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IMF bailout: There won’t be job losses – Gov’t assures

Government has stressed and assured public sector workers that there will not be laying off of workers as it rounds up a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on seeking support for the country’s challenged economy.

The pledge comes in the wake of the anxiety shown by organised labour that government may be bound to sack workers as a condition for an IMF bailout as has been the case in some previous instances.

The IMF over the weekend issued a communiqué at the end of discussions with government officials, where it supported government’s move to lessen the country’s high public sector wage bill which is believed to be a contributory factor to the ailing economy.

Speaking in an interview with Accra based STARR FM, Deputy Finance Minister; Cassiel Ato Forson noted that the proposal by the IMF will not result in lead job losses in the public sector as is being speculated.

“We are not going to lay off workers; that is out of it. That is not what we are talking about. We have always engaged labour in this matter.

He added that government has always involved labour in reaching any such conclusions and will always ensure the interest of the masses is served.

“We work with labour and we will always continue to work with labour to ensure that we do what is right for labour”, Hon Ato Forson said.


Parliament to approve Spio’s nomination at the Confab Centre

Members of Parliament are expected to work from the Accra International Conference Center (AICC) on the 1st of October, upon convening for an emergency sitting to approval the President’s nominee to the Trade ministry.

This is due to the ongoing renovation works at the chamber of the House to contain the high number of legislators. The chamber is not spacious enough and has hence resulted in overcrowding with some of the MPs having to share microphones and tables.

 The 275 MPs have been recalled by the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho in accordance with Order 42 (3) of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

During the sitting the House is expected to approve Dr. Ekow Spio Garbrah who was vetted while the house was on recess to enable him effectively discharge his duties.

He would replace Haruna Iddrissu who now heads the Employment and Labour Ministry.

The emergency sitting of the house would also serve as an opportunity to consider outstanding bills, loans and other relevant subject matters.

The House has been on recess since 18th July and the legislators are expected to begin the next session of the house on 28st October, 2014.


Napo opposes setting up U.N Ebola Centre in Ghana

Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh has strongly kicked against the setting up of an Ebola Emergency Response Centre in Ghana by the United Nations (UN).

According to him, though Ghana is not contributing any funds to the establishment of the centre, monies to be spent on setting up the office structures in Accra would have been better served if it were used to fight the dreaded disease in the other affected African countries.

He said the UN instead of using these funds in Ghana, could have built another centre in addition to the one set up by the U.S. A in Liberia or better still set up a new office in Sierra Leone to coordinate affairs and make the fight against the disease more effective.

“There are already people in Liberia working to fight Ebola, we don’t need to spend monies on another one fifty people shuttling from Ghana to these countries, the cost of their plane fares and other feeding cost would have been put to good use. When there is a war in a country, the UN moves into the said country to intervene but does not operate from a distant country, they must move swiftly into the Ebola affected countries” Hon. Dr Opoku Prempeh said.

The United Nation Mission on Ebola Emergency Response is to soon establish logistics centre in Accra, where about two hundred and fifty UN personnel will be deployed, out of which one hundred will be operating from Ghana.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 5,843 cases and 2,803 deaths have been reported in the current outbreaks by the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone which are the worst affected countries in Africa.

Speaking on Asempa FM’s current affairs programme, “Eko sii sen” Monday, Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh who is a medical Doctor by profession explained further that his opposition to the establishment of the centre stems from the fact that Ghana possibly risks recording its first case from the several travels of these 150 UN personnel from Ghana to the affected countries as they are prone to contracting the disease.

He expressed surprise that Parliament which is the representative body of the citizenry was not consulted by the government before committing Ghana to such an international transaction.

“Parliament has not even discussed the modalities of this deal and yet the government has gone ahead to commit Ghana without the representatives of the people having an input into the matter, this is not right” Dr Opoku Prempeh bemoaned.


MP honours pledge, builds modern community social centre @ Bekwai

The traditional known community social centre in most communities in Ghana happens to be the usual sheds with spaces for people to arrange seats whenever there is an event.

But residents in Bekwai in the Bekwai Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti Region are soon to witness a new type of social centre being put up by the member of parliament for the area, Joseph Osei-Owusu in
fulfillment of a pledge he made to the chiefs and people in his first attempt to represent the constituency in parliament.

The three storey multi-purpose community social centre on which work is steadily going on comes with 10 rooms hotel accommodation facility, outdoor bar with pool, indoor restaurant, big hall, ultra modern gym, as well as open space.

The facility is designed to accommodate all types of social activities including wedding receptions, funerals, and festivals among others and for people to gather around at their leisure.

Speaking to Ghanamps.gov.gh, the MP said he was overwhelmed by the support he received from the constituents when he stood as an independent candidate in 2008 which gave him his first experience in
parliament. He therefore decided to do something personal to commemorate that support and confidence reposed in him hence the construction of the social centre.

He said though the project was initially planned for two-storey, through the request of the chiefs additional floor was added. He expressed delight that the chiefs accepted the projects and hoped when completed it will be a useful edifice for the community.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Akatsi North MP donates stationery to education directorate

The Member of Parliament for Akatsi North, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, has donated some quantities of stationeries to the District Education Directorate to support their work.

The item which included 1000 flat files, 500 notebooks, and 500 registers were in line with measures to adequately resource the directorate to be able t deliver effectively towards meeting set goals and objectives in the education sector in the district.

Mr. Nortsu-Kotoe who is also the Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education made the donation when the committee visited the district on a fact finding mission.

The MP was happy the district is beginning to record some progress in academic performance and urged teachers, parents and all stakeholders not to relax at all or else the whatever achievement the district has chalked would be eroded.

Mr. Nortsu promised to continue making more interventions in the education sector to supplement what the central government and the district assembly is already making so that the challenges facing the sector would be reduced to the barest minimum.

He appealed to teachers in the district to show more commitment towards their work for the growth of the district.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Yendi MP supports construction of dam

The Member of Parliament for Yendi, M. H. Tijani has supported five communities with the construction of a dam to ease the perennial water problem in those communities.

The dam situated at Kpalglegbeni is a campaign promise the MP made to the communities to end over two decades of water problems. According to him, he was very much aware of the difficulties residents go through to access water and when he was the DCE efforts were made to improve the only source of water, a dug-out at the area but much success could not be made.

He noted that boreholes are not suitable in those areas so such communities could not benefit from any from the assembly. He therefore welcomed a decision from the communities to poll resources for the construction of a dam; hence he made a donation of 13,000 towards the project.

The other communities include Kpasani, Sogani, Yangirdo, Borgo.


Give the people Light…Titus Glover tells Prez Mahama

Member of Parliament for Tema East Constituency, Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover is pleading with government to do whatever it takes to solve what he described as worrying erratic power supply.

According to him, it saddens him to see the populace go through all the hardship and retire for the day in darkness after the Mahama-led administration promised to solve the situation of power rationing.

Following an abrupt cut in the supply of gas from Nigeria, the Electricity Company of Ghana is scheduled to begin shutting down all gas powered thermal plants across the country.

This means, consumers of electricity have to brace themselves for longer hours of blackouts starting from today, September 18, 2014.

Speaking on the issue on Oman FM, the NPP lawmaker bemoaned that, the rate at which the lights are interrupted are worrisome to companies and individuals.

He noted that, even though “I can afford a generator, I don’t want to do that for my people to think I don’t care about them. I prefer to be in the darkness with them… this is worrying. Darkness is evil”

He however called on the Mahama-led administration to settle issues that has led to the abrupt cut in the supply of gas from Nigeria.

Abuga Pele: Inadequate funds crippled decision-making at NYEP

Mr Abuga Pele, a Former National Coordinator of the National Youth Employment Programme(NYEP), now GYEEDA has contended that his regime earnestly worked out fine policies but were never implemented because of inadequate funds.

He said the agency could not make any mark at the time due to insufficient funds to activate reserved programmes and policies.

Mr Pele’s comments followed criticisms by the Executive Director of GYEEDA, Kobby Acheampong that his predecessors were unable to put in place proper structures at the Agency during their tenure.

But in a rebuttal to dismiss this assertion on STARR FM, Mr Abuga Pele satirized the allegation noting that the condition at the NYEP leaves much to be desired with a paltry sum of GHS 1200 as his salary then compared to what other CEO’s elsewhere are getting.

“My salary was 1,200 a month and if you compare that to other CEOs, it was woefully inadequate so how can I employ top people to work”, Pele bemoaned.

Pele was, in January 2014, arrested and charged with wilfully causing financial loss to the state, to the tune of GH¢3,330,568.53, during his tenure as GYEEDA Boss.

He was accused of aiding one Philip Akpeena Assibit, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Goodwill International Group (GIG), to defraud the state of the said amount, equivalent to $1,948,626.68.

The charges against him were later dropped by the State.

Source: Ghana/StarrFMonline.com

Bekwai MP to support two communities with storage facilities

The Member of Parliament for Bekwai Constituency, Joseph Osei-Owusu is to construct two storage facilities at Abodom and Agyemesu in the Bekwai Municipality to help in the storage of vegetables.

Major steps taken towards the successful implementation of the initiative include the procurement of the cold rooms. What remains is the construction of the platforms and extension of electricity and water for the project to become functional.

Abodom and Agyemesu are known for high production of vegetables including garden egg and pepper. However, the farmers suffer great losses during bumper harvest which affect their profit margins with some unable to pay their loans. This happen mostly because the farmers hardly get market for the produce.

To forestall this yearly ordeal, the MP decided to provide the cold storage facility to enable the preservation of the vegetables during the period of glut to allow the farmers time to look for better market for their produce.

The support according to the MP is to help the course of reducing poverty among the people.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.gov.gh

TOR won’t be sold – Buah

The Energy Ministry has said the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) will not be sold under any circumstance.

Minority in parliament have previously alleged that government was planning to sell the refinery to a private entity to make it efficient.

Some economists and energy analysts have also argued for the refinery to be sold because it is creating more debts for government.

The sector minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah in his address to the press on Tuesday said: “Tema Oil Refinery is not for sale, not under my watch, not under the watch of his Excellency the President.”

The refinery has not been operating at full capacity over the years following its huge indebtedness and other operational inefficiencies.

Workers at the refinery in recent times have been demanding that the government should allow TOR refine crude from Ghana’s jubilee oil fields because the refinery is capable.

But a vote of no confidence was passed on this demand as the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) indicated that TOR in its currents state is not profitable.
Kofi Buah however says government is focused on restructuring TOR into a world class refinery, adding that the Ministry is working with TOR to address its fiscal challenges.

“Our focus is to make sure that Tema Oil Refinery is expanded and operating efficiently and has the working capital to get the crude to constantly refine products efficiently without the losses at the levels,” he explained.

Business plan discussions, he said, are earnestly ongoing while the commercial framework for the restructuring of the refinery is being finalized.

A meeting involving all stakeholders including the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance which is scheduled for mid September is to take place to discuss the shareholder agreement and government support on consent agreement and other off-take agreements.

“Timelines for the negotiating and execution of documents including submission to cabinet and parliament is expected to take place in the last quarter of this year,” said the Minister.

Kofi Buah was certain that current ongoing discussions will be concluded “to really see a real injection of capital for TOR to be able to operate.”

He added that the management of TOR is aggressively negotiating with international and local financial institutions for funding.

The funds will then be used “to execute their [TOR] annual mandatory maintenance and we are also finding the supply of full stock of crude, pending the implementation of negotiations.”