Bolgatanga’s shea butter pivotal in success of UK black hair products

For many black women in the UK with natural Afro hair, it has always been an uphill task to get the right products for their natural locks.

 

Countless products have claimed to be great for Afro hair, but just did not work, according to Rachael Twumasi-Corson, who co-founded Afrocenchix, a black hair products company, with her former university colleague, Joycelyn Mate.

 

“Unfortunately for many black people, beauty choices are damaging their health,” Ms Twumasi-Corson told the GNA.

 

“There are natural options for the health conscious [but] the problem is that very few cater for Afro hair.”

She said that a report on cosmetics for black women showed “some shocking findings”.

 

“In an analysis of ingredients in 1,177 beauty and personal care products marketed to black women, about one in 12 was ranked highly hazardous,” Ms Twumasi-Corson explained.

 

This Christmas, their products, specifically targeted at women with Afro hair and using ethically-sourced ingredients, have been advertised on British TV for the first time.

“Really positive,” Ms Twumasi-Corson said of the 30-second TV commercial.

 

“We had lots of support from our community, press and more

“We’re really happy to be able to put a relatable story about hair and positive representation on television with this ad,” she added.

 

The entrepreneurs have used innovative ideas to finally come up with products that are now making waves in the hair care market in the UK that was worth £1.7 billion in 2019.

 

The co-founders of Afrocenchix met at university in Birmingham in 2008 and by the time they finished their courses they had decided to do something about hair products aimed at black women that contained “nasty chemicals to increase shelf life…and keep costs as low as possible”.

 

Ms Twumasi-Corson told the GNA: “Our endless quest to finding the perfect healthy products finally ended when we decided to start creating our own.

 

“We wanted to make sure that what we made was kind to people and the planet.”

 

She said they discovered that they were not alone in feeling frustrated with the lack of proper black hair products when the small batch of oil they had produced flew off the shelves at a community fair in North London.

 

“From this point we set out on a mission to share what we had learnt about healthy hair care practices using natural products.

 

“In 2010, we won an award for Ethical and Sustainable Business Innovation from the University of Birmingham, which encouraged us to take the idea more seriously,” Ms Twumasi-Corson said.

 

Afrocenchix now buys organic and Fairtrade shea butter for its products from a women’s cooperative in Bolgatanga, providing an important source of income for the members.

“The Akoma Cooperative Society brings these women and others together in the shared pursuit of working their way out of poverty and raising awareness about ethical sourcing,” Ms Twumasi-Corson told the GNA.

 

The Fairtrade premium provides that workers are paid a fair amount for what they produce and receive an extra sum of money to improve their quality of life.

 

In Bolgatanga, this money is being invested in education, healthcare and respite for the elderly. Akoma is currently renovating the Pusu-Namogo primary school, with plans to build a library and IT centre as well as providing desks and school equipment.

 

Ms Twumasi-Corson and Ms Mate have turned out to be successful black women entrepreneurs whose products are now sold worldwide in countries such as India, Canada and Ghana.

“We’re proud to be the first British brand specifically for Afro hair available in a major retailer [in the UK],” Ms Twumasi-Corson told the GNA.

 

After the month-long UK TV commercial in November, Ms Twumasi-Corson said: “We are really excited to see the vision that we’d worked on for such a long time come to life.”

 

Afrocenchix could be on to a winner with its chemical-free products, given that figures show that black British women spend six times more on their hair than their white counterparts.

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Let’s take a second look at E-levy–Tax Advisor

Koforidua (E/R), – Mr Kofi Benteh, a Chartered Tax Advisor, has advised the government to take a second look at the proposed electronic transaction levy (E-levy), taking into critical consideration all shades of public opinion.

 

He said efforts so far made by the government to digitalize the economy were very much appreciated but cautioned that the introduction and implementation of any E-levy must be critically assessed to serve its rightful purpose.

 

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in presenting the 2022 economic policy of the government to parliament last month said 1.75 per cent proposed E-levy was a revenue generation strategy to rope in the vast informal sector into the formal sector.

 

“Government has decided to place a levy on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This shall be known as Electronic Levy or e-levy,” the Finance Minister had said.

 

Electronic transactions cover mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances.

 

This, the Minister said, would be charged at an applicable rate of 1.75 per cent and shall be borne by the sender, except inward remittances which would be borne by the recipient.

 

However, speaking with the Ghana News Agency (GNA)in an interview, Mr Benteh said the agenda to promote a cash-light economy was largely fuelled by the electronic payment system, known as Momo, especially in areas without banking services.

 

After critically analysing this proposal, he said there were a lot of questions that needed to be considered by the government before implementing the budget.

 

He said in 2020, the Bank of Ghana reported that the total float balance on all Mobile Money (MoMo) wallets were GH¢6.98billion while the total value of transactions was Gh¢564.16 billion.

 

This money, according to him, will be taxed severally due to its movement and no value if the e-levy was to be implemented in its current form without being critically analysed.

 

“E-levy should help solve economic development challenges rather than force out Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs),” he said.

 

He added: “Because there is no surety that the informal sector players dominate the electronic transaction space.”

 

He quizzed: “Are electronic transactions dominant among informal sector players? Have we juxtaposed the values of transactions to the volume of transactions since e-levy is proportional to the value of transactions and not the volume of transactions?”

 

Again, “are informal sector players largely the recipient or the senders in electronic transactions?”

 

Mr Benteh observed that the purpose of e-levy was to “widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector,” however, the target audience might be missed since some companies pay their workers through electronic transactions.

 

“Those companies might be overly charged because they might already be paying requisite taxes,” he added.

 

According to Mr Benteh, SME operators make as low as 3% profit margin on sales and they are sustained in business only by the frequency of transactions.

 

He cautioned that businesses would suffer when the conditions of the e-levy were not carefully addressed before its implementation.

 

He said: “Generally, goods and services are taxed and if payment transactions are also taxed then e-levy is not serving its other purpose of safeguarding economic inclusion and protecting the vulnerable.”

 

Mr Benteh projected that the total percentage charged when e-levy is being implemented would be 2.75% comprising 1% from Communication Service Tax to Telcos and 1.75% charge as e-levy.

 

He pointed out that the vulnerable would be at the losing end, saying, “Imagine a rich man transfers GH¢100 every day per month totalling GH¢3,000 and will not pay any levy but a poor person who transfers GH¢101 in one transaction per month is levied 1.75%.”

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

E-levy: MTN, Airtel Tigo to revise transfer fee downward by 25 percent

Accra,— The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications says Mobile Money Operators, MTN and AirtelTigo, have revised their person to person transfer fee downward by 25 percent, whilst Vodafone maintains its zero charges.

Each operator would notify their customers of the applicable revised rate when the e-levy bill is passed into law.

 

This was in a statement signed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, following a deliberation with government and other stakeholders.

 

“We acknowledge the need to expand the tax base. However, to reduce the overall impact of the new levy on consumers, MTN and AirtelTigo have agreed to downward revision of their P2P (person to person transfer) fees by up to 25% depending on respective operator,” the statement said.

 

They assured customers that service centres would be ready to provide them with assistance during the implementation of the e-levy.

 

The operators also pledged to customers their continued support in delivering innovative products and service that would ensure the convenience of the digital financial platforms and support the national digital transformation effort.

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Ghana’s economy not well-structured for 1.75 per cent E-levy—Economist

Tema,— Mr Samuel Akoetey, Director for Business Development, Centre for Greater Impact Africa has stated that although the concept of E-levy is progressive, Ghana’s economy was not well structured for the high rate of 1.75 per cent.

 

He said the country was now venturing into digitization and as such, proper procedures were needed to ensure that when the E-levy was implemented it would yield the maximum result.

 

“If the government is encouraging people to go digital and businesses begin transferring huge sums of money and they realize how huge the taxes on some money will be, they will be discouraged and go back to manual, and that will come back and fight against the policy,” he added.

 

Mr Akoetey was speaking at the Ghana News Agency Industrial News Hub Boardroom Dialogue platform created for industry players, state and non-state actors to use, as well as other stakeholders to reach out in a proactive means while serving as grounds to address national issues.

 

He said already, there was one per cent of the electoral levy operationalized by some of the telecommunication companies on mobile money transactions, as such, the Government should consider a lower rate below one per cent so that people would pay without feeling the impact.

 

He said there was no guarantee that the 1.75 per cent E-levy government was introducing would solve all the problems and bring all the developmental projects in the country.

 

Mr Akoetey explained that most of the businesses in the country were in the private sector, and that could affect their operations.

 

He suggested to the government to maintain the payment of the road tolls to raise additional revenue to bring development to the country.

 

Mr Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency noted that the Agency remained the mother of all media organisations in Ghana and revealed that the GNA had over the years maintained its branded image of dissemination of accurate, truthful, balanced, and credible news for the public consumption.

 

Mr Ameyibor stated that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had compelled media organisations including GNA to devise a new strategy to engage stakeholders for newsgathering and dissemination rather than the mediaeval routine model of waiting for events.

 

He said the Tema Office of the Agency was placing value on news anchored on the news source, the target recipient, the reporter, and the media house: “All these four personalities place value on the news, which must be considered and factored into the news preparation and dissemination”.

 

He said media must periodically undertake value for news analysis to ensure that all factors of news are satisfied at all times as the only way to remain relevant in the fast-changing information, communication and technological world.

 

 

 

 

Mr Ameyibor said GNA was focused on disseminating undiluted news items for the public and while building on the foundational legacy established on March 5, 1957 by the first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah with the sole aim to tell the Ghanaian and the African story to the rest of the world.

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Remains of two murdered Police officers flown to Accra

 

Pwalugu (U/E), – The remains of the two Police officers who were shot by suspected armed robbers at Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga East District of the Upper East Region have been flown to Accra for the necessary rites and burial.

A brief parade in honour of the deceased was held at the Police Training School at Pwalugu in the Talensi District in which Dr George Akuffo Dampare and other senior officers of the Service were in attendance.

 

The two officers, Constable Emmanuel Akowuah and Constable Adam Sulley were killed at the Zuarungu market square by alleged armed robbers while on night patrol.

 

The suspects who had attacked a shop at the market and made away with a sum of GH¢2,000.00, fired gun shots at the two Policemen while the Police officers were on their motorbike and killed them instantly.

 

The bullets also pierced through the fuel tank of the motorbike which caused it to catch fire and partly burnt Constable Sulley.

 

The Police Administration has promised to award GH¢50,000.00 to any person who would provide the Service with relevant information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects.

 

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

ActionAid trains youths on modern slavery, decent work

 

Nsuta-Buem (O/R), December 19, GNA-ActionAid Ghana with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (Norad) has trained 50 youths on modern slavery and decent work.

Miss She-Vera Anzagira, the ActionAid Ghana Programme Manager for Greater Accra, Oti and Volta Regions, appealed to the youths to help curtail modern slavery in the country by creating awareness on its forms and effects.

 

She said combating modern slavery in Ghana was a shared responsibility and that every human was important to ActionAid.

 

Speaking at the programme at Catholic Formation and Counseling Centre at Nsuta-Buem in the Jasikan District of the Oti Region,

 

Participants were trained on forms and what constituted modern slavery, factors contributing to it, its effects and their roles in fighting the menace.

 

They were equally coached on what is decent work, types and what makes it decent.

 

The participants, which included; Young Female Platform members, Activists, chiefs, queenmothers and opinion leaders were drawn from nine communities in the Kadjebi District.

 

Miss Anzagira explained that the project was to complement government efforts in eradicating modern slavery which manifested in the form of forced labour, child labour, human trafficking, debt bondage and unfair contract farming practices.

 

She said their project objectives were to facilitate the implementation of measures to identify, prevent and address modern slavery within the agriculture sector, eliminate the involvement of child labour and women in agriculture plantations under conditions of servitude.

 

It is again to enhance the knowledge of individuals and communities on modern slavery practices, so they could act in concert to prevent such practices.

 

The Regional Programme Manager said Ghana had signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that target 7.8 of the SDGs charged member States to, “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.

 

She said ActionAid hoped to directly reach a total of 26,700 beneficiaries and 15 million people indirectly with the modern-day slavery message so that together we tackle the menace.

 

On Decent Work Agenda; Miss Anzagira said, since 1999, the promotion of decent work has been the main objective of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

 

She explained that the primary goal of the decent work agenda was, “to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity”.

 

Miss Anzagira said the concept of decent work is based on understanding that work is not only a source of income, but a source of dignity, family stability, economic growth, among others.

 

Mr Jamil Tanimu, a Programme Officer with ActionAid, advised the participants to always tried to identify the act, means and the purpose of modern slavery to enable them to know how to address it effectively.

 

Mr Jamil said globally, 40 million people were enslaved daily, 21 million forced labour, 15 forced marriage, 4 million sexually exploited and that 71 per cent were women and girls, while 25 per cent were children.

 

He said 23 per cent were in Africa with the highest prevalence rate of 7.6 victims for every 1,000 people.

 

The Programme Officer named League of Nations Slavery Convention, 1920, UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, ILO Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999, UN Trafficking Protocol, 2000, among others as international legal frameworks passed to help fight the menace.

 

Mr Jamil also mentioned the 1992 Constitution, Human Trafficking Act, 2005, Labour Act, 2003, LI 22I9 (2015), Children’s Amendment Act, 2016 (Act 937) as National Laws passed to aid curtail the menace.

 

He also called on them to report such acts to DOVVSU, CHRAJ, Social Welfare and Community Development, among others for action.

 

Ms Linda Akakpo, a participant told Ghana News Agency that the training had enlightened her on the new dimensions to modern slavery and that she would educate people on the act.

 

Officials from NCCE, CHRAJ and Social Welfare and Community Development educated the participants on their core mandates and solicited their support for effective work delivery.

 

The training was held under the theme: “Combating Modern Slavery in Ghana”.During Focus Group Discussions, the participants have identified poverty, unemployment, divorce, ignorance, peer pressure and get-rich quick phenomenon as some of the factors contributing to modern slavery in their localities.

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Include migrant returnees in COVID-19 recovery plans, IOM Ghana tells gov’t

 

Senase, (B/R), – The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ghana, has called on the government to consider including migrants and returnees in the nation’s COVID-19 socio-economic recovery plans, as the world marks the 2021 International Migration Day (IMD).

Miss Pooja Bhalla, the Project Manager, who made the call on behalf of the IOM Ghana Chief of Mission, Abibatou Wane-Fall, said the organisation remained committed to offering innovative, practical solutions to common challenges and providing support for integration efforts, including combating discrimination and xenophobia to realize a future in which migration remained of matter of choice rather than a necessity.

 

The IMD, which falls on December 18, every year and instituted by the United Nations, is celebrated globally to discuss and reflect on migration and this year’s celebration is on the theme “harnessing the potential of human mobility”.

 

Ms Bhalla was speaking at a community forum held at Senase in the Berekum Municipality of the Bono region to climax this year’s celebration of the IMD, attended by Ghana Immigration Service, (GIS), Assembly Members, Traditional Authorities, young creative groups, and migrant returnees.

 

The IOM organised a series of community interventions in the Berekum Municipality, including float, a new mural, radio talk show, and a film screening, as part of the West Africa edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) to celebrate the day.

 

Ms Bhalla indicated migrants continued to contribute their knowledge, networks, and skills to build stronger, more resilient communities, saying it was imperative for everyone to help protect the fundamental rights of migrants and returnees.

 

She observed Ghana had over the years achieved significant milestones concerning migration, and mentioned the development of the National Migration Policy (2016), National Action Plan for the Elimination of Human Trafficking (2017), National Migration Data Management Strategy (2017), Labour Migration Policy (2019) and a migration governance assessment (2019) as some of the laudable achievements.

 

“Ghana also recently conducted national consultations on the GCM, with support from the UN Network on Migration (UNNM)”, she added.

 

Ms Bhalla also welcomed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana, developed by IOM in consultation with the Ghana Government and launched in 2020 at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

 

The overall aim of the SOPs was to coordinate reintegration assistance across national and local actors to help Ghanaian returnees rebuild their lives back home – in economic, social, and psychosocial terms.

 

“Sustainable reintegration of returnees is only possible when all migration stakeholders are on board, a participatory approach is applied, and communities take ownership.

 

“IOM’s innovative and integrated approaches involve reintegration at individual, community, and structural level, and also recognize the effect that irregular migration has on the mental and physical well-being of a returnee and therefore includes a psychosocial component”, Ms Bhalla explained.

 

Nana Owusuwaa Fakyiwaa, the Queen of Senase, advised the community members to see the activities as a reminder to always choose safe migration.”

 

“There are a lot of untapped opportunities here in Berekum. You don’t have to risk your life to make it. You can make it here”, she added.

 

Miss Selina Kusi, a student and a beneficiary of IOM project in the area said later told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) “we developed this radio drama as part of the new IOM X campaign to educate the youth in our communities”.

 

Migration is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with target 10.7 calling on the international community to facilitate orderly, safe, and regular migration, and is at the core of the Global Compact for Migration, adopted in 2018 by more than 160 countries, including Ghana.

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

“Stop doing the devil’s work”- Road Safety adopts hard-biting phrase to help prevent road crashes

 

Ho,— The National Road Safety Authority (NSRA) has adopted a provocative mantra as it seeks to heighten compliance with road safety regulations.

 

 

 

The catchword “Gyae Obonsam Adwoma No,” to wit, stop doing the devil’s work, adds to the Authority’s “Stay Alive” campaign to engage the consciences of drivers, motorists, and pedestrians to uphold road safety regulations.

 

Mr David Osafo Adonteng, Director of Planning and Programmes at the NSRA, said at the Volta Regional launch of the Campaign, that human error continued to account for almost all road accidents, and that the mantra was chosen to stimulate individual responsibility, noting that most drivers tend to blame the devil whenever their actions and inactions resulted in road crashes.

 

“The carnage on our roads is bleeding our health facilities. It’s a big issue and we are losing our loved ones. All stakeholders have roles to play and must start from today.

 

“Most drivers keep blaming the devil for their actions and inactions and we must all take advantage of the safety campaign to disabuse people’s mindsets. All Ghanaians must become advocates,” he said.

 

Mr Adonteng said a three-pronged approach of education, enforcement, and advocacy was being adopted, and mentioned “vicious” enforcement in collaboration with the police, commending the efforts of newly appointed.

 

The Stay Alive campaign is a close collaboration with major partners including the Police, Fire, and the Ambulance Services, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, and also the various transport unions.

 

Traditional leaders are also being engaged to help reach the communities with the sensitization on their roles in minimizing road crashes.

 

Mr Kwasi Tsibu Yirenkyi, Regional Director of the Road Safety Authority, said the reluctance of passengers to speak up against risky driving and road use, kept drivers comfortable in the killing and maiming spree.

 

He said the Volta Region continued to record increases in road crashes with no dip in the number of motorbikes involved, and expressed hope that the campaign would help make roads safer during the Christmas festivities.

 

Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister, who launched the campaign in the Region, said there was the need to protect lives during the season, adding that the advances of the road safety authority would reduce the impact of crashes and must therefore be supported by all.

 

 

 

 

“This journey the national road safety authority has embarked on, is invaluable and cannot be taken for granted at all. Therefore there is the need for all of us to lend the necessary support and push to this effort of ensuring that we reduce drastically the cases of road accidents in the country and more importantly, in the Volta Region”.

 

Togbe Dunyo IV, Chief of Ave Atanve, and CEO of the Road safety Empowerment Foundation, an NGO, who chaired the launch said the implementation of preventive measures remained crucial.

 

“There have been lots of forums but the recommendations and the interventions are not always implemented,” he said, noting the persisting challenges of bad roads and speed ramps amongst others.

 

More than 2600 deaths from road crashes have been recorded from January to November nationwide, of which 114 occurred in the Volta Region.

 

Mr Adonteng told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines that it had become necessary to fight road crashes with the same ruthlessness with which the nation fought the COVID-19 pandemic, as it consumed 1.6 per cent of GDP.

 

He added that outreach teams of the NSRA would be deployed to commercial transport terminals across the country during the yuletide to conduct pre-departure tests in collaboration with the police.

 

The tests would ensure that all commercial drivers had licenses, were fit, sober, and had enough rest before embarking on journeys.

 

 

Source: Ghana News Agency