AfCFTA urged to make labour standards key in its operations

Tema, Nov. 5, GNA – Mr John Odah, Executive Secretary of the Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA), has urged the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to make labour concerns a key focus of its operations.

The AfCFTA is an agreement that aims to create a single market for goods and services to deepen the economic integration of Africa.

Mr Odah made the call in Tema during a three-day workshop organised by the Trades Union Congress, Ghana, (TUC Ghana) in partnership with the International Trade Union Africa (ITUC Africa) on AfCFTA for Trade Union Leaders in Ghana.

He expressed worry that just like other major agreements signed for global and continental purposes, AfCFTA was also not paying key attention to labour standards.

“Just as it is with the global climate change discourse, where the voice of labour is regarded as an addendum and not as a critical mass in shaping the narrative of the quest for a shift from a carbon-intensive mode of production to a low carbon production platform, the same has happened to the AfCFTA,” he noted.

He explained that there was hardly a mention, mainstreaming or reflection of key labour concerns in the entire agreement, saying that was not supposed to be the case.

Mr Odah stressed that some observers attributed the shutting out of labour issues from the AfCFTA to the belief that improvement and growth in trade would automatically lead to better working conditions for workers.

He said, on the contrary, the foregoing possible reasons for shutting out workers and their issues from the AfCFTA appeared not to be sustainable, saying there was no evidence both empirically and historically that improvement in trade would automatically lead to better working conditions.

He said the entrenched variance in the objectives of capital and labour made it difficult if not impossible for increased benefits to capital to automatically translate into mutual benefits for labour without the intervention of labour standards.

Mr Odah, who is also the former General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), denied the claims that capital had enough goodness and goodwill to bestow satisfactory returns to labour.

He said that argument made a mockery of the global progress made in tripartism, social dialogue, collective bargaining, international labour standards and decent work.

He indicated that there was a plethora of evidence that improved labour conditions would lead to an overall improvement in productivity and economic growth.

He added that “there is a school of thought that believes that given the possibility of cut-throat competition among the African countries that had signed up to the AfCFTA, many governments in the continent might be forced to lower regulation, including lowering the cost of labour to attract investors and business”.

He noted that the absence of strong labour regulations in the AfCFTA would only lead to a “race to the bottom”.

The three-day workshop for Trade Union Leaders in Ghana focused on the impact of the AfCFTA and its provisions on employment for the youth with possible implications as an agreement.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Full list of invited players of Black Stars for 2022 World Cup qualifiers

Accra, Nov. 5, GNA – Milovan Rajevac Head Coach of the senior national team, the Black Stars has announced the squad for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia and South Africa next week.

The Stars would play Ethiopia on November 11, at Orlando Sports Stadium, South Africa, their adopted home due to FIFA ban on their home venue, and take on South Africa in their crucial final game at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Sunday, November 14, 2021.

Herewith is the full list of players invited for the two matches;

Goalkeepers: Joseph Wollacott (Swindon Town, England), Lawrence Ati-Zigi (St.Gallen, Switzerland), Manaf Nurudeen (Eupen, Belgium), and Richard Attah (Hearts of Oak, Ghana).

Defenders: Andy Yiadom (Reading FC, England), Philemon Baffour (Dreams FC, Ghana), Baba Abdul Rahman (Reading FC, England), Gideon Mensah (Girondins Bordeaux, France), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Alexander Djiku (Strasbourg, France), Joseph Aidoo (Celta Vigo, Spain), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA), and Ismail Abdul Ganiyu (Asante Kotoko, Ghana).

Midfielders: Baba Idrissu (Real Mallorca, Spain), Thomas Partey (Arsenal FC, England), Mubarak Wakaso (Shenzhen F.C, China), Edmund Addo (Sheriff Tiraspol, Moldova), Mohammed Kudus (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), and Daniel Kofi Kyere (FC St. Pauli, Germany).

Wingers: Andre Ayew (Al Sadd, Qatar), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace, England), Abdul Fatawu Issahaku (Dreams FC, Ghana), Kamal Deen Sulemana (Rennes, France), Samuel Owusu (Al Fayha, Saudi Arabia).

Strikers: Richmond Boakye-Yiadom (Beitar, Jerusalem, Israel), Benjamin Tetteh (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Felix Afena Gyan (AS Roma, Italy), Caleb Ekuban (Genoa, Italy).

The Stars would depart Ghana for South Africa on Tuesday, November 9, for the penultimate game against Ethiopia.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Former President John Mahama leads mourners to bid Alfred Ekow Gyan farewell

Takoradi, Nov.5, GNA – Former President John Dramani Mahama Friday led the National Democratic Congress party leadership and a large group of mourners from all walks of life, to bid Alfred Ekow Gyan, who served as a Deputy Western Regional Minister under his administration, an eternal farewell.

Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, his running mate in the 2020 Presidential Election, Former Chief of Staff Julius Debrah, former Ministers of State Madam Sherry Ayittey, Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Paul Evans Aidoo, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Dr Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, Former Ambassador Victor Smith were among the delegation of mourners at the solemn pre-burial service, at Takoradi.

So were Nana Kobena Nketsia V, Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, and other distinguished traditional rulers, Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, a Former Speaker of Parliament, and Former Ambassador Sam Pee Yalley.

The Former President, eulogising the departed politician and well-loved citizen of Takoradi, described him as “an affable, loyal, peaceful loving, and very welcoming person”.

“Gyan was a very approachable personality with a sound character who always gave a welcoming and cooperative hand anytime duty brought us to the Region,” he stated.

Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the National Chairman of the Party, corroborated the tribute paid by Former President Mahama and prayed to God to grant Mr Gyan eternal rest.

Earlier, in a Sermon at the Bethel Methodist Church in Takoradi, the Head of the Trinity Theological Seminary, the Very Reverend Professor Kwabena Asamoah-Gyedu, also extolled the virtues of Mr Gyan and urged citizens to lead lives worthy of emulation.

“In all his political life, I never heard him insult anyone…he understood that insults didn’t win elections,” he highlighted.

The Very Rev. Prof. Asamoah-Gyedu, therefore, encouraged politicians to desist from politics of insults and personality attacks, and rather sell real ideas, policies, and reform initiatives that could propel the advancement of the Ghanaian economy.

He encouraged Mr Gyan’s family, especially his widow and children, to take solace in 2 Corinthians 12:6-10, which enjoins believers to trust in the grace and mercy of God, particularly, in such trying times.

The preacher said he knew how painful it would be for them to see the seat he used to occupy now empty, how he would be missed in the heat of the political season, and when a wife would need to share that secret with a close husband.

However, God’s enabling strength would carry her through.

Mrs Desiree Efua Gyan, the widow, with her children, invariably said they were distraught by the vacuum created by the passing of their beloved one.

However, their consolation, they said, was that God blessed them with someone who served humanity – his family, church, community, and nation – with great talent and selflessness.

“Despite his relatively short life, he accomplished a great deal and realised most of his aspirations,” their tribute said in part.

Alfred Gyan, affectionately called Abbott for his remarkable academic feat as a Science student, trained as a quantity surveyor.

He passed on at a medical facility at Tema, where he was receiving treatment, on Wednesday, September 1, at the age of 57.

Source: Ghana News Agency

2022 FIFA WC Qualifiers: Milovan names four local players against Ethiopia, South Africa

Accra, Nov. 5, GNA – Black Stars Head Coach Milovan Rajevac has named four local players in his Black Stars squad for the 2022 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup against Ethiopia and South Africa.

The Black Stars would battle Ethiopia and South Africa in the last two games and a win in both matches would send Ghana to the play-offs stage.

In Coach Rajevac’s 28-man squad, Accra Hearts of Oak’s goalkeeper Richard Attah was maintained in the squad alongside Dreams FC’s duo Baffour Philimon and Abdul Fatawu Issahakun and Asante Kotoko’s skipper Abdul Ismael Ganiyu also included in the list.

South Africa leads Group G with 10 points while Ghana is on nine after four games in the qualifiers with Ethiopia on three points and Zimbabwe lying at the bottom with a point.

The remaining two matches are a must-win for Ghana to advance to the play-offs and chase for a fourth appearance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Bawumia suffering from credibility crisis, he’s finding an easy route out using digitisation after messing up the economy – Sissala West MP jabs

The Member of Parliament for Sissala West, Mohammed Adam Sukparu has taken Vice President, Dr Bawumia to the cleaners over his handling of the economy.

Making a mockery of Tuesday’s lecture by the Veep on the government’s digitalization agenda at Ashesi University, Mr Sukparu questioned why Dr Bawumia had relegated his economic credentials to the background and rather channelled his energy to digitalisation, which he says doesn’t put money in the pocket of the ordinary Ghanaian.

According to him, judging from the economic mess created by the Vice President, he wanted to find an easy route out by spearheading a digitisation agenda.

Speaking on Accra-based Pan African TV, Mr Sukparu said the Vice President had suffered a credibility crisis considering that he was unable to proffer a single solution to turn around the fortunes of the economy.

“This particular lecture is something that I cannot make a head or tail out of it. Dr Bawumia is struggling to redeem his credibility, he is suffering from credibility crisis,” he stressed.

Explaining further, he said the Vice President’s credentials had been called to question after some of his past pronouncements turned out to be false.

“Dr Bawumia as we speak today is struggling with a credibility crisis. He made certain pronouncements in the past that turned out to be untrue. He said every Ghanaian, was going to have a bank account, has that happened?” he quizzed.

Source: Modern Ghana

Ambrose Dery reiterates commitment to arrest subsidised fertiliser thieves

Minister for the Interior Ambrose Dery has urged citizens living in communities across the country’s borders to effectively support and collaborate with the security agencies to help reduce the smuggling of subsidised fertilisers.

He similarly appealed to the country’s traditional rulers to assist the security forces to cut down the smuggling of fertilisers out of the country since this would help ensure the successful implementation of Government’s programmes and policies.

The Minister, as well, urged the security agencies, especially the Immigration Services to be vigilant in abating the smuggling of fertilisers meant for the Planting for Food and Jobs programme out of the country.

Ambrose Dery made these appeal when he was answering a question posed by the MP for South Dayi Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor on steps the Ministry was taking to curb the smuggling of fertilisers meant for the Planting for Food and Job Programme across the borders.

He disclosed that the Ministry has identified the causes of the smuggling and shortages and was mapping out better strategies to get fertilisers to farmers across the country directly, which he explained, will help the Ministry to solve the canker of fertiliser smuggling in the border parts of the country.

The Minister, however, lamented that since the Agricultural Ministry cannot fight the canker alone, it was partnering with National Security, Immigration Service and the Ghana Police Service to find a lasting solution to the problem, adding that he saw smuggling of fertilisers as a national issue.

Source: Modern Ghana

Eduwatch 2021 WASSCE Monitoring Report full of inaccuracies – WAEC

Accra, Nov. 5, GNA – The West African Examination Council (WAEC) has raised concerns over Eduwatch 2021 WASSCE Ghana Monitoring Report, saying the report contained some inaccuracies.

The council noted that three out of 50 schools that Eduwatch mentioned as being monitored, did not even exist.

“It must be pointed out that Insaniya SHS, one of the schools that were reported to have been monitored by Eduwatch does not currently exist.

The school was closed down in January 2021. No candidate was registered by Insaniya SHS for WASSCE 2021, neither was the school used as examination centre.

Speaking at a Press conference in Accra in response to Eduwatch’s report, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, Head of Public Affairs, WAEC National Office said Beposoman Muslim SHS was not on the council’s list of participating schools for WASSCE.

“Rather, the list of schools for examination includes Ghana Muslim Mission SHS, Beposo.

Yet still, the council does not have any record of Kikam SHTS on the list of schools for WASSCE.

African Education Watch (Eduwatch) on Thursday launched its 2021 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) Ghana Monitoring Report.

The education think tank, noted that out 20 papers Monitored, 11 (55 percent) leaked while 45 percent were recorded as fake.

Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said the Council had taken note of the allegations made in the report of malpractices in certain schools and would probe further to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the claims made.

She said the Food and Nutrition Paper 3 which Eduwatch claimed were leaked were all fake.

“One wonders why Mr Kofi Asare, Executive Director of Eduwatch, would send false information when he had the actual fact.”

On English language 2 and Mathematics (Elective) 2, which were found to be on social media platforms and Telegram channels, one Godfred Darko aka Jerusalem, the source of handwritten questions for Mathematics Elective 2, was arrested and handed over to the Police.

On Physics 2 and 1, the Head of Public Affairs, WAEC National Office, said underground intelligence picked up signaled that the paper was ‘compromised’.

She said reports on Mathematics (Core) 2 and 1, Economics 2 and Integrated Science 2 indicated questions were fake.

“Marking of scripts is however ongoing and any irregularities detected will be investigated and scripts scrutinized”

On Chemistry 1, Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said the time given was scheduled for 1:00pm and that the time given implied that candidates had already been admitted to the examination hall and they had in possession the question paper.

“Any snapshot and circulation of the objective section (Chemistry 1) would have taken place at the centre and thus constituted an inside-examination hall malpractice and not a leakage.”

She said on the issue of external supervisors, Eduwatch was not clear on reference made in respect of external supervisors as most of them were not staff of WAEC.

Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said it was also inaccurate for Eduwatch to state that “WAEC as an international organization, lacks accountable framework governance, operate in a virtual Monopoly in public assessment space which has no regulation or effective accountability to citizens.”

She said the WAEC had considered the implementation of various intervention aimed at reducing human involvement in the question paper production value chain.

“This would include retooling the council, serialization, use of parallel tests and making use of variable data printing among others.”

Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said WAEC was committed to the conduct of credible examinations in the public interest despite the numerous challenges that the council was confronted with in the conduct of examinations.

She said the council’s doors were open and “we welcome suggestions aimed at enabling us attain our vision, to be a world class examining body.

She said Eduwatch’s Report which spoke about delayed commencement of some papers would be given the needed attention by the Council.

“We wish to assure all our public that we will continue to adopt innovative measures to improve our processes especially in the fight against examination malpractices, including examination leakage.”

She commended all stakeholders, including the Police, Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, National Security for the support given the council.

The 2021 WASSCE was conducted from August 16 to October 8, this year.

Sixty subjects were made available to 446, 321 candidates who registered from 765 schools.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GTA releases “December in Ghana” 2021 Schedule

Accra, Nov. 5, GNA – The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Beyond the Return Secretariat (BRS) have officially announced the schedule of endorsed events for the “December in GH” events.

In a release issued to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, it said the official calendar included activities from November 2021 through to early January 2022.

Some of the events would be Afrochella, on December 28, A Taste of Ghana on December 27, Polo Beach Club from December 26-January 2, Little Havana on December 26, and GUBA Cruise on January 2.

Ms. Annabelle McKenzie, Director of the Beyond the Return Secretariat said this year’s activities would also include programmes happening in other regions that would give travellers to Ghana an opportunity to explore other parts of the country and partake in the various cultures.

“We have endorsed events happening in other regions including the Volta, Upper East, Western, and Bono East regions.” Ms. McKenzie said.

She said the events outside Accra would be The Volta Fair, in Volta Region, Bolgatanga International Arts & Crafts Fair, and The Feok Festival, in Upper East, Samanpiid Festival, in North East and Kids in Tourism, in Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Central regions.

Ms. McKenzie said as Ghana continued to be the destination of choice in West Africa during the holiday season, it was anticipated that thousands of travellers would be arriving in the country throughout the coming weeks.

She noted that with the Covid-19 pandemic still a concern, the GTA would work with the security agencies to ensure that event organisers comply with protocols set in place by the National Covid-19 Task Force and the Presidential Advisor on Health.

“Guests will be required to present Covid-19 vaccination cards prior to entering all the events that are going to be endorsed, face masks will also be mandatory for all guests from age five and above with temperature checks taken upon entry and sanitizing stations throughout event venues.”

Ms McKenzie noted that although the event schedule had been released, event organizers interested in having their programs included as part of the official calendar could still submit their proposals to the secretariat via email at support@beyondthereturngh.com

Beyond the Return are a 10-year initiative and a follow up to the successful “Year of Return” in 2019 that attracted thousands of visitors to Ghana. The theme for the initiative is, “A Decade of African Renaissance”, and its foundation has seven pillars that touch on the areas Ghana was working towards, in strengthening relations with its diaspora community.

Each of the events has its own unique traits that would align with the pillars which are; Experience Ghana, Celebrate Ghana, Give Back Ghana, Brand Ghana, Promote Pan-African Heritage and Innovation, Invest in Ghana, and Diaspora Pathways to Ghana.

Source: Ghana News Agency