while the total tariff on imported rice in Cote d’Ivoire was 12.5 per cent, that of Ghana was 37 per cent of the CIF.
He added that what made the situation even more serious was that large quantities of the imported rice into Cote d’Ivoire found their way through smuggling to Ghana to the detriment of importers of rice.
Mr Awuni said that the situation was not peculiar to rice imports alone, adding that by reducing tariffs, the importers could boost government’s revenue and job creation efforts while consumers welfare would be guaranteed, as low import cost would ultimately reflect in the final price of the commodities.
He also expressed worry about handling of goods at the Tema Port and wondered why only one company had been made to take charge of the handling.
Mr Awuni said what also made doing business in Ghana difficult as compared to Cote d’Ivoire was the lack of rail transport, which made haulage of bulk imports via trucks laborious and expensive for importers.
“It is not just the global financial melt down but largely because of handling and many other issues at the port which tend to increase transaction cost and, consequently discourage business persons from patronising Ghana’s ports”.
He said while in 2008 the Tema Port authorities recorded eight million metric tonnes transit cargo, the figure reduced to five million metric tonnes in 2009.
Mr Awuni said it was a fact that revenue from transit cargo constituted about 20 per cent of Ghana’s revenue and hence a decrease in transit cargo constituted a significant loss of revenue to the government.
Another member of the association, Mr Sam Zocca of the Forewin Ghana Limited, importers of wine, expressed concern about the smuggling of alcoholic beverages into the country and attributed that to high import duties.
He explained that while in 2008, his company imported 67,912 cartons of wine into the country, only 20,976 cartons were imported in 2009 due to an increase in the import duty in 2009.
Mr Zocca, therefore pleaded with Parliament to impress on the government to reduce tariffs on imports since the situation was doing the country more harm than good.
The chairman of the committee, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abokobi/Medina, assured the association that their appeal would be studied for the necessary recommendations to be made.

Couple assists prayer centre

Page 22, March 27, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
A GHANAIAN philanthropist based in Abuja, Nigeria, Dr Johnson Boanu and his wife, Warrant Officer Class One Comfort Boanu of the Ghana Armed Forces has presented a four-bedroom guest house and a new sprinter bus to the Jenjemireja Gethsemane Presbyterian Prayer Centre in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The guest house and the bus valued at GH¢50,000 were provided to solve the transportation and accommodation problems hampering the operations of the centre.
WO1 Boanu, who presented the facilities on behalf of her husband, Dr Boanu, who is the Director of Environment of the ECOWAS said they took the decision to contribute their quota to enhance the work of the centre.
She gave the assurance that as long as they lived, they would continue to use their resources to support moves to win more souls for Christ.
The Chairman of the West Brong Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr Kofi Effa-Ababio, who received the keys of the house and the bus, thanked the couple for the gesture.
“Your wonderful gesture will go a long way to assist the centre to strengthen its evangelism drive,” he said and assured the donors that the church would continue to remember them in prayers.
He urged officials of the centre to take good care of the facilities and use them for the purposes for which they were provided.
The Drobo District Minister of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Philip Ntow Agyeman advised members of the centre to dedicate themselves to the work of God and let their lives attract more people to the centre.
The Director of the Prayer Camp, Prophet Daniel Ansu expressed profound gratitude to people who contributed in diverse ways towards the success of the re-opening of the centre.
He also thanked Dr Boanu and his wife for their donation and assured them that the centre would take good care of the bus and the guest house and use them to propagate the gospel.

Use recess to educate constituents — Speaker

Page 17, March 27, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE Speaker of Parliament, Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo, has challenged Members of Parliament to use their time during the recess to educate their constituents on activities of Parliament, especially the processes of legislation and oversight responsibility over the executive.
She noted that by so doing “we would be consolidating our infant democracy”.
Mrs Bamford-Addo was giving her closing remarks at the end of the first meeting of the second session of the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic on Wednesday. The House is expected to resume sitting on May 18, 2010.
The Speaker stated that “I cannot gloss over the fact that collectively we have come thus far without challenges...but amid the challenges, you have all worked hard to enable the House to finish its business promptly”.
She, therefore, commended the MPs and expressed her wish that they would show a far greater commitment to work during the next meeting.
Mrs Bamford-Addo called on the MPs to at least present themselves in the Chamber on time and apply themselves more to the business of the House during subsequent meetings.
In his closing remarks, the Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka, enumerated the achievements of the House during the meeting, remarking that the presentation of the State of the Nation Address by the President marked the main highlight of the meeting.
He said the meeting also witnessed the approval of 10 nominations by the President as ministers and deputy ministers and commended the Appointments Committee of the House for working around the clock to vet the nominees.
Mr Avoka, on behalf of the new leaders of the Majority side, thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in them, assuring them that "we shall not abuse that confidence".
While commending the Minority Leader for his co-operation, he also thanked the Speaker and her two deputies for their dedication to duty to ensure a successful meeting.
"Let me at this juncture commend you, Madam Speaker, for the impartial manner in which you steered the affairs of the House. I have no doubt that every member will attest to the fact that you handled issues in the House like a true mother always striving to meet the needs of all sons and daughters within the family," he said
For his part, the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, welcomed the new leadership on the Majority side and expressed the hope that they would work together to entrench parliamentary democracy.
He noted that irrespective of party affiliations, MPs had joined hands together during the meeting to contribute their quota towards the betterment of the country.
Before the adjournment, the House passed the Alternative Disputes Resolution Bill (ADR) and approved the petroleum agreement between the government and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) on one hand and the Challenger Minerals (Ghana) Limited), Afex Oil (Ghana) Limited and Tap Oil (Ghana) on the other hand for the conduct of exploration and production operations in the offshore Accra Area.
It is expected that when the Alternative Disputes Resolution Bill is passed into law, it will help ease congestion in the law courts.

Fast track bill to ban smoking in public places

Page 15 March 25, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE Member of Parliament (MP) for Krachi East, Mr Wisdom Gidisu, has called for the fast tracking of a bill to ban smoking in public places to protect Ghanaians from contracting diseases such as tuberculosis (TB).
In a statement to commemorate this year’s World Tuberculosis Day, which fell yesterday, the MP noted that Africa accounted for a quarter of the world’s TB cases with about 2.4 million cases and 540,000 deaths annually.
He indicated that Ghana recorded 15,298 cases in 2009, which was an increase from the 14,479 cases recorded in 2008.
Mr Gidisu, who is also the Chairman of the Health Committee of Parliament, explained that the day has, therefore been set aside to create the necessary awareness of the various stakeholders on the symptom, diagnosis and treatment of the diseases and the importance of its control.
He stated that the Ministry of Health, through the Ghana Health Service, had put in a lot of interventions in its quest to fight the disease, adding that at the moment, about 1,057 TB treatment centres and 274 diagnostic centre have been established.
Mr Gidisu said while the treatment of the disease had been reduced from eight to six months, adherence to TB treatment had also improved considerably with defaulter rate at its lowest level ever at 2.3 per cent and the treatment success rising to 85.3, which is above the WHO treatment success target for Africa.
He noted that the key challenge for the fight against the disease was low case of detection, explaining that the WHO estimated that Ghana should be detecting 203 per 100,000, but the country was detecting only 63 per 100,000.
Mr Gidisu said it meant that there might be a lot of Ghanaians undiagnosed, who were transmitting the disease to others.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to fight the disease head-on since any failure would ensure an uncontrolled epidemic of the disease, adding that if patients do not get the needed support to complete their treatment, Ghana might end up with more drug resistant form of TB.
The MP said in 2005, 46 African Health Ministers unanimously adopted a resolution and declared TB as an African emergency and therefore, called on Ghanaian authorities to consider the disease as a national security threat that deserve more attention from all stakeholders.
He said the year 2010 had been set aside as a year of the lung, adding that it had been discovered that millions of people around the world suffer each year from treatable and preventable chronic diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, which had long been neglected in public discourse.
Mr Gidisu, therefore, called for the need to increase awareness on the health of the lung and thus, used the occasion to advocate the fast tracking of a bill that would ban public smoking in the country.
In another development, the MP for Tarkwa Nsuaem Mrs Gifty Kusi has suggested to the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Minerals Commission of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology to put together a bill on the “Polluter Pays Principle”, instead of the voluntary codes of conduct mining companies sign presently.
The MP made the call in a statement on cyanide spillage by mining companies and its effects on human beings.
She said there was the need for all mining communities to train community members as emergency response units to patrol the areas and report any occurrence as soon as possible in order to avoid situations where mining companies would either report to the Environmental Protection Council (EPA) on time or misreport the issue.*

Minority urged to help identify perpetrators

Page 17, March 23, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE Police administration has requested the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to assist the unit to identify the perpetrators , the Minority alleged have butchered some people in Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Accra, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Martin Amidu told Parliament yesterday.
In the heat of the incident, the Minority held a press conference and mentioned the names of seven people as those behind the heinous crime and later gave the names to the police.
But when Mr Amidu answered a question on the incident in the House yesterday, he stated that one of the difficulties encountered by the police in the investigation processes of that case had been the failure or reluctance of persons who had alleged that they possessed names of or know the identities of some or all of the perpetrators of the offence to co-operate with the police to facilitate investigations.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma North, Mr Justice Joe Appiah had asked the minister what stringent measures the ministry had initiated to bring to book the perpetrators of the crime against innocent Ghanaians who were butchered in broad daylight at Agblogbloshie.
Answering the question, Mr Amidu, said the Police administration had appealed to the general public, including MPs who had names, identities and or evidence or any other relevant information to make them available to the police to facilitate the investigations into the Agblogbloshie disturbances, which resulted in the death of the victims.
“It is only when this is done that we can establish the veracity of the descriptive adjectives used in the question I am answering in relation to the unfortunate victims of the disturbances”, he said.
Answering supplementary questions, Mr Amidu said the police specifically told him that although, the Minority Leader had submitted the names of the alleged killers, they would want him to assist them to identify the people alleged to have committed the crime and that he was being diplomatic when he generalised the request to include all MPs.
In his main answer, the minister said the police had since the incident been pursuing investigations to enable them arrest the culprits explaining that the police had been involved in undercover operations aimed at fishing out information and gathering intelligence on the incident.
The question generated heat in the House, resulting in a near clash between the Minority Leader and the Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka.
As if that was not enough, the Minority also expressed their displeasure about the decision of the Speaker not to allow anybody apart from the person who asked the question to ask follow-up questions.
Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo explained that as a result of time constraint, the House had decided that other MPs should not be allowed to ask follow-up questions if the main question was on a specific constituency.
But when the speaker insisted the Minority insisted that the Agblobloshie incident was national in nature.
She, however allowed Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to ask his follow-up question thereby calming the nerves of the MPs from the Minority.
Answering another question posed by the MP for Kwabre East, Mr Kofi Frimpong, Mr Amidu told the House that in the first four months of 2009, the Kwabre East Constituency experienced a series of robberies in residential areas.
He said the police administration had since deployed an adequate number of men to step up night patrols periodically explaining that road blocks had been mounted at vantage points supported by snap checks and periodic swoops, as well as cordon and search operations to frustrate the criminals.
Mr Amidu said one Kwabena Takyi, who is suspected to have killed a Police Detective in the area is currently in custody and had confessed his crime.
He gave the assurance that the presence of the police in the area would be sustained to curb the occurrence of robberies in the Kwabre East area.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ghana reconstitutes members for Pan-African Parliament

Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

PARLIAMENT has reconstituted its membership in the South Africa-based Pan-African Parliament to enable the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Rashid Pelpuo, to replace the NDC MP for Ningo Prampram, Mr E.T. Mensah.
The replacement of Mr Mensah has become necessary because he has been appointed as Minister of Employment and Social Welfare.
Ghana’s five members in the Pan-African Parliament is comprised of three from the Majority side and two from the Minority side.
The other Majority MPs in the Pan-African Parliament are the First Deputy Speaker and NDC MP for Avenor-Ave, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, and NDC MP for Nabdam, Mr Moses Asaga.
The two Minority MPs in the Pan-African Parliament are the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr Ambrose Dery, and the NPP MP for Oforikrom, Ms Elizabeth Agyeman.
Rule 8 (4) of the Rules of Procedures of the Pan-African Parliament requires that a member of the Parliament appointed to carry out executive or judicial function “shall before assuming that office resign.
It was in that regard that Mr Mensah resigned, thus paving the way for the leadership of the Parliament to recommend Mr Pelpuo to replace him.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Pelpuo thanked the House for the confidence reposed in him and promised to work hard to build on Ghana’s enviable image and immense contribution to the Pan-African Parliament.
In another development, the NDC MP for Garu-Tempane, Mr Dominic Azumah, and NDC MP for Ashaiman, Mr Alfred Agbesi, had been selected to replace Mr John Akolugu Tia and Alhaji Dr Major Mustapha Ahmed (retd) as members of Ghana’s delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament.
While Mr Tia was appointed the Minister of Information, Alhaji Ahmed is now a Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, thus necessitating their replacements.

MP’s from Brong Ahafo, Ashanti regions express concern

Page 13, March 20, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions have expressed concern about the conflict between the Techimahene and the Tuobodomhene and urged the media to bring the matter to a close in order to ensure a lasting peace in both traditional areas.
At a press conference organised by the MPs from the two regions in Parliament yesterday, the MPs said they acknowledged efforts being made by the government to ensure that calm returned to Techiman and Tuobodom.
"Additionally, we wish to respectfully appeal to nananom to continue to restrain their followers from any conduct that has the potential to raise passions and thereby endanger any positive efforts by the state to find a lasting solution to the problem".
A statement read by the MP for Asutifi North, Mr Paul Oko also commended the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the Techimanhene for calling on their subjects to exercise restraint.
It was the view of the MPs that the media exhibited high standards of professionalism in their reportage adding that as far as practicable "the media should refrain from reporting on matters that could inflame passions or be offensive to the sensibilities of the interested parties".
The statement added that in order that the feuding parties should continue to have confidence in the conflict resolution process, the security agencies should also conduct themselves in an impartial manner and urged the government to deal sternly with any public official who is found to have compromised his or her office in the process.
It noted that the people of Brong Ahafo and the Ashanti regions were one people and the same people and nothing should be done to disturb the peace, unity and oneness prevailing.
"We should all understand that the efforts by MPs, district assemblies and the central government to bring development to our respective communities will be seriously undermined in the absence to peace," the statement said and called on Ghanaians to support nananom to observe the peace".

AFAG wants ex gratia paid

Page 15, March 19,2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE Alliance for Accountable Governance, a political pressure group has threatened to go to the Supreme Court to seek redress over what it viewed as the continued delay in the payment of ex gratia to ex-President Kufuor and ministers who served in his government.
The group gave the hint in a petition it presented to Parliament to impress on the House to exercise its constitutional powers to make the government to pay the ex gratia due former President Kufuor, his vice, Alhaji Aliu Mahama and other members of his executive based on the recommendations of the Chinnery-Hesse Committee.
“We wish to implore this august House to exercise the constitutional right reposed in it by the electorate by insisting on the executive to do what is right and respect the decision this honourable House has already taken”.
The statement, which was presented to the Speaker through the Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka, AFAG stated that should the government failed to heed to its plea, it would have no option than proceed to the Supreme Court to seek redress and strict adherence to the dictates of the Constitution.
It noted that it was unfortunate that notwithstanding the adoption of the recommendation of the Chinnery-Hesse Committee’s recommendations by the previous Parliament, President Mills set up the Ishmael Yamson’s Committee to vary the decision.
“Not only does this act constitute a fragrant disregard of the Constitution, it also seriously amounts to President Mills arrogating to himself powers which the sovereign people of Ghana have not ceded to him”, the statement said.
It added that it considered that action an attack on the powers of Parliament and an abuse of the separation of powers that should be accorded to the three arms of government.

B/A Presby to invest in hostel facilities

Page 21, March 17, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
THE Brong Ahafo Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) is to invest in hostel accommodation facilities to generate alternative source of income to finance its activities.
The Chairperson of the presbytery, Reverend R.R. Brobbey, who announced this noted that the presbytery could no longer depend solely on assessments and levies from the districts and congregations as its sources of income.
He said it had, therefore, become necessary for the presbytery to venture into the business world to get enough money to finance its evangelism and other activities.
Rev Brobbey was speaking at a meeting in Sunyani to generate funds to complete a hostel facility, which is nearing completion.
The said beside evangelism, the presbytery was also providing social services to a number of communities and, therefore, needed to raise funds to meet such demands.
Rev. Brobbey, therefore, appealed to members of presbytery, who were had been blessed by God financially to assist the presbytery to complete the hostel facility.
Speaking on the need for the church to embark on income generating ventures, a Chartered Accountant, Mr Kwame Agyei-Henneh said the traditional method of raising funds for the church was gradually loosing its appeal.
“We can no longer rely on this old method,” he said, adding “We need to tap on the rich human resource base within the church and enter into income-generating ventures to make money for the church.”
Mr Agyei-Henneh cited the example of the Methodist Church, which had established the Donewell Insurance Company as a source of income for the church.
He urged the Presbyterian Church to come out with a product that would be patronised by its members and the society at large to generate more income instead of continuing to depend on its traditional sources of income.

Kunbuor assures Ghanaians

Page 15, March 16, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE Minister of Health, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor has assured Ghanaians that the ministry has taken enough measures to manage the CSM epidemic and deaths in the three northern regions.
He told Parliament last week that selective preventive vaccination with A & C vaccines was being administered even though the World Health Organisation (WHO) did not recommend preventive vaccination.
He explained that each year the Ministry of Health (MOH) procures reasonable quantities of A&C vaccines for the communities at high risk in the belt, adding that this year alone the ministry supplied 380,000 doses of the vaccine to the three northern regions.
Dr Kunbuor who was answering an urgent question filed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh stated that the MOH had also mounted surveillance for the early detection of the cases.
Again, he said health workers were trained each year while drugs were procured for use in the three northern regions.
On public education, Dr Kunbuor said that before and during the season, that is from October to April, intensive public education was mounted through the mass media, community durbars and one-on-one messages to educate the public on the disease.
He advised people with signs and symptoms of the disease such as fever, headache, neck stiffness, vomiting, among others to report to the nearest health facilities while overcrowding should be avoided since the disease spreads very fast under such conditions.
The health minister also called on Ghanaians to sleep in well-ventilated rooms in addition to drinking enough water.
Mr Kunbuor explained that this year, the disease started in only one district in the Upper West Region adding that another district in the Upper East Region was currently reporting cases of the epidemic.
He indicated that mass vaccination was currently ongoing while the effect of the disease was stabilising.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ayariga finally gets the nod

Page 3, March 13, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
PARLIAMENT has finally given approval to the nomination of the former Presidential Spokesperson, Mahama Ayariga, as the Deputy Minister-designate for the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The House endorsed the nomination of Mr Ayariga following the approval of the report of the Appointments Committee, which stated that the nominee had met the requirements of the Constitution and therefore recommended him by consensus to the House for approval.
The vetting of Mr Ayariga by the Appointments Committee of Parliament generated intense public interest as a result of five tractors he purchased from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
Before facing the committee, Mr Ayariga had appeared before the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to answer queries about the tractor saga and when he came face to face with the Appointments Committee, the issue featured prominently in the vetting.
When the committee delayed in presenting its report to the House for approval or otherwise, a lot of meanings were adduced, with some people saying that the committee wanted to review the CHRAJ verdict on the tractor matter.
However, some members of the committee supporting the motion moved by the Chairman of the committee, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, said that it was unfortunate that people gave all sorts of meanings to the deliberations of the committee.
The report of the committee explained that it never at any material moment concerned itself with a review of the findings of the CHRAJ in the matter relating to the nominee.
It explained that copies of the reports which were made available to the members of the committee were distributed to them just before the public hearing of the nominee began, adding that no member was able to read the contents either before or during the public hearing.
“The Committee is mindful of Articles 218 and 225 of the 1992 Constitution and also the enabling law, Act 456 of 1993, ensuing from Article 219, which defines the powers of the Commission and will not do anything to undermine the authority and integrity of the Commission”.
It said regarding the ruling of CHRAJ tendered in by the nominee, the committee wrote to CHRAJ to request a certified true copy of the ruling to ensure that what the nominee presented to the committee was not different.
The report added that CHRAJ gracefully supplied the committee with a certified copy of its0 decision on the matter.
According to the report, the committee had reservations about some of the answers by Mr Ayariga when he appeared before it, especially with regard to the brand, cost of specific make, and the application for the tractors supplied him by the MoFA.
“The committee wishes to admonish the nominee to be more candid and forthright in all his dealings in future,” the report stated.
After some members had contributed to the ensuing debate, the House approved the report when the Speaker, Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo, put the question which attracted no dissenting voice.

House passes Boundary Commission Bill

Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
PARLIAMENT yesterday sat deep into the night to pass the Ghana Boundary Commission Bill, 2010 under a certificate of urgency.
The bill, was, however passed behind closed doors because of the sensitive nature of issues involved in boundary demarcations.
The bill was presented to the House and read for the first time before it was referred to the Committee on Lands and Forestry for consideration and report.
When the bill was brought before the House yesterday to be read for the second time, the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah, reminded the House about the decision taken by the House to consider the bill in camera.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Collins Dauda, who had already moved a motion for the bill to be read for the second time, therefore had no option but to stop to enable the House to deal with the bill behind closed doors.
Historically, several ad hoc boundary committees were set up under the NLCD 235 to negotiate Ghana's land boundaries with her neighbours.
However, no commission had ever been set up to delimit the country's maritime boundaries with its neighbours.
The bill is, therefore, to establish the Ghana Boundary Commission with the mandate to undertake negotiations to determine and demarcate Ghana's land boundaries and delimit its maritime boundaries.
It will ensure the proper development and consistent application of Ghana's policies regarding maritime boundary delimitation.
Under the bill, a team of experts would be developed to engage and provide continuity in
negotiation processes concerning land boundary and maritime boundary delimitation.
There is a particular urgency with regard to the delimitation of Ghana's maritime boundaries, since it involves fundamental issues of national and regional security.
A report of the committee noted that undelimited maritime boundaries placed Ghana's offshore natural resources at risk of aggressive claims from neighbouring countries.
In addition, there was the need to create a stable environment for the operation of oil investors in boundary areas in view of the huge cost and risk involved in the industry.
Meanwhile, the Appointments Committee of Parliament yesterday vetted two people nominated by the President for deputy ministerial positions.
They are Alhaji Dr Major Mustapha Ahmed (retd) for Water Resources, Works and Housing and Mr San Nasamu Asabigi Deputy for the Northern Region.
They both gave an assurance to support their substantive ministers to implement policies that would go to assist in the achievement of objectives set under the "Better Ghana Agenda".

Parliament concludes debate on state of nation address

Page 15, March 12, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE DEBATE on the President’s State of the Nation Address, which began last week, has ended with Members of Parliament from the two sides of the House advancing their arguments on whether the address met the expectations of Ghanaians or failed to touch on issues bordering on the living conditions of the people.
As if both sides of the House saved their best for the last day of the debate, the House was set agog when three MPs from each side made their submissions before the MP for Garu-Tempani, Mr Dominic Azumah rounded up the debate, which lasted for seven sitting days.
In his contribution, the Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka stated that the address was not an opportunity to compare the records of past governments with the current government.
He noted that even though it might be necessary to occasionally compare figures or make casual comparisons, one should not spend the whole time comparing two governments.
“In my view, the State of the Nation Address is to afford the President the opportunity to inform us about the state of affairs of the country. So in this respect, the President touches on various policies and programmes, the challenges and how he intends to fix them”.
The Majority Leader noted that the President’s call on Ghanaians to believe in themselves and the nation was a clarion call for Ghanaians to adopt the can do it concept.
He stated that it was important for Ghanaians to have confidence, trust and faith in themselves that they could manage their own affairs.
Mr Avoka added that even though the country’s economy was challenged and depressed by the beginning of January, 2009 with the declining of the cedi, Ghanaians were able to manage the economy successfully.
On food and food security, the Majority Leader said it was welcome news that a Buffer Stock Management Agency would be set up to purchase food for storage during harvesting in order to sell during the lean season.
He said that the policy would reduce post harvest losses and motivate farmers to produce more as a result of guaranteed prices for their produce.
On security, the Majority Leader noted that efforts had been made by the government to reduce the incidence of armed robbery and the use of the country’s territory as transit points for the export of cocaine and other hard drugs.
His assertion that an international report referred to Ghana in 2008 as a cocaine coast instead of gold coast was challenged by the Minority and called for the report to be laid before the House for study by the MPs .
The debate could have degenerated into chaos but for the tact of the Speaker, Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo after the said report had been laid, it was later withdrawn.
When he took his turn at the debate, the MP for Dormaa West, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu questioned the President’s assertion in his address that the state of the nation was good.
He noted that in a situation where most Ghanaians could not afford two square meals and Ghanaians were queuing for gas, petrol and kerosene, the state of the nation could not be described as good.
Mr Agyeman-Manu alleged that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was in a mess as the government had failed to release funds for the payment of the services of the health providers while beneficiaries of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) had not been paid for some time now.
He stated that the escalating prices of goods did not paint a picture of a good nation and called on the President to sit back and do a re-assessment of his conviction that the state of the nation was good.
For his part, the NDC MP for Mfantseman West, Mr Aquinas Tawia Quansah said that even though the government had done well to improve the local production of rice, more efforts should be made to encourage farmers to further improve on their yield of the crop.
The NPP MP for Okaikoi South, Nana Akomea impressed on the President to ensure that ex-President Kufuor was paid his ex-gratia and allocated with an office and cars as stipulated by the Chinnery-Hesse Committee to ensure fairness.
Other MPs who contributed to the debate were the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah who is also the MP for Suhum and Mr J.S Annan, Deputy Minister of Education and MP for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA).
In her remarks, the Speaker noted that the debate was lively and thanked the MPs for their display of maturity.

Govt source funds to train JHS graduates

Page 15, March 11, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE government has begun arrangements with the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to source funds for the training of 15,000 junior high school graduates who were unable to continue their education to the second cycle level.
According to the Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, the ministry, in collaboration with the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) and other agencies responsible with apprenticeship training, would implement a programme meant to provide apprenticeship training in both formal and informal sectors.
The 15,000 youth are expected to be trained under the first phase of the programme.
Answering questions in Parliament last Tuesday, Mr Tettey-Enyo stated that plans were far advanced to establish the National Apprenticeship Board under the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) to oversee apprenticeship training in the country.
The Member of Parliament for Asunafo South, Mr George Yaw Boakye, posed a question inquiring from the minister about plans put in place for the large army of basic school leavers who were unable to continue their education to second cycle level, to make them productive.
Mr Tettey-Enyo explained that the curriculum of the apprenticeship programme would cover 25 identified skilled areas, and would also include communication, entrepreneurial and numeracy skills.
He stated that the government had also instituted long distance education programme, which would be launched at the Suame Magazine by June 2010, adding that courses available were automotive engineering, carpentry, welding and fabrication, hospitality and tourism, numeracy and English as a second language.
The minister said all these courses might be taken online and would be free of charge, explaining that students would learn at their own pace and acquire the work experience at the master's workshop.
Mr Tettey-Enyo said it was envisaged that graduates, after training, would be adequately prepared to start small businesses at the level of their competence in order to contribute to national development.
He explained that the government would provide the trainees with a start-up capital after their completion of the training to enable them to set up their businesses.
Answering another question, Mr Tettey-Enyo told the House that the One Laptop Per Child Programme would be scrapped and would be placed by a new programme, E-School Programme, which would be instituted by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the GETFund and the Ministry of Communications.
He said the new programme would enable the ministry to supply more laptops to schools to enable children throughout the country to be computer literate.
Mr Tettey-Enyo disclosed that the 1,000 laptops received as part of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) programme had already been distributed to 30 primary schools throughout the country, explaining that each of the laptops cost $205.
He noted that even though the OLPC programme was good, there were serious sustainability and security issues that needed to be guaranteed, adding that the ministry was committed to the deployment of ICT in teaching and learning processes.
"Efforts are being made to provide laboratory solutions and not one-to-one solution at the pre-tertiary level in view of the capital-intensive nature of ICT deployment," he said.

Assist Kulmasa disaster victims — MP

Page 14, March 8, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE Member of Parliament (MP) for Sawla-Tuna-Kalba, Mr Donald Dari Soditey, has appealed to the government and non-governmental agencies to assist victims of a recent rainstorm that hit Kulmasa in his constituency.
He said on February 20, 2010, a devastating rainstorm hit the town, ripped off the roofs of more than 73 houses, while over 700 people, mostly women and children, were rendered homeless.
In a statement on the floor of Parliament, Mr Soditey said public property which was affected included two primary school buildings, a Community Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) compound and the central mosque in the town.
Mr Soditey said the victims were at the moment putting up with relatives in nearby communities such as Gindasuo and Nyoli.
The MP explained that foodstuffs and personal belongings destroyed during the disaster amounted to several thousands of Ghana cedis.
He added that as a result of the rainstorm, teaching and learning had become difficult, since schools which were destroyed during the disaster were now holding classes under trees.
Teachers, the MP stated, currently used improvised teaching and learning materials and appealed for assistance from all quarters, since the damage was too much for the district assembly to bear.
MPs who contributed to the statement sympathised with the victims of the rainstorm and called on the government to properly resource the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to enable it to offer prompt assistance to people in times of disaster.
Meanwhile, the House continued the debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address presented to Parliament on February 25, 2010.
The debate continued to be polarised, as MPs from the Majority side accused the NPP government of leaving behind a run-down economy, while the Minority side accused the President of failed promises.
The presence of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, to take part in the debate generated argument between the two sides of the House.
The MP for Atwima-Mponua, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, raised a point of order when Mrs Mould-Iddrisu was given the chance to make her submission.
He explained that it would be proper for the Executive not to interfere with the debate and allow MPs to deliberate on the address.
But the Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka, referred the House to Article 111 of the Constitution which permitted the Vice-President, ministers and deputy ministers to take part in debates and proceedings of the House.
The First Deputy Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, then ruled that the Attorney-General could take part in the debate.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Upper Denkyira West Constituency development on course — MP

Page 11, March 5, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
THE Member of Parliament (MP) for Upper Denkyira West, Mr Benjamin Kofi Ayeh, has instituted a scholarship scheme to assist needy students in their academic pursuits.
Currently, 750 students in second-cycle and tertiary educational institutions are benefiting from the scheme, which is being financed with the MP’s share of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).
Mr Ayeh told the Daily Graphic that the decision to institute the fund was born from his belief that the area would be well developed if the potential of the youth were properly harnessed.
He said it was his aim, therefore, to support the human resource development through the scheme and also provide educational infrastructure to create a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning in the constituency.
Mr Ayeh added that he had been organising vacation classes for final-year students in basic schools in the area to enable them come out with better results.
He stated that he had used part of his share of the various funds to construct a 12-classroom block for the Ayanfuri Senior High School (SHS) and also provided 40 computers, 100 bags of cement and two water tanks for the Diaso SHS.
Mr Ayeh said there were plans for the establishment of a new SHS in the constituency next academic year to offer junior high school (JHS) leavers second-cycle education.
On energy, the MP stated that during his tenure of office, about 30 communities had been connected to the national electricity grid, which had helped in the establishment of small-scale businesses in the area, while 500 electric bulbs had been distributed to the various communities.
Mr Ayeh said he had reshaped the Agona Port-Asaman road at his own expense while the Nkwantanum-Asaman road would be reconstructed under the Cocoa Roads Rehabilitation Programme.
The MP said the constituency, which was raised to a district status recently, had witnessed considerable development with 13 towns being provided with potable water under the Small Towns Water Project being implemented by the Community Water and Sanitation Programme in addition to the provision of several boreholes.
The beneficiary communities are Ntom, Bethlehem, Maudaso, Amenase, Ayanfuri, Nkotimso, Nyinawusu, Obuasi, Anwiaso, Ananekrom, Jamesonkwanta, Agona Port and Diaso.
Mr Ayeh said to help the beneficiary communities to pay their counterpart contribution towards the water projects, the Central Ashanti Gold Company provided GH¢35,000 while the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate for the 2008 general election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave GH¢20,000.
He added that a number of markets had also been completed at Gyaman, Nkotimso, Anwianwia and Besease while blocks were currently being moulded for the construction of new ones at Agona Port, Maudaso, Bethlehem and Obuasi.
The MP said through his efforts and that of the district assembly and the government, the young Upper Denkyira West District had seen considerable development within a relatively short time.

Lively, decorous debate on President's address

Page 17, March 4, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
LIVELY and decorous exchanges characterised the beginning of the debate of the President’s State of the Nation’s address which he delivered to the House last Thursday.
While the address, which touched on various aspects of the social, economic and political sectors of the country, received commendations from the Majority members who contributed to the debate, MPs from the Minority side maintained their stand that the address woefully failed to address the real needs of the people.
The NDC MP for Garu-Tempani, Mr Dominic Azumah, who moved the motion to thank the President for the address, said the President deserved high commendation for what he described as “his remarkable submissions”.
“In his usual calm, humorous and intelligent presentation, the President has indeed proven to all Ghanaians that he is President for all,” he said.
Mr Azumah explained that by his reconciliatory message and the invitation for the inter-party collaboration, the President had exhibited he would move the country forward.
He said with the economic challenges in 2008 arising from several factors including the world economic meltdown, the country needed a well economic management team to take bold and difficult measures to be able to achieve fiscal and microeconomic stability.
Mr Azumah stated that through the sterling performance of the President and his team, the economic paradigm of the nation would now shift from dependence on traditional raw material exports, such as cocoa, gold and timber, to diversified commodities, adding that that was a sure way of creating jobs for the youth.
He said the address made it amply clear that the President had recognised agriculture as the mainstay of the country’s economy and thus taken measures to move it a step further by the establishment of a buffer stock management agency, which would in the course of the year, rehabilitate 12 warehouses of the Ghana Food Distribution Corporation.
Mr Azumah stated that the fertiliser subsidy programme was also being expanded to all crop farmers throughout the country.
He said with the formation of premix and beach landing committees last year, the issue of premix diversion had been brought under control.
On education, Mr Azumah argued that the President, recognising that the NDC was a social democratic party, had instituted the free uniforms concept for basic schools, free education for the disabled, refurbishment of science laboratories, abolishment of the school shift system and the elimination of schools under trees.
The MP also touched on security and said statistics currently showed that armed robbery, murder, rape and narcotic offences were on decline, and commended the security forces for a good work done.
He said the government, as stated by the President, would continue to strengthen the human and material resources of the security agencies to enable them to safeguard lives and property.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Essikado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey, who seconded the motion moved by Mr Azumah, said it was unfortunate that the President failed to tell the people the state of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
To him, the scheme was now an apology of itself as beneficiaries were now supplied with only cheap medicines such as “codeine and APC”.
Mr Ghartey stated that nothing was also said about human rights issues in the country, and called for the abolition of section 208 of the Criminal Code which criminalised freedom of speech.
He accused the President of running away from his own promise during the 2008 election campaign in which he promised to put money in the pockets of Ghanaians.
Mr Ghartey explained that even though the NDC professed to be socially democratic, it was the NPP which actually implemented policies aimed at putting money in the pockets of the people.
He mentioned policies such as the Capitation Grant, the School Feeding Programme, the Metro Mass Transit and the LEAP as some of the Kufuor government’s initiatives that aimed at alleviating the plight of the poor in society.
Other MPs who contributed to the debate include the Minister of Communications and NDC MP for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, and the MP for Nsuta-Beposo-Kwamang, Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh.

NHIA in danger if......

Frontpage March 4,2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
RESERVES for the sustenance of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) could be depleted by 2016 without the introduction of the one-time premium payment, the Ministry of Health has indicated.
According to the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, an actuarial analysis indicated that the NHIS, in its present structure, would experience a negative balance this year when the expenditure is expected to exceed revenue.
The study is one of five which have been conducted to inform the government about the way forward for the implementation of the one-time premium payment by beneficiaries of the NHIS.
He explained, however, that “an actuarially determined premium, based on current annual premiums, will give rise to amounts beyond the pockets of most Ghanaians”, adding that the study found that a one-time premium within the reach of most Ghanaians would result in the NHIF reserves getting depleted in 2015.
Further to that, the NHIS reserves would be completely used up in subsequent years and get depleted by 2016.
However, speaking to Joy FM yesterday evening to explain the position of the government on the one-time premium payment, the Minister of Health, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, stated that the government was still committed to the one-payment policy.
He said the position presented to Parliament on behalf of the ministry by his deputy was one of five scenarios being looked at by the government and that no position had been taken on the issue yet.
He said the scenario presented to Parliament by his deputy was an actuarial study conducted by the National Health Insurance Authority and that the authority was concerned about management and administrative issues, adding that policy matters were the preserve of Cabinet.
He said the position presented by his deputy that gave the impression that the one-time premium payment would be beyond the reach of many people was misleading and that the policy was doable and the government was committed to it.
Dr Kunbuor added that the government would apologise to Parliament.
Speaking on the issue on the floor of Parliament, Mr Mettle-Nunoo said in order to avoid a situation where the NHIS reserves would be depleted, the ministry was exploring other sources of funding to further build up the National Health Insurance Fund reserves and make the NHIS sustainable, even after the introduction of the one-time premium payment as proposed by the government.
On the one-time premium itself, he said a study had indicated that beneficiaries entering the scheme at 18 were to pay GH¢618, while those who would enter at 30 would have to pay GH¢587.
Similarly, those entering the scheme at 50 would pay GH¢355, while those who would enter it at 60 would pay GH¢214.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo added that due to the prevailing economic situation, especially in the informal sector, the study also considered the payment of a GH¢50 flat rate, irrespective of age, for those in the informal sector, should the medium annual premium scenario be accepted.
According to the deputy minister, who announced this in Parliament yesterday, such new sources of funds for the scheme would be proposed to the government by the ministry before submission to Parliament for consideration.
He was answering a question posed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani East, Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, who wanted to know whether the actuarial analysis relating to the one-time payment for the NHIS had been done.
Answering the question, Mr Mettle-Nunoo said the analysis, which had been concluded, considered the inclusion of both the military and the Police Service in the NHIS.
The deputy minister stated that an actuarially determined premium, based on current annual premiums, would give rise to amounts beyond the pockets of most Ghanaians, explaining that the study found that a one-time premium within the reach of most Ghanaians would result in the NHIF reserves getting depleted in 2015.
Pressed further by the questioner, Mr Mettle-Nunoo explained that the said analysis, which is only one of the five studies shown, showed that based on a medium annual premium of GH¢27.60 scenario, Ghanaians were expected to pay the listed premiums under the one-time premium policy of the NHIS, even though the levels of premiums had not been fixed.
He said the ministry was, therefore, undertaking reform programmes to pave the way for the implementation of the one-time premium payment for the NHIS, explaining that the programme would ensure improvement in the use of standard treatment guidelines and rational prescription by service providers to reduce the cost of treatment.
Mr Mettle-Nunoo added that the reform programme would also ensure the improvement of a logistic management system in the sector to bring down cost of inputs such as medicines and consumable.
Another area which would be improved was the claims management process to reduce connivance and wastage, while the scheme would also undertake legal review to improve efficiency and reduce cost, he added.
Answering another question, the deputy minister told the House that the Ministry of Health had procured enough motorcycles for all health facilities in the Brong Ahafo Region, including Community Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) centres.
He said in answer to a question posed by the MP for Asunafo South, Mr George Yaw Boakye, that CHIP centres at New Sawreso and Noberkaw in the Asunafo South District would benefit from the package to make them functional.
In an answer to another question posed by Mr Joe Appiah, the MP for Ablekuma North, Mr Mettle-Nunoo said the Accra Metropolitan Health Directorate had acquired a parcel of land in the Ablekuma North Constituency for the construction of a polyclinic to serve the people in that area.
He said that land belonged to the defunct Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC) and explained that the ministry was currently looking for funding to undertake the project.

Kan-Dapaah elected Chairperson of WAAPAC

Page 15, March 1, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

THE Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, has been elected as the chairperson of the West African Association of Public Accounts Committees (WAAPAC) for a two-year term.
His unanimous election took place at the annual general meeting of the association held in Accra.
The WAAPAC brings together members of the Public Accounts Committees in West Africa to promote non-partisan forum and encourage its members to exchange views on issues of general interest to PACs.
WAAPAC also facilitates and encourages interactions among PACs, governments and other relevant role players in order to promote transparency and accountability in the management of public funds within the sub-region.
Mr Kan-Dapaah, who was a Cabinet minister in the Kufuor administration for eight years, brings into his new assignment a wealth of experience in auditing and parliamentary duties having been a Member of Parliament since 1997.
He was once the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ghana and the Vice-President of the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa (ABWA).
Mr Kan-Dapaah told newsmen that his election was an honour and a challenge.
He will be assisted by two deputies one each from Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

House gives approval to ministerial nominations

Centre Spread, Feb 19, 2010
Story: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
PARLIAMENT yesterday gave its approval to seven people nominated by the President for ministerial and deputy ministerial positions.
The House gave its approval when members unanimously endorsed the 17th Report of the Appointments Committee of the President’s nominations for ministerial and deputy ministerial appointments.
Those whose nominations were endorsed by the House were Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare designate; Mr Martin Amidu, Minister of the Interior designate; Mr John Akologu Tia, Minister of Information designate, and Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing designate.
The rest are Mr John Gyetuah, Minister of State designate for the Presidency; Mr Moses Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister designate, and Mr Inusah Abdulai Fuseini, Deputy Minister of Energy designate.
The Chairman of the Appointments Committee, who is also the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, however, explained that the nominee designate for Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Mahama Ayariga, would be considered in a separate report to be submitted to the House in due course.
He explained that the committee was satisfied that the nominees had fully met requirements of the Constitution and, therefore, recommended their nomination to the House for approval.
Contributing to the debate before the approval, the Member of Parliament for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, congratulated the nominees on their new positions and expressed the hope that they would bring their experience to bear on the governance of the country.
He said he expected Mr Bagbin in particular to deliver by introducing bold decisions to solve the perennial water problem that cropped up in some parts of the country from time to time.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah expressed the displeasure of the people of the Western Region at the fact that nobody from that part of the country was currently in the Cabinet of the President.
His assertion, which was reiterated by the MP for Essikado/Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey, was, however, disputed by the MP for Mfantseman East, Mr George Kuntu-Blankson, who stated that the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, hailed from the Western Region.
The Minister of Communications and MP for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said the appointment of the new ministers would add new impetus to the governance of the country and help the President to achieve his ‘better Ghana’ agenda.
He noted that although the government was doing a lot, its achievements had not been properly communicated to the people and expressed the hope that the incoming Minister of Information would be able to communicate the achievements of the government to the people.
When he caught the eye of the Speaker, a former Minister of Information and NPP MP for Okere, Mr Dan Botwe, said the perception by the Executive that the ministry should be a propaganda wing of the government was wrong.
He noted that it was because of such perception that ministers appointed to the ministry did not stay there for longer periods.
Mr Botwe said while he was going through the profiles of ministers of Information over the years, it came to his notice that some even lasted for only one month and attributed that high attrition rate to the perception that the ministry was a propaganda tool and that a minister who did not ascribe to that perception got the sack.
He appealed to the government to properly equip agencies under the ministry, such as the Ghana News Agency and the Information Services Department (ISD), to enable them to properly disseminate government’s information and collect feedback from the people for the government.
The MP for Zebilla, Mr Cletus Avoka, commended the Appointments Committee for a good work done and noted that the nominees were qualified to be appointed as ministers to assist the government to achieve its objectives.
For his part, the Minority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, commended the nominees for their appointment and expressed the hope that they would use their experience in the House to contribute to the achievement of the government’s set targets.