• +233 20 230 9497

Cocoa from Ghana and Ivory Coast risk sanction, because of child labour—Minister

Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour Awuah has revealed that Ghana and the Ivory Coast risk sanction by the US for using children cocoa farms in both countries.

According to him a study conducted by the US State Department on Labour which is at its daft stage pointed to the fact that children are being used in the production of cocoa, “should this be true the consequence four us  would be dire”.

He further pointed out that some Senators in the US have started mobilizing people to boycott cocoa from the two West African countries.

Again, whether accepting or not, the outcome of the study he noted  does not mean back in the country there should not be re-awaking of the awareness of child labour among Ghanaians, hence the “Ministry’s  decision that the International Labour Day we want to mobilize support from lawmakers”. For lawmakers to all join in fighting against child labour and he added that he appreciate  the contribution of his colleagues but was quick to point out that there is a lot of work to be done because of the level of understanding of child labour.

As the understanding differ from one person to the other hence the need to carry out a lot of education in that direction, “we are not saying Ghanaian children should be ban from doing things related to cocoa farm”.

He was briefing the media after he presented a statement on the floor of the House on International Labour Day on Friday June 12, 2020.

In addition he added that children are supposed to use their youthful age to learn to grow to become responsible adults and self-develop, but rather they are being forced to work’

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“Until the EC comes to brief the House Majority Leader would not have peace”—Haruna

Minority Leader Mr. Haruna Iddrisu has served warning to the Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu that he would never have his peace until he brings the chairperson of the Electoral Commission to brief the House.

According to him the EC has bought new biometric machines and they need to come to the House with their road map for this year’s Presidential and Parliamentary election.

“They have to show us samples of the equipment they have acquired in other to discuss other issues. It is not acceptable he keeps shifting the goalpost, from June 9 to 16, 2020 and speaker you have to rule on this matter”.

He further told the House he could not rely on the assurance given by the Majority Leader on the matter, three weeks ago.

Responding to the Minority Leader’s question, Majority Leader drew the attention of his colleagues that if they had averted their minds to the order paper of Friday June 12, 2020, EC has been scheduled to meet the Special Budget Committee on Tuesday June 16, 2020 in committee room 1 & 2.

The EC officials will meet the Special Budget Committee at 9:00am and not 11:00am as advertised in the Order paper of Friday June 12 2020.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Positive COVID-19 persons still coming to Parliament are endangering us —Osei-Kyei

Leader of Government Business, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has served a strong warning to Members of Parliament, Journalist and staffs who have been contacted by the National COVID-19 team for testing positive and still coming to Parliament to desist from that.

After presenting the Business statement, he lamented over the development where those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not isolating themselves and still come to the House making the work of the National testing team difficult.

He noted that it is important to keep the medical record of those who have subjected themselves as private, but the House would be forced to take an action.

And further advice those who have not subjected themselves to testing to do so in the interest of the House and those who have tested negative.

“I have tested negative twice that does not mean I cannot contract it so those who have tested positive and still moving around the place with us should desist from that”.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu drew the attention of the House that medical records of individuals should be respected and not disclosed.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“I am not promoting or encouraging child labour”—Afram Plains N. MP

Member of Parliament for Afram Plains North, Betty Nana Efua Krosbi Mensah has dismissed notion that she is encouraging and promoting child labour by defending parents who introduce their wards to work.

According to her leaders who have been elected to represent the larger population should properly define what hazardous work is and provide alternatives to ensure children are provided with the rightful way to live and to enjoy being children.

In an interview with journalists in Parliament she pointed out that there are one hundred and fifty communities in her constituency with a limited number of one hundred and thirteen day basic schools, “what becomes of children in such communities who do not have schools?”

Again, she advised that issues of child labour should be looked at in a broader perspective and not play politics and be emotional, as those children would grow up and if parents are not impacting their occupation and knowledge in them, when the child attain eighteen and needs to fend for himself what profession does he have?

In addition, we should not come to Parliament and do the usual politics, governments talk about social intervention programmes going to the rural communities, she added that if they were really going to rural communities children would not migrate into the urban cities.

According to her, if government were committed to all these things social interventions and those who deserve it are really being impacted, parents and children would not have been migrating from the rural communities to urban centres.

Madam Krosbi Mensah further expressed worry over the school feeding programme being implemented in Accra whiles in communities in Afram Plains North children are suffering. They don’t have schools neither do they benefit from the social interventions. “At the end we are not having solution to the problems we talk about”

She made this remarks on Friday June 12, 2020 when the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations Ignatius Baffour Awuah made a statement on International Labour day.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Atiwa East DCE and parents thank MP for providing dual desks

The District Chief Executive of Atiwa East, Atta Panyin Nkansa has applauded the Member of Parliament for the constituency for providing thousand dual desks to lower primary and Junior High schools in the district.

According to him, the MP Abena Osei-Asare has given a lot of scholarships to people in the district amounting to eighty-five thousand Ghana cedis last year alone to ensure the future of the youth are secured.

“When you get to most of our schools you would notice that the desk on which our children are sitting are not good and again we do not want to see our children sitting on the floor and writing, the MP came to our aid when we approached her”.

The District Director of Education, Mrs. Victoria Bampo in commending the MP also noted that most of the schools were in deplorable states when they approach her to help rehabilitate them; instead, she built new school blocks and only renovated those that were not too damaged structurally.

She further noted that without the desk learning would not go on properly as the provision of the desk would help learning and development in the district.

She was unhappy that in the outbreak of the pandemic, school children would be sitting on the floor to study.

Parents also expressed their gratitude to the MP together with government for providing various schools with veronica buckets and hand sanitizers to ensure that the COVID-19 spread is reduced, as final year students of Junior High School would be returning to school soon.

They also advocated that head teachers should move round the various schools in the district to demonstrate to students how to wash their hands and apply the hand sanitizers.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Defense and Interior committee to meet IGP

Chairman for the Committee on Defense and Interior, Seth Kwame Acheampong has revealed that they are waiting to have a meeting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) over allegation of police “planting weed” on suspects whiles they effect arrest.

According to him as far as he is concerned, the allegation against the security placing wee on prophet Owusu Adjei are just suspicion and he cannot authenticate that was done by the security operative at the time they effected the arrest.

“The prophet had his wallet on him I don’t need to go further on this issue, investigation is being carried out and that investigation would speak for itself, I do not think the security personnel are interested in planting things on people”, he said this at a media briefing with journalists.

Mr. Acheampong noted that it is criminal to act in that manner and against the laws of the country and nobody should be encouraged to do that.

The security would give Ghanaians better particulars on the matter since he was arrested in the presence of the former District Chief Executive of Kwaebibirem Mr. Agyeman Duah, and pleaded with his colleagues in the Minority to arm themselves with the facts.

On the issue of filming the arrested prophet he said it is difficult to know who the originators of the video were as the National Security do not lay claim to the video.

As to where the prophet was, he noted that he is in police custody as he had gone through the court process.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Gender Minister expresses worry over re-appearing of begging street children

Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection Mrs. Cynthia Mamle Morrison has expressed worry of a practice where children who beg on the street are taken away but they re-appear on the streets of the capital.

According to her, her Ministry is collaborating with the Office of the National Security to engage with more stakeholders to develop and implement a more sustainable strategy to permanently address the issue.

“Mr. Speaker with adequate funding, we would ensure that every citizen has improved access to quality social services and livelihood activities to reflect both national and international obligations such as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) goal 1, 2 and 5”.

The Minister underscored the need to strengthen the social welfare programme that provides preventive and responsive child protection services as the current government continues to place emphasis on the implementation of strategies and programmes to reduce poverty and vulnerability.

And added that a caring society does not tolerate marginalization and exclusion of poor and vulnerable groups which include begging on the streets.

The Minister who was responding to the Member of Parliament for Afigaya Sekyere East, Mavis Nkansah-Boadu’s question on measures being taken by the Ministry together with National Security to get child beggars off the streets also told the House the issue has become a National Security issue as some of the begging children aid persons with disability, to solicit for funds on the street and the influx of foreigners from neighboring countries who use their children in begging.

The Minister noted that in other to address the issue, in 2017 the Ministry initiated a programme called “operation get off the street now for a better life”.

As the programme seeks to withdraw children from the streets reintegrate them with their families, and those of school going age sent back to school, while those who need to learn vocational trade were taken through skills training.

“Children beggars and other streets person were taken away from the National theatre, through 37 Military hospital, Opeibea, airport to the Ghana Standard Authority areas, as the children were sent social welfare centers in Madina”.

The Minister further noted that since she took over at the Ministry, she has been part of operations to rescue children from the street at Kwame Nkrumah Circle to Kaneshie with the support of the AMA taskforce as most of the children rescued are Nigerians.

“They have since been sent to the Nigerien Embassy and repatriated to their homeland same year. In December around the Marina Mall at Opeibea child beggars were rescued, over four thousand eight hundred and nine on the street of Accra. Twenty-one of them Nigerians have been repatriated to their home country”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Ablakwa questions 202 MPs present in the House against 198 votes cast

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on Wednesday morning questioned, why the votes and proceedings of the House page 6 for Tuesday recorded that two hundred and two (202) reported to the House but the ballot they cast indicates that there were one hundred and ninety-eight (198).

Speaker Oquaye quickly ruled him out of order but Deputy Minority Leader Dr. James Kluste Avedzi re-put the issue up by saying as a House of record it was not right to record 202 members in the House but when the House was voting it had 198 members around.

“It means four members came to the House and did not vote or even did not come to House but were marked present, we need to interrogate this issue”.

The Speaker intervene by pointing out to him that he has ruled on the matter and prevented him from going on that tangent.

Majority Leader waded into the matter by pointing out to his colleague that earlier in the day the Assin Central lawmaker Ken Ohene Agyapong was in the chamber but during the voting time, he was no were to be found to cast his vote.

“He was in the House earlier and had been marked present and it is outrageous for anyone to think there has been anything untoward with the ballot that was casted yesterday”.

Professor Oquaye unhappy with the development noted that such remarks are not parliamentary and allows those who are not vested with Parliamentary workings to misreport things like this “it is just creating wrong impression”.

He further pointed out that the House has done a good job for those who voted to come to the House and learn on what happened as everything went on properly, “we should be proud of ourselves when we do something good, let us not stoke fire when there is nothing to be stoked”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS experts meet on easing of trade during pandemic

Committee of experts set up by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for Transport, Logistics, Free Movement and Trade in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic held a virtual meeting on June 8, 2020 to firm up guidelines for the harmonization and facilitation of Cross Border Trade and Transportation in the region.

The experts are providing sectorial technical advice to the statutory decision-making bodies of ECOWAS to ensure uniform and coordinated improvement of the transport and logistics sectors while enhancing the growth of intra-regional trade, free movement and economic growth in the ECOWAS region.

Addressing participants, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Infrastructure, Mr. Pathe Gueye said besides the coordination and strengthening of the fight against the COVID-19, the meeting is meant to help the region to navigate itself out of the difficult situation where it now finds itself.

The representative of Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Chairman of the meeting, Captain Musa Nuhu stressed the importance of finding the balance between the health well-being and economic well-being of Community citizens by ECOWAS Member States while achieving desired synergy in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

As  proposed guidelines for the harmonization and facilitation of cross-border trade and transportation are in line with the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and other specialized international organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO), World Customs Organization (WCO), International Migration Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), African Union Commission, Africa Civil Aviation Council, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) among others, the experts identified appropriate trade and transport humanitarian corridors and propose measures to ensure these corridors are open for medical supplies and personnel so that the fight against Covid-19 is efficient in the short to medium term while ensuring continuity in community trade, transport, free movement and cross border businesses in the medium to long term.

The recommendations and the proposed guidelines from the Experts will be submitted to the ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Transport and Trade who would meet on June 12, 2020 for validation.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Some Speakers are allergic to questions that embarrass government—Osei-Kyei

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said some Speakers since 1993 were uncomfortable and allergic to statements that would embarrass government of the day, hence they prone statements that come before them.

According to him since the inception of the fourth Republic, some Speakers have played tricks with their authority to singularly admit questions by delaying those questions where eventually lose their potency.

“They also prevent the sequential follow of questions to hard-press Ministers and a day with a lot of questions, an hour is allowed for question time to save face of government, the current speaker Profess Oquaye has been open in admitting questions. Except that some Ministers do not respond to questions timorously in Parliament we should have improvement on this”.

Mr. Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was speaking at a forum organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs with the core leadership of the various Committees in Parliament, on the theme “Parliament and the Sustenance of Ghana’s Democracy 2020 and beyond”.

“Do Speakers have authority to grant motions per our standing orders, this is something that MPs must interrogate, and we must come to some determination in this direction?”

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, lamented over a growing practice where lawmakers make statements that are not well researched and are saturated with half truths, untruths and others opinions expressed from social media.

He acknowledged the role of the Seventh Parliament as the nation fight against COVID-19 adding that for the first time in the history of the fourth Republic in the Seventh Parliament, the first meeting of the fourth session was suspended, “instead of rising sine die”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com