Leaked IGP Tape: Parliament urged to probe case in camera – Economist

The Rev Dr Samuel Worlanyo Mensah, Economist, has urged Parliament to hear the ongoing probe of the leaked tape discussing the ouster of the IGP behind closed doors to avoid any sense of insecurity.

He said the televised probe by the Ad-hoc Committee of Parliament seemed to put sensitive national security information in the public and undermine the unity and cohesion n the Ghana Police Service.

‘Mercenaries are just around us and issues that border on security must be handled at the security level rather than to the hearing of everyone and any group could take advantage of the situation and infiltrate into our system,’ Dr Worlanyo Mensah said.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, he said with the insurgency and insecurity seen in the West African sub-region, we needed to tread cautiously and not paint a picture of break in internal security.

‘Security wise, it is not the best decision and I urged Parliament to change the open hearing because the officers involved in the case seemed to be quite aggrieved with emotions. They are likely to divulge top security information to the public that would trigger some crises for us as a country,’ the Economist said.

He said with the polarized political system we had created, coupled with the fact that people had begun losing trust in leaders, there was likely to witness a chaotic situation in the country.

‘Don’t forget people are agitated about the GHS 60.8 billion lost at the Bank of Ghana and the Cecilia Dapaah’s one million dollars saga. The youth are beginning to believe that our leaders are not seeking their interest,’ Dr Worlanyo Mensah added.

Parliament set up a bipartisan committee led by Samuel Atta-Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South to investigate the three top policemen indicted in a leaked tape plotting the removal of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr George Akuffo Dampare.

The Committee had been tasked by the Speaker of Parliament to probe the issues related to the leaking of the tape into the public domain and its contents thereof.

Bugri Naabu took responsibility for recording the tape but COP Alex Mensah, one of the three police officers, gave the whole matter another twist.

He had alleged that the Inspector General of Police was the one who engineered the recording of the conversation.

James Agalga, the Vice Chairman of the Ad-hoc committee, said they would have to invite the IGP to help in the ongoing probe.

He said although Bugri Naabu, took responsibility for the recorded audio, recent claims by COP Alex Mensah, one of the top police officers at the centre of the case, gave the issue a new twist.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Road Crashes: Gomoa East DCE cries for speed bumps at Potsin and Okyereko

Mr Solomon Quarm, District Chief Executive (DCE) of Gomoa East, has called for the urgent construction of speed bumps on the Gomoa Potsin and Gomoa Okyereko stretches of the Accra – Cape Coast highway to mitigate the high incidence of accidents around those areas.

He said angry residents along the areas could no longer countenance the recurring accidents and had vowed to build the speed bumps themselves if authorities failed to act.

He made the call at a Central Regional Coordinating Council meeting in Cape Coast.

The National Road Safety Authority has identified Potsin and Okyereko as major accident hotspots in the Central Region.

The region recorded 99 deaths in 600 road crashes from January to June this year, with a good number of the crashes happening at the two spots.

It may be recalled that it was reported on Friday, July 21 that a Metro Mass Transit travelling from Accra to Cape Coast ran into a stationary vehicle at Potsin, leading to 17 people sustain varying degrees of injuries.

An accident at Tonisco Junction near Potsin involving four cars resulted in severe injuries to a couple on Monday, July 31.

On the same day, fifty passengers sustained minor injuries with two others in critical conditions in an accident involving several cars at Okyereko.

Two police officers also sustained severe injuries at after their vehicle collided with a tipper truck at Potsin on Tuesday, August 1.

On Saturday, August 26, 2023, an accident involving a DAF Cargo Truck and a Hyundai minibus claimed eight lives and left seven others injured.

Mr Quarm observed that car knockdowns alone had killed eight people at the Akyempem Onion Market at Dominase near Potsin just recently.

‘I have made countless calls for speed bumps, but the authorities have failed to do it because they say the road is an international road.

‘I have written so many letters, but I don’t receive any response. Now, the people are angry and will not listen to any more explanations from me,’ he said.

Given the spate of crashes and deaths, he said a radical intervention had become non-negotiable.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Women charged to recognise role as change agents

The Seventh-day Adventist Women Quadrennial Congress opened in Accra on Wednesday with a call for women to acknowledge their roles as development agents.

The first since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress brought together four thousand women from the Southern Ghana Union Conference and the Northern Ghana Union Mission.

The five-day congress is on the theme ‘Empowered to Go, Get Involved Now!’

Ms Lydia Alhassan, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency, said at the Congress that women ought to acknowledge their power and the impact of their actions on other people, no matter how modest.

‘Do not underestimate the impact you can have on people around you. Your actions no matter how small they may seem can bring about transformation and renewal.

‘In a world that desperately needs the love of Christ, let us go forth, empowered by His grace, to make a positive and lasting impact on our communities and the world at large.

‘Times of great change and challenge are a time when people are searching for meaning, for hope, for something to hold on to, and it is precisely in times like these that our faith calls us to action,’ she said.

Ms. Alhassan stressed that women can participate in development by observing and addressing issues around them.

‘It may be a neighbour who is struggling, a friend who is lonely, or a community that is hurting. It is about opening our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to those in need.

‘Each one of us has been uniquely empowered by God, not only with talents and gifts but also with boundless love that if shared can transform lives. She added.

In her welcome address, Mrs. Vida Linda Gyasi, Women’s Ministry Director for the Northern Ghana Union Conference (NGUC WM), stated that many people were dying without hope, and that ‘it is our duty to help such persons out of a hopeless situation.’

Mrs. Christiana Agyenim-Boateng, Director of the Southern Ghana Union Conference Women (SGUC WM), on her part, emphasized the importance of women in the church and the crucial role they play.

She mentioned education, skill training, and community empowerment as issues that would be addressed at the congress.

Dr. Omobonike Adoela Sessou, West-Central Africa Division Women’s Ministries Director (WAD WM and CHM), noted that women have many gifts that must be used to promote the development of women in the church and around the world.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Vice-President Commissions national premix fuel automation project in Elmina

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday, commissioned the National Premix Fuel Automation Project at Elmina to ensure equity, transparency, and accountability in dispensing and monitoring premix fuel systems.

The automation is expected to complement existing strategies being employed to address the challenges associated with the allocation, distribution, and sale of premix fuel as well as the canoe identification system.

Put together by Fuel Automation Ghana Limited and partners, the Fishermen management module will have a database of all fishermen and their respective fleets to handle all fuel allocations assigned to each fisherman through the Canoe Identification Card.

Dr. Bawumia said the commissioning marked the dawn of a new era of the nation’s fisheries sector with bright hopes to redefine the landscape of the sector through Private, Public Partnership technological solutions.

He said the integration of cutting-edge technology in the fisheries sector had come with major benefits, including easy payment, effective tracking, and payment flexibility to nurture equity, transparency, and accountability in the sector.

Moreover, as an effective solution to deep-seated corruption, political takeovers amidst perennial challenges, such as prolonged waiting time, low customer satisfaction, rush hour challenges, the lack of trust and transparency, and general transaction tracking hassles.

These challenges, he said, had resulted in shortages, black market activities, diversion, and tricks ‘Kalabule’ in the behaviour of the fisheries’ industry.

He hinted of plans to include mobile money transaction in the premix fuel automation process, adding that ‘the sector remains key to sustaining livelihoods, social wellbeing of fishers and contributed substantially to sustaining national food security.’

Mrs. Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, said the automation of premix fuel would not only stop the diversion of the product but ensure that few individuals do not short-change the State and fishers in the supply and distribution chain.

She said the facility was a comprehensive software solution that encompassed the entire fuelling ecosystem to monitor the data that was sent from the landing beaches and help the Government understand the consumption patterns to guide its policy.

The National Premix Secretariat would access real-time data from their control centre to facilitate forecasting and inventory management.

Through proper logistics management, the data generated would be essential for reordering, whilst each order is carefully monitored and measured against agreed delivery timelines to enhance delivery efficiency thereby drastically reducing stock out.

Nana Kojo Conduah VI, Omanhen of Edina Traditional Area, commended the Government for the numerous infrastructure interventions in the area and pleaded with the government to restructure Saiko to better the lots of fishmongers.

The Automation outlet would make recording of transactions at the Landing and had also eased the process of tracking products received and dispensed, ensured safe fuelling and refuelling processes, brought equity in fuel disbursement, receipt printouts, and fuel reconciliation.

The system consists of dispensing control units, fuel level sensors for monitoring fuel levels, a card utilization system for authorization as well as a web and mobile application for monitoring, controlling and generating reports.

The automated Landing Beach fuel outlets has 15000/30000 litre self-bunded container fuel tank outfitted with proven fuel dispensing and automation technology that has been tested in more than one million tanks across the world.

The outlet hosts a fuel pump for dispensing at 50 litres per minute (50L/Min), a discharge pump for receiving deliveries up to 500 liters per minute (500L/min), a forecourt controller, automatic tank gauging, Payment Reader with NFC, QR CODE, Chip, and Pin and RFID capabilities.

All outlets would have remote access on authorized web-accessible devices, allowing stakeholders to view in real-time all transactions at each landing beach.

Before the automation, basic methods such as buckets and ‘jerry-cans’ were used to deliver fuel to the fishermen, causing breaches in safe fuel handling procedures, arbitrary method of distribution and poor volume accountability.

On safety protocol, the outlet had been designed to meet international marine safety standards and maintenance procedures with features such as a service bay with fall prevention, automatic fire extinguishers, an emergency shut-off system, and a lockable control panel.

There is a lockable manhole with corrosion protection, overfill protection, interstitial inspection hatch for checking leakages, and earthling for the fishermen’s drums for an incident-free fuelling experience.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Air Quality: Makola, Agbogbloshie among five polluted hotspots in Accra

?Results from improved air quality monitoring in Accra have revealed that Nima, Makola, Agbogbloshie, Chorkor and Madina Zongo Junction are the five?most polluted?hotspots in Accra.

These areas have?recorded the?most consistently poor-quality air standards over the period, with their sources mainly being soot from open waste burning and emissions from vehicles.

?Professor Kofi Amegah, the Breathe Accra Project?Lead,?told the Ghana News Agency that?those?pollutants and particulates were harmful to human health.

?He said a compilation of data from over four months of monitoring showed that pollution in those areas occurred throughout the day and the readings exceeded the recommended World Health Organisation standards.

According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), the ideal or good air quality should fall between the range 0 to 50 on the index.

AQI from 51 to 100 is moderate even though there may be some health concerns for a small number of unusually sensitive individuals like children under five.?

?’For instance, AQI for Agbogbloshie on Wednesday 6th September 2023 was between 150 and 200, which is unhealthy for all groups of people,’ Prof Amegah said.

He said the installation of over 30 sensors?was?augmenting the?Environmental Protection Agency’s monitoring stations,?which?had?led to a larger area of the city being continuously monitored for air quality.?

Even though monitoring?was yet to equate the international best practice of having sensors within every?five-mile radius, the improved monitoring is revealing real-time air quality,?which allows for investigations to understand the sources and causes of the pollution for remedial actions.?

Touching on green spaces, Prof Amegah said a recent study he conducted showed that green spaces, comprising tree cover, grass, and parks acting as?the ‘lungs of the city’, had drastically dissipated in the last two decades.

?’These greens purified the air, but we have removed almost all. We need to act fast?by planting trees?before it is too late,’ he cautioned.

?Mr Alex Johnson, the Head of Transport, Accra Metropolitan Assembly, said: ‘There is a high concentration of pollutants wherever there is high population and?high volume of vehicular traffic at the same time.’

‘As vehicles move slowly, fuel burning becomes inefficient resulting in high emissions of air pollutants. Also, open burning of waste?in these areas is quite common, so I’m not surprised at the results of the monitored data.’?

He said groups, especially market women/traders,?’truck pushers’, head potters (kayayei), patrons, drivers, pedestrians and residents, living in those exposed environments, risked developing heart-related diseases and lung cancer in the medium to long?term.?

Statistics from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for the first-half of 2023 show that asthma, a condition which is mostly caused by poor air quality, was the second most non-communicable disease (NCDs) recorded.

Dr Efua Commeh, the Acting Programme Manager for Non-Communicable Diseases, GHS, explained that the data meant that more people were getting sick of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as asthma.

Pollutants made children more likely to catch upper respiratory infections?such as flu, which could bring on asthma symptoms, she said.

The dust and soot particles being inhaled could result in lung malfunctioning, heart diseases, cancer, damage to nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs of the body, which could lead to premature deaths.

On health burden, data obtained by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) indicated that the National Health Insurance spent?US$14,976,000?annually?on the treatment of?conditions related to NCDs among 500 patients hospitalised.

?Mr?Desmond Appiah, the Country Lead of Clean Air Fund, reiterated the need for leadership, law enforcement agencies, and the public to work together to maintain blue skies.

He said working collaboratively and making evidence-informed decisions with targeted actions would reduce and eliminate waste burning and improve modes of transportation.?

?A common goal of ensuring clean air for all could be a catalyst to leverage financing and investments in sectors that improved air quality measures and provided many co-benefits, he added.

This story was a collaboration with New Narratives. Funding was provided by the Clean Air Fund. The founder had no say in the content of the story.

Source: Ghana News Agency

First review of Ghana’s IMF programme starts September 25 – Ofori-Atta

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Mission will commence Ghana’s first review of the ongoing US$3 billion loan-support programme from September 25, 2023, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance has announced.

‘The Fund will be here from September 25 through to the beginning of October 2023,’ the Minister said, adding, ‘Hopefully, we’ll get the staff agreement and go to the Board in November of this year.’

He was responding to a question by the Ghana News Agency after an engagement with some private sector Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) on deepening public-private partnerships for accelerated economic growth in Accra on Tuesday.

The review is crucial for the release of the second tranche of $600 million of the $3bn loan to the government for its Post COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC-PEG).

The PC-PEG is aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability and laying the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth amidst an economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and internal structural challenges.

Ghana’s performance assessment of the loan-support programme would be done using six quantitative performance criteria, three indicative targets and other structural benchmarks.

‘There are a lot of conditions to be met, but we’re working assiduously to make sure that we meet that, and we’ve gone a long way to be ready for the Mission,’ Mr Ofori-Atta said.

On work done ahead of the review, he said the government had completed the domestic debt restructuring, including the cocoa bills and domestic dollar bonds, and had some pension fund holders.

From those domestic debt exchange programmes, the government secured $7.7bn from cocoa bills, $740m from the US-denominated bonds, and $26.9bn, which Mr Ofori-Atta said had provided some fiscal space ‘to do other things.’

He expressed confidence in reaching a Staff Level Agreement that would enable the government to go to the IMF Board in November, and subsequent approval for the second tranche in December 2023.

In addition to debt restructuring, Finance Minister said the government was also critical with the ongoing fiscal consolidation and domestic revenue enhancement measures, and social interventions to bring relief to Ghanaians.

However, he said the participation of the private sector, would be essential in accelerating the country’s recovery and put the economy on a path of sustainable growth.

‘We’ve proven that as a country, we’re moving in the right direction, and prepared to make some difficult decisions, but the missing link is our engagement with the private sector that will take us to a sustainable means even as government continues to ensure that all our citizens benefit from the economic recovery,’ he said.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) on behalf of the government received the first tranche of $600m of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) of the $3bn from the IMF on May 17, 2023, as a balance of payment support.

Dr Ernest Addison, the Governor of BoG said boosted Ghana’s gross international reserves to $5.7 billion as of May 19, leading to a reduction in the inflationary and exchange rate pressures.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Kadjebi residents share divergent views on Kyerematen’s resignation

Residents of Kadjebi in the Oti Region have expressed divergent views on the withdrawal of Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, a contestant in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearership race.

Alhaji Tanko Yakubu, NPP activist engaging with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said: ‘Alan has weighed his option. Looking at the votes garnered during the Special Voting and the money he would spend and still not make any meaningful mark; he has to withdraw his candidature.’

He advised other contestants who pulled lesser votes to withdraw their candidature to pave way for Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice-President to lead the party in the 2024 polls.

Mr Bashiru Sabitiou Yeziru, the Akan NPP Constituency Communication Director, says Mr Kyerematen’s resignation would not augur well for the party as he had many followers, who might read different meaning into the resignation.

He, however, advised him to stop explaining why he resigned to save the party’s image.

Mr Frank Worlanyo Adjei, a former Assistant Constituency Secretary, Akan NPP says, ‘it is an infamous decision because it tends to divide the ranks and file of the party, therefore, poses a serious threat to the party’s quest to break the eight.’

‘Again, I ask the question that if he had emerged the first from the Super Delegate election, would he have resigned from the race, citing those incidents to buttress his point?’ he asked.

Mr Adjei said the decision to resign was too premature and bad timing and he must rescind his decision to withdraw from the race and any future decision that might impede the progress of the NPP, otherwise, his followers would never forgive him and might tend to jeopardize his future ambition of becoming the President of Ghana.

Mr Sataru Abdul Merigah, Akan NPP Constituency Secretary told GNA that Mr Kyerematen’s withdrawal from the race had not come as a surprise to him as several calls on him to agree to pair with Dr Bawumia fell on deaf ears until the Super Delegates election proved him wrong.

Source: Ghana News Agency