Mr Obama comes to Kenya when the government has taken heed on issues he raised during his address to Kenyans from Kasarani Stadium.
*Courtesy of Nairobi News
By Papisdaff Abdullah
A minister in the President Akufo Addo led government has asked petty traders in his region complaining about the hardship in the country to start selling cocaine if they can’t withstand it. The President’s representative in the Ashanti of Ghana, Simon Osei Mensah says, traders in the Kumasi metropolis are using the hardship in the country as an excuse to break the laws and trade at unauthorized places.
He added that traders refusing to move from unauthorized places in the metropolis will be forcefully ejected. Mr. Osei Mensah said he won’t allow the indiscipline of traders to hamper the development of Ashanti region.
Speaking at an event to re-launch the Keep Kumasi Clean and Green project, the Minister said “the indiscipline is too much. I want to use this opportunity to caution traders who are defying orders to vacate from the pavements around the Suame Roundabout. We have previously told them to relocate in a peaceful manner, but if they refuse to relocate, we will eject them forcefully.
“Those traders who are also selling on the footbridge at the CBD must also vacate because the footbridge is not a place for trading activities. We are not interested in collapsing anybody’s business. When we eject them, they will start saying they voted for us to come into power. We have been voted to bring development and not to encourage lawlessness and indiscipline.”
The unhappy minister added “When we start enforcing the laws, people will be complaining of hardship. If there is hardship, then I will ask that you stop the business and go and sell cocaine for a living.”
The Minister’s comments come after Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) recently asked all traders selling on pavements and unauthorized places to relocate to designated markets.
But some of the traders have defied the orders and are back on the pavements to trade.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Majority of Ghanaians who thronged the Accra International Conference Centre to view the investigative piece on Ghana Football are calling for the immediate resignation of the President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwasi Nyantakyi.
The Investigative piece, titled Number 12 was put together by controversial journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his Tiger Eye PI team.
The video captures several Ghanaian FA officials including the FA President and referees engaging in corrupt activities.
Some Ghanaians who spoke to panafricanvisions.com said the FA president must step aside to allow a new person takeover the affairs of the FA.
“He must go, he cannot still be the FA president from what we have seen…he must resign,” one of the viewer’s said.
Another one said “Nyantakyi must be sacked by FIFA or resign to save himself from disgrace.”
In the video, Mr. Nyantakyi had a grand plan of ruling Ghana with money. Mr Nyantakyi in a meeting with undercover agents who posed as investors, disclosed how from small beginnings, he and his investor friends could ‘take over’ Ghana with their money
“You can start with something small in your own discretion, then when you get the contract; the big big contract, we can go back and give them more money, then we will take over the whole country,” Mr. Nyantakyi told the ‘investors’ in the video released by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Prior to today’s upcoming screening, a four-minute clip from the one-hour, thirty minutes documentary was shown to the President, Nana Akufo-Addo by Anas.
Subsequently, the Presidency revealed at a press conference that the clip shows GFA President, Kwesi Nyantakyi, using the offices of the President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and his Vice, Mahamudu Bawumia, to extort money from people.
The President urged the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to invite Mr Nyantakyi for questioning.
Mr Nyantakyi subsequently handed himself to police to assist with investigations after a charge of defrauding by false pretense was leveled against him.
There has been a longstanding perception that Mr Nyantakyi’s stay in office, which has spanned at least 13 years, is the cause of setbacks with Ghana’s football.
By WANJOHI GITHAE and AGGREY MUTAMBO*
Former US President Barack Obama is set to visit Kenya on July 16. The one-day visit will see him hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, before travelling to his ancestral home of K’Ogelo to visit with his relatives.
He will then proceed to South Africa where he will deliver the annual Nelson Mandela lecture the next day.
The former president will not be accompanied by members of his family.
This will be the first visit to Kenya after he left office on January 20, last year. He has visited Kenya three other times in 1987, 1992 and the high profile visit in 2015 when serving his second term as president.
Sources indicated that the former president, who enjoys a bipartisan support in the country, is also likely to meet opposition leaders.
“The visit has been on the cards for the last two weeks. The exact timelines are not yet confirmed but he will visit Kenya en route to South Africa,” said a source.
State House could not expressly confirm the visit. Spokesman Manoah Esipisu instead directed us to Obama’s office.
“President Obama’s office will make an announcement,” he said.
Sources indicated that a reputable public relations company has already been hired to help manage the visit.
American embassy in Nairobi promised to answer our queries on Monday.
Media relations officer Jim Onyango, when contacted said that he would prefer that we send questions formally.
“We prefer you send the questions through email. We will answer them on Monday seeing that today (Saturday) is a weekend,” he said.
When he visited Kenya in 2015, Obama said he will come back when the trappings of power would have been relaxed.
“I know that there are still places in this beautiful nation that I have not discovered. I am going to make sure that I get back and it is not just Kenya, there is an ecosystem that is connected from Uganda to Tanzania. Climbing Kilimanjaro seems like something that should be on my list of things to do once I get out of here,” he said in 2015.
“The Secret Service does not like me climbing mountains but as a private citizen hopefully I can get away with something like that.”
He promised then when he visits again, it would not be in a suit.
“I will be back to Kenya next time, maybe not in a suit. I would also come with (my daughters) Malia and Sasha. My family loves Kenya,” said the then American President.
Mr Obama comes to Kenya when the government has taken heed on issues he raised during his address to Kenyans from Kasarani Stadium.
*Courtesy of Nairobi News
By Prince Kurupati
When Cyril Ramaphosa ascended to power a day after Valentine’s this year, a huge wave of euphoria engulfed the entire country of South Africa. However, only a 100 days down the lane, the huge wave of euphoria is slowly waning and the once touted ‘Ramaphoria’ seems to be turning into ‘Ramaphobia’.
Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power was greeted with massive joy by almost all South Africans especially the ordinary South African. However, though still popular, signs of discontent are starting to show among the various groups that once held him as the ‘saviour’. Ordinary South Africans who viewed Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power as a relief following years of economic stagnation and unemployment are fast losing hope as the status quo is showing no signs of changing anytime soon.
While Ramaphosa may no longer be as popular as he was 100 Days ago, his presidency thus can best be described as a mixed bag – there are a lot of positives suggesting the future is bright while at the same time there are worrying signs suggesting the change many people have been waiting for, for so long may take a little longer than anticipated. In not so long a piece, the following showcases Ramaphosa’s first 100 Days in office.
Injected confidence in an economy that was desperate for confidence
In any economic setup, confidence is such a crucial factor for success. While confidence had totally deserted South Africa owing to the many allegations and accusations of corruption levelled upon South Africa’s the then president, Jacob Zuma, many actors in the economic sphere in the country were devoid of confidence in the government administration. This lack of confidence transcended beyond borders to outside investors who were afraid of putting their capital in an economy that could ‘crumble’ at any time. However, the mere change of face of the president was enough to convince economic actors and investors that the country was now on the right path. The fact the Rand rallied over 4 percent in the aftermath of Ramaphosa’s inauguration underlies this.
State enterprises’ reforms
One of the main focus areas for Ramaphosa, as he took power, was reforming state enterprises. Most of South Africa’s state enterprises’ boards during Jacob Zuma’s last days in office were labelled as cronies of Jacob Zuma. These boards were said to have been ‘captured’. As such, there was a need to sanitise the state enterprises’ boards. Ramaphosa took swift action in sanitising the boards of most state enterprises by removing and replacing the boards. Boards of state enterprises such as Eskom (power generation), South African Express (national airline), the South Africa Revenue Service and Denel (aerospace and defence) were replaced.
Putting the right people in the right places
One of the key responsibilities of a president is to identify the right people for the right positions. Ramaphosa thus far has shown that he is competent in this regard as his appointments have got things moving. Pravin Gordhan who was appointed as the public enterprise’s minister spearheaded the state enterprises’ reforms, Nhlanhla Nene has overseen the rise of the Rand and injected a new lease of life at South Africa’s treasury while Lindiwe Sisulu has already started coordinating for important world summits to be held in South Africa.
Focusing on youth empowerment
When he ascended to power, Ramaphosa quickly identified the youth as a group that needed immediate help. This rightly so considering the growing youth unemployment rate in the country. In efforts to empower the youth, Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service in order to create more employment for South Africa’s youth; unemployed youths will be placed in paid internships in state enterprises and also the private sector. In his own capacity, Ramaphosa also pledged to donate half of his salary to the Nelson Mandela Thuma Mina Fund which helps empower youth from impoverished backgrounds.
Making himself approachable
In as much as Zuma’s actions were vilified towards his last days in power, he was still approachable and adored even by the fiercest of critics. Zuma’s down to earth and open personality aptly made him a people’s president, something that prompted then opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille to state that Zuma is “affable, humble and approachable” and that the “personal tone of the presidency is open and friendly”. Cyril Ramaphosa, a rather laid back and reserve guy had to fill Zuma’s boots in all its facets thus had to find a way to make himself approachable too; so far he has succeeded largely due to his #Tummymustfall walks. Ramaphosa’ ‘send me’ rhetoric has also made him a people’s favourite. Ramaphosa also showed that he is a people’s president when he cut short his trip to the United Kingdom to come and manage the rising tensions surrounding the removal of Supra Mahumapelo.
Pushed through a new minimum wage
Ramaphosa moved swiftly to address one of the key areas that the country was found wanting in recent times. According to a report from CNBC, “South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world. According to the World Bank, the poorest 20 percent of South Africans consume less than 3 percent of the country’s total expenditure. Meanwhile, the wealthiest 20 percent account for 65 percent.” In order to address this challenge, Ramaphosa approved Parliament’s decision to set the new minimum wage at 3,500 Rand (around $277).
Land expropriation without compensation proving to be a difficult issue to manage
The land expropriation without compensation was always going to be difficult for any president to handle let alone Ramaphosa. As the issue was raised by his own party, it was a given that Ramaphosa would agree with the view. In his own words, Ramaphosa said: “We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.” While his position is clear with regards to the issue, Ramaphosa has not backed it with any action thus far. However, at one stage or another, actions not just words will be expected from the president. How he deals with it will prove whether he is a success or not. At this stage, no conclusion can be reached.
Rising taxes and food prices making Ramaphosa unpopular
For the first time in 25 years, South Africa’s VAT increased. According to the Huffington Post SA, “There’s a big gap between the revenue that was budgeted to be collected by government and what was actually collected,” this is in relation to the 2017 fiscal year; however, the same has been happening in recent years too. The gap had been rising gradually year by year and the decision was taken to manage and curtail the rising gap by increasing VAT. While helping the government to balance its books, the decision has had a terrible effect on South Africans especially the poor. Poor South Africans are having to pay more for clothing, medical and even some foodstuffs that are not zero-rated.
In all, Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office have been alright if popular citizen surveys are anything to go by but he has faced some tough issues especially the land expropriation without compensation issue; however, much is expected in future rather than now, therefore, he has ample time of solidifying his position in the party in preparation for the 2019 presidential elections.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
DRA limited, the company under whose supervision Consar Limited was working is to bare $2 million of the fine in addition to a series of recommendations by the committee tasked to look into the Newmont Ahafo Mines disaster in April this year.
Newmont Ghana is expected to pay $500, 000 while Consar Ghana Limited is to pay an additional fine of US$200,000.
The fatal accident that occurred at the Newmont Ahafo Mine at Kenyasi No 2 in the Brong Ahafo region on Saturday, April 7, 2018 claimed the lives of six workers.
The deceased were identified as Kwadwo Asare, Gideon Amankwaa, Kojo Bismarch, Ben Brako, Agyei Wale and Ebenezer Sarfo.
They were workers of Consar Company Limited, a sub-contracting firm which had been contracted to construct a reclaim tunnel roof at the Ahafo Mill Expansion Project.
They were on the site when the structure collapsed and trapped them.
Four others, Musa Sulemana, Seth Kwame, Daniel Dzitor and one other person who got injured during the accident were treated and discharged at the SOS Clinic of the mine.
Below is the full statement
PRESS STATEMENT BY HON. MINISTER FOR LANDS & NATURAL RESOURCES ON ENQUIRY REPORT ON MULTIPLE FATALITY ACCIDENT AT NEWMONT AHAFO MILL EXPANSION (A.M.E.) PROJECT ON 7TH APRIL 2018
On 7th April 2018, in compliance with Regulation 26 of Minerals and Mining (Health Safety and Technical Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2182), Management of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (Newmont or NGGL) Ahafo Mine, reported an accident which resulted in multiple fatalities (six dead) and various degrees of injuries to four other workers of Consar Limited.
Consar is a contractor working under the supervision of DRA Ghana Limited, an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management (EPCM) agent of NGGL, constructing a Reclaim Tunnel as part of the Ahafo Mill Expansion (AME) Project. The employees were reportedly involved in pouring a mixture of concrete at the Reclaim Tunnel when the two-level formwork structure at the west end of the Reclaim Tunnel failed, fatally injuring six men and injuring four others.
On the Sunday 8th April, 2018 the Hon. Minister led a team of Ministry and Mineral Commission officials to visit the accident site at the Ahafo mine in order to ascertain on firsthand the cause and the circumstances leading to the accident. The Hon. Minister and the team also visited the deceased families to commiserate with them as well as the injured.
Pursuant to Regulation 16(1)(c) of L.I. 2182, the Hon. Minister constituted an investigation team under the auspices of the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission to conduct an enquiry into the causes and circumstances leading to the accident.
On 18th May 2018, a copy of the Report of the investigation Team was presented/submitted to the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources. The investigations which took almost five weeks came up with several findings which bordered on design, operational and managerial failures leading to the fatalities and casualties. The Ministry has been reliably informed that NGGL has already deployed resources to support the injured and the families of the deceased victims.
The investigations team has come out with the following recommendations:
-Newmont Ghana Gold Limited Ahafo Mine shall suspend DRA Ghana Limited from all their activities at NGGL Ahafo Mine for failure to ensure the absolute health, safety and security of their contractor employees and therefore in branch of Regulation 553, LI 2182 of 2012.
-DRA Ghana Limited shall be dismissed from undertaking any construction project management on any mining site in Ghana for their blunt disregard for safety.
III. DRA Ghana Limited shall be fined US$10,000 for operating at the Ahafo site without Mining Services Operation Permit (breach of Regulation 8(4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012) and for each day that the Company had operated without the Mining Services Operating Permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed.
-Newmont Ghana Gold Limited shall also be fined US$10,000 for failure to ensure that DRA Ghana Limited obtains a Mining Services Operating Permit prior to commencing operations at the Ahafo Site (breach of Regulation 8(4 and 5) LI 2182 of 2012) and for each day that the Company had operated without the Mine Support Operating Permit, an additional fine of US$200 shall be imposed.
-Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for failure to ensure the safety of contractor employees working at the Ahafo Mine Site shall pay the fatally wounded and the injured employees the appropriate workmen compensation. In addition, the fatally wounded employees should be compensated for their traumatic death, loss of their life and jettisoning of their livelihood.
-NGGL shall be fined US$10,000 for breach of Regulation 23(1), L.I. 2182 of 2012).
VII. Mr. Osei Owusu Adansi (Supervisor of Consar Ltd.) shall be dismissed from working as a supervisor at the A.M.E. Project site, for not ensuring the safety of his workmen (breaches of Regulations 550 and 553, L.I. 2182 of 2012).
VIII. In the event of a major spill of concrete mixture during pouring, Consar Limited shall ensure that pouring of concrete mixture into formworks shall be halted, and a report should be made to the Project Managers for assessment and decision making.
-There shall be no work underneath any erected formworks during the pouring of concrete mixtures. Work can only take place after the concrete mixture had been certified to be cured by a competent person.
-Consar Limited in continuing their work shall develop and implement controls to prevent workers from working beneath suspended load across the entire site with immediate effect.
The designs and construction of all formworks at the A.M.E. Project shall be reviewed immediately to take into consideration the horizontal forces on the haunch/chamfer at the edges of slabs.
XII. Provisions shall be made in all designs and construction of formworks for diagonal or cross and horizontal bracings for all Projects on the Mine.
XIII. Newmont shall immediately review all organograms to ensure that The General Manager has oversight responsibilities over all projects pursuant to Regulation 40 and 55, LI. 2182 of 2012. For this breach NGGL shall be fined US$10,000.
XIV. Further, NGGL shall ensure that Functional Managers have control and oversight responsibilities over the operational activities of all Projects on the Mine.
-NGGL shall immediately review its organizational structure to be consistent with operational responsibilities of the statutorily appointed managers to remedy the breach of the requirements under Regulation 35, LI. 2182 of 2012. For this breach NGGL shall be fined US$10,000.
XVI. General Manager of NGGL, Ahafo Mine shall ensure absolute responsibility of all the activities of Contractors over the life of the A.M.E. Project.
XVII. There shall be a civil supervisor and Safety Officer always present at the site during all operations by all contractors.
XVIII. All props shall be aligned vertically and braced appropriately during all such installations of formwork and supports.
XIX. All formworks designed by a Certified Engineer shall be inspected ad proved by same after installation.
-All Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) of all activities at the A.M.E. Project shall specify responsible and accountable persons for each task.
XXI. Consar Limited shall provide logbooks on site to record instructions, activities etc.
XXII. Consar Limited shall provide details of their Emergency Response Plans to the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission by May 30, 2018. Consar Limited shall be fined US$10,000 each for failure to have site specific emergency response plan.
XXIII. NGGL shall be fined US$10,000 for not ensuring that DRA Ghana Limited and Consar Limited had emergency response plan.
XXIV. Newmont shall review its emergency Reponses Plan to include construction related scenarios by May 30, 2018.
XXV. Consar Limited shall immediately ensure that risk assessment completed for the tasks have adequate controls.
XXVI. All concrete mixing trucks for Consar Limited shall have waybills in them.
XXVII. Consar Limited shall ensure careful supervision and continuous inspection of formwork during erection, concrete placement, and removal of formwork.
XXVIII. Consar Limited shall remove the deformed formwork and iron rods and fix new ones before the concrete slab is recast.
XXIX. All the conveyor support structure, equipment and chutes which had been installed prior to pouring the concrete mixture, shall be removed to enable the appropriate supports to be erected prior to recasting the slab.
XXX. NGGL shall ensure that all agents and contractors working at the Ahafo Mine site identify, label and communicate exclusive zones to workers each day prior to commencement of task.
XXXI. NGGL shall ensure that all contractors on the Mine have Mine Support Services Operating Permits.
XXXII. Henceforth there shall be counterpart Ghanaian Consulting Engineers and Architects for all Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management activities at all mine sites in fulfillment of Local Content requirements.
DIRECTIVES FROM THE HON. MINISTER ON THE OUTCOME OF THE INVESTIGATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS MADE
Upon receipt of the report, DRA submitted a petition in response in a bid to absolve itself. However, following a review of the said petition, the Hon. Minister has subsequently directed the Minerals Commission to implement to the letter all the recommendations made by the investigation team. Indeed, above recommendations notwithstanding, and without any prejudice to any further action required by law and/or as recommended by the Investigation Report, The Hon. Minister as per the Minerals and Mining Act 2006, Act 703 Section 5(1) hereby directs as follows:
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Ghana’s Former President John Jerry Rawlings says the constant lies being peddled by some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) about his family makes it difficult for him to criticize President Akufo Addo led administration.
Delivering a durbar to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the June 4 revolution in Accra, Mr. Rawlings said he finds it difficult to believe some of the scandals that are being reported about the Akufo-Addo led government because of the lies that are regularly peddled about him and his wife.
“Some of the little ones are so vicious with their mouths…the kind of sins and nasty evil things that they do but turn around and insult people like Martin Amidu, like my wife, like myself and I wonder if that is my wife they are talking about, I wonder if that is me.
“When you say I don’t criticise Nana Addo or the things he does, to be quite honest I don’t know what to believe or to disbelieve because I know some of the things our people say about Martin Amidu, my wife and myself are false,” the military dictator said.
The former president has been a harsh critic of the party he founded under the late President John Evans Atta Mills and later President John Mahama.
But majority of his party members have accused him for treating the current government with kid gloves despite the many scandals that have rocked the NPP administration in less than 2 years in power.
Background of the June 4 revolution
The revolution sparked when the then military government of the Supreme military Council (SMC II) of General F K. Akuffo put then flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on public trial for attempting to overthrow the government on May 15th 1979. This happened because Rawlings was a junior soldier in the Ghanaian Army who with other soldiers were refused to be given their salaries.
Rawlings turned the trial against the government by accusing it of massive corruption and requesting that his fellow accused be set free as he was solely responsible for the mutiny. He was incarcerated. His diatribe resonated with the entire nation as there was massive suffering.
In the night of June 3rd 1979, junior military officers including Major Boakye Djan broke into the jail where Rawlings was being held and freed him, and ostensibly marched him to the national radio station to make an announcement. The first time the public heard from Rawlings was a now legendary statement that he Rawlings had been released by the junior officers and that he was under their command. He requested all soldiers to meet with them at the Nicholson Stadium in Burma Camp in Accra.
The entire nation went up in uproar. The soldiers rounded up senior military officers including three former heads of states, General F. K Akuffo, Ignatious Kutu Acheampong and Afrifa for trial. They were subsequently executed by firing squad.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Mental Health Authority (GHA), Dr Akwasi Osei is warning of great calamity in the country’s mental health system in the event the Department for International Development (DFID) withdraws its support of the Authority.
The DFID’s support for the GHA and by extension the country ’s three psychiatric hospitals comes to an end June this year—a situation Dr Osei warned will cripple entire mental health delivery system.
“So, if this support comes to an end then we will really not have any money to fall on. Indeed what DFID is saying is that if we have any monies left unspent we need to return it and again the programme that we have is such that we are not likely to have any monies left.
“So, if the month comes to an end and we do not have any monies to let us continue to survive…to exist we will be forced to shut down and that’s the stark reality,” he lamented.
As a result, he added the hospitals in the next few days will “be forced to decide that either they shut down, in other words, they will not be admitting anybody, or they go back fully into cash and carry”offloading the cost of care to the patients.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Telecommunications companies in the Ghana are rejecting the moves by Kelni GVG monitor them stating that it would spy on Ghanaians. According to the Telcos, the point where the National Communications Authority (NCA) wants Kelni GVG to connect for real time monitoring will breach the data of customers. Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful last week warned that the Telcos will be severely dealt with if they refuse to cooperate with Kelni GVG.
The minister in a statement to Parliament indicated that two telcos are in the process of being connected. “I am happy to announce that Vodafone and Glo are in the process of being connected as we speak. The others are expected to be connected by the 11th of June. Any operator who fails to comply will be sanctioned.”
But CEO for the Telecoms Chamber Ken Ashigbey claims the ministry wants to perpetuate an illegality. “The current architecture that the NCA and their service providers are proposing do not comply with the laws. “The law also says that we must be sure that when we do that we don’t have access to the content so that there is no privacy breach…but unfortunately the architecture has the capability [to spy]. So what the telcos are saying is that, as we speak our data stands to be breached if we go with the current architecture.”
Policy think-tank IMANI Africa first sounded an alarm over the details of the deal and called for its immediate termination. Its president, Franklin Cudjoe, argued that the agreement mirrored the controversial agreements the state entered into with Subah Infosolutions and Afriwave Telcom Ltd in 2010 and 2016 respectively. He also raised the privacy concerns while questioning the credibility of Kelni GVG.
“Ghanaians will have their data threatened if they allow this GVG company to play with their phone calls, chats, everything…with very strange characters behind it since all it has, for a security company of its pedigree, are stock photos,” he bemoaned.
Following the ongoing talks between members of the former NPDP, the APC and the Presidency in recent days,a team from the former nPDP led by Speaker of the House of Representatives, His Excellency Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and four others, were to meet with the Vice President, His Excellency Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, CON, in a statement said: ” we are truly and earnestly committed to achieving reconciliation, harmony, truce and cohesion in the APC as we approach the 2019 general elections, it is appears that the Presidency is not interested in the talks and that they may have been negotiating in bad faith.”
“We were alarmed that immediately after our meeting with the Vice President last week, the presidency misrepresented what transpired at the meeting by trying to blackmail some of the principal actors involved in the discussions in a national daily.”
“Similarly, the leadership of the party (APC) went ahead to ratify all the Congresses from ward, local governments, states and zonal where many of our members have complaints, effectively presenting us with a fait accompli.
The persecution of our members using state security apparatus have continued unabated.
We recognize the powers of the Police to conduct criminal investigations but by rushing to the public with the issue even when they have unfettered access to the leadership of the National Assembly suggests an attempt to undermine, caricature and humiliate the institution of the legislature.”
“It appears that there is a fouled and toxic atmosphere and environment of intimidation and threat to life in which we now find ourselves which may no longer be conducive for members of the former nPDP to continue with the talks. Given the unfolding events in the last 24 hours,where the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Executive Governor of Kwara State , both of whom attended the meeting with the Vice President on Monday 28 May, 2018 ,have suddenly been accused of sponsoring armed robbery by the Police under the directives of the Presidency.”
“Similarly, on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, the Department of State of Services (DSS) also suddenly withdrew more than half of all the security details attached to the presiding officers of the National Assembly under questionable circumstances.”
“The nPDP leadership has decided to brief our members on the unfortunate development and get a fresh mandate if good faith returns to the discussions.”
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola “often has problems with Africans”, says ex-Blues midfielder Yaya Toure.
The Ivorian, who left City in May after eight years at the club, says he wants to “break the myth” about Guardiola, whom he describes as “jealous”.
“Maybe we Africans are not always treated by some in the same way as others,” said Toure in an interview with France Football.
Premier League champions City have declined to comment on Toure’s views.
Before his departure, the club named one of their training pitches after him and unveiled a mosaic of him at their training complex.
This summer they are set to sign France-born Algeria international Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.
Toure, an Ivory Coast international, played for Guardiola at Barcelona for two seasons until he was sold to City in 2010 for £24m.
He won six major trophies in England but started just one Premier League game in City’s latest title-winning campaign – their final home fixture of the season against Brighton.
Prior to that game, Guardiola said: “Yaya came here at the start of the journey. Where we are now is because of what he has done.
“The Brighton game we will give him what he deserves, one of the most beautiful farewells a player can receive.”
Toure completed 86 minutes against Brighton, having featured for 142 minutes in the league prior to that this season.
He believes that was “not down to physics”, saying he sought data from the club’s trainers to compare himself to younger players.
Guardiola won six league titles as a player at Barcelona and has added a further seven as a manager during spells with the Catalan club, Bayern Munich and City.
Toure said: “I do not know why but I have the impression that he was jealous, he took me for a rival. As if I made him a little shade.
“He was cruel to me. I came to wonder if it was not because of my colour.
“I am not the first to talk about these differences in treatment. In Barca, some have also asked the question.
“When we realise he often has problems with Africans wherever he goes, I ask myself questions.
“I want to be the one who breaks the myth of Guardiola.”
Toure started 22 league games under Guardiola in the 2016-17 season, and says he was asked to stay for another year, but then used sparingly.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday declared open the 61st Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Commission for Africa (UNWTO-CAF) in Abuja by inviting tourists and investors to consider Nigeria as their second home.
The President, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,Mr. Boss Mustapha, said his Administration has attractive investment incentives for investors in the tourism sector, including minimum tariff on imported tourism equipment, amusement park equipment and materials for hotel construction and furnishing, dedicated transportation for tour operators and equipment for restaurants not manufactured in Nigeria, work permit for foreign workers with specialized skills within the industry and land at concessionary rate by state governments to tourism investors.
He said the Administration, having identified the tourism sector as one of the pillars of its diversification policy, is also investing heavily in infrastructure and human resource development in order to make Nigeria a choice destination for tourists.
”In our efforts at diversifying the economy through agriculture, solid minerals development and tourism, we are investing heavily in infrastructure. This administration has injected US$9 billion to strengthen its investment in power, roads, railway in the past two years alone.
”Also, this government is investing in human resource development through the introduction of the Social Investment Programme that has benefitted 9 million people. These programmes include our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme that is providing one meal a day to 7.4 million pupils in 22 states; N-Power programme that has employed 200,000 university graduates and is about to employ 300,000 more; the Conditional Cash Transfer under which some 297,973 poor homes are receiving 5,000 Naira monthly, and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme that has provided loans to hundreds of thousands of small business owners,” President Buhari said.
The President hailed the ”creative young talents” that have made Nigerian music and films the toast of the world, saying for the Nigerian youths, the best is yet to come.
He commended the leadership of the UNWTO, the Commission for Africa (CAF) and, most importantly, the Tourism Ministers from all over Africa, for considering Nigeria worthy of hosting this event.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is the host Minister, said hosting the event in Nigeria is a testimony to the achievements of the Buhari Administration, especially in the area of security
”As a matter of fact, four years ago, this meeting could not have been held here. Recall that Boko Haram carried out many attacks in this capital city. The UN Complex, the Police Headquarters, a newspaper house, bus station were all attacked.
”Residents of Abuja could not sleep with their two eyes closed. Today, that is history. There is no clearer evidence than the fact that this event is being held here in the city,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the Administration is working hard to boost tourism in the country, citing the Visa On Arrival policy, massive investment in upgrading infrastructure and enhancing security, as well as the provision of enabling environment and incentives, including strong public and private sector collaboration and enabling laws for the preservation and protection of cultural heritage, as some of the measures being taken by the government.
He thanked President Buhari for his unalloyed support without which, he said, the hosting of the conference would not have been possible. The Minister said the meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss ways and means to promote intra-Africa travels and tourism, leveraging on the continent’s vast and unique resources and our number, for mutual benefit to all member states.
The three-day meeting is being attended by over 500 delegates, including 26 African Ministers of Tourism, the Secretary-General of the UNWTO, who is leading the top executives of the global tourism body, as well as tourism experts and stakeholders.
ABIDJAN (REUTERS) – Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said he is free to stand for a third term in the 2020 presidential election under the country’s new constitution, according to an interview in this week’s edition of French magazine Jeune Afrique.
“The new constitution authorizes me to serve two terms starting in 2020,” Ouattara, 76, told Jeune Afrique, implying that his two election wins under the old constitution would not count against the new constitution’s two-term limit.
“I will only make a definitive decision then, based on the situation in Ivory Coast. Stability and peace come before all else, including my principles,” he said.
A government spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
Ivorian voters overwhelmingly approved the new constitution in a November 2016 vote that was boycotted by Ouattara’s main opposition.
It scrapped a provision in the previous constitution requiring both of a presidential candidates’ parents be natural-born Ivorian citizens, which had been used to disqualify Ouattara from a 2000 election and helped fuel regional tensions that saw the country split into two from 2002-11.
Ouattara has family ties that straddle the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali.
Prospective successors have been jockeying for political position ahead of the 2020 election, threatening to break apart Ouattara’s governing coalition and raising fears the country could experience renewed civil conflict.
The presidents of other African countries, including Rwanda and Congo Republic, have altered their constitutions in recent years to get around term limits, but Ouattara had previously promised to step down in 2020.
Under Ouattara, Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, has routinely recorded some of the highest economic growth rates in Africa on the back of record cocoa production and investments in infrastructure and services.
But historical divisions based on ethnicity, land and religion have not healed and a string of army mutinies and public sector strikes have taken some of the shine off the country’s economic successes.
(This version of the story has been refiled to remove extraneous word in paragraph two and to fix typo in paragraph eight)
BY CAMILLUS EBOH AND Alexis Akwagyiram*
ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian police said on Sunday the president of the upper house of parliament had been invited for questioning over allegations that he financed a criminal gang that carried out a spate of armed robberies and killed 33 people including pregnant women.
Bukola Saraki’s spokesman said in a statement the allegations were untrue, describing them as “ridiculous, unbelievable and a mere fabrication”. Saraki’s three-year tenure as Senate president has been marred by numerous accusations of misconduct and investigations, though none have led to convictions.
It said Saraki – Nigeria’s third most senior politician – had been invited to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office in the capital, Abuja, to answer to the allegations.
A faction of the president’s All Progressives Congress party with close ties to Saraki last month issued a public letter stating that many of its members felt ostracized just months before a presidential election in February 2019 which Buhari says he plans to contest.
Following the recent recruitment Test Organised by the Nigerian Police Force for intending Police Officers in Nigeria, the Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, otherwise known as Winners Chapel, Dr. David Olaniyi Oyedepo has admonished President Muhamadu Buhari led administration to be conscious of every move and policies that would spore religious war in Nigeria.
Speaking during his prophetic ministration at the largest gathering of Christian worshipers worldwide in Canaan land Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria , Oyedepo said: ” The inclusion of Arabic studies in the recent Nigeria Police Force NPF recruitment Test is highly unacceptable.”
“Some forces just want to score political marks by trying to divide us just to impress the president. This administration and all agents that want to divide Nigeria should be seriously warned as it’s too late to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State.”
The Bishop further call for the NPF recruitment Test to be re-written and the Arabic studies in the test be scraped.
According to the Bishop: ” We therefore reject the NPF recruitment Test and ask for it to be re-written without the inclusion of the Arabic Studies in it.”
Top officials working for Kenya’s government must undergo a lie detector test as part of a corruption crackdown, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
Mr Kenyatta said the test, which would determine employee “integrity”, was just one part of a raft of planned measures to deal with the problem.
He was speaking after it was revealed 8bn Kenyan shillings (£59m; $78m) had gone missing from a government agency.
Some 40 civil servants are facing charges over the alleged theft.
The corruption scandal, which was brought to light by suppliers who had not been paid, saw funds allegedly stolen via the National Youth Service (NYS) through fake invoices and multiple payments.
The investigation into the NYS – a key part of Mr Kenyatta’s plan to address youth unemployment – is seen as a blow to the president’s pledge to stamp out corruption, made when first elected in 2013.
Mr Kenyatta’s speech appears to be an attempt to get ahead of the problem.
Speaking to crowds gathered to celebrate 55 years since Kenya attained internal self-rule, he said Kenya had to eliminate “corruption in our country before it fully destroys us and the future of our children”.
“Let me now mention just one part of a raft of measures that we intend to implement to tackle corruption,” he said.
“As an initial step, all heads of procurement and accounts in government ministries, departments [and] agencies… will undergo fresh vetting, including polygraph testing to determine their integrity and suitability.
“Those who fail the vetting will stand suspended.”
By Catherine Byaruhanga*
Uganda’s parliament has passed legislation banning the import of vehicles older than 15 years.
The policy is meant to fight environmental pollution and help reduce road accidents, which have been blamed on older cars.
Curbing pollution and improving road safety have become major points of debate in Uganda.
Uganda observed three days of national mourning this week following a bus accident over the weekend, which killed more than 20 people.
Recent surveys have named the capital, Kampala, as one of the most-polluted cities in Africa.
But car importers warn banning old vehicles will lead to job losses and make it harder for poorer Ugandans to afford a car.
A new car, which is often expensive, incurs taxes of more than 50%.
To encourage Ugandans to buy newer cars, lawmakers removed an environmental levy on cars below eight years of age.
Last year, Ugandans imported an average of 2,500 used cars per month.
Neighbouring Kenya stopped the importation of vehicles older than eight years old earlier this year.
Nigeria may not be favourites for the World Cup, but they seem to have won fans over with their new kit for Russia.
Three million people pre-ordered replica shirts, according to the Nigeria Football Federation, and shoppers queued outside Nike’s flagship store in London on Friday to try to get their hands on the clothing.
The home and away shirts, priced at £64.95, were sold out on the sportswear giant’s website soon after they were released.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi is among the players who modelled the kit, which was first revealed back in February, along with Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi, who wore a branded bucket hat and jacket for the promotional photos.
The makers describe the home kit as a “subtle homage to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt, with its eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso”.
The away kit, meanwhile, is a “cool, refined vision” of a classic full-green strip.
Nigeria are set to wear their new shirt when they face England in their World Cup warm-up game at Wembley on Saturday (17:15 BST).
By Papisdaff Abdullah.
Consensus Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Aristide Gomes, has appealed to Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Danqua Akufo Addo, to persuade his colleague Heads of State within the ECOWAS sub-region to assist Guinea Bissau out of its political crisis and also to hold national elections come November.
The Guinea Bissau leader made the request when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo- Addo, at the Jubilee House as part of his West African sub-regional tour to seek help for his country. In his address, Prime Minister Gomes said his country needs a total of nine million Euros (€9m) in order to conduct it’s elections in November this year.
So far, the country has been able to raise 2 million Euros of the needed amount for the elections. He therefore requested of President Akufo Addo to compel ECOWAS to contribute 2.5 million Euros towards the elections. Additionally, the Consensus Prime Minister asked West African leaders to maintain peacekeeping troops currently serving in his country. He observed that their continued presence in Guinea Bissau is critical for the peace of the state.
The Ghanaian President in his response said he and his colleagues consider Guinea Bissau as a very important state within West Africa and therefore supporting her out of its current political challenges is a very important duty. The President to this end, indicated that he will champion efforts to get all the help Guinea Bissau needs beginning this Saturday when the President of ECOWAS visits him. He also assured that at the next ECOWAS Heads of State meeting and African Union Summit coming off in a few weeks, matters concerning Guinea Bissau will be thoroughly dealt with.
Aristide Gomes became Guinea-Bissau’s Prime Minister on Monday, 16th of April, 2018, in what President Jose Mario Vaz said would put a definitive end to years of political crisis in the small West African nation. Prime Minister Gomes who served as Prime Minister of the former Portuguese colony from 2005 to 2007, is thus Consensus Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau.
Gomes is tasked with leading Guinea-Bissau to fresh presidential and parliamentary elections set for November, 2018. Guinea-Bissau has been in the grip of a power struggle since August 2015, when President Vaz sacked his then Prime Minister, Domingos Simoes Pereira. Gomes, 63, succeeded Augusto Antonio Artur Da Silva, who was named in late January. Prime Minister Gomes was accompanied by Guinea Bissau’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Yoad Botiam Co.
The Federal Government has slammed the country’s political opposition for downplaying the unprecedented achievements of President Buhari’s Administration, saying they are being deliberately and perpetually blind to the achievements.
Speaking during the inauguration of the 22-member newly-elected Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), under the chairmanship of Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, in Abuja on Thursday.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed described the opposition as unserious, very disdainful of the truth, lacks ideas and believes that being in opposition means crying wolf where there is none and spewing out fake information at the speed of light!
”Where is the seriousness in an opposition party throwing out a spurious figure of N10 trillion as the amount of money that has been looted under the present administration? What is Nigeria’s annual national budget? How do you react to an opposition that is deliberately and perpetually blind to the monumental achievements of this Administration?” Alhaji Mohammed queried.
He said while naysayers might pretend not to have seen all these achievements, ”Nigerians who are benefitting directly from them have testified to the reality of the successes.”
Listing some of the achievements of the Administration, the Minister said it had taken power generation from 2,690MW to 7,000MW, moved Nigeria closer to self-sufficiency in rice than any Administration before it, increased the number of rice farmers from 5 million to an all-time high over 11 million and cut Nigeria’s rice import bill of $1.65 billion annually by 90%.
”We are feeding 8.2 million pupils in 45,394 schools in 24 states, employing 87,261 cooks in the process; we are paying conditional cash transfer of N5,000 monthly to 297,973 poorest and most vulnerable households, never before done in Nigeria; we are building roads, rail and power, spending an unprecedented 2.7 trillion Naira on infrastructure alone in just two years; we have raised capital expenditure in the yearly national budget to an unprecedented 30% on the average, our Social Investment Programmes have benefitted 9 million people.
”The school children who are being fed, the unemployed graduate who has now been employed under N-Power; the small business owner who has benefitted from the GEEP loans and the thousands of people who have been rescued from the clutches of Boko Haram know that these achievements are real,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the economy is also back on the path of growth, after the recession of 2016-17, ”and we have the figures to support this assertion”.
He said the economy grew 1.95 percent in Q1 2018; Inflation has fallen for 15 consecutive months, from 18.7 percent to12.5 percent as of April 2018; External Reserves of $48 billion are the highest in 5 years; Total exports in 2017 were 59.47% higher than for 2016; Agriculture exports grew 180.7% above the value in 2016; Raw material exports grew 154.2% above the value in 2016; Solid minerals exports grew 154.2% above the value in 2016; Exports of manufactured goods grew 26.8% above the value in 2016, And the first quarter of 2018 saw the fourth consecutive quarterly increase in capital importation since Q2 2017.
The Minister said Nigeria moved up 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2017, and was listed among the 10 Most Improved Economies.
He said the Administration is fighting corruption like never before, ”with our Whistleblowing Policy yielding N13.8bn from tax evaders, as well as N7.8bn, $378million, £27,800 in recoveries from public officials”, adding: ”Naysayers say they have not seen all these achievements, Nigerians who are benefitting directly from them have testified to the reality of the successes.”
Alhaji Mohammed advised Public Relations practitioners never to be tired or discouraged from projecting the image of their establishments, even when some people decide to play the blind or the spoiler.
By Papisdaff Abdullah.
A statement by Ghana Police Service Thursday stated that the 46 Officers “will resume full normal police operations,” as the service awaits “the full investigative report from the United Nations for further action.”
It would be recalled that in February this year, the 46 officers on Mission in South Sudan were alleged to have engaged in sexual exploitation and abuse.
A UN statement issued at the time said “the information received indicates that some members of the FPU (Formed Police Unit) allegedly engaged in transactional sex. This is a clear breach of the U.N. and UNMISS Code of Conduct which prohibits sexual relationships with vulnerable individuals, including all beneficiaries of assistance.
“UNMISS has informed U.N. headquarters in New York of the allegations, which in turn notified the Member State that the matter was being investigated by the United Nations. There is no indication that this behavior is more widespread within the Mission.”
Majority of Ghanaians have called on the Ghana Police Service to sack the officers if they are found guilty.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
The think-tank in its latest report on the proliferation of new districts and constituencies in Ghana wants the government to discontinue the payment of the funds to the lawmakers.
IMANI claims the disbursement is a drain on the resources of the district assemblies.
According to IMANI, the MPs common fund is a waste of money and an excuse of the MP to perpetuate himself/herself in power but not necessarily to do the most important job which is making laws.
“What we’re going to do is to keep insisting…we’re going to meet the DCEs and MMDCEs in another meeting and show them exactly why we think that the MPs common fund is a waste of money.
“It’s actually an excuse of the MP to perpetuate himself/herself in power but not necessarily to do the most important job which is making laws. MPs are not development agents… they’re development agents to the extent that they’re making sensible laws for us. They shouldn’t be in the gutters digging holes and doing stuff like that, that’s the job of the DCEs.”
But Ibrahim Ahmed, Deputy Minority chief whip in Ghana’s Parliament and MP for Banda constituency says the suggestion by IMANI to scrap their Common Fund is borne out of ignorance.
“I technically don’t agree with IMANI but it may be due to the fact that he (Franklin Cudjoe, IMANI President) hasn’t been to Parliament before…it is not only a common fund, it is an emergency fund that is the meaning.”
His colleague from the Majority side and MP for Manso Adubia Yaw Frimpong added that he is equally disappointed about the IMANI boss’ proposal.
“He is the owner of a Think Tank, he should go down and conduct a survey…and identify that small amount that is given to the MP the kind of thing that MP is able to do with that 5 percent…that will tell whether this thing must be scrapped or not.”
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Anas Aremeyaw Anas has served notice to his detractors that his campaign against corruption will not cease, despite the litany of death threats he is receiving.
The award-winning undercover journalist will on June 6 premiere a documentary on corruption in Ghana football, a piece he believes will shake the foundation of the beautiful game.
The New Patriotic Party MP for Assin Central Kennedy Agyapong is on a crusade to reveal the identity of Anas because he is against his modus operandi while the Ghana Journalists Association is appealing to the Ghana Police Service to protect their member.
“It has come to the attention of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) that internationally-acclaimed investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has received many death threats following his latest investigative piece on the game of football in Ghana, which is scheduled to be premiered in Accra on Wednesday, June 6 and Thursday June 7, 2018. According to sources close to the ace investigative journalist, apart from receiving messages containing threats of death, some unidentified persons have been tracking his office and other locations ostensibly to harm him,” the GJA said in a statement.
Anas on Thursday tweeted: “We will not be intimidated. More strength and solidarity my brother,” after one of his strong advocates and a sports journalist of Accra based Atinka FM Saddick Adams (Sports Obama) was trailed by two unknown assailants.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Rashid Bawa has denied claims by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan that Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo mocked Nigeria in a recent speech.
In a statement, Ambassador Bawa stated Mr. Akufo-Addo has always referred to Nigeria as “a country I describe as my second home in the world,” and will never use the West African country to make negative examples.
The reaction comes after Goodluck Jonathan said he is ashamed that Nigeria is now being used as a negative example in the international community by Mr. Akufo-Addo
This was in reference to comments made by Ghana’s President Akufo Addo, during a Keynote Address at the 2018 Oxford Africa Conference earlier this month.
During the speech, Mr. Akufo-Addo drew a comparison between 1980 and present-day Nigeria, addressing the need for a collective effort to address the continents challenges.
“For most of you in the audience today, it is probably before your time, but in the late 1970s up to the mid-1980s, as a result of the discovery of considerable petroleum deposits, Nigeria was booming. It was the place to be. We Ghanaians, who were going through very difficult times then, would arrive at Heathrow airport, and be herded into a cage to be subjected to the full third degree by Immigration, and we would look on as our Nigerian cousins would be waved through, with a ‘welcome sir’ and a ‘welcome madam,” Mr. Akufo-Addo said in his speech.
The comments have, however, been interpreted as disparaging by the former Head of State of the neighboring country.
Goodluck Jonathan speaking recently at the inauguration of a bridge in Ekiti State said he was embarrassed by Mr. Akufo-Addo’s comments. He added that the comments meant the current leaders of Nigeria have failed.
But Ambassador Bawa in his reaction said Goodluck Jonathan has deliberately misrepresented the comments of Mr. Akufo-Addo for political gains.
Below is the full statement by Ambassador Bawa
The attention of the Ghana High Commission in Nigeria, and, indeed, of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has been drawn to comments made by the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan, to the effect that President Akufo-Addo has made disparaging remarks about Nigeria.
It is important to stress that the comments made by the former Nigerian President, at the inauguration of the first bridge built by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State in Ado Ekiti, took the words of President Akufo-Addo completely out of context.
Indeed, in the speech delivered by President Akufo-Addo at the Oxford African Conference, one of the instances used by former President Goodluck Jonathan, these are the exact words of President Akufo-Addo:
‘For most of you in the audience today, it is probably before your time, but in the late 1970s up to the mid-1980s, as a result of the discovery of considerable petroleum deposits, Nigeria was booming. It was the place to be. We Ghanaians, who were going through very difficult times then, would arrive at Heathrow airport, and be herded into a cage to be subjected to the full third degree by Immigration, and we would look on as our Nigerian cousins would be waved through, with a ‘welcome sir’ and a ‘welcome madam’.
The newspaper headlines in this country were full of Nigerians leaving or forgetting bundles of money in taxis and telephone booths. Nigerians were the preferred tenants for those who had apartments to let. You could stop by any Thomas Cook shop on any High Street in this country and buy or sell Naira, the Nigerian currency, and you could do the same in New York, and I suspect in many other Western country cities.
I do not need to spell out today’s reality to anyone in this audience. I cite this just to make the point that the “the outside world” is well able to tell that there are separate sovereign nations on the African continent. But, when the news is not good, then Africa is treated as one entity.”
How, then, can anyone describe these words by President Akufo-Addo as intending to mock Nigeria?
Again, the other alleged remark that “Ghana is not Nigeria where cattle can roam about anyhow” has never been made by President Akufo-Addo. That is not his way of speaking.
President Akufo-Addo, in many of the speeches he has made in Nigeria and elsewhere, since becoming President of Ghana, has described Nigeria as “a country I describe as my second home in the world”, and will never use Nigeria to make negative examples, as the former President Goodluck Jonathan sought to portray.
President Akufo-Addo enjoys a very good relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, as he has with many other Nigerian leaders. Ghana and Nigeria are like siblings, and it would be most inappropriate, because of politics, for anyone, regardless of his or her status in society, to try to sow seeds of discord amongst the leadership and peoples of our two countries.
Amb. Rashid Bawa
Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria
By Olayinka Ajayi
Nigerian youths across all ethnic divides have commended the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki for his patriotic roles in the passage of the “Not too young to run” bill.
The bill that was given assent by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday had been passed by the National Assembly last year which altered Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the nation’s constitution. The law has now reduced the age requirement for the offices of President from 40 to 30 and governor from 35 to 30. While the age requirements for the senate has been reduced from 35 to 30, House of Representatives from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly from 30 to 25 respectively.
The Senate President was particularly appreciated for his role in the bill passage at a meeting with the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) led by the Founder, Samson Itodo and Faruk Ibrahim, the National Coordinator.
In a speech delivered on behalf of Dr. Saraki by his Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola, he assured that the passage and assent to the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ bill would be the first phase in the journey for the inclusion of more youths in the nation’s politics.
The Senate President also encouraged youths to champion the advocacy for free and fair elections in 2019. He further encouraged them to step up the advocacy by ensuring that more young people collect their permanent voters cards.
According to Bukola Saraki,
“Not Too Young to Run’ has just finished phase one. Phase two is ensuring that you have a lot of young people that have PVCs and letting everyone know that you have PVCs so that all the political parties will pay attention that you have the numbers.
My advice for all young people is that, this is not a short race, it is a marathon”.
In appreciation of Saraki by Samson Itodo, he said, “Let me congratulate you on the campaign that helped in the passage of the bill in the National and State Houses of Assembly. What you have done has become a reference point across the continent”.
Itodo further appealed to the Senate President to use the same energy that was applied to the ‘Not Too Young to Run’, to push for a free and fair elections in 2019. He said, “When you have the voice, you have the numbers. So the first thing for the advocacy that will support ‘Not Too Young to Run’ must be free and fair elections”.
Also appreciating the entire members of the 8th Assembly, the founder of YIAGA, Samson Itodo commended Saraki, the Senate and the National Assembly for passage of the Bill.
“This is the first time that we had a National Assembly whose leadership played a visible role in the passage of the bill. The fact that you played a part in providing the leadership for the passage of the bill is significant.
“We want to convey our appreciation to you and the other 108 members of the Senate that we are pleased with this development. You and your counterparts in the House of Representatives have written your names in gold,” Itodo said.
Youthful and flourishing legal practitioner who was former National Secretary of Labour Party, Barr.Kayode Ajulo also sang the praises of the Senate President for his relentless efforts in ensuring the speedy passage of the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ bill. He reiterated that the nation’s youth owe Bukola Saraki a debt of eternal gratitude for rising above all odds to ensure that a constitutional space is yielded to them.
31 May 2018. Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria’s Piggybank.ng, an online and mobile app savings platform targeted at African Millennials, today announces that it has closed on Seed Funding of $1.1M, from High Net Worth Individuals, led by Olumide Soyombo, Founder of LeadPath Nigeria, and with participation from International and Pan-African investors Village Capital and Ventures Platform.
The company will deploy the VC investment for license acquisition and product development. Piggybank.ng has recorded 20 – 35% m-o-m growth in user traction over the past 12 months; primarily from peer-to-peer recommendations, its referral program – Piggybank Stories, and grass-roots social media campaigns. The startup will also invest in additional marketing spend, to accelerate its growth trajectory. Having completed accelerator programs with Blackbox, the CcHub’s Pitch Drive, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, and Google Launchpad Africa, Piggybank.ng has built a savings community of over 53,000 registered users of which approximately 60% are Nigerian Millennials, who have saved in excess of $5M, with a savings growth of 3000% between 2016-17.
Founded in 2016 by Somto Ifezue, Odunayo Eweniyi and Joshua Chibueze, graduates of Covenant University, Nigeria, Piggybank.ng is positioned to fill a void for tens of millions of Nigerians, who have no access to credit, in a country where up to two years’ rent is often required upfront to secure a home. Targeting low-middle income savers in Nigeria, of which there are 26.5M with a market size of $2.2Bn, the fintech start-up is an automated savings platform where savers manage their finances by depositing small amounts of money [starting from as little as USD$1/day] on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on their saving target, free of charge. Savers can expect to earn on average 6% per annum on automated savings or 10.95% per annum on the fixed deposit product, Safelock and can withdraw funds once per quarter. Piggybank.ng generates its revenues through asset management, which currently stands at 5 – 7%.
Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder and COO of Piggybank.ng says: “In a country such as Nigeria, almost everything has to be paid in advance. The majority of Nigerians struggle to save their income, manage cash flow and build credit, which is a huge problem as around 80% of Nigerians need to save a minimum of 40% of their monthly income, in order to survive. This is the sheer scale of the challenge we are embracing; to actively promote a savings culture in Nigeria and act as the savings infrastructure to millions of people who want a safe, transparent and innovative platform to assist them in managing their finances, on their journeys to financial freedom.”
Joshua Chibueze, Co-Founder and CMO of Piggybank continues: “Today’s announcement allows us to expand and capitalise on the many opportunities that the market presents us with. Our growth so far has been stimulated almost entirely by peer-to-peer advocacy and our investment in the highest quality customer service, so we know the market is there, and the product has been built, modified, tested and ratified by users. With this fundraise, we can invest significantly in our people and products, as we build a digital financial warehouse accessible to millions of Africans whose savings woes we want to put firmly behind them.”
Olumide Soyombo, Co-Founder Leadpath adds: “Piggybank.ng is a leading example of how Africans are innovating to solve African problems. In this case, the team is applying technology and innovation to solve a problem facing millions of Nigerians; how can they accrue enough money to make down-payments on so many ‘life events’, in a market where there’s little to no access to credit? Led by a solid and experienced executive team, who have recorded significant growth after two years of bootstrapping, and have built a product that is ready to scale, I’m excited to have led other local angel investors this investment round, and to now work closely with the team to grow the platform”
In addition to securing its Seed Funding of $1.1M, Piggybank.ng has recently acquired a micro-financing license from the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], which provides the relevant regulatory cover, allowing them independence from partnering with banks. As of June 2018, the company will also be expanding its product range to include Smart Target, a group savings tool, that can be scaled from family-size to large corporations, based on the age-long West African tradition of ajo or esusu to leverage the power of communal savings and harness the network effect of accountability.
Available on iOS and Android, Piggybankers save an average of N20,000 per month [approx USD$55] and in contrast to conventional bank savings accounts, the platform restricts withdrawals until an agreed date or users can withdraw their savings on a quarterly basis, whereby savings drawn outside of the agreed day attract a 5% early withdrawal fee.
A recent survey conducted by Piggybank.ng, which saw 5,000+ responses, revealed that the top 5 areas Nigerians are saving for include investments, starting a business, rent and unforeseen circumstances e.g health and vacations. Co-founder and CEO, Somto Ifezue concludes, “The research reveals that our savers are hard working, focussed, and serious about reaching their savings goals. Already, we are seeing thousands of our users reaping the benefits of addressing their financial future by weaving Piggybank.ng into their daily lives, making it a savings ritual. We’re looking forward to helping thousands more in the coming months and years reach their financial goals”.
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By Prince Kurupati
Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the Electoral Amendment Act yesterday (29 May 2018). Among other things, the Electoral Amendment Act sets out the roadmap for the 2018 Harmonised elections i.e. how political parties are to conduct themselves in their campaigns, establishes a code of conduct for all political actors not necessarily political parties, spells out the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and it establishes an Electoral Court.
With the Electoral Amendment Act signed and gazetted under the General Notice 307A/2018 of the Extraordinary Government Gazette, it now means that the President can proceed to proclaim the election date widely believed by many legal experts to be either the 28th or 30th day of July this year.
The fact that the Electoral Amendment Act has been signed means that it’s nigh before the 108 political parties in Zimbabwe ‘fight’ each other to win the local councils, House of Parliament, House of Senate and the Presidency elections.
Of all the 108 registered political parties, it seems at this stage (and going forward) that the Presidency race will largely be between two candidates i.e. the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU (PF) and Nelson Chamisa of the main opposition political party MDC-T who is running under the MDC Alliance ticket, an alliance of seven political parties.
Emmerson Mnangagwa has managed to win the hearts of many international actors due to his offensive charm in the international arena. However, back home, he hasn’t gained much ground to warrant a landslide victory against other opposition candidates though he remains the favourite to win.
With the odds slightly in favour of Mnangagwa, this piece is going to project the post-2018 election Zimbabwe under Emmerson Mnangagwa. The projections of this piece have been drawn from the ZANU (PF) manifesto, the party’s primary elections and Mnangagwa’s performance in his first 6 months as the president.
There are different classes of people in Zimbabwe (as one would expect in a country of 16+ million people) but this piece targets (and resonates with) the ordinary Zimbabwean.
Who is the ordinary Zimbabwean?
A loose classification will give us three types of Zimbabweans.
The first is the first class citizen. The first class citizen lives in a bubble totally oblivious to the hardships being felt by other people living in the same country sometimes even a few metres or kilometres from him/her. Privileged children of the well-known and wealthy politicians and business people fall into this category.
The second is the second class citizen. This refers to the privileged who also do not feel the hardships of the day to day life but who are aware that the country is not on a right path and that there are many people who are suffering and failing to provide themselves. Some of these from time to time like to associate with the ‘ordinary’ Zimbabweans so as to identify as one i.e. identify as an ordinary Zimbabwean.
The third refers to ordinary Zimbabweans. Ordinary Zimbabweans are the people who have to bear the brunt of all the country’s hardships. These are the people who toil day and night to put food on the table, people who cross borders to make a living, people who have resigned and now live in abject poverty, the youths who have lost hope and turned to alcohol and substance abuse. It is this group of people that constitute the bulk of Zimbabwe’s population (maybe accounting to as high as 90 percent of the population).
If Mnangagwa’s international offensive charm is anything to go by, then the future looks bright for the majority of Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe’s president since his inauguration has attended many international forums including the World Economic Forum and he has paid courtesy calls to most African countries including neighbouring South Africa and Zambia.
The President’s foreign visits have managed to make him a popular man among international actors and investors. This has, in turn, led to the signing of many mega deals and memorandum of agreements (MoU), all of which are set to improve the country’s economic prospects.
Apart from the mega-deals, Mnangagwa has also managed to get over $11 billion in investment commitments. In his own words, President Mnangagwa said investors promised him they will come once the country holds its harmonised elections scheduled later this year. The prerequisite for the flow of the foreign capital is a free, fair and credible election.
Ordinary Zimbabweans at large have a reason to smile at this because the flow of foreign capital means there will be more employment opportunities for the 90+ percent unemployed. With more employment opportunities for the unemployed, ordinary Zimbabweans can expect a better standard of living and a better life for themselves and their children.
Mnangagwa in this short space of time has also shown that he is a better proposition than his predecessor Robert Mugabe when it comes to dealing with rogue elements both in the party and in the government. the dismissal of Webster Shamu recently who had been accused of engaging in vote rigging through ballot stuffing in the party’s primary elections shows Mnangagwa’s tough stance on rogue elements. In a country that has had to grapple with corrupt and arrogant high ranking officials and politicians, this is a step in the right direction.
In addition, Mnangagwa has made considerable strides in uniting the nation and if he is to carry forward this positive message, then the country is likely to heal from injustices of the past such as Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina. While leading on the front in terms of letting bygones be bygones, Mnangagwa also established a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission that aims at healing the wounds of the past. If the Zimbabwean nation can heal, there is no telling what a unified Zimbabwe can achieve both at home.
Additionally, one cannot forget the work that Mnangagwa has done thus far and will do in the future pertaining to luring back Zimbabweans in the diaspora who have acquired the skills and knowledge to put Zimbabwe back on the world map.
Another bumpy and gruelling 5 years await
Ordinary Zimbabweans have suffered for quite some time now. In fact, most millennials in Zimbabwe have never experienced how it feels to live in an economically and politically stable country except for those who have crossed the country’s borders.
If anything is to go by, the future remains bleak if Emmerson Mnangagwa wins the upcoming elections because of the following:
State media describes the ZANU (PF) manifesto as “modest, realistic and pragmatic,” this is a fair reflection in comparison to past manifestos though the claim that ZANU (PF) is going to build 1.5 million houses (i.e. 822 houses built per day!) in the next 5 years does no favours to the description that the manifesto is modest and realistic.
The biggest shortcoming of ZANU (PF)’s manifesto is that it fails to articulate ‘how’ it is going to fulfil its promises and claims (such as the absurd one above) when it is the main if not sole purpose of a manifesto to explain in detail the ‘how’ part. In its manifesto, ZANU (PF) lists all the promises it intends to fulfil including but not limited to uplifting the country’s education, providing quality healthcare for all, housing for all, supporting indigenisation and economic empowerment, creating jobs and eradicating poverty.
However, it’s just a mere listing without the important ‘how’ part therefore there is a huge probability that the country will witness a repeat of the past where the ruling party would give reasons for poor implementation of government policies and justifications for the non-fulfilment of election promises as was the case with ZIMASSET which the government blamed climate change for its poor implementation.
Chaotic primary elections
The ZANU (PF) primary elections left a lot to be desired if anything they left the electorate with more questions than answers. The first port of call was the poor if not disastrous project planning on show. Voting in most constituencies started late due to the late arrival of ballot papers. In some constituencies, it was a stop-start process as there were allegations of vote rigging and errors of omission of some of the candidates’ names on the ballot papers. Al this showed how poorly planned the primaries were and considering that it is this same administration which will be tasked with implementing government’s policies and projects, it’s certainly not inspiring.
The primary elections also showed another dark side of ZANU (PF) as the party once again proved that it sees no difference between itself and the government. The police were deployed across the whole country as polling agents this in spite of the fact that it was a party business and not a government business. Seeing such things during the campaigns, one cannot envisage a different outcome if ZANU (PF) wins as the government officials will be used as party people and vice versa.
If he wins, the president is going to pick his team, i.e. ministers and other key people of his administration from the winning candidates. It’s not really inspiring when the bulk of the people who won the primaries are known as corrupt in their society and vultures who have been waiting for their turn to eat. While the few stalwarts who returned their places will likely continue on the same path of self-enrichment at the expense of others, the new faces are also likely to join the self-enriching bandwagon to the detriment of the ordinary Zimbabwean.
An indifferent six months in the hot seat
Much can be taken from Mnangagwa’s first six months as the president and not much of it is positive to the ordinary Zimbabwean. The black-market which showed its ugly face during the hyperinflationary period of 2008 is once again starting to show its ugly face as fuel is now becoming scarce at service stations but abundant with the backdoor dealers. Not only that but in his first six months Mnangagwa has done nothing to ease the unemployment challenge but rather making the already overtaxed ordinary Zimbabwean pay more tax as he signed the ZISCO Debt Assumption Bill and gave in to the demands of most civil servants to increase their salaries when most of the government revenue is already going towards servicing the government payroll rather than capital projects.
All this will ultimately lead to the worsening of ordinary Zimbabweans’ daily life as these moves will raise the cost of living.
If Mnangagwa is to win and if he carries on the same path as he is with his domestic policies, then ordinary Zimbabweans will have to brace for the worst as a tough road awaits.
By Prince Kurupati
News reports coming out of Ethiopia suggest that the country may soon be issuing visa on arrival for all African nationals who wish to travel to this east African country replacing the conventional visas i.e. visas issued before one lands in a foreign country.
According to several news outlets including Inside Travel, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed while speaking to the media after his meeting with the Rwandan leader in Addis Ababa said that Ethiopia is planning on following in Rwanda’s footsteps by scrapping conventional visas and replacing them with visa on arrival.
The fact that Prime Minister Ahmed said this development will be implemented “very soon” suggests that it’s imminent before Africans can travel to Ethiopia without going through the hassles of applying for a visa before their travels.
Prime Minister Ahmed said these remarks soon after his first meeting with the visiting Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame. Paul Kagame is on a 3-day official visit in Ethiopia.
While announcing Ethiopia’s plans to scrap visas for all African nationals, Prime Minister Ahmed refused to go into detail on how his government is going to implement this proposal but made it clear that all the citizens of all the 54 African countries will be eligible to visit Ethiopia using the visa on arrival system.
Other areas that the two leaders discussed and made a commitment to strengthen on include air services and defence.
The move if finalised will help push forward the Ethiopian brand and will make it much easier for other African companies and business people to connect with businesses in Ethiopia while at the same time it will help in promoting intra-African tourism.
The move is in line with the African Union’s Vision 2063 which stipulates that African countries need to “implement mechanisms allowing for the issuing of visas on arrival for citizens of Member States, with the possibility of a 30-day stay.” Rwanda is already issuing visas on arrival to all African nationals while Namibia has also taken the same path.
Currently, anyone planning on travelling to Ethiopia will have to obtain a visa before travelling at any of Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions with the exception of those who live in visa exempt countries.
As of now, only the citizens of Djibouti and Kenya do not require visas when travelling to Ethiopia. Citizens of Djibouti can spend a maximum of 3 months in Ethiopia without a visa while citizens of Kenya can spend a maximum of one year in Kenya without a visa. If the stipulated (3 months or one year period) elapses, the citizens do have the opportunity to approach the Ethiopian authorities if they want to extend their stay or they can return to their mother countries.
There is a visa waiver for anyone who holds a diplomatic or service passport with the exception of citizens from Pakistan, Somalia and Eritrea. This waiver lasts for three months.
Travellers in transit regardless of nationality can pass through Ethiopia without a visa by air if they depart within 12 hours or remain within the permitted transit area.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Nonetheless, Abudu Abdul-Ganiyu, says the authority is not overwhelmed with the job.
Officials of the seat of government, Jubilee House and other key institutions including Parliament who had gathered at designated centers to get their National ID Card also known as the Ghana Card were left stranded and disappointed after officers of the NIA failed to turn up for the registration exercise.
The exercise was scheduled to kick off at 7:00 am Monday May 29, 2018 but never happened.
The NIA has apologized for the fiasco amidst calls for its leadership to be held responsible for embarrassing the government.
Mr. Abudu said the authority is confident of surmounting all their problems and will achieve their objectives.
“The team at the NIA is not overwhelmed at all. We have not been able to live according to our operational plan and that has affected us in a way. I want to assure all Ghanaians that we will solve the problem. I will say we failed in starting yesterday. As we speak, registration of our officers has started. We have admitted that there is a problem. This problem is one we will deal with,” he said in an interview with panafricanvisions.com.
He also dismissed suggestions that the authority is rushing with its execution and distribution of the cards.
“As we speak, there are no matters of data connectivity. There are other minor challenges and we are working hard to make things happen. I don’t think the NIA is rushing with the process at all. If we were rushing, we would have just gone to the field to issue the cards despite the challenges”.
By Papisdaff Abdullah
The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament is demanding immediate withdrawal of a directive to Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to use 80% of common fund allocation in financing central government programs.
The Government of Ghana last month issued a directive through the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to all the various MMDAs to deduct 40% of their share of the fund for the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), 20% to pay the salaries of Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) employees and also 20% for the operations of Planting for Foods and Jobs programme.
The directives have received mixed reaction from the general public, local governance experts, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including former District Chief Executives and Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as some political parties.
The massive public outcry has compelled the second deputy Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin to summon the DACF Administrator Irene Naa Torshie to appear before the House in the company of the local government Minister Hajia Halima Mahama to explain the rationale behind the directive next week.
But even before the DACF’s administrator appears before the House, the Minority say the directive is crippling the running of the assemblies.
Hence, the government charged the deputy Ranking Member for Local Government Committee of Parliament Benjamin Kpodo at a press conference Tuesday to “immediately withdraw the said restrictive directives” to the MMDAs regarding the use of 80% of common fund allocation in financing central government programs.
He urged the government to explore and find other means of funding its flagship programmes and projects as directed by Parliament March this year.
It has become “notorious” for government to “run to the DACF to prey on its resources whenever it needs money anything extra budget,” advising the government to desist from any further actions that seek to deprive the assemblies of lawful funds due them for implementation of their local developmental agenda.
By Papisdaff Abdulla
Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report, aimed at ensuring the realization of Sustainable Development Goal No. 2, which will help the country chart a sustainable path to ending hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.
In his dddress to an event organized by the John A. Kufuor Foundation and the World Food Programme, President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana has performed quite well in her efforts at reducing hunger.
“Indeed, we were the first country on the African continent to attain the Millennium Development Goal No. 1 of halving poverty and hunger, for which the country received an award ‘for reducing the level of its malnourished population from 7 million in the early 1990s to less than 1 million today’”, he said.
Whilst paying tribute to the principal architect of this feat, President Kufuor, who, in 2011, received the World Food Prize for cutting hunger in half during his tenure as President, President Akufo-Addo noted that much work needs to be done to end hunger, malnutrition, obesity and micronutrient malnutrition in Ghana.
The President noted that Government has, in the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, submitted to Parliament on 13th November, 2017, proposed the reformation of agriculture and industry, spearheaded by programmes such as “planting for food and jobs”, covering some five hundred thousand farmers this year, up from two hundred thousand last year; the “one district, one factory” policy; and the “one village, one dam” initiative.
These programmes, amongst others, the President stressed, will facilitate rural development, and help achieve SDG 2 by 2030.
“Government’s vision is to modernise agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for our farmers, all aimed at significantly enhancing agricultural productivity,” he said.
The Ghanaian leader continued, “The basic objective of policy is to guarantee food self-sufficiency, i.e. that we are able to feed ourselves and wean us off the disgraceful dependence on the importation of foodstuffs we can grow ourselves. We are determined to stand on our own feet – hence our mantra, Ghana Beyond Aid.”
“To ensure food security and promote improved nutrition, the President stated that government is implementing some interventions, including institutional measures, to prevent food losses, such as the district warehousing policy; promoting the production and utilization of locally grown and nutrient-rich food; strengthening early warning and emergency preparedness systems; developing and implementing a nutrition strategy which adopts a life cycle approach to deal with malnutrition at all levels; reviewing and scale up the Regenerative Health and Nutrition Programme (RHNP); eliminating child and adult obesity; and promoting research and development in Food and Nutrition Security (FNS).
“When you consider that women are the first line educators of our children, our communities, our nations, our region and our continent, it is obvious that we empower our children and community by empowering our women. We all appreciate that our women play a key role in achieving food security and improved nutrition. That is why my government has initiated.”
Whilst ensuring that women play an important role in achieving SDG 2, the President stated that women-specific responses to facilitate the achievement of SDG 2 have been put in place.
These, he said, include reducing cultural and administrative limitations that impede women’s access to productive resources, particularly access to credit and agricultural equipment.
“The MASLOC programme has, in this respect, been directed to disburse 50 percent of its loans to women engaged in small-scale farming and businesses. Again, the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), a happy product of the Kufuor era, which provides hot meals daily to pupils of public schools, has also been expanded from four thousand, eight hundred and eighty one (4,881) institutions to cover five thousand, five hundred and twenty eight (5,528) institutions,” he said.
Additionally, the President indicated that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), which provides stipends to vulnerable households, has been nearly doubled to cover some two hundred and thirteen thousand (213,000) households, noting that “all of these are being done with SDG 2 in mind.”
In seeing to the realisation of the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024), the President was confident that Ghana will be on the path towards ending hunger and malnutrition.
“Our goal is to build a wealthy and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of its economic destiny; a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, which engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment. We are determined to build a new Ghanaian civilization, that will afford a dignified standard of living to all its people,” he said.