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Computerize tax system efficiently to address shortfalls- Yaw Boamah

The Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central, Hon. Patrick Yaw Boamah has underscored the need for government to computerize the tax system effectively and efficiently so it would clearly capture the economy and also help it address the perceived shortfalls in the tax administration.

However he echoed that the informal sector is where government needs to redirect its attention as a resolve to widen its tax base.

He said Ghanaians are already overburdened with taxes and therefore cautioned government to be wary of what kind of tax to introduce into the system so it doesn’t generate despair and misery amongst Ghanaians.

Speaking on Multi TV’s AM Morning show today concerning the issue of the controversial 17.5% new VAT rate on Banking servics, the Law maker indicated that there was consistent lingering of doubts on the minds of the public with this levy, adding that there were seemed to be some miscommunication on right services which are to be affected by this particular tax.

“There has to be adequate public education on this. The Bank of Ghana (BOG) is the regulator in the sector and they work closely with the banks therefore they should have the due diligence to come out and clear the air on this issue”, he stressed.

Highlighting on the issue further, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso North, Hon Mustapha Ahmed conceded that indeed there have been lapses on the part of the banks in the aspect of communication of this tax to their customers, as the specification of the tax will not really affect all services speculated by the banks. He thus asked the banks to consider coming out again and giving the right information on the banking services to be affected by this tax.

The MP who is also a Minister of State at the Presidency in Charge of Development Authorities however said it was imperative for government to broaden its tax net, as there have been increasing calls for government to do so to enable it shape the economy well.

Jonathan Jeffrey Adjei/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Akoto-Osei: Bankswitch abrogation was to witch-hunt me

Political victimisation and equalisation accounted for the abrogation of the Banks witch project, Ranking Member of Parliament’s finance Committee and former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic planning, Dr Antony Akoto Osei has told XYZ News.

A judgment debt of Ghc197 million was recently awarded against Ghana for the termination of the IT firm’s project.

Bankswitch Ghana Limited sued the government of Ghana at The Hague, Netherlands for wrongfully abrogating a contract signed with the Finance Ministry to provide services.

The firm prayed the court for a compensatory award of Ghc853 million cedis for the illegal termination of a contract it signed with the government in 2007.

The Old Tafo Legislator, who recently dared the government to prosecute him if he is found to have acted wrongly in the Bankswitch affair, says the abrogation of the contract in 2010 is to blame for the judgment debt.

In his view, the attempt by the current government to witch-hunt former government officials was the main reason behind the termination of the contract.

“It is the political colours that lead to blindness and therefore abrogation of contracts. If your camera lens does not look at the issues and you look at victimisation, you’ll end up making this mistake.

“I was being investigated in the early part of the Mills administration as being the owner of the Bankswitch. I don’t even know who are the owners of Bankswitch…I think somebody felt that somebody was bringing Banswitch – if it were mine – to channel money into the party and so in my view, the President, His Excellency Atta Mills , if he actually directed that the contract be abrogated, [then] I think he was misinformed. But I personally don’t believe that he knew that such a letter had gone out on his behalf,” Dr Akoto Osei told Parliamentary Correspondent Kweku Sakyi-Danso.


Freda Prempeh poised to improve on the lives of constituents

Mrs Freda Prempeh, the Member of Parliament for Tano North, on Wednesday said her constituents had witnessed massive development projects in the past year.

Speaking to newsmen at Duayaw-Nkwanta, Mrs Prempeh said it had been a daunting task but by dint of hard work, many communities had benefited from projects.

She commended the New Patriotic Party (NPP) constituency executives and media in general for their support.

Mrs Prempeh said the 11.60- kilometer Tanoso/Adengo, 14.8- kilometer Yamfo/Asuade and the 10.7- kilometer Random/Mensakrom roads had all been awarded for reshaping.

Works would soon start on re-graveling of the 14.70km Techire -Adrobaa-Subriso, 7.0km Adrobaa Susuaho, 13.90km susuaho-Adagyamamu , 12.8km Bredi-Apatasu and the Twabidi-Boom-Den-Gyaakye ra roads.

She said the Asen community had benefited from a GHC10,000 solar plant, a mechanized borehole had been constructed at Subonpang , 20-seater aqua privy at Duayaw-Nkwanta, while a CHPS compound had been renovated at Subriso at the cost of GHC15,000.

In addition, Mrs Prempeh said she had donated computers, dual desks, footballs and jerseys to some basic schools in the constituency while a number of women had been trained in soap making and gari processing.

Twenty brilliant but needy students in senior high schools had also received scholarships while some deprived communities had been provided with street lights.

Next on her agenda, Mrs Prempeh said, is to seek support to construct school blocks at Bomaa, dubar grounds at Susuanso, CHPS compounds at Assen, Adengo, Sukuumu as well as upgrading of the Yamfo Health Center to a polyclinic.

Management of resources at the assemblies must be transparent -Woyome

The Member of Parliament for the South Tongu Constituency, Woyome Kobla Mensah has called for transparent management of resources allocated to the assembly to remove doubt from the minds of all stakeholders.

He said prudent and transparent use of the resources will motivate all stakeholders to contribute their quota towards accelerated development of the district.

Mr. Woyome who was addressing assembly meeting at the South Tongu District said procurement processes should be adhered to the later, adding that it is only by this means that the efforts of the assembly can translate into improved socioeconomic growth in the district.

He entreated the Assembly members to also take interest in the development projects in their localities and abreast themselves of progress made by the assembly in trying to solve developmental challenges confronting the people. He said while it is very important to ensure the right things are done, it should be done with open minds, and cautioned against impugning wrong doing to people without any shred of evidence which can easily destroy the unity needed for development.

The MP also asked the assembly members to be careful about negative publications about the district because it may hunt the district in its quest to seek assistance from donor partners for development. “I’m worried recent bad publications in the media may hinder our chances of getting donor supports for development. The publications will come up during profiling”, he added.

He said all of them are in position to seek explanations about issues in the district from those who matter before going to the press.

Mr. Woyome Pledged to continue with the various interventions aimed at giving the citizens hope for better living conditions.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.gov.gh

District acquires 10 additional boreholes- Lawra MP

The Member of Parliament for Lawra, Hon. Abu Samson, has disclosed the completion of some 10 additional mechanized boreholes for the people in his constituency.

The shortfalls in water situation at the North compel most local dwellers to depend heavily on surface water but keen on lending support to avert their woes, the MP in conjunction with other relevant stakeholders has implemented this move to relieve the people of difficult access to potable water.

Although there have been increasing interventions in the water sector by various stakeholders and development partners in the North, there are still backlog of areas yet to be served with potable water provision.

Interacting with Ghanamps.gov.gh, the MP noted that this will significantly help complement efforts to improve access to potable water for the people.

The difficulty in accessing potable water remains a major social challenge with locals up-north, especially those in the deprived communities and remote areas however government and its development partners is making a steady progress to ameliorate the condition.

Jonathan Jeffrey Adjei/ghanamps.gov.g

Afoko’s election can’t affect NDC in the North – Haruna Iddrisu

Trade and Industry Minister, Haruna Iddrisu says the election of Paul Afoko as the National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will not negatively impact on the performance of governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the three Northern Regions.

Mr. Paul Afoko, a business man from the Upper East Region, was last week elected as the new chairman of the NPP in a National delegate’s conference attended by over 5,000 delegates in Tamale.

His election is widely seen by many political analysts as a giant step by the opposition party to improve on its performance in the three Northern Regions- Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

But Haruna Iddrisu, who is also the Member of parliament for Tamale South said, the NDC and President John Mahama are poised to redeeming more parliamentary seats it lost to the NPP in the regions mentioned.

“For us our immediate priority and concern is to fix the economy…and to execute our better Ghana Agenda. And for Northern Region, we are seeking to redeem even more seats; at least I can smell some eight additional seats that we must recapture in 2016” general elections.

“And even in his [Afoko’s] own Upper East Region, the two seats that we lost [Nabdam and Talensi] would also be recovered,” he assured supporters.

He was commissioning an electricity project for over 2,000 residents at Dunyili and Sangzirigu, farming communities in his constituency.

The project is expected to save women and children in the two farming communities from travelling long distances to access electricity for domestic needs.


Effutu MP calls for unity

Mr. Alexandra Afenyo-Markin, Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu, has called on his constituents to let the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus reflect in their lives and forge ahead in unity.

I hope if we emulate the examples of Christ Jesus, and serve the community with all our hearts, the needed development and growth will be achieved to better the lots all and sundry, he said.

Mr Afenyo-Markin made the call in an interview with Ghana News Agency, after he had joined St John the Divine Church, Winneba, at a thanksgiving service to commemorate the Easter festivities.

He said he has initiated youth empowerment programme to facilitate the development of the area.

The MP said as part of the programme, he has provided a number of sewing machines and hair dryers to people who are exposed to vocational training free of charge as well as outboard motors to fishermen and cars to taxi drivers on hire purchase irrespective of colour, religion and political affiliations.

Mr Afenyo-Markin said the initiative is in a way to create jobs for the youth to stay at home and contribute their quota towards the development of the area.

The church presented a citation to the MP as their appreciation for his contribution and especially financial support towards the growth of the mission and the members.

The church led by Reverend Father Ebenezer Love Annan; Archdeacon in charge of Winneba Archdeaconry of Cape Cost Anglican Church prayed for the President, Ministers of the State, MPs and other people in leadership positions and for sustainable peace and understanding in the country.


Akoto Osei dares gov’t over Bankswitch case

Former Minister of State at the finance ministry, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei has challenged government to proceed to court if it suspects he is guilty and played a role in the 197 million dollar judgment debt awarded against the state in its negotiation with IT Firm, Bankswitch Ghana Limited.

Dr. Akoto Osei who also denied allegations that he held shares in Bankswitch Ghana Limited, insists the John Agyekum Kufuor administration did no wrong in entering the contract with the IT firm in 2005.

Speaking on news analysis programme NewsFile Saturday, the formr minister described as unfortunate, government’s ‘hurried’ abrogation of the contract without going through proper procedures.

“If they think I have done something wrong, they should take me to court,”

According to him, the matter between Bankswitch has been going on since 2005”…and this mystery [abrogation of contract with Bankswitch] in 2010 is what has caused the judgment debt.

In his view, the actions by the current NDC aministration was avoidable.

The Ministry of Finance entered into an agreement with the company for the provision of a customers’ valuation software for the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, to help with revenue mobilization.

Bankswitch Ghana Limited sued the government of Ghana at The Hague, Netherlands for wrongfully abrogating a contract signed with the Finance Ministry to provide services.

Bankswitch Ghana Limited requested the court to award it 853 million cedis for the illegal termination of a contract it signed with the government in 2007.

But the court awarded damages amounting to 197.4 million cedis to Bankswitch Ghana.

Government’s challenge

Meanwhile, deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed revealed on the programme that government will challenge the case and the amount.

“…In anycase, this case is being challenged, government is not going to lie low; government will not just pay,” he said.

According to Murtala, the contract was abrogated because it did not have parliamentary approval.
“The issue is not about the NDC abrogating that contract but the bottom line [is that] people disregarded what they ought to have done”


Akufo-Addo must call Mustapha Hamid to order – Ennin

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Obuasi East, Edward Ennin is calling on the party’s 2012 presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo to call his aide, Mustapha Hamid, to order.

According to him, Mustapha Hamid’s suggestion to flagbearer aspirant, Alan Kyerematen to go independent if he [Alan] believes he is more appealing to the electorate could be inimical to the party’s chances of winning the 2016 general elections.

Alan Kyerematen in an interview on Metro TV justified his decision to contest the flagbearership position for the third time, arguing it was time for a change.

He said though many in the party have endorsed the candidature of Nana Akufo-Addo, his popularity may not necessarily win them power.

But in a riposte, Mustapha Hamid said “people who are saying they are popular in the whole country but are not popular within the party don’t need the NPP machine; in that sense let Alan Kyeremateng, maybe, try and run as an independent candidate, because the constitution allows him to run. He doesn’t necessarily has to run on a ticket”.

Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Thursday, the Obuasi East MP described as unfortunate the ‘divisive’ comments by Mustapha Hamid.

He said such comments by people close to Nana Akufo-Addo has the tendency to fuel perceptions about division in the party as it gears up for its flagbearership race later this year.

“The greatest threat to the party’s electoral fortunes currently is not their political opponents but rather the utterances and conduct of Mustapha Hamid,” Ennin stressed.

The Obuasi East MP called on Nana Akufo-Addo to as a matter of urgency distance himself from Mustapha’s comments to avert any animosity from the ‘Alan Kyerematen camp’.

He feared Hamid’s comments could make the party to lose votes from floating voters and level-headed middle class persons in the country if he should continue with such a behaviour.

Edward Ennin said the NPP as a government in waiting must demonstrate a sense of purpose and leadership to win the hearts of the electorate and not to use derogatory language on the airwaves to push people away from the party.

Sir John was the worst thing that happened to NPP – Akandoh

Member of Parliament for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, has described the immediate past General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (aka Sir John) as the worst thing that happened to the largest opposition party, the NPP.

According to him, Sir John’s conduct as the Chief Executive Officer (General Secretary) of the party over the last four years brought the party shame rather than improving the electoral fortunes of the party.

The MP who is also the Western Regional Youth Organizer of the ruling National Democratic Congress(NDC) stated this while contributing to a discussion on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem programme on Thursday on the fallouts of the NPP congress which was held in Tamale over the weekend.

He averred that he as a young politician has learnt nothing from a political heavy weight like Sir John since his uncouth utterances to issues were an affront to his office.

“For instance I was scandalized to have heard Sir John make terrible statements about the Presiding Judge, Justice William Atuguba during the historic election petition case at the Supreme Court, which nearly landed him in jail. Let the small boys in the party misbehave and you as the General Secretary rather check them” he said.

Hon. Kwabena Mintah Akandoh nonetheless commended Sir John for his service to the NPP and urged him to learn from his mistakes and come back a stronger and well refined politician to support the NPP.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh