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Ghana’s unemployed youth are security threats – Pru East MP

Member of Parliament for Pru East in the Brong Ahafo Region, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, has urged government to address the problem of youth unemployment in the country as it poses a security threat to the country.

According to Dr. Donkor, the idle hands of unemployed youth are “effective tools for mischief” and the government has a responsibility to adequately and urgently deal with the problem.

“As long as young educated youthful people are unemployed, we will have a security challenge on our hands.

A report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that about 74 million young people in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are unemployed.

President Mahama, in June, stated that government was on track to reduce the rate of youth unemployment in the country, however, Dr. Donkor believes a lot more needs to be done to address the situation in the interest of all the citizens in the country.

According to him, youth unemployment cannot be ignored and “it is in our collective self–interest to help people get work so that they have little time to think relatively of mischief.”

The idle hand is an effective tool for mischief,” he told Citi News. And no matter how high the walls we construct around our minds, those walls cannot protect us.

Government’s attempt to create modules to temporarily engage the youth in some form of employment, especially GYEEDA and SADA has been plagued with massive corruption scandals.

Meanwhile, President John Mahama has launched the Youth Enterprise Support Initiative (YES).

Ghc10 million has been set aside for this fund, and any Ghanaian youth with brilliant ideas can be supported to start a business.


Review Petroleum management Law – MPs

A group calling itself the African Parliamentarians’ Network against Corruption (APNAC), is proposing for wide-ranging amendments to Ghana’s Petroleum Revenue Management Law.

According to them such a move will help block loopholes that breed corruption in the country.

The Petroleum management Act was passed in 2011 to ensure that funds accrued from Ghana’s oil revenue is channeled into the Heritage Fund which was set up to provide an endowment to support development for future generations when petroleum reserves have been depleted.

In May 2014, the General Secretary of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia suggested government must be allowed to use the money in the Heritage Fund to stop it from further borrowing.

Various groups including the minority in parliament kicked against the idea.

Speaking on the Citi Eye Witness News on Tuesday, the Minority Speaker of Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu who is also a member of APNAC insisted that “there are clear cracks that we have to look at,” hence the need to review the law.

He explained that the “this act was passed under some considerable speed” because “we needed to accommodate the 2011 budget.”

He argued that calling for a review of the law is not meant “to demonize what efforts that went into crafting this law.”

“It is important for us to revisit the act and close the windows of opportunity which allow for some people to reap where they have not sown and make sure that the revenues that are accruing would be used in the interest of the good people of this country in a very transparent and accountable manner,” he added.


NPP should learn from the ruling NDC – Ursula Owusu

Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West, Ursula Owusu Ekuful has advised the leadership and members of the New Patriotic Party to take a cue from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Admiring the NDC’s method of resolving internal conflicts on Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo”, Hon. Ursula Owusu Ekuful urged her party faithfuls to learn from the ruling party and ensure that they don’t wash their dirty linen in public.

According to her, whenever there is any internal strife within the NDC, unlike the NPP; the ruling party refuses to make it a public affair.

They try as much as possible to iron out their differences using internal machinery available to the party and so, she was of a similar view that any conflict in the NPP should be dealt with at the party level without anyone addressing it in the public domain.

This notwithstanding, Ursula Owusu however slammed the ruling NDC over its controversial four-storey office complex building at Adabraka in Accra; a building which is speculated to have cost the party over 20 million dollars was on Wednesday commissioned.

Though the General Secretary of the governing party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia has on several occasions denied the 20 million dollar edifice belongs to the NDC, Hon. Ursula Owusu expressed disappointment in the party.

To her, the building has been established at the expense of the ordinary Ghanaian whose plight seems to worsen at the tick of the clock.

He recounted some economic challenges and State-owned companies that have suddenly become defunct due to the operations of the NDC government.

In her view, the money spent on the edifice could have given a relief to the Ghanaian citizenry.


Vote for the man Ghanaians want, Ken Agyepong tells Delegates

Member of Parliament for Assin Central Constituency in the Central Region has tasked delegates of the New Patriotic Party to remain steadfast and vote for a candidate whom Ghanaians are desperately yearning for, to replace the incompetent NDC government.

Speaking to delegates of the Awutu Senya West Constituency on Wednesday, October 15, at a meeting between Nana Akufo-Addo and the 500 plus delegates from the constituency who will be voting on Saturday, Hon. Ken Agyepong told the delegates that Ghanaians will never forgive the NPP should any other candidate, but Nana Akufo-Addo, lead the NPP.

Admonishing delegates to be mindful of “last minute” monetary inducements being prepared by some of the aspirants in the forlorn hope of changing the minds of delegates from voting for Nana Akufo-Addo, Hon. Ken Agyepong was, however, confident that Nana Akufo-Addo will still emerge victorious.

“Before Saturday, some people will bring money to you in their bid to buy your conscience and your vote. Prior to the Tamale Delegates’ Conference, you will recollect the big promises some of the aspirants made. One of them told you that he would give pickup vehicles to each constituency if you voted for him by August this year. We are now in October and we haven’t seem a glimpse of the fulfilment of this promise,” Hon. Ken Agyepong noted.

He continued, “Today, as I speak we have been told by the national officers you voted for, that there is no money to conduct Saturday’s elections. So it is now up to us, as Members of Parliament, to find money for the elections. Those who claim to have money, when we went to Tamale, are nowhere to be found now. When we need money for the party, they disappear. But when it is needed to fight for positions in the party, money resurfaces in the party. So when you’re going to vote, you must listen out for whom Ghanaians are calling for. You have one vote, and so does any eligible voter in Ghana, and so you must always listen to Ghanaians.”

Hon. Ken Agyepong further reminded delegates to think of the future of their children and reject paltry sums of money intended as bribes for them on Saturday, a similar development, which he recalled, happened in the run up to the December 2012 elections and has resulted in Ghana facing untold hardships under President Mahama.

“Think of Ghana before casting your ballot for 2016. Give Nana Akufo-Addo one more chance. Today, we have members of the NDC coming to me saying they did not know this was the kind of governance they were bringing. If you bring Akufo-Addo, we will vote for NPP… Ghanaians are saying if you don’t bring Nana Akufo-Addo, they will not vote,” he said.

Hon. Ken Agyepong was, however, confident that delegates from the Central Region were going to vote massively for Nana Akufo-Addo, and in the final scheme of affairs, will emerge as the Region that gave Nana Akufo-Addo his highest vote share.

Source: Office of Nana Akufo-Addo

Cocoa Farmers deserve more cash, Minority tells govt.

The NPP Minority in Parliament has accused the government of not telling Ghanaians and Cocoa farmers especially the whole truth in the recent increment of the producer price of cocoa in the country.

According to the group, the government has boasted of giving the cocoa farmer his/her due with the increase from GHS 212 per bag of 64 kg to GHS 345 per bag of 64 but the increase is nowhere near the quantum required to compensate the farmers for the huge loss in incomes due to the low prices offered to farmers in the past three years.

The government, in the beginning of October, announced an increase in the Producer Price (PP) of cocoa to GHS5,520.00 per tonne from GHS3,392.00 per tonne for the 2014/2015 season, which opened on Friday October 3, 2014.

The number translates into GHS345 per bag of 64kg gross, which is about 75 percent of the net Free On Board (FOB) price.

Addressing the Press in Accra, the Minority Spokesperson on Agriculture, Dr. Kwaku Owusu Afriyie, stated that the government can do better for the farmers by increasing further the producer price of the commodity.

He demanded that government publish the 2014/15 crop price for cocoa, claiming that the Finance Minister and the President have provided conflicting figures.

“In his statement of 2nd October 2014, the Minister of Finance maintained that the revised price of GHS 345 represent about 75 percent on the FOB. But on 10th October 2014, President Mahama is quoted as saying that the government took the decision to pay cocoa farmers 70 percent of the world market price of the produce… who should we believe, he quizzed”?

Dr Afriyie Akoto noted that the government has done the farmers a lot of injustice by the fact that majority of them no longer benefit from the mass spraying and hi-tech programmes introduced by the NPP administration in 2001.

He added that another injustice is the refusal of the government to pay the production bonuses to the cocoa farmers which have been outstanding in the last three years.

“Contrary to the promise made by President Mahama to Cocoa farmers during his visit to Tepa in the Ashanti Region last May 2014, no mention is made of payment of the outstanding bonuses in the 2nd October 2014 statement by the Finance Minister” he added.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

NPP will surely dissipate state coffers if,… Okudzeto

The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensa-Bonsu in a secret audio recording currently in circulation, is alleged to have said that some people around Nana Akufo Addo, the two-time Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), spent lavishly in the run-up to the 2012 presidential and parliamentary election; when the candidate (Nana) was modest.

He is purported to have said that Nana Addo’s followers went to sleep at the Golden Tulip Hotel at the cost of $90,000 while Akufo Addo slept “in a private residence anytime he visits Kumasi. Apart from some people who cook for him, most of the people follow him because of other interests when it comes to the Ashanti Region.”

He was also reported to have said on the tape that the vuvuzelas imported for the campaign cost $1.5 million.

In an interview with the Daily Guide newspaper, the Minority Leader confirmed the voice on the tape to be his, adding “the discussion was in my office with about 40 MPs. Unfortunately, whoever put out the remarks left out the qualifiers tendentiously because they were conditional statements. It was a caucus meeting in my office on the need to restructure our campaigns”.

Reacting to this during a panel discussion on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji Programme, Deputy Minister In Charge of Tertiary Education and Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency remarked that if the opposition NPP could spend such an amount during their campaign, then they will surely “live on the taxpayer’s money” once they come to power. He expressed shock at the content of the audio and wondered if they were the same people who have been complaining about the difficulties in the economy.

“I have been totally shocked by the content of the tape. He has confirmed that that is his voice but as usual he claims there is been some splicing of the tape. What is clear is that he doesn’t deny it… What is more worrying is the content. The content of the tape gives us an insight as to how these people will live at tax payer’s expense and I am deeply worried… all these noises about times are hard and so on…look at the amount of money they are throwing about. God help us,” he stated.


Adwoa Safo provides boreholes for constituents

The Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo, has handed over five mechanized boreholes to some identifiable groups and institutions within her constituency to promote access to potable water and to address sanitation issues.

Among the groups and institutions are the Old Ashongman D/A Primary School, Yam Market, Taifa Community Clinic, Agbogba Anglican Basic School and Dome Mosque. These groups and institutions are located in areas with serious environmental and sanitation problems.

Each of the facility, which comes with a polytank reservoir, cost GH?25,000.00.

Ms Safo during the presentation of the facilities last weekend said her motivation for the gesture was to ensure cleanliness in her constituency, especially in areas where water was very scarce.

“This is to ensure that my people, especially, the children are clean, they have good drinking water and are saved from this Ebola and Cholera epidemic. Children are my priority – their education, their health and their livelihood. I believe the facilities are going to help the schools and entire community because they wouldn’t have to buy water anymore,” said Ms. Safo.

The Legislator said five other neighbourhoods and institutions would also benefit from the mechanized borehole initiative soon.

Communities in the Dome-Kwabenya constituency have over the years faced the challenge of getting potable water for domestic use as the quantity of pipe-borne water running through the area falls short of the needs of the people.

Those not connected to the community water system walk long distances to purchase the commodity at exorbitant prices. A bucket of water in such communities sells between Gp70 and Gp80.

The situation worsens during the dry season where a bucket of water is sold for GH?1.00.

Head teacher of the Old Ashongman D/A Primary School, Vinolia Bediako Madogo, said the facility had come at an opportune time and would save the school the difficulty of procuring the commodity.

She said the school had over the years been dependent on irregular water supply from the Municipal Assembly at an average cost of GH?40.00 per month to serve over 900 pupils, agreeing that the gesture from the MP for the area would help save them some money and also improve on the sanitation situation in the area.

“This is a blessing,” noted Madam Madogo.

A class four pupil of the Old Ashongman D/A Primary School, Hannah Abedu Fosu who also expressed gratitude to Ms. Safo for the gesture said “the borehole will give us potable water to drink and help us not to get cholera and Ebola.”

Head teacher of the Agbogba Anglican Basic School, Mrs. Joana Adwoa Brukum, also lauded the Lawmaker for the initiative.

“Water is life and he who brings water brings life. This borehole donated will go a long way to relieve us of the difficulties we encounter in getting water on daily basis. It will also improve on our sanitation issues in the school, especially, with the outbreak of cholera. We promise to take good care of the facility and use it for the purpose that it has been given,” she noted.

Leaders of the Dome Market, Taifa Community Clinic and the Yam Market all expressed appreciation for the gesture and promised to maintain the facility.


Parliament passes Spio-Garbrah

Minister of Trade-designate, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has been approved by Parliament.

His approval by the House follows his earlier approval by consensus by the Appointments Committee of the Chamber.

The Committee said in its report submitted to the House Wednesday that it is “satisfied that the nominee is suitable to be appointed to the position to which he has been nominated”.

Spio-Garbrah fell out with the governing party after he chastised President John Mills (late) for, in his view, fielding a ‘Team B’ group in government.

President John Mahama nonetheless appointed him a couple of months ago and was vetted by the Appointments Committee.


Bagbin rushed to the Hospital

Majority Leader of Parliament Alban Bagbin has been rushed to the 37 Military Hospital after reporting to work Thursday, StarrFMonline.com can confirm.

It is, however, unclear what happened to the Nadowli-Kaleo legislator, who was sworn into office on Wednesday, October 1.

Speaking to StarrFMonline.com, the Deputy Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Kate Addo, said the veteran lawmaker was seen dizzy and had to be rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

Parliamentary sources say the legislator had gone for his beverage when his colleague MPs sensed he was unwell and was immediately taken to see his doctor.

Bagbin was the Majority Leader in Parliament in 2009, but was appointed Minister for Water Resources Works and Housing following a cabinet reshuffle by President Atta Mills (late) in January 2010.


Parliament to resume sitting today

Ghana’s Parliament resumes sitting on Wednesday for a week-long special meeting during which lawmakers will consider a number of new multi-million dollar loan and other agreements.

But, Members of Parliament (MPs) will not be sitting inside the usual Parliamentary Chamber within the State House Complex in Accra.

Instead, a makeshift Parliamentary chamber has been prepared within the Accra International Conference Centre to host the MPs for the next few days.

The MPs will be working from the conference centre because the current Chamber of the Ghanaian legislature is undergoing renovation and expansion works to create additional the sitting space.

It is unclear how long the emergency sitting will last but sources say it might not exceed five working days.

Citi News has gathered that key among the issues to be considered will be a multi-million dollar agreement covering what insiders are calling the second phase of the ongoing Kwame Nkrumah Interchange project at Circle in Accra.

Sources say other financial facilities and loan agreements to be considered by lawmakers will help the country raise money to support a number of other road projects, including the planned construction of a modern interchange at Kasoa in the Central Region.