Polio this week as of 1 March 2023

Headlines:

• The European Polio Conference will be held on 25-27 May in Nancy, France. Organized by Polio-France in cooperation with the European Polio Union (EPU), the conference is aimed at people with polio and post-polio syndrome from all over the world, as well as health professionals concerned with the management of polio and post-polio syndrome. Registration details and further information available here.

• The United Nations Foundation has released a new report: “Leveraging CSO Contributions to Advance Polio Transition and Integration Efforts in the African Region”. The report highlights the critical role of civil society in advancing polio transition and integration efforts in Africa and outlines key recommendations for how to expand and enhance the contributions of civil society to this crucial work.

Summary of new polioviruses this week:

• Algeria: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples

• Benin: one cVDPV2 case

• Botswana: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples

• Cameroon: one cVDPV2 case

• Congo: one cVDPV1 case

• DRC: 13 cVDPV1 cases, eight cVDPV2 cases and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample

• Malawi: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample

• Mali: one cVDPV2 case

• Somalia: one cVDPV2 case and one positive environmental sample

• Yemen: one cVDPV2 case

Source: Global Polio Eradication Initiative

Hearts coach confirms several key players would not be available for Kotoko clash

Slavko Matic, Head Coach of Accra Hearts of Oak, says several key players will not be available for their Week 18 betPawa Ghana Premier League match against archrivals Asante Kotoko due to injuries.

The Phobians recorded their second successive loss against Great Olympics with the likes of Gladson Awako, Caleb Amankwah, Gideon Asante, Robert Addo Sowah, and Salifu Ibrahim all missing the game through injury.

Speaking in a post-match interview after their 1-0 defeat against Great Olympics, Matic confirmed that several of these players would not be available for the next encounter against Kotoko come Sunday.

According to the Serbian Coach, some of the injuries were sustained at training due to the nature of the pitch, and as some players continue their rehabilitation, he doesn’t expect them to feature in Sunday’s crucial encounter.

Coach Matic stated that the unavailability of these players was not the main reason for their loss against Great Olympics, but slammed some bad refereeing decisions that went against them.

Ahead of Sunday’s Super Clash against Asante Kotoko, Matic said that he was not under pressure despite their two successive losses and was doing his best to make the team comeback strongly.

“I am not under pressure despite the loss because I am doing what I can, but we must get fair officiating because if we don’t get that against Kotoko, we can’t win,” he said.

The Phobians, who are currently placed sixth on the league table, face a stern task against a strong Kotoko side on Sunday, as the winner of the encounter would also clinch the 2023 President’s Cup.

SOURCE: GHANA NEWS AGENCY

NPA has no mandate over Russian imported crude – Energy expert

An energy expert has taken a swipe at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) for dabbling in an area it has no mandate.

According to him, the NPA has no mandate over raw crude.

Mr. Benjamin Nsiah said the NPA’s mandate relates to finished products and not raw crude.

Speaking on the brouhaha concerning the importation of some 600,000 barrels of crude oil from Russia through Kazakhstan to the Tema port on the 505 evening news analysis programme on Class 91.3 FM on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, anchored by Kwame Okyere Jr., he argued that once it is crude, the mandate falls within the purview of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

“Once it is a raw product, it is within the mandate of the management of TOR and not NPA.

“We know who the importers of the crude are, so I don’t understand why the players in the sector are running from it,” he said.

He commended the move, saying it would bring down prices at the pump.

He said it is not a big deal buying crude from Russia, adding that European countries and the United States of America are buying from Russia despite the ban on Russia.

He advised the government to own up to the product and stop dillydallying about it.

“Even the first consignment of the Gold for Oil deal was purchased from Russia, so why the denial?” he asked.

According to the Institute for Energy Security (IES), 600,000 barrels of crude oil arrived at the Tema port on February 26, 2023, aboard the vessel MT Theseus, which Bloomberg reports as “Russian Oil to be stashed in Ghana as a pool of buyers shrinks.”

“Documents intercepted by the IES suggest that Planton Gas Oil Ghana Limited is the importer and has requested a crude oil storage space of approximately 80,000 metric tonnes (MT), equivalent to 600,000 barrels from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), after nominating the facility as the discharge destination,” it explained.

Source: Ghana Web

Take advantage of $2.4bn circular economy-Gov’t tells investors

The Government is wooing investors and industries to see the $2.4 billion financing needed to transition Ghana from a linear to a circular economy as a huge investing and business opportunity.?

This is because the circular economy has enormous untapped opportunities, which when capitalised, would create sustainable employment, especially for the youth and support climate change mitigation, while building Ghana, as a green economy.?

Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, made the call at the second edition of the Circular Economy Seminar in Accra on Thursday.?

The seminar was organised by the European Union (EU) in partnership with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation.?

The Ghana News Agency observed among others that, some Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) had used old laptop batteries and other parts of electronic devices to produce laptops and bicycles, while others recycled water sachets to produce dresses of all kinds.?

The recycling and reuse of used materials, mostly, non-biodegradable, by the Ghanaian SMEs, is to reduce their harmful impacts on the environment and contribute to a climate-resilient economy.?

Speaking at the seminar, Dr Afriyie said Ghana had developed a $2.4bn Circular Economy Transition Roadmap and Action Plan over 10 years with investment and business opportunities in plastics, electronics, agriculture and food, textiles, built environment, water and waste.?

He urged investors and industries to channel funds and operations into those areas, which would give them assured good returns while creating sustainable jobs for the youth, and supporting economic resilience and national development.?

He said: “The aim for implementing this project is to create jobs and to contribute significantly towards socio-economic development, especially at the base of the economic pyramid and amongst vulnerable community groups in our society.”?

Dr Afriyie added that Ghana’s decision to transition into a circular economy was to incrementally transform the economy into a climate-resilient, low-carbon, a sustainable and inclusive system that created value from retaining resources, regenerating natural systems, and eliminating waste and pollution.?

He said that the Government had embarked on several policy actions to support Ghana’s circular economy transition agenda, including the development of a Circular Economy Transition Roadmap and Action Plan, with the support of the EU- which was at the phase of implementation.?

There is also the Ghana Circular Economy Center that is being developed with the support of the Canadian Government, through Global Affairs Canada. Under the project, a Center of Excellence for Circular Economy will be established and affiliated with some tertiary institutions in the country that have programmes related to various aspects of Circular Economy.?

Others are the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act (Act 917, 2016), 2020, and Cabinet approval of Ghana’s National Plastics Management Policy – the basis for comprehensive plastics management.?

The European Union Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, said there was a need?to develop the country’s policy and legal environment to facilitate access to finance and strengthen the capacities of institutions and businesses to drive the transition agenda.?

“On each of these aspects, the EU is supporting SMEs working on the circular economy through the green project with €22 million to create opportunities for growth of green businesses as well as jobs for the youth and women,” he said.?

Mr Razaaly noted that transitioning form a linear to a circular economy could not be achieved by Europe alone and said: “Do not stop at national borders. The solutions to the challenges will have to come by joining forces in a global effort.”?

SOURCE: GHANA NEWS AGENCY

Urgent action required to address early distress signs in banks – BoG

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr. Ernest Addison, has enjoined boards and shareholders of banks and other deposit-taking institutions to act quickly to address early signs of distress to mitigate the risk of failure, which has ramifications not only for depositors, but also for the stability of the entire financial system and the economy.

He made this call at the second induction ceremony of insolvency practitioners organised by the Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors (GARIA), and noted that prevailing macroeconomic conditions have heightened the need for vigilance and swift action on the part of all corporate institutions, including banks and special deposit-taking institutions (SDIs).

“The bank’s macro-prudential risk assessment of the banking sector indicated the emergence of signs of spillovers from the current macroeconomic conditions characterised by high inflation and rising interest rates on the banking sector. In particular, pressure on the solvency and liquidity of banks have increased, and the bank is closely monitoring these,” Dr. Addison said in a speech read on his behalf by the Head of BoG’s Resolution Office, Elliot Adu Amoako.

Dr. Addison pointed out that the Basel Core Principles require supervisory authorities to have adequate legal powers to impose prompt corrective action on weak institutions to give them a chance of recovery within a reasonable timeframe. Failure to recover within this timeframe, he said, will require adequate action to restore these institutions under the special resolution regime.

The BoG, earlier this year, noted that the banking industry had begun to show signs of strain as a result of the current conditions. The industry’s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) had decreased to 16.6 percent in December 2022 from 19.6 percent the previous year, albeit remaining above the prudential floor of 13 percent.

The central bank attributed the losses to mark-to-market investments, an increase in risk-weighted assets and the depreciation of the cedi on foreign currency-denominated loans.

Profitability also declined as higher impairments on loans and rising operating costs weighed heavily. The industry’s post-tax profit contracted by 18.9 percent year-on-year, amounting to GH¢3.9billion in December 2022 while operating expenses rose by 32.2 percent during the same period under consideration, even as inflation remained at more than five times the central bank’s upper target limit.

Dr. Addison further stated that while the BoG has put in a number of reliefs, including the establishment of the GH¢15billion Ghana Financial Stability Fund, it will not hesitate to rely on the expertise of licensed insolvency practitioners if the need arises.

“I would like to emphasise that the resolution of banks and SDIs falls under the Special Resolution Regime provided by Banks and SDIs Act 930. The Bank of Ghana would, without hesitation, rely on licensed professionals under GARIA in the event of any future episodes,” he said.

The central bank’s chief welcomed the addition of new insolvency practitioners coupled with the Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Act, 2020, (Act 1015), which he described as an “important addition to the framework for the establishment of a well-designed insolvency regime”.

Source: Ghana Web

Afriyie Ankrah, GOC President, Asafa Powell mourn with Christian Atsu’s family?

Asafa Powell former Jamaican sprinter has signed the book of condolence of the late Christian Atsu, after visiting the family house of the former Black Stars player.

He was accompanied by Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah former Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Ben Nunoo Mensah, President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), who also signed the book of condolence in memory of the player.

The former Newcastle man died early last month after a tragic earthquake disaster that happened in Turkey and parts of Syria.?

The world sports fraternity, including some prominent personalities in the world, have all joined hands in paying tribute to the 31-year-old who gave his all both on the pitch and off the pitch.

Other members of the Ghana Olympic Committee who were also present to mourn with the family of the Ghanaian were Mr. Mohamed Mahadi, the President of Ghana Fencing Association, Mrs. Delphina Quaye, President of the Ghana Swimming Association, and Mr. Emmanuel Asare, President of the Cricket Association,?

The rest were Rev. E. D. Nikoi, President of the Netball Association, and Alhaji Abdul Hayye Yartey President of the Ghana Bodybuilding and Fitness Association and manager of Christian Atsu.

Atsu managed to score 10 goals with nine assists in over 60 matches as a Black Stars player.?

SOURCE: GHANA NEWS AGENCY

Nigeria’s Supreme Court rules CBN naira redesign invalid

Nigeria’s Supreme Court has ruled that old banknotes remain legal tender until the end of the year, bringing relief to millions affected by a chaotic redesign of the naira notes.

The justices said that not enough notice was given to the public before the old notes were withdrawn.

Not enough of the new notes were released, leading to widespread anger and frustration.

Many people were unable to get cash to pay for food and slept outside banks.

The policy was announced last October and the new notes were released in mid-December. People were initially given until the end of January to hand in all their old notes, although this had previously been extended amid the chaotic scenes.

Reading out the ruling, Justice Emmanuel Agim said the correct process had not been followed.

“The directive given by President is invalid. Such directive is not just handed down after personal conversation with the governor of CBN [Central Bank of Nigeria],” he said.

The court also berated President Muhammadu Buhari for not obeying a previous provisional order to halt the policy until it decided the case. It said there was nothing to show that President Buhari’s directive for the release of old 200 naira notes until 10 April was implemented.

“Disobedience of order of court shows the country’s democracy [is] a mere pretension and now replaced by autocracy,” it said in a scathing verdict.

Nigerians are still experiencing difficulties accessing cash at banks and cash machines and it is not clear what immediate impact the reversal will have.

Many had already deposited their old notes at the banks and with the new ones unavailable, large numbers have switched to online banking.

However, millions of people and businesses in the rural areas remain heavily dependent on cash.

Sixteen Nigerian states had challenged the redesign of the 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes, saying that the deadline was too tight.

The central bank said that the redesign would help bring down inflation, control the amount of money in circulation and make ransom payments in Nigeria’s huge kidnap industry more difficult. Many suspected that the policy was also targeted at politicians involved in vote-buying during elections.

A tightly contested presidential election last Saturday was won by the ruling party. Some cases of vote-buying were reported, but fewer than in previous polls.

SOURCE: GHANA NEWS AGENCY

Health Minister to brief Parliament on vaccines shortage

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Health Minister, is scheduled to brief Parliament on Thursday, March 7, on steps being taken to address the shortage of childhood vaccines in the country.

Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader, said this in his presentation of the Business Statement of the House for the week ending Friday, March 10.

The Deputy Majority Leader said in the ensuing week, 32 ministers were expected to attend upon the House to answer questions.

Of the 32 questions, there would be four urgent questions and 28 oral ones.

He appealed to the House’s committees with referrals to expedite work on same for the consideration of the House.

Mr Afenyo-Markin said the President, in accordance with Article 67 of the Constitution, was scheduled to deliver a Message on the State of the Nation to Parliament on March 8.

SOURCE: GHANA NEWS AGENCY