Asked in January 2013 about alleged abuses, Biya told Paris media: “We don’t have a human rights problem … Cameroonians are among the freest Africans.”
By Papisdaff Abdullah
The government of Ghana has hinted of increasing taxes in its mid-year budget review.
Ahead of the mid-year budget presentation to Parliament, Special Associate to President Nana Akufo-Addo and leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko hinted that government will increase tax to raise more revenue.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the former Director of Think Tank Danquah Institute wrote “will you support a VAT increase to keep your lights on, your secondary schools filled, your school kids fed, your streets clean, your streets safe, young graduates employed, and decent, affordable homes built for working families?.”
His post comes after Starrfmonline.com gathered the government is considering introducing taxes such as;
1. An increase in Communications Service Tax from 6% to 12%?
2. A mandated minimum corporate tax
3. An expanded stabilisation tax?
4. Collaterising royalties from minerals to enable government raise loans
5. Increased social security (SSNIT) contributions to the NHIS?
6. A Financial Service Tax
The government is also likely to increase the Value Added TaX (VAT) from 17.5% to 21% in the mid-year budget set to be presented to Parliament on Thursday, July 19, 2018.
The country’s Financial Management Administration Act requires the finance minister to come before Parliament not later than July 31, prepare and submit to parliament a Mid-Year Fiscal Policy review.
This often allows the finance minister the opportunity to review the targets, especially when it comes to the review,
a. A brief overview of recent Macroeconomic Developments of Governments
b. Update of Macroeconomic forecast undertaken by the government
c. Analysis of total revenue and expenditure and performance for the first 6 months of this year
d. Also where necessary, revise the Medium Term Budget outlook the budget outlook and Expenditure framework.
YAOUNDE (AFP) – Cameroonian President Paul Biya became Africa’s second longest-serving leader because, say his critics, dead people voted for him.
Allegations of rights abuses have swirled for decades around the 85-year-old ruler, but his nickname — “The Sphinx” — is well-deserved for a smooth, discreet profile that contrasts sharply with that of many of his flamboyant peers in Africa.
Biya, in power since 1982, told his “dear compatriots” on Twitter on Friday that he had decided to “respond positively to your overwhelming calls” to stand in the October 7 elections, bidding for a seventh consecutive term.
“I will be your candidate,” he said, adding that he was “aware of the challenges that we must face together for a Cameroon that is even more united, stable and prosperous”.
Those words appeared to be a veiled acknowledgement of the troubles besetting Cameroon.
The oil-rich state is facing an armed insurgency in two English-speaking regions in the west and cross-border incursions by Boko Haram jihadists in the far north.
Cameroon has faced divisions since independence in 1960, and Biya’s party, the Cameroonian People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC), sees itself as a unifying force.
With a powerful executive branch and amid widespread poverty, the regime fends off charges of crooked elections and endemic corruption from Transparency International and human rights bodies.
“For 30 years, we have been hoping for a better Biya and a better Cameroon, but for 30 years now, the country has been sinking,” according to the Joshua Osih, the presidential candidate of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF).
“He has put in place a strange operation where his position at the heart of the system is enough to sustain the system itself,” researcher Stephane Akoa once remarked.
Biya is “master in the art of maintaining the status quo”, French journalist Fanny Pigeaud said in her book “The Cameroon of Paul Biya”. “He never seems to have had any intention of giving up.”
Born on February 13, 1933 in a village 220 kilometres (140 miles) south of the capital Yaounde, Biya studied law in France before landing a government job on his return home in 1962.
He was named prime minister in 1975, and took over from Cameroon’s founding president Amadou Ahidjo, who was ailing, in November 1982. The details surrounding this episode remain murky.
Biya was first elected in 1984. He allowed a multi-party system in the early 1990s, accepting political opposition from the west.
The national assembly in 2008 sparked riots that claimed at least 139 people lives when deputies scrapped the limit on presidential terms.
The late protest singer Lapiro de Mbanga earned three years in jail for a song “Constipated Constitution”, which became an anthem for demonstrators.
In the last election in 2011, Biya took about 78 percent of votes according to Cameroon’s Supreme Court.
It rejected opposition charges that “dead people” like late deputy prime minister Andze Tsoungui Gilbert had voted.
Film director Richard Fouofie Djimili told AFP in April 2013 that he was kidnapped, interrogated for 11 days and tortured for a political fiction seen as lampooning Biya’s longevity.
Asked in January 2013 about alleged abuses, Biya told Paris media: “We don’t have a human rights problem … Cameroonians are among the freest Africans.”
By Solomon Ngu*
In my last article I focused on the Amba Fighters – how they are perceived as freedom fighters ready to take bullets for their people (https://www.panafricanvisions.com/2018/life-war-zone-30-days-ambazoniaanglophone-cameroon-5/). We must understand their activities as part of the Anglophone project to de–Francophonize Ambazonia. They are of a generation that is hostile to all forms of tyranny. And anyone who stands on their way, be s/he armed or not, is treated as an obstacle to freedom. We are now caught in a scenario where the government no longer has monopoly to discipline bodies or openly inflict pain on people through the gun. This dramatic change within the past nine months has seen disenchanted youths fighting what they see as occupational forces (https://www.panafricanvisions.com/2018/life-war-zone-30-days-ambazoniaanglophone-cameroon-4/). Their resistance is part of the greater project of making Ambazonia ungovernable. In this post I take a look at Ghost Town, a passive resistance method that was unthinkable just two years ago. This is framed within a context where the government and its gluttonous Anglophone elite have lost legitimacy at the grassroots in the Southern Cameroons.
After the police brutalized protesting lawyers and teachers in late 2016, there were calls, primarily on social media, for Anglophones to demonstrate solidarity with the protesters. Anti-Francophonization demonstrations on the streets had become dangerous – people were dragged in mud, others were shot, university girls were raped, some youths were arrested, etc. I can remember a Facebook group calling for people to stand with Anglophone teachers. It was within this context that Ghost Town emerged as a more practical and collective offline protest at the ways in which the Anglophones leaders were manhandled. By this passive resistance, it was meant no economic activity took place on a day that was designated for the Ghost Town. All businesses remained closed. By 2017, Monday had become the official Ghost Town day. It is now called contri Sunday (native Sunday). In addition to this, all official or national days are assigned Ghost Town status, meaning people in the Anglophone zone are not expected to participate in celebrating whatever is celebrated in Cameroun such as the Youth and National Days. Some of the Ghost Towns – particularly those referred to as mami wata Ghost Town – have been so tense that state employees simply do not turn up for work.
At the early stages of the resistance, the government and local councils responded to these developments by intimidating citizens, informing them that whoever observed the Ghost Towns would be punished. Patrick Ekema, the Mayor of Buea, threatened to shut down or fine shops that observed Ghost Town, that is, shops rented out to shopkeepers by his Council. Frustrated that the citizens were exercising this passive resistance, the government threatened to punish parents who didn’t send their children to school. Parents ridiculed the government, saying they stood to lose if their children were harmed; the people knew the government would not protect them, their children or property if they were to resist the call for Ghost Town. They had lost trust in the government, so to speak.
It was time for the government to gamble on another strategy that had hitherto worked in most instances. It sent Anglophone elite to act as mediators and quite a lot of them spoke of the need for the people to stop the passive resistance. But the government failed to know that these French Cameroun-based individuals have lost legitimacy among their people. Anglophones have been questioning the dishonest elite for a long time; they are perceived as thieves, as swindlers who do not account to the villagers what they do with investment money handed over to them by the government. This question is asked within a wider concern as to why the elite collaborate in the Francophonization of Ambazonia.
In any case, those who have failed to observe Ghost Towns have been treated unkindly; the shops, cars, motorbikes and schools (just to name a few) of defaulters have been torched by the population. And the government has not been able to do nothing about it. This aside, those elite that have sided with the government and those who have urged the villagers to denounce the passive resistance now find themselves in uncomfortable situation. Some of them have been told they are not welcome in their villages. And the youths delivering these bans have not spared those elite who ignore the injunctions. A few collaborators of the regime in power have been caught, stripped naked and humiliated. Unfortunately, some have been tortured. These are all recorded and shared on social media. Basically, these elites have been told that they can no longer speak for the people of Ambazonia. And it doesn’t bother the Francophone government that these tokenistic elites aren’t representing the people.
By and large, the militarization of Anglophone Cameroon has had as specific aim of protecting French and Francophone investments and system of oppression. This means the military is there to provide a secure environment for the French and Francophones to exploit resources in Southern Cameroons. The oppressed are by the military intimidation told their attempts to oppose oppression is futile in the face of heavily armed government troops. Now, come to think of Ghost Town operating in a militarized zone. La Republique du Cameroun conceives power mainly in terms of brute force and this would require that the police/military is physically present to enforce discipline. In this sense, citizens respond to authority only out of fear of physical or psychological injury that could be brought to bear on those who resist the Francophonization of Ambazonia. This is unlike in Ghost Towns where citizens respond to calls from physically-absent leaders, some of whom are only imaginary.
While in Bamenda in mid-April 2018, I realized that people observed Ghost Town more rigorously as compared to Buea. All businesses were closed, the streets were scanty and only a few transport services were operational within the city. I could not leave the city before evening because of the Ghost Town. On our way back to Buea that evening we passed through high security military control on the Anglophone site of the country. The darkness was terrifying. We stopped, descended from the bus, showed our identity cards and then trekked for about 150 meters before getting back into the bus. The frightened military police had their guns pointed and were perhaps ready to shoot.
One would expect the government to be in total control in parts of the country that are militarized. And being in control here would entail among other things, guaranteeing the running of daily activities in a direction the government wishes. This could be either out of fear or respect. It could even be both. But the passive resistance in Ambazonia has proven that brute force does not necessarily make people to conform, fix or adjust themselves to an oppressive condition. The oppressor can use the gun to control people if s/he can find them, if the people are within spaces where the oppressor can control. But if the oppressor can’t access people within controllable spaces, the gun and its frightful sight, (powerful as it is), is just what it is: a potential object of repression.
When you are on the ground in Cameroon, you quickly realize that threats from the government, elite and local authorities are taken less seriously nowadays in the Anglophone region. Even after the government disconnected the internet and threatened to send to jail anyone posting information/images related to the war, Ambazonians still update the world about the ongoing war. Anglophones are by this passive resistance signaling that they are ready to use any means to fight oppression. To engage in Ghost Town would mean people are ready to sacrifice – willingly or by force – their present economic benefits in view of a better life in the future.
Lest anyone interpret this article as glorifying the suffering of the oppressed in a war zone; it is more about their resilience and courage in the face of a calamity!
*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by Solomon Ngu for PAV under the blog Kamer Blues
By Papisdaff Abdullah
President Akufo-Addo has charged the newly sworn-in governing body of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to do all within their power to assist the Special Prosecutor and his Deputy to achieve their mandate, which is to fight and eliminate corruption from the public space.
Addressing the nine-member Governing Body of the Office of the Special Prosecutor after administering the official oath and the oath of secrecy, President Akufo-Addo said even though it has taken a bit of time to fully constitute the entire Office of The Special Prosecutorial, it is better late than never. The President indicated that the responsibilities placed on the OSP to ensure that the public life of Ghana is sanitized cannot be over emphasizing. He added that he is confident in the group of people who have been assembled to constitute the board and that he looks forward to assisting them with all his support to get their budget implemented.
Response By Representative of OSP Board
In a response on behalf of the OSP governing body, Linda Ofori Kwafo said she and her colleagues will do all within their power to abide by the provisions of section 6(1) of the OSP Act 2017, (Act 959) as the go about performing their duties. She pledged that the board is looking forward to discharging their functions to ensure that corruption is minimized in Ghana.
Statutory Provision For Constituting OSP Board
Section five (5) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017, (Act 959) provides that the Governing Body of the Office is a Board consisting of the Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor, one Representative of the Audit Service not below the rank of a Director nominated by the Auditor General, one Representative of the Police Service not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police nominated by the Inspector General of Police, one Representative of the Economic and Organized Crime Office not below the rank of a Director nominated by the Executive Director, one Representative of the Financial Intelligence Centre not below the rank of a Director nominated by the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intelligence Centre, one Representative of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice not below the rank of a Director nominated by the Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice. The others are one person with background in intelligence and not below the rank of a Director nominated by the Minister responsible for National Security and one person who is a female representing the Anti Corruption Civil Society Organizations.
The Governing Body of the OSP include the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, the Deputy Special Prosecutor, Cynthia Lamptey, Representative of the Audit Service , Addae Wireko-TawiahRepresentative of the Police Service, Director of Police CID, Maame Tiwaa Addo Danquah, Representative of the Economic and Organized Crime Office, Charles Nana Antwi, Representative of the Financial Intelligence Centre, Kofi Boadi Boakye, Representative of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative, Charles Ayamdoo. The others the nominee of the Minister responsible for National Security, Kwaku Domfeh and the female representative of the Anti Corruption Civil Society Organizations, Linda Ofori-Kwafo.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
This was after he was reinstated as the election management body’s chief accountant.
Mr. Agyei-Larbi was in July 2017 asked to proceed on leave by EOCO in the heat of the impasse at the EC, to allow for an investigations of embezzlement of some endowment funds of the Commission.
The impasse led to the impeachment of the chairperson of the Commission Charlotte Osei and her two deputies for “misbehavior and incompetence”, pursuant to Article 146(1) of the Constitution.
Their dismissal was after the Committee set up by the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, pursuant to Article 146(4) of the Constitution, to investigate separate complaints brought against the three persons by Ghanaian citizens, recommended their removal from office.
On page 34 of the report of the Chief Justice’s Committee that recommended the removal of the EC Chair and her two deputies, it was also submitted that Mr. Owusu – Larbi, be made to pay to the Commission the amount of GH¢ 360,000.00 he admitted had been in his custody in his office since 2016. If he is not able to pay the said amount to the EC, we recommend that he is charged with stealing.”
In a petition dated July, 3 2018 to the presidency Mr. Agyei-Larbi stated his readiness to swiftly comply with the report of the Chief Justice’s Committee dependent on his immediate reinstatement.
Subsequent to the petition, EOCO wrote to the Electoral Commission on July, 9 2018 directing the Commission to recall Mr. Agyei-Larbi and he has since refunded the money in his custody after fully resuming work on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
In a letter dated Thursday July 12, 2018 to the Presidency Jerry John K. Asiedu, lawyer for Mr. Agyei-Larbi said “Subsequent to the above developments our client has retrieved from the safe in his office an amount of GHC 436, 402 with the approval of the Human Resource Director of the Electoral Commission to pay same into the EC IGF account at GCB bank. Attached hereto and marked “C” is a copy of memo endorsed by the Human Resource Director.
“He has paid the amount of GHC 436, 402 into the designated IGF account of the Electoral Commission at the GCB Bank on the 11th day of July, 2018. Attached hereto and marked “D” is a copy of the GCB Bank Receipt as evidence of the payment into the account by our client.
“Under the circumstances, it is evident that our client has fully complied with the recommendations of the report of the Chief Justice’s Committee which was referred to your high office for implementation. Our client therefore humbly requests that this is brought to the attention of the Attorney General and all other necessary agencies tasked with the implementation of the Committee’s report.”
Ndiaye, an African affairs expert and accomplished senior policy and business strategist, will assume President & CEO position on August 1
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 12, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development’s Board of Directors announced today that Leila Ndiaye will be promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IGD. She succeeds Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, who will remain close to the organization in his new role of President Emeritus and Senior Advisor.
Ndiaye, who joined IGD as Executive Vice-President in March, will assume her new role on August 1, 2018. The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth through business investment.
A native of Côte d’Ivoire and a US resident, Ndiaye brings more than 20 years of experience as an accomplished senior policy and business strategist with a proven track record in policy design and implementation at the highest level of African governments and the private sector.
As President and CEO, Ndiaye will be the driving force in transforming the organization into an engaging and influential platform that fosters greater investment of U.S. and African small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Africa. Through her strategic vision and leadership, IGD will be positioned to be the leading voice and advocate for SMEs investing in Africa to fuel the continent’s economic progress.
She will be responsible for leading the strategic direction for IGD’s exceptional programming and policy engagements to advance a business-driven development agenda, overseeing the growth of the Frontier Leader Network, and building strategic alliances with key stakeholders to advance organizational priorities.
“The IGD Board of Directors is delighted to appoint Leila Ndiaye to the position of CEO and President of IGD. Leila is clearly a proven leader who can take IGD into the future,” said Rob Mosbacher, IGD Board Chair and Chairman of Mosbacher Energy Company.
“I’m deeply passionate about addressing key development issues in Africa by harnessing the power of the private sector to create jobs and economic prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic,” Ndiaye said. “I look forward to this opportunity to continue the momentum and build on IGD’s current progress to take the organization to the next level.”
Board Chair Mosbacher expressed a deep appreciation for the leadership of outgoing president Mima S. Nedelcovych. Nedelcovych spearheaded the rapid expansion of African companies into IGD’s Frontier Leader Network for the last four years.
“On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Mima for his dedication and leadership at IGD,” said Mosbacher. “Given his new role as President Emeritus and Senior Advisor, the board is confident IGD is on the right path to drive forward its continued success.”
Nedelcovych said as IGD continues to grow into a thriving organization, Ndiaye’s leadership qualities, skills and professional relations were a perfect fit for the organization.
“Leila Ndiaye recently joined IGD and has already demonstrated strategic and decisive thinking and a strong ability to lead,” said Nedelcovych. “I have known Leila a long time and can assure you that her deep experience and broad connections will ensure IGD’s continued success into the future.”
Prior to joining IGD, she served as the Senior Director of Policy for African Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In that position, she developed, promoted and executed the US-Africa Business Center’s program of work relating to trade policy and investment between the United States and African countries. She initiated and managed the US-ECOWAS Business Initiative and spearheaded the Chamber’s program in Western and Central Sub-Saharan Africa, from Angola to Mauritania.
Previously, she worked with the government of Côte d’Ivoire as special adviser to the former Head of State, where she advised the Head of State on a range of policy, national security and economic issues to ensure that all duties were carried out in the best interest of the country as a whole.
Ndiaye is an Advisor to McLarty Associates, where she advises clients on trade and investment in West Africa. McLarty Associates is an international strategic advisory firm headquartered in Washington, DC, that delivers diplomatic solutions and advises many emerging companies venturing abroad.
Earlier in her career, Ndiaye held positions in the lobbying arena with Bayh, Connaughton, Fernsteinhem and Malone, law firm of former Senator Birch Bayh, in Washington, D.C. where she developed and managed the Africa portfolio, and at the World Bank as a consultant.
Ndiaye was decorated by the Republic of Burkina Faso in June 2018 as Knight of the National Order of Merit of the Republic of Burkina Faso.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented Ms. Ndiaye with the “US-Africa Business Center Outstanding Leaders’ Award 2018” in recognition of her exemplary leadership in US-Africa relations.
She is a recipient of the 2016 Excellence Award by the Women Ambassadors Foundation in Washington DC and was nominated in 2008 as one of the 50 most influential people of Côte d’Ivoire by the magazine l’Intelligent d’Abidjan and received the same year the Women’s Private Sector Initiative Award in Côte d’Ivoire.
In 1990, she was the first Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from Côte d’Ivoire to South Africa during apartheid. Leila Ndiaye is a member of the African Leadership Network, a membership community of the most dynamic and influential new-generation leaders in Africa.
She received a certificate from the Thayer Leaders Development Group (TLDG) at West Point for the “Women Leading from the Front Lines” Leadership Academy in August 2017.
Leila Ndiaye holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS), at The American University in Washington DC, earned a Master of Arts in Diplomacy with merit from the Diplomatic Academy of London at the University of Westminster, and a PhD degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, from the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques (CEDS), Paris.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shanta Bryant Gyan * firstname.lastname@example.org * (202) 412-4603
The Federal Republic of Nigeria led by President Muhamadu Buhari has launched a National Campaign Against Fake News, calling the phenomenon a time bomb that can detonate with deadly consequences if left unchecked.
Speaking at a world press conference in Abuja, president Buhari described fake news as a global epidemic that could be worse than all the plagues that the world has recorded put together, a clear and present danger to global peace and security, and a threat to democracy.
President Buhari who was represented by the nations Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Alhaji Lai Muhamed stressed that the fake news phenomenon is capable of undermining confidence in the media, adding: ”Once the people lose confidence in the media, the media and the society are in trouble.”
Adding that the essence of the campaign is to ”sensitize all Nigerians to the dangers posed to the peace and security, and indeed the corporate existence of Nigeria by the phenomenon, and the fact that each and every Nigerian has a role to play in curtailing the spread of fake news”.
He explained that though the federal government has been calling national attention to the issue of fake news and hate speeches since last year, ”the timing of the launch is also not unconnected to the role of fake news in aggravating the various crises in the country as well as the need to check this phenomenon ahead of the 2019 elections.”
The Minister said the government will use all the information dissemination tools at its disposal, work with both the traditional and social media, as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to sensitize Nigerians.
He said the campaign will, however, not involve the use of coercion and censorship, but appealed to the media to lead the campaign, and to Nigerians not to share any news or message unless they can vouch for its source and authenticity
Citing instances from around the world to illustrate the dangers posed by fake news, Lai Mohammed said a recent study by researchers at the Ohio State University in the US concluded that Russian interference and the fake news it promoted probably played a significant role in depressing Hilary Clinton’s support on election day during the 2016 presidential elections in the US.
He also said that in India, about a dozen people have been killed in the past six weeks just because of fake news or hoax messages, noting: ”The victims were lynched after they were falsely accused of child abduction based on fake messages circulated via the social media platform, WhatsApp.”
The Minister said that last week, a national newspaper in Nigeria reported on its front page that a court has ordered the National Assembly to begin impeachment of Buhari, which was not the case.
”The problem with that news item is that it is fake news. According to the certified true copy of the order, the Presiding Judge of the Federal High Court in Osogbo ordered and I quote: ‘The applicants are hereby granted leave to issue and bring an Application for the order of Mandamus to compel 1st to 3rd Respondents to start impeachment proceedings against the 4th Respondent, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. This was manipulated to read that the court has given the go-ahead for the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against the President. Fake News,” he said
The launch, which was sponsored by the NTA, FRCN, and three newspapers
– The Nation, Vanguard and Leadership – was attended by all the heads of the media parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), representatives of the security agencies, social media practitioners and journalists.
By Papisdaff Abdullah.
The government of the People’s Republic of China has donated US$302,311.00 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to support the operations of the Ministry as well as its plans to refurbish its current head office building.
The Chinese embassy in Ghana also donated two buses to the Ministry to support the transportation needs of the Ministry.
At a brief ceremony held at the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Chinese Ambassador Designate to Ghana, Shi Ting Wang, noted that, “in order to demonstrate the Chinese government’s commitment to supporting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, the Chinese government decided to grant 2 million RMB in cash, which is equivalent to US$302,311, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana.”
Additionally, “the Chinese Embassy in Ghana also decided to donate two mini buses to the Ministry. I believe that these donations will help the capacity building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana,” Ambassador Wang stated.
The Ambassador in his speech said in September this year, the Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be held in Beijing, China. He added that Ghana has confirmed her participation and he is therefore looking forward to a fruitful summit that would be mutually beneficial to both countries.
“H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has confirmed to attend the Summit. The Chinese Embassy will work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana in preparation to ensure that H.E. President Akufo-Addo’s trip to China will achieve substantive results,” the Ambassador added.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, who received the donation on behalf of government registered Ghana’s sincere appreciation for the significant contribution of the Chinese government towards the operations of the Ministry and the maintenance of the offices of the Ministry.
She added that discussions are currently underway to secure funding from the Chinese government to construct an office annex to the current office complex of the Foreign Ministry. She was hopeful that the negotiations will soon be firmed up to enable the construction of the proposed building to start.
President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed that his government has set-up its first cattle ranch at Afram Plains in the Eastern Region of the country to help deal with the farmer-herder menace.
The President stated that, in fulfillment of the pledge he made in the run-up to the 2016 elections, his government has begun the construction of ranches across the country. He was addressing a gathering of chiefs and opinion leaders in parts of the Volta region during his tour of the area.
The Ghanaian leader said “the first ranch has been established at the Afram Plains, and we have chosen several sites around the country where we are going to establish these ranches in order to bring the cattle into safe, secure environment, so that the desecration of the land you are witnessing here will be a thing of the past.”
He assured the Chiefs and people of the area that “we have begun the first one, and we will continue. I know one is scheduled to be set up for this area.”
By Papisdaff Abdullah.
The West African Centre for Public Policy (WACEPP) urged President Akufo-Addo to order the publication of salaries, conditions of service and allowances of Chief Executives, their deputies and Board Members of State institutions if he is committed to the fight against corruption.
At a public lecture under the theme “Ghana Beyond Aid; Protecting the Public Purse” held in Accra which was delivered by Rwanda-based Ghanaian Public Policy Consultant with WACEPP Mr Ishmael Botchwey, he said President Akufo-Addo will be highly commended in the fight against corruption in Africa should he heed to calls to make public the salaries, conditions of service and allowances of the CEOs and Board members of SOEs in Ghana.
“There is the need to take a critical look at the wastage in the public service. It has become a norm that CEOs and Board members are mostly chauffeured in Land Cruiser vehicles with security escorts, fuelled and maintained at the expense of the poor taxpayer. At the end of the month, some of these CEOs receive outrageous salaries, allowances and other perks running into thousands of cedis. The most intriguing is sometimes the institutions they supervise are highly indebted yet they have no mercy on the negative finances of these companies.”
“It is unacceptable that the amounts these CEOs and their Boards receive are shrouded in secrecy when the president, the one who appoints them has his salary published and known as a matter of record. We are calling on the president to take steps to ensure that the ‘secrecy’ surrounding how much State CEOs take become a thing of the past”, he added amidst applause from the participants of the lecture.
This call comes on the back of revelations that some CEOs take home as much as Ghs 75,000, 3 times the salary of the president. This does not include allowances and other perks. This aside, other facilities such as free accommodation, two vehicles; one sports utility vehicle (SUV) and one salon car, free electricity, water and telephone, a garden boy, security, driver, house help, as well as fuel are drawn from government sources.
It would be recalled that Chairman of the Board of Ghana Cocoa Board, Hackman Owusu Agyemang revealed in January 2017 that the gross monthly salary of the immediate past CEO of COCOBOD, Stephen Kwabena Opuni, was GHC75,102.
It was also disclosed that each of the three deputy directors of COCOBOD takes home GHC42,000.
The three deputy directors also enjoy other allowances and side issues, including vehicles, free accommodation, electricity, water and telephone, a garden boy, gate man, driver, house help as well as fuel from government sources.
The salary of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana is Ghs 89,909, more than three times that of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
The CEO of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), also takes Ghs 88,102.
The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) bags home Ghs 76,606.
The Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) receives Ghs 68,707 as his monthly salary, while the CEO of the National Investment Bank (NIB) enjoys Ghs 65,000 monthly.
The Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST) smiles home every month with a total of Ghs 62,000, his counterpart at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) is paid Ghs 56,000.
At the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), the Managing Director receives Ghs 55,000 as monthly salary while The Chief Executive of the highly indebted Volta River Authority (VRA) takes home Ghs 78,400.
A country such as Ghana must not be dependent on grants and loans for basic infrastructural projects. WACEPP is calling for a benchmark or seal on the salaries of parastatals. We must endeavour to reduce the wastage in our public space.
By Papisdaff Abdullah.
Ghana and Japan have signed a $1.7 million grant targeted at supporting the human resource development of highly capable, young government officials who are engaged in formulating and implementing the social and economic development plans of Ghana.
The programme which is known as the Japanese Development Scholarship (JDS) started in 2012 and it is the seventh consecutive year the Asian side is providing the grant to the West Africans.
This year, the programme will provide another 10 young and promising Ghanaian government officials with scholarships to obtain Masters Degrees at Japanese universities such as Kobe University, Nagasaki University, University of Tsukuba and the Hiroshima University.
At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to sign the Exchange of Notes, Record of Discussions and the Grant Agreement, the Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ghana, Tsutomu Himeno, said the focus of study for the beneficiaries will be in the areas of Public Economics, Health, Agriculture and Energy.
“These academic areas were chosen because the Ghanaian and Japanese governments considered them as strategically important areas in terms of strengthening human resources for Ghana’s national development,” Ambassador Himeno said.
“This JDS Programme is implemented in the hope that these bright young participants will acquire knowledge and skills that are useful in tackling social and economic issues that Ghana faces, and take leadership roles in Ghana in the future”, he added.
The Ambassador was hopeful that the selected beneficiaries for the scholarship programme will contribute to the enhancement of bilateral relations between Ghana and Japan through the friends they are likely to make and the experience they acquire during their stay in Japan.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, in her brief remarks about signing the grant on behalf of Ghana acknowledged the enormous contributions of the Government of Japan to Ghana’s socioeconomic development, “as reflected in the various sectors of the economy, notably; education, health, energy, and infrastructural development.”
“So far, about 45 Ghanaians have benefitted from the project since its inception in 2012 and it is my hope therefore that the knowledge and skills they have acquired and are yet to acquire in the various fields of study would put them in better positions to help with the development of the country,” Mrs. Botchwey said. She expressed her gratitude to the Japanese government for the support.
By Papisdaff Abdullah.
The Government of Ghana has disclosed that several Ghanaian migrants are currently stranded in the troubled Libya and are bent on returning home.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry says the exact number of such migrants are difficult to ascertain given the conflict in the North African country.
In an address to the legislature following a question from Member of Parliament for Builsa South Dr. Clement Apaak, the Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey challenged figures put out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) regarding the number of stranded Ghanaian migrants in Libya.
“Mr. Speaker, the ministry is aware that there are some stranded Ghanaians in Libya who contact the consulate in Tripoli for assistance, however, the figure put out by IOM in Accra conflicts with figures provided by IOM in Tripoli.
“This, coupled with the highly volatile situation in Libya has made it very difficult to obtain information of the actual number of Ghanaian nationals in that country. This is because Libya today has varse areas of its territory in the hands of rival militia groups operating outside the control of internationally recognised interim governments of national accord,” Mrs. Ayorkor Botchwey told Parliament.
The minister, announced however that there is a “sizeable number of Ghanaians who live and work in Libya”.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix in March this year revealed that 62,422 Ghanaians were identified in different cities and detention centres in Libya.
That number, it said, ranks Ghanaians in Libya fifth after Egyptian, Nigerien, Chadian and Sudanese nationals out of 38 different nationalities in that country.
Since June 2017, a total of 706 (661 men, 45 women) Ghanaians stranded in Libya have been assisted to return home voluntarily with the majority of the returnees, 70 per cent, being returned from various detention centres in Libya, while the rest are from the cities.