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Nabdam MP calls on government to halt invasion of black flies

Mr Boniface Gambila, Member of Parliament for Nabdam Constituency, has requested the Government to swiftly step in to save the Nabdam District in the Upper East Region from an invasion of black flies.

“We are suffering. The Government must quickly step in; for we as a people, and individuals cannot do anything. Our fate is to be bitten by the black flies and suffer from glaucoma,” the MP told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in a telephone interview.

The MP said he was at a loss why early warning systems for checking the flies are not working.

“We can’t do anything here, only to spend working time to fan and drive away the black flies, and yet the Government has for the past six years collected more than GHC 400,000 at source from the District Assemblies’ Common Fund for the Nabdam District towards fumigation and environmental sanitation,” he said.

He added:” This is not an individual affair, it affecting the people living along the Red Volta, and in the forest and the bushes. It is affecting farming and food production.“

Mr Gambila, therefore, urged the Government to account for the monies collected, and use it to stem the loosing disaster of black fly invasion, and its rippling effects such as food shortages and poverty in the area.

The Legislator recalled that Government had in the past, in the 1970s and 1980s depended on international organizations to address the problem of the files and queried why the exercise had not continued for some years now.

He said the fumigation exercise helped to weaken the flies, but they were now in full force in the area, and hence the need to conduct more fumigation exercises now.

Mr Gambila also asked for fairness on the part of Government to bring back the contractors working on roads in the District, which have been suspended since 2009 on the excuse of lack of funds.

He asked the Government to explain the suspension of works on roads in the Nabdam District, arguing that, some roads in the southern sector are still being worked on at a time when funds are said to be unavailable.


Nat.l Security must invite Akufo Addo, Bawumia now – Bia East MP

NDC Member of Parliament for Bia East, Richard Acheampong has called on the National Security Apparatus to swiftly invite both the Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufo Addo and Dr Mahamadu Bawumia to assist in unraveling how a host of Togolese found their names in Ghana’s voters register.

The NPP at a Press conference yesterday addressed by its Vice Presidential Candidate Dr Mahamadu Bawumiah stated that the voters register must be replaced with a new one insisting that about 76,286 Togolese voters are on it hence must be scrapped.

They further argued that the register from 2008 to 2012 increased to 25% saying it does not make sense.

“An increase of the voters register by 25 percent between two elections is abnormally high and there are also several instances of this. One cannot credibly explain for example how increases in the voters’ register of magnitudes exceeding 40 percent can take place. Where did the people come from?” NPP Vice Presidential Candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia questioned.

However speaking on Kasapa 102.3 FM, Hon. Richard Acheampong stated that the allegation made by the NPP if established to be true constitutes a national security threat.

“We cannot have a situation where a whopping 76,286 foreigners are on our voters’ register that is a huge security threat to Ghana. Nana Akufo Addo and Dr Bawumiah must be invited immediately to help investigate how this alleged anomaly if really happened”.

He nonetheless described the NPP’s claims as baseless, adding that the largest opposition party has resorted to this strategy as a face saving exercise as the party sees defeat glaringly starring at it in the face.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Baba Jamal calls for serious study of ICT

The Good Shepherd International School at Boadua near Akwatia, has celebrated its fifth anniversary with the inauguration of its ICT centre.

In his inaugural address, the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Alhaji Baba Jamal, congratulated the school for establishing the centre, and advised the pupils to take the study of ICT seriously.

He said in the modern world, one’s education was not complete, if one was not a computer-literate, since most jobs demanded computer literacy.

Alhaji Jamal said advanced countries took the study of ICT seriously, whereas others lagged behind.

That is the reason why the government is encouraging and supporting the study of the subject.

The Deputy Minister said education generally ensured a nation and individuals’ progress, noting that, it did not matter one’s humble beginning, education could put one on the high path.

He asked teachers to exercise patience in imparting knowledge to their pupils, while urging parents not only to encourage their wards to study hard, but to refrain from the use of abusive language.

Alhaji Jamal presented one desktop computer with accessories to the school.

The headmaster, Mr Isaac Kwasi Duku, said the school which started with 15 pupils, now has a population of 320 pupils, with a staff of 16 teachers.

Mr Samuel Odoom, the proprietor of the school, disclosed that by next academic year, the school would start a Junior High School (JHS).

Mr Samuel Sackey, popularly known as ‘’Omega,’’ who chaired the function, urged both parents and teachers to work together to ensure that pupils attained the best in education.

Kpodo happy with progress of projects in Ho

Mr Benjamin Kpodo, Member of Parliament for Ho Central has expressed satisfaction at the progress of various projects initiated by the government in the Constituency.

He said he was content that development projects were “dotted” all over the Constituency, an indication of the commitment of the Ho Municipal Assembly, the MP and central government to bring development to the people.

Mr Kpodo said this in an interaction with journalists after touring the Constituency with some National Democratic Congress (NDC) loyalists and representatives of transport unions and traders in the Ho Central Market.

He said though quite a number of projects were yet to be completed, he was happy with the progress of work on them and how almost every community could boast of a development project under the NDC “Better Ghana Agenda”.

The MP toured sites of projects being undertaken by the Ho Municipal Assembly, the central government and those initiated and being supported by him.

At Takla, he assured the chiefs and the people that a six-unit classroom block, initiated by him to replace a dilapidated one would soon be completed for use.

He also reassured that the Kpeno-Takla-Nyive road had been approved for construction and would soon be tarred.

Mr Kpodo was happy work on the reconstruction of the Ho Central Market was 40 percent complete and hopeful the work, under the Ghana Urban Management Pilot Project (GUMPP) would be done by November as scheduled.

At Ziavi-Lume, he commended workers for the “quality of job” being done on a basic school project and commissioned part of the two-storey classroom block he was putting up for the Ho Nurses Training College for use next academic year.

Mr Kpodo and the team also visited the Ho Landfills site, a modern abattoir and a host of basic schools classroom blocks under construction in the Constituency.

They also toured the permanent campus of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), which is awaiting official commissioning for use next month.

Bagbin raises issues with frequent reshuffle of ministers

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Alban S.K. Bagbin, has said the frequent reshuffle of ministerial appointees is the bane of the country’s development.

He said if reshuffles were too frequent appointees did not get enough time to transform the sectors they were assigned to. Mr Bagbin was speaking with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday when he made the assertion. Need for continuity “Sometimes, I don’t understand our Presidents. And I have spoken to all of them — Rawlings, Kufuor and Mahama.

Why do they think the good people of Ghana gave them four years to make a difference and they want their ministers to use one year in their sectors to make a difference?” he asked. He said the health sector where he had been a minister before, for instance, had 72 different professional groups, each one of which has an association.

“It takes more than a year for the minister to get to know them, and knowing them means getting to meet their leadership, listening to them, getting to know their problems, physically visiting them and inspecting things for yourself to give you a holistic picture in order to be a worthy representative, so that when you speak, you speak from facts,” he explained. “No wonder our health sector is like this; no wonder they do not have conditions of service,” he added.

Mr Bagbin said contrary to the perception that the health sector consisted of only doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians, it had many professional associations, each jostling for attention and looking for space to operate.

“You need somebody to be there for sometime to study them, familiarise himself or herself with the studies already conducted there to be able to follow through with implementation. You will never get this from any of our governments, ” he said.

“In 2009, Sipa Yankey was the Health Minister; in 2010, Kunbuor; 2011, Yieleh Chireh; 2012, Bagbin; 2013, Sherry Ayitey; 2014, Agyeman Mensah and 2015, Segbefia. What can they do?” he asked.
Constitutional Provisions

Article 78 of the 1992 Constitution empowers the President to appoint the number of ministers he deems necessary to assist him to run the affairs of state.

The article states: “The President shall appoint such number of Ministers of State as may be necessary for the efficient running of the state.”

Article 81 (a) states: “The office of a Minister of State or a Deputy Minister shall become vacant if his appointment is revoked by the President.”

There is no constitutional provision which states how long a minister should remain in office or whether or not the President could remove a minister from one ministerial position and appoint him to another.

Mr Bagbin, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli/Kaleo, said the Ghana Health Service, one of the agencies under the Ministry of Health (MoH), had 10 regional hospitals, about 60 polyclinics, 2,000 Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds and a large number of clinics and health centres, each with its own area of jurisdiction and operation.

He added that a minister had to visit them and also “get the chain right”.

According to him, one needed to, after apprising himself or herself of the facts at the ministry, craft policies and programmes to address the challenges that existed.
Proposals not implemented

The MP said as Minister of Health, he crafted a proposal to create offices for doctors outside the hospitals.

He said the plan was to ensure that patients visited those offices to consult the doctors when they had health problems, instead of the hospitals.

“The plan was that if you have a problem, you do not go to hospital; you go to the doctor’s office and then he refers you to a laboratory and, after tests, he prescribes medicines for you, or if need be he refers you to a health institution. This was aimed at easing congestion at the hospitals,” he explained.

Unfortunately, he said, because he was no longer the minister, the programme had not been implemented.

Mr Bagbin said he also initiated moves to promote preventive health, “so that people will not get sick”.

“I started those adverts on television which educated the public on the eating of fruits, drinking of water, having enough sleep, among many other things. I brought in a public relations organisation called Oracle to develop the messages, ” he said.

He said it was because of the need for continuity that when Ms Ayitey was about to be removed, he kicked against her removal.

Source: Daily Graphic

UTAG embarrassed itself with strike – Ablakwa

A Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of tertiary, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has chastised the members and leadership of University Teachers Association (UTAG) for embarking on strike.

According to him the association embarrassed itself by taking the action.

The university teachers suspended their one week-long strike over the delay in the payment of books and research allowance by government on Thursday.

The group said it suspended the strike because government assured the leadership that the allowances will be paid soon.

The Education Ministry had argued that it had already initiated the process for the payments to be effected hence there was no need going on strike.

Okudzeto Ablakwa speaking on Eyewitness News said the Education Ministry had maintained constant and “good communication” with leadership of UTAG.

“…there were several meetings that took place, we brought everybody on board, we made them know that if it is the case that negotiations with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission on the takeoff of the National Research Fund does not happen by June, we will pay the book and research allowances. As early as 13th July, that letter had gone so I am really at a loss why that should have been done and it hurt me very much that the leadership of UTAG should subject themselves to this embarrassment they have subjected themselves to,” he said.

UTAG argued that they felt government could not be trusted.

But Ablakwa disgreed saying “If you are saying that the letter is not concrete, the letter that they have seen from the Minister of Finance is also a letter. Let us be fair to ourselves and the people of this country. There is a labour law in this country. Even when this strike was being declared, the employer was not notified. The labour law was flouted flagrantly.”

Meanwhile, president of UTAG, Dr. Samuel Bekoe also speaking on Eyewitness News insisted that their strike forced government to facilitate the process.

“Why did they have to wait till we went on strike before that happened? So they are rather trying to throw dust into the eyes of the public. it is when we acted before act either than that they will be sitting there doing nothing.”

Mr. Bekoe added that “the other point is that we have not called off the strike, we said we have suspended it because we gave them a mark, they have met the mark but because of their actions we don’t have trust in them so we have given them September 30 to show that they are going to pay. When the money hits our accounts then we will be satisfied that they have paid either than that we would have to revisit the matter all over again.

Govt can’t satisfy striking doctors without levying more taxes – Avedzi

The crippling strike by doctors demanding better conditions of service can be resolved if Ghanaians are ready to pay more taxes, Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament James Avedzi has said.

Following a stalemate between government and doctors, James Avedzi says Ghanaians must brace themselves for more taxes if the demands of the doctors are to be met.

“Then the alternative is that we accept the position of the doctors and we give more money to the government to meet what the doctors are asking you, that is paying more taxes” he told Joy News’ Mamavi Owusu Aboagye.

He argues that the demands for better conditions of service should not be seen as one directed at government but rather on the taxpayer.

The strike by doctors with the Ghana Medical Association which began nearly a fortnight ago is entering its final phase on Friday.

The doctors will decide whether to activate a decision to resign en masse.

The Finance Committee Chair rehashed claims by some government communicators that the new conditions of service being by the GMA will cost the state 2 billion cedis annually.

“We are getting 32 billion cedis [in revenue] this year and 25.3 billion cedis is coming from taxes that are paid by you and I…if we don’t pay that tax, government has no money”, he said.

“Where will the president get the money from?” he wondered.

Under the current budget, James Avedzi explained that the demand will cripple government’s ability to build roads, keep the taps in homes running and build schools.

“Our development will stall”, he gave an implication.

Mahama’s comment on doctors strike prejudicial – Kokofu

Member of Parliament for Bantama, Henry Kwabena Kokofu has lambasted President John Mahama accusing him of making a prejudicial statement in his recent comment about striking public sector doctors.

He said, the President should have avoided such conclusive statement about the doctors strike since the issue is currently before the courts pending determination in soon.

An Accra Fast Track High Court is expected to hear a writ filed by General Secretary of the United Front Party, Listowell Kusi Poku praying the court to order the striking doctors to go back to work.

In the writ dated August 6, and filed at the Labour and Industrial Division of the Accra High Court, Kusi-Poku finds the conduct of the GMA as “quite disturbing in view of the crucial role medical doctors play in any nation’s life and wondered if a strike action should not be the last resort especially since it had not heard of any negotiations between the Government or its representatives which had broken down preceding the announcement that the defendant was embarking on a strike action.”

As the court prepares to hear the matter, President Mahama yesterday described the strike as illegal and beyond comprehension, and further urged them to go back to work as negotiations over their conditions of service continues.

However speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show Thursday, Hon. Kwabena Kokofu who is a Lawyer sees such comments by the President as dangerous, adding that such prejudicial statement must not emanate from the leader of the country who should be seen to uphold the laws at all times.

“ The President should have known that once the matter is still before court pending determination, such discussions must cease. I’m just hoping that the trial judge will ignore the comments by the President as he rules on the matter”.

He further accused the President of undermining the authority of his Minister of Manpower, Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu when he decided to wade into the issue of the doctors strike with his comments.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPsonline.com

Govt to blame for doctors strike – Offinso North MP

Augustine Collins Ntim, Deputy Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, has blamed the Ghana Medical Association’s (GMA) strike on the display of mistrust by the government.

Speaking to Citi News he said, “right from the word go, the ground rules were leaked and doctors were being lambasted by government spokespersons.

Collins Ntim believes going forward, government must understand the medical officers and come out with the appropriate strategies to instill trust in the process.

“According to them [medical officers] government has betrayed them. Government needs to establish that confidence…, so the doctors can come back to the negotiation table to negotiate.”

The MP is of the view that the impact of the strike would have been reduced if the government had engaged with the doctors fairly.

“The doctors are Ghanaians and would have understood the constrain of the government,” he added.

The GMA laid down their tools to demand conditions service and insist they will not return to work until their issues are addressed.

Meanwhile, government has threatened to freeze the salaries of the striking doctors and other striking public sector workers.

Create peaceful atmosphere for CSOs to operate – Avedzi

Mr James Avedzi, Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance, has called on mineral-rich African countries to create conducive environment for the engagement of Civil Society Organisations to ensure a judicious resource management.

“For the extractive resources to truly benefit the people of Africa, countries should seek to better manage the revenue in a transparent and inclusive manner,” he said.

Mr Avedzi said this on Monday during the opening of a 14-day summer school, organised by the Natural Resources Governance Institute for stakeholders in the oil, gas and mining sector, from 40 countries across Africa.

He said the sector provided huge opportunities for sustainable development and poverty reduction in the sub region.

Mr Avedzi said the sector, if properly managed, would trigger growth in other economic sectors, industries, as well as investments in jobs, infrastructure and basic social services.

He said 19 out of 46 countries in sub Saharan Africa had important reserves of hydrocarbons oils, gas and coal; whiles 13 countries were also in the process of exploring additional reserves.

“Experts predict that the region has the lowest discovery rate, which is an indication that, more natural resources are yet to be discovered”, he said.

He called on African countries with natural resources, especially those in the extractive sector to reverse the notion that Africa’s natural resources had become a curse by ensuring that the ordinary person benefited immensely from the proceeds of their resources.

He wondered why natural resource management in Africa was often shrouded in secrecy, subjected to corruption, nepotism, and cronyism.

Mr Avedzi said in Africa, about 23 countries, which had signed up to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) had made a significant progress in the disclosure of extractive revenues received by their governments.

“However it is unclear whether the civil society, the media, and parliaments in these countries are sufficiently well informed to take full advantage of transparency for more effective oversight,” he said.

Mr Emmanuel Kuyole, Deputy Director, Africa, Natural Resource Governance Institute, the organisers of the programme, said the 14 day course was to help improve the capacities of civil society groups, the media, parliament and government agencies to ensure strong fiscal responsibility and macro-economic planning.

He said it was also to help maximize people’s participation, reduce inequalities and ensure that natural resources were used in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Nana Kobina Nketsia, Omanhene of Esikado, called on Africa leaders to make effective use of the natural resources by ensuring that the ordinary people benefited; and that, they should not focus too much on exporting it for financial gains.

He called on the participants to come out with practical solutions, which could be used to solve African challenges, instead of relying on solutions developed by western countries, which does not often function well in the African system.

The programme drew participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique amongst others.