Energy Commission prioritize local content in the energy sector

Accra- The Energy Commission on Thursday announced the successful establishment of a local content unit with the mandate to ensure local participation in power production.

The setting up of the unit was in conformity with an additional mandate given to the Commission to promote local content and participation in the electricity supply industry in accordance with the new legislative instrument passed by parliament.

Dr Alfred K. OfosuAhenkorah, Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, who disclosed this at the launch of the 20th Anniversary of the Commission in Accra.

DrAhenkorah said the local participation was one of the top priorities of the Commission to make sure that locals had a stake in all these energy value chain projects.

He said the next step after setting up the section, would be to facilitate the implementation and enforcement of the regulations to safeguard the participation of Ghanaians in power generation especially in the area of renewable energy technology operations.

DrAhenkorah noted that 85 per cent of the country’s population had power and that the Commission together with other stakeholders had commenced the building of mini-grids to supply power to 15 per cent of communities that were not connected to the national grid.

Already five per cent have been built by the Ministry of Energy and this will be extended to other communities with the participation of the private sector with the Commission ensuring that prices were regulated, he said.

He hinted that the Commission in its quest to diversify the nation’s energy mix had redirected it solar rooftop power generation from urban to rural areas adding that 200 solar installations had been done in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

DrAhenkorah stated that there would soon be new regulations on electrical accessories such as plugs, extension cables, bulbs and lamp holders to check low standard products.

Currently, he said the draft regulation was ready and would be sent to the Ministry of Energy before the end of the year.

Mr Peter Amewu, Minister of Energy in a statement delivered on his behalf praised the Commission for its contribution towards energy sustainability in the country.

Under its mandate over the past 20 years, he said the commission had been able to institute 15 legislative instruments of which six were on electricity and local content regulation, four on natural gas, five on energy efficiency and two Acts of Parliament in various codes of practice.

He reiterated the need for the Commission to follow through to its local content participation mandate to help build the capacity of locals, create jobs and wealth to reduce the youth unemployment.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Mineral Commission to recruit mine guards to police mining areas

Accra- MrAddaeAntwi-Boasako, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said the Commission was embarking on the recruitment of mine guards to help deal rapidly with the issues of illegal mining.

He said the mine guards would be stationed at the hotbeds and hotspots in the mining fields so they could police those areas to enforce compliance of the mining laws.

He said the guards, to inaugurated on Friday, October 5, would be policing the remote areas to ensure that people did not engage in illegal mining while the mining inspectors would be looking at compliance of mining regulations and safety issues.

MrAntwi-Bosiako said the Commission was also working to deploy drones for e-monitoring and determine any infractions in the areas of mining boundaries to help monitor activities.

It would also introduce e-licencingprogrammes to expedite licencing activities.

Briefing the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, MrKwakuAsumaCheremeh, who paid a working visit to the Commission in Accra on Thursday, MrAntwi-Bosiako said the Commission would need clearance from the Ministry of Finance to recruit skilled personnel and technocrats to replace half of the senior personnel who would be retiring by the middle of next year.

He said there was the urgent need to bring in skilled personnel and equip them with vehicles and other logistics to help in their operations.

When all these are done there will be a massive turn around at the Commission by the end of next year.

The Minister, in the company of his two deputies, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio and Mrs Barbara OtengGyasi, interacted with staff of the Commission and urged them to work hard towards the development of the sector and Ghana in general.

MrCheremeh said the ban on illegal mining may soon be lifted may be before next year so the proper mining activities would be promoted in the sector.

He said in signing the mining agreement, he would comply with the rules as his predecessor did to ensure sanity.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Fast Track the development of Primary Health Care Policy – CSOs

Accra- Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) on Thursday called on the Ministry of Health to fast track the development of a national policy on Primary Health Care (PHC) to facilitate primary health care services in the country.

According to the CSO’s the development of a national primary health care policy would provide a broader framework for the realisation of universal health coverage in Ghana.

Representatives of the CSOs noted that due to the absence of a national policy, there was the lack of direction in the provision of primary health care and essential services, thereby, creating gaps in health financing and service delivery in the country.

The CSOs made the call at a Consultative meeting organisation by the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) in Accra.

The meeting also seek to solicit inputs of CSOs on a draft Statement to be presented at this Global Conference on Primary Health Care at Astana, Kazakhstan on October 25 to 26, this year.

Mr Isaac Nyampong, a Programmes Officer of ARHR said though there were notions of PHC in the CHPS concept, Ghana lacked a specified Essential Health Service (EHS) package.

What we have, are defined multiple packages of health services in various government programmes including CHPS, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Newborn health, Maternal and Reproductive Health and Adolescent Sexual Health and all these need to be in one document.

He explained that about 60 percent of the EHS package was not covered by the NHIS and the current focus of the NHIS was on curative services, which did not serve the purposes of promoting key principles underlining Universal Health Coverage and PHC.

The NHIS does not cover health promotion and education and other preventive services. Similarly, other essential services including family planning, outreach services as well as cost of monitoring are not reimbursable, he added.

MrNyampong further observed that the NHIS was only curative and it did not provide key principles which underlie Universal health Care and Primary health care.

According to MrNyampong, EHS constituted an important aspect of a good health system.

The EHS package should be aligned with the NHIS benefit package to ensure that guaranteed access to primary health care in Ghana, he added.

Nana Aisha Mohammed, a Consultant to ARHR stressed the need for the country to look for strategic funding of the NHIS.

According to Nana Aisha, it was also important that a flagship programme was set out in the health sector for politicians to take them up in order to improve the health being of people.

She also proposed the implementation of progressive taxes on some foods and beverages that were inimical to the health of the people.

Giving an overview of Primary Health Care Expenditure in Ghana, Nana Aisha noted that there were no clear directions or statements on how government was addressing inequitable distribution of existing health workers across the country.

The Budget statement is silent on the update of the Ghana Health Service Staffing norms outlined in the 2017 Budget and we need to do an assessment on that.

She cited a 2017 World Health Organisation (WHO) report, which indicated that prices of medicines in Ghana were 31 per cent high than the price on the international market.

She however welcomed the removal of 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax on some drugs in the country.

DrKoma Jehu-Appiah, a Civil Society Advocate who chaired, stressed the need for CSOs to be reawakened and ensured accountability in the health sector.

Ms Vicky T. Okine, Executive Director, ARHR, noted that the country’s health sector was bedevilled with challenges such as leakages, lack of accountability and fake medicines.

According to her some people were unable to afford drugs and laboratory services.

As a country we are not making any investments in health promotion, rehabilitation and palliative care and we also constrained in getting information on health expenditure, she stated.

She appealed to stakeholders to provide adequate and timely information so that CSO’s could hold government accountable.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Eni Chief Executive Officer pays courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo

Accra� The Chief Executive Officer of Eni, Mr Claudio Descalzi, has paid a courtesy call on President Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo in Accra.

A statement issued by Eni said the meeting took place in the presence of the Minister for Energy, John-Peter Amewu.

It said the occasion was used to discuss Eni’s operational activities and the frontrunner role Ghana could play in the partnership.

Eni, recently signed with UNDP to combine efforts on the development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, forestry and clean cooking initiatives, starting in Africa.

It said this partnership aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and specifically SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy, SDG 13 on climate actions and SDG 15 on land management and re-and/or afforestation, thanks to UNDP and Eni combined expertise, ability to innovate, and on-the ground networks.

The statement said improving access to energy, especially in Africa, was core to Eni’s values, and it was an intrinsic part of the Company’s business.

It noted that Eni invests more than half of its budget in Africa, boosting the domestic potential and promoting local development.

It said Eni was already committed to the sustainable development of Ghana.

It said the seven-billion-dollar investment in the integrated Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) project, represents Eni’s firm commitment to providing long term domestic gas supply.

It said Ghana’s OCTP project would deliver stable, secure, reliable, and affordable volumes of gas to feed Ghana’s power plants for over 20 years.

The statement said the use of domestic gas would allow Ghana to cut the use of liquid fuel, reducing CO2 emissions by 30 per cent, and to limit the more expensive gas importation, whose entire value chain lies outside the country.

It said Eni has destined over $15 million to an extensive programme of sustainability initiatives including economic diversification education, water and sanitation, and health activities, and was engaged in the development of solar power projects in the country including off grid installations in remote areas and floating solar farms.

It said in the framework of the partnership signed between Eni and UNDP, a first area that would be developed together is a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) initiative.

It said community based activities would be proposed in order to increase agricultural productivity, introduce agroforestry schemes, and generate revenue from non-timber forest products contributing to the diversification and development of the local economy.

Eni has been present in Ghana since 2009 through its subsidiary Eni Ghana.

Eni is Operator of the OCTP Integrated Oil and Gas Development Project (Eni 44.44 per cent, Vitol 35.56 per cent, GNPC 20 per cent).

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECOWAS reiterates commitment to youth empowerment

Accra� The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday reiterated its commitment to youth empowerment in the sub-region.

Madam HajiyaRahemaatMomodu, the Head, Drug Control and Civil Society, ECOWAS Commission, hailed the dynamic contributions of the youth to the sub-region’s socio-economic development.

Given their numbers (about 60 per cent of the population), their vibrancy, their innovative and entrepreneurial potential, as well as their growing political awareness, the youth can no longer be considered leaders of tomorrow; they are leaders of today, she said.

Madam Momodu stated this at the opening of a two-day ECOWAS youth engagement workshop in Accra, which is on the theme; Member States Engagement with Youth on Conflict Transformation in West Africa.

Thirty-five participants from member states with the exception of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde are attending.

The workshop follows key recommendations from the one on Youth Engagement towards sustainable Peace and Security in West Africa, held in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, in September 2017.

Madam Momodu expressed concern about the frequency at which young people were being used by unscrupulous politicians, terrorists and criminal networks for destabilisation purposes.

She said it would be a dereliction of responsibility of the highest order for ECOWAS Member States not to prioritise policies, programmes and support initiatives aimed at empowering the youth to say no to those criminal networks.

She said the youth must be encouraged to channel their youthful dynamism into constructive ventures that propelled development, enhanced national cohesion and strengthened society’s resilience against conflict and stability.

Madam Momodu said against that background, the objective must be to facilitate a vibrant interactive, inter and intra-generational dialogue between member states, the youth and other relevant stakeholders.

Every country in West Africa has developed a plethora of programmes and initiatives aimed at protecting and developing children as well as empowering young women and men, she said.

Ghana, for instance, had the National Service Scheme and the Nation Builders Corps, while Nigeria had the National Youth Corps, she said.

She said many other countries had adopted development programmes that targeted the vulnerable in their societies.

To address the youth unemployment situation, Madam Momodu said in rural areas, there was the need for governments to make agriculture and craft dignified professions through innovation and value addition to attract the youth.

She appealed to member states to encourage the private sector to support youth attachment programmes and entrepreneurship through incentives such as tax breaks.

Mr Constant C. Gnacadja, the Programme Officer on Conflict Prevention, Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, ECOWAS, said youth issues were very important for West Africa’s peace and stability.

The Accra workshop aims to provide a platform for the interactive exchanges between representatives of member states and the youth on youth empowerment initiatives, achievements and weaknesses, among other issues.

Source: Ghana News Agency