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Parliament rises for Christmas break

Members of Parliament of Ghana on Wednesday rose for the Christmas festivities and are expected to return to the House on Tuesday January 24, 2012.

The Majority Leader, Cletus Apul Avoka, commended Parliamentarians for the support in executing the business of the House and urged them to ready themselves for the discharge of government business for the first meeting in 2012.

He said this on the floor of Parliament when he read the business statement for the first week ending Friday, 27 January 2012.

Mr Avoka noted that Ministers who are billed to answer questions in the House include Environment, Science and Technology, Education, Local Government and Rural Development, and Finance and Economic Planning.

Meanwhile the House approved GHc 7,927,286,762.00 for the services of other government obligations for the year ending 31st December 2012.

Bills including, Electronic Transactions (Amendment) Bill 2011 and Companies (Amendment)Bill 2011 were presented and read the first time.

Mr Fofu Ampofo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, hopes of laying papers on legislative Instruments (LI) for 30 new District Assemblies, was dashed as he was asked ensure that heincludes all the newly created district assemblies on the list before the House would consider the proposal .

This position was supported by Papa Owusu Ankoma, MP for Sekondi, Mr Mathew Prempeh, MP for Manhyia, Mr Ambrose Dery, MP for Lawra- Nandom, as well as the Speaker, Mrs Joyce Adeline Bamford Addo.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Parliament approves GHc19.9 billion for 2012 government business

Ghana’s Parliament on Wednesday, under a certificate of urgency, passed the Appropriation Bill, authorizing the utilization of Ghc19.9 billion from the Consolidated Fund and other funds to meet government’s expenditure for the 2012 fiscal year.

Thus, after debate on the budget estimates of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and in accordance with constitutional requirement under Article 179 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, Government is to appropriate an amount of GHc19,935,767,331 during the financial year commencing January 1, ending December 31, 2012.

Out of this projected amount, GHc11,817,167,748 would be used for the payments of recurrent expenditure, GHc5,697,910,350 for Capital expenditure and GHc2,420,689,233 would go to service other payment, including road arrears, non-road arrears, tax refunds and amortization.

Also, GHc1, 140,990,000 of Internally Generated Funds (IGF) would be retained by the MDAs during the 2012 financial year.

The House, which worked late into the evening also approved three financial agreements for social interventions and infrastructural upgrade in the Eastern region.

These included approval of Supplementary Mixed Credit Agreement between the Government of Ghana and Bank Hapoalim of Israel for an amount of 113.5 million dollars for the implementation of the rehabilitation and expansion of the Kumawu, Konongo and Kwahu Ridge Water Supply Project.

The house also approved Credit Facility Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the UniCredit Bank, Austria, AG for an amount of 7.9 million Euros for the rehabilitation and expansion of water supply to Anyinam, Apedwa, Kibi, Kwabeng and Osenase, as well as a Loan Agreement between Ghana and the UniCredit Bank Austria AG for an amount of 12.9 million Euros to fiancé the rehabilitation of the Adomi Bridge.


Action year was full of cocain here, cocaine there – O. B Amoah

The Member of Parliament for Aburi-Nsawam, Osei Bonsu Amoah has said President John Evans Atta Mills declaration of 2011 as ‘Action Year’, was rather characterized by issues of “cocaine everywhere”.

He said after raising the expectations of Ghanaians of the executions of programmes and policies that will improve the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian the NDC government failed in honoring its promise.

The Minister of Information John Akolgo Tia during a press briefing on Tuesday in Accra stated that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) declaration of an ‘Action Year’ in 2011 by President Mills – has witnessed incontrovertible successes in various sectors of the economy.

However speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show on Wednesday. O.B. Amoah enumerated areas he claimed the government had failed in delivering to include what he described as the unsuccessful implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), increasing of corruption index, failed STX Housing project, problems with Education Sector, strikes by doctors, increased unemployment and missing cocaine, among others.

Mr Amoah who is no prophet emphasized that Ghanaians are going to experience harsher economic conditions as the incompetent NDC government is obviously mismanaging the country.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Adentan MP springs surprise as he picks nomination form

The incumbent Member of Parliament for the Adenta Constituency, Kojo Adu Asare, has in a dramatic move rescinded his decision not to contest the seat for a second term and has picked his nomination forms.

His move comes as a surprise to many political observers as the MP just a fortnight ago announced his decision not to seek re-election.

The affable and soft spoken MP presented a letter to the constituency chairman of the party at the Constituency’s general meeting in which he informed the party of his decision not to run any more.

Hon. Adu –Asare has stated that his primary objective for contesting the 2008 parliamentary election was to wrestle the Adenta seat which had been occupied by the NPP for a while.

He said having achieved that aim; he believes it is time to hand over the baton for another person to continue with the good works that he has started.

However his spokesperson, Kojo Owusu in an interview with Joy FM on Wednesday said the incumbent MP has decided to contest after he was impressed upon by national executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who pleaded with him to change his mind.

Mr. Owusu, said he has already picked nomination forms on behalf of the MP who is presently in Turkey and will endorse it on his arrival come Thursday.

The Adentan Parliamentary election promises to be keenly contested as the NPP candidate Frances Assiam who is no novice in politics has braced herself for a show down with candidates from other parties, especially the NDC.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Sack Betty Mould- Iddrisu – Minority demands

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has called for the immediate sack of the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould -Iddrisu for her negligence that led to the state paying GH¢58 million to NDC guru and financier Alfred Woyome.

Betty Mould-Iddrisu who was then the Attorney General, refused to put up any defence on behalf of the state after Mr Woyome had taken a legal action against the government of Ghana, claiming over GH¢102 million in damages for breach of contract on the renovation of two stadia – Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra and the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi – prior to the 2008 African Cup of Nations.

The Minority at a press briefing in Accra on Tuesday, citing the Auditor General’s report for the year ending 2010, which indicated that Mr Woyome had received GH¢41,811,480.59 on June 4, 2010 as a settlement of the claims and another payment of GH¢17,094,493.54 on September 22, 2010, bringing the total payment to Mr Woyome to GH¢58,905,974.13, urged President Mills to institute a truly public enquiry into the matter to establish why this amount was paid when Mr Woyome did not obviously merit that amount.

The Minority Leader Osei- Kyei Mensah –Bonsu, who addressed the media, accused President Atta Mills of trying to protect one of his own and also buying time with his request for a detailed report into the matter.

He said President Mills cannot feign innocence of these issue as such huge amounts of judgment debts are paid with the consent of the President.

Hon. Osei- Kyei Mensah –Bonsu noted that President Mills has continuously shielded his appointees whenever issues of corruption had been leveled against them as happened in the Maybe and Johnson case in which Dr Sipa Yankee was relieved of his post as Health Minister only to be re-appointed to a rather larger portfolio, as he is to manage the $3 billion Chinese loan to Ghana.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Opinion polls won’t win NPP 2012 elections – Minority Leader

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has asked the leadership and rank and file of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) not to get excited by recent opinion polls which suggest the party was likely to win the 2012 elections but rather continue to work hard to secure victory.

In line with this, the Suame MP has suggested that whoever is selected to partner NPP flagbearer Nana Akufo-Addo must attract the necessary votes to add to the general appeal of the flagbearer to ensure the party comfortably crosses the 50 per cent mark.

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was speaking to The Globe newspaper in the wake of recent allegations that the Minority caucus was pushing for their Deputy Leader, Ambrose Dery to partner Nana Akufo-Addo in next year’s general elections.

Whilst denying the allegations, the Minority Leader revealed that some members of the Minority had discussed the matter but had not made any representation on the matter to the flagbearer and had no plans doing so.

He, however, cautioned NPP members not to be complacent due to the results of some recent opinion polls which puts them ahead of the ruling NDC.

Two opinion polls conducted by Synovate, formerly Steadman, have put Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the NPP’s Presidential candidate for the 2012 elections ahead of the incumbent President and NDC candidate for the elections, Professor John Atta Mills.

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, however, cautions that “None of the polls so far has put us past the 50 plus one vote which will lets us win power.”

“We are now in opposition. Let’s not kid ourselves. The battle is going to be stronger than it was in 2008. We have heard of opinion polls suggesting that we are in the lead [but] we shouldn’t be complacent. None of the polls thus far has put us over and above 50 percent even though they seem to indicate that the NPP is in the lead”.

According to him, the onus lied on the 2012 Presidential candidate of the NPP to choose a running mate who best complemented his efforts and will also bring in the needed votes for victory.

Four names have consistently floated at the top of possible running mates for the NPP flagbearer, including his 2008 partner, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. Others are former GFA president Alhaji M. N. D Jawula, Metro TV’s Haruna Alhassan and Deputy Minority Leader Ambrose Dery.

It is however reported that having been hit by the news that the flag bearer intended choosing a Muslim from the northern part of the country to partner him, the Minority at a meeting in Koforidua rallied support for Ambrose Dery who is a Northern Christian.

Speaking to The Globe, however, Minority Leader Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu denied that the Minority had taken a stance on the matter, although some members had expressed their opinions at the said Koforidua meeting.

He gave the assurance that the Minority group will not hijack the decision to be taken by the Flag bearer by imploring him to choose anybody.

The Minority leader maintained that his group respects the mandate given to Nana Akufo-Addo by the NPP constitution to choose his vice in consultation with the Party and will therefore not stampede him into making any hasty decisions.

Source: The Globe newspaper

Parliament approves 50.5 million Euro for police service

Parliament on Monday approved a Mixed Credit Facility between Government of Ghana and Fortis Bank NV of the BNP PARIBAS Group for 50,520,601.93 Euros to finance the procurement of logistics for the Ghana Police Service.

The credit facility is to finance the acquisition of vehicles and other security equipment to resource the Police to effectively promote security and manage security issues relating to Election 2012.

The facility has a buyer credit agreement of 14,362,840.93 Euros and a commercial facility of 36,157,761 Euros.

The buyer credit agreement attracts a grace period of a year-and-a-half, with a repayment period of seven years, a maturity period of eight-and-a-half year and an interest of 3.53 per cent per annum.

The agreement attracts a commitment fee of 0.5 per cent per annum and a flat arrangement fee of 0.75 per cent.

The commercial facility of 36,157,761 Euros has a-year-and-a-half grace period, a repayment period of five years, a maturity period of six-and-half year, attracting an interest rate of 5.58 per cent per annum.

It also draws a commitment fee of 0.5 per cent per annum and a flat arrangement fee of 0.75 per cent.

The total contract amount comes to some 49,288,901 Euros and an insurance premium of 1,231,700.93 Euros.

Mr. James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman of Finance Committee of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Ketu North, who moved a motion for the adoption of the Committe’s report on the facility, underscored importance of the facility to the maintenance of law and order in the country, especially during Election 2012.

He explained that there was an urgent need to improve the logistical and operational capacity of the Ghana Police to ensure that they were positioned to combat crime and maintain law and order.

Mr. Avedzi noted that with the discovery of oil, it was important that the Police was adequately resourced to face challenges that came with the resource.

He said the acquisition of equipment and other accoutrements under the supply contract would increase the physical presence, enhance mobility and operational effectiveness of the Service.

Members of the House urged the Police to take the repair and maintenance of its vehicles and equipment serious to ensure that Ghana obtained optimum benefits from the procurement.


Help improve BECE results in Okere – Dan Botwe

Mr Dan Botwe, Member of Parliament for Okere, has appealed to teachers in the area to help improve the performance of students the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

He said his major concern was the falling standards of education in the area, which has been reflecting in the results of the Basic Education Certificate Examinations in recent years, particularly, this year.

“Considering academic performance of school children in the Akuapem area in recent years, it is important for all stakeholders to come on board to find a lasting solution to the problem before it gets out of hand,” he emphasized.

Mr Botwe also appealed to parents and other stakeholders to see it as a major concern and help to improve upon the performance in subsequent years.

The MP made the appeal at a meeting with heads of Junior High Schools in the Constituency to find strategies and ways of improving the academic performance of students, especially the BECE in 2012.

He said he had noted with concern the refusal of some parents and guardians to support their wards’ education and appealed to them to change their attitudes and consider education as the best investment one could make for his ward.

Mr Botwe said he had allocated much resource to educational development in the Constituency and urged teachers to work harder to help make his dream of lifting the educational standard in the area a reality.

He appealed to parents to see their children’s education as a profitable investment and help them to reach wherever their academic brilliance would take them.

The MP said it was for that reason that he decided to organize vacation classes for final year students of Junior High Schools every year and promised that in January 2012 the classes would begin to prepare them well for the examination.

The Akuapem North District Director of Education, Mr Benjamin Cronze, who was present at the meeting said his outfit had put in a lot of measures to bring the situation under control.

Mr Cronze said it was unfortunate that the Akuapem area which was noted for its academic excellence was now going through some challenges in education and appealed to all stakeholders to get on board to help solve the problems.

He cautioned that his outfit would not entertain any lackadaisical attitude from teachers and urged them to work hard to improve the academic standard of the children.


Adu -Asare calls for further probe into Woyome’s case

The Member of Parliament for Adenta Kojo Adu- Asare has called for thorough investigations into the controversy surrounding the GH¢42 million cedis judgment debt awarded the NDC stalwart Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

He said Ghanaians must be interested in unraveling the circumstances under which this whopping amount of money was paid and it’s important that authorities make the bare facts known to the public for all Ghanaians to appreciate.

Mr Woyome, an NDC guru, businessman and a former Deputy Consul of Austria, brought a case against the state on April 19, 2011, claiming he was wrongfully denied a contract to build stadia for the Ghana 2008 tournament and in lieu of that claimed GHC51, 283,480.59 in damages.

The judgment was given in default of a defence by the Attorney General’s Department. Some critics, have therefore, accused officials of the AG’s Department of deliberately refusing to defend the state to enable Mr. Woyome secured a default judgement of GHC51, 283,480.59.

Contributing to a panel discussion on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show on Monday, Hon. Kojo Adu –Asare criticized the Attorney General for insisting that the state did not appeal against the case in court because it was deemed a bad case, adding that it was not the business of the AG to determine which case was bad, as it lies in the power of only the competent court to determine that.

“ The statement by the AG was a bit farfetched, am confident that if the state had appealed against the case in court, the state would not have been asked to pay this huge amount’’ he said.

He noted that Alfred Woyome cannot be faulted for taking the money as he was granted the amount by a competent court of jurisdiction.

Hon. Adu –Asare further urged members of the NDC communication team to be circumspect in their statement on the ragging issue, as some of their utterances open more cans of worms and further muddy the waters.

“ This is a serious issue and I will urge everyone who speaks about it especially the politicians to tackle the issue with sober minds’’ he added.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Tia Akologo scoffs ‘quit parliament’ calls

Information Minister, John Tia Akologo, has declined to bow out of the parliamentary race even though some of his constituents and members of the NDC are kicking against his bid.

The minister wants to be retained as the MP for Talensi for the 5th term.

Some constituents however claim he has not done much to bring development to the area over the past 16 years. They are therefore resisting his attempts to be re-elected.

But Mr. Akologo told Joy News the constituents do not have the right to thwart his parliamentary bid.

He maintained that until the electorate say otherwise, “there is no limit to being a Member of Parliament”.

“In NDC we have stated that no one should be impeded in his bid to want to represent the party; so if some people are sitting somewhere and they are saying that the MP shouldn’t contest; I want to ask this a rhetorical question, what authority do they have, what right do they have to make that kind of call?”

Joy News