Conditions of Service: CLOGSAG deserves more -MFWA

Accra, Mr Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), says the Government needs to pay attention to the demands of members of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association because they “deserve more.

“CLOGSAG needs more. What they take is not good. In terms of fairness, people running local government deserve more…,” he said in a media discussion on conditions of service of workers in the country.

Mr Braimah said the demand for neutrality allowance by the Association was not out of place and that what was needed was a ‘proper’ definition of the allowance.

He, therefore, charged the leadership of the Association to continue to negotiate with Government for what was due them.

Nana Agyekum-Dwamena, Head of Civil Service, at a CLOGSAG May Day Thanksgiving Service, urged the Government to quickly address issues of remuneration of members of the Association to restore industrial harmony.

The Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) and the government have been at crossroads for almost two weeks over the former’s demand for payment of neutrality allowance and other remunerations.

As a result, CLOGSAG has been on strike since April 21, 2022.

Nana Agyekum-Dwamena said over the years, the Civil and Local Government Staff, and to a large extent, public servants had contributed immensely to the development of the country and must be given what they deserved.

“We are one of the organisations that hardly undertake industrial action, one of the organisations that are much more flexible in terms of understanding of issues because we are the centre of government,” he said and added that: “We are part of the broad processes, we are part of policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation processes, so we clearly understand the challenges of this country and so I want to encourage the people of Ghana to come to a certain understanding ( the role civil servants play in national development).”

Some people, including civil society organisations, as well as social and political commentators, have questioned the rationale for the payment of the neutrality allowance.

In response to that, Nana Agyekum-Dwamena entreated Ghanaians to be circumspect in their criticisms against CLOGSAG’s demand for neutrality allowance.

He explained that the calculation for the allowance started in 2019, adding that it was a series of allowances numbering about 48, cut down close to eight, which had been harmonised.

“So the neutrality is really a representation of a broader lot of allowances,” he said.

He added that; “I know that, that has been a major concern. People have come out to say that no, that is not what we are supposed to do and all that. You are entitled to your own opinion and that is a fact, but the point still remains that nobody has really contested the fact that civil and local government staff have gone through negotiations, have gone through the processes and let me stress that with recognition of what this country is going through, negotiations are still continuing and even the initial stance to a large extent has been watered down.”

He said civil and local government staff were going through many difficulties and challenges and said it was important the citizenry understood their concerns.

He commended CLOGSAG for its continued support of the Service and the development of the country.

“I have always said this and I will say it again that since independence the civil and local government services, by extension public services, have held this country together.

“We have gone through various political upheavals. You go back even 1966. After the 66 coups, we are the people who managed this country. So, I will always encourage you to be proud,” Nana Agyekum-Dwamena said.

Dr Evans A. Dzikum, President of CLOGSAG, thanked members of the Association for showing commitment, duty consciousness and contributing to the government’s plans, programmes and activities, despite the poor conditions of service.

Mr Isaac Bampoe Addo, Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, assured members of the Association of leadership’s commitment to ensure that the government fulfilled its part of the agreement on conditions of service agreed on January 20, 2022.

Mr Thomas Musah, General Secretary, Ghana National Association of Teachers, GNAT, said current salaries could not sustain workers when on retirement.

Dr Yaw Baah, Secretary-General, Trades Union Congress (TUC), said the Congress was not against CLOGSAG’s neutrality allowance and said Government must find resources to increase salaries to avoid labour unrest.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Agona East NPP elects Female as Chairperson

Kwansakrom (C/R), Mrs Hannah Asamoah, the immediate past Youth Organizer for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Agona East Constituency, has been elected the Constituency chairperson to steer the affairs of the party for the next four years.

She polled 393 votes to defeat the incumbent, Mr Sam Esandoh who polled 72 votes and, Mr James Owusu Barnes, who also had 196 votes.

The total valid ballots cast was 661 out of 681 votes expected.

The election was supervised by Mrs Patience Shebrah, Agona East District Director of the Electoral Commission.

For the First Vice Chairman position, Mr Prince Yaw Essah, polled 498 votes to beat Mr Alex Nkansah Anyanful who had 77 votes and Mr Robert Baah who obtained 85 votes.

The Second Vice Chairman position saw Mr Emmanuel Ebo Acquah, winning with 324 votes to defeat three other contestants.

Mr Jacob Ashmond, polled 266 votes to become the new Constituency Secretary whilst Mr Isaac Instiful, the incumbent obtained 254 votes and Mr Robert Abeiku Ansah, had 136 votes.

Mr Rockson Masukrada, polled 260 votes to defeat four other contestants to win the Assistant Secretary position.

The Organizer position was won by Mr Gordon Dadzie, who obtained 362 votes to defeat Mr Solomon Kweku Paintsil, the incumbent who had 298 votes.

Madam Victoria Quao, polled 359 votes to beat Mr Seth Arhin who obtained 298 votes to lose his position as Treasurer.

Madam Gladys Obeng retained her position as Women’s Organizer with a total of 346 votes when she beat Ms Diana Duah Frimpong, who had 312 votes.

Mr Alfred Obeng polled 277 votes to beat three other contestants to become new Youth Organizer for the Agona East constituency.

Hajia Jibril Amidatu polled 279 votes to defeat two other contenders to win the position of NASARA Coordinator for the next four years in the constituency.

Speaking to the teeming supporters after her declaration, Mrs Asamoah thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in her, and called for a united front among the polling station executives, Electoral Area coordinators and council of elders to create the enabling environment for the party to recapture the Parliamentary seat in 2024.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ramadan: Muslims advised to get closer to Allah

Accra, Sheikh Dr Amin Bonsu, the National Chairman of the Ghana Muslim Mission (GMM), has urged Muslims to maintain their new state of being constantly closer to Allah through devotion to prayers, as they exit the month of Ramadan successfully.

He said Muslims should continue with their good deeds, read the Holy Quran frequently, show more love to the poor and needy by taking care of their needs and be peaceful wherever they found themselves.

The National Chairman of GMM said this known in a statement issued in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), ahead of the 2022 Eid-Ul-Fitr celebration.

He said Muslims must establish good relations with all persons as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and also use this year’s Ramadan and Eid -Fitr as a rallying point to stay united and focuse on spreading the good message of Islam to the rest of the world.

“As we pray for peace and blessings for our dear nation-Ghana, we urge educational and corporate Institutions to ensure that Muslims are granted equal rights and the freedom to practice their religion as enshrined in the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana”, it stated.

He entreated the Youth to celebrate the occasion humbly and solemnly with the fear of Allah.

He said: “What is more important is for the Ummah to join hands with leadership to support the development of educational, health and other Institutions and to create more sustainable jobs and help the suffering masses out of poverty.”

The statement noted that Ramadan, waa a great month filled with high spirituality, love, goodness, charitable acts, piety, more prayers and lots of kindness.

It said: “This activity is sanctioned by God Almighty in the Holy Quran (2:183) O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it is prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.

“This provides a great opportunity for Muslims to attain piety by observing the fast, doing more good, praying more and seeking for Allah’s mercies,” it said.

He prayed for peace in troubled parts of the world such as Syria, Lybia, Palestine, Ukraine, where vulnerable people, especially women and children were being tortured, starved and made to suffer all sorts of hardships as a result of war and conflicts.

Sheikh Bonsu reminded Muslims on the need to remain committed to the cause of Islam and asked that Allah accepted their prayers and granted them the best in “this world and the hereafter.”

Source: Ghana News Agency

Turn plastic wastes into wealth – EPA

Tema, Ms. Sally Biney, the Greater Accra Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)has said waste recycling is the surest way of protecting the environment while making money for the nation.

She said that it was important to have a proper waste collection system strategically located at vantage points for recycling.

Ms Biney stated during the launch of the Coliba Recycling Services a leading Ghanaian Plastic Waste Recycling Company, committed to environmental protection and Engen Ghana Limited specialists in the supply of refined petroleum products plastic waste recycling project at Pokuase.

The project involves strategically installing high-capacity, high-impact recycling bins at all of Engen Ghana’s 42 Filling Stations across the country which will serve as collection points for people to conveniently drop off their plastics and receive some incentives.

The EPA Regional Director commended the partnership between Engen Ghana and Coliba Recycling on the initiative and pledged the agency’s support to the course to abate plastic waste pollution in the country.

Ms Biney said that recycling plastic waste is a laudable initiative that will result in job creation, boost the country’s economy, reduce sanitation-related diseases, improve aesthetics, reduce flooding, reduce air, land, and water pollution, and generally improve quality of life.

She said it was therefore eminent that citizens safeguard the environment by promoting behavioural change towards plastic waste generation and improper disposal.

She added that to have clean air, clean water, and fertile lands for agriculture and other developments, it is important to apply the ‘4Rs’, that is to ensure that we “Reduce, Reuse, Recover, and Recycle” plastics to protect the environment for posterity.

Ms Biney also noted that a few sections of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana mandates all citizens to protect the environment, quoting a provision made under Article 41 of the Constitution which says “every citizen must protect and safeguard the environment” which implies that environmental protection is everybody’s business.

She also indicated that the EPA Act, 1994, (Act 490) mandates the agency to safeguard the environment which reflects in its mission to co-manage, protect, and enhance the nation’s environment.

It also mandates the agency to seek common solutions to global environmental problems such as waste mismanagement, including plastic waste, and the implications on the environment for which reason the Engen Ghana-Coliba Recycling project is born.

Mr Brent Nartey, Engen Ghana Managing Director said it was based on the company’s commitment to ensure continual improvement in Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality management and protection of the environment by leveraging on technology.

He said Engen Ghana which deals in other petroleum downstream-related activities considered the importance of plastics, as well as the challenges resulting from its misuse, cannot be overemphasized, adding that “we use plastics every day, and everywhere and dispose of them sometimes indiscriminately.

“As a result, we increasingly litter plastics waste around endangering the environment, polluting water bodies, clogging our drains, and when burnt, release toxic substances that create air pollution, harmful to humans and animals”.

Mr Nartey encouraged all Ghanaians to be responsible in their waste disposal and be good corporate citizens to help manage and mitigate the growing nuisance of plastic pollution, especially in the cities.

He said recycling is one sustainable solution to curbing plastic waste however, Ghana’s underdeveloped recycling sector coupled with the inability of the traditional waste collection services to provide sufficient recycling services due to financial constraints has been a major hurdle.

Mr Ebow Botwe, Representative of the Plastic Manufacturers Association also encouraged individuals and corporate organizations to support the recycling businesses because they are not profitable ventures but for passion-driven individuals who have the environment at heart.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Choose dialogue to resolve grievances – Northern Regional Minister

?Tamale, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister has encouraged residents of the region to always choose dialogue as a better option in resolving their grievances rather than using violence.

?He also urged them to choose peace as a guiding principle to live by saying “We cannot compromise the peace we enjoy as a region.”

?He stated this while addressing this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations at the Jubilee Park in Tamale on Monday to mark the end of Ramadan, a 30-day fasting period.

?Hundreds of Muslims in the region gathered at the Jubilee Park to offer prayers to Allah as well as exchange pleasantries with one another to mark the joyous occasion.

The month of Ramadan is considered the holiest month for Muslims globally, and a period where Muslims abstain from food and drink, and anything else, which leaves a stain on their faith.

The fasting month of Ramadan is one of the major pillars of Islam, and it is also considered a period of spiritual rejuvenation, and a phase where Muslims feel closest to the creator.

Alhaji Saibu commended Chiefs, Imams and religious leaders for doing their best to ensure that there was relative peace and stability in the region.

He, however, was not happy that during Ramadan, there was an unfortunate incident, which resulted in the loss of lives and property at the Zakoli community in the Yendi Municipality as well as other disturbances within the Tamale Metropolis prior to Ramadan, which also created an uproar.

?Alhaji Saibu called on the youth to do their best in respecting and abiding by the rules and education given by the Chiefs, Imams, and religious leaders to bring about more development in the region.

He encouraged all in the region “To keep up with the comportment, humbleness, and self-discipline that the holy month preaches. Our religion Islam means peace, and as such, we should learn to emulate that.”

Sheik Ahmed Abdul Salam, Northern Regional Chief Imam advised Muslims in the region not to go back to their rude habits but to continue to lead holy lives as they did during the past 30 days.

Sheik Salam emphasised that leading holy lives was not only a religious obligation but a requirement to promote peaceful coexistence and national development.

He, therefore, urged all to eschew vices and live peacefully with one another.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GII receives more than 800 corruption reports in first quarter of 2022

Tema, The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local arm of Transparency International has disclosed that it had so far received over 800 corruption reports between January and April this year.

Mr Michael Boadi, GII Funds Raising Manager said by April 01, over 400 of the cases were received on the organization’s Eye on the Corruption application platform, stressing that the reports doubled after GII intensified its campaign on the need to report corrupt practices on the Eye on Corruption App.

Mr Boadi was speaking at the 12th monthly stakeholder engagement seminar organized by the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office, a platform rolled out for state and non-state actors to address national issues.

The engagement also serves as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters towards national development in general and the growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.

Speaking on the topic: “Is the fight against corruption a mirage or reality? Mr Boadi said out of the first 400 reports received, 27 were actual cases of corruption, noting that they had been dealt with.

He added that all the cases received were corruption-related, giving the assurance that they were being looked at.

Mr Boadi stated that GII through a steering committee had resolved at least 80 per cent of all reported cases, adding that the committee had members from about 14 state institutions including the judicial service, CHRAJ, trade unions, and Attorney General Department, and NIB, among others.

He added that the GII sometimes collaborated with investigative journalists for the reports, stating that complainants also received legal advice and representation to see the case through successfully.

Touching on some of the factors eroding the gains in the fight against corruption in Ghana, he mentioned excessive partisan politics and a lack of sustained and effective measures to support the fight.

He said there was also poor coordination among state institutions responsible for the fight against corruption, a lackadaisical approach by the government, and the failure to foster local ownership to ensure that the public actively participates in the formulation and implementation of the laws.

The GII Funds Raising Manager, further said Ghana, was yet to understand the dynamics and complexity of corruption.

Mr Boadi also said even though Ghana was always among the first five countries to ratify international conventions on issues such as corruption, the country was unable to domesticate them to achieve the needed aims.

Mr Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency, Tema Regional Manager urged stakeholders in the public service to step up the fight against corruption; because of corruption, the government could not resource most of its institutions to perform their duties efficiently and effectively.

He said the media must collaborate with anti-corruption bodies at the national, regional, and district levels and entreated them to be bold in publishing information about corrupt officials and be prepared to ‘name and shame’ without compromise.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana initiates discussions towards developing Sustainable Ocean Plan by 2025

Accra, Dr Felix Addo-Yobo, Deputy Director, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advisory Unit at the Office of the President, has underscored the fact that Ghanaians have an opportunity and the responsibility to build a sustainable ocean economy.

The ocean economy is?the sum of the economic activities of ocean-based industries, together with the assets, goods and services provided by marine ecosystems.

He said a sustainable and resilient ocean economy was important for achieving the policy objectives set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on Sustainable Ocean Plan for Ghana, Dr Addo-Yobo said the SDGs Advisory Unit of the Officer of the President was inviting stakeholders, in the spirit of collaboration, to partner them towards achieving this bold transformation agenda, which was also key for the realisation of the SDGs.

The meeting, which was organised by the SDGs Advisory Unit of the Officer of the President, sought to discuss findings from Ghana’s Ocean Governance Study (OGS).

It also sought to initiate discussion on preparing a Sustainable Ocean Plan (SOP) for Ghana by 2025.

“This nationally owned SOP will then guide how we sustainably manage 100 per cent of the ocean area under their national jurisdiction,” Dr Addo-Yobo said.

He noted that sometime in July last year, stakeholders started the process of preparing Ghana’s OGS, which was a joint initiative between the government of Ghana and the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALOS).

This initiative is being supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

Dr Addo-Yobo recalled that the President was a member of the High-Level Panel, which comprised 16 heads of state with United States and France joining in November 2021 and February 2022 respectively.

He said the overarching objective of the Ocean Panel was to facilitate a more resilient future for people and planet, by building momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy, where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go together.

“In line with this, the Panel has since its establishment in 2018, worked with governments, businesses, financial institutions, the science community and civil society organisations to champion bold, yet pragmatic solutions, for transitioning to a sustainable ocean economy,” he stated.

“Many member countries of the Ocean Panel, including Ghana have committed to sustainably manage 100 per cent of the ocean under our national jurisdiction. We will be looking to partner with all of you to make this happen.”

He said the goals of the OGS were to among others provide a high-level overview of the legal and institutional framework for oceans and assist in the identifying and prioritizing the capacity gaps in the development and implementation of frameworks for oceans.

He said the OGS was recognised as an important first step towards sustainably managing the ocean under national jurisdiction.

He urged stakeholders to at the end of the meeting to affirm out commitment to actively support the preparation of a Sustainable Ocean Plan for Ghana.

On his part, Professor Kwasi Appeaning Addo, the Director of the Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies of the University of Ghana, who said Ghana stands to gain a lot from the ocean economy if it was sustainably managed; also cited Norway and Japan as nations which had sustainably managed their ocean economies for the benefits of their people.

Mr Godwin Djokoto, an Expert in Ocean Governance/Lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, who gave an update on “Ghana’s Ocean Governance Study”, said Ghana’s fisheries and aquaculture resources were serious issues to be dealt with in terms of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated?(IUU) fishing, (which depletes?fish?stocks and destroys marine habitats).

He said Ghana’s Ocean Governance was multisectoral, which involves several institutions and stakeholders with different frameworks that guide their operations; adding that there was the need for effective collaboration to make saw that the stakeholders were singing from the same page.

Source: Ghana News Agency

DVLA to arrest, prosecute users of expired DV Plates

Accra, The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) is to embark on an enforcement exercise to arrest and prosecute motorists who use expired trade plates contrary to road traffic regulations.

The Authority said the exercise, which would be carried out in collaboration with the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service had become necessary following an observation that some drivers continued to use expired Defective Vehicle (DV) Plates last year, DV 2021.

A statement issued by the management of the DVLA, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the practice was contrary to Regulation 23(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 (L.I. 2180) which stated that “a trade licence is valid for a period of one year and only in relation to the specific motor vehicle for which the trade licence was issued.”

The Authority said it had also noted that motor vehicles bearing trade plates were being used for carrying fare-paying passengers, goods, and for hiring purposes against Regulation 23(8) “which only authorises the carrying of passengers who are engaging in testing or inspecting the motor vehicle with the view of purchasing the vehicle.”

“Unfortunately, most of the motor vehicles used under a trade plate, do not have the plates affixed on the front and rear of the vehicle, which is also an upfront to the law, specifically, Regulation 23(9) of L.I. 2180.

Most dealers or fleet owners also failed to enter the movements of the motor vehicle in the trade licence logbook as captured in Regulation 24(2) of the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 (L.I. 2180), it said.

The Authority also expressed concerns over the use of Direct from Port (DP) plates beyond the stipulated time of two weeks.

“The misuse of these trade plates is prevalent during holidays and weekends and the Authority wishes to caution the general public against these occurrences,” it said.

“We wish to remind motorists that the law provides for severe sanctions on persons who contravene the regulations, including imprisonment,” it added.

The Authority urged dealers, fleet owners and the general driving public to either get valid trade plates for 2022 (DV 22) or have their vehicles registered before using the road.

It also urged road users to drive cautiously with the onset of the rains, observe road signs, and avoid careless overtaking and over-speeding to avoid needless crashes.

Source: Ghana News Agency