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Latest Ghana News 8.11.2012 - November 

VRA expects gas flow from West Africa Pipeline end November
FDB warns against illegal adverts on herbal products
Government invests GH¢6,527,637 in Agric subsidies for Sissala West District
Politcal party supporters must be tolerant - Boadu-Ayeboafoh
Articulated Truck Catches Fire near Achimota Melcom Site
Bureaucracy, probable cause of Melcom disaster – Kwabena Agyepong
Mahama leads in close 2012 election - EIU report
Owner of collapsed Melcom building has record of building at night
Former Volta Regional Minister Col. Agbenazah passes on
Hassan Ayariga begs PNC supporters
Farmers rage over 'fake best farmer' award
Judgment debt saga: Rockshell demands $70million from Gov't
Ghana and five other countries to reduce poverty
Alhaji Aliu Mahama is not dead- Korle Bu source
Alhaji Banda goes wild over airport closures
Dzodze Mobs Nana Addo
More women living with HIV and AIDS in Ghana
PPP mourns victims & families of Melcom building disaster
Asantehene appeals to chiefs to lead in efforts at bringing development
GUTA's action to lock shops may be "politically motivated"- Minister

Latest GhanaWeb News:

VRA expects gas flow from West Africa Pipeline end November

Source: GNA

The Volta River Authority (VRA) said on Thursday it now expected gas from the West African Gas Pipeline Company to start flowing by the end of November, bringing on stream 170 Mega watts of power from the Sunon Asogli plant.

Supplies of gas to the VRA ceased since August after the under-sea pipeline transporting the oil was ruptured, stalling operations at the Sunon Asogli plant which runs solely on gas.

Speaking to journalists on the energy situation in Accra, Mr Kweku Awotwi, VRA Chief Executive, said the damage on the pipeline had been fixed and the company was pumping out the sea water.

However, he said, the exercise had to be suspended because of two fatalities during the pipeline re-commissioning at the Takoradi Regulating and Metering Station and this would lead to a week’s delay.

Mr. Awotwi said the energy generation situation had improved over the last two months with Akosombo running at full allowed capacity while three out of the four units of Akuse were also running.

In addition, the four units of Aboadze Thermal Plant are running at full capacity while the steam turbine is producing 50 mega watts of power.

Mr Awotwi said total available capacity now is 1,601 Mega watts while peak demand in 1,705 mega watts, leading to a deficit of 104 mega watts.

He said the VRA was expecting two new projects the Takoradi three, which is running with 21 mega watts of power available to ramp up to 80 mega watts by the end of November while CENIT is expected to run by mid-November, once it could get crude oil.

Mr Awotwi said the full capacity of these two projects was expected to add a total of 240 mega watts by year end.

“It is expected that load shedding would end by December should all the additional generation come into service as scheduled,” he said, adding that the three power utilities would intensify coordination between heads of utilities, operational staff and communications staff.


FDB warns against illegal adverts on herbal products

Source: Joy Online

The Upper West Regional Directorate of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) has asked some manufacturers of herbal products to stop their advertisement on the radio stations in the region since a lot of their product are not registered with the board.

In a strongly worded letter signed by the acting Upper West regional director of the FDB, Mr. Gordon Akurugu to the manufactures of the herbal drugs and copied to all local radio stations in the region stated ‘‘your company had been carrying out advertisement of numerous herbal products on various radio station especially Radio Upper West and making claims of using medical device for medical diagnosis’’.

Mr. Akrugu further said the acts contravenes section 3, 14 and 18 of food and drugs law, PNDCL305B which states ‘‘A person commits an offence if that manufacturer, labels, package, sells or advertise a food, drugs cosmetic, medical device or chemical substance in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive as regards its character, nature, value, additives, substance, potency quality, composition, merit or safety’’.

Section 15 of prohibited advertisement also states a person shall not advertise drugs (herbal), cosmetic, medical device, and a chemical substance to the general public as treatment, prevention or cure for a disease, disorder or an abnormal physical state specific in the schedule II. On section 18 of the registration of products,(1) he further stated ‘‘A person shall not manufacture, prepare, sell , supply, export or import a food, drugs cosmetic, medical device, chemical substance unless the article has been registered with the board’’.

Mr. Akurugu penciled St. Francis herbal center, Rakson herbal centre, Bahas herbal centre and Dr.Heavens through Wongwaana Pharmacy as some of the culprits.

He warned them to desist from associating FDB in any form in the advertisement of their products and also visit their offices to regularize their products and adverts. He stated any failure to comply will be in contravention to PNDCL 305B section 9 or 26 and will attract the appropriate sanctions.


Government invests GH¢6,527,637 in Agric subsidies for Sissala West District

Source: GNA

Government has invested a total amount of GH¢6,527,637.00 on fertilizer and seed subsidy in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region as part of efforts to boost agricultural productivity in the district.

Mr. Moses Dramani Luri, the Sissala West District Chief Executive (DCE) announced this at Gwollu during this year’s farmers’ Day celebration in the District.

He said a total of GH¢5,440,000.00 was used to subsidize 136,000 bags of NPK fertilizer while GH¢308,788.00 went into subsidizing a total of 9,082 bags of Urea fertilizer.

In addition, a total amount of GH¢403,848.00 was also used to subsidize a total of 22,436 bags of Sulphate of Ammonia.

This brings the total number of subsidized bags of fertilizer to 6,152,636 with total amount of subsidy standing at GH¢167,518.00.

Mr. Luri said the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) also spent an amount of GH¢105,080.00 in subsidizing a total of 2,840 bags of fertilizer for farmers in the district bringing total subsidy on fertilizer alone in the district to GH¢6,257,716.00.

The DCE also disclosed that a total amount of GH¢269,921.00 was also used to subsidize new improved seeds for farmers in the district.

Mr. Luri said government was prepared to invest more in agric to make seeds and inputs affordable and accessible for farmers to enhance productivity and boost food security in order to eradicate poverty among the people.

Mr. Abass Ali from Buli was adjudged the Sissala West District Best Farmer. He took away a motor bike, two cutlasses, a pair of Wellington boots and a radio cassette recorder.


Politcal party supporters must be tolerant - Boadu-Ayeboafoh

Source: Daily Graphic

The General Manager of News Papers at the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh has entreated political parties and their supporters to be tolerant and show maturity in their respective political discourses as the country prepares to go to the polls next month.

He equally pointed out that “Ghanaians in general have a collective responsibility to ensure that the country remained peaceful before, during and after the 2012 general elections”.

Speaking at a Town Hall Meeting organised by the GCGL for various political parties in Tamale on Thursday, Mr. Ayeboafoh cautioned that “you do not have to kill yourselves because one party or the other has not won the elections”.

According to him, in advanced democracies like the United States of America, the victory of President Barack Obama in the US polls is seen as a victory for Americans.

“I would therefore wish to appeal to the various political parties to ensure that their supporters particularly in the various constituencies understand that victory for one party is victory for all”.

“We must together as Ghanaians rally behind who ever emerges as the choice of the electorate until one is given the opportunity again to elect his or her choice”, the GM observed.

The beauty of democracy, he said was to listen to statements expressing divergent views although one might not agree with those statements.

Mr. Ayeboafoh stated that the objective of the meeting was to find out the commitment of the political parties first towards a peaceful elections and then secondly to gauge their level of commitment towards the political parties’ code of conduct.

This, he said was to encourage peace at both the regional and national levels.

“We therefore wish that as representatives of political parties you would factor in your commitment to peaceful elections in all your political discourses” he further stated.

He also explained that holding of such meetings was in response to some complaints by some political parties to the effect that they were not being offered adequate coverage on their various political activities.

He intimated that as a step towards making up the shortfall in covering political party activities, the company decided to attach reporters and cameramen to the Presidential Candidates of some political parties.

“Even if we recruit a good number of reporters we still cannot cover every candidate across the length and breadth of the country” he noted.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba commended residents of Tamale for the manner in which they conducted themselves during the recent Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) debate in the Metropolis.

He entreated residents to continue to promote peace in the run-up to the elections.

The minister equally commended the GCGL for introducing the programme and noted that such a step only showed that the company was a pacesetter in contributing to the country’s democratic dispensation.

Mr. Mabengba noted with keen interest that the good reputation built by the company over the years was not by chance but borne out of the quality managerial practices and journalistic standards that the company continue to uphold.

The Northern Regional Director of the National Commission foe Civic Education (NCCE), Alhaji Abdul Razak Saani, one of the participants in an interview, commended the GCGL for the programme as it gave the opportunity to the local people to be part of the wider national political activities.

He urged other media houses to emulate the gesture but suggested to the management of the GCGL to organize similar programmes for the local communities in the various constituencies.

The Meeting was on theme “Projecting the key issues for a peaceful election 2012”. It is a regional platform for the discussion of key issues that matter to the people in the December elections.

Representatives for five political parties, the Convention People’s Party (CPP),the People’s National Convention(PNC),the New Patriotic Party(NPP),the National Democratic Congress(NDC) and the Progressive People’s Party(PPP) attended the Meeting.

It was also attended by participants from civil society groups, the NCCE and the assemblies.


Articulated Truck Catches Fire near Achimota Melcom Site

Source: Viasat1

Vanguard Assurance Company Limited (VACL), insurers of the collapsed Achimota Melcom Shopping Mall on Wednesday said it would evaluate destroyed goods and provide the needed compensation to the management of Melcom.

Mr Fred Lamptey, Chief Operating Officer of VACL who disclosed this to journalists during a visit to the site in Accra said the management of the Mall had a policy with the insurance company which covered only the goods at the Mall.

He expressed his sympathy for the injured as well as those feared trapped under the rubble.

Mr Lamptey was optimistic that they would soon be rescued whole.

The six-storey Achimota Melcom building was believed to have collapsed around 0940 hours with an unknown number of people trapped inside.

According to the rescue team, 46 people had so far been rescued from the rubble with three others reported dead as of 1700 hours.

Out of the 46, thirteen had been sent to the 37 Military Hospital, four to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, 28 to the Achimota Hospital and one to the Police Hospital, all in Accra.

A strong rescue team, made up of Ghana Fire Service, Ghana Armed Forces,Ghana Police Service, Ambulance Service and National Sanitation Task Force was making frantic efforts to rescue the trapped workers at the collapsed mall.


Bureaucracy, probable cause of Melcom disaster – Kwabena Agyepong

Source: Adomonline

A senior engineer and former government official has identified the ‘unnecessary’ bureaucracy in Ghana’s offices, especially at the permit granting offices as a major possible contributing factor for the collapse of the huge structure that used to house the Achimota branch of leading retail chain Melcom yesterday.

The six storey building completely collapsed at about 9:30am on Wednesday November 7, 2012 trapping dozens of workers, shoppers and passersby. As at 11:30 am on Thursday, over 50 victims had been rescued, with at least 5 more confirmed dead by emergency services workers who rushed to the scene and worked overnight. Rescue workers are still toiling to rescue any more survivors, with emergency rescuers also on their way from Israel with specialised equipment.

Preliminary reports by structural and other engineers have questioned the structural integrity of the now collapsed building, with particular emphasis on the lack of iron rods in the beams and supports, as well as the overall quality of construction.

Former Presidential Spokesperson Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, who was speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show on Thursday November 8, 2012 believes many builders and contractors, frustrated by the months of red tape that tends to accompany the search for a simple approval or otherwise of building plans and permits, have resorted to short cuts and at times completely ignore laid down safety measures.

He is therefore calling for an “urgent streamlining of physical planning and building regulations”, as well as an examination of the competences of the officials charged with issuing permits and approvals especially at the district, municipal and metropolitan level.

“I know estate developers would be ready to seek appropriate approval, but the bureaucratic processes, which could take months, force them to cut corners,” he complained, adding that even when approvals have been given the relevant officials fail to enforce the necessary regulations to ensure the right things are done.

Expressing worry about the comments being made about the disaster by various government officials, Mr Agyepong doubted that even the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, perhaps the most important local government authority in the country, has comprehensive knowledge about spatial developments within its jurisdiction, and a forward looking plan for the future.

Also contributing Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Managing Editor of Insight newspaper wondered what the response would have been like if the disaster had been on a wider scale, as in an earthquake, given that it has taken over 24hrs to rescue victims from just one building.

‘Some time back I heard the Fire Service don’t have ladders that reach up to the 5th floor but now we are building structures 12, 13 floors high. What would we do if there is a problem up there?’

Mr Pratt commended government for providing a fleet of ambulances to the emergency services, but called for the actualization of the dream of a former health and defense minister, Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, for the construction of a helipad at the 37 Military and Korle Bu hospitals for emergency airlifting of seriously injured persons.


Mahama leads in close 2012 election - EIU report

Source: JoyOnline

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its latest report is predicting that President John Mahama is the slight favourite in the December polls.

The October report says recent political events are tipping the elections -which it predicts will be extremely close - in favour of Mr Mahama and the governing National Democratic Congress who are seeking re-election.

“A number of recent events have bolstered the ruling NDC's prospects ahead of the December elections. We continue to forecast that the elections will be extremely close, but the NDC is arguably becoming the slight favourite,” the report stated.

It said, “The power of incumbency will give some advantage to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) especially in terms of spending the early oil windfall,” but added that “this advantage is less pronounced in Ghana than in other African countries, given its history of voters evicting the ruling party in favour of the opposition.”

To win the election against the opposition NPP’s formidable candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, the NDC's presidential candidate, John Mahama, the IEU noted, “must convince voters that he and his party are fit to continue governing. The economy will be a key battleground and the president has been quick to pledge his intention to support moves that will improve living standards, including tackling inflation and boosting infrastructure development.”

Allegations of corruption and “claims of financial impropriety have tarnished some government ministers. This has hurt the NDC's reputation, given that it came to power promising accountability and transparency,” the report indicated.

Meanwhile, the NPP, which was only narrowly defeated at the 2008 elections, is working hard on the campaign trail.

Overall, the outcome of the 2012 presidential election could be just as close as that of 2008, but the Economist Intelligence Unit believes that Mr Mahama and the NDC are the slight favourites.

When the next national elections come round in 2016, Ghana could well be at a very different stage of development, provided that the oil and gas boom is managed effectively. If this is the case, whoever wins in 2012 would have a strong chance of securing re-election.

The flipside to this is that if the electorate views development as not having improved sufficiently, another swap in power between the NDC and the NPP could be expected.

“Given our assumption of a close but fair election, political stability would be expected to return quickly to Ghana—a country with an enviable democratic track record in a troubled region,” the report said.

The report however warns of political tension in the wake of increased oil revenue in the country.


Owner of collapsed Melcom building has record of building at night

Source: Joyonline

It has emerged that the owner of the Melcom Achimota building, which collapsed on Wednesday has a record of putting up buildings at night to avoid attention.

Some residents close to the multi-storey department store told Myjoyonline that the Achimota edifice, for instance, “sprung up all of a sudden”.

They claimed during construction, the site was fenced so residents could not tell exactly what was going on. “We only saw lights in there and sounds of machines and people working,” one of them recollected.

Nana Buadu, the owner of the Melcom building, has a similar building in Kumasi which engineers in city have warned that it is not good for housing people.

Luv News Erastus Donkor reports that he had confrontation with city authorities for building at night and also having no permit for the building.

Our correspondent was told that Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly had problems with Nana Buadu’s five-storey building which is close to the Asokwa Interchange in Kumasi, because it has some structural defects.

“It is a huge edifice sitting on small pillars that is my layman view of it,” he said.

Erastus said the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly confirmed to him that its engineers did not give the owner permit to put up the building.

Even though he observed that the structure looks like it has been abandoned for several years, about four persons are currently occupying the building which is fitted with a lift.

Mr. Clement K. Kegeri, Special Assistance to the Kumasi Mayor remarked: “Our records indicate that our Assembly has not granted him any permit. The information we also gathered from our engineering department indicates that our engineers didn’t supervise the building.

“I can tell you on authority that our engineers are not satisfied with the structural nature of the building, they are of technical view that the building has some structural defects. For that matter they have not approved the building to be used to house people.”

Meanwhile the immediate past President of the Ghana Institution of Architects, Osei Agyemang is demanding immediate pragmatic steps to prevent another disaster.

He also called for “a certain rigid of professional procedure” in putting up buildings in the country, regretting “unfortunately” that most contractors do not submit themselves to due process.

“We are not respecting the regulatory framework, we are not abiding by the regulations and procedures that we need to go by.”


Former Volta Regional Minister Col. Agbenazah passes on

Source: Joy Online

Former Volta Regional Minister, Colonel Charles Agbenazah (Retd) is reportedly dead.

The 81-year-old former Member of Parliament for Ketu South between 1996 and 2006 died last week in the Volta Region after a short illness.

Lieutenant Charles Agbenazah was also a one-time Central Regional Minister under Rawlings regime.


Hassan Ayariga begs PNC supporters

Source: GBC

The Presidential nominee of the PNC, Hassan Ayariga, is asking all aggrieved members of the party who are threatening to defect to other parties to reconsider their decision.

He said as a unifier, he is ready to listen and address all their grievances and with a united front, the People's National Convention, PNC, can wrest power from the NDC.

Addressing constituency executives at Hamile in the Lambussie Kane Constituency of the Upper West Region, Mr Ayariga said the party has structures through which grievances are resolved and urged all party members to use such structures to resolve whatever problem there is.

He said as a flagbearer, he cannot do anything without the support of the party executives.

Earlier at a mini rally, Mr Ayariga said a PNC government will restore confidence in the Ghanaian youth and the economy by injecting enough resources into key sectors of the economy where the youth can access funds to start a business.

At Fielmuo in the Sissala West Constituency, Mr Ayariga addressed a similar gathering urging the youth to have confidence in him.

He said for fifty-five years, the various political leaders have failed Ghanaians especially the youth because they failed to draft appropriate youth policy to empower them.

He said the PNC's 2012 manifesto has an elaborate policy on youth empowerment and called on them to vote massively for the PNC to ensure its implementation.


Farmers rage over 'fake best farmer' award

Source: Source: Daily Searchlight Newspaper

Farmers all over the country are furious over the decision of the National Best Farmer Award Committee to give the enviable award title to an ordinary foot soldier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) when he does not meet even half the criteria needed to win the award.

The farmers who spoke to the Daily Searchlight said the National Farmers' Day Committee has dragged the image of the award into the mud when it took the decision to adjudge thirty-eight (38) year-old Lemuel Kwashie Martey of Mannah Farms Limited as the National Best Farmer without doing proper due diligence.

Investigations conducted by this paper however indicates that the 2012 National Best Farmer was awarded the title unjustifiably and it was only motivated by the fact that he is a dyed-in-the wool NDC sympathiser and holds an executive position in the Kpone Katamanso Constituency of the Greater Accra Region.

The farmers said they have been working extremely hard on daily basis to be able to supply the food needed to feed the nation, the least they expected is for their hard work to be taken over by partisan politics.

The 2012 National Best Farmer can only boast of a rice farm situated on about 5 acre of land and a fish pond at Mataheko, a suburb of Afienya.

A visit to the farm by the Daily Searchlight scouts however revealed that the rice farm is at the very early stages and far from being ready for harvesting.

Most of the farmers are calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding 2012 farmers' day awards to save the image of their only means of recognition as farmers of the Republic of Ghana.

Others also believed that they are more than qualified to have won the award looking at the hard and tireless work they have done within the past one year.

“I have done enough and have more than enough to show as a successful farmer. We cannot reduce this prestigious event to a political one. This is a shame to the Agric Ministry and the government of the day. If it is based on these mediocre criteria, majority of the nation's farmers would have been national best farmers.

This cannot be left to go scot-free. We must investigate to unravel the truth or otherwise of the story,” an angry farmer lamented.

Another farmer bewailed, “You wouldn't believe your eyes when I send you to my farms. I have done so much that I could have won the award for this year. Let nobody be mistaken about the fact that some of us are jealous about the prize at stake because that doesn't mean anything to some of us. A three-bedroom house and a pick-up vehicle is not worth more than what I produce every month. The joy of being called the National Best Farmer is the recognition you receive for what you do. This issue must be investigated,” they said.

The Daily Searchlight's scouts are still on the grounds to get first-hand information on the activities on the Mannah Farms Limited of the 2012 National Best Farmer, Lamuel Kwashie Martey.


Judgment debt saga: Rockshell demands $70million from Gov't

Source: The Enquirer Newspaper

The insufferable bias that Albert Kan Dapaah has desecrated the chairmanship of the Public Account Committee (PAC) has finally contorted into threatening hemorrhage on the public purse.

Thanks to the same Albert Kan Dapaah, whose open attempts to smear the ruling NDC, led to his inviting Alfred Woyome before the PAC while the businessman was in court defending himself in the GHC51 million judgement debt payment, Rockshell International Limited has angrily turned round from a peacefully negotiated settlement with government to seek its pound of flesh from the public purse.

The company, through its lawyers at Addison and Associates, has served notice to government of its intention to walk away from a $35 million negotiated settlement that it agreed on with government in 2008, to seek a full settlement of 73.5 million that is dully owed it by government.

In a 5th October 2012 letter signed by its lawyer, Philip Addison, Attorney General, Benjamin Kunbour was notified that: “We (Rockshell's lawyers) are instructed to demand, which we hereby do, that you should take all necessary steps to ensure that Rockshell is paid the balance of its judgment debt of GHC75,149,751.47 or its United States dollars equivalent thereof together with legal costs of US$3,500,000 forthwith and at any rate not later than 14 days from the date thereof.”

The letter, abundantly warned the Attorney General that: “unless you comply with the demand as indicated above, Rockshell will have no choice but to revert to the execution process of the court to enforce the payment of its judgment debt.”

The warning paragraph afore-quoted from Lawyer Philip Addison's 5th October letter came after the Rockshell International Limited lawyer had informed the A.G that his client company had decided to reject an earlier negotiated settlement that saw Rockshell accepting $35 million instead of some $73.5 owed it by government.

Specifically, the decision to seek the pound of flesh had been informed by an annoying charade that Kan Dapaah led the PAC to put up when Rockshell appeared before it recently.

After tricking Rockshell into believing that PAC needed the company to appear before it and, 'confirm the receipt of payments indicated in the Auditor General's Report (2011),” Rockshell was subjected to an inquisition by Kan Dapaah and his PAC to create the impression that the company had covertly and intentionally overpaid by government.

On the three different occasions that the company appeared before the PAC, Kan Dapaah supervised a tirade of jeers and snide against representatives of the company from NPP members on the committee.

In a last attempt to subject the company to further to subject the company to further disgrace, Kan Dapaah intentionally invited it, without prior notice, to have a discussion on live national television regarding Rockshell's so-called responsibility to pay tax on the $35 million that was paid it in judgment debt.

Rockshell respectfully declined the invitation. However in its absence, Kan Dapaah invited officials from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and elicited educate guesses from them as to the tax liabilities of Rockshell in respect of the $35 million paid it.

Then based on the guesses, the PAC reached the conclusion that Rockshell should be subjected to a tax audit.

GRA's move to subject Rockshell to the tax audit is what has angered the company to walk away from the earlier negotiated settlement of $35 million in return for the $73.5 million that is owed it by government.

Laweyer Philip Addison noted in his letter to the PAC that, a full payment of Rockshell's money to it would be received with a readiness to undergo the tax audit.

The original $73.5 million owed by government to Rockshell, as of September this year, consisted of $70 million in debt and $3.5 million in awarded legal costs against government.


Ghana and five other countries to reduce poverty

Source: GNA

In the pursuit to reduce poverty in Africa, six countries have been selected to strengthen effective collaboration between research, advocacy and media in order to deliver pro-poor policies for the continent.

The project, to be implemented in Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda, has a financial support from Southern Africa Trust through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In Ghana, the project is initiated by SEND Ghana, a non-governmental orgnaisation.

It has Ghana News Agency (GNA), Public Agenda, Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation Food Research Institute and the Water Research Institute in addressing Aflatoxin in maize in the Techiman Municipality and high cyanide and arsenic concentration in water in the Tarkwa Municipality.

Speaking to the GNA, Mr Siapha Kamara, Chief Executive Officer of SEND Ghana said the collaboration between these institutions would mmaximise poverty reduction and improved evidence based advocacy for policy change, transparent and accountable governance.

He explained that the intended short-term and medium-term effects of the proposed project would increase demand and market access for local maize produced in Techiman Municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region.

It will also increase quality of water for domestic use in Tarkwa Municipality in the Western Region.

Mr Kamara noted that there was a weak partnership existing between the media, research and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in support of pro- poor development in the area of promoting food security and improving water and sanitation in Ghana.

“The current weather being experienced in agriculture or water sector, will demand that these selected institutions do not work in the isolation and unsystematic use of the media by research and CSO will lead to limited impact on poverty reduction.”

For Techiman, there would be a production and dissemination of educational materials and policy brief distributed targeting farmers and Ministry of Food and Agriculture on how to control Aflotoxin in maize.

There will also be a community mobilisation, sensitisation and training on the causes and extent of water pollution in Tarkwa and Aflatoxin control in maize in the Techiman Municipality.

Mr Kamara explained that the project would specifically address poverty reduction and hunger, food security, improved sanitation and hygiene specifics of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS).

“Ghana’s performance towards MDG 7 is very low, therefore, empowering communities to demand access to clean and safe drinking water is a contribution to national priority needs,” he added.

Mr Kamara noted that mining companies are polluting water bodies in Tarkwa whilst the Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research have undertaken a number of researches on the causes and the extent of water pollution in the area with the findings showing high arsenic and cyanide concentration in water.

SEND Ghana held a day’s orientation workshop on Gender Orientation, Evaluation and monitoring for 15 participants from the implementation institutions.

It was aimed at getting partners to collectively develop and agree on a framework on how their projects will remain gender sensitive in all its activities and agreed on gender indicators and guidelines on gender representation and reporting.


Alhaji Aliu Mahama is not dead- Korle Bu source

Source: GNA

A very reliable source close to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, have debunked rumours that former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama who is on admission at the health facility had passed on.

The source said the former Vice President is alive and responding to treatment at the Cardiothoracic Centre.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview on Wednesday, the source explained that Alhaji Mahama was taken from his bed for investigations, and “I think someone might have come in and saw an empty bed and concluded that he was dead”.

“The former Vice President is alive and still on admission and that I can say for a fact.”

Alhaji Mahama was rushed to the Hospital at the weekend for treatment of a condition that cannot be made public until doctors attending to him have the permission to allow disclosure.

He is at the intensive care unit but reports say he is in a stable condition.

This comes after President John Mahama took a lot of condemnation for asking Muslims at the Eid ul Adha celebration barely two weeks ago, to pray for the former Vice President, who could not attend the event because of ill health.


Alhaji Banda goes wild over airport closures

Source: The Enquirer

Alhaji Asuma Banda, Chairman of Antrak Air Ghana, has invited international aviation inspectors to come into the country and offer their expert opinion on what is causing the damage on the Kumasi Airport runway.

Alhaji Banda, who is not happy with three closures of the Kumasi Airport runway, something which did not happen over the previous years of operations at Kumasi, since the problems at Kumasi would soon surface at other domestic airports sooner or later.

To save the situation, he has invited inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States of America and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) at his own expense to look at what is causing the problem.

According to him, the heavy jets with Aircraft Classification Number (ACN) over and above the Kumasi runway's Pavement Classification Number (PCN) of 15 are the ones damaging the runway.

“It is important for the public to note that active runway has been shortened this week for two days to allow further repairs, resulting in fewer seats available for the travelling public,” he said.

“We wrote to the Civil Aviation Authority on October 4, 2012 requesting that they immediately restrict operation by heavy jets onto domestic runways pavements that were not built to support such weight of aircraft,” he said.

He further said: “In spite of the safety issues, severe inconveniences and serious economic damage caused by the repeated closures, they replied only on October 16, 2012 that they are 'studying issues' raised in our letter and will 'revert in due course'”.

Alhaji Banda said: “The safety and convenience of the travelling public is the issue here and cannot be the subject of long drawn of review.”

“If I am wrong then the costs will be for my account. But if I am right and it is the heavy jets that are causing the damage, I will take appropriate actions against the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority for commercial losses arising from the repeated closures as well as all costs associated with bringing the inspectors from the USA,” he warned.

According to the business mogul, who is also a member of the Council of State, he does not have anything against anybody but “I want the right thing to be done”.

“Even if I am not running an airline, I will not sit down as a statesman for such a thing to happen in this country,” he added.

Alhaji Banda said: “Some heads must roll if what I am saying is the truth and I know it is the truth.”

“Under the NDC one administration, the Americans were made to take control of the aviation management and that made Ghana to be recognized as 'Category One' country and I will welcome that thing today,” he added.


Dzodze Mobs Nana Addo

Source: Daily Guide

The New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) standard bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s visit to the Ketu North District of the Volta Region, on Tuesday, unearthed a rare display of disaffection for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) as thousands of residents gathered at a rally and shouted for the exit of the ruling party.

During a rally at Dodze, the district capital, thousands of indigenes in NPP-branded T-shirts and paraphernalia, listened to the alternative solutions the NPP flagbearer was proposing to alleviate their socio-economic hardships if voted into power on December 7.

After his speech, Nana Akufo-Addo asked the people if they were going to vote for the NDC during the general election, to which they yelled a deafening “No!”

The NPP flagbearer told the crowd that the NPP’s ticket was certain to bring them hope. “I have come here to introduce myself to you as the person holding the flag of the New Patriotic Party. I began my campaign from the length and breadth of this country, and today is the day that the Lord has made for us to come and continue our campaign in the Volta and to tell you about some of the things that are on our mind that I want to do when I become president of Ghana.”

The crowd that greeted the NPP leader at Dodze was one of the biggest for the NPP whose appeal in the Volta Region has usually been extremely minimal. It was unlike previous years when only a handful of party supporters would be seen at such rallies.

The Volta Region traditionally supports the ruling NDC, which tags the region as its “World Bank”.

He told the Voltarians that his main reason for vying for the presidency was for him to “sort out the economy”. He said he would restore confidence to the Ghanaian local currency and the economy which had been mortally battered by the NDC.

He cited the NDC presidential candidate, President John Mahama and his running mate, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur as the men responsible for the declined state of the economy. “The curious thing is that the two people who are responsible for seeing to the decline and the weakness of the cedi are the two main people who are asking our country for another term of office,” Nana Addo told the crowd that constantly punctuated his speech with rapturous applause and yells of approval.

On Tuesday, Akufo-Addo made serious incursions into the Volta Region, touring major towns and institutions in the region. For the first time, the NPP received such an excited welcome that political analysts have described as unprecedented.

Business and social activities in the region virtually came to a standstill when Nana Addo and his entourage stormed the region.

On the kerbs of the streets, people carried several placards with inscriptions such as ‘Free Quality Education Now’, ‘Nana, The Man Of Vision’, ‘NDC, Volta Is Awake, Never Again’, and ‘Volta Region No More NDC World Bank’ among others.

There was also a mad scramble for NPP T-shirts.


More women living with HIV and AIDS in Ghana

Source: GNA

Dr Angela El-Adas, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), has said 125,141 persons out of the estimated 225,000 Ghanaians living with HIV and AIDS are women

She said according to the scientific evidence emerging over the three decades of global HIV and AIDS pandemic reports, the percentage of HIV infected women was to be rising worldwide.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 60% of persons living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa are women, Dr El-Adis said at the first female condom conference held on Wednesday in Accra.

She said the GAC was committed to addressing HIV and its effects on women through a number of interventions such as advocating the correct and consistent use of female condoms.

She said the conference was a platform to revisit the issues on women reproductive health and the role of female condoms in ensuring a healthy family life.

Dr El-Adis said the correct use of the female condom would prevent the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases resulting in infertility, blockage of fallopian tube and pelvic inflammatory diseases in women.

Following the re-launch of the female condom by the Ghana Health Service which had been out of stock for 22 years, approximately 1.3 million had been made available in the country presently to ensure accessibility to the product.

“Despite the evidence on the benefits derived from the consistent use of the condoms, patronage and usage of female condoms had been very low,” She said.

SWAA Ghana is a pan African women’s organization aimed at empowering women to achieve quality sexual and reproductive health and rights through advocacy. Ms. Nancy Ansah, President of SWAA, said that the conference was aimed at ensuring sustained female condom procurement and advocacy leading to effective promotion and distribution in the country resulting in improvement in reproductive health and rights for all.

She said that the female condom was very important because it is the only female control tool against HIV and AIDS and STIs as well as an effective tool for planning reproduction.

The Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV and AIDS said in Ghana 15,000 of the estimated 225,000 Ghanaians living with HIV and AIDS die annually with women forming the majority hence there was the need for all women, civil societies to join in the campaign for fighting the endemic with use of female condoms to the end.

“We would want to see the realization and integration of female condoms in HIV and AIDS reproductive health programmes at all levels for effective and efficient update without any fear of intimidation,” it said.

Dr. Bernard Coquelin, United Nations Population Fund UNFPA Representative in Ghana, said that UNFPA would continue to lay emphasis on and support the reproductive health commodity security and was committed to strengthening capacities of government and civil societies like SWAA to reposition family planning in Ghana.


PPP mourns victims & families of Melcom building disaster

Source: PPP Communications Directorate

The Progressive People's Party (PPP) is shocked to hear that the Achimota branch of multi-storey departmental store owned by MELCOM has collapsed with scores of people still trapped beneath the debris.

Our prayers go to the many workers and other attendants who were in the store when the building collapsed. Our prayers also go for those who suffered varied degrees of injuries and others yet to recover from the shock of the collapsed building.

Our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies again go to the families of those who lost their lives and others still covered by the piled MELCOM rubble.

Although rescue efforts started just a while after the disaster, the slow pace of the rescue mission meant many people who, otherwise, would have been saved, risked a further danger to their lives being under the heaped debris which as at the second day stood close to a two-storey building.

With the official death recorded rising on the second day of the disaster, we fear many more deaths will be recorded with the slow pace of the rescue efforts.

Others who were pulled alive, we believe, are likely to live with possible or perpetual trauma and physical deformities.

The latest incident has brought to the fore the inability of our officialdom, especially those at the helm of City and Town and Planning as well as the Municipal,Metropolitan and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to keep a professional eye on the many stores and houses springing up in our towns and cities.

For these officials and other traditional rulers who sell or lease plots of land for these multi-national companies, what matters to them most is the financial gains in selling these lands.

Other issues like how to supervise the construction of such multi-faceted edifice are considered too peripheral a personal issue to warrant any official probing and supervision.

The Ministry of Works, Housing & Water Resources, the parent government agency that has the oversight responsibility in ensuring that proper permits are granted for such housing projects cannot escape blame.

And so if it is true that the owners of the MELCOM building had no permit to put No. 62 5th Crescent, Asylum Down, Accra, Post Office Box GP 17187, Tel.: 030 702 2483 up the five- storey building, then the call for the resignation of the Accra Mayor should also beextended to the Minister of Works, Housing & Water Resources and his deputy.

But should these negligent officials only resign their positions? We say No!They should be prosecuted!

We often wait for such avoidable disasters and shed crocodile tears to cover-up for our ineptitudes and sloppiness in dealing with such systemic failures. True to prediction,President John Dramani Mahama has suspended his campaign somewhere in the country to mourn with the victims and the affected families.

Indeed the government has declared the area — Achimota-Neoplan, around where the disaster occurred, a disaster zone. Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, was also at the scene,coordinating rescue efforts.

The PPP does not in any way share in the presidential grief. At best it is a grief a bit too late. Our stance is neither influenced by the swiftness nor otherwise of the Castle response; but the fact that ineptitude on the part of officialdom to compel relevant agencies to be up and doing has led to the current disaster and many more calamities like the perennial flooding in the northern parts of the country.

So the blame is not entirely on the doorstep of those agencies responsible for the planning of our town and cities, but also the powers-that-be (in this case government) to deal with the systemic failure which today has brought to us a terrible Black Wednesday.

In many of such instances, officialdom rather than dealing with the incompetent lots, tend to subtly defend their cronies.

We were shocked to hear media reports that Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said the MELCOM building collapsed shortly before the MELCOM store was due to open for business.

This is in sharp contrast to an eyewitness report by one Ama Okyere, who said she was very close to the incident.

According to her, she had to run for her life, because she was so terrified and believed there were lots of people trapped under the debris because Achimota MELCOM is heavily patronised.

Ama's story was corroborated by many other eye-witnesses, suggesting that MELCOM had indeed opened for business for the day when the disaster struck. So we ask His Excellency, the Vice President, that if MELCOM was not opened for the day's business, how come that many victims were feared trapped and dead, under the rubble? Were they all workers of MELCOM?

Richmond Keelson,

Communications Directorate


Asantehene appeals to chiefs to lead in efforts at bringing development

Source: GNA

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has urged chiefs to do more to bring development to their communities through wise and careful use of revenue from stool lands.

They should make sure that the people benefited from the resources they are holding in trust for them and that those resources must not serve just their personal comfort and taste or that of their families.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said this when he joined the chiefs and people of Jachie in the Bosomtwe District at a durbar to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the installation of the Jachiehene, Baffour Kwaku Amoateng III.

The Asantehene gave Baffour Amoateng high marks for his passion and commitment to the progress of the town and inaugurated a GH¢300,000 palace built by the chief.

It has facilities for an Information Communication Centre (ICT), conference rooms, library and courtyards.

Baffour Kwaku Amoateng said the community had seen significant transformation under his reign, citing among others extension of electricity and the introduction of scholarship awards for brilliant but needy students.

He has also made available 76 acres of land to support the expansion of the Jachie-Pramso Senior High School (SHS). Baffour Kwaku Amoateng praised his people for their co-operation and understanding over the last 30 years.


GUTA's action to lock shops may be "politically motivated"- Minister

Source: Radio XYZ

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Hannah Tetteh has suggested that the decision by some Ghanaian traders to close down their shops in protest to continuous competition from outsiders in the retail market may be politically motivated.

The Ghana Union of Traders Association demonstrated throughout the central business district of the capital today in addition to the shop-closure protests.

They insist the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and the Trades Ministry must get rid of all illegal foreign retailers including Chinese and Nigerians.

But Hannah Tetteh in an interview with XYZ News said she suspects the action by the Ghana Union Traders Association has an ulterior political motive.

“I think that the position that GUTA has taken is very unfortunate. I also think that it is a misrepresentation of the situation

“But be that as it may this is an election year and we are a couple of weeks away from an election and sometimes people do those kind of things for election purposes not necessarily for business purposes”.

Meanwhile, GUTA President George Ofori told XYZ News from the grounds of the group’s street demonstration that the taskforce set up to superintend activities regarding the removal of foreigners from retail trading has not lived up to expectation thus their protest.

More than 80 percent of shops in the central business district of the Greater Accra region have been closed.