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Punish SADA officials for wasting taxpayers’ money – Dominic Nitiwul

The Member of Parliament for Bimbila in the Northern Region, Dominic Nitiwul says officials of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) should be punished for misapplying funds meant for developing the north.

According to the Deputy Minority Leader, failure to charge and punish SADA officials for all the financial malfeasance could serve as a disincentive to future government to allocate funds special development initiatives that will bridge the wealth gap between the north and the south.

Mr. Nitiwul was speaking Wednesday on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, in reaction to revelations by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni of alleged mismanagement of funds by the Authority.

Allegations of corruption, improper award of contracts among many others, have bedeviled the operations of SADA which was created to coordinate development in the northern parts of Volta, Brong Ahafo as well as the three northern regions- Northern, Upper East and Upper West.

Dr. Emmanuel Abeere-Nga, Director of Integrated Development Programmes at SADA had on the Show, dismissed the claim that money meant for the afforestation project in the north was not spent wisely.

He said the contractor for the project, ACICL, planted over five million tree seedlings across the savannah belt of the country. According to him, the Authority subsequently contracted the University for Development Studies (UDS) to validate the survival rate of the trees which is yet to be made available to SADA.

“…we needed to make sure that they [ACICL] had performed according to the terms and reference we had agreed with them on the initial contract…What we needed was for us to find the exact number of trees which was planted and that is what we asked UDS to go and incorporate into this report”.

Dr. Abeere-Nga could not however provide further details of the acreage of land the tree seedlings were planted, when pressed by host of the Show, Kojo Yankson. His explanation was that the figure emanated from ACIC Limited and not from SADA.

Obviously unconvinced by the account given by the SADA official, Mr. Nitiwul expressed concern at the reckless misapplication of public funds handed to persons of northern descent for the development of the north, while no one is being held accountable.

“For the first time in our history, a lot of money has been handed to northerners…to manage and it turns out that once the name of SADA is mentioned it is synonymous with corruption and nobody gets punished.

“If we allow SADA to fail and people don’t get punished it will be difficult for any government in the future to give us resources to develop the north,” Mr. Nitiwul noted.

He hinted of plans to get Parliament to investigate the alleged rot at SADA to ensure the misapplied funds are recovered by the state.

“We are concerned about taxpayers’ money being misapplied and nobody is being punished,” he said.


Sacking Terkper will not improve economy – Dr Assibey Yeboah

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, Dr. Mark Asibey-Yeboah has described calls for the dismissal of Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, as improper.

In his view, sacking the Finance Minister will not improve the dire economic situation that the country finds itself and equally cannot be blamed for the economic challenges.

In recent times some members of the governing party (NDC) including the Information Minister and the party’s Central Regional Director of Communications, Mr Allotey Jacob have openly expressed displeasure over the work of Mr Seth Terpker.

Mr Allotey Jacob has asserted that the austerity measures being rolled out by the Finance Minister who he referred to as “Judas”has put a toll on the already “financially burdened” ordinary Ghanaian, a situation he also thinks may see the party losing the 2016 elections if the status quo is not checked.

However speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Wednesday, Dr. Asibey-Yeboah stated that if the country’s economic fundamentals are wrong, no matter who replaces Mr Terkper is bound to have difficulties managing the economy.

He blamed the over spending spree that characterized the government in the run-up to the2012 election as the cause of the economic distress.

Dr. Asibey-Yeboah who is an economist by profession lashed out at the members of the economic management team for failing to implement fiscal policies that will take the economy out of the quagmire.

“If people are saying Seth Terkper should be sacked, then the others like the Chairman of the Economic Management Team, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, should be changed, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Wampah and the president’s economic advisor, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson should also be sacked”, he said.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

New VAT Law not linked to EPAs – J.B Danquah -Adu

A member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu has rubbished reports linking the recently introduced Value Added Tax (VAT) Law to the controversial Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) currently being negotiated between ECOWAS and the EU.

According to the NPP Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North Constituency in the Eastern Region, the new VAT on financial services is the result of the “poor policy coming from government”.

A 2007 report by Realizing Rights, an international NGO, claimed the yet-to-be implemented 17.5% VAT on some banking services may be the EU’s prescription to Ghana on how it can make up for expected revenue losses after the country signs the controversial EPA.

The report titled, “Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and African Countries: Potential Development Implications for Ghana” states: “the EU has recognized that African countries are likely to face revenue losses from tariff elimination, but has argued these ought to be considered ‘short-term adjustment costs’, which can be overcome through re-structuring and broadening domestic tax bases”.

However, speaking on ‘Inside Afrika’ on Accra-based Radio Univers, Mr. J.B Danquah-Adu disagrees with the said report insisting, it is rather president John Mahama’s failure to put into action a comprehensive policy to address the challenges of the economy.

“It is a poor policy coming from government. Nobody wants VAT on banking transactions. Nobody wants VAT on Housing pricing. So don’t link it to any EPA please,” he told Yaw Acheampong, host of the programme.

“The increasing of VAT or extension of VAT on houses or the real estate environment [and] the increasing of VAT or extension of VAT on financial transactions have nothing to do with the EPA. That is a lie”, the MP concluded.


Berekum East MP cautions students against bad peers

Dr Kwabena Twum Nuamah, the Member of Parliament for Berekum East, has appealed to senior high school pupils not to be influenced by bad peers.

He said they should be wary ofsenior colleagues who would attempt to lure them into lesbianism, drug abuse,alcoholism and other unhealthy practices that could put their future in peril.

Dr Nuamah gave the advice when Patrons of Berekum, a group made up of prominent citizens from Berekum based in Accra, awarded 22 junior high school graduates in the Berekum Municipality who excelled in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in 2013.

Each student received some books,certificate and an undisclosed amount of money.

Dr Nuamah noted with concern thatmany alcoholics and drug addicts were lured into such habits when they were insecond cycle schools and had now become addicts.

He advised students to always remember the huge expenses being made by their parents and guardians in their education and justify that by study hard to achieve good results.

Prof Daniel Obeng Ofori, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources and a member of the group, said Patrons was formed four years ago with the vision of helping basic school students to pursue higher education.

He said it had provided scholarships to a number of SHS students and gave the assurance that the group was ready to support all brilliant but needy students in the municipality.

Mr Opoku Boakye, the Berekum Municipal Chief Executive, said the Assembly was doing all it could to improve education and appealed to the group to support in the area of educational infrastructure.

He said many basic schools in themunicipality still held classes under dilapidated structures.


Ahafo Ano South East MP to build clinic for Abesewa

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ahafo Ano South East, Mr Francis Manu-Adabor, is constructing a clinic for his constituents at Abesewa in the Ashanti Region to make health care more accessible.

The people of Abesewa and its adjoining communities have been travelling to Bechem in the Brong Ahafo Region to access health care and when completed, the clinic will relieve the people of that burden.

The MP made this known at a community durbar held for him at Abesewa in the Ahafo Ano South District.

He called on the Abesewahene, Nana Subin Kankam Amaado II; the Abesewa Zongo Chief, Nana Buieyu Suleimana, and the other chiefs in the area.

Mr Manu-Adabor told the chiefs that he would use part of his Health Insurance Fund to complete the clinic and asked the people in the area for support. He said he would drill boreholes, construct public toilets and reshape bad roads in the area.

The Abesewa community, through their Assembly member, Mr Augustine Dabo, asked the MP to help them build a community water reservoir, a six-unit classroom block for the Abesewa DA Basic School, a public urinal and work closely with the Tertiary Students Association in the area to provide scholarships for deserving students.

Daily Graphic

Agona East MP campaigns for safety of schoolchildren

The Member of Parliament for the Agona East Constituency in the Central Region, Mrs Queenstar Maame Pokuah Sawyerr, has embarked on a road safety campaign to prevent vehicles from knocking down pupils in the constituency.

The project, dubbed: “Life First,’’ is aimed at protecting the lives of schoolchildren who cross some major roads in the area before getting to school.

Per the project, a box with a stop sign on it will be placed at both sides of the roads and when the schoolchildren get to the road side, all that they will do is to lift the stop sign and show it to the driver of a vehicle approaching.

The driver, upon seeing the sign, would have to stop for the pupils to cross the road before continuing the journey.

The district in recent past had recorded cases where pupils who were crossing the streets had been knocked down by vehicles, leading to the death of some of them, while others sustained varying degrees of injuries.

The beneficiary towns are Suromanya, Agona Duakwa, Mankrong Junction, Kortokoli Zongo and Swedru International School (SWIS) junction.
Essence of project

Mrs Pokuah Sawyerr, who is also the Deputy Central Regional Minister, told the Daily Graphic that the intervention was to save the lives of pupils who had to cross major highways in the area to get to school.

She stated that the cause of such accidents was absence of speed humps on such roads and the campaign was to ensure that the carnage on roads in the area was reduced or eliminated.

She explained that as the MP for the area, she was committed to the safety of all, particularly schoolchildren, and stressed that the move was to ensure that pupils did not meet their untimely deaths as they were expected to be adults to champion the development of the nation.

She assured communities yet to be hooked to the national grid that soon they would be provided with electricity to propel the development of such areas.

Daily Graphic

Ahafo Ano South MP reshapes roads

The Member of Parliament for Ahafo Ano South, Mr Johnson Kwaku Adu, is reshaping a number of roads in his constituency.

They are the 2.5-km Amaduwa-Mmrobem, two-km Abodease-Akwasiwuro, four-km Anitimfe-Pewodie-Asukese and two-km Beniekrom-Mehame roads.

The MP told the Daily Graphic that the ongoing reshaping exercise would be completed soon to make the roads passable.

He said he was using GH¢18,600 of his Social Investment Programme (SIP), formerly HIPC Fund, to help in the reshaping.

He also called on the contractor working on the roads to speed up work, especially at a time the affected communities were experiencing heavy downpours.

There are about 15 predominantly farming communities that would benefit from the reshaping, as it would afford the farmers the opportunity to convey their farm produce to market centres.


Activities of Boko Haram worrisome – Barton Oduro

Mr. Ebo Barton Oduro, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has expressed concern about the activities of “Boko Haram” in Nigeria, which has claimed thousands of innocent lives in that country.

He has, therefore, charged parliamentarians to come out with implementable mechanisms by which they would resolve grievances before they escalated.

Mr. Barton Oduro said this during the opening of a two-day dialogue session for ECOWAS Parliamentarians in Accra on Thursday.

He condemned all instances of violence, adding that, under no circumstance should there be justification for the use of violence, especially when innocent lives were involved.

Senator Ike Ekweramadu, Speaker of ECOWAS parliament, called for effective border patrols to deter rebels from extending their activities to other countries.

“It is very sad to note that members of Boko Haram sneak in and out of the mountainous areas of Cameroun and Nigeria,” he added.

The ECOWAS parliamentary dialogue session was organized by the National Institute for legislative Studies (NILS), a capacity building institute based in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Zimbabwe and the ECOWAS parliament.

The dialogue is to deliberate on challenges of border crossing among member countries and opportunities for trade and finance for ECOWAS countries.

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful,” is an Islamist jihadist, militant and terrorist organization based in north-eastern Nigeria, northern Cameroun and Niger.

Established in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, the organisation seeks to establish a “pure” Islamic state ruled by Sharia law and putting a stop to what it deems “Westernization”.

The group is known for attacking Christians and government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and police stations, kidnapping western tourists, but has also assassinated some members of the Islamic establishment.

Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2002 and 2013.


NPP victory in 2016 rests with me – Joe Ghartey

Two more names have emerged in the upcoming contest for the flagbearer position of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

They are the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Attorney General in the Kufuor era, Mr Joe Ghartey, and Mr Francis Addai Nimoh, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mampong.

Both have confirmed in interviews with this paper their intent to pick nomination forms to contest the presidential primary of the NPP when nominations are formally opened.

The two make it nine the number of people waiting for the greenlight to contest the flagbearer race.

Some leading members of the party have already stated their interest in the forth¬coming contest.

The would-be presidential aspirants of the NPP include two-time presidential candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, twice flag bearer hopeful Alan Kwadwo Kyeramaten and former flag-bearer hopefuls, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku and Prof. Kwabena, Frimpong-Boateng.

Others are Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng a former minister of state, Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw, MP for Asuogyaman, and Mr Isaac Osei, MP for Subin.

More candidates “I will be picking nomination forms to contest the presidential primary of the NPP for the 2016 elections,” Mr Ghartey confirmed to the Daily Graphic last Tuesday.

He is currently in Tamale in the Northern Region as part of a series of broad consultations within and outside the party.

According to Mr Ghartey, who is also the MP for Essikado-Ketan, he was ready to serve his party and the nation in the high office of president.

In his view, one unique thing that had made him stand out was the fact that he was not into factionalism and could rally and work with all groups within the party.

As a compromise candidate from Winneba and Sekondi/Takoradi, Mr Ghartey declared: “I have paid my dues within the NPP and I think I am ready to serve my party and the nation in the high office of president.”

According to him, he could work with all factions within the party as a compromise candidate.

“The NPP at this stage needs a compromise candidate and I believe the party in broad terms is also looking for such a candidate,” he stated.

Mr Ghartey, considered the dark horse in the presidential primaries, pointed out that it was time for the NPP to place premium on unity else it would not make any headway in the 2016 elections.

Mr Addai Nimoh, who over the years has been working in the background for the NPP described himself as a “silent pusher of actions in the Ashanti Region, the ‘World Bank’ of the NPP”.

He supported the national campaign of then candidate J. A. Kufuor in the 2000 elections, promoted policies of his administration and has since paid his dues to the party, especially at the constituency and regional levels.

Mr Addai Nimoh touts himself as a unifier who can bring good fortunes as well as ensure the party’s victory in 2016.

I’ll contest in NPP flag bearer race – Mampong MP

Member of Parliament (MP) for Mampong, Francis Addai Nimoh, has expressed his intention to contest the flag bearer position of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) when nominations are formally opened.

According to him, he has not put himself up just to add up to the number of aspirants but is in the race after careful introspection to win the contest and lead the largest opposition party to victory in 2016 polls.

The NPP is expected to elect its presidential candidate later this year at a date and venue yet to be decided by the party. Even before the party okays opening of nominations, the number of aspirants currently stands at nine with persons such as Nana Akufo-Addo, Alan Kyeremanten, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku and Prof. Kwabena, Frimpong, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Second Deputy Speaker, Joe Ghartey, Kofi Osei Ameyaw,MP for Asuogyaman, and Mr Isaac Osei, MP for Subin.

Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem Programme on Thursday, Hon. Addai Nimoh stated that after serving the party at the constituency and regional levels over the years, he deems it fit for him now to lead the party in the highest capacity and advance further to secure electoral victory that has eluded the party in the two previous elections.

Pitching himself against some of the candidates who are considered stalwarts, he discredited claims that he was the underdog in the race and will end up wasting his monies in a fruitless venture.

Describing himself as the “political David” of our time Hon. Addai Nimoh said “we all remember the biblical David who was despised and sidestepped by the Prophet Samuel for his older brothers who were huge in stature at a time that God wanted a ruler for his people but he (David) ended up being anointed as the King of Israel, that is what will happen in the flag bearer race, you may not consider me a frontrunner but I’ll end up winning.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh