80 per cent of HIV infected are women – NACP

Tema, About 80 per cent of Ghana’s estimated 346,120 HIV infections at the close of 2020 were females, the National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP) has disclosed. Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager of NACP, who disclosed this at the fifth stakeholder engagement organized by the Ghana News Agency – Tema Regional office, explained that females formed the greater number of HIV infections mainly due to gender inequalities, adding that, one could not talk about HIV without gender issues.

He said the female reproductive tract was different from that of the male as the vaginal was a receptacle and therefore holds fluids for a long time, putting them at risk of easily contracting the virus from their partners.

The NACP Programme Manager added that females were also disadvantaged, as they did not have the ability to negotiate access to resources, saying men also have the money to buy sex rather than the woman who is selling it.

“Inequality in our gender is a major factor, a man will find it comfortable to demand for condom, but not a woman even in the marriage relationship, she is afraid that she will be accused. People think that men can keep condoms but not women,” he said.

Dr Ayisi Addo said a lot of factors including biological and socio-economic issues come into play when talking about HIV infection rates.

He stated that as part of the HIV Control Programme, NACP outfits were doing their best to eliminate transmission from mother to child by screening every pregnant woman, and those who tested positive were put on antiretroviral drugs to prevent them from passing on the virus to their unborn babies.

Dr Ayisi Addo said as part of primary prevention in the public, when a pregnant woman test positive, her partner and children would be traced, counselled and tested as there was the probability of them also being infected.

He disclosed that they were also offering services like pre-exposure prophylaxis, which allows people to take medications before a sexual act to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.

He added however that, the medication was currently not available for distribution to the public, but only key population and persons in relationships with persons living with HIV, saying, one had to meet some conditions to qualify to receive the medication from the hospitals.

He called on the public to desist from stigmatizing and discriminating against persons living with HIV as such acts could lead to them hiding and spreading the virus.

Mr Francis Ameyibor, GNA Tema Regional Manager, said the stakeholders’ engagement which takes place on the last Wednesday of every month, was a progressive media caucus platform created to give the opportunity to both state and non-state stakeholders to interact with journalists and address national issues.

Mr Ameyibor said knowledge and information on the virus was essential to preventing it from spreading, hence the GNA-Tema joining forces with the NACP to educate the public.

He said: “knowing your HIV status is key. Only when people know their status can they respond appropriately – including through reducing risky behaviour and practice safe sex.

“Such changes will require community based behavioural transformative approaches and models, user friendly and effective health services where human rights are safeguarded for all, and strong leadership at all levels”.

Mr Ameyibor noted that as a media institution, preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS was a key priority. It was in this vein that GNA-Tema was teaming up with the relevant stakeholders to address HIV in a comprehensive way both through improved health services education and information.

Other speakers: Mr Fred Asiedu-Dartey, GSA Head of Freight and Logistics who spoke on: “Emerging trends in Ghana’s maritime industry – the perspective of the Ghana Shippers Authority”.

Mr Timothy Anyidoho, Senior Staff, Lands Commission and Mr George Okwabi Frimpong, senior member of the License Surveyors Association of Ghana, who spoke on: “the authority in charge of management of stool or skin, clan or family lands; role of Customary Land Secretariat; Systems of recording and registering land and interests in land; What is electronic conveyancing; and Procedures under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 201”.


Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana receives 177,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines

Accra, Ghana on Saturday received 177,600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines under the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT).

AVAT was established by the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team, set up in November 2020 under the African Union chairmanship of President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.

It is part of the African Union’s COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy, and its goal of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the African population with safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.

The agreement with Johnson & Johnson was made possible through a USD 2 billion facility provided by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), who are also the Financial and Transaction Advisers, Guarantors, Instalment Payment Advisers and Payment Agents, and the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) who coordinated the alignment of the AU Ministers of Finance on the financing arrangements.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) supported by the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) is providing logistical and delivery services to the various African Union Member States.


Source: Ghana News Agency

GNAT rejects 2021/2022 salary increment for public workers

Koforidua, The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has rejected the recent upward adjustment of salaries for public sector workers pegged at four and seven per cent for 2021 and 2022 respectively.

“That is not what we expected. The ongoing discussions on various social media platforms indicate clearly that workers are understandably unhappy with the outcome of the negotiations,” National President of GNAT, Ms Philippa Larsen, said.

She was speaking on Thursday during the opening session of the sixth Quadrennial Eastern Regional delegates’ conference of GNAT, which was themed: GNAT@90 surviving as a reliable and vibrant teacher union in the 21st century – teaching the journey, explicating the essence and examining the prospects.

Ms Larsen said, “We are not happy either. We had to settle on the relatively low rates of increments reluctantly after intense negotiations spanning many weeks.”

She also said the association’s leadership were so sad and that explains why they could not muster courage to inform members about the outcome of the negotiations with the tripartite committee.

“I am sad, all leaders are so sad and that is why we didn’t have the courage to disclose the initial outcome of the negotiations to you,” she said.

She noted that the current system of remuneration in the country’s public sector was not fair and that it only favoured some categories of office holders, saying, “And we are not going to agree. We will not agree to that”.

She called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to intervene swiftly, otherwise there would be no industrial harmony in the coming days, insisting, “Otherwise there will be no peace and the country will become ungovernable”.

“For industrial harmony in the country, the four and seven per cent, we are never happy,” she added.

She urged the president to initiate a process towards the establishment of a commission made up of experts from various fields to advise government on salaries for all jobholders in the public service to guarantee fairness.

“After all we all go to the same market and there should be fairness in the salaries of all public sector workers,” she stressed.

Ms Larsen also urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to continue to work on all outstanding issues of teachers such as promotions for industrial peace and harmony.
“We have a lot of unresolved issues and we called on the GES to factor in concerns of teachers, otherwise we will not agree and before the close of the week, they are going to hear from us,” she added.

Mr Seth Acheampong, Eastern Regional Minister, also told the delegates that prioritising the welfare of teachers remained a key objective of the government. “Without teachers, government education policy implementation is practically impossible”.

He said Government was ready to implement a robust education policy and entreated all stakeholders to support it.

He also promised to convey concerns of the teachers to the President, saying, “I will certainly make sure all your sentiments expressed will be carried to the Education Minister and the President”.

Mr John Appoh Selby, Eastern Regional Chairman of GNAT, called for the need for teachers to be adequately remunerated, cautioning that, “a frustrated and ill-motivated teacher is a virus in the knowledge dissemination chain”.

He said the title “teacher” brought with it huge responsibilities that did not appear in most job descriptions.

“The teacher is charged with that exclusive function of sculpting young minds and preparing young people for positive, active and productive participation within the community.”

GNAT is considered as the largest teachers union with more than 230,000 members countrywide.


Source: Ghana News Agency

TERESCO appeals for support to complete “Fence Wall Project”

Hohoe (V/R), Ms Sophia Adjoa Micah, Principal of the St. Teresa’s College of Education (TERESCO) in Hohoe, has appealed to individuals and groups to help the College complete its “Fence Wall Projec”.

She noted that the College’s Internally Generated Fund (IGF) on which most projects were sourced from, was limited to enable the continuity of the project.

Ms Micah, speaking at the launch of TERESCO’s 60th anniversary, disclosed that the excellent maintenance culture practiced by the College had enabled the limited infrastructure of the College to be maintained.

She said the College was using its IGF for the “Fence Wall Project” which was their most pressing need, adding that “the college’s sources of IGF are limited and the project is quite costly”.

The Principal revealed that about 40 per cent of the fence wall project had been covered and there was the need to complete it to ensure the safety and security of members of the college community and secure the college land.

“We need an amount of GH¢ 750,000 to complete the project. It is out of this that we are appealing to you to help us raise funds during this 60th Anniversary celebration to support this worthy cause, so we can complete it as early as possible.”

The Principal said lives and property of the College were at the mercy of stray animals and thieves, adding that “we have all become security men and women in a way. People continue to encroach on the already encroached College land.”

She said the renovation of the Administration Block to befit the current status of the college was ongoing.

“For the first time visitors to the college, it may appear to them as a new building, but I must say it is one of the oldest buildings on campus.”

The Principal noted that the renovation was being funded from the GETFund allocation to the College.

She said the college through the prudent use of its limited Internally Generated Fund was able to build a modern structure to house the College stores, Departmental offices for six Academic Departments, and a four-unit Early Childhood Education block, provide furniture, printers, desktop computers in all new and renovated offices.

The Principal said the College also used part of its IGF to purchase a Toyota Mini Bus to promote the Supported Teaching in School (STS) Programme.

She said the IGF also helped in procuring ceiling fans in all lecture halls, furnish lecture halls with gender sensitive furniture, renovated the lecture halls, all halls of residence and also provided floor tiles for every dormitory and all washrooms.

Ms Micah noted that apart from the various projects undertaken using the college’s IGF, various SRC over the years and the alumni of the college had all played important roles in supporting the college, which they appreciated a lot.

She said the College Management in collaboration with the current SRC recently fixed projectors in various lecture halls aimed at integrating ICT into teaching and learning as well as public address systems in large lecture halls.

The Principal said the Alumni was currently constructing a two-unit staff bungalow project, which had reached lintel level.


Source: Ghana News Agency

COMEU Central swears in new executives

Cape Coast, The Conference of Managers of Educational Units (COMEU) has elected new executives to steer its affairs for a four year leadership tenure, with Ms.

Praise Perpetual Amagashie taking over from Reverend Felix Kwegyir Mensah as President.

The rest of the newly inducted executives are, Rev. Sylvester Donkoh- Vice President, Mrs Grace Kisi, Secretary, and Mrs Stella Kesewaa Aboakye, Treasurer.

On behalf of Mrs. Martha Owusu Agyemang, Regional Director of Education, Mrs Dorcas Brenda Asare, the Cape Coast Metropolitan Director of Education, inducted them into office and commended the old Executives for their hard work and commitment, which had contributed in building and growing education in the Region.

“Your tenure was characterized by innovative ideas and dedication as you championed effective supervision and monitoring including making the welfare of teachers your priority,” she said.

Mrs. Asare expressed her confidence in the new executives and urged them to equally be on top of issues to hoist the flag of the Region high.

She said the Region was endowed with resources, which were yet to be harnessed to its full advantage, while education as an equalization factor was also going down.

“I therefore, urge you to particularly work hand in hand to recapture and ensure better academic performance in public schools to avert the fallen standards of education,” she added.

Hanging over his mantle, Rev. Kwegyir Mensah, said due to their unrelenting efforts, the Conference had become vibrant through stronger collaboration with directors, religious bodies and all well-meaning stakeholders who helped to drive the force of education.

He thanked his team and all who supported in making COMEU better, and encouraged the new executives to be united even in their darkest moments and never to give up till the race ended and the battle won.

After the induction, Ms. Amagashie said they would build on their strengths and consider a new direction to strengthen professionalism and training to ensure that the highest level of good leadership was brought to bear.

She urged the Regional Directorate to invite COMEU to trainings and workshops and not be cut off from such privileges, which made them alien to their own fields of operation in the educational arena.

She also pledged her commitment in strengthening relationship with Directors of Education to ensure effective supervision and monitoring of schools’ academic progress.

“We want the best for our schools, we want quality teaching and learning in our schools, this is achievable when everybody is united towards a common goal,” Ms Amagashie added.

As part of the ceremony, citations of honour were presented to the immediate past executives for their services and commitment to the Conference.


Source: Ghana News Agency

GITFiC calls for solutions to trade challenges under AfCFTA

Accra, Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) has called on Government, the private sector and stakeholders to work together to fast-track regional integration.

This, they said could be done by addressing trade challenges under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

They also suggested that institutional capacities be built among stakeholders and businesses in the formal and informal sectors in the implementation of the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).

These formed part of recommendations after GITFiC’s 5th annual trade and finance conference held in Accra on the theme: “Facilitating Trade & Trade-Finance in AfCFTA; The Role of the Financial Services Sector”

The occasion had experts and stakeholders from the financial and monetary institutions in Ghana and on the Continent, attending both physically and through electronic means.

The ceremony was graced by Alhaji Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana, who opened up the event with a presentation on behalf of Government.

The Conference urged African contracting parties to respect protocols under the AfCFTA to reduce the incidence of smuggling, unfair trade practices such as dumping, transshipment of third-party products into the African liberalized market.

“African economies are encouraged to build an integrated and organized financial mechanism, and allow an independent monetary system, to ensure the smooth and effective implementation of PAPSS and not necessarily a full-blown-private entity like AfreximBank which has a substantial amount of Private Interest,” it said.

It said implementers of PAPSS should show a clear roadmap for Trust, Sovereignty, Commitment, Control and Ownership of Data, Capacity and Capability and PAPSS should also allow for signatory African countries to have their national switches connected to ensure smooth operationalization.

“African economies are being encouraged to roll out policies which would lead to financial inclusion for the unbanked and the petty trading community. Systematically address infrastructural gaps and improve the general ease of doing business across the sub-region,” the Conference suggested.

It added that Central Banks on the Continent should be assured and guaranteed at least one per cent of all Transactional Revenues.

This, the Conference said would spike-up interest and commitment by all Sovereign States on the Continent and their various financial architectures.

Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GITFIC said it was necessary to deepen discussions among stakeholders to enable African economies maximise benefits under the AfCFTA.

He also stressed on the negative impact of Africa’s fragmented-fronts as a possible means of derailing the time-sensitive-lines of the proposed AfCFTA achievements.


Source: Ghana News Agency

Car importers must use clearing agents for process – Customs

Tema, The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Friday reminded car importers to use the services of clearing agents to clear their goods at the various ports.

Mr Justice Njornan Magah Ydjayime, Supervisor at the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB), giving the advice said for the purposes of accountability and due to the technical nuances associated with customs house business, importers needed the services of clearing agents.

“These agents were trained by Customs to the level of a Senior Revenue Officer therefore, they are equipped with the technical know-how to deal with Customs,” Mr. Yadjayime stated.

He said per Ghana’s laws, clearing agents were the only ones allowed to clear goods at the various ports and frontiers of the country, emphasizing that following the purchase of a vehicle and shipment by the shipper, one needs the services of a clearing agent.

Outlining the Customs clearing process at Ghana’s ports, he said the agents would then have to submit the details of the bill of lading of the shipment, which contains the details of the car into the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).

He added that Customs requires that the bill of lading captures the make, model or special features explaining that is what is on the manifest the shipping line sends to customs therefore the bill of lading should tally with the manifest.

He said after the submission of the declaration to Customs through the ICUMS, it then goes through three stages namely classification, valuation, and the supervisor stage.

Mr Yadjayime indicated that the classification officer then assigns an HS Code “a standardized numerical method classifying traded products” to the car, which gives the specific descriptions of the particular imported product.

At the valuation level, an officer verifies and uses the classification information to assign a value through Customs installed software that provides value of all vehicles from the various zones. The Supervisor then verifies all the details and approves the bill of entry.

He said from the supervisor stage, it goes directly to the declarant who could then accept or appeal the valuation “in the event of acceptance, declarant will have to pay via any of the accepted commercial banks as well as fulfil payment requirements of the various stakeholders in the clearance chain such as the shipping lines and the terminal operators”.

After acquiring the shipping line release, declarant can then book for physical examination, adding that terminal handling charges however were also prerequisite to examination by Customs.

He mentioned that should examination be vetted successfully, customs would allow delivery of cargo, after prevention checks at the exit points of the port indicating that the various checks and balances were essential to ensure no revenue leakages or security implications were suffered.

Touching on disparities of duties, Mr. Yadjayime noted that differences in duties of same vehicles could be as a result of exchange rate disparities at different clearance times as well as origin of vehicles.

He added that vehicles with special features, can also attract more duties even though they could be of the same model, hence it was important for importers to note these distinctions and also get themselves abreast with the clearance process.


Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana to participate in Singapore Africa Business Forum

Accra, Ghana will be among the African countries to participate in this year’s Singapore African Business Forum scheduled to take place from August 23 to 27.

The virtual Forum organized by Enterprise Singapore, an agency championing enterprise development, would bring together trade and business experts from Singapore and African countries to explore opportunities on trade and investment for socio-economic development.

Speaking at a virtual media briefing, Ms Jean Ng, the Regional Director, Enterprise Singapore said the Forum would serve as a platform for holistic engagement between Singapore, Asia, and Africa, raise awareness of Africa’s growth opportunities, Promote Singapore as a hub for Asia-Africa trade and investment, among others.

The forum will focus on topics like “Africa’s Urban Future: Sustainable Planning and Construction, Manufacturing in Africa: Deepening Value-Capture in the continent, Digital Africa: The Next Tech Frontier.

Ms Ng said in line with Enterprise Singapore’s role in developing Singapore’s startup ecosystem, the agency was focusing on the five pillar strategies- deepening global connections to support SG startups to internationalize and attract global startups, and catalyse more platforms for co-innovation and deployment.

The rest of the strategies was to strengthen human capital by growing local and global talent pool for SG startups, catalyse financing opportunities and create a network of infrastructure to support startups.

“Our economy is diversified, powered by a mixture of manufacturing and services sectors, of which many of these businesses are not just domestic, but international”.

“Singapore offers access to fast growing markets like China, India, and Vietnam and committed to pursue good relations with other countries as well with strong free trade networks through Free Trade Agreements with major economies and countries, making us an ideal partner”, she said.

Ms Ng said Singapore had a favourable and conducive environment for businesses to operate in a stable legal, regulatory, and tax framework with a highly qualified, global-ready workforce to support trading companies’ international business.

This, she said was necessary because an extensive participant network created an effective, neutral marketplace for trade origination, while strong financial infrastructure enabled low-cost financing of high trade volumes.

She said Singapore had been a long-time development partner in Africa and have used their development models to influence manufacturing, sustainable infrastructure, innovations, and technology across the continent.

With the influx of Chinese influence, she said Singapore can provide an alternative model of partnership of development, particularly post COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2015, Singapore has been among the top 10 investor economies in Africa, measured by Foreign Direct Investment stock.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, from 2015 to 2019, Singapore’s investments into Africa rose from $17 billion to $20 billion.

On diplomatic visits and initiatives between Ghana and Singapore, she said the Bank of Ghana and Monetary Authority of Singapore commenced discussions on December 2020 to adopt the Business san Borders open hub of platforms between Singapore and Ghana.

The close cooperation will benefit small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro SMEs in both countries by expanding their connectivity with their counterpart economy while introducing innovative FinTech and digital tools to help SMEs seamlessly complete business needs.


Source: Ghana News Agency