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COVID-19: “B5 Plus Ltd would not fire employees but”— CEO

The biggest steel manufacture, importer and exporter company in the West African sub-region, B 5 Plus, located at Prampram industrial enclave which employs close to ten thousand Ghanaians has given assurance that it would not fire employees in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mike Thakwani he believes government has put in measures to contain the spread of the disease and Ghana would emerge as a winner and be out of the pandemic soon.

“We would do all possible to retain our employees in this difficult times. Our only problem is that the erratic supply of electricity and water, needed help from government on this, we would be fine and not fire a single person”.

He further pointed out in an interview that with the constant supply of electricity, the company would rather employ more Ghanaians as they need to show sympathy in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As to how the outbreak of COVID-19 is impacting on his company, he noted that it brought additional cost because precautionary measures had to be taken to ensure that workers are taken good care of.

In addition, he noted that the company has to house the workers to take care of their breakfast, lunch and dinner and again ensure there is wearing of facemask, with constant supply of water despite the fact that they are faced with a problem of supply of water by Ghana Water Company.

“We have to buy water outside which is really adding up to our cost, we are pleading with government to help us”, he lamented.

Mr. Thakwani again disclosed that B5 Plus Ltd has supported the COVID-19 fund with three hundred thousand Ghana cedis and donated medical equipment to health facilities in the Prampram enclave it operates.

As most of the workers are from the Prampram and Ashiaman the company provided them with food basket to be given to their families and they are provided with a day and half pay so that they would feel comfortable to work.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Ningo-Prampram MP secure injunction against EC

Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram Samuel Nartey-George on Friday secured an injunction against Electoral Commission’s decision to hold a workshop at City Hotel in his constituency.

According to the lawmaker, it was unfortunate that the EC chairperson Jean Mensah who is a lawyer and her deputy, a political science lecturer at the university decided to flout the law.

“They are disregarding the law and abusing legal reasoning, and as a Member of Parliament for the area and a responsible citizen who respect the laws of the land, I felt obligated to seek legal representation to stop what amounts to an illegal action by a constitutional body”.

Mr. Nartey-George further noted that he is committed to continue representing his people in the best way possible especially in these period of pandemic.

And added that it was his modest contribution in ensuring the rule of law is respected and overcome the COVID-19 scourge.

“It is my hope that persons entrusted with public responsibility and who ought to act in the best interest of the citizenry are so minded, we need to remain citizens and not spectators”, he said in a statement.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Erratic power supply affecting B5 Plus operations

Erratic power supply at the Ningo-Prampram industrial enclave is affecting the operations of one of the biggest steel companies within the West African sub-region, B5 Plus Limited, under the One District, Once factory (1D1F) programme.

A visit by Ghanamps.com on Friday April 24, 2020 to the factory of the giant steel importer and exporter witnessed most of the workers idle because there was no power for the company to work because of its fluctuating nature.

This is after more than a month’s working visit by the Government Assurance Committee to the company on its field verification tour, tracking some promises made by the Trade and Industry Minister.

Mr. Mike Thakwani, Chief Executive Officer of the company in an interview pointed out that he would need one hundred megawatt of power yearly, but the current forty megawatt is also a problem.
“You see people waiting to have electricity to work, the power fluctuation is so much and unbearable, we do not have electricity we were not informed in advance, so just imagine that we are running our machines and the power goes off”, he queried.

Unhappy with the situation, Mr.  Thakwani noted that B5 Plus is creating jobs, employing Ghanaians in thousands, paying taxes, saving foreign currency as most of the structures at the company are Ghanaian made.

He thanked the Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurance but was worried that three issues he raised, electricity, water and land has unfortunately not been resolved.

“As an investor, when land has been gotten genuinely I should be free from land litigation among families so that I do not surfer as an investor”.
“We are pleading with government to assist us have direct power supply as we are unable to run fifty percent capacity of our machines and no financial institution would be willing to support with funds to give new machines with the current situation”, he lamented.

Again, he noted that their production is down by thirty (30) percent because of electricity issues and added that another problem is supply of water which forces them to get water outside the Prampram enclave.

He stated however that despite the challenges, work has started on the ground with the hope that power supply would be boosted as promised by government, “We believe in Ghana and hoping for positive results”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Leaders hold virtual extraordinary summit to COVID-19

The Authority of Heads of States and Governments would hold an extraordinary meeting today Thursday, April 23, 2020 through a video conference.

Heads of States would be discussing the situation and impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in the West African sub-region.

Ahead of the extraordinary summit, the Ministers of Finance and Governor of the Central Banks held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, April 21 of this year on same COVID-19 to assess its impact on the sub-region.

To address the COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Ministers and Governors of the Central Banks in the sub-region had to immediately make available financial support and assistance from international partners for the purchase of medical supplies and essential equipment for the fight against the pandemic.

As of April 20 this year, according to the West African Health Oraganisation (WAHO) data, the fifteen (15) member states have recorded five thousand, four hundred and seventy-four (5, 474) confirmed cases whiles one thousand five hundred and sixty-seven (1,567) had recovered with one hundred and forty (140) deaths and three thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven active cases.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) reaffirmed its solidarity with Member States and welcomed all the measures already taken to contain the spread of the pandemic and cure for the sick.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

North Dayi MP donates PPEs, other items to health directorate

Member of Parliament for North Dayi Joycelyn Tetteh has donated Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) to the District Health Directorate of her constituency towards the fight against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The North Dayi lawmaker on Wednesday 22nd April 2020, handed over gloves, liquid soaps, weighing scale, bleach, soft drinks and packs of water and an undisclosed amount of money to complement the work of the health directorate in their work in the various communities.

She further provided drinks and water to the health workers  at the  health center in the district.

Meanwhile, weeks back, Miss Joycelyn Tetteh under took a sensitization campaign against the spread of COVID-19 by reaching out to her constituents resident in Accra as she touched based with them at Dzorwulu, Shiashie, Spintex and Dansoman.

In her camping and education against COVID-19 in Accra, relief items like rice, oil, tin fish, bottle water and sanitizers were provided to them during the period of the lockdown.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com


$1billion IMF loan is to support growth, reduce poverty — Ofori Atta

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said the one billion US dollars Rapid Credit Facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved by Parliament is to support growth, reduce poverty and push the transformation agenda to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the IMF projects a global recession this year and for sub-Sahara Africa, a growth of minus one point six (-1.6)   and that of Ghana has been downgraded to one point five (1.5).

“The money would be made available to Bank of Ghana which would help address balance of payment”, he said.

After the debate to approve one billion dollars to tackle COVID-19, he told the House in winding up the debate that February this year, Ghana went to the International Market to raise three billion dollars before the market closed.

Mr. Ofori-Atta noted that on the African continent, no country has the physical space to confront the COVID-19 pandemic hence the need to be backed by effective financial policy system as government of Ghana would continue to look for resources to bridge the gap.

“These are extra ordinary times and extra ordinary measures should be taken to ensure that our people are protected, looking at the resources Africa has in these recession times we would not be able to protect our people without taking some serious measures”.

He further told the House, the world economy would move into a steep decline and then gradually rise; that of Ghana would be worse for two or three years and go through a sloping curve downwards before gradually recovering.

“We should get ourselves ready for that, Ghana and South Africa have been working with IMF where we can have some suspension of our interest payment and principal payment for this year.  We have about forty-four billion dollars that Africa has to pay this year with various interest I think we have made some progress and with the support of G20 interest, would be differed for nine months and at least we are going to push for two years in doing”.

The Finance Minister assured the House that he would be coming to the House anytime it is necessary in the mid-year to give account of what the Finance Ministry is doing as there are programme realigned to the budget with resources that he would leave no stone unturned.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Attack on Dr. Zanetor unwarranted, we are all in parliament by accident — Muntaka

Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka has taken a swipe at the current affairs show host of Metro TV’s “Good Evening Ghana” host, Paul Adom Okyere for his unwarranted attack on Dr. Zanetor Rawlings on her comments on distribution of food to poor and valuable on partisan basis.

According to him it is wrong for Paul to say Dr. Zanetor is from a privilege background and is in Parliament by accident.

“We have even suggested that a non-partisan committee be set up to ensure fair distribution of food. We asked for those details when the Finance Minister came to the House but were not provided”, he lamented.

He further pointed out that journalism has ethics, same as Parliament has a Standing Order.

In a brief with journalists he pointed out that a lot of people have made attempts to represent their people in Parliament but are unable. “In this chamber, every MP is here by accident, people were begged to become MPs, there were people who did not plan to become MPs but they are MPs now”.

Mr. Mubarak Muntaka recounted his story by saying he was forced to become a lawmaker, saying he planned to do only one term after which his party should get a candidate to replace him. “I am still doing my one term, am I not an accident MP? Among us who was born to become an MP?” he queried.

And advised that as a country we should be careful the way we treat each other, and if you disagree with what one says, as a journalist you should be professional.

“If we are to descend into the gutters with Paul Adom Okyere we would get back to his days is school, how he was performing in school which exams he wrote and how he moved to become a journalist. It would be like we have left the issue of COVID-19 which is important to all of us now”.

He further pointed out that someone like Paul who has been in the media for quite a long no matter how he was pushed by the opposition or those in government he needed to remain professional and go by ethics of journalism.

And lamented over the practice where activists of the ruling government led NADMO officials in the distribution of food making it purely partisan process in the lockdown areas that had the Minority MPs in Accra and Kumasi.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Sierra Leone’s Parliament to resume next week Tuesday

Speaker of the Sierra Leone’s Parliament, H. E. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu has served notice of resumption of the Parliament on Tuesday April 28, 2020.

According to the statement, in the light of quorum and following regulations of social distancing, leadership of the political parties are obliged to determine and limit the attendance of their membership as one-half of their numbers are expected in the Parliament and applicable to paramount chiefs and Independent members of Parliament.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Tunis’ Resignation – I saw it coming, completely inevitable —Humado

A member of Ghana’s representative to the fifth West African Community Parliament, Mr. Clement Kofi Humado has said he saw the resignation of H. E. Speaker Sidie Mohamed Tunis coming as Leader of Government Business in his National Parliament in Sierra Leone.

According to him, it was completely inevitable for the new Speaker of the Community Parliament to do a thorough job and acquit himself creditably if he does not resign as leader of Government Business.

“You and I know how tedious the work in ECOWAS Parliament is to the extent that some of our members who have double appointment with our National Parliament and the Community Parliament finds it difficult to stay throughout the session, how much more a whole Speaker? There is no way he can combine both leadership”.

In an interview with the second rapporteur of ECOWAS Parliament’s Committee on Infrastructure on Friday, he pointed out that it was a good news that a solution had been found and the Speaker had agreed to step down as Leader of his national Parliament.

Mr. Humado’s remarks came in when news broke out that the Speaker had held a meeting with his party and said, “I have agreed with government to honorably leave office of Leader of Government Business but to remain in the leadership of Parliament.  I believe this is good for our party and going forward for our government win-win situation for everyone”.

And further added that it should be something that subsequent Speakers should do. Mr. Humado recounted that the immediate passed Speaker H. E Mustapha Cisse Lo in his national parliament had to give-up his role to focus on his job as the Speaker of the Community Parliament.

“Going  forward, all these are going to lead to the fact that we need elected representative of the people through universal adult surfer age in West Africa so that they can concentrate solely on their work as lawmakers and not combine their dual role, this is a clear sign that, that kind of arrangement is needed”, he said.
Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament: Numbers are too huge for Skype conference —Kofi Humado

A member on the Committee on Telecommunications and Information Technology in the fourth Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Mr. Clement Kofi Humado has dismissed a suggestion to have the first Extra Ordinary Session of the fifth Parliament scheduled for May/June via Skype or conference call in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

According to him, the numbers that form the Parliament; one hundred and fifteen (115) from the fifteen member states is too huge and it is not everybody who is up to speed with that kind of technology.

“There are a lot of elderly people who need to be coached before they can effectively participate should there be even a need for Skype meeting. Going forward, we should learn how to do this conference calls gradually until it becomes part of us in ECOWAS Parliament”.

Mr. Humado made this remarks in an interview with Ghanamps.com in the wake of the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and most of the ECOWAS institutions have shut down in Abuja and Lagos as staff had been directed to stay at home.

“Our first meeting of the fifth Legislature is supposed to be in May, June; we are in April, it seems to me that it is too close and the rate of management of COVID-19 in West Africa has just began, we have not reached the peak. I think the May session has to be postponed indefinitely”.

He further pointed out that with the putting up of a building to house the Community Parliament, modern technology should play an important role, because COVID-19 has shown that there should be less contact.

“We do not know what would follow the coronavirus, we should learn how to communicate at a distance but also arriving at the same results going forward we need to do that as it would reduce cost tremendously, considering airline flights and other logistics”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com