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Energy generation capacity to be increased – Kofi Buah

The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah has pledged government’s commitment to increasing energy generation capacity in view of the increasing demand of power consumers.

He said the demand for electricity was growing by 10 per cent annually and that government’s target of increasing the country\’s energy capacity by 500 megawatts this year was on course due to the expected 400 megawatts power from the Bui Dam project and 12 per cent from the Kpong plant.

He therefore entreated power producing companies, including the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Takoradi International Company, to work closely in ensuring that government\’s vision of making Ghana a net exporter of power was realized in the shortest possible time.

Mr. Buah said this when he paid a working visit to the Aboadze Thermal Plant to familiarize himself with the progress of work.

He said the country was on course in becoming a hub of power generation in the sub-region and a springboard for Africa’s advancement and called for the support of all stakeholders in achieving this goal.

Mr. Buah indicated that a number of power producing companies such as Jacobson and Amandi were coming on board and very soon, and that the energy producing enclave of Aboadze would generate about 1000 megawatts of power. He called for the cooperation of the surrounding communities to ensure success.

On demands made by some chiefs and elders of the area concerning land compensation and pacification of the gods, Mr. Buah said government respected the traditions of the people in the area and would therefore engage the chiefs to ensure an amicable resolution of any grievance.

He said the traditional area would enjoy massive infrastructural development since more energy producing companies were relocating to the area and urged the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue higher education in order to gain employment with the companies.

Briefing the Minister on the T-3 repair works, Mr. Richard Badger, Director of Thermal Generation at the Aboadze Thermal Plant, said South West Research Institute, an independent energy firm from the USA, had been contracted to assess the damage on the four-unit gas turbines at the T-3 plant.

He suggested that while the assessment was ongoing, the plant should be re-commissioned to run on natural gas.
He noted that the damage on the gas turbines was surmountable, with engineers working around the clock to make it functional in the next five or six months.

The T-3 plant was commissioned in March this by President John Dramani Mahama to generate 132 megawatts of electricity. However, it developed a fault in June, thereby halting its operations.

Meanwhile, some chiefs in the area who spoke to the GNA attributed the sudden breakdown of the facility to the anger of the gods of the area, saying that the authorities failed to perform the necessary rituals to pacify them before commissioning the plant.

Source: GNA

Dr. Heloo rolls out intervention to minimize youth unemployment

More youth in the Hohoe municipality are soon expected to be absorbed into various business enterprises to strategically minimize youth unemployment in the area.

This is an initiative being spearheaded by the Member of Parliament for the area, Dr. Bernice Adiku Heloo, in her bid to intervene in facilitating more jobs for the local dwellers to better their lots in the municipality.

Following this, a committee mainly made up of religious leaders has been formed already in the constituency to help co-ordinate and make the bulk of economic interventions yet to be rolled out by the MP a reality.

In an interview granted with Ghanamps.gov.gh by the MP through her Personal Assistant(PA) disclosed that regarding the youth unemployment intervention onboard, she has charged some officials to gather a database of all unemployed youth to be introduced into various skills training including mobile phone repairs, batik tie and dye, agriculture, and sliding doors/ windows amongst others.

On education, Dr. Bernice Adiku Heloo has already advanced an amount of about GHS 10,000 to cater for scholarship schemes of brilliant but needy students at various levels and still receiving applicants for assistance in education.

She indicated that education remains a priority to her and will not hesitate to invest appreciably in education to boost the quality of education in the municipality.

Jonathan J. Adjei/Alice Abubakari/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Isaac Asiamah kicks against taking party supporters to world cup

Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua, Hon. Isaac Asiamah has kicked against any attempt by government to select party supporters ahead of known members of the various national team supporters group to next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

He said such a move would create disaffection among the supporter groups who have genuinely showed a lot of commitment towards the national teams whenever they play both within Ghana and abroad.

There have been incidents where during past world cup tournaments ruling party supporters are sponsored to venues of world cups to cheer the national teams much to the disappointment of the genuine supporters.

Hon. Isaac Asiamah who is also the Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture made the comments while supporting the Committee report on the 2014 budget allocation for the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

He also questioned why the Cape Coast Sports Stadium has consistently appeared in annual budgets for five years but no substantial work was on-going there, calling for attention to be focused on that project to ensure that the project is completed in earnest.

Parliament on Tuesday approved GHC 36,134,116.00 for the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The Minister for Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, who moved the motion on the floor gave the program for the Ministry for 2014.

He said the Black Stars would participate in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Black Queens would participate in the 2014 Africa Women qualifiers and championships. The local Black Stars would participate in the African nation’s champion in South Africa, National female U-17 football team; the Black Maidens would partake in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament to be held in Costa Rica.

He said Ghana would participate in 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

A report by the Committee of Youth Sports showed that though Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) was under the Ministry no allocation was made to the Agency in the 2014 annual estimates for the Ministry.


Government will complete all abandoned projects at PESCO-Ablakwa

The Ministry of Education is to embark on an “accelerated programme” to complete all abandoned projects at the Peki Senior High School (PESCO) in the South Dayi District.

Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Education, Higher Institutions, gave the hint at the 56th Speech and Prize-Giving Day of the School on Saturday.

About 300 girls of the school sleep in classrooms while 120 boys sleep in the school’s kitchen, due to its infrastructural deficit, the school authorities disclosed.

The Headmaster’s office is also said to double as a storeroom and classroom.

Some projects started in 1990 and the School’s emergency classroom block and Assembly cum dining hall, started in 2011, all remain uncompleted.

Mr Ablakwa said the company details of contractors who had abandoned work on the campus were taken and would be worked on to address the infrastructure needs of the school.

He, however, expressed worry about the falling standards of education in the region, and charged all stakeholders to work to reverse the trend.

Mr Ablakwa observed that the region, which was among the best three regions, placed last but one in the 2012 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE), and said those “glorious days” turned “appalling days”, must be reversed.

The Speech and Prize-Giving Day was on the theme, “Infrastructural development: A basic necessity for quality education.”

Mr Kofi Asare, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Chairman of the school, said though PESCO was 56 years, it looked like a 10-year-old school, due to its infrastructural challenges.

Master Christian Blewusi, the School Prefect said a good number of students stand, while eating because the improvised dining hall cannot accommodate all the students.

Mr J. N.Y Agbai, Headmaster of the school said despite its challenges, the school scored 100 per cent in the last five years at the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).

Mr Francis Ganyaglo, Deputy Volta Regional Minister assured the authorities that the challenges would be addressed.


Ministers present performance reports to Presidency

All sector Ministers have presented their performance reports to the Presidency for appraisal, Mr Ibrahaim Mutarla Mohammed, a Deputy Minister for Information and Media Relations, said on Monday.

He said the appraisal from the Presidency would indicate whether the Ministers had met their performance targets or otherwise.

Mr Mohammed announced this during the daily media briefings at the Flagstaff House, Kanda.

Early this year, all sector Ministers signed performance agreements with the President by presenting their targets with the approval of President John Dramani Mahama and Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Ammissah- Arthur.

Under the agreements, Ministers\’ continuous stay in office would depend on their performance and delivery to meet the development agenda of the government and their initiatives that could enhance accelerated growth and development.

The presentation of the reports would therefore afford the government the opportunity to determine the performance of all the Ministers and to provide corrective measures to where they fall short.

The Deputy Minister said their projections that reflected in the 2013 national budget would be the benchmark for assessing the achievements and failures of various ministries.

On rewards and sanctions, Mr Mohammed said as a democratic government they would continue to share responsibilities and failures and it was only the presidency that had the mandate to issue out any reward or punishment.

The Deputy Minister said the appraisal formed part of President Mahama\’s resolve to ensure transparency in governance and the government would continue to pursue similar policies that would ensure accountability and progress.


Prez Mahama should stop complaining and work -Titus Glover

Member of Parliament for Tema East, Titus Glover has charged President John Mahama to stop complaining to Ghanaians and work efficiently to improve the wellbeing of the citizenry.

According to him, the president’s recent needless complaints about certain developments in the country is doing him no good and must rather focus on delivering on a better Ghana he promised Ghanaians.

President John Mahama over the weekend at an inauguration of a church building of the Assemblies of God church in Roman Ridge, Accra, stated that Ghanaians have a short memory and have soon forgotten about the difficulties in the form of power crisis, market fires and weak economy due to the election petition, all of which his government faced in the beginning of 2013 and the strides he’s made to surmount these challenges.

He also urged Ghanaians not to be cynics but believe in his government to deliver while the citizenry also contribute their quota to developing the country.

This comes after he recently urged Ghanaians to follow his footsteps and sacrifice 2% of their salaries just as he and his appointees have decided to slash theirs by 10% to be used in building more health centres across the country, a call which the President received flak for.

Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana show on Monday, Hon. Titus Glover accused President John Mahama of running the Presidency like a Public Relation(PR) outfit instead of getting down to work.
“ You have you Ministry of Information with three(3) ministers, other ministers of state who are discharging businesses on your behalf, Mr President yours is to work and stop the complaints, the reaction to some of these things is too much” he said.

Hon. Titus Glover took strong exception to the president’s use of the word cynics, saying “what does the President mean by saying we should not be cynics, when we see the ills in the government, corruption here and there and you say we should not talk, is he saying because of our faith we should swallow it like that, Ghanaians who see all the negatives going on in government are being overburdened and they have every right to talk”.

He said President Mahama should work to ensure a good legacy in post his tenure of office just like late former South African President, Nelson Mandela, adding that he can only achieve this by hard work.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Speaker bares teeth at absentee ministers

The Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe-Adjaho has warned the house will not approve budgetary estimates of ministries whose political heads (ministers) fail to show up in Parliament.

The Speaker says the continuous boycott of Parliament by some ministers is disrespectful to the president and parliament.

The speaker says he is frustrated by the attitude of these ministers.

Presenting the business statement for the week, the Majority Leader Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor moved the suggestion for disciplinary action to be taken against such ministers.

This was supported by Deputy Minority Leader Dominic Nitiwul who described the action as “appalling”.

The Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho recalled a pre-budget meeting involving the president and the ministers in which the president directed them to fully participate in the budget discussion.

The Speaker therefore wondered what the absentee ministers “take the house for”.

“If they are not respecting the president and they are not respecting this house, then I don’t know who they want to respect in this country,” he said disappointedly.

“Nothing is more frustrating than calling a motion and the person to move the motion is not there; nothing can be more frustrating to the chair than this.”

He charged the ministers to read the Standing Orders and the 1992 Constitution in terms of the relationship between them and Parliament.

Ghanaians should expect difficult times ahead- Manso Adubia-MP

NPP’s Member of Parliament for Manso Adubia, Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo has cautioned Ghanaians to expect difficult times ahead after describing the 2014 Budget as full of taxations and no iota of hope of improving the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian citizen.

“Ghanaians should only expect tough times come next year, that is 2014, because this budget is just full taxation and it’s good for us to tell Ghanaians the truth that things are going to be very tough next year” he said.

According to the Lawmaker, Ghanaians should expect nothing like a royal-ride but rather slave- ride next year as portrayed by some the government communication machinery.

Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo further continued that Parliament, which happens to be the second Arm of Government was currently facing financial crisis hence Parliamentary works that were supposed to be done outside House were now been held in the Chamber.

He said the menace has since translated into several government businesses as most projects and policies expected to be executed this year have slowed down due to poor financial backing.

The MP further noted that though the country is currently on its dying streets, all hands must be on desk to ensure that “the economy is brought back to life”.

However, the NDC Member of Parliament for Atebubu-Amantin, Hon. Sanja Nanja conceded also that though the country was going through series of financial challenges, government is effectively working to ensure a smooth ride next year.

Emmanuel Frimpong Mensah/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Joe Appiah skeptical about govt’s plan to reduce housing deficit

Member of Parliament for Ablekuma North Justice Joe Appiah has cast doubt on government’s plan to build 5000 housing units next year to reduce the housing deficit.

Additionally, he is unconvinced the government will be able to provide potable water to some 68 percent of the population by the end of 2014.

Hon. Joe Appiah arrived at the conclusion due to the reduction in budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.

Allocation to the sector has been reduced by over 60 million Ghana Cedis this year.

The Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda in moving the motion for adoption of the report, the sector minister Collins Dauda noted that the ministry will execute its programme in spite of the financial challenges.

However Ranking Member on the Committee, Justice Joe Appiah still maintains his sceptical stance on the government’s intention.

He noted that out of 3000 boreholes, government has only sunk 536 adding that they definitely would be unable to achieve the set target by 2014. “Water and Housing is the basic necessity of life, water is life and life is water” he added.

Hon. Justice Joe Appiah stressed that so long as the budget is too small, government would not be able to complete the housing units, a situation he said is a sad commentary of government’s commitment to reducing the housing deficit and providing potable water to the masses.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Titus Glover surprised Civil Society is quiet over sale of Merchant Bank

New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Tema East, Titus Glover has expressed surprise with the fact that the Civil Society is not seen at the forefront in the fight to stop the takeover of Merchant Bank by Fortiz.

“…yes I am surprised organized labour has left this thing in the hands of Andrew Awuni to take the fight alone. Organized labour, all contributors need to step up their game by joining Andrew Awuni to make sure the interest of the contributor is protected”.

The former spokesperson to President John Kufuor and boss of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni is in court seeking a perpetual injunction on the sale of Social Security and National Investment Trust’s (SSNIT’s) 90.6% stake in Merchant Bank to Fortiz Equity Fund.

In the law suit, the Centre cited Merchant Bank, Social Security and National Insurance Trust, Bank of Ghana, Fortiz and KPMG as the first, second, third, fourth and fifth defendants respectively. It also included some board members of Merchant Bank in the suit.

But Counsel for Fortiz, Tony Lithur, Thursday asked the court to strike out the case, arguing that the Executive Director of the Centre, Mr. Andrew Awuni who filed the suit lacks locus to bring the case before the court.

Hearing has however been postponed to the 10th of December, 2013 but Hon. Glover, wants all labour organizations to be actively involved in the fight against the sale of the state owned bank.

He therefore called on all contributors of SSNIT to see this deal as not one that would not inure to their benefit and rise against it.

“I have been a contributor over twenty years in active work and am still contributing and I say that the Fortiz deal is not in my interest. It is not in my interest at all” Titus Glover insisted on Metro TV’s ‘GoodMorning Ghana’.