Govt playing on our intelligence with debt exchange programme – George Ricketts-Hagan

Member of Parliament for the Cape Coast South constituency in the Central Region, George Ricketts-Hagan has expressed concern over the announcement of the government’s domestic debt exchange programme.

He accused the government of playing with the intelligence of Ghanaians.

Speaking on The Big Issue on Citi TV/FM, Mr. Ricketts-Hagan said the government has been dishonest with Ghanaians in the events leading to the announcement of the programme which has created further skepticism for domestic investors.

“The government has not been honest with us and they are playing with the intelligence of Ghanaians. Why come out to tell us there won’t be haircuts when you can never enter a restructuring agreement where basically you have said or agreed you have defaulted and could no longer pay bondholders and still not have people catching some heat?”

He further said there was a clear disconnect between what the president told Ghanaians in his October 30 address to the nation on the economy and what has been announced.

“What the president told us is that there wasn’t going to be a haircut, then you have the spinners tell us whether it will be on the principal or interest which is neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that people are going to lose their investments, pension funds are going to lose money, and insurance is going to have serious challenges meeting their obligations, and basically, this will be added to the hardship that people are already experiencing.”

“When all this is said and done, investors who are going to be affected are going to lose GH¢200 billion at the end of all this and if people say there is not going to be haircuts, then I don’t know what they are talking about,” he added.

Source: Modern Ghana

Bagbin asks why elevation of judges delays

Speaker of Parliament Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has wondered why there has been delay in elevating qualified and hardworking justices to Ghana’s apex court, the Supreme Court.

He noted that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was now empowered to appoint Justices Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu and Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu, both Court of Appeal Judges to the Supreme Court.

Speaker Bagbin however said: “I think these two judges should have been in the Supreme Court long, long ago.”

The Speaker made the comment on Friday, in Accra, when the House unanimously approved the two justices the Appointments Committee of Parliament recommended for approval following their vetting last October.

They would soon be sworn-in by the President to greenlight the beginning of their service at the highest level on the Ghanaian bench.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last July nominated four: three justices of the Court of Appeal and a Justice of the High Court to fill up expected vacancies at the apex court.

The nominees from the Court of Appeal were Justice Barbara Frances Ackah-Yensu, Justice George Kingsley Koomson and Justice Samuel Kwame Adibu Asiedu.

Justice Ernest Yao Gaewu was the only nominee from the High Court.

Their nomination, constitutionally, was subject to vetting and subsequent approval or rejection by Parliament.

Speaker Bagbin, a lawyer himself, noted that Justice Ackah-Yensu was the year mate of the current Chief Justice.

“They were called to Bar the same year and she has been an excellent Judge; she was an excellent student and throughout she had distinguished herself as a very deep learned professional lawyer. I don’t know why it took that length of time for her to get to the Supreme Court.” the Speaker said.

Of Justice Asiedu, Speaker Bagbin said: “Justice Asiedu, I have been questioning why he was in the High Court from 2006 to 2019? I just can fantom why that happened? Because he has been a very excellent lawyer and Judge, and in fact recognised internationally.

“And as an academician, he did very well Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), and the progress was so slow at the bench. I just could not imagine it and he never went for anything apart from excellence.”

The Speaker urged for a relook at these matters; and come out clearly to guide people on the benchmark or merits or otherwise or criteria in the assessment and appointments of Judges to the Supreme Court; saying “it is very, very important.”

Touching on the number of Judges in the Supreme Court, Speaker Bagbin said he would go with those who think that remit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in Ghana was so wide.

He said the framers of the Constitution did not just leave that for Parliament to legislate to give the limit and that it was for a good reason that they only gave the minimum and left out the maximum for good people in Government to at any time determine the right number.

He said unfortunately politics had entered that arena

“I recall a few years ago the insistence was 13 and during discussions, it was agreed 15.

“Today, the discussion has shifted. You cannot lead a country that way. You cannot govern that way. There is no meritocracy in this country, and we need to work towards that. With that we can get justice,” the Speaker said.

Source: Modern Ghana

Don’t throw away your stored water because you’re promised rain – Alhaji Sinare appeals to NDC to retain Ofosu-Ampofo

The National Vice Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), H.E. Alhaji Said Sinare, has appealed to the party’s delegates to retain Dr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo as the party’s National Chairman.

The former ambassador on Friday urged memebers to remain united and avoid acrimony, rallying delegates to vote for Mr Ofosu-Ampofo to secure a resounding victory in the 2024 general elections.

He urged the delegates to elect a strategist as the National Chairman and not a talkative.

” The choice we make for the National Chairmanship position of our great party, the National Democratic Congress, during the forthcoming National Congress will make or mar our chances of returning to power in 2024,” he stated.

Read his full statement below.

H.E. Alhaji Said Sinare writes:

Fellow delegates, do not throw away your stored water just because you are promised rain; Ampofo deserves four more.

The choice we make for the National Chairmanship position of our great party, the National Democratic Congress, during the forthcoming National Congress will make or mar our chances of returning to power in 2024.

The national chairman that our party, the NDC, needs for the battle in 2024 must be a man who has been de-tribalized, a man whose humanity, humility, philanthropy, and respect for everyone, regardless of tribe, religion, or political affiliation, define him. a man who truly embodies national harmony and puts his party’s interests first.

Voting against Ampofo will be the biggest political blunder or treason our party will ever commit.

Source: Modern Ghana

Shop owners at Roman Ridge want planned demolition exercise aborted

Shop owners at Roman Ridge along the Onyasia Crescent street in Accra are appealing to government to temporarily halt its planned demolition of their shops to make way for development works.

The traders lament the area has no market thus the decision to destroy their shops will make access to basic household needs difficult for residents.

Shops numbering about 25 have been earmarked for demolition by the Ministry of Works and Housing.

Already, two deadlines have been given to these traders to evacuate the area. The first deadline was in July 2022 and the second was in November 2022.

Speaking to the media, the spokesperson of the group, Serwaa Asamoah also wants the government to either compensate them or finalize processes for a Memorandum of Understanding in order to have a new market constructed since there is none in the area.

“Roman ridge has no market and residents of the community must travel outside the community to buy their daily needs. We have to take bank loans to invest in developing the temporary commercial structures to serve our community’s convenient needs and our removal within the two-week time limit will impose untold financial hardship on us.

“It would interest you to know that we had meetings with the Minister and management of the Ministry of Works and Housing, and they promised to build shops to relocate us there by signing an MOU. We are sad to inform you that this promise has not been fulfilled.”

Mary Azah is also a shop owner. For her, the government should give them more time to sell off their goods before their shops get demolished

Source: Modern Ghana

Oti Regional Police Command to decongest stations, barracks

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), Mr Charles Dormaban, the Oti Regional Police Commander has announced a special exercise to decongest all Police facilities in the region of several abandoned public properties.

The exercise targets properties connected to investigations situated at the various Police stations in the region including unclaimed materials, vehicles and motorbikes, aimed at easing congestion at the Stations.

Mr Dormaban is urging those who have their unclaimed vehicles and motorbikes under Dambai District, Jasikan District, Kpassa District and Nkwanta South District Police Districts to take the necessary steps to repossess them, in a release to the Ghana News Agency.

He said the list of the items would be posted at the various Police stations under Dambai District, Jasikan District, Kpassa District and Nkwanta South District for the next 21 days for public view.

He stressed that such an act would no longer be tolerated as it was tantamount to gross abuse of administrative in the service.

Mr Dormaban said it was embarrassing and unprofessional that these vehicles were stacked within Police facilities causing nuisance and disgusting sight at Police stations.

The command stated that any abandoned material and vehicle which was not repossessed by the owner before December 31, would be disposed of at the public auction.

DCOP Dormaban encouraged all concerned members of the public to approach formations for the recovery and claims of their properties with valid proof of ownership and proper means of identification.

Ghana News Agency information is that the exercise is a nationwide attempt to ease congestion at the various Police establishments and sanctioned by the Police Administration.

Source: Modern Ghana

Don’t disgrace President Akufo-Addo; let’s build the national cathedral – Okyenhene beg Ghanaians

Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin has appealed to Ghanaians to support the construction of the National Cathedral so it won’t be a disgrace to President Akufo-Addo.

The chief said this at the Okyeman Council of State meeting held at Kyebi on Friday when the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral visited them to appeal for funds to aid the construction of the project.

Speaking to the Board, the Okyenhene stated “He [Akufo-Addo] has to glorify the name of the Lord for how far He has brought him and build the cathedral to testify that he is grateful to God for making him President, there is no sweeter news as this.”

He noted that “with the cathedral, there’ll be no need to travel to Israel, just in Accra, the cathedral will answer all your questions about Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and everything.

“So I’m pleading with you all, let us not bring shame upon our country and the President, let us contribute to build the cathedral,” he added.

The cathedral was a personal promise made to God by then-presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo if he won the 2016 election.

After winning and becoming President, he told Ghanaians the cathedral will be funded by the private sector and, therefore, called on religious bodies, organisations and individuals to contribute towards its construction.

In a U-turn, however, it was discovered in the 2022 budget that government has spent about GHS400million of tax payers’ money on the cathedral without parliamentary approval.

In the 2023 budget, some GHS80million has been allocated to fund the project despite the current economic crisis.

OccupyGhana, a pressure group, has recommended that the government suspend all public expenditures on the cathedral considering that the country is going through an economic crisis.

“Whatever arguments there might have been to support spending now-non-existent money on the proposed National Cathedral, have been eroded by the dire straits that the nation faces”, the group said in a statement.

“Our current situation makes the continued commitment in the budget to spend GHS80m on the cathedral, look like a vanity project”, it noted.

OG said: “We lose nothing by suspending expenditure on that project until the economy recovers”.

Source: Modern Ghana

If you fail to pay your taxes, govt can’t function – Bryan Acheampong to Ghanaians

Member of Parliament for the Abetifi constituency, Bryan Acheampong, has charged Ghanaians to pay tax to enable the government to deliver on its mandate.

Speaking to Citi News at the 20th graduation of the Methodist University in Accra, the former minister of National Security at the office of the president explained that, “if the government decides to print more money to fund its activities, the money in your pocket will be worthless.”

He believes the cycle of an economy requires that citizens pay their taxes because the government runs a controlled market.

According to him, it behoves on citizens to pay taxes for the government to fulfil its side of the bargain.

“Pay your taxes and demand from the government the services that we require”.

On the issue of the 2.5% increment on Value Added Tax in the 2023 budget, he noted that, that will be discussed in Parliament including the E-levy and the final decision will eventually be in the interest of the citizenry.

“If the government says A, expect the opposition to say B. If the government says there should be no taxes today, the opposition will come and say that it’s a bad policy and there should be taxes. At the end of the day, it’s the will of the people through their MPs that will stand and not that of the opposition or the NPP.”

Speaking on the issues of security, he said “the country’s security is normal” and Ghanaians should sleep soundly.

“In terms of crime, the numbers are going down compared to 2021 and the years before. The security agencies are doing extraordinarily well.”

He added that he is confident in the country’s democracy and peace despite the economic hardships.

Source: Modern Ghana

Communication around Debt Exchange Programme has not been carefully thought through – Dr. Theo Acheampong

Political Risk Analyst & Economist, Dr. Theo Acheampong wants government to do more in in the communication of its Debt Exchange Programme.

As part of Ghana’s moves to secure a support-Programme from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on Monday launched a Debt Exchange Programme to protect the investment of investors.

Throughout the week, there has been conversations on the Programme with concerns that despite the launch of the Programme many Ghanaians are losing their investments.

Amid the concerns and fears, Dr. Theo Acheampong is blaming the government for not doing much in terms of communicating the issues to the general public.

“Part of the reason why people are pushing some of the proposals away is that it doesn’t come across as though the burden is being equitably.

“Communication around Debt Exchange has not been carefully thought through,” Dr. Theo Acheampong said in an interview with Joy News on Saturday, December 10.

According to him, it is important that the government takes key decisions to support the various financial institutions.

“It’s really a question of the devil and being caught between the deep blue sea, and you have to make provision one way or the other to help the financial institutions.

“The government hasn’t carried the people along and been able to explain it,” Dr. Theo Acheampong added.

Under the Debt Exchange Programme announced by the Finance Minister, domestic bondholders will be asked to exchange their instruments for new ones.

Existing domestic bonds as of 1st December 2022 will be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032, and 2037.

The annual coupon on all of these new bonds will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024, and 10% from 2025 until maturity whilst coupon payments will be semi-annual.

Source: Modern Ghana