Today’s sacrifice is tomorrow’s benefit-Ken Agyapong

Sunyani, July 15, GNA – Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central Constituency has advised Ghanaian youth to sacrifice their spending for today and enjoy the benefits tomorrow.

He emphasised: “If you sacrifice today’s spending for tomorrow you will succeed,”’ but that requires the individual to wake up and take his/her destiny into his/her own hands through hard work, honesty and the ability to save and make investments.

According to him, there could be risk taking alongside it, though they were bound to succeed.

Mr Agyapong, also a business mogul gave the advice at the fourth in the series of Guidance Conference held in Sunyani on the theme ‘The Youth: Our Future Hope’.

The conference is an initiative by the MP and designed to instill hope in the youth by using his life as an example and other well-established personalities sharing their life experience for the youth to emulate.

Mr Agyapong encouraged the youth never to give up in life, but must always persevere, saying the Government could not employ all the graduates and must therefore “push hard because once there is life, there is hope.”

He stated that most of the youth who went through challenges and could stand the test were the ones who possessed potential and abilities to succeed in life.

Professor Elvis Asare-Bediako, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, on his part, urged the youth to be focused and be disciplined in life to be able to think critically and creatively.

He said that through that they could acquire additional skills with the ability to use those ideas to take advantage of situations and solve problems in society, saying that the jobs would avail themselves.

Source: Ghana News Agency

RTI will improve Ghana’s democracy if properly implemented Minister

Koforidua (E/R), July 15, GNA-Mr. Seth Acheampong, the Eastern Regional Minister, has said the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2019, (Act 989) will help strengthen Ghana’s nurturing democracy when implemented appropriately.

The RTI law encourages citizens in the country, no matter their nationality, social status, or age, to access information from public institutions and relevant private entities to promote transparency and accountability.

The information given out to requesters should be of public interest and protection but not to defame or promote contentions, Mr. Acheampong said, while addressing representatives of public institutions at a public forum organised by the Right to Information Commission (RTIC) in Koforidua.

The forum was to engage public institutions on their roles as enshrined in the RTI Act 2019, (Act 989) to promote the smooth implementation of the law.

“If our democracy will survive the test of time, it is by this Act,” Mr. Acheampong said. “I pray that we muster courage, gain enough experience to push our democracy forward.”

He expressed the hope that the RTI Act passed in 2019 would ensure the openness of information and accountability to build trust between public institutions and citizens.

To ensure the implementation of the RTI Act, Mr. Yaw Sarpong Boateng, the Executive Secretary of RTIC, said every public institution must have an information officer to receive applications, noting that all persons employed by an institution as information “must be trained by the institution.”

Although the RTI Act allowed access to information, he said there were about 12 exemptions for which information could be withheld from applicants, listing them as those relating to cabinet, law enforcement, and public safety, information for the president or the vice president, among others as exemptions.

According to him, information officers who gave applicants access to exempt information were classified as offenders and would be prosecuted.

“Officers who disclose exempt information will be given a fine of not less than 250 units penalty and not more than 500 units penalty or a term of imprisonment of not less than six months and not more than three years or both,” he stated.

He advised applicants not to use the information to the detriment of others because they would be liable for lawsuits. He stated that applicants were expected to pay a fee for the reproduction of information such as photocopies but emphasised that it was not the fee for generating the information as approved by parliament.

He also said that 60 days after December 31, all public institutions were mandated by law to send an annual statistical report on the number of applications made.

This is expected to help monitor the progress of the RTI Act and assess the level of understanding by citizens about the act.

Ms. Elizabeth Asare, the Deputy Chair, Board of RTIC, encouraged the public and relevant institutions to be open in information delivery to promote transparency and accountability.

“If we want to build our democracy strongly, we need not withhold information from the people,” she said, adding that, “the more transparent you are, the freer you do your work properly.”

The RTIC comprises seven commissioners mandated by law to promote, monitor, protect, and enforce RTI to grant a person under paragraph (f) of clause (1), Article 21 of the Constitution and the provisions in Act 989.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Closed season: Fishers flee Ghana amid hardship

Elmina (C/R), July 15, GNA- Fishermen in Elmina have fled to Ivory Coast and Togo in droves amid hardships visited on the fishing community by the closed season.

This is to enable them pay back loans they secured for business after they were hit by the closure of the sea on July 1.

A few others have also gone into farming outside the coastal town while some were struggling, according to some residents.

The closed season is a period in the year when fishing expedition is officially prohibited to allow for the natural replenishment of the dwindling fish stock in the sea.

The season commenced from July 1 to July 31, 2022, for artisanal and semi-industrial fishers and from July 1 to August 31, 2022, for industrial fishers as announced by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development in a statement issued on April 12, 2022.

This, according to the Ministry, was pursuant to Section 84 of the Fisheries Act, 2002 (Act 625) adding that “the period of the 2022 closed season was agreed on based on scientific evidence and stakeholder consensus.”

The Ministry has, therefore, halted the supply of premix fuel to landing beaches to aid compliance.

Consequently, residents in Elmina have turned to the lagoon, where catches are minimal, with some fishmongers buying from the cold store.

The shortage created by the situation has sent fish prices skyrocketing, pushing many fishmongers out of business.

On a visit to the Elmina landing beach Friday, the Ghana News Agency saw an almost deserted site with very little activity.

The fishermen were, among others, mending their nets, playing draft, chatting and some sleeping.

In separate interactions with the GNA, they unanimously expressed dislike for the closed season, describing it as a needless policy which was impacting adversely on their lives.

A fisher, Mr Kobina Eshun noted that the closed season was the period of bumper harvest, but they had been denied that excellent opportunity and many rendered jobless as they depended solely on the sea for survival.

“Life is unbearable for us. We operate with loans, and we are unable to pay back our loans. There were no positive results last year when the sea was closed and it is going to be the same this year,” he said.

He called on government to abolish the policy, adding that “life is tough; government should come to our aid.”

The Assemblyman for Liverpool Electoral Area, Mr Kwaku Arhin Nketsiah, who expressed similar sentiments questioned the motive behind the closed season, indicating that government had not been consistent with the period for the season.

He disputed claims that artisanal fishers were destroying the sea, adding that industrial trawlers must be stopped immediately to save Ghana’s territorial waters from further deterioration.

According to him, the hike in fuel prices had also compounded their already dire economic situation.

“We are hungry. We are barely surviving. Some people have resorted to stealing and terrorising us in our homes,” he said.

“A few days ago, someone’s boiling pot of soup meant for selling Banku was stolen by some of these elements out of hunger,” he recounted.

Another fisherman, Egya Kwesi Awotwe told the GNA that most of the fishermen had migrated to Ivory Coast for survival.

“This is the time for bumper harvest and so the fishers procure loans between May and June to repair their boats and mend their nets in readiness for the season but unfortunately the government has decided to close the sea. If they stay here, they cannot pay back their loans,” he noted.

He appealed that instead of closing the sea, government should find means to eliminate light fishing and Saiko.

“If these conditions remain, nothing is going to change even if the sea is closed for one year,” he stressed.

He called on government to provide some compensation for them to mitigate their plight like it was done in other countries.

The fish market was virtually empty when the GNA visited.

The fishmongers also called for a repeal of the closed season because it took away their livelihoods.

“Mothers are weeping. We have been swallowed by debts because we are borrowing to feed ourselves,” a fishmonger, Madam Esther Nkrumah said.

“I am a single mother of six. This is how I survive with my children. We are pleading with the President not to close the sea again,” another woman, Madam Ernestina Ntsiful said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Eastern Regional Coordinating Council evaluates first-quarter performance for 2022

Koforidua (E/R), July 15, GNA-The Eastern Regional Coordinating Council has held its 2022 first quarter meeting in fulfilment of Section 191 (1) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936).

The meeting discussed policies, programmes, and projects undertaken by the Council within the period.

Mr. Seth Kwame Acheampong, the Eastern Regional Minister, told the members that?discussions had been held about E-Levy prior to its passage into law, and organised an Eastern Praise and Thanksgiving Service in conjunction with the Local Council of Churches and the Christian Council.

This was the first time such an event was held.

Moreover, he?said the region recorded a remarkable performance in quality education service delivery, where students in both basic and senior high schools received various awards.

On health-related issues, Mr Acheampong said the focus had been on COVID-19 and monkey pox situations and that the region had recorded a total COVID-19 cases of 7,351 and 152 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 2.10 per cent.

He added that a total of 1,101,332 received at least a single dose of the COVID vaccine, representing 45 per cent of the total population, while a total of 125,814 people received the booster dose. The region also recorded two cases of monkey pox in the Akuapem North Municipality, but the individuals have been recovered and discharged.

He said agriculture has improved remarkably and authorities had successfully developed over 60 products for the commodity satellite markets as a strategy to link farmers and processors to ready markets.

This is expected to offer a direct response to the growing demand for quality and safe food and also ensure that smallholder farmers and processors remain competitive both in local and international markets. About 13,685 farmers and small-scale processers are projected to be linked to the markets with a total transaction value of GH¢19,325,400.

He said Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) raked in 436 bags, representing 10.9 metric tonnes of open pollinated variety seed maize and 1,430 bags (35.77 metric tonnes) of hybrid seed maize, which were distributed.

Again, a total of 504 bags of rice seed representing 20.16 metric tonnes were distributed and a total of 3,220 bags of inorganic fertilizer representing 80.5 metric tonnes were also distributed to farmers.

Under the Planting for Export and Rural Development modules, he said a total of 1,018,504 oil palm seedlings were distributed to farmers, in addition to 5,000 cockerels and 898 pigs.

According to him, under the Greenhouse Technology Village Module, farmers, after making some gains from their vegetable production in government allocated greenhouses, purchased 146 greenhouses on their own.

Mr. Acheampong described the security situation as generally calm but noted that the chieftaincy institution continues to pose a lot of challenges which are undermining peace and security. “These disputes are regrettably affecting our progress and development,” he said, highlighting the issues in Akuapem and Akwamufie, which have now been resolved.

He said the Eastern Region had a total of 104 kilometres of town roads, which had seen some minor rehabilitation/partial reconstruction and upgrading improvements carried out between 2017 and June 2022.

The Department of Feeder Roads also carried out routine maintenance and reshaping of 246 km2 out of 2,143.03 km2, representing 11 per cent coverage.

However, he said for periodic maintenance, there was a 46 per cent achievement as 37.40 km were done out of 81.70 km.

He said road traffic crashes and casualties have seen a decline this year as compared to 2021.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Expedite passage of Community Service Bill to reduce crowding in prisons

Kumasi, July 15, GNA – The Attorney General’s Department and other relevant institutions involved in the passage of the Community Service Bill have been urged to expedite the process to check crowding in various prisons in the country.

The bill, which is currently at the Attorney General’s Office seeks to provide for community service as an alternative to custodial sentence for convicted offenders in respect of certain offences considered as misdemeanours.

The expectation is that the Bill will encourage non-custodial punishment for minor offences and help reduce the pressure in the prisons when passed into law.

It was in this spirit that participants at a forum in the Bantama Sub-Metro in Kumasi called for urgent steps to pass the Bill.

They contended that the Bill would not only decongest the prisons but also prevent the needless incarceration of certain offenders whose crime did not warrant imprisonment.

The forum formed part of the USAID Justice Sector Support project being implemented in 40 districts in seven regions focusing on the monitoring and sustaining the implementation of Ghana’s Case Tracking System (CTS).

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the CTS also seeks to track cases within the justice sector institutions and for that matter prosecution of criminal cases to enhance justice delivery.

A consortium of three Civil Society Organisations including the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), Crime Check Foundation (CCF), and Legal Resource Centre (LRC) are implementing the project through local CSOs at the district level.

As part of efforts to improve justice delivery in the country, the project is also advocating the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms to resolve petty offences as well as the passage of the Community Service Bill into law.

The forum on the Community Service Bill was therefore organised by the Muslim Family Counselling Services, a local partner of CHRI to whip up public interest to facilitate its passage.

Mr. Tijani Mahmoud, Programmes Manager of Muslim Family Counselling Services said keeping petty offenders in prison was only worsening the poor conditions in the overpopulated facilities, while burdening the taxpayer for their upkeep.

Such people, he said, could rather contribute to community development by undertaking community service as a form of punishment.

He said there were people in prison because they could not pay fines imposed on them by the courts, and thereby adding to the congestion when they could be asked to perform a community service.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Government to supply subsidized fishing nets to fishermen

Cape Coast, July 15, GNA -Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has hinted of moves by the Government to supply subsidized nets to fishermen across the country.

The move is hinged on Government’s avowed commitment to ensure fishermen stop using unapproved nets (monofilament nets) noted for unsolicited ghost fishing with the tendency of depleting the country’s fish stock.

“The Fisheries Ministry is undertaking feasibility studies and consultations with the fisheries groups and other relevant stakeholders to map out modalities to supply subsidized fishing nets.

“It forms part of the Ministry’s integrated approach to streamline issues in the sector to economically empower fisher folks and families,” Mrs Koomson said.

The sector minister was speaking at a ceremony to present quantities of relief items to fishermen and fish processors selected from the various fisheries association across the Central Region to earn a living during the closed season.

More than 3,000 beneficiaries were supplied with items including basins, refrigerators, wire mesh, rice, and cooking oil.

While the rice and cooking oil were given to all beneficiaries, the basins, refrigerators, and wire mesh were specifically given to women and inland fishers.

Also, nationally, more than 2,500 basins, 2,000 refrigerators, 7,000 wire mesh, 20,000 bags of rice and 8,000 gallons of cooking oil have been earmarked for national distribution.

Mrs Koomson explained that monofilament nets were allowed into the country for those fishing in lakes such as the Volta Lake and even that they were allowed to use a required size of three inches.

“It will interest you to note that the nets which are often seized from the fishermen are as small as one inch, a size which is not allowed.”

“The fisher-folks were permitted to use are the multi-thread filament nets. Therefore, it is not right for the monofilament nets imported for the inland fishermen to find their way into the coastal communities,” the sector minister explained.

Cautioning fishers against the practice, Mrs Koomson urged all fishers to without excuse comply with the directive to avoid a clash with the law.

She said the Ministry after several consultations with relevant stakeholders had agreed to enforce compliance of regulations on gears, particularly fishing nets as part of governance measures to salvage the country’s fisheries sector.

Touching on other illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU), she said, it required firm and stringent measures without fear or favour in dealing with it to achieve impactful results adding that the Ministry was equal to the task.

The government would not allow the few selfish individuals in the fisheries sector to destroy the country’s fisheries resources with destructive fishing gear to the detriment of the masses who depended on the sector for their livelihoods.

“We have a responsibility to manage our fisheries resources for the benefit of our people and those yet unborn,” she said, adding that the country had a responsibility to provide livelihood for “our people and ensure food security for our nation.”

Source: Ghana News Agency

We need comprehensive and integrated approach to curb child labour -GAWU

Kumasi, July 15. GNA- The General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for a comprehensive and integrated approach towards tackling child labour in the fishing and farming communities.

Mr Andrews Tagoe, Deputy General Secretary of GAWU who made the call, said it was important for effective collaboration between government agencies, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations and Trade unions to initiate and implement efficient strategies that would help eliminate child labour in the Ghanaian society.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Kumasi, Mr Tagoe said effective collaboration was crucial in addressing child labour in the informal sector.

He said the International Labour Organisation, (ILO), had indicated that the informal economy had implications for policy and administration in respect of employment, social security, health and safety as well as migration, education, employment relations and micro economic policy.

“It’s therefore important for government agencies which were mandated to address these issues, to find a way of sharing information and better coordinate their activities with other organizations in the sector to achieve positive results,” Mr Tagoe advised.

He called on trade union educators to collaborate with government actors at the national, district and village levels to work towards eliminating child labour in farms.

“Trade unions have a role to play in cooperating with government agencies and organised non-governmental organisations in ensuring that the appropriate labour inspection and regulatory systems identify those subjected to forced labour.”

Mr Tagoe said preventing hazardous work was particularly important in rural communities where forced labour often occurred on farms, quarries, and mining sites that were remote and hard to reach,

He called on the media to allot some time to raise awareness on child labour issues to help educate the public on its effect on the economy and society.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Yusif Basigi bags CAF Women’s Coach of the Year nomination

Accra, July 15, GNA – Yusif Basigi, Head Coach of Women’s Premier League side Hasaacas Ladies, has gained nomination for the Women’s Coach of the Year at this year’s Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards.

This year’s CAF Awards would be held in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday, July, 21.

Basigi, after an impressive season with Hasaacas Ladies last year with six trophies would go head-to-head with nine other African coaches in the same category.

The experienced Ghanaian coach led Hasaacas Ladies to clinch the Women’s Premier League title, WAFU Women’s Zone B Championship, MTN Women’s FA Cup, Women’s Super-Cup, First Lady’s Cup, runner-ups in the maiden Women’s Champions League in 2021.

He continued his phenomenal record in the 2021/2022 season having gone unbeaten in 17 Premier league matches and leading his side to finish on top of the Southern Zone of the Women’s Premier League.

Basigi narrowly lost to rivals Ampem Darkoa in the finals of the Women’s Premier League and Women’s FA Cup titles in the 2021/22 season.

He would be in contention with the likes of Gaoletlhoo Nkutlwisang of Botswana, Head Coach of Mamelodi Sundowns Jerry Tshabalala and some other top African Coaches.

Source: Ghana News Agency