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Continuous blackout gives me sleepless nights – Prez Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama says he is deeply worried over the very erratic electricity supply that Ghanaians and businesses are currently experiencing under the load shedding regime.

He says the ongoing load shedding does not reflect government’s commitment and level of investment made into the energy sector.

Ghanaians for past few weeks have had to endure a terrible time of blackouts affecting individuals and industries; a situation President Mahama claims it gives him “sleepless night”.

Presenting the Address on the State of the Nation in Parliament on Thursday, President Mahama states that series of unforeseen circumstances including damage to the West African Gas Pipe Line has contributed to the poor energy situation in the country.

He mentions that government has worked around the clock to bring many plants into operation earlier than scheduled while also awaiting the restoration of plants affected by the absence of the West African Gas Pipe Line.

President Mahama was confident that the addition of over 500 megawatts of installed generation capacity this year as well as 132 megawatts from Takoradi T3 Thermal Plant by the end of February, 130 Megawatts from Bui by the end of April and 2 Megawatts from solar plants built in Navrongo will go a long way to ameliorate the situation.

Touching on measures government intends to introduce to curtail its expenditure on fuel, President Mahama noted that his administration will very soon rationalize government use of vehicles and that he has instructed the Chief of Staff to work on this programme.

He adds that government will discuss with auto companies, a scheme to enable public senior servants to buy on high purchase their own vehicles and curtail the use of these state vehicles.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Group petitions Parliament over Minority boycott

A group calling itself coalition of Ghanaian voters has petitioned Parliament to protest over the position taken by the Minority in Parliament describing it as disrespectful to Parliament and Ghanaians as a whole.

This was after the group led by Dr. Clement Apaak embarked on a peaceful walk geared toward sensitizing Ghanaians on the need to keep the peace of the country after the elections, which was declared by the international community as free and fair.

The group also raised issues with another group, “Let my vote count” which has resorted to and organizing fora to back the opposition’s case at the Supreme Court challenging the results of the 2012 general elections.

The group whose petition was received on behalf of the Speaker by the 2nd Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Sampson Ahi, urged the Privileges Committee of Parliament to sanction MP for Ablekuma West, Miss Ursala Owusu for allegedly calling President John Mahama a thief whiles she addressed a crowd at one of the several fora organized by the “Let my vote count” group.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Reps approved to ECOWAS/PANAFRICAN Parliaments

Parliament on Tuesday approved Ghanaian representation to two international parliamentary institutions, ECOWAS and PAN-AFRICAN Parliament.

The House by consensus elected Hon. Deputy Speaker Barton Odro as leader of the delegation to the PAN-AFRICAN Parliament.

The rest are Hon. Mubarak Muntaka, Juliana Azumah Mensah, Dominic Nitiwul and Elizabeth Agyemang.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Agbesi, leads the delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament.

The rest are Sampson Ahi, Ahmed Ibrahim, Dominic Azumah, Dan Botwe, Frederick Opare Ansah, Simoen Osei Mensah and Shirley Ayorkor Botwe.

However, some MPs expressed their dissatisfaction over the less number of women representation in the two groups.

The seasoned Legislators are expected to effectively represent the country at the two international bodies judging by their vast experience gathered while serving in Ghana’s Parliament.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Ho-West MP says pressure groups’ agitation is unneccessary

Mr Emmanuel Kwesi Bedzrah, Member of Parliament for Ho-West, has noted with concern the recent media publications caused by some pressure groups agitating for his nomination by the President as the next Volta Regional minister.

Mr Bedzrah, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the weekend, described the action by the group as unnecessary.

He said President John Dramani Mahama was a seasoned politician who had gone through the mill and, therefore, knows what to do at what time.

“The President does not need these excess pressures to appoint people as ministers to help him deliver on his Better Ghana Agenda,” he added.

The MP urged all interested parties from the region to remain calm and give the President a free hand to work.

Mr Bedzrah indicated that the fact that he was successful as an MP for the area over the last four years, where he contributed his quota to the success of the party’s victory in the last December elections does not guarantee him a Ministerial appointment.

Committtee on Youth and Sports must invite Black Stars – Loh

The Member of Parliament for North Dayi, George Loh has urged the Parliamentary Committee on Youth and Sports which is to be established soon to immediately invite the Technical team and players of the Black Stars to find out what went wrong resulting in Ghana’s failure to get to the finals of the ongoing AFCON 2013 football tournament in South Africa.

He emphasized the need for the committee of Parliament which is a stakeholder in developing sports in Ghana to be privy to the cause of Ghana’s defeat to ensure that the country moves ahead to win more laurels internationally.

Millions of Ghanaians were crestfallen on Wednesday night as Ghana missed out of playing in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations which is slated for Sunday 10th February 2013.

The Black Stars lost 3-2 on penalties after drawing 1-1 in 120 minutes of football at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

The President, John Mahama while speaking at the ceremony to mark his move to the Flagstaff house yesterday, said there was need for the country to embark on a rebuilding exercise to ensure the Black Stars returns to its pride of place in the rankings of African soccer.

“This government will work with the GFA (Ghana Football Association) to carry out a postmortem on what happened and take the corrective measure to restore the Black Stars to their place of glory,” he said.

Commenting on the President’s statement on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana Show on Friday, Hon. George Loh stress the need for attention to be focused on developing football at the lower divisions especially the colts, as that will serve as a constant supplier of quality players for the various national teams.

He also bemoaned the current situation where soccer pitches in communities across the country are being occupied by containers which are used as stores; a development he asserts is hampering the identification of young football talents.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Last batch of nominees approved by Parliament

Parliament on Friday approved the last batch of ministerial nominees who were vetted this week.

The nine nominees include Hon. Samuel Sarpong, Ashanti Regional Minister designate, Hon. E.K.T Addo, Central Regional Minister designate and Hon. Bede Ziedeng, Upper West Regional Minister designate.

The rest are minister designates at the Presidency, they are Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, Alhassan Azong, Rasid Pelpuo, Fifi Kwetey, Comfort Cudjo Gansah and Alhaji Mohammed Muniru.

The Appointment Committee having been satisfied with the performance of the nominees during their vetting enormously recommended their approval in its report to parliament.

They are expected to be sworn in by President John Mahama next week to enable them effectively discharge their duties as ministers.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Haruna Iddrisu apologizes over comment

The Minister of Trade and Industry Hon. Haruna Iddrisu has apologized over his comments concerning the insecurity of people from Northern and Ewe extraction living in the Ashanti Region.

He said he never intended to fight the people of Ashanti but only felt ascertaining the truth or otherwise of the issue.

Hon. Haruna Iddrisu during yesterday’s vetting of the Ashanti Regional Minister designate, Samuel Sarpong, enquired the nominee’s full assurance to protect some settlers who are alleged to have had some difficulties living in the Ashanti Region.

But the Ashanti Caucus in Parliament, obviously not happy with the question, registered their displeasure asking the MP to apologize for his comments.

The Tamale South MP thence apologized unreservedly when his attention was drawn to the concerns of the Caucus and that of others on the matter.

He noted that he did not make a statement of facts but only sought the clarification and an appropriate answer from the nominee if indeed what he said was right.

Hon Iddrisu added that he had no intention of igniting fire on a sensitive issue like ethnicity, and that he was aware that the people of Ashanti are very accommodating and the place known being a bastion of peace.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

l never schooled outside for masters degree while a minister- Fiifi kwetey

The Minister of State designate at the Presidency in charge of ally financial institutions, Fifii Kwetey have debunked rumours that he frequently travel outside the country for further studies in the first 2 years of his tenure as the deputy Finance Minister.

There were several media reports that the ruff-talking traveled abroad every fortnight or so to pursue a masters degree.

At his vetting today, the issue came up once again when Hon. Queenstar Pokua Sawyer in a question sought to know the veracity or otherwise of the allegation.

Hon. Fifii who is also the MP for Ketu South in responds discredited the rumours describing it as baseless and that it should be treated with a contempt that it deserve.

He said it was practically impossible for any minister in the finance ministry to travel out at such short frequencies for studies due to the volume of work that must be done by the said minister.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Woyongo, others approved by Parliament

Parliament on Wednesday approved 11 ministerial nominees who were vetted last week.

They are Employment and Labour Relations designate, Nii Armah Ashietey, Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare , minister designate for Tourism Culture and Creative Arts, Nayon Bilijo, Fisheris and Aqua- Culture designate, Nii Laryea Afortey Agbo, Greater Accra regional minister designate and Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional minister designate.

The rest are Mrs. Hanny Sherry Ayitey, minister designate for Health, Evils Afriyie Ankrah, Youth and Sports, Dr. Henry Siedu Daanaa, Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi , Interior, Mark Owen Woyongo, defense and Hon. Eric Opoku, Brong Ahafo Region.

Their approval was after the House discussed the appointment committee’s report which recommended their approval.

Hon. Kingsford Alban Bagbin in approving the report commended the ministers for their new offices and prayed that they would be allowed enough time at their various portfolios to enable them make an impact as he noted that ministries that had ministers being changed frequently in a short while made little progress in the nation building exercise, citing ministry of Health as an example, he stated that in four years there has being 4 ministers heading the ministry, the development he asserted did not auger well for the development of the country.

Hon. Fritz Baffour, MP for Ablekuma Central, on his part stated that the nomination by the President of a disabled but competent person to a high office of a minister has opened more doors for people of such kinds to be given the opportunity to serve the country.

Hon. Mohammed Mumuni in adding his voice to the discussion of the report noted that the appointment of Mrs. Sherry Ayitey and other capable women is a testimony of the NDC’s commitment of empowering women to important positions to enable them help in the development of the country.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMP.gov.gh

Parliament approves Ministers

Parliament on Tuesday approved 5 ministerial nominees who were vetted last week.

They include minister designate for Government Business in Parliament Dr. Benjamin Kumbour, Trade and Industry designate Haruna Iddrisu and Attorneys General designate, Mrs. Marietta brew Appiah Oppong.

The rest are Minister designate for Energy, Armah Kofi Boah and Dzifa Atigor Minister designate for Transport.
They were given the nod after the appointment committee laid this report on the floor of Parliament.

The minority side kept to their vow of not having anything to do with the vetting and approval of ministers as they declined to comment on the Appointment Committee’s report.

Meanwhile, Parliament has also approved the membership of the 30 committees of Parliament which is group under Standing, Adhoc and Select committees.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh