Support economic development efforts in Ghana – Korea Ambassador urges university students

Mr Park Kyongsig, Ambassador of Korea to Ghana, has urged university students to support efforts towards achieving economic development in Ghana.

He said the Korea government would continue to provide development assistance through its agencies in the country, however, students needed to shoulder part of the ‘responsibility’ towards the rapid socioeconomic development of the country.

The Ambassador was speaking at the University of Ghana on Friday, where the Embassy organised activities to mark this year’s Korea Week celebration.

Day one of the event opened with Korea drama show, followed with the Korea Quiz, and a talk on Official Development Assistance (ODA) at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, ISSER, UG.

Mr Kyongsig, stating the various forms of development assistance, also highlighted the Global Korea Scholarship, which he described as ‘a life-changing opportunity’ for students.

He said the scholarship, as a form of development support,?was ‘very competitive’ but also offere
d equal opportunities to all applicants.

‘Although we provide ODA, we cannot achieve the economic development of Ghana as a foreigner…The job of achieving that goal [development] is in your hands right now.

‘You should do something to achieve the development of your country…You’re privileged, you have the responsibly to help the country to achieve economic development,’ he told the students.

The Korea Quiz tested general knowledge of students on various aspects of Korean culture.

Ms Josephine Naa Adorkor Acquaye, a Level 300 student, emerged winner of the contest.

She is expected to travel to Korea later this year to take part in a bigger contest.

Two other Level 300 students, Mr Derick Nana Osei and Boafo Deborah Ohenewaa, emerged first and second-runner ups of the quiz respectively.

Prof. Abdul-Rahman Ahmed, an Alumnus of the Global Korea Scholarship, shared experience about studying in Korea, and described the country as ‘a structured society’ with an exciting learning environment.

‘There was zero
regret for my going to South Korea, I think Korea is appropriate for business and anyone who goes there will be thankful for the experience they get,’ he stated.

Representatives from development agencies, including Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Korea Programme on International Agriculture (KOPIA) and Korea Foundation for International Health (KOFIH), all touched on various aspects of international cooperation between Ghana and Korea.

A Korea-Pop contest and cultural exchange would wrap up day-two of the Korea Week, which attracted hundreds of students.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Let us advocate for female representation on land committees-Lands Commission

Mr Raphael Hokey, Head of Regional Operations Unit, Land Commission, has advocated for the representation of women on Traditional Land Committees for their inputs on land matters.

He urged communities to collectively push for such involvement of women and respect for their suggestions during decision making on community lands.

‘The Queen mother also has a stake in community land. I know it is not easy, but we have to keep making noise about this advocacy until it is accepted into our system,’ he said.

Mr Hokey made the call on Thursday during a National Expert Dialogue on Large-Scale Land-Based Investment (LSLBI) Guidelines in Ghana.

The event, organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in Accra, brought together key stakeholders for an insightful discussion leading to effective and enforceable guidelines for (LSLBIs) in Ghana.

He promised to add his voice to the advocacy at the Commission level to strengthen female representation at the Customary Land Secretariat.

Mr Hokey said public education
on land matters was an unending activity which needed all hands-on deck.

He urged stakeholders to support the Commission to carry out such sensitisation programmes.

Mrs Mary Awelana Addah, Executive Director of GII, in her welcoming address, said land was not only a vital economic resource but also a cornerstone of heritage, identity, and livelihood for millions of Ghanaians.

She said the evolving dynamics of global food demands and economic development had ushered in a new era of large-scale land acquisitions.

Mrs Addah said while these investments held the promise of enhanced food production and economic growth, they also presented a complex set of challenges, as documented by the International Land Coalition (ILC).

‘As highlighted by the ILC, issues like corruption, unequal land access for women, and environmental sustainability concerns threaten to overshadow the potential benefits.’

‘Furthermore, a lack of public awareness and stakeholder engagement can exacerbate these challenges, hindering the re
alization of transparent, equitable, and sustainable land investments.’

Mamaga Agumekosua V, Paramount Queen Mother of Logba Traditional Area, bemoaned the failure of stakeholders to implement policies and called for the firm enforcement of laws on land acquisition.

‘No one seems to take responsibility for the implementation of all existing laws. We always meet to make policies but struggle to implement them. If enforcement is done well, it would prevent land disputes and its associated corruption,’ she said.

Mamaga Agumekosua V, also the Secretary to the Volta Region Queen Mothers Association, attributed some land disputes to the exclusion of women during negotiation with land buyers.

‘On many occasions, meetings with investors seeking to acquire a piece of land are done clandestinely without the involvement of the Queen mother. At the end of the day, you’ll see someone come to your area to start a project without your knowledge.’

‘This causes tension in the family because there are family members who s
upport the Queen mother and want to ensure that no one is left behind in the negotiation process.’

She said at other times, Traditional Authorities were misinformed about the real intentions of investors.

Miss Lois Aduamoah-Addo, Programme Manager, WILDAF Ghana, said land laws should be made accessible and simplified for all to read and understand.

She said deliberate actions should be made to make it easy for women, persons with disabilities and vulnerable groups to partake in discussions on land acquisition and its use.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECG working to fix storm-affected cables at Yilo Krobo

Mr. Christopher Apawu, the Krobo District Manager of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has given assurance to residents that staff of the company are working assiduously to restore power to places that were affected by the rainstorm.?

A rainstorm that occurred on Thursday, May 16, 2024, caused havoc to some of the cables providing power to areas such as Kpogunor and Somanya, leading to the curtailing of power supply.

Mr. Apawu told the media that some stakeholders on the company’s stakeholder WhatsApp platform immediately shared the issues of the fallen cables, leading to the faults and maintenance team of the ECG Krobo District going to work in a bid to fix all the anomalies and restore supply to customers.?

He said they were hopeful of restoring power to all affected areas, indicating that some of the issues had already been solved while work was still ongoing to supply power to the other affected areas by Sunday.?

He advised the general public to ensure their safety during storms, as a number of
ripped roofs, uprooted trees, fallen billboards, and poles had been recorded in recent times.

‘The public should endeavour to stay away from broken cables at any point in time and also please inform the power distributor to fix them to avoid any devastation from possible electricity-related causes,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Eric Tetteh, the Yilo Krobo Municipal Chief Executive, has appreciated the staff of the ECG Krobo District for their swiftness and dedication to restoring power supply after the rainstorm.

Mr. Tetteh, who had witnessed one of the fault teams working throughout Friday and on Saturday to restore power, said, ‘It was yesterday that I appreciated the work of ECG in earnest. The tragedy at my stretch was devastating. ECG boss and your team, ayekoo.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Parliament approves $150 million additional loan for Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development Project

Parliament has by majority voice votes approved the Additional Financing Agreement between the Government and the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group for an amount of $150 million.

This is to finance the Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development (GARID) Project.

The approval came amid strong opposition from the Minority.

The facility is for the construction of storm drains within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) as part of efforts by the Government to address the perennial flooding situation in the nation’s capital, Accra.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Minority, which voted against the approval of the facility said they had concerns about the application and utilisation of the mother loan facility of $200 million so far allocated to the same Project.

They claimed that out of the $200m approved, only about $65 million had been awarded on contract for works, and only $8 million disbursed in these works out of a draw of $127m.

therefore, took the position that the solution is not extra resources but the accelerated implementation of works and speeding up of disbursement of the project funds to warrant the approval of additional funds for the project.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, Chairman Finance Committee of Parliament and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West, in his report to the House noted that in the aftermath of the June 3, 2015 floods in Accra, there was renewed commitment by the Government and all key stakeholders to prioritise issues that were crucial for resilient urban development and flood mitigation.

He said the commitment to reduce the vulnerability of people, livelihoods, property and the economy at large to flood related risks led to the development of the Greater Accra Spatial Development Framework (2017-2037) and the City Strength Diagnosis (2017).

He reiterated that the flooding in the Greater Accra Region (GAR) was usually severe along the Odaw River Basin due to the impact of Clim
ate Change, poor solid waste management, informal settlements and low income communities along the banks of the Odaw Raver.

He said the flooding situation along the Odaw River Basin was exacerbated by Weak Integrated Planning and Coordination among Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the project area.

‘To address these challenges, the Government of Ghana, among other interventions, initiated the GARID Project in 2020 with a financing of $200 million from the Bank,’ he explained.

‘However, in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, an amount of $65 million was reallocated to finance COVID related expenses.

‘Additionally, the original financing does not include compensation for affected persons.’

Mr Kwarteng said this additional financing had, therefore, become necessary to reinsure the $65 million and to make funds available for the payment of compensation to the affected persons.

The Chairman said by a majority decision, therefore, the Committee, having examined the financing agreemen
t for the GARID Project, recommended to the House to adopt its report and approve the Additional Financing Agreement between the Government of Ghana and the IDA of the World Bank Group for an amount of $150 million to finance the GARID Project in accordance with Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The Minority also stated that the refund of $65 million re-allocated from the project to support COVID-19, if refunded by the Government, would augment the resources to the project, and should be prioritised.

The NDC Minority, however, expressed their concerns about the extent of borrowing by the Government, saying that the Government should rather deepen measures to maximise domestic revenue.

They strongly objected the approval of many the tax exemption applications before Parliament, which they cited as as avenues from which domestic revenue could be mobilised.

Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, a Member of the Works and Housing Committee of Parliament and NDC Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho West, in his s
ubmission said a visit by his side of the Committee to the project areas indicated that one of them was at 25 per cent completion stage, while another was at 20 per cent.

The project development was initiated in 2020.

He said for two years now the Odaw drain had not been desilted, adding that on their way to the Project site at Nima, they called the contractor on phone, and that the contractor, who had already been paid $2 million for mobilisation, had informed them that he was yet to move to site and that he (the contractor) did not know the Project site.

Mr Bedzrah, therefore, urged the House to conduct a forensic audit of the Project to ensure value for money.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, the Minister of Finance, in his remarks, noted that the Government would address the concerns raised by the NDC Minority.

He said, he would be providing the House with an update report on the state of the project within two months.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Parliament approves 24 Ministerial Nominees despite Minority boycott

Parliament has approved 24 Ministerial Nominees of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo despite a boycott by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Minority.

Prior to the Minority boycott of the approval of the Ministerial Nominees, Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader, informed the House that his side did not support the approval of the Ministers Designate because of the difficult times the country had gone through and continue to go through, including crippling employment crisis, food insecurity and dumsor (eratic power outages) and debt crisis as a result of reckless borrowing by the Government to finance construction.

‘Mr Speaker, ordinary Ghanaians continue to bite the bullet and businesses are suffering under high tax regime, and a high inflation. Mr Speaker, and again slide depreciation currency,’ he said.

‘Mr Speaker, in times like this, we expect the Government to signal to the people of Ghana and the investment community that the Government is ready and willing to do thi
ngs differently restore the needed confidence in our economy.

‘Right Honourable Speaker, it cannot be the case that while the Government asked the people of Ghana to tighten their belts, this Government will rather lose their belt.

‘Mr Speaker, merely piling up Ministers and Deputy Ministers does not signal to the people of Ghana that the President understands the seriousness of mess that has been created in this administration.’

He said there was the need for the President to down size his Government to signal to the people of Ghana that he cared and that the Government was ready to reverse some of the economic losses.

Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, said the NDC Minority was part of the approval process of the Ministerial Nominees at the Committee level and that the Committee’s report for the approval of the Ministers, which has been laid before the House was by consensus.

‘Mr Speaker, only for them to make a last minute turn to say that they d
on’t want to be part of this, hence the report should be amended to reflect the majority decision. Mr Speaker, that is their right, we’ve granted them. But Mr Speaker, that does not stop, Government from conducting the business of Government and for us to approve these Ministers for them to mount the various Ministries to deliver what is expected of them for the benefit of the people of Ghana.’

Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who congratulated the Ministers Designate on their approval by the House, reminded them that they were both accountable to the President and Parliament.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ablakwa petitions CHRAJ to investigate sale of SSNIT’s hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited

Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, National Democratic Congress (NDC), Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, has petitioned the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to investigate and stop the sale of Social Security and National Insurance Trust’s (SSNIT) six hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited.

Mr Ablakwa, who made this known on Friday at a press conference at Parliament House in Accra, indicated that intercepted documents in his possession confirmed that SSNIT was far advanced in selling a controlling 60 per cent stake in six of its hotels to Rock City Hotel Limited owned by Mr Bryan Acheampong, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Abetifi and Minister of Food and Agriculture.

He reiterated that Mr Acheampong was a Director and the sole beneficial owner of Rock City Hotel Limited.

According to Mr Ablakwa the six SSNIT hotels being sold were Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Ridge Royal Hotel, Busua Beach Resort and Trust Lodge Hotel.

The North Ton
gu Lawmaker noted that he was inviting CHRAJ to investigate grave matters bothering on conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft.

He said he had also drawn attention to blatant violations of Article 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution as diligent checks from Parliament’s Committee on Office of Profit revealed that Mr Acheampong had not applied and did not have the permission of the Speaker of Parliament to hold an office of profit.

He said 16 years ago, he and Dr Omane Boamah dragged the late Mr Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, who was then a Minister of State, to court over attempts to buy his official bungalow; saying ‘I have always maintained that it is wrong, unethical and reprehensible for public officials, particularly, Ministers of State to participate in the purchase of state assets. It is a matter of principle.’

He mentioned that a number of these SSNIT hotels were very profitable and one wondered the rationale for the sale.

Mr Ablakwa cited t
he Labadi Beach Hotel was one of the viable state hotels, which had been paying dividends to the Government.

He said the Minority in Parliament was going to follow up on the petition to its logical conclusion.

He urged CHRAJ to be bold and fearless and carry out their investigations according to their constitutional mandate in a very timely order, adding that because time is of essence because they (SSNIT) had given the minority shareholders at Ridge Royal Hotel 45 days, which had elapsed.

He appealed to CHRAJ to save these six state hotels and the Ghanaian workers.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Mahama pays courtesy call on Khalifa of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in London

Former President John Dramani Mahama, flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), during his recent visit to London, paid a courtesy call on the Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

The former President in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency said: ‘We had a wonderful conversation, and he fondly reminisced on his time living in Ghana’.

He noted that Khalifa Ahmad also offered prayers for peaceful and successful elections in December.

‘I am grateful for his kind words and blessings. Let’s all work towards a peaceful and united Ghana,’ Mr Mahama stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GITFiC donates AfCFTA books to Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum Presidential library

The Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) has donated the first handbook on the AfCFTA, titled ‘Actualizing the African Economic Vision; A Practical Handbook of the AfCFTA’ to the Presidential Library at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.

The books, authored by Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC), serve as an invaluable resource for understanding and implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

At the ceremony, Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, Chief Executive Officer of GITFiC said it provided practical insights, strategies, and case studies aimed at promoting and facilitating intra-African trade, and contributing to the continent’s economic growth and development.

He said the donation underscored GITFiC’s commitment to advancing education and fostering a deeper understanding of the AfCFTA among policymakers, scholars, and the public.

‘By making this knowledge accessible, GITFiC aims to empower a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs to harness the opp
ortunities presented by the AfCFTA’.

The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, a symbol of Ghana’s rich history and its first President’s legacy, is an ideal location for this donation.

The Presidential Library, housed within the park, serves as a repository of critical historical documents and educational materials that inspire and inform future generations.

‘GITFiC is deeply committed to honoring the legacy of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and contributing to the enrichment of the Kwame Nkrumah Presidential Library’s collection. The Practical Handbook on the AfCFTA represents a valuable resource that aligns with Dr. Nkrumah’s vision for Africa’s economic development, and we believe it will serve as a valuable asset for researchers, policymakers, and the public’.

Source: Ghana News Agency