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We are determined to pass RTI Bill into law – Bagbin

Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has assured that the Legislature is more determined to pass the Right To Information (RTI) Bill, 2015 into law before the dissolution of the 6th Parliament by end of October, 2016.

Bagbin who is also the Leader of Government Business gave the assurance when presenting the Business Statement of the first week of the 4th Meeting of the 4th Session of the 6th Parliament of the 4th Republic on the floor of the House on Tuesday.

On November 12, 2013, the RTI Bill, 2015 was tabled before the 6th Parliament and was subsequently referred to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for consideration and report to the plenary.

The Committee presented its report to the House in December 2014 recommending 157 clauses of amendments to the Bill.

In March 2016, Parliament began the consideration of the Bill with the proposed amendments by the Select Committee. Between March and June, 2016, Parliament had considered 29 out of the 157 clauses of amendments.

However, Parliament suspended the consideration of the RTI Bill to make room for some other Bills they described were very much of interest to the nation.

The Right To Information Coalition which is championing the passage of the Bill has since then voiced its displeasure about the way Parliament is handling the Bill.

On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, some members of the Coalition stormed the various streets leading to the Parliament of Ghana and demanded from the Speaker and the legislators to pass the RTI Bill, 2015 before the dissolution of the 6th Parliament.

But the Majority Leader who is also the MP for Nadowli/Kaleo constituency briefing Members on the Business Statement of the House said “Mr. Speaker, I want to emphasize on the RTI Bill. It is very crucial. The Committee is proposing that we finish this Bill before we rise by the end of this month.”

MPs cry over conditions of service

Members of Parliament are raising issues about their conditions of service as stipulated under Article 71 of the constitution.

According to them, with barely to months to the December 7 polls and bearing in mind the the 4th meeting will last for only three weeks, their conditions of service are yet to be determined having worked for almost four years.

MP for Old Tafo, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei who raised the matter during the presentation of business statement on the floor of the House Tuesday by the Majority Leader Hon Bagbin, said he finds it very difficult to understand why government has delayed in determining the conditions of service for Article 71 holders.

Parliament reconvenes on Tuesday

Members of Parliament are expected to return to the House to undertake their legislative duties on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 after two months of being on recess.

During the sitting, priority will only be given to government programmes that need urgent attention.

The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho in August summoned MPs over a motion championed by the minority to have President Mahama investigated for receiving a $100,000 Ford Expedition from a Burkinabe contractor.

Meanwhile, the motion was dismissed by the Speaker after the first sitting saying the right body to investigate the matter was the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

“Ordinarily, having regard to standing order 79(4), I would have returned the motion to the member in whose name it stands as being inadmissible.

But the motion was tied contemporaneously to the request for the recall of the house under standing order 38(1) which derives from article 123 of the constitution and therefore leaves me with no discretion in recalling the house. Standing order 79(4) also provides as follows: Every notice shall be submitted to Mr. Speaker who shall direct that it be printed in its original terms or with such amendments as he shall direct or that it be returned to the member submitting it as being inadmissible. I am therefore unable to admit this motion. I hereby direct the clerk to return the motion to the member in whose name it stands in line with standing order 79 (4),” Doe Adjaho added.

Stop EC, NDC thievery at the polls – Kennedy Agyapong tells supporters

The Assin Central New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Agyapong says the elephant party is ready to stop the plan being hatched by the NDC government with the EC to rig the December elections.

“God has ordained us for victory this December polls,” he noted urging supporters tobe vigilante at the polling stations and ensure they’ll stop their (NDC) thievery on the grounds,” Mr. Agyapong told the charged crowd at the NPP rally , after the party’s manifesto launch held in the capital, Accra.

The maverick politician insisted that the NPP will be ruthless to meet the governing NDC boot for boot at the polls come December 7, general polls.

As the political climate crystallizes for a crucial and high stakes election scheduled to take place December 7 there have been several concerns raised by various Civil Society groups and the opposition NPP on the EC’s work.

Nii Lante vows to garner 70 percent votes for Mahama

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Odododiodioo, Nii Lante Vanderpuye has launched his campaign for re-election, resolving to garner 70 per cent of the votes in the Constituency.

He said the percentage applies to the presidential and parliamentary polls, since the excellent performance of the NDC Government coupled with his own sterling performance as MP and Minister would ensure a landslide victory for him and the Party.

Bukom, the heart throb of Ga Mashie, went agog with motorbike riding display as music blared from the nooks and cranny of the area about the NDC.

The streets were awash with NDC paraphernalia in the Party colours of red, white green and black.

Among the officials that attended the programme were Mr Koku Anyidoho, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, and Mr Kobena Ade Coker, the NDC’s Greater Accra Regional Chairman.

Also at the launch were chiefs and opinion leaders in the Constituency.

Nii Vanderpuye said President Dramani Mahama has done so much and laid a solid foundation that Ghanaians cannot allow the nation to be messed up.

“Since Odododiodioo decides elections in Ghana, I want to make sure that we give John Mahama the 70 per cent that he deserves to continue the good works, to continue changing lives and transformation in Ghana.

“I just want my opponent to understand that if they want to win elections, not in 2016 because there is no way they can win elections in 2016 because there is no way they can beat Nii Lantey Vanderpuye in Odododiodioo,” he said.

Nii Vanderpuye announced that work would start on the reconstruction of the Salaga Market in the course of the month, and hinted plans to build a new basic school at Agbogbloshie to cater for the children of the market women.

Additionally, the Government is going to site one of the new community senior high schools in the Aayalolo area, as well as the renovation of the slaughter house in the constituency before the elections.

Mr Coker, Mr Anyidoho and Mr Okoe Vanderpuije extolled the works of Nii Vanderpuye and the NDC and appealed to the electorate to vote massively to retain the Government.

A mass choir, singing gospel songs electrified the event whilst the local version of NDC’s Green Book, outlining the achievements of Nii Vanderpuye in Odododiodio was unveiled.

New cocoa price will worsen the plight of cocoa farmers – Minority

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament says it not happy about the way the government has been handling the prices of cocoa in the country.

According to the group, the new price of cocoa as announced by a deputy Minister of Finance, Cassel Ato Forson will not have any meaningful impact on cocoa farmers if one compares it to the prevailing world market price of the commodity and conditions in neighbouring La Cote d’voire.

On Saturday, October 1, 2016, the Government of Ghana announced an increase in the producer price of cocoa from GH₵425.00 to GH₵475.00 which translates into 11.76% for the 2016/2017 crop season.

That means, a metric ton of the commodity has also moved up from GH₵6,800 to GH₵7,600.

The new price, according to the government, is to motivate cocoa farmers.

The new price, the government also noted, is to serve as an incentive to curb the smuggling of the commodity to neighbouring La Cote d’voire who are selling theirs at GH₵446.00 per bag.

But a statement released by the Minority Caucus and signed by its leader, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the government could have done better by increasing the price of cocoa much more significantly than what it announced last Saturday considering the enormous gains it has made over the last couple of years by keeping the price of the commodity unchanged.

“The new price of GH₵475.00 per bag announced last Saturday will ensure that the poverty level of cocoa farmers will increase to new highs and the little incentive left in cocoa farming will be buried. The plight of cocoa farmers is made even more pathetic because of the shortages most of them are experiencing in the supply of chemical inputs”, the statement in part read.

Below is the full statement released by the Minority:


On 1st October, 2016 the government announced a new price for producers of cocoa. The new price for the 2016/2017 season is GHS475 per bag of 64kg. This compares with the 2015/2016 price of GHS425 – an increase of GHS50 or 11.76 percent.

Compared to the current rate of inflation of some 17 percent, the cocoa farmer is worse off with the new price which has been announced. Those who are comparing the increase of 11.76 percent to the 10 percent increase awarded to cocoa farmers in Cote D’Ivoire are getting it all wrong. Inflation in Cote D’Ivoire is less than 5 percent. So the Ivorian cocoa farmer is far better off. Again, the lending rate in Ghana is about 35 percent. If a farmer took a loan to start up a venture in cocoa production or expand his farm, he would be in serious trouble after this 11.76 percent increase. Lending rates in Cote D’Ivoire are below 5 percent. The Ghana Cedi has depreciated by more than 14 percent this year and if one factored this into the equation the Ghanaian cocoa farmer is rendered much much poorer.

It is important to emphasize that the cocoa producer price was kept unchanged throughout crop years 2011/2012 to 2013/2014. In this period the world price of cocoa was rising, inflation was going up and the Cedi was fast depreciating. These economic indicators should have allowed the NDC government to increase the producer price of cocoa much more significantly than they have done. Characteristically, the Government refused to do so. To add insult to injury, the government refused to pay the bonuses due to the farmers worth over GHS100 million Cedis.

Because of the substantial decline in the real producer prices and incomes of cocoa farmers over the period 2011/2012 – 2014/2015, the Minority Caucus in Parliament in August, 2014 recommended that the new producer price for crop year 2014/2015 should be fixed at GHS479 per bag. Contrary to this proposal, the NDC government chose to fix the producer price at GHS345 per bag for the 2014/2015 season. This was followed by a 5.8 percent increase in the producer price to GH425 per bag in the 2015/2016 season.

Ladies and gentlemen, with the rather very low producer prices awarded to cocoa farmers from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016, one would have expected that the NDC government would have made amends and taken advantage of the colossal savings they made in those years to correct the injustice meted out to cocoa farmers, to forestall their sinking fortunes. Alas, that was not part of the consideration of this insensitive government.

The new price of GHS475 per bag announced last Saturday will ensure that the poverty level of cocoa farmers will increase to new highs and the little incentive left in cocoa farming will be buried.

The plight of cocoa farmers is made even more pathetic because of the shortages most of them are experiencing in the supply of chemical inputs.

The Ghana COCOBOD claims it spent the equivalent of over GHS838 million in 2015/2016 importing and distributing fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals to cocoa farmers; and another US$150 million on cocoa roads, among others. The figure of GHS838 million is nearly the total Budget Allocation to both the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in financial year 2016.

In spite of such huge expenditures, many cocoa farmers from Sefwi, Ahafo, Volta and other producing areas complain of inadequate supply of chemicals. This is not surprising, since reports persist of massive smuggling of cocoa chemicals across our borders to other West African countries including Togo, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroun, Nigeria, Benin and Niger. The “free inputs” policy of the NDC government is obviously fuelling the smuggling of these chemicals.

The massive leakage of imported chemical inputs by smuggling to neighbouring countries, does not only deny our cocoa farmers of much needed inputs and thereby reduce yields and production, but also cuts the amount available to pay remunerative prices to cocoa farmers. This is because the producer price is determined after deductions from gross F.O.B proceeds for chemicals, cocoa roads and other such expenditures. A Check on the extensive smuggling of chemical inputs and the elimination of inflated contracts for cocoa roads, would free much needed resources to pay better remunerative producer price of GHS600 per bag instead of the lowly amount of GHS475 that COCOBOD has now proposed. This price of GHS475 is two years too late.

Thank You.

NPP will be shocked Dec 7 – Collins Dauda

Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Alhaji Collins Dauda, has chastised the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for “deliberately ignoring” achievements including massive infrastructure projects initiated by the Mahama-led government.

He said the agenda to undermine the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government will fail because majority of Ghanaians appreciate what Mahama has done.

He said the NPP’s attempt to trivialise NDC’s achievements will fall flat because beneficiaries of social intervention programmes will show gratitude by endorsing him come December 7.

Alhaji Dauda who is on the five-day Brong Ahafo regional tour with President Mahama said whereas the NDC is campaigning and selling its message to electorate based on its track record, the NPP is busily sitting in Accra and holding news conferences.

“I have been with the President on this tour and I can tell you that majority of Ghanaians we have interacted with so far are very happy with work done so far. Yet the NPP have made it their stock in trade to hold news conferences and spewing lies. I can assure you that the NPP will have the rudest shock of their lives come December 7 from what I have witnessed so far on this tour. Everybody, young and old have approached and they have expressed how glad they are with what the President has done for them,” he added.

Alhaji Dauda who spoke on Accra-based Asempa FM’s Enkosi Sen program Tuesday said Mahama has worked hard and deserves a second term.

He said the massive infrastructure projects initiated is paying off and can be felt by Ghanaians. He tasked members of the NDC to continue to work hard to ensure a comfortable win come December 7.

Critics of the NPP have said that the party appears to have won Olympic medal in press conferences and press statements. Not too long ago, it was about the Electoral Commission and Charlotte Osei, now it is about President John Dramani Mahama or his hardworking wife and recently about the CHRAJ.

“Anytime the president coughs, the NPP, will call the media to tell them what it means, very soon how he walks or what he eats will be grounds for the organization of a press conference.
When people say, the NPP, has no message, they don’t understand, but every day that is made abundantly clear, because we hardly hear the NPP, talking about issues and policies,” he added.

Ghana’s food security is under threat – Minority NPP

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament has warned that the mass importation of food items in large quantities poses a serious threat on the livelihood of Ghanaian farmers and fisher folks.

That aside, it also has a serious repercussion on the balance of payment of the economy, noting that if measures are not taken to curtail the situation, local food production in the West African country will soon diminish.

“Given the importance of these food items in the domestic agricultural economy and in the economy in general, the mass import of these food items in such large quantities poses a serious threat not only on the livelihood of our farmers and fishers but also to the balance of payment of the economy. These imports are obviously competing directly with local production under trade conditions which are putting our local farmers, fishers and overall food security at risk,” Spokesperson for the Minority on Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto told journalists at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday.

The event was in response to the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2016 Manifesto as it relates to the agricultural sector of the Ghanaian economy.

According to the Minority, data provided by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicates that between 2007 and 2015, the total value of imports of eight major food items namely rice, sugar, poultry, fish, wheat, vegetable oil, salt and vegetables together sky-rocketed by nearly seven-fold, thus from US$344million in 2007 to US$2.3billion in 2014 and to over US$2.1billion in 2015.

During the same period, the total volume of imports of the eight food items escalated from 882,000 metric tons in 2007 to a peak of 1,343,000 metric tons with slight dips in 2014 and 2015.

“The 2015 import bill of US$2.1billion for the eight food items is equivalent to the total foreign exchange earnings from our major export cocoa in 2014/2015. Looking at it from another perspective, it is more than the US$2billion cocoa syndicated loans borrowed annually from foreign banks for the purchase of cocoa in crop year 2015/2016 and for the coming 2016/2017 cocoa crop,” noted Dr. Owusu Afriyie who is also the MP for Kwadaso in the Ashanti Region.

He added “an examination of the individual items reveals even more disturbing trends. For example, the value of rice imports has escalated eight-fold from US$152million in 2007 to a peak of US$1.2billion in both 2014 and 2015. In the same period, the volume of rice imports climbed from 44,000 metric tons to 630,000 metric tons. The value of imports of sugar rose more than five times – from US$109million in 2007 to US$564million in 2014. In the case of poultry, the value of imports rose nearly seven-fold- from US$57million in 2007 to US$374million in 2015.”

Dr. Owusu Afriyie further explained that the huge volumes of food imports clearly relate to the declining growth performance of local food production in the past eight years under the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Public investments in the agricultural sector, he added, have declined while budgetary and petroleum revenue disbursements to the sector have been cut drastically.

“Budgetary allocation to agriculture has been cut from 3.4% in 2008 to 1.1% in 2014 and 2015. In spite of the loud and constant rhetoric by government officials of the importance of agriculture to this economy, the reality on the ground tells a different story. Farmers and fisher folks are increasingly impoverished and you only have to visit the rural areas and the fishing communities to confirm this assertion”.

Tamale Central MP sues Daily Guide over Shatta Wale claim

Roads and Highways Minister, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has instructed his lawyers to sue Western Publications Communications Limited, publishers of the Daily Guide Newspaper for libel.

Alhaji Fuseini said the decision taken will help unravel the truth surrounding his alleged GH₵80,000 spent on dancehall artist Shatta Wale to perform at his campaign launch on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Tamale.

The paper in its Monday edition dated October 3, 2016, claimed that the Tamale Central legislator contracted Shatta Wale to the tune of GH₵80,000 to perform at his campaign launch.

But the Roads and Highways Minister interacting with Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.3 FM debunked such claims, insisting that the paper published falsehood and it is only at the law court where the truth will prevail.

“As at now, I have instructed my lawyers to file for libel against the Daily Guide newspaper because I have never met Shatta Wale. It was a political strategy. When I was going to launch my campaign, there are so many people who helped me. One of my friends and a sympathizer of the NDC came to tell me that in all the campaign launch of our candidates, they play Shatta Wale’s Mahama Paper and the people enjoyed it so he will bring Shatta Wale to sing that song live at my campaign launch at Tamale.”

“When he said that I thought that it was a reasonable offer and so I referred it to the campaign taskforce and they accepted it. So, they brought Shatta Wale and some other local artists to the campaign launch. So, as to how much he spent on Shatta Wale I do not know anything about it,” he noted.

He said although he believes that the dancehall artiste will come to Tamale to perform at his campaign launch without any form of agreement, he nonetheless, was not privy to such arrangement.

“I am a lawyer and will not believe that Shatta Wale will come to Tamale to perform without some form of agreement. So, I want us to go to court for the paper to prove it”, he stressed.

Bantama MP resigns from NPP… goes independent

The NPP Member of Parliament for Bantama in Kumasi Henry Kwabena Kokofu has announced his departure from the opposition party.

He will therefore contest the December polls as an independent candidate.

In a statement, the MP who lost the party’s primaries said he is confident of retaining the seat on his own.

“Though I hope to win, but, I would rejoin the party in the event that I loose the upcoming election. Therefore, I call on all my family members and supporters to leave the NPP and rally behind me as I undertake this personal project. I know it will be though, but, I hope to win and I want my supporters to know that, I will do everything within my capacity to win”.

Kwabena Kokofu who is serving his first term in parliament lost the constituency primaries with a little over 60 votes to one Daniel Aboagye.

Below are details of his statement:

I wish to formally communicate to all stakeholders of the NPP that, I resign as a member from the party with effect from today. I wish to thank all who supported me during my time as a candidate and also a member of parliament for the Bantama constituency.

I have to embark on a personal project and I think it will be a rightful decision to resign and concentrate fully on this mission.

I feel many people now question my loyalty to the NPP; upon my decision to run as an independent parliamentary candidate. I equally doubt that, I can remain loyal to the party and it is prudent I resign and then focus on my personal mission.

Though I hope to win, but, I would rejoin the party in the event that I loose the upcoming election. Therefore, I call on all my family members and supporters to leave the NPP and rally behind me as I undertake this personal project. I know it will be though, but, I hope to win and I want my supporters to know that, I will do everything within my capacity to win.

To my supporters, I urge you all to vote massively for me and any other political party of your choice. I represent Bantama now and not any political party.

Henry Kwabena Kokofu
Former parliamentary Candidate
Bantama constituency