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Government to bring health delivery to doorsteps of Ghanaians- Dr. Sugri Tia

A total of 238 Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) recruits on Monday passed out from the Fire Academy and Training School in Accra after successfully undergoing training for a year.

Dr. Alfred Sugri Tia, Deputy Minister of Health, in an address at the passing out parade, said the number, would augment the current 451 EMT staff of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), bringing the total of emergency staff to 689.

He said government is committed to ensuring that health service delivery was brought to the door steps of every one living within the country, hence the investment in preparedness and mitigation initiatives that would protect the lives of residents and other stakeholders.

The Ministry was also working towards the upgrading and enhancement of all emergency facilities to respond efficiently to emergency needs of the citizenry.

He explained that the recruits, who constitute the sixth batch of EMT-Basics to pass out from the training school, would be posted to the various NAS stations to form a strong team, who would be relied upon to provide professional emergency care to the people of Ghana.

Dr Tia stated that the Ministry further recognizes the need to build a high level of preparedness in communities, with emphasis on equipping every household with adequate knowledge and heightened awareness, to minimize any damage to life or property should a disaster strike.

“I am proud to note that our EMS team was able to respond with admirable speed, efficiency and expertise to the cargo air crash accident and the Melcolm Disaster, both of which occurred in our country in recent times”, he said.

He commended the emergency team of the NAS for their untiring dedication to modernizing and improving the service system to meet world class standards.

He, however, reminded them of the fact that people’s lives depended on the quick reaction and competent care of ENTs and Paramedics during emergencies and these required renewed commitments on the part of these professionals to achieve the goal of preventive deaths, and trauma among other things during disaster and accidents.

He urged the graduates to be committed to duty at all times and to be concerned about their clients always.

Four categories of awards were presented, with Mr Eric Agbenohevi taking the Overall Best student, Mr Lawson Anati, Best in Foot Drills, Mr Isreal Mensah, Best in Academics and Ms Kafui Penti, Director’s Award.


Kumasi is ready for verdict – Asokwa MP

As the judgment day approaches, one city that is catching the attention of the local and international communities, perhaps, due to obvious political leaning of its majority, is Kumasi.

Noted as the ‘World Bank’ of the NPP, Kumasi has solidly stayed with the biggest opposition party, albeit, the recent increase in the presence of the NDC as manifested in the increase of votes cast in the favour of the NDC in the last general elections.

With this background, the city is inundated with the presence of the police force who have demonstrated their readiness to quell any disturbance that may arise before and after the Supreme Court judgment on the election petition case on Thursday.

In an interview with Patricia Appiagyei, the NPP MP for Asokwa and former Mayor of the Kumasi Metropolis, she expressed optimism that, wherever the pendulum will swing, the people of Kumasi are ready to accept it, notwithstanding the fact that, the city is NPP’s stronghold.

“Whichever way it goes, the people of Kumasi are prepared to accept it peacefully and move on with life. I don’t think any disappointment would cause any mayhem or trouble in the city”, Mrs. Appiagyei told The Independent.

However, she was quick to add, “I know that Kumasi is positive that it will go NPP’s way”.

On the comparatively high presence and surveillance of security forces in the metropolis, the MP said, “I don’t know what the intention is, but I believe that they know Kumasi is NPP’s stronghold and if anything would erupt, it might start from Kumasi. But I don’t think that would happen. We love our country and wouldn’t want to tear it apart”.

With the peace calls increasing on both sides of the political ‘coin’, it appears the parties in the case are ready to go with the Supreme Court verdict which means the destiny of the nation now lies in the hands of the nine revered justices of the highest court of the land.

Mrs. Patricia Appiagyei has a few words for the panel of judges led by its president, Justice William Atuguba.

“We would like to see fairness in whatever verdict they would give. Whatever particular reason they would give for pronouncing that verdict, would be understandable”, Mrs. Appiagyei advised.

Tolon MP considers CHPS for Tali

In line with measures by government to help bring healthcare services to the doorsteps of Ghanaians, the Member of Parliament for Tolon in the Northern region, Wahab Suhiyini Wumbei is planning to construct Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) centre at Tali.

This will ostensibly serve as first point of call in case of any health problem by inhabitants as well as help mitigate unnecessary deaths in various tertiary or major healthcare facilities or hospitals due to problem of no primary healthcare services in relatively smaller communities.

In an interaction with Ghanamps.gov.gh, Hon. Wahab Wumbei intimated that he is willing to pump some resources from his quota in the NHIS fund to push that project.

He explained that with such a facility in place inhabitants could then access primary healthcare services that will help ease pressure in the clinics and other health centres around the area.

For an averagely small community like Tali, it is obvious that it might be overwhelmed with some social challenges that might retard growth and development of the area, however with efforts in place to assist complete such a meaningful facility in the near future, it will help to gradually meet the quality of life expected by all individuals within the district.

Jonathan Jeffrey Adjei/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Going on strike because of salary is selfishness – Dan Botwe

Dan Kwaku Botwe, Member of Parliament for Okere, has blamed government for eight million, eight hundred and thirty-five thousand Ghana Cedis (GHc8,835,000) owed the state by organizations and individuals to whom 36 state-owned enterprises have been divested.

He does not understand how such a huge amount of money can go down the drain at the watch of a government in power.

Management of Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) on Monday appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be quizzed on the Auditor General’s 2011 report.

There, it was disclosed that out of GHc8,835,000, the debtors have been able to pay only GHc891,448.

It was also disclosed that Star Hotel and La Beach Hotel which was sold to investors in 1993 have been resold to another organization and the investors have left the country without settling its full debt to the state.

Speaking on the issue in a panel discussion on Kokrokoo, Dan Botwe expressed shock at how such an amount can be misplaced at the blind side of government and bemoaned that even though PAC has disclosed such important information bordering on corruption, nothing will be done about it.

He said if the companies were sold in 1993, it should have been realized by the government in power because it would have appeared in the auditor general’s report.

“Issues that arise from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) come and go and nothing is done about it. I will put the blame at the doorsteps of government; successive government; because they are supposed to work with the report that they (PAC) will submit. Definitely it will appear in the auditor general’s report, and why has it not been worked with? All these money is going down the drain meanwhile we are going around looking for loans,” he opined.

He said government must insist on getting to the roots of this issue or find experts who will help in retrieving the money that has definitely ended up in individual’s pocket.

Dan Botwe advocated that various groups such as NGO, TUC and the media must make it part of their duties to emphasize on such issues until government does something about it.

“These are some of the things I want to hear strike action on. It is time for positive action; if the politicians will not take any action. if you go on strike only because of your salary then you are becoming selfish because this is national issue which will affect development…we all know the state owns Star Hotel – all of a sudden it is sold and nothing is heard of it… we keep talking about schools under trees and so on and then after that we make money leak out of state coffers.

The fact that government property is sold and nothing is heard about it; is it not an insult? We need genuine selfless people to be in leadership,” he advocated.


Churches are also corrupt – Murtala

A deputy minister of Information and Media Relations has lauded the call by Presbyterian Church for government to deal firmly with “pervasive” corruption.

He however adds that churches are also corrupt and action must be taken to rid the churches of the corruption as well.

Murtala Mohammed also gave a tall list of corrupt institutions which included the media, parliament, police, politicians and churches. He suggested that this demonstrates how pervasive the problem OF corruption is across the country.

He was responding to the allegations of corruption made by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

A communiqué issued Tuesday by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is pointing to a rise in incidences of bribery and corruption, theft and embezzlement of state funds. The Moderator of the General Assembly, Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey says the situation is “pervasive and pathetic”.

He said there was “seemingly no solutions in sight” because government was not treating “corruption as the number one national enemy”.

They have also revived a scandal that hit the Savanna Acceleration Development Agency (SADA) which involved tree planting exercise in which about 33 million Ghana cedis was spent on planting trees in the Northern part of the country

The Church is challenging government to retrieve the money and punish the culprits.

In response, a deputy minister of Information and Media Relations Murtala Mohammed acknowledged the problem of corruption which governments over the years has had to grapple with.

He says the canker cannot be limited to government alone but includes the media which was cited as the third most corrupt institutions by a Transparency International report.

“I believe there are instances that Parliament is indicted…instances that the police and politicians are indicted and I believe there are instance that even religious groups embezzles funds in the churches”, he said.

The call made by [Presby Church] is the right call, he said

He pointed out that government was doing enough to deserve public commendation for fighting corruption. He said President Mahama has instructed the Attorney-General to prosecute any person found to have embezzled funds as cited by the Auditor-General’s report.

This is a first as far as the deputy minister was concerned.

He said president Mahama had set up a committee to look into the SADA scandal. The Deputy Minister said the investigations are not yet done. When it is, government would make them public, he assured.

He was “surprised” that the Presbyterian Church has not taken notice of efforts by government to fight corruption.

Whilst conceding that the church did not deliberately ignore the efforts by government, he reminded them that the President is still committed to the fight against corruption.


Stop tempts to halt passage of Local Content Bill, Takoradi MP urges Minority

The Member of Parliament for Takoradi, Kwabena Mensah Darko is asking the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Bouah to immediately stop the move by some oil companies in the country to impede the passage of the Local Content Bill into law.

Legislative instrument (LI), which spells out regulations for the enforcement of provisions of the country’s Local Content and Participation Policy on the petroleum sector is currently before Parliament for considerations, and is expected to be passed into law after 21 sitting days.

The LI will also give legal backing to the proposed 10% ownership of all oild fields by Ghanaians, but the minority in Parliament has raised a number of issues with the Bill, which is threatening to impede its passage into law within the stipulated 21 days.

The MP for Takoradi also alleged some oil companies in the country are masterminding moves to stop the Bill from being passed into law.

According to him, the operators of the newly discovered oil field, Tweneboa Ten, for instance, want to sell the oil before the local content bill is passed into law.

This he said, would amount to a serious sabotage of government’s effort to give Ghanaians the opportunity to participate in the oil and gas industry.

“Although the minority in Parliament may have reservations about the Bill, it should be allowed to pass into law so that in the future the needed changes could be made.”

Kwabena Darko Mensah noted that the Minister of Energy had earlier assured Ghanaians nothing would impede the passage of the Bill, but “if the operators of the oil fields fail to adhere to the directives, the President himself must step in because Ghanaians have been cheated for too long.”

He agreed with the Minority in Parliament that there is need for a Local Content Fund to give Ghanaians flexible and cheaper financial support to buy shares in the expected 10% local content.

He said the foreign expatriate get about 1% to 3% credit rate to come and invest in the oil industry but the Ghanaians are paying as high as 30% interest on loans to banks due to the 23% treasury rate of Bank of Ghana.

Kwabena Darko Mensah also noted that the Bill allows the Minister to review the percentage of local content, which could also be amended, but that should not prevent the passage of the Bill because the Minister could be expected to exercise his discretion positively ahead of any amendments.


PAC not satisfied with COCOBOD responses

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Friday decided to reschedule a meeting with officials of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) and Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC) to enable it (PAC) get adequate answers to queries raised in the Auditor General’s report.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Chairman of the Committee, announced when he was not satisfied with answers by officials on queries regarding leasing of property and an amount of GH¢ 17.7 million, which COCOBOD paid as assistance to CMC but could not be substantiated.

PAC examined COCOBOD, CMC, Bank of Ghana, and security agencies on the Auditor General’s report for the year ended 31 December 2010 and 2011

Mr George Rickett Hagan, Deputy Minister of Finance, was in support of the Chairman’s directive, saying “it is clear something has gone wrong, I am in support of the second meeting with Cocobod”.

Mr William Mensah, Deputy Chief Executive for Finance and Administration was questioned about property ownership and whether the companies had acquired titles for their property.

In response, he said, the titles for the company had been acquired but those for government they were in the process of acquiring.

Mr Mensah could, however, not tell how and when the company acquired the residence of the Chief Executive Officer at Cantonments.

“If you actually paid some assistance you might have done so with documentation, adding, the issue is sitting in your books and you do not care about it, there is nothing you can to say to convince any of us now and it creates suspicion that the money has been chopped,” Mr Manu said.


Budget review retreat was mere talk shop – Annoh Dompreh

Member of Parliament for Nsawam/ Adoagyire, Frank Annoh – Dompreh has described the recent 2013 Budget retreat held over the weekend by government as a mere talk shop which would not yield any positive results to address the challenges currently facing the economy.

He said if government was really serious about improving the fortunes of the economy which has dwindled terribly; it would have invited experts from academia and economists across the political divide to find solutions to salvaging the economy and not convening the same old economic team members who have supervised the ‘lame’ economy.

President John Dramani Mahama and members of his government went for a retreat to review the nation’s economy, with a directive by the president to Agencies and Institution to reduce their expenditure to enable government reduce the surging budget deficit.

According to the Minister of information and Media Relations Mahama Ayariga, the rising budget deficit was among the key issues that were discussed during the retreat.

“We discussed issues bothering on the deficit that we started the year with, and how we could manage that deficit and then meet our target as contained in the 2013 budget, we assessed our performance so far in trying to deal with that, and also streamline government deficit because that is what causes it, and that is what we have been striving so hard since the beginning of the year to manage,” he revealed.

However speaking on Oman FM’s National Agenda programme on Monday, Hon. Annoh Dompreh stated that he would be surprised if anything substantial is achieved through this review as the government has not shown signs of checking its lavish lifestyle to cut budget deficit.

‘’ We were in this country when this government said it was practicing frugal spending but ended up overspending the budget allocated to the presidency. We all know of the GYEEDA report which unearthed corruption among some public officials and how the government has sort to shelve the report’’ he said.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Leaders must stand for peace – Speaker

Mr Doe Adjaho, Speaker of Parliament, has appealed to leaders to stand for peace and call their errant followers to order.
“It is said that if one does not stand for something, he or she falls for everything,” he said.

Mr Adjaho said any political leader unable to call his followers to order in the interest of peace and be prepared to pay any “political price” therefore loses the fitness to lead.

He was addressing the thanks-giving service of the fifth General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Ho under the theme, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace and dignity for growth and development.”

Mr Adjaho appealed to the media to disregard and shame those who engage in hate speech and instead promote peace and development.

He drew the media’s attention to the biblical injunction that, “all things are lawful… but not all things are expedient: all things are lawful… but all things edify not.”

Mr Adjaho, promised to support reconciliation initiatives between the E.P. Church and the Global Evangelical Church after 23 years of schism.

He said several things had been lost following the break up.

Mr Adjaho pledged 10,000 Ghana Cedis to the Moderator’s Investment Fund, half of which he redeemed.

President John Mahama also redeemed his pledge of 10,000 Ghana Cedis to the Church on Sunday.


Educational policies should cover private schools – Hon. Kwarteng

Teachers in private schools are contributing greatly to the acquisition of knowledge and skills of the Ghanaian child and should, therefore, be considered in government policies designed to assist teachers in basic education delivery.

Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West, said government guidelines for determining the work conditions of teachers should include the private school teacher.

Speaking at the 10th annual graduation ceremony of Steadfast Academy at Obuasi, he suggested the inclusion of private school teachers in the best teacher award scheme.

Mr Kwarteng said: “Government policies and programmes on education should be extended to cover and recognize the roles teachers in private schools are playing in the country’s education industry”.

He called on teachers to have special love and patience for their children to help them develop their hidden talents for the benefit of the nation.

Mr Jonny Owusu-Boadi, Obuasi Municipal Director of Education, who was the guest speaker, commended teachers and other players in the school for turning out reliable future leaders for the country.

Speaking on the theme: “Ten years of Steadfastness in Raising the Future Generation – The Role of the Teacher,” Mr Owusu-Boadi called for collaboration between teachers and parents to address the challenges confronting the youth of today.

These, he said, included armed robbery, wee smoking, alcoholism, gayism and the rest.

He was optimistic that raising the future generation of this country to a level that could facilitate progress rests on quality education delivery with quality and committed teachers.

Mrs Evelyn Sintim-Amankwa, Proprietress of the school, said the school had been obtaining 100 percent pass in the Basic Education Certificate Examination after the first batch passed out with all the students obtaining a distinction.

Mr John Owusu, General Manager of Public Affairs of Anglo Gold Ashanti, who chaired the function, encouraged parents who wanted better and God-fearing educational foundation for their wards to send their children to the school.