PURC recovers GHS24.9 million for NEDCo in Bono, Bono East, Ahafo

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions recovered GHS24,948,151.84 million from consumers to the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) in 2022.

Mr Patrick Antwi, the Regional Manager, PURC, (for the three regions) disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of Consumer Service Clinic (CSC) organised by the regional office of the Commission in Sunyani.

He said the Commission further assisted consumers to retrieve GHS42,378.49 from NEDCo and GHS1,405.78 from the Ghana Water Company Limited amounting to GHS43,784.27 within the year.

Mr Antwi explained that 1,076 complaints were received  with 1,062 of them resolved leaving 14 outstanding, while the GWCL had 149 complaints, all resolved.

The complaints comprised quality of service supply, consumer service delivery, billing, metering, unlawful disconnection, damaged properties and payment among others.

Through the PURC’s activities, 1,296 poles of NEDCo were replaced, 22 transformers were injected, 10 transformer upgrades were done, 4,659 meters were replaced, while 5,500 meters of the GWCL were replaced in 2022.

Mr Antwi said innovations introduced included ‘mpu ne mpu’ where educational videos of questions asked by consumers were shared to strengthen operations, campaigns on illegal connection and payment of bills, intensifying education in Self Help Electrification Project (SHEP ), and training utility service providers on good customer service delivery.

This year the Commission would focus on four thematic areas: ‘Operation pitch camp’, where staff would visit utility providers to ascertain their operational activities, ‘Know your consumption’ , ‘PURC is here’ which seeks to publicise the Commission in the three administrative regions, and ‘Customer Service week’ intended to improve customer satisfaction.

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Morocco confirms joint 2030 World Cup bid with Portugal and Spain

The Kingdom of Morocco has confirmed a joint 2030 World Cup bid with Spain and Portugal.

This was announced by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, at the CAF President’s Outstanding Achievement Award 2022 ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda, where he was honoured.

In a speech read on his behalf, King Mohammed VI said this bid would bring together Africa and Europe and also serve as a unifier as they look to stage a memorable World Cup.

‘I would like to announce, before the assembly, that the Kingdom of Morocco has decided, together with Spain and Portugal, to present a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

‘This joint bid, which is unprecedented in football history, will bring together Africa and Europe, the northern and southern Mediterranean, and the Arab and European Mediterranean worlds.

‘It will also bring out the best in all of us-in effect, a combination of genius, creativity, and experience,’ he said.

Commenting on the CAF President’s Outstanding Achievement Awards, King Mohammed VI, accepted the honour with great pleasure and was delighted to receive the award.

He lauded CAF President Patrice Motsepe for his commitment to the development of African football and the renewed credibility of the CAF institution.

King Mohammed VI said the honour bestowed on him was a symbol of the genius of Africa and its youth.

He noted that football is not just a sport but a driver of success and sustainable human development, and he was committed to investing in football infrastructure as well as human capital.

King Mohammed noted that his country’s resources and infrastructure were at the disposal of other African countries as they looked to share experience for the development of sports on the continent.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was also a recipient of the CAF President’s Outstanding Achievement Award 2022 with many dignitaries including FIFA President Gianni Infantino and other association president’s gracing the awards ceremony.

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Institute policies to enhance transparency, Bono Minister urges PURC

Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister, has urged the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Commission (PURC) to introduce transformative policies and programmes aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability.

That she said, will drive the improvement of the work of the PURC.

She said that would also enable the Commission to gain the confidence of service providers and consumers alike, saying ‘as customers are paying their bills on time and the service providers are also ensuring the best of services, most of these unnecessary conflicts would be drastically reduced to the barest minimum for a peaceful co-existence among the institutions and the individuals.’

Madam Owusu-Banahene was speaking at the maiden edition of the Consumer Service Clinic (CSC) programme organised by the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regional office of the PURC in Sunyani.

The clinic was attended by hundreds of participants that comprised staff of Northern Electricity Distribution Company, Ghana Water Company Limited, corporate institutions, individuals and staff of PURC drawn from the three regions.

Madam Owusu-Banahene emphasised that PURC served as the mediator between consumers and the utility service providers and thus always subjected to constant criticism by the public.

But it was through such constructive criticisms and right suggestions that would enable the Commission to deliver on its mandate, she added.

Madam Owusu-Banahene said water and electricity were critical commodities for domestic and industrial purposes and for the well-being of humanity.

Those essential utilities also contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the country, hence the need for high-quality standards to sustain continuous quality service delivery.

Madam Owusu-Banahene, therefore, encouraged individuals and all sector players and interest groups, including the academia, trade unions and policy think tanks to continue to participate in the work of PURC for the benefit of the citizenry.

Dr. Ishmeal Ackah, the Executive Secretary of PURC, explained the CSC aimed at providing a platform for utilities to educate consumers on their operations and challenges hindering their service delivery for efficient service delivery.

He added it also served as an avenue to set up a desk to address complaints and challenges affecting consumers, saying the clinic would enable the PURC to explain to the public their roles and responsibilities and the need for citizens to continually engage them and their services.

Later in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Kassim Abdul Karim, an Assembly member from Techiman and a participant appealed to the PURC to make such programmes regular for the benefit of the public.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Complex problems in Africa require African-led, African-sourced solutions

 

Madam Virginia Palmer, the U.S Ambassador to Ghana, says Africa’s complex problems require African-led and African-sourced solutions.

She said through Flintlock exercise 2023 and decades of military-to-military cooperation, the United States had demonstrated that its bilateral relationship was strong, productive, and mutually beneficial, helping to address some challenges on the continent.

Madam Palmer was speaking at the Flintlock Distinguished Visitors (DV) Day event at Sogakope in the Volta Region.

She said: ‘Our approach brings to bear the diplomatic, development, and security tools of the U.S. government in collaboration with our partners for a more peaceful and prosperous region.’

Flintlock started in 1968 as a series of joint combined exchange training between the United States European Command and allied European countries during the height of the Cold War.

In 2005, the ‘Flintlock’ series was redesigned into a single multinational training exercise with a new purpose to address the key themes of counter terrorism, counter illicit trafficking, collective security, and partnership in a new exercise area in Africa.

Since then, Flintlock has been conducted annually under the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership from just a small handful of African and International partners.

The two-week field training exercise is now a multinational exercise comprised of nearly 30 African and International partners, operating across five sites, spanning two countries (Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire) and conducting command post exercises, field training exercises, and now, for the first time, maritime training exercises.

The exercise is designed to strengthen the ability of key partner nations to counter violent extremist organisations collaborating across borders and provide security for their people, while respecting human rights and building trust with the civilian population.

It is United States Africa Command’s premiere and largest Special Operations Forces exercise in Africa with over 1,400 combined forces, the U.S. Special Operations Command, Africa and Ghana Armed Forces.

She said the exercise demonstrated that Ghana’s efforts to strengthen regional security were backed by international and regional partners, standing side-by-side with its African Partners to push back on threats against its common values and democratic norms.

The Ambassador said Flintlock was a long-running multinational effort and that the US’s commitment to security in the region was long-term, and described the exercise as very timely, with security threats coming from violent extremism in the Sahel.

Rear Admiral Jamie Sands, the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, said:’From the maritime training to the expanded headquarters and staff activities at the JMHQ and the outstations, we are coming together to set the groundwork to solve the security challenges that pose threats across the region.’

The participating African nations are Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroun, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.

International participants are Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Allocate funds for agric incubator programmes-Hadzide to Corporate Organisations

Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Youth Authority (NYA), has appealed to corporate organisations to allocate ten per cent of their corporate social responsibility budget to set up incubator programmes and train some persons to venture into agriculture.

Mr Hadzide made the appeal at the launch of the Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub for Agricultural Innovation (KAEHAI) – KGL Foundation Entrepreneurship Training and Incubator Programme in Accra.

‘We believe that agriculture offers a low hanging fruit in a rapid results kind of approach towards the resolution of the challenge of youth unemployment, which stands at some 19.7 per cent, which we think is high,’ he said.

Mr Hadzide said interventions like those were a pragmatic and practical way of dealing with the challenges of youth unemployment.

He commended the University of Ghana (UG), School of Agriculture, the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) and the KGL Foundation for the intervention to train selected young persons.

Mr Hadzide added that, ‘and so once we commend KGL Foundation, we are encouraging other companies to also take a cue from them and do what they have done.’

He also noted the need for the curriculum at the tertiary level to be developed to reflect more on the needs and the aspirations of the young ones in terms of the future of work.

Mr Elliot Dadey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), KGL Foundation, said the project sought to give more attention to the agriculture sector, to create an impact in the economy and communities.

He said KGL Foundation was a non-profit organisation in Ghana, which aimed at creating sustainable initiatives to support marginalised communities in health, education, agriculture, sports, youth empowerment, arts and culture and others.

Ms Jereme Keren Agyemang, Programmes Manager, KAEHAI, WACCI, UG, said the KAEHAI had partnered with the KGL Foundation to set up an entrepreneurship training and incubator programme in Ghana.

She said the five-year project sought to train a minimum of 20 potential entrepreneurs every year and to establish a minimum of four seed businesses every year.

Ms Agyemang said the Foundation offered USD500,000 for the project, and also thanked the KGL Foundation for partnering with KAEHAI.

‘I encourage others in the private sectors and corporate entities to emulate what the KGL Foundation is doing and also come on board to help transform agriculture and make it a sustainable industry in the country,’ she stressed.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GRIDCo Ladies commemorate International Women’s Day

The GRIDCo Ladies Association (GRIDLASS) has commemorated the International Women’s Day (IWD) as they called on women to incorporate technology in their work and activities.

Members of the Association encouraged each other to contribute their quota to the success of the grid company while patting themselves on the back for their resilience over the years.

The IWD is celebrated globally every year to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, while focusing greater attention on women’s right.

The 2023 United Nations theme for the celebration is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality,’ with a hush tag #EmbraceEquity.

Nana Yaa Obenewaa Okudzeto, the Director and Principal Engineer at Built Services Consult, touching on the theme, said without the incorporation of technology and innovation, women would become stagnant and lose the hold on their jobs.

‘Women need to take up the responsibilities that make them important…and they can only do this when they take technology seriously and improve themselves for the gig economy,’ she said.

‘Knowledge in the gig economy will make them more marketable, allow for flexibility, get innovative, and have financial benefits while improving upon their skill set with technology.’

Mrs Okudzeto said it was about time women shoved off the imposter syndrome, which made them feel inadequate.

‘Women have the innateness in them to create and make things happen and, therefore, should stop playing it small as they are enough on their own.’

She called for policies that would ensure equity for women and children instead of equality, as they had peculiar issues that resources must be consciously allocated.

‘The lip service paid to women’s issues every year during the celebration of IWD must be replaced with practical achievable plans.’

Accessibility, affordability of data for women, education-related issues, and cultural norms were some of the challenges preventing women from reaching their full potentials and embracing technology and innovation, Mrs Okudzeto said.

She revealed that even though there were a number of women graduating from universities in the technical and engineering fields, most of them had to divert to banking and other works due to the unlevelled ground created in the field of work.

Ms Azara Amadu, GRIDCo Ladies President, said women needed to be celebrated for their contributions to the social, economic, and political development of Ghana and the world as a whole.

Mr Mark Baah, GRIDCo’s Southern Sector Director, said the number of women staff in the company had increased from 23, which formed three percent of the total workforce when the company started operation in 2008, to over 160 currently, representing 19 per cent of the workforce.

Mr Baah commended the women for mastering the management of their homes and succeeding in their chosen fields of work.

There were solidarity messages from the Volta River Authority Ladies, GRIDCo Board of Directors, GRIDCo Union, and the Electricity Company of Ghana’s Power Ladies.

Madam Nicolina Nkang-Ma Yembila, Director Procurement, GRIDCo, was honoured for her numerous contributions and successes achieved in the company.

Source: Ghana News Agency

 

Ada East Assembly launches electoral area report

The Ada East District Assembly, has created a platform for all its Members to regularly give reports on the state of their electoral areas.

The platform is also to give the Members the chance to state the challenges, success stories, and contributions toward solving some of the problems in their areas, as well as some peculiar initiatives they had undertaken during their tenure of office.

Five Assembly Members from the Dogo Togbloku, Gorm, Kpono Abossey, Futuenya Otrokpe and Pute electoral areas, presented their reports during an ordinary session of the Assembly.

Most of the challenges presented in the reports from these electoral areas, were issues on poor sanitation, roads, unsafe water, chairs, and desk deficit in schools.

Ms Sarah Dugbakie Pobee, the Ada East District Chief Executive, said the move was to build the capacity of Assembly members and give them the chance to know their distinctive roles in their electoral areas.

The initiative would prompt those who had been dormant to step up and be active members as leaders in society, she said.

Mr Godwin Agudey, the Presiding Member of the District, indicated that the programme was also to pave way for the Assembly members to learn the various strategies executed by each member to solve problems in the society.

Mr Rockson Moses Sewornoo, the longest serving Assembly Member for Kpono Abossey, said he collaborated with other stakeholders to provide clean and safe water for the residents.

He added that during his tenour of office, some beds had been provided for some Community-based Health Planning and Services compound in his electoral areas, while communities within the area had also benefitted from numerious health screening sessions.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Add value to natural resources for economic growth – Community leaders appeal

 

Community leaders within the Mfantseman Municipality have appealed to the Government to add value to all natural resources before exporting them for economic gains.

The country over the years lacked several infrastructural developments due to the inability to process its natural resources into finished products before export.

‘We need to process our own resources before exporting them to accrue huge revenues to improve the economy ‘, they advised.

At a District Stakeholders’ engagement to discuss findings on recent discovery of Lithium at Saltpond, the leaders blamed the current economic woes to the country’s incapability to well package its natural resources to attract the ready international markets for improved revenues.

The meeting organized by the Institute of Energy Security (IES) in partnership with the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), was to promote transparent natural resource governance regime in Ghana to be in line with global best practices.

It was on the theme: ‘Avoiding the Mining Curse, Promoting Efficient and Sustainable Lithium Extraction in Ghana.’

The community elders, however, called for the establishment of a processing factory or plant to extract the raw resources, especially the newly discovered lithium into finished goods for huge revenues for development.

According to them the country could improve its economy if measures and interventions were put in-place to ensure transparency and accountability of all the resources at its disposal.

Some resources included gold, diamond, bauxite, timber, cocoa, among others.

Nana Mbroba Dabo I, the Paramount Queen mother of the Anomabo Traditional Area said it was time to change the economic fortunes of the country with its natural resources, especially the newly discovered lithium.

She expressed concern that mining companies were making huge capitals and profits from the natural resources but denying host communities the benefits needed to grow and develop.

‘The mining companies enjoy the benefits, leaving the people to suffer the effect of their mining activities and this is unfair ‘, she stressed.

Nana Dabo encouraged the Government to engage in the best negotiations in terms of equity and taxes and always ensure transparency for the country to benefit from the lithium.

The operating community leaders, she emphasized, should be involved in the negotiations to ensure the people’s interests were captured in the deal for their betterment.

Additionally, she advised traditional rulers to put the interest of the people first when negotiating with mining companies and not to depend on ‘small chops’ to avoid the incidents that had bedeviled gold, diamond, and other mining communities.

‘We should present the best negotiators to ensure the contract and license signed are favourable to the country to trickle down to the people,’ she added.

The Queen mother called on them to support the exploration of lithium in commercial quantities in a manner that would be mutually beneficial to the community and its people.

Mr Isaac Lord Enu, the Municipal Chief Executive of Mfantseman commended IES for the engagement and pledged the Assembly’s resolve to bargain well with the mining companies to ensure the communities were well developed with resources from that mineral.

He admitted that the engagement would help promote the socio-economic interests of the people to improve their lives and enhance their standard of living.

For his part, Mr Alhassan Iddrisu, a Project Consultant, outlined the relevance of the engagement, adding that it would solicit input from various stakeholders to fine-tune it towards the best interest of the people.

The mining companies, he mentioned, had to be educated on the need to collaborate with the communities to understand their needs and channel their corporate-social responsibility to address them.

Outlining some recommendations, Mr Iddrisu said the mining companies and government must ensure cleaner, safer, and more efficient mining sites that protected workers and increase productivity.

He added that illicit mining should be discouraged through appropriate legislation and enforcement when the companies were granted the permits to mine.

A copy of the discovered lithium agreement should be made available to the host communities in a language they understand for transparency, Mr Iddrisu stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency