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Parliament: GIPC clarifies position on tax exemption to Rlg

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre has appeared before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry to explain its position on the alleged granting of millions of “fraudulent” tax exemptions to Rlg Communications Limited.

This was after New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Kwaku Kwarteng, argued that RLG secured such exemptions in violation of the law because as an assembling firm it did not qualify for tax reliefs granted a manufaturer.

He had alleged that “it is entirely likely that government officials, influenced by private businesses, would allow such dubious tax concessions in order to claim their share of the ill gains later”.

Kwaku Kwarteng said he was surprised that despite a statement by the Ghana Revenue Authority RLG did not qualify for the tax exemptions it was enjoying, the IT firm was still granted same.

However, on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer of GIPC, Mawuena Treba, mounted a strong defense before the parliamentary select committee on trade and industry, promising a comprehensive audit of the exemptions granted the local technology firm would be carried out.

Mrs Treba was emphatic the GIPC board will deliberately go out to verify the claims made by RLG based on which the exemptions were granted.

She also said alhough the tax exemptions to RLG were granted by her predecessor, she is confident stringent checks were made before the decision was taken.

But speaking on Top Story Wednesday, Kwaku Kwarteng said the GIPC boss had no business responding to the matter in the first place.

“GIPC does not have the mandate to grant tax exemptions”, he reiterated.

He said the Commissioner General Department of the GRA should be answering questions regarding how RLG came to be granted tax exemptions reserved for manufactures.

He admonished the Finance Ministry and the Commissioner General Department to look into the matter, adding that the seeming lax by the two institutions to probe the matter may be because of control from higher authorities.

The NPP MP said he is hopeful the two institutions will see reason and give the matter the needed attention.

RLG has also responded to the claims being made by Mr Kwaku Kwarteng.

According to the local IT firm, on March 5, 2013, the company made changes to its business registration documents at the Registrar General’s Department to include manufacturing of phones, computers etc, indicating allegations that it enjoying tax exemptions fraudulently are untrue.


Punish MPs who declared support for Nana Addo – Francis Nimoh

A flag bearer aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Francis Addai Nimoh has urged the leadership of the party to discipline Members of Parliament who declared support for Nana Akufo- Addo on Tuesday.

Several Members of Parliament thronged Nana Akufo Addo’s campaign launch where the Deputy Minority leader Dominic Nitiwul stated emphatically that an overwhelming number of the party’s MPs were supporting Nana Addo’s candidature.

The NPP in its guidelines that will regulate its congress to select the party’s Presidential candidate later this year clearly stated that no party officials should openly declare support for any of the candidates.

Speaking to Citi News Hon. Addai Nimoh who is also the MP for Mampong constituency said in spite of the fact that he is not worried by the open support for Nana Addo, the party’s leadership should ensure it punishes the MPs to serve as a deterrent and further protect the party’s unity.

“I will urge the party hierarchy to apply the rules and regulations accordingly, It is surprising for such a comment to come from Hon. Dominic Nitiwul. I wonder how he speaks for most of the members of the party,” he said.

Classroom block for Swedru Holy Qur’an Basic School

A four unit classroom block with a staff common room, a library and an Information and Communication Technology centre has been inaugurated for the Swedru Holy Qur’an Basic School in the Central Region.

The GHs266, 168.31 block was constructed to help end the shift system which was being practiced in the school due to the non- availability of classrooms to accommodate its growing population.

The school, which has two streams, over the years, resorted to the shift system where one stream would come in the morning and close at 12;pm, with the other stream coming in the afternoon and closing at 3;pm for a week and then changing over.

School authorities said the situation was an impediment to academic work and affects the performance of pupils, as the required periods and syllabus, especially for the relatively shorter period for the afternoon stream.

The Agona West Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Samuel Oppong, stated that the government was committed to the provision of the needed infrastructure in basic schools to help improve the performance of pupils. He said providing and enabling environment in schools would eventually culminate in improved performance among the school pupils, adding that the government, through the assembly, would continue to provide the needed facilities in the school areas.

He urged the school authorities to properly maintain the facility to benefit generations yet unborn.
The Member of Parliament for the constituency, Mr. Charles Obeng- Inkoom, expressed worry about the poor performance of students in the area during the Basic Education Certificate Examination [BECE] in 2013, stressing that the project was to help raise the standard of education in the area.

He urged parents to regularly monitor their children to ensure an improvement in their academic performance.

The Headmistress of stream B, Madam Theresa Kuma, lauded the government for the intervention, saying the construction of the new classroom block would enhance teaching and learning in the school.
Irene Kwakye/Ghanamps.gov.gh.

Atta Akyea stoned

A young man who hurled stones at the vehicle of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South in the Eastern Region, Samuel Atta Akyea, has been arrested and handed over to the Police.

The incident occurred when the MP went to Bunso to join in the Muslim celebration and also donate some items.

The young man was reportedly chased and arrested.

Narrating the incident to Citi News, Abuakwa South legislator said after the donation, “we went into our vehicles and just as we about to join the road to Linda Dor, a young boy took a big stone and hit the back of my car but by the grace of God, it didn’t break.”

According to him, the boy was chased, arrested and handed over to the Police.

“The Police are investigating why he should be that violent towards us because it was a very holy moment and we were expecting that people will not do that. I have never experienced that before,” he said.

He added that the Police will investigate to establish “whether it is the case of insanity or there are political undertones.”


Mahama has not insulted Ghanaians for complaining of hardship as Kuffour did. – Murtala

Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Murtala Mohammed says unlike former president John Kufuor who insulted Ghanaians for complaining about economic hardships, John Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has accepted the complaints and is working to solve the challenge

According to him, the NDC believes that Ghanaians have the right to complain and to demonstrate, which is their constitutional right, and last Thursday’s demonstration by Organised Labour was a clear example of that.

Thousands of workers across the country last Thursday demonstrated to protest what they say is the worsening economic situation in the country.

Workers from both formal and informal sectors joined in the march to register their frustration at government’s failure to solve the many economic challenges including rising food and fuel prices, hikes in utilities, fall in cedi etc.

Commenting on the demonstration on Alhaji and Alhaji on Radio Gold Saturday, Murtala Mohammed said the NDC government had no problem with the workers exercising their constitutional right although he felt other channels could have been used to address their concerns.

“There wasn’t anybody in government [who] had any problem with the demonstration” and that other channels could have been used instead.

The deputy minister swiftly quizzed the Trades Union Congress (TUC) boss, Kofi Asamoah where he was “when Kufuor said Ghanaians are lazy. When they complained they were facing challenges?”

According to him, former president Kufuor said that, “we were all lazy that is why we are complaining,” and a minister in Kufuor’s administration said “we should go and eat konkonte.”

“We had similar problems but we were insulted and Mr Kofi Asamoah did not complain… when we were in similar challenges,” he said.

He stressed that the “hypocrisy in this country is just too much” and that “We have always faced challenges.”

Muntala Mohammed said the NDC government “has acknowledged and appreciated the challenges Ghanaians are facing” and the government is putting in measures to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of Ghanaians.

The issues are being addressed, he noted and added that, it will be unfair to say the government is insensitive.

Organised Labour refusing to work for even a day, he explained, cost the nation millions of cedis and the country cannot afford to be make such losses.

This, he said, defeats the purpose for which the demonstration was organised which was to solve the country’s challenges.

Gov’t to issue joint response with GFA to FIFA – Ayariga

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mahama Ayariga, says the government is considering issuing a joint response with the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to FIFA.

This will be in response to FIFA’s letter to the GFA inquiring about the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate Ghana’s poor showing at the 2014 World Cup.

Speaking to Citi News,  Mr Ayariga confirmed that the Ministry has had discussions with the GFA about the implications of the letter from FIFA.

According to him, “the GFA has requested for a week of internal deliberation and will get back to government on the matter next week.”

Mr. Ayariga added that they would reconvene next week when they receive a response from the Ghana Football Association on the government’s request for a joint reply to FIFA.

The Communications Director at the GFA, Ibrahim Sanni Daara, had earlier confirmed to Citi News that the Association had been asked by FIFA to verify media reports they had received that a commission had indeed been set up by the government.

The world football governing body had also asked to be briefed on the powers and function of the commission and did not want to rely on media reports before making any decision.

FIFA is known to resent government interference in football associations.

Ghana would be hoping to avoid a ban from FIFA who have previously suspended several countries who have breached this code.

Nigeria was recently banned from international football for government interference, although the ban has since been lifted.


Assin North MP welcomes inclusion of constituency among new SHS

The Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency in the Central Region, Samuel Ambre has welcomed the inclusion of his constituency among 23 selected areas to benefit from the new senior high schools to be built by the government.

The constituency happens to be among the 23 selected areas the government intends to build the modern SHSs with the 156million dollar loan facility from the World Bank.

Speaking to Ghanamps.gov.gh, the Member of Parliament for the area Samuel Ambre said contrary to speculations in sections of the media that government was securing loan to buy sanitary pads, there are more important school infrastructure projects to be executed with the money.

He said he is delighted that his constituency is among the 23 because the infrastructure to be built for schools that fall within the group far out ways what the first 50 community schools the president cut sod for. He noted that the these schools are being provided with full sets of their infrastructure including not less than 24 classroom blocks, teachers’ quarters, headmaster’s accommodation, science resource and ICT centre, assembly and kitchen complex, sports facilities.

The rest are dormitory blocks, administration block as well as provision of modern leaning equipment to facilitate teaching and learning.

He expressed joy that soon has constituents would be able to give their children the best education at the second cycle school right at home without the usual additional cost of boarding fees among others.

Mr. Ambre commended the government and all those who played a role in selecting Assin North to benefit from the project and was confident the project would be executed on time.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanadmps.gov.gh

Hoot at Kofi Asamoah – Kennedy Agyapong

Outspoken MP for Assin-Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong has asked workers across the country to hoot at the Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC,) Kofi Asamoah for calling for a nationwide demonstration against the government.

Speaking on Adom FM/Asempa FM’s Burning Issues with Afia Pokua, Ken Agyapong said the TUC boss has no moral right to lead a nationwide demonstration.

The TUC is due to hold a nationwide demonstration on Thursday, July 24, 2014, against general economic hardship, characterized by the current hikes in petroleum prices, the fall of the Ghana cedi against major trading currencies and high cost of living.

But Ken Agyapong said Kofi Asamoah is a corrupt person and does not have proper standing and integrity to lead a demonstration.

He said the TUC Boss was a member of the SSNIT Board, which signed the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, and he must rather apologize to Ghanaians.

“Kofi Asamoah is part of the problems in the country and must be beaten by workers when he appears at the demonstration grounds,” he said.

He described Kofi Asamoah as a disgrace to Ghanaian workers, saying “he has been at the forefront of most corrupt practices in the country.”

Ken Agyapong is therefore calling on workers to boycott the demonstration in protest against Kofi Asamoah.

“Workers should not take Kofi Asamoah serious. He is selfish, corrupt and has not got the welfare of workers in the country at heart. He is in bed with the government and thinks he can fool Ghanaians,” Agyapong alleged.

He described Kofi Asamoah as a “hypocrite” and an “intellectually dishonest person” who has sold his conscience.

But Kofi Asamoah said Ken Agyapong has no basis for making those allegations, so he is not ready to debate him.

He said Ken Agyapong’s allegations are mischievous because “I am not the only SSNIT Board member and the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz has been explained by the board so I don’t know why Ken Agyapong wants to put it on me.”

The TUC Boss accused Ken Agyapong of trying to divide the front of the TUC with his baseless accusations, saying “TUC is bigger than me and I advise members of the union to ignore him.”

Osei Ameyaw eligible to run for Flagbearer slot-NPP

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has given the green light for Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asuogyaman, to contest the party’s presidential slot.

The party said Mr Osei Ameyaw had met all the requirements for submitting his nomination for the position.

A source at the NPP Headquarters said the move by the party vindicates the lawmaker, who says his filing fee of GH₵ 85,000 should be taken from the GH₵ 131,810 credit facility he doled out to the main opposition party to assist in the organisation of the Tamale delegates Conference, which elected the current national executives.

The source told the GNA that the Annual Delegates Fund Raising Committee chaired by Mr Hackman Owusu Agyemang had communicated to the party General Secretary that Mr Osei Ameyaw had loaned GH₵ 131,810 to the party.

The letter dated July 23, and jointly signed by Mr Owusu Agyemang and Mrs Patricia Appiagyei, Treasurer of the Fund Raising Committee, acknowledged receiving the money.

“We write to confirm that the total of the various sums advanced to the Fund Raising Committee by… Osei-Ameyaw…amounted to GH₵ 131,810”.

Mr Osei Ameyaw and other contestants will face the party’s vetting committee on Friday, July 25, in Accra.

The other contestants include Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Mr Joe Ghartey, Mr Alan Kyeremanteng, Mr Asamoah Boateng and Mr Addai Nimo.


Allow people to demonstrate to avoid revolution – Ursula

Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu Akuful has asked the Police administration to allow disgruntled workers under the umbrella body the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to freely demonstrate their displeasure about current economic hardship facing most of the citizenry.

According to her, with the current level of despondency among the general public, a demonstration to vent out their spleen is the only way that a revolution would be avoided, adding that no impediment must be put in the way of the demonstrators.

Organized labour at a news conference on Friday July 18, declared a nationwide demonstration and strike indicating its intentions to hit the streets on Thursday July 24, to protest against the worsening economic conditions in the country.

In a joint statement, leaders of the Organized Labour deplored the recent 23 percent increase in petrol prices and also accused government of passing on taxes and charges to Ghanaians “without estimating the impact of such increases on our wellbeing”.

The Police has asked organized labour to hold their procession on regional basis and on different days since the Police service will be over stretched to provide security for the demonstrators if the nationwide action is held on one day.

However Organized Labour remains adamant and has vowed to go ahead with the street action tomorrow Thursday 24th July 2014.

Hon. Ursula Owusu Akuful who was all for the labour action in a discussion on Oman FM’s “National Agenda” programme on Wednesday asked the government to be tolerant and not use the Police to foil the demonstration.

She further described the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government as clueless, visionless and a purposeless administration whose mismanagement of the economy has brought untold hardship on Ghanaians.

“It appears the NDC government is cursed and cannot do anything right, whatever they touch fails, what crime at all has Ghanaians committed for voting for this government” she asked.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh