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“It’s surprising Azumah is turning deaf ear to same rules that support him”—Garu PC

Parliamentary Candidate (PC) on the ticket of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Garu Constituency, Albert Akuka Alalzuuga, said he is not surprised that the former Member Parliament Dominic Azimbe Azumah is standing as an independent candidate after losing to him.

According to him, he is only worried that an experience politician of is caliber, have worked all his life for the NDC and being MP for twenty years and gain support from the party and also benefited from the party is doing this to himself and the party.

“He knows the rules very well but has turned deaf ears to the same rules that had supported him this while and going independent”.

And added that, people have lost primaries to him including himself in 2012, but he was the first person to walk to him, picked up his t-shirt went round with him to campaign, but he has refused to support the party’s candidate.

Mr. Akuka Alalzuuga made this known in an inter in the wake of the NDC party sacking eighteen failed parliamentary candidates aspiring to go independent, key among them is Dominic Azimbe Azumah, a former minister and MP for Garu Constituency in the Upper East Region.

That is not the rules of the game, and he must be a good supporter to make the game interesting, because if anybody who lost the primaries to him wanted to go independent, I don’t think he would have gotten to where he is. It is a bit too late for him to be talked to resend his decision, I wished he has not gone that way and listen to everybody’s advice, he said.

“All of us grew up knowing NDC as our only party, I don’t know what has made him so angry that he want to take this decision, I leave that in the hands of God and pray that in the near future, he would be able to see things because losing him or letting the party lose him from what has happen he himself has resigned”.

Once you know the implication of going independent it means you have voluntary resigned from the party, that is not the best thing, but whatever it is, “I want to still urge the rank and file of the party in Garu to remain calm and work so that we can win the seat and John Mahama becomes the next President”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Current mode of financing ECOWAS is detrimental to its progress — Suhum MP

A member of Ghana’s representative in the immediate past fourth Community Legislature Fredrick Opare Ansah has said the current mode of financing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its institutions through import levies coming from outside the sub-region is detrimental to its progress.

According to him the West African sub-regional body has moved from contributions set for member countries to import levies to pay fund its activities.

He added that with the integration process growing deeper and better, there would be more trading among the sub regional member states.

“We should take a serious look at telecommunication levy  to fund the activities of ECOWAS and its institutions  more especially in this era of COVID-19 pandemic and in line with the objectives of ECOWAS to promote trade among member states”.

And  indicated in an interview that external imports to the sub-regional member states  would decrease and  if Ghana can supply Nigeria with its salt needs it would not move to Brazil to import salt to address its needs.

Again, if Ghana can produce rice to feed the sub regional member states there wouldn’t be the need to import rice from Thailand, “so the levies that accrue to us today in terms of import will begin to dwindle down”.

He added that what would be happening is that there would be increase in movement and trade in the sub region that would result in more communications among “ourselves”.

As to how to push this agenda and who should take the responsibility, he noted that it should come from the Commission through the Council to Parliament and Authority of Heads of States and Government. On the time period this should take effect, he recommended five years period for which the import levy should be abolished.

The Chairman of Ghana’s Parliamentary Committee on Communication further pointed out that the ECOWAS Commission through the Council to Parliament and Authority of Heads of State and Government had reduced roaming bills of the Community.

“If   I move from Ghana to Togo to Nigeria, I can have thirty days free roaming and pay for calls like the locals pay for their calls in their country. Given the benefit and respite on cost, ECOWAS can says ,”we need a little token when we make this calls to fund the activities of the sub-regional institutions. It is the way to go”.

Mr. Opare Ansah emphasized that in, this COVID-19 times the quantum of data that is being consumed to hold virtual meetings and to transact business clearly show that it is where one can get funds needed to fund ECOWAS going into the future.

He emphasized his point by saying, funds that will accrue from the telecommunication levy can go directly into the ECOWAS account, as it would not be necessary for countries to collect these levies as ECOWAS has desk in every county in the sub-region to set up a monitoring system just as Ghana has done with Kelni GVG to monitor the operations of what accrues to government.

In addition ECOWAS can also contract this entities to monitor what is due it and the Telco’s pay directly into those accounts so that it can access its funds whenever it want to and use the revenue agencies in the various countries.

“It’s a little smoother than the levy collection system, as you know most of the countries use up these monies and find other monies to pay the levies”.

In addition, he explained that as things are now ECOWAS Parliament does not have full legislative powers to enact legislation to this effect, it has co-decision in the area of the Community budget together with the Council of Ministers, parliament can only express its opinion on matters and it has a time period.

And if it fails, the Council of Ministers and Authority of Heads of State and Governments will still go ahead and pass legislation.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com