Ghana must enforce competition law without delay – Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the business fraternity are advocating for the speedy passage of a Competition Law to guide business operations in the country. They say the implementation of such pro-private sector consumer regulation would ensure businesses and companies compete fairly with each other, encourage enterprise and efficiency, create a wider choice for consumers, reduce prices and improve quality. Ghana started the process of having a competition law in 2006. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is soon to present a draft bill to Cabinet for consideration before it is laid before Parliament for the legislative process. Ghana’s competition law is intended to promote a healthy and equitable market, increase productivity, and end anti-competitive behaviour. It is expected to be aligned with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) competition framework, as well as international best practices. At a meeting in Accra on Thursday, the stakeholders, including business executives, advocacy, and consumer groups, urged the Government to make the passage of the bill a priority. Mr Appiah Adomako Kusi, West Africa Regional Director, CUTS International noted that while about 70 per cent of African countries had Competition Laws, Ghana was yet to pass its bill into law. He said that the closest the country had done in that regard had been the Protection Against Unfair Competition Act (Act 589), which had not addressed the full dimension of restrictive trade practices. ‘State Parties recognise that certain business practices of service suppliers, other than those concerning monopolies and exclusive service suppliers, may restrain competition and thereby restrict trade in services,’ Article 12 of the AfCFTA agreement states. The AfCFTA agreement makes provisions for Each State Party to request of any other State Party, enter consultations to eliminate such practices. ‘In the absence of competition law, what we’re seeing is that some businesses are engaged in restrictive trade practices like price fixing, bid rigging and abuse of dominance, and when this happens, consumers suffer in the market,’ Mr Kusi said. He also said that the implementation of the competition law would eliminate cartels controlling the provision, supply and manufacturing of goods and services in the country. Mr George Owusu Ansah, representing the Executive Director of the United Kingdom-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) also pointed out that the law, when passed, would create a level playing field and ensure market efficiency. He urged all private sector players to rally support for the competition bill’s passage into law and its subsequent implementation, especially with the onset of AfCFTA. Mes Harriet Clare Thompson, the British High Commissioner to Ghana noted that effective competition in the market would be beneficial to the Ghanaian economy, and support trade development and investment not only in the U.K. but around the world. She said Ghana’s in-depth trade and leadership in trade policy in Africa would further support the country’s implementation of AfCFTA and ECOWAS competition laws.

Source: Ghana News Agency

72 youths graduate under Newmont Africa’s Training Programme

Seventy-two young people have graduated under Newmont Africa’s Construction Worker Training Programme (CWT) held at Terchire in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region. The three months artisanal training, organised by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), under Newmont Africa, trained the young men and women in welding, fabrication, scaffolding, steel bending, carpentry, masonry, equipment and crane operations. They were drawn from the 10 host communities; Kenyasi Number One and Two, Ntotroso, Gyedu and Wamahinso hosting the NGGL Ahafo South Mine in the Asutifi North District, and Susuanso, Yamfo, Afrisipakrom, Terchire and Adrobaa in the Tano North Municipality, hosting the Ahafo North Project. Additionally, 96 artisans would be trained in batches of 24 each, with 48 starting the carpentry and masonry programme by the end of March 2023. Preparations are underway for the equipment and crane operation trainees to commence their programme later this year to bring the total number to 168. Addressing a gathering at the maiden joint matriculation and graduation ceremony, Mr Andries Havenga, Director, Newmont Africa, Ahafo North Project, said the training targeted local artisans from the host communities to build their capacity to meet the standards and approved certifications for work at Newmont. He said it would create opportunities for them within the extractive industry as the Ahafo North Project would source for skills expertise from the communities when construction works begun. Mr Joseph Danso, the Senior Manager, Sustainability and External Relations, NGGL Ahafo North Project, said the company had established training programmes, over the years, to develop the human resource capacities of the host communities He mentioned Apprenticeship, Learnership, Graduate Training, Female Top-Up, Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASSM), Alternative Livelihood Training, and the Construction Worker Training as some of the courses. Mr Danso said under the Apprenticeship Programme, 159 youth had been trained, 134 employed with Newmont, and 10 employed with contractors since its establishment in 2015. The Graduate Programme, since its inception in 2018, had trained 35 youths with 21 graduating, while the ‘Subika’ Underground Learnership had enrolled 20 people, out of which 10 had graduated and nine employed. The Female Top-Up to build the capacity of women to increase competitive advantage in employment opportunities, had enrolled 30 females, 29 graduated and five employed. With the ASSM Alternative Livelihood Programme, which began in 2022, 24 people had been enrolled and trained in welding and fabrication. They had all graduated and eight had been employed with other institutions, Mr Danso said. Mr George Boakye, the Ahafo Regional Minister, advised the youth in the region to use dialogue in addressing their grievances, saying that fostered peaceful co-existence, rather than demonstrations, which created confusion and impeded progress. Mr Emmanuel Amankwah, a representative of the graduands, urged the youth in the beneficiary communities to abstain from drug abuse, saying that would make them healthy to pass Newmont’s health test, if there was the opportunity for employment.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Programme evaluations will lead to improved service delivery – Minister

Proper programme evaluations, especially in the education sector, would lead to accountability and improved service delivery, Education Minister Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum has said. ‘Programme evaluations enable us to make informed decisions about which interventions to scale up, which to modify, and which to eliminate. ‘It also provides decision-makers with the information they need to allocate public resources effectively,’ he said in a speech read for him at an impact evaluation training and benchmarking workshop organized by the Development Impact West Africa (DIWA) for researchers in Africa. The workshop is an initiative of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and the Center for Effective Global Action, a hub for research, training, and innovation headquartered at the University of California, Berkeley. The Minister noted that researchers could provide policymakers with valuable insights and evidence-based recommendations that could inform the development of effective policies. ‘Policymakers can ensure that research findings are translated into actionable policies that can address the challenges facing our education sector,’ he said. Dr Adutwum indicated that the Ministry’s 2018-2030 Education Strategic Plan highlighted its commitment and responsibility to using research evidence to inform policies and programmes that improve learning outcomes. Research and evidence-based policymaking, he observed, were essential ingredients for sustainable development. Also, evidence-based policies could help identify the best ways to tackle the challenges facing the country’s education sector and improve learning outcomes. To facilitate research within the education sector, Dr Adutwum stated that the Statistics Research Information Management Directorate of the Ministry had established an Education Sector Research Group with representatives from academia, ministries, agencies, civil society organizations, and development partners. The Research Group has developed the Education Sector Research Agenda based on priority areas for research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, Early Childhood Education, and National Standards Test. The Minister said Ghana had made strides in improving access to education, as demonstrated by the increased enrolment of children in schools. He said the government had invested in the education sector by providing the requisite funding for infrastructure development, teacher training, and learning materials, all of which had improved the overall quality of education in the country. ‘With the right policies, investments, and partnerships, Ghana can harness its vast potential and make significant contributions to the development of the African continent,’ he said. Professor Charles Amoatey, Director Development Impact West Africa, said the workshop was to improve the capacity of the Academia to conduct policy research to inform decision-making. He said the participants would be trained on how they can work with government ministries to evaluate all the flagship programmes like the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy, the One District, One Dam initiative and agricultural improvement programmes. The programme is to ensure that the government produces policies that are informed by evidence and not just party politics. ‘We want to know which programmes are working and which are not, and how they can change their policies based on the findings of the research,’ Prof. Amoatey said. Prof Pascaline Dupas, Faculty Director, Centre for Global Development, Sandford University, said the government’s Free SHS policy had increased secondary school completion rates by 30 per cent . She said the policy had led to significant gains in cognitive scores, delayed fertility, and marriage among the students, and enabled healthier behaviours.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GBA sends goodwill message to Dogboe

The Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) has urged Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe to make Ghana proud in his upcoming bout against Cuban boxer Robeisy Ramirez for the vacant World Boxing Organisation (WBO) featherweight title. Dogboe (24-2, 15 KOs), who is a former WBO super bantamweight champion, would battle it out with the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A statement released by the GBA said it had been monitoring Dogboe’s training regime and had no doubt in his ability to become a two-time world champion against Ramirez. ‘The GBA President, Abraham Kotei Neequaye, who is currently in the United States of America for the fight, is highly optimistic of a sound victory for Dogboe, and on behalf of the entire GBA Executive Board Members, the Ghana Boxing Supporters Union,members of the boxing fraternity, and all well-wishers in Ghana and beyond, we wish Isaac Dogboe the very best of luck underpinned by intelligence, wisdom, and creativity in the ring,’ the statement said. It added that some officials of the GBA are in the United States to offer the boxer moral support before, during, and after his fight. ‘The GBA, by this goodwill message, wishes to encourage all Ghanaians, especially the boxing fraternity, to remember Isaac Dogboe in their prayers to help him triumph in the ring on Saturday. ‘We know you will fight tirelessly for mother Ghana and lift our flag very high. We believe in your ability and capability to reposition yourself at your current comfortable weight in the featherweight division. You are the best.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECG disconnects three assemblies over piling debts

The Volta Regional Directorate of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has disconnected three district assemblies in the region over their indebtedness to the company. The three assemblies owe more than GHC80,000 and were disconnected when the Company’s revenue team visited their offices to demand payment. They are Agortime Ziope at Kpetoe (GHC 13,145), Ho West District Assembly at Dzolokpuita (GHC 41,252.83), and South Dayi District Assembly at Kpeve, which owe GHC 31,760.31. Mr Michael Buabin, the Acting Regional General Manager, ECG, appealed to customers to pay their bills to enable the company to stay in business. ‘We want to make Volta Region the hub of excellent customer service so we want to ensure stable power supply. The revenue from our customers will enable us to complete pending projects and initiate new ones,’ he said. Mr Buabin commended the Adaklu and Afadzato South district assemblies for rising to the occasion by defraying almost all their debts. ‘When we visited assemblies like Adaklu and Afadzato South, they owed GHC14,858 and GHC 11,123 but paid GHC12,500 and GHC 10,500, respectively,’ he said. ‘We want to thank them for paying their bills and urge other customers to emulate this patriotic example, an act that will help keep the lights on.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

Kotoko holds Legon Cities to a one all draw in Accra

Asante Kotoko and Legon Cities shared honours at the El Wak Stadium with a one all draw game in the Ghana Premier League. It was Kotoko who took the lead in the 18th minute through Captain Richard Boadu from the spot kick and held on to the lead till the close of the half. Back from recess, Cities fought back with much intensity and managed to secure the equalizer through Alex Aso netted in the 70th minute. Both sides needed the three maximum points for their respective needs but had to settle for the draw. Asante Kotoko needed the points to close the gap on leaders Aduana FC while Legon Cities wanted a win to move out the relegation zone. The Porcupine Warriors are now sixth on the table with 35 points, five points off the top spot as Legon Cities remain in the bottom half of the table with 28 points. In Tarkwa – Vincent Atingah slotted home from a 71st minute scramble to give Medeama SC a 1-0 win over Bibiani Gold Stars at Akoon Park. The rained off tie was played in the early hours of Thursday after the game was rescheduled due to a heavy downpour on Wednesday. The Tarkwa lads have now recorded three wins on the spin following a 2-0 win over Accra Great Olympics and last weekend’s 2-0 win against champions Asante Kotoko in Kumasi. They are now third in the league table with 40 points – one point behind leaders Aduana FC while Bibiani Gold Stars remain 6th on 34 points.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Old Boy donates laptops to Mfantsipim School

Mr Mohammed Baakoe, a member of the Mfantsipim 1989 Year Group (MOBA ’89), has donated GHS250,000 worth of laptops to the Mfantsipim School, with support from his company, DRW, based in Canada. A statement issued by MOBA ’89, copied to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, said the donation was to support the National Maths and Science Quiz team as well as the ICT development of the school. Mr Baakoe, accompanied by some members of the Year Group, made the presentation to the Ebusuapanyin of the Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA), Captain Paul Forjoe, at the MOBA Secretariat, off the Liberia Road in Accra. He highlighted the significance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to the development of the youth and said being a beneficiary of ICT training, he knew how important it was for students, especially those at the high school, to be abreast of current technologies. Captain Forjoe commended Mr Baakoe and his company for the support and expressed the confidence that the laptops would go a long way to support the school’s e-learning drive. Aside his mission of helping the virtual development of the school, Baakoe took the opportunity to identify, firsthand, the school’s technological needs to serve as a guide in seeking further support for it.

Source: Ghana News Agency

CAGD refurbishes Accounts Directorate, presents 2022 national accounts to Auditor-General

The Controller and Accountants General Department (CAGD) has signed and handed over the 2022 National Accounts to the Auditor-General for review and validation, for its report preparation. The document included the whole of government accounts, financial statements on the contingency fund and the Sinking Fund. It covered over 800 expending units of Ministries Department and Agencies (MDA) of Central government, 261 Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA) and 62 State-Owned Enterprises. The gesture was in accordance with Public Fund Management (PFM) Act 921 2016 which mandates the Controller and Accountant-General to within three months after the end of each fiscal year, prepare and submit consolidated accounts to the Minister and the Auditor-General. These included the consolidated annual accounts of the Government that include the accounts of the Contingency Fund, Sinking Fund, and the accounts of Petroleum Funds. The Controller and Accountant-General are required under the Act to also indicate a defect, shortcoming, or any other factor which in the opinion of the Controller and Accountant General materially affects the responsibility of the Minister under the Act. Speaking at a signing and presentation ceremony, Mr. Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem said the institution which hitherto was 10 years in arrears of accounts submission had moved to real-time preparation of accounts due to the dedication of the hardworking staff. He indicated that the scope for account preparation had also been broadened from the dependence on Consolidated Funds, which provided fewer data, including contingency, Internally Generated Fund (IGF), Statutory fund, donor fund and any other fund established by the Act of Parliament. The department, he said was seeking to advance the process of reporting through digitisation, adding that, ‘there would be a time where a report you see before me will just be two papers.’ The occasion was also used to commission a refurbished National Accounts Directorate to provide a conducive work environment for staff working under that outfit. For the first time, he said the department had been able to include and capture 15 per cent of Legacy fixed assets of government to the accounts, which it intended to extend to 75 per cent by the close of the year. ‘We have also applied fixed asset policy giving us depreciation charge on the income and expenditure,’ he said. Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, Auditor-General commended the CAGD for its consistency in timely submission of reports over the past three years, and ‘I think this a commendable achievement.’ He urged government entities to accord auditors all the needed assistance and respond to findings when opportunities are presented adding that, ‘they think that if they don’t respond we can’t issue our report.’ He said his outfit was looking to innovatively separate financial misappropriations from administrative irregularities in the audit reports to create less room for misinterpretation by the public. ‘In our audit, we are mindful of the provision of the law that says in reporting to parliament we should draw the attention of parliament to any irregularities and for us. ‘And for us irregularity is a broader term encompassing lack of supervision, internal control breakdown, flouting of procurement rules in addition to actual financial misapplication or misappropriation,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency