MMDAs urged to scale up implementation of WASH in Greater Kumasi

Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies involved in the implementation of the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) Sanitation and Water Project (SWP) have been urged to double up efforts. This will help them to achieve the target of providing 30,000 household with toilets facilities in the three-year period of the project. Mr George Asiedu, the Project Coordinator who made the call, said the current pace at which the implementation was going could affect the achievement of the proposed target. He said since the inception of the project in December 2021, only 7,086 household toilet facilities had been constructed as against the target of 13,600. The project is supposed to build an average of 850 toilet facilities every month but currently, the MMDAs can construct only 450 toilets monthly. Speaking at GKMA Household Toilet jamboree event in Kumasi, Mr Asiedu stressed the need for the assemblies to double up to help meet the targets. The project is being implemented in the Kumasi Metropolitan, Asokore Mampong, Asokwa, Ejisu, Kwadaso, Oforikrom, Old Tafo, and Suame Municipal Assemblies. The GKMA-SWP is a World Bank grant to support the government of Ghana’s effort to increase access to improved sanitation and water supply in the GKMA, with emphasis on low-income communities. It focuses on the promotion and provision of 30,000 household toilets and 120 institutional toilet facilities as well as extension of pipe water to households in low-income urban communities, and rehabilitation and expansion of the Asafo Sewerage System. Currently, the Ejisu Municipality is leading the chart with a total of 1,533 toilets, representing 90 per cent of the monthly target, Kwadaso is second with 949 toilet facilities, and Suame has built 587 toilets, which is 54 per cent, while the other Municipalities are operating below 40-50 percent of their target. The jamboree was part of team building exercises intended to assist and encourage the eight Municipalities to achieve their targets. Mr Asiedu stated that if the project were to achieve its target for the three-year implementation period, the assemblies should strive to build 10,000 every year. It, was therefore, important to instil in each Assembly, some level of new energy to be able to up their game towards achieving the 30,000 household toilet objectives for the beneficiaries. ‘We are competing among ourselves and by doing so, we are tasking and challenging ourselves with the commitment and re-strategize to achieve the goal of providing 30,000 households toilet facilities’. On deepening the level of efficiency and effectiveness at the assembly levels, Mr Asiedu said the project coordinating office had come up with unique plans for logistical support to achieve success. Mr John Yaw Donkor, Ashanti Regional Environmental Health Director, described the initiative of constructing the household toilet facilities as encouraging. He urged the public to embrace the programme since it was an opportunity for each household to own a toilet facility.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Tomato traders applaud Police Service for security escort on roads

The Tomato Traders and Transporters Association has commended the Ghana Police Service for providing security escorts on their business trips from Kumasi to Paga and vice-versa. The traders said they needed the escorts to protect them from highway robberies on their journey to buy tomatoes in Burkina Faso. On February 5, 2021, members of the Association blocked the Bolgatanga-Navrongo Highway in protest of the increased robbery along the Kumasi-Bolgatanga-Paga route, which led to the deaths of some members, while others lost their monies to those armed robbers. The traders, therefore, embarked on a strike resulting in the shortage of tomatoes and price hikes at the time. The Inspector General of Police, Mr George Akuffo Dampare, quickly intervened and directed that the traders should be provided security escorts to protect them from the highway robbers. Mr Eric Osei Tuffour, Chairman of the Tomato Traders and Transporters in Ghana, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency at Pwalugu in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, confirmed that they had not recorded highway robberies following the police escort. He said they had neither recorded any accidents involving their drivers because of the discipline on the roads due to speed checks and commended the IGP and the police fraternity for the security of the traders. Mr Benjamin Owusu Ansah, a truck driver, operating on the Kumasi-Bolgatanga-Paga road, said many of the accidents that occurred two years ago on that stretch mostly involved tomato trucks. ‘This was because the drivers were either over speeding or overtaking. But now there is discipline on the road because the police officers move with us from Kumasi to Paga and back,’ he added. Madam Adjoa Safowaa, the Kumasi Tomato Queen Mother, said the traders used to trav She commended the IGP and the police for going to their rescue, saying aside from the escorts, they also advised the traders to move in batches to ensure serenity and security on the roads.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Approval of appointees: UFP says it is disappointed in Minority Group in Parliament

The United Front Party (UFP) says it is ‘deeply disappointed’ in the Minority group in Parliament over their decision to approve some ministerial appointees of the government despite calls against their approval. According to the Party, the actions and inactions of the Minority in recent times had cast doubts over the country’s democracy and its ability to deliver the required fruits and necessary dividends for the people of Ghana when desired. The Party, in a statement signed and issued by Dr Nana Agyenim-Boateng, Leader and Founder of UFP, called on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to put its house in order and provide a viable alternative to the current Administration. The statement said Ghanaians could no longer look up to the NPP- led government to deliver the country from the current economic difficulties. ‘This is why we, the smaller opposition parties look to the NDC to lead the way to bring the needed change that Ghanaians so much cherish and desire. The NDC Party must be seen as being disciplined, instilling discipline in its rank and file, and disciplining persons who go against Party directives. ‘Considering the depravation, the Akufo Addo-Bawumia Government has plunged this country into, the largest opposition NDC putting its House in order and ensuring a united front at all times is the first step and test towards delivering the Ghana we want.’ The Party lauded former President John Dramani Mahama on his decision to run for the Presidency again, saying the current times required a caring, thoughtful and compassionate leader who put the needs of the country ahead of his parochial interests and desires. ‘We wish to congratulate H.E. John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic, for his successful nomination, filing and vetting, as well as most importantly, his desire to come back to rescue this country,’ the statement said. ‘We wish to state emphatically that until such a time that all smaller political parties can form a major third force, we wish to render our unflinching support to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), as the time to rescue Ghana is now,’ it added. The statement urged the Electoral Commission to abandon the new C.I until it had consensus with the main opposition Party ‘We wish to urge the E.C. to consider good reason and sound judgement, and abandon the proposed C.I. until an agreement or resolution is reached with all political parties, particularly those represented in Parliament. This is the right thing to do in the interest of our democracy. ‘ The Party also questioned recent appointment of some persons onto the EC, adding that, it was time Ghanaians reconsidered how appointments were made on the election governing body to avoid ruining its integrity. It petitioned the NDC to disqualify one Prince Moses Zakaria, who it described as UFP former General Secretary, from contesting in NDC’s upcoming parliamentary primaries in Madina. ‘ We also wish to as a Party, warn and urge the NDC not to entertain persons such as our formal General Secretary, Mr. Prince Moses Zakaria, who we hear intends to contest for the Parliamentary seat of the people of Madina on the ticket of the NDC. The UFP said its immediate-past General Secretary was dismissed from the Party for alleged ‘anti-Party misconduct’ and asked the NDC not to entertain him. Meanwhile, Zakaria has denied ever being a member of the UFP and described the allegation as an orchestration from his opponent’s camp. He said had been a member of the NDC since 1998 and was a member of the John Dramani Mahama’s campaign team in 2010 and was responsible for monitoring the media in the Greater Accra Region.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ramirez ‘It’s going to be a war’ – Ramirez fires Dogboe warning ahead of Saturday’s world title bout

Cuban boxer Robeisy Ramirez (11-1, 7 KOs) says Saturday’s world title bout against Ghana’s Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe (24-2, 15 KOs) is ‘going to be war’. The pair would square off this Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tulsa in Catoosa, Oklahoma, for the vacant World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Featherweight title. The title was abandoned by Mexico boxer Emanuel Navarrete, who moved up and beat Australia’s Liam Wilson to win the vacant WBO junior lightweight title back in February. According to Ramirez, who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Dogboe is just waiting to fight a boxer with his qualities and anticipates an explosive duel this Saturday. ‘I always show respect to all my opponents, but I don’t think he’s fought boxers like me. That’s how I read him. ‘So let him be prepared, and he’s going to be well prepared. It’s going to be a war,’ he told Top Rank about Dogboe. Dogboe, on the other hand, looks to become a two-time World Champion, and he aims to replicate the same journey he embarked on years ago. ‘When I was world champion, I had to first win the interim title before I won the main belt.’It didn’t bother me to have to do that again. Proving myself against the best is all that has ever mattered to me,’ Dogboe said.Dogboe goes into Saturday’s bout as a huge underdog, with bookmakers going for a knockout win for Ramirez.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghana must enforce measures supporting technical universities to function effectively – Dr. Afeti

Dr. George Afeti, a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) expert, says it is imperative that policy-makers and stakeholders work to ensure that technical universities function effectively to meet their policy mandate. ‘They need to be supported to maintain their iconic identity as high level, vocationally-inclined, employment-oriented skills training institutions, supported by adequate public funding,’ he advocated. That was critical to prevent mission drift and a shift towards isomorphism, the TVET expert said. Dr. Afeti, a former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa, was delivering a paper on the topic: ‘The Conversion of Polytechnics to Technical Universities’, at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), in Accra. The programme is in line with the GAAS’ policy dialogue project dubbed: ‘Motivating Higher Education Reforms in Ghana – Towards Equity and Sustainability’, which is being funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY). The paper provided a critical assessment of the conversion of the polytechnics in Ghana to university status, and the main assessment parameters, including an evaluation of the performance of the technical universities since their establishment with particular reference to the programmes and courses offered. It also looked at the enrolment trends, academic staff quality, graduation rates and employability, funding and governance. Dr. Afeti said the popularity of the technical universities was growing, saying the student enrolment figures over the past five years showed that the Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes were still popular with applicants, with an average annual enrolment of about 46, 400. The enrolments on the Bachelor of Technology (BTech) programmes are also increasing, jumping from about 6,000 in 2018 to 20,000 in 2022, representing an increase of 70 per cent in enrolment. The number of students enrolled in the Master of Technology (MTech) programmes is also increasing albeit at a much lower rate given the fact that the number of programmes currently offered is only a handful while the spread of options is equally limited. Dr. Afeti, on funding, bemoaned the low budgetary allocation for the technical universities, saying it was well below the amounts required to support effective skills training at the tertiary level. ‘An annual budgetary allocation of a meagre GHS20,000 to each technical university for goods and services, which would include the cost of training materials and consumables, is woefully inadequate,’ he noted. He said in spite of the technical universities contributing to making TVET education more attractive, there was no evidence, in the absence of tracer studies or graduate tracking tools, that the growing enrolments and graduate outputs were translating into greater graduate employment outcomes. The technical universities should, therefore, develop tools and mechanisms to track and facilitate the transition of their graduates into the world of work, he stated. The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) and Commission for Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (CTVET) should support them to develop niches or specialisms in alignment with the country’s skills needs and emerging economic growth sectors to promote efficiency in resource allocation. It is also important to initiate performance-based funding for the technical universities, based on agreed performance contracts, which may include graduate placement in employment, the use of adjunct lecturers from industry, and female participation in science and technology programmes, says the TVET expert. Dr. Afeti, a Skills Development Expert, Skills Initiative For Africa – SIFA under the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), advocated that BTech programmes that were not technology-intensive should be redesignated, for example, BSc Statistics instead of BTech Statistics or Bachelor of Marketing instead of BTech Marketing. He said industry and professional or workplace experience should be accorded a higher premium in the appointments and promotions criteria ‘to ensure that teaching and learning activities are practice-oriented’. In his view, technical universities akin to universities of applied sciences could coexist within the same higher education ecosystem but with differentiated mandates, as was the case in some countries in Europe. ‘For now, the technical universities should be limited to the award of HND, BTech, MTech and lower level technician certificate qualifications. ‘In future, the enrolment of Doctor of Technology (DTech) students should be done in collaboration with relevant well-established research or comprehensive universities. ‘ He said the role played by the key partners in the governance of the technical universities, including Government, industry, the alumni, and the regulatory bodies (GTEC and CTVET) was weak and below the level of engagement expected. ‘In particular, interaction and partnerships with industry as well as small and medium-scale enterprises are still in their infancy.’ Ghana, he said, was not alone in promoting technical universities, and within that context, policy contextualisation within the country’s history of higher education, TVET education, the needs of industry and the labour market, as well as the country’s human capital development priorities should not be glossed over. ‘High employment rate can be a unique selling point for the technical universities. ‘GTEC may factor the employment data into their supervision and funding mechanism and for monitoring the performance of the technical universities,’ he advised. The role of industry and employers encompassing the design, development and delivery of employment-oriented curricula, internships and job fairs, as well as quality assurance of industry-oriented programmes needed to be taken seriously. Meanwhile, Professor James H. Ephraim, a Fellow, GAAS, suggested three types of universities that should be established in the country, after his review of Dr. Afeti’s paper. According to him, the three types should be research-focused universities, foundation universities and career-oriented universities – where the technical universities would fall in. Professor Edward H.K Akaho, a Fellow, GAAS, also in his review of the paper, recommended that technical universities must share knowledge, capabilities, availability of facilities, resources and challenges by establishing a network. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mohammed Musa Koasi, Coordinating Secretary of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students (GNUTS), said more practical-oriented training sessions should be adopted in technical universities. Priority should be given to industrial attachment, and also teaching and learning in technical universities ought to be updated annually to meet the current market and industry demands.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Government urged to consider granting visa-free entry to tourists

Mr Emmanuel Frimpong, Tourism Consultant and Analyst, Pishon Consult Limited, has called on the government to grant visa-free entry to tourists. He said, ‘as a country, we have made lots of progress in the tourism sector with the influence of international tourists, hence it is important to make entry into the country a bit easy for them to come all the time to invest.’ He said some tourists don’t only come into the country to have fun, they come to invest in the country’s economy for the both short and long term, hence we need to encourage more of that by introducing visa-free packages for them. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Frimpong said tourism was a strong primary source of revenue for the country’s economy with the potential to take Ghana out of the current economic situation. He said most countries were now going beyond just the e-visa to making their country a visa-free entry for many tourists due to their positive impacts on the local economy. ‘These countries hold tourism, arts and cultural sector in high esteem and are generating huge incomes from it. Once we begin to understand the importance, and role of tourism, we will see a quick economic turnaround.’ On ways of developing the sector, Mr Frimpong encouraged deeper engagement between the private and public sectors. ‘The public sector must involve the private sector in all aspects of decision-making and work closely for the development of the industry. He added that government agencies and organisations must understand how tourism operates and begin to feel the connectivity between them and the tourism industry. ‘I have no doubts that if the right things are done, tourism can become the number one GDP earner for this country and can be the source of income for many homes, especially rural dwellers.’ He, however, commended the Tourism Minister, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal for implementing the public-private partnership forum, which was a requirement backed by a Legislative Instrument to be organised quarterly every year. He noted that ‘the forum is supposed to happen every quarter, but we have not held it for a long time until Dr Awal took office. I commend him for that and urge him to continue to promote the tourism agenda for all to come on board.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Stakeholders agree to demolish 136 structures at Sakumo Ramsar Site

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council are working together to resolve grievances of parties over land encroachment at the Sakumo Ramsar Site in Accra. The stakeholders have safely arrived at an agreement to allow the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council to demolish some 136 structures within encroached areas of the site after they were updated on efforts to protect and ensure sanity in the area. Addressing the media in Accra after fruitful discussions on the matter, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for Lands and Forestry, said the demolition was ‘a necessary evil’ to serve the greater good of all factions and the entire country. The action would also enable Ghana to retain her position as a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention on Protecting Forests and Ramsar sites. The Deputy Minister referred to the recent flood reports from other parts of the world and in Ghana as well, noting that if care was not taken and the demolition was not done as soon as practicable, bigger floods could swallow the cities and adversely affect innocent Ghanaian homeowners. The 136 structures earmarked for demolition were not habitable homes, Mr Owusu-Bio said, explaining that they were ‘uncompleted structures that have no human living in them, fence walls, foundations, quarters of caretakers and similar others’. The all-inclusive exercise would involve representatives of the traditional councils, the Landlord’s Association, and the Forestry Commission, among other stakeholders. The Deputy Minister gave the assurance that regulation processes would be carried out for unaffected houses but was quick to add that it may take some time as a lot of work needed to be done. These include taking inventory and ensuring that proper documentation was made for recordkeeping. Mr Henry Quartey, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, expressed joy and relief at the conclusions reached after several years of strife and struggle over the matter. In the spirit of settling all issues and litigations, he charged the Technical Director for Lands at the Ministry, Mr Maxwell Adu-Nsarfoa, to, as a matter of urgency, constitute a committee to resolve the boundary issue between the Forestry Commission and celebrity, a private developer, who claimed to own parts of the Ramsar Site. ‘As the regulation processes commence, only lands with completed houses will be regularised, not bare lands,’ he said, and cautioned those who would buy lands in the area with the idea that it would be regularised to avoid doing that. Mr Quartey applauded the chiefs of the two Traditional Councils involved in settling the impasse; the Tema and Nungua Traditional Councils, for their patience and continuous support throughout discussions and negotiations. Mr John Allotey, the Chief Executive Officer, Forestry Commission, updated the public on efforts and actions taken by the Lands Ministry and the Commission to protect the Ramsar Site from further encroachment. He expresed the hope that the findings and recommendations of the Committee, set up by Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister, to settle the matter would be adopted to help in the process. He cited the reduction of the original size of the core area of the Ramsar site to a land space of 8.30km square, as one of the options available in salvaging the rest of the site.

Source: Ghana News Agency

National Theatre, KGL Foundation mark World Theater Day

The National Theatre in partnership with the KGL Foundation has marked this year’s World Theatre Day with a performance of Ama Ata Aidoo’s drama piece: ‘The Dilemma of a Ghost’ and workshops in some Senior High Schools. The performance, in line with the National Theatre’s mission to promote the performing arts, was held at the Benkum SHS, Methodist Girls SHS, Mamfe, Adonteng SHS and Okuapeman SHS. The performance of Ama Ata Aidoo’s celebrated drama piece was staged by Abibigromma, the resident drama group of the National Theatre, followed by a series of workshops to demonstrate to the students the role of theatre in national development and its contribution to world peace. The Executive Director of the National Theatre, Madam Amy Frimpong, emphasised the role of theatre in promoting national development. ‘Ghana can only develop in an atmosphere of peace, and peace can come about when Government and corporate Ghana invest in the performing arts and use it to promote national integration.’ The Executive Director commended the KGL Foundation for the support. Mr Edwin .O Lamptey, Public Relations Officer, KGL Foundation, said the Foundation believed that theatre was an important art form that could inspire, educate, and transform communities to connect with their cultural heritage. He said the Foundation was committed to promoting arts and culture in Ghana and looked forward to working with the National Theatre and other parties to achieve that objective. Some students and teachers expressed joy over the event and described it as inspiring. World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), a performing arts organization that was built with UNESCO’s goals on culture, education and acts to focus in improving the status of all measures of the performing arts profession.

Source: Ghana News Agency