Ghanaians prepare to usher in 2022 amid Omicron spread

Accra, Dec. 31, GNA – At exactly 0000 hours Saturday dawn, the story of the Year 2021 would become history, opening a fresh page for the scripting of a new story for the Year 2022.

Worldwide, the New Year is moment of celebration for millions of people and is marked with diverse activities from midnight and throughout the day.

In Ghana, Watch Night Services and other vigil activities herald the New Year festivities, with thousands of people keeping wake to welcome the New Year.

And when the Clock finally announces the New Year, a moment of thunderous excitement is experienced in every part of the country, especially at the Watch Night Services where thousands gather to usher in the New Year.

Revellers on the other hand gather at the various pubs and clubs to make merry and celebrate throughout the night until daybreak.

In other parts of the world, the New Year is greeted with fireworks amid loud music in the streets.

Ghana currently has banned some category of firecrackers from being imported, displayed and used.

The Executive Instrument (E.I.) 21 of 1999 prohibits the manufacture, possession or carriage of any explosives, including firecrackers.

That notwithstanding, the celebration is never complete without the blaring of firecrackers, a tradition that has characterised the occasion for years.

Usually during the day, families and friends gather to reunite, fraternise and set fresh resolutions and targets for the year.

Beaches, restaurants, malls, hotels and recreational centres record high patronage throughout the day as thousands converge to make merry.

Meanwhile, with the Ghana Health Service announcing that the country has entered the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, activities for the New Year are likely to be in muted forms.

Already, some churches have announced measures to help reduce the spread of the virus when they gather to worship and usher in the New Year, Friday night.

The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council had issued a circular to its members, encouraging them to as much as possible, hold out-door services to ensure adequate social distancing.

The Greater Accra Regional Security Council had also directed beach operators to demand vaccination cards from patrons before they were allowed entry.

Revellers are also required to wear their nose masks throughout to prevent a spread of the virus.

Unlike previous years where groups particularly churches would organise picnics to celebrate the New Year, the outbreak of the fast-spreading Omicron variant is likely to cancel such gatherings.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Police arrests five suspects of Western Togoland Secessionist Group

Ho, Dec. 31, GNA – Five ‘well built’ men alleged to be members of the Western Togoland Secessionist Group, have been arrested in Denu by the Police and are assisting in investigations.

The arrest made at about 0700 hours on Friday, was as a result of a tip off received by the Police.

The suspects were Torgbui Bokor Dotse Aba, a 45-year old spiritualist from Tsiame, Isaac Norvinye Agbesi, 28 from Bator Zomayi, Avanyee Korku Godwin, 31 from Woe, Delali Sampson Ayirebi, 35 from Hohoe and Awumey Sunday, 37 from Keta.

They were picked up at their hideout being a house at Denu Beach owned by a former Assemblyman for Denu Mr Francis Bedzo, according to a Police source.

The Police is said to have stormed the said house and arrested the suspects while one Raphael Zokpo, 20 from Tsiame managed to escape during arrest.

Four locally made shotguns with 200 BB cartridges in eight packs were retrieved by the Police.

The Police said they saw pictures of Isaac Norvinye Agbesi and others undergoing military training with weapons at an undisclosed area on his phone.

An audio recording, which Agbesi was heard announcing to his colleagues to attack the Police and other security agencies for weapons during the insurgency was also found on his phone.

Agbesi, however, told Police that he and the other five suspects including the absconded Raphael Zokpo were recruited by Torgbui Aba for the purpose of training them for the formation of Western Togoland military.

The former Assemblyman has also been picked for investigation.

The suspects are in Police custody assisting in investigations.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Identify and develop all latent tourist sites in the Volta Region—Rev. Adonai

Ho, Dec. 31, GNA— Reverend Charis Bright Adonai, Chief Executive Officer of Adonai Group of Companies has said the Volta Region could become a major tourist destination in the country if the numerous latent tourist attractions were developed.

He noted that this would also create a lot of employment opportunities and generate revenue for the development of the country.

Rev. Adonai said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Ho.

He said his company had identified two of such attractions and was putting measures in place to develop them.

The Chief Executive Officer named the two as Kokovena mountains and a hundred per cent answered prayer rock both located near Adaklu Wayanu, a few kilometres from Ho, the Volta Regional capital.

He said the scenery and rocks, which he said were sitting on each other were awesome adding, “we begin clearing the roads leading to the sites to make them accessible and also plan to put up a resort there.”

Rev. Adonai said the private sector had a responsibility to support the government in building the country more specifically to help reduce, if not eradicate the country’s housing deficit.

He noted that the Adonai Estate Limited was specifically set up for that purpose adding that the company was “building a city within a city known as Airport Golf City at Adaklu Wayanu on the Ho – Aflao road.

He said ” Golf City” had a lot of facilities including a Police station, restaurant, and recreational facilities.

Rev. Adonai said a lot of programmes had been lined up at the Golf City Restaurant during the new year festivities including, a tilapia night on 31st December to tell the tilapia story, an old school reunion and fun games on 1st January, and a live band and a tour of the Kokovena mountain and hundred per cent answered prayer rock.

He said he was happy the hospitality industry was developing fast in the region and called on investors, especially people from the region, to identify all undeveloped tourist attractions and invest in their development.

Source: Ghana News Agency

We can cope without David Abagna, says RTU coach Shaibu Ibrahim Tanko

Real Tamale United (RTU) head coach, Shaibu Ibrahim Tanko, says they have what it takes to compete in the absence of livewire, David Abagna.

Abagna, having joined the PremierLeague returnees from Ashgold has been a kingpin for the club in the ongoing 2021/22 Ghana Premier League season.

However, following his impressive start of the season, Abagna earned a maiden call up in Black Stars provisional squad for the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations [Afcon].

The 26-year-old is expected to make the cut for the tournament scheduled to be hosted in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6.

In the absence of the attacking midfielder, RTU suffered a 2-1 defeat to Accra Lions in matchday 10 of the Ghana Premier League at the Sogakope Park on Monday.

Despite the defeat, Tanko believes there are equally good players who are capable of filling the void created by the former AshantiGold star.

“As I said earlier, we have the men who will really stand for him,” he said during his post-match interview.

“And indeed you saw it; even though his [Abagna] absence was felt, we were able to make sure people do not realise that he wasn’t here.”

In nine league games, Abagna has netted eight times for the Tamale-based side, leapfrogging national teammate, Maxwell Nii Abbey Quaye to the league top-scorers chart.

Source: Modern Ghana

Tano North MP inaugurates GHC150,000 Astro-turf pitch at Koforidua

– Dr. Freda Prempeh, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tano North in the Ahafo Region has inaugurated an Astro-turf pitch at Koforidua in the Ahafo Region, with a pledge to unearth and nurture sporting talents of young people in the constituency.

The MP, also a Minister of State in-charge of Works and Housing with support from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) constructed the football pitch at the cost of GHC150,000.

Dr. Prempeh indicated sports had huge economic prospects that could transform the lives of the people and enhance the socio-economic livelihoods of the local communities.

The MP said she had prioritized human development for 2022, and promised to build on the hidden talent of the youth in the area.

“I would ensure talents of enterprising young footballers and athletes in the constituency are scouted and built to enable them to feature in the national teams in 2022 and beyond”, she said.

Dr Prempeh said already she had provided a lot of social and health facilities including about 150 boreholes, 15 durbar grounds, several Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds and classroom blocks in the local communities.

“What is now left is to build the human development of the people which is equally important and that will remain my major priority in 2022”, she said.

The inauguration of the Astro-turf was climaxed with a Christmas football gala competition the MP organized among the communities.

All five zones comprising 25 communities in the area participated in the two-week gala matches that provided an opportunity for the young people in the area to exhibit their football prowess and deepened the prevailing peace in the communities.

Duayaw-Nkwanta BK FC beat the Adrobaa Natural Stars to take the ultimate prize on penalties in the finals of the competition.

The BK FC received medals, a set of jersey, football, assorted drinks and undisclosed sums of money, while the Adrobaa Stars also took home a set of jersey, football and undisclosed sums of money.

Similar prizes were given to individual players and match officials, and commentators while spectators were also feted with assorted drinks and biscuits.

Some of the residents later told the GNA sport the facility would greatly help promote the growth and development of football and other sporting activities in the area.

“This is a standard pitch and we plead with the MP to construct additional stands”, Frank Osei, a resident and football enthusiast in the area stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana’s Ambassador to Qatar visits Black Stars

Accra, Dec. 31, GNA – Dr. Emmanuel Enos Ghana’s Ambassador to Qatar has called on the senior national team, Black Stars at their base in Doha.

The move was to officially welcome the team to Qatar and to wish them well ahead of next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Black Stars have been training at the Aspire Academy facility since Saturday in preparation for the tournament which kicks off on Sunday, January 9, 2022, in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

‘’On behalf of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, President of the Republic, the Ghana Embassy staff in Doha, and the entire Ghanaian community in Qatar, I would like to warmly welcome all of you to Doha’’ His Excellency Enos said.

‘’My coming here is to personally congratulate all of you for the exploits you continue to showcase in the area of football.

‘’Your Commitment, discipline, team spirit, and teamwork are unparalleled and need to be commended.

“The second reason for my coming is to motivate, empower and encourage you to do more, we all know the task ahead – from here we will be going to Cameroon for the AFCON. Let’s all put it at the back of our minds that the trophy is already ours.

‘’You are blessed with an excellent management team, good coach, team spirit, and good leadership – not to talk about your captain Andre Ayew. His dedication and devotion to the team are unparalleled. I believe the young ones will go far if they learn from him.

‘’It is not just a sheer coincidence that you are here in Qatar – and for us, at the Embassy we see it as a good step to build a camaraderie between the GFA and the Embassy. I wish you well. I wish you good luck and I believe that we will bring home the trophy and also qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup’’ he added.

President of the Ghana Football Association Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku who received the Ambassador and his staff expressed sincere gratitude to them for taking time out of their busy schedule to visit the team.

‘’We want to express our gratitude to you and your staff for coming. It wasn’t difficult settling on Qatar as our camping base because beyond the amazing facilities, we knew we will always be at home’’ President Simeon-Okraku said.

‘’It was always imperative for us to have a feel of the World Cup host before the Mundial next year. I would like to commend the President, Nana Akufo Addo, and the sector Mustapha Ussif (Hon.) for their support and commitment.

‘’Your Excellency, you have in front of you amazing and committed players who have been dedicated to our course from day one. Before I became the President, I never had the chance to work with the Black Stars but these players have demonstrated true commitment and professionalism ever since I have been with them.

‘’These boys have dedicated themselves to the national course and they believe it is time for us to break the 40-year wait for the AFCON trophy.

‘’They have abandoned their family and left their clubs just to be here in Qatar to fight for the nation.

‘’Beyond here, we would be in Cameroon for the AFCON and hopefully, all the day and nights of sacrifice will pay off in Cameroon. We will play Morocco, Gabon, and Comoros and we believe that we will top the group and go all the way to the final and win the trophy.

‘’We believe in the course to bring the trophy to Ghana. We are extremely happy about your coming. We will not let the country down. There are a lot of doubting Thomas’s but we believe this squad will make us proud’’ he added.

Defender Jonathan Mensah thanked the Ambassador and the President on behalf of the players and assured them of their commitment to end the trophy drought in Cameroon.

The Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations would be held from January 9 – February 6, 2022.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Urban Roads to revamp malfunctioning traffic lights in Eastern Region

Koforidua, Dec. 31, GNA— The Department of Urban Roads (DUR) in the Eastern Region says efforts are being made to upgrade and construct additional signalized intersections, traffic lights, to avoid gridlocks and pedestrian knockdowns.

The Department is considering the construction of two additional signalized intersections at Osabene/Mile 50 and Oti Boateng SHS in Koforidua, one at Obomeng, Akuse Junction, and Asaman Kese/Akroso intersection.

This was disclosed to the Ghana News Agency in Koforidua by Mr Ebenezer Kam, the Eastern Regional Maintenance Engineer of the Department of Urban Roads.

Ghana News Agency investigations show that some traffic lights at the principal intersections are not functioning, despite having electricity supply. The lights are either all amber in the day or do not display any signal at all.

In some areas, it is either showing red or yellow or green without changing. The GNA further discovered that most of the traffic lights are old-fashioned, use electricity to function, as none appeared to be using solar energy.

However, officials of the Department of Urban Roads under the Ministry of Roads and Highways in the Eastern Region say the Department began rolling out a solar system to power traffic lights in 2014.

Mr Kam indicated that plans were afoot to restore and give a facelift to 16 traffic lights in the region, out of which 13 are functioning and three not working.

When asked when additional traffic lights were to be expected, he responded that a proposal had been submitted to the headquarters awaiting approval.

He attributed malfunctioning traffic lights at various intersections in different parts of the region to faulty controllers, manholes, poles, and stolen cables.

The most affected intersections are (Ada Rd/Hospital Rd/Nana Kweku Boateng 1) at Koforidua and Nana Asantewaa/Nana Attafua 1 Rd (Akim Oda Hospital) at Birim Central Municipal Assembly

But the defects of the Kassadjan Rd/Aburi Rd (Poly Junction) traffic light have been blamed on power supply failure which officials said has been reported to the contractor in charge of maintenance.

Mr Kam said those earmarked for upgrading included Nana Asafo Adjei Rd/Nana Osei Hwedie Rd (B Foster) and Nana Asafo Adjei Rd/Old Estate Rd (Bula Spot)

“In various intersections where they are not functioning, approval has been given to Facol Limited, Contractor, in charge to upgrade,” He said.

He added that other intersections within Eastern Region were also being studied for consideration.

Traffic lights on nearly all major roads in the Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua, have not been functioning for months, raising concerns of road accidents and knockdowns among motorists and pedestrians.

Many of the traffic lights found on the major routes in the city are faulty, and the signals have not been working for months, causing heavy gridlocks during rush hours and market days.

Source: Ghana News Agency

CPC initiates projects to enhance revenue

Accra, Dec. 31, GNA— The Cocoa Processing Company plc (CPC) is constructing a Combined Heat Power into a Biomass Plant that will utilize cocoa pod, its shells, and other agriculture wastes to generate power for its operation.

The project which is expected to be completed in 18 months, would help reduce the cost of utilities in the primary years by 28 per cent and in subsequent years after completion of the payment of the loan facility, to 63 per cent.

The company is also pursuing and developing new markets in Rwanda, Kenya, Angola, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. High-level discussions are ongoing with the Head of Mission of these countries on the sale of Golden Tree products in their various countries.

Mr Kwaku Owusu Baah, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company, disclosed this at the company’s Annual General Meeting in Accra on Friday.

The company incurred a loss of 7.9 million dollars in 2020 as against 259,358 dollars

In the year 2019, turnover dropped from 28,433,361 dollars in 2019 to 13,645,898 dollars in 2020.

Mr Baah said as part of the company’s efforts to increase efficiency in the plant and machinery, the company with the support of the Government had approved their quest to discuss with Buhler Company Limited, one of the manufacturers of the cocoa plant and machinery for technical support to have some processing equipment retooled to achieve efficiency and enhance revenues.

He said the global economy suffered a recession in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and that Governments around the globe imposed movement restrictions including curfews, border closures, and travel bans, to help curb the spread of the virus.

The Board Chairman said these measures impacted negatively on all sectors worldwide adding that the company was heavily affected as huge volumes of its semi-finished cocoa products worth 20.8 million dollars earmarked for export got locked up in the warehouse.

“Besides the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the over-aged production equipment of the company experienced frequent breakdowns, which increased downtime and its related costs,” he said adding that these developments posed challenges for the operations of the company during the year under review.

Nana Agyenim Boateng I, Managing Director of the company said erratic cocoa beans supply in 2019/2020 affected the company’s projections and as a result, were unable to process about 50 per cent of the previous year’s output.

He said the Confectionary sales, however, witnessed a heavy jump as demand for chocolate confectionery products increased.

‘This was as a result of increasing awareness of the efficacy of consumption of cocoa products in building immunity which is a great asset in fighting any viral infectious disease’ he said.

Nana Boateng said the company still had serious setbacks in profitability and growth as a result of earlier inconsistent beans supply and challenges in the performance of the plant and machinery.

“These notwithstanding, the Board of Directors and Management will continue as pledged always to pursue our vision of turning your company around into a profitable venture?, Nana Boateng added.

Source: Ghana News Agency