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“Populist” attempts to disempower UG unfair- Osei Owusu

The ranking member on the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of Parliament Joe Osei Owusu says he does not see the value in repealing the clause that gives power to the University of Ghana to restrict the use of its facilities by the public.

The Bekwai MP maintains any attempt to repeal that clause will be a “populist reaction to the issue.”

The University of Ghana has in recent weeks been in the news for asserting its restrictive powers on who can use its facilities, particularly its roads, and under what conditions.

Section 3 of the University of Ghana Act 806 which was passed in 2010, makes provision for only members of the university to have free access and privileges of the university. Currently, non-members are not entitled to have free access to the school except they have stickers or use only one of four entry and exit points to the university.

In pursuant of this provision the university has introduced a sticker billing system in which non-members of the university are required to pay 400 cedis a year before they can have access to the university’s roads.

The implementation of this policy has generated lots of chaos with the public as well as parents of pupils of the university primary all kicking against the policy.

The issue found its way to Parliament and has generated similar controversy with MPs splitting hairs over it.

Joy News can exclusively confirm that a private members’ motion has been filed in Parliament seeking the removal of the restriction clause in the Act establishing the University of Ghana.

This motion will thus compel the minister of education to re-introduce the Act for a possible removal of the clause and pave way for easy access to the university’s campus .

But Joe Osei Owusu told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Top Story he would vote against any such motion once it is raised on the floor.

He argued no university anywhere in the world is used as a thoroughfare and Parliament cannot by this motion take the regulatory powers of the university from the University’s council.

“Somebody needs to regulate the university. If you take away that power away from the university who is to going to regulate it,” he asked.

He said the university allowed its premises to be used as a thoroughfare only as a temporary measure to curtail the massive traffic that was created as a result of the construction of the Legon Madina Road.

“It will be most unfair for the public to demand that after the university had granted access they should go ahead and turn the university into a thoroughfare,” he pointed out.

Emmanuel Agyarko, MP for Ayawaso West Wuogon, the constituency in which the university is sited has said the approach to restrict the powers of the university is unsustainable.

His greatest challenge is the parents whose children attend the university of Ghana primary school.

Mr Agyarko said the university is currently negotiating with the PTA of the primary school for a compromised fee to be paid.

He would also vote against any motion that would curtail the powers of the university in regulating who uses its facilities.

Meanwhile the MP for Asawasi and Majority chief whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak is in support of the amendment to the Act.

He argued the repeal of the clause would “best serve the public and the country”.


MPs kick against diverting TB funds

Parliament on Tuesday cautioned against spending monies allocated to fighting tuberculosis for other purposes.
According to the MPs this will ensure that the funds are used in facilitating the fight against the total eradicating the dreadful disease.

The Legislators made the comment in response to a statement made by the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh on the floor of Parliament to mark the World Tuberculosis Day which is falls on 24th March every year.

He noted that the quality of care for TB patients has improved year on and on, with the country now boosting of TB treatment success above the global target of 86%, adding that 7out of 10 regions have achieved their treatment success targets.

He stressed that the remarkable achievement chalked by the country in the fight against TB will come to not if resources allocated to this course is diverted.

Meanwhile, the Programme Manager of the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) Dr Frank Bonsu Monday said Ghanas TB prevalence for adults as at 2013 was 300 per 100,000 population, more than twice the estimated WHO value for all ages.

He explained that the highest TB prevalence occurred in the age group 65-74, whilst the least prevalence occurred in the age group 25-34.

In 2013, 15, 533 cases were recorded as compared to 15,187 cases in 2012, adding that, there was a difference of 346 cases between 2012 and 2013.

Speaking at the 2014 World TB day in Accra, on the theme, Reaching the missed TB cases: the Untold Story of the Ghanaian TB patient, Dr Bonsu said the Ashanti region recorded the highest number of TB cases of 3, 041, followed by Greater Accra 2,901. Volta and Western regions recorded 1,758 each with Brong Ahafo recording 1,227, Eastern region-1,677, Upper East-1,511, upper West-330 and Northern region, 642 cases.

He noted that though the disease burden was high the trend shows that the TB epidemic can be halted and reversed.

He said Ghana was on its way to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by halting and reversing the trend and incidence of TB by 2015, If we continue to sustain our education to detect all TB cases.

Outlining some successes chalked by the TB Programme, Dr Bonsu mentioned support system for patients and affected families to achieve cure, enough TB medicines, diagnostics and reagents, new technologies to help detect some of the cases that are normally missed, using older technologies and a new system for managing childhood TB.

Other successful areas are the use of digital x-ray imagery, infrastructure to diagnose and manage multi drug resistance.

South Tongu MP distributes 300 streetlights

Mr. Kobena Mensah Woyome, the Member of Parliament for South Tongu in the Volta Region is working towards encouraging formation of community watchdogs in the various communities in the constituency.

The move is one of many initiatives the MP is adopting to enhance security in the constituency to enable residents to go about their economic and social activities freely at all times.

Already, the Member of Parliament has distributed over 300 streetlights to the communities through assembly members for installation in vantage points in the various areas.

The installations of these streetlights have been completed in some areas while others are still ongoing. It is aimed at improving visibility in the night to aid social gathering and provide opportunity to interested members of the communities to engage in lawful businesses at night.

Mr. Woyome noted that the safety of the people is very important and as leaders in the constituency they are determined to collaborate to ensure this; but added that a lot also depend on the residents to remain vigilant and cautious of their environment and alert the security agencies of people with suspicious characters.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Abuakwa South MP builds 3 WCs for 3 communities

Three communities in the Abuakwa South Constituency in the Eastern Region have been each been provided with 12-seater water closet toilet facilities.

They are Kyebi, Asiakwa and Apedwa.

The facilities which are a departure from the traditional KVIP are designed with the idea of helping to improve personal and environmental health of the people.

Constructions of the three toilet facilities two of which have been completed already including the ones at Kyebi and Asiakwa while that of Apedwa is ongoing will therefore replace existing KVIP toilet facilities in these areas. The KVIPs are already bedeviled with challenges including insanitary conditions, over crowding and lack of maintenance especially when they are full up and needed to be emptied.

The Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyeah said it is hoped that completion of these facilities will deter people from using their surroundings are places of convenience. According to him, though providing water closet comes with additional cost compared to the usual KVIP because one has to ensure regular water supply, the investment is worth it considering the health benefits that come with it.

Ghanamps.gov.gh/Dominic Shirimori.

Ghana may not be able to pay Salaries if….Ho Central MP warns

Member of Parliament’s Select Committee on Finance, Benjamin Kpodo, has warned the country risk not being able to pay salary of workers in the near future if revenue generation and tax compliance are not improved.

According to him, debt servicing and salary currently consumes all revenue generated in the country, a situation that has prevented government from meeting its statutory payment obligations.

Benjamin Kpodo who is also the Member of Parliament for Ho Central in the Volta region told Joy News, challenges facing the country can only be done away with if revenue generation is improved.

He said “our pay as you earn which we collect from workers in this country is far higher than the revenue we get from oil. How do we raise additional revenue from internal sources so as to execute our programme, so as to support our domestic activities.”

According to him, the Ghanaian economy currently has two major items that “we have as fixed cost- the wage bill and then the debt service expenditure and you cannot avoid them.”

Mr. Kpodo therefore called on Ghanaians to rally behind the government in its attempt to stabilize the economy.

“There is a lot of money which we can collect as tax based on the existing rate within the economy which we are not collecting. So if we tackle that and we stop being petty,” with the opposition always kicking against such measures, it will help the country.

The Ho Central MP wondered how people want the president to perform and “yet you want to bind his hands too. You don’t want to support his policies.”


Bia West MP to provide quaters for teachers in Kojo-Aba

In a bid to provide accomodation for Teachers at Kojo-Aba in the Bia West Constituency, the Member of Parliament for the area is spearheading the provision of a 5 Bedroom teachers quaters.

The project which is being executed with proceeds from the Social Investment Fund(SIF) when completed will solve the accommodation problem facing the teaching staff in that area.

Speaking to Ghanamps.gov.gh, Hon. Michael Coffie Boampong stated that he was motivated to provide a place of residence for the teachers as he was committed to ensuring that quality education is brought to the door step for children of school going age in the vicinity.

He noted that the facility will in no doubt boost the morale of the teachers for them to give off their best and help raise the children into becoming responsible and resourceful adult to continue with the development of the area.


Education Ministry is lying to pubic – Simon Osei Mensah

The Member’ of Parliament for Bosumtwe Simon Osei Mensah has denied asking the Education Ministry to account for all projects undertaken with the GH85 Cal Bank loan approved by Parliament for construction of classroom blocks across the country.

According to him, he did not ask the Ministry to account for all the projects undertaken with the loan but only specific projects.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, he stated that : “I have never asked the Education Ministry to account for all projects undertaken by the Ministry; the question was to ask the Minister of Education the number of six unit classroom blocks and two storey dormitory blocks that had been constructed since January, 2009 to December 2012, indicating the allocation and sources of funding. “

Earlier reports in sections of the media had stated that the Education Ministry could not account for the GHS 85 million facility and the school blocks constructed with the loan.

The Ministry of Education has indicated that it is ready to account for the GHS 85 million Cal Bank facility which was used to construct classroom blocks.

According to a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations of the Ministry, Paul Krampah, ”it is also not true that the projects for which the facility was secured have not been executed.”

But speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Osei Mensah dismissed claims by Mr. Krampah, saying “what he is telling you is not true, he is being economical with the truth.”

He described Mr. Krampah’s assertions as an “attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the public.”

“I just asked them to indicate sources of funding for a particular project in question, but the ministry included unnecessary projects such as ICT centres, rehabilitation of carious infrastructure… .,”he added.


Permits granted high rise buildings must be critically examined – Ameen Salifu

Member of Parliament for Wa East Hon. Ameen Salifu has called for a critical look at all permits granted for the construction of high rise buildings to ascertain whether they meet the required standards.

According to him, the structural integrity of these buildings should be critically assessed to determine whether the right materials have been used and that the building will not collapse at the slightest pressure or weight.

His statement made on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, comes on the heels of the collapse of a seven-storey hotel building at Nii Boi Town a fortnight ago which recorded one death while a number of people sustain various forms of injuries.

He stated that another issue which needed to be addressed is the general approach to planning, adding that people put up buildings indiscriminately at unauthorized places while the authorities look on, only for them to post notices of stop work when the building have reached the lintel level.

Hon. Ameen Salifu who is a Surveyor by profession therefore emphasized the need for the capacity of the Inspectorate Division to be enhanced to make it more effective to be able to conduct regular checks and monitoring while construction is in progress.

He noted that where the standards have not been met the officials involved, the owners of the building and contractors must be compelled to conform to the required standards.

The Wa East MP stressed that officials who condone and connive with owners of buildings to proceed with shoddy work irrespective of warning to desist from such acts must be severely reprimanded or prosecuted, while the unqualified contractors are prevented from putting up buildings.

He added that licenses of contractors who put up weak structures that do not conform to required standards must be banned or suspended.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Nkawkaw MP lauds Ghana-Francophone cooperation

The Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw, Eric Kwakye Darfour has lauded the Ghana-Francophone cooperation describing it as a step in the right direction.

Mr. Darfour in an interview with ghanamps.gov.gh at the celebration of French week in Ghana said the cooperation was long overdue considering the fact that Ghana is surrounded by Francophone countries.

The celebration on the theme: “The Francophone Africa’s contribution in the construction of contemporary Africa” assessed the collaborations between Ghana and Francophone countries in Africa towards the development of Africa. It is a platform to enhance diplomacy and cultural integration between Ghana and its Francophone neighbours.

According to the MP, the cooperation has made it possible for Ghana to receive a lot of Assistance from France and some individuals especially Members and staff of the Parliament of Ghana French Club who are being thought French.

The event was attended by Ambassadors of French Speaking African countries with Mission in Ghana, with Professor Elikia M’Bokolo a Congolese historian, specialist of social, political and intellectual history of Africa as the special guest of honour.

Ghana in 2006 under president Kufour initiated moves to sign Ghana onto the Francophone family to strengthen ties with France and enhance contributions and discussions to the growth of the continent.


South Tongu MP supports farmer with cutlasses, pumping machines

Farmers in the South Tongu Constituency in the Volta Region are being supported to engage meaningfully this farming season.

The Member of Parliament for the area, Kobla Mensah Woyome continue his yearly assistance to the farmers this year with the distribution of over one thousand (1000) cutlasses to help in land preparation among others.

The MP earlier on distributed a number of spraying machines, over 400 water pumping machines as well as over 400 wellington boots.

South Tongu is predominantly farming and fishing community and the livelihoods of the people depends on these two sectors. Over the years, rain-fed agriculture had been the way the people carried out their farming activities, a situation that did not offer year round productivity.

With poverty on the increase, the MP introduced the supply of the pumping machines to make it possible for beneficiaries to engage actively in irrigation farming throughout the year. It was also to encourage the farmers to increase production to meet market demands for more profits.

“These are direct interventions to reduce poverty by helping the people enhance their economic activities which they were engaged in all these years”, Mr. Woyome added.

He pledged to make poverty reduction an integral part of his activities in his constituency by rolling out measures to push people’s economic activities to greater heights; and one of these would be yearly support to agriculture production.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanams.gov.gh