NCCE educates Ada residents ahead of December polls


The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has called on residents of Ada East District in the Greater Accra Region to actively participate in processes leading to the 2024 general election.

Madam Faustina Blewusi, the District Director, NCCE, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the Commission aimed to inform and educate the public about the electoral processes and events planned for the polls.

A Ghanaian of sound mind, who had attained 18 years of age, and has not been found guilty of election-related offences by a competent court of law, is eligible to register and vote in the December 7 general election.

‘The NCCE seeks to empower citizens with the knowledge they need to actively participate in the democratic process,’ she added.

Madam Blewusi said eligible citizens in the area could go to the Ada East District Office of the Electoral Commission at Luhuese, Big Ada to register.

The EC would also undertake registration exercises at Kasseh, Pute, and Alorkpem (overbank communi
ties) in Ada, she said, explaining that officials would spend two days in each community for residents to register and acquire their voter cards.

One must provide a National Identity Card (Ghana Card) or a Ghanaian passport as proof of citizenship, but those without these documents could use two guarantors to vouch for them, she said.

‘The registration exercise will take effect from May 7 -27. Voter card replacement will be done on May 30, and exhibition of the voter’s register will start from July 15- 24, 2024.’

Madam Blewusi encouraged citizens?to participate in the decision-making process by registering to vote as their civic responsibility.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Environmental NGO calls for responsible mining in cocoa growing areas


TROBENBOS Ghana, an environmental Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called on stakeholders in the cocoa production value chain, the Government and traditional authorities to institute better mining standards to save the cocoa industry and protect the environment.

The NGO noted that illegal mining activities were partly to blame for the current decline in cocoa production.

Therefore, the authorities must uphold proper and responsible mining practices to protect farmlands and save the cocoa industry from total collapse, Mr Francis Fofie, the Communication Officer, TROPENBOS Ghana, said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

He urged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and the Minerals Commission to ensure licensed mining firms or individuals put in pragmatic measures to reclaim lands as that was the only way to protect the environment.

‘If measures are not taken to ensure responsible mining, cocoa production would reduce drastically in the near future and the nation would suffer,’
he noted.

‘The activities of galamsey defeats the purpose of the Green Ghana project so the Ministry must ensure proper mining, especially in cocoa regions and districts, in order not to destroy the environment.’

He cited the Asuobia Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in the Elluokrom cocoa district, as one of the initiatives that could go to waste if illegal mining activities were allowed in that operational area.

Touching on some of the NGO’s interventions for cocoa farmers, he mentioned alternative livelihood for more than 1,500 Cocoa farmers in the Elluokrom cocoa district, Climate Smart Cocoa initiative, and financial literacy among others with support from other NGOs.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Environmental NGO calls for responsible mining in cocoa growing areas


TROBENBOS Ghana, an environmental Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called on stakeholders in the cocoa production value chain, the Government and traditional authorities to institute better mining standards to save the cocoa industry and protect the environment.

The NGO noted that illegal mining activities were partly to blame for the current decline in cocoa production.

Therefore, the authorities must uphold proper and responsible mining practices to protect farmlands and save the cocoa industry from total collapse, Mr Francis Fofie, the Communication Officer, TROPENBOS Ghana, said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

He urged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and the Minerals Commission to ensure licensed mining firms or individuals put in pragmatic measures to reclaim lands as that was the only way to protect the environment.

‘If measures are not taken to ensure responsible mining, cocoa production would reduce drastically in the near future and the nation would suffer,’
he noted.

‘The activities of galamsey defeats the purpose of the Green Ghana project so the Ministry must ensure proper mining, especially in cocoa regions and districts, in order not to destroy the environment.’

He cited the Asuobia Community Resource Management Area (CREMA), funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in the Elluokrom cocoa district, as one of the initiatives that could go to waste if illegal mining activities were allowed in that operational area.

Touching on some of the NGO’s interventions for cocoa farmers, he mentioned alternative livelihood for more than 1,500 Cocoa farmers in the Elluokrom cocoa district, Climate Smart Cocoa initiative, and financial literacy among others with support from other NGOs.

Source: Ghana News Agency

SML-GRA Contract: Insufficient evidence to prosecute government officials – Majority


The Majority Caucus in Parliament says there is insufficient evidence to implicate any government official as causing financial loss to the state concerning the Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited (SML) contract under the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The Caucus argued that prosecuting anyone for the SML-GRA deal was unjustified.

Speaking to the Parliamentary Press Corps in Parliament on Friday, Mr Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, the Majority Leader, dismissed the National Democratic Congress’ demands for the prosecution of individuals involved in the contract, describing it as baseless.

He said: ‘Now we are aware that our friends in the NDC are calling for certain prosecutions. I think that they have not paid attention to the whole issue, and they only want to do politics as usual.’

‘Their call is unfounded for the simple reason that there isn’t any established proof of any officer of state causing financial loss to the state.’

‘…Indeed, what they think are payments to SML are not payments borne out
of the Government’s revenue. If you peruse the agreement, SML is paid out of what it generates, and they would have to pay attention to the details.’

‘They are paid 0.05 per cent per litre of revenue that they generate as a result of the system put in place to monitor activities in the petroleum sector.’

‘And it is instructive to also note that this company opened its doors to the Mines and Energy Committee to inspect and to see the nature of their operations.’

Mr Afenyo-Markin, the New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Effutu, advised the NDC not to destroy Ghanaian businesses.

‘…Often under the guise of due diligence and ensuring that there is transparency, we often get out of control and destroy Ghanaian companies, whereas foreign ones who operate in certain sectors get a kind of protection that makes them develop their businesses whereas Ghanaian businesses suffer,’ he said.

The Leader of Government Business said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s decision to conduct a thorough review o
f the contract was in the best interests of the public.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Separatist ‘General,’ two others killed in Ndop

Renown separatist ‘General’ Sagon has been killed, according to reliable sources who have knowledge of the matter.

He and two of his collaborators were killed by government soldiers in the early hours of Sunday May 5, 2024 in Bamunka village in Ndop, Ngoketunjia division.

In a video circulated online, the corpses of the separatist fighters are seen in front of heavily armed soldiers, as the population watch from a distance.

Sagon took over from another separatist ‘General’ No Pity who was commanding the entire Ngoketunjia division in the North west region.

He is noted to be among those who helped No Pity to launch a deadly attack on government soldiers in Bamessing village in 2021, that killed aboit 16 special forces.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Automotive industry can be backbone of Ghana’s economy


Mr Jeffrey Peprah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Volkswagen Ghana, says the automotive industry can be the backbone of Ghana’s economy due to its significant contributions to employment, manufacturing, innovation and export revenues.

He said the automotive industry created jobs not only within the industry but also in related sectors such as supply chain, services, and technology.

The CEO was speaking during a media launch of Volkswagen Ghana’s new product in Accra, the Volkswagen Virtus, which is also part of the polo family.

The Volkswagen Virtus is the latest Volkswagen model to be locally assembled at the Tema facility among others such as Teramont, Tiguan Allspace and T-Cross.

The Volkswagen Virtus’ interior is designed with attention to detail and offers the latest technology, comfort, and practicality, and includes a multifunction steering wheel, multi-function dashboard display, wireless App Connect and wireless charging.

‘If you go to Japan, Germany and even South Africa, the automotive industr
y is the backbone of their economy, so it is something that we have to embrace as a country,’ he said.

Mr Peprah said Volkswagen since 2020, had introduced over six models into the market, adding that they were poised to serve the Ghanaian market with genuine and affordable cars.

He said currently as part of the government’s policy around locally assembled products in the automotive industry, there would soon be the vehicle financing initiative which would be launched to help secure competitive loans to finance vehicles locally assembled.

‘However, we do not wait for the government but we also have plans to introduce financial services here that will support in that regard,’ the CEO added.

Mr Peprah said there were close engagements with the government to have policies on the ban of old used cars into the market, adding that for every government, policies were key to drive development.

Madam Martina Biene, Managing Director, Volkswagen Group Africa, said Ghana was an important country for their African d
ream to be the leading provider of sustainable mobility on the continent.

She said Volkswagen was among the first carmakers to invest in Ghana after the Ghana Automotive Development Policy (GADP) was introduced.

‘I firmly believe in the future of Ghana as the automotive hub in West Africa,’ the Managing Director added.

She said the promising progress of the automotive industry in Ghana was the envy of other African countries, especially in West Africa.

Madam Biene said, however, Ghana was not fully harnessing the opportunities presented by the GADP to grow into a thriving new car market.

‘In 2023, 6000 new cars were sold in Ghana which in my view is not a true reflection of the potential of this country.’

‘I believe that the 2023 volume could be quadrupled in the short term if the two outstanding elements of the GADP are implemented,’ she added.

The Managing Director appealed to the government to expedite the implementation of the outstanding elements of the policy to unlock the local market.

Source:
Ghana News Agency

West Region: Transport Delegate urges precautionary measures against seasonal rainfall deficit

By Charity Nginyu

In a recent communique, the Delegate of Transport for the West region of Cameroon alerted residents to take measures in anticipation of the seasonal precipitation forecast for May-June-July 2024.

The said communique predicted a rainfall range from normal to deficient levels, with seasonal accumulations expected to reach only 75-80% of the norm.

‘This bulletin anticipates rainfall in the West region ranging from normal to deficient levels, with seasonal accumulations expected to be between 80 and 75% of the norm,’ it states.

The forecast signals an impending extended dry spell, characterized by sporadic and irregular rainfall throughout the mentioned period.

Highlighting the potential repercussions of this forecast, the Delegate emphasized its adverse impacts across various sectors.

‘This situation will have impacts across several sectors, including water stress resulting in plant withering, decreased agricultural and pasture yields, soil impoverishment, and disruption of hydroelectric
production,’ the communique continues.

To mitigate these challenges, residents are advised to take proactive measures. This includes utilizing suitable seeds, planning for irrigation, wearing facial masks, and ensuring access to potable water.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Export-ready SMEs to benefit from CBI’s Ghana Dried Fruits Project


Export-ready Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Ghanaian dried fruits sector are to benefit from a one million euro Ghana Dried Fruits Project by the Netherlands Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI).

The project will help Ghanaian SMEs to improve productivity, meet quality food safety and sustainability requirements, obtain relevant certification (food safety, sustainability) and be introduced to European buyers.

Other benefits are improved marketing and sales capabilities, organising and participating in joint export shipments and employing talented young people in their businesses.

Ms Afke van der Woude, CBI Programme Manager, speaking at the launch of the Project, said CBI would offer technical assistance through practical business export coaching.

The four-year project is for Ghanaian companies active in the processed fruit and vegetable sector with products like dried mango, dried pineapple, dried coconut, and other dried fruits.

She said it would prepare
companies with the skills and knowledge they needed to enter the European market and support them with joint export shipments.

She said the Project would include individual company coaching provided by international and local sector experts, help to create an international go-to-market strategy and advice on what certification was suitable for the market entry strategy.

The Programme Manager said it also included coaching on certification, helping to improve responsible business conduct, links to EU buyers and importers, and potential participation in relevant trade fairs and training on specific topics.

‘Topics to train the SMEs on are food safety standards, marketing, packaging, costing and pricing, and Corporate Social Responsibility,’ she added.

She said the country could compete on the international market since the demand for the commodity was high in the EU market.

She said currently, a few partly foreign-owned companies dominate the Ghanaian dried fruit sector, and the Project would enable the se
lected SMEs to grow their exports and generate job opportunities for the Ghanaian youth.

She said CBI wanted to address the challenges the sector faces in Ghana such as supply chain inefficiencies, issues with raw materials inputs and gaps in skills and technology.

The Programme Manager said for this, the solution would be sought in the local market to create job opportunities for the Ghanaian youth in the sector.

‘CBI will work with educational institutions to forge linkages between recent graduates and companies in the sector,’ she added.

Madam Woude said CBI would partner with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the facilitation of the Project.

Mr Bram van Opijnen, the First Secretary for Economic Affairs at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ghana, said the Project was part of a larger endeavour to support growth and create job opportunities for the youth in the horticulture sector.

Dr. Afua Asabea Asare, CEO of GEPA, commended the C
BI team for the project that would enable SMEs to enhance their capacity to export more and grow the Ghanaian economy.

She said the Authority was currently implementing the Youth in Export Programme and urged the team to extend support to these young people, who have an interest in the agribusiness sector.

Mr Samuel Nii Quarcoo, a Representative of the Ghana Dried Fruits Sector, expressed excitement about the Project, which would boost the Ghana dried fruit market.

He said the project would ensure that players in the sector do the right things to help them harness their potential in the market.

Source: Ghana News Agency