Ghana developing first Biodiversity Policy to protect nature

Accra, Ghana is developing its first Biodiversity Policy aimed at reducing threats to its over 6,000 flora and fauna to promote the sustainable utilization of biodiversity and benefits sharing to meet the people’s needs.

The draft policy, which is at the consultation stage, is in line with the post-2020 global biodiversity conservation framework, an agenda to galvanize urgent and transformative action by Governments and all of society to preserve and protect nature in the next ten years.

 

Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), disclosed this at a national dialogue on institutional and financial mainstreaming of Biodiversity conservation in Ghana.

 

The day’s event, among other objectives, sought to review Ghana’s effort towards the post-2020 global biodiversity conservation framework.

 

It was also to take stock of the current biodiversity conservation policies and experience in using the landscape approach to conservation.

 

The dialogue was jointly held by MESTI, the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme and Weto Platform to identify areas of joint action in developing integrated approaches for the conservation, sustainable finance and mainstreaming of biodiversity in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).

 

Dr Afriyie stated that biodiversity supported food security by providing raw genetic material for improved crop and livestock varieties and provided opportunities for indigenous and other communities to cultivate market niches based on traditional knowledge and livelihood practices.

 

He said the major drivers of biodiversity loss including, over-exploitation, pollution, invasive alien species, and climate change – have remained unaddressed.

 

Dr Afriyie said there was the need to reflect and recast the idea of sustainable development by marrying sustainability and biodiversity along with their relationships in more detail outlining some of the major approaches to biodiversity management and regulation.

 

“Our strategy should move from general principles of sustainability to concrete actions that are rooted in biodiversity conservation. Decisions about sustainability must either accommodate multiple viewpoints, values and interests or they must force some people to compromise,” he said.

 

He said biodiversity contributed to numerous ecosystem processes that support ecological, economic, and social wellbeing.

 

The Minister mentioned that biodiversity enhanced the ability of ecosystems, including heavily modified ecosystems such as those found in farms, gardens, cities, and towns to cope with climatic and environmental shocks.

 

Madam Angela Lusigi, UNDP Representative to Ghana, in a statement delivered on her behalf, said the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging crises such as climate change were stark realities and a reminder of the consequences of ecological fragility and complexity.

 

She noted the pandemic had been devastating but the outbreaks were likely to escalate in the future unless the development pathways and humans’ relationship with nature were remade.

 

“A key takeaway from COVID-19 is that our ability to prevent complex global crises rests on our ability to put in place a new generation of development policies that put nature at the centre. Biodiversity conservation is key to our future as it contributes to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.

 

Referencing the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the occasion of this year’s World Environment Day, said: “Science tells us these next 10 years are our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution and end species loss. So let today be the start of a new decade – one in which we finally make peace with nature and secure a better future for all.”

 

Madam Lusigi stated that the draft post-2020 global biodiversity framework would be the key platform to further scale up actions in the developing countries in the coming years to build the resilience of communities and ecosystems.

 

“This requires reducing the intensity of development’s ecological footprint to ensure the resilience of the biosphere, with healthy and diverse ecosystems,” she noted.

 

Dr George Ortin of UNDP Global Environmental Facility Small Grant Programme, sharing lessons from the Weto socio-ecological production, said landscape restoration must be a national priority and specific attention must be paid to the landscape approach to biodiversity conservation.

 

He said it must include key issues such as livelihood enterprises development, strengthening of local institutions and transparent governance systems at the heart of the country’s development efforts.

 

He said the incorporation of strategies to promote biodiversity conservation within socio-ecological production landscapes must be a national priority and specific attention must be paid to the landscape approach to biodiversity conservation.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Government on course to complete inherited health projects – Health Ministry

Accra, The Ministry of Health says the government is on course to complete all health projects it inherited from the previous administration in 2017.

It has, therefore, denied claims by a section of the public that it had abandoned health projects started under the previous government.

 

Speaking at a news conference in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister of Health (MoH), said no such projects had been left untouched since he assumed office in 2017.

 

“Since I joined the Ministry no project has been abandoned,” he emphasized.

 

Mr Agyemang-Manu disclosed that work on health projects such as the Kumawu, Fomena and Sekondi hospitals had commenced and was expected to be completed in due course.

 

“The previous government had a contracting agreement we call NMS that was supposed to do about six projects. The only single project that was completed under this arrangement was the Dodowa Hospital. When we came in, they were completing Kumawu, Fomena and Sekondi Floor work so we did an assessment with finance and what came out was the fact that monies left couldn’t complete the projects that had not been undertaken,” he said.

 

The Health Minister added that “We needed to engage, value for money audits went through, brought a report and we engaged them and likely for us we are managing to get the contractors back to the site.

 

We have now triggered the NMS that was even terminated before we joined and people are now working in Kumawu, people are now working in Fomena and soon these will come to completion.”

 

The Minister added 10 health projects, which started under the previous government in areas such as Besease, Gomoa Dewurampong, Gyamera, Mampong, and Ekumfi were completed in late 2017 and early 2018.

 

“So I am beginning to wonder which projects we have abandoned. Even Bekwai has been completed and is in use as we speak.

 

“We have triggered the continuation of Eurojet projects that were started by President Kufour, left abandoned, is not done now we have completed a significant portion of this project, Tepa is online, Nsorkor is online and Upper West Regional hospital is online,” he said.

 

He also noted that 12 projects, including the La and Shama hospital which the government cut sod last year for its commencement, had been delayed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 second wave.

 

He, however, disclosed in the next two weeks work on all the 12 projects would commence, following the completion of the necessary processes.

 

“The good news is that all that we have to do on these projects have now been completed and within the next two weeks, our government alone is mobilizing to 12 different sites. Shama and La, next week you will see work ongoing in these places,” he said.

 

Dr Ben Ampomah Nkansah, Director of Infrastructure, MoH added that the government had earmarked several health projects to be undertaken this year including the construction of trauma centres at Obuasi and Anyinam in the Ashanti and Eastern regions respectively and rehabilitation of the Ngleshie Government Hospital in the Greater Accra Region.

 

“All these projects as I speak the contractor has moved to site and work is ongoing,” he said.

Other projects such as the construction of a Urology and Nephrology Centre at Korle-Bu, construction of a sub-regional hospital in Tema, reconstruction of the Tema Medical Stores were currently at various stages of work, Dr Nkansah said.

 

Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, the Presidential Adviser on Health, assured of the government’s commitment to complete all 111 hospitals under the “Agenda 111” hospital project to facilitate the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Tgolese Ambassador in Volta to seek economic cooperation

Ho,- Colonel Awoki Panassa, the Togolese Ambassador to Ghana has called on the Volta Regional Minister on the first leg of a two-day visit to the Region to explore industrial opportunities and encourage collaboration.

The Ambassador, who was appointed early January of 2020, said he had committed to working to foster the industrial cooperation and development of the two nations.

He said it was his first time in the Region, and thanked the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), which was leading the tour for efforts at helping him achieve his objectives.

“Volta is our arm and we can start a long road of working together and cooperation,” the Ambassador said, noting “lots” of industries in the country that could be considered in Togo.

He hinted at working together on tourism development, saying the Region’s lure of “favorable nature” kept it as a destination of choice.

Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister said Volta and Togo were blood related with numerous areas of potential collaboration.

He asked the Ambassador to help deepen private sector collaboration between the two countries, and touted the effects on the agro, manufacturing, tourism and ICT industries.

“We will be happy to have you linking up the private sector in Ghana. It will be big,” the Regional Minister said.

Dr. Letsa used the occasion to invite Togolese industries to exhibit at the Fifth Volta Trade and Investment Fair upcoming in the regional capital, Ho in November, and said it would expand economies; in a “win-win for both.”

Mr Dela Gadzanku, who chairs the AGI in the Volta, Eastern and Oti Regions, is leading the Ambassador and his entourage to visit major industries in the Region including; one of West Africa’s largest fish farms located at Sogakope in the South Tongu District.

He said the team also called at the plantation of Ghana’s largest exporter of potatoes, established at Dzodze in the Ketu North Municipality, and would be visiting cassava processing giant Caltech, and acrylic paint manufacturer Agartex among a host of active factories.

He said the Ambassador would get to meet private sector stakeholders, the media, and a young entrepreneur’s hub in the Ho Municipality.

Source: Ghana News Agency

STCCI set the pace for digital business

Takoradi, August 17, GNA – The Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI), has created a digital platform where businesses can access a vast network of potential traders/buyers in Ghana, Africa, and across the globe.

The portal, chambersmarket.com also comes with an app for both users on the I-system and Android system and enables users to own a virtual store, operate and promote business at convenience, shed off risks in managing a physical store/business.

Speaking in an interview with the GNA, Mr Nii Kpani Addy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) indicated that the portal would enable patrons to access comprehensive and enhanced sales and promo services, learn of new customer preference for products/services and feedback, and boost sales and profit margins.

He noted that businesses that adapted and adopted the internet and embraced online business in the last decade have flourished since they don’t just do direct selling but buying, distribution, and marketing, trading has become easier due to the digital economy.

Mr Addy, therefore, urged business owners in the Western Region and in the country at large to embrace the digital economy to be opened to the global community by getting their businesses online to serve the larger community.

He also advised that companies should try to fulfil the service expectations of digitally empowered customers and offer more experiences with great cost and called on the companies to become more innovative to respond to the highly competitive environment.

Mr Vincent Annan, CEO of STCCI pointed out that STCCI is a registered independent business association affiliated to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)-Ghana, serving and promoting the commercial and industrial interests of small and large companies in Ghana.

He defined the digital economy as one collective term for all economic transactions that occur on the internet and an economy that focuses on digital technologies.

According to him, “in the last 15 years, we have seen a tremendous growth of digital platforms and their influence on our lives, as consumers now are influenced by things they see on social media”

Mr Annan called on members of the business community to take advantage of the portal to grow their businesses.

Source: Ghana News Agency

AMC calls on GRA to mitigate burden on OMCs

Tema,- The Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMC) on Monday called on the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to put measures in place to reduce the burden of tax payment on Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).

“GRA must put in place measures to mitigate the burden of OMCs as well as incentivize consistent tax compliant companies in order to boost revenue collection,” Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Duah, AOMC Industry Coordinator stated in a paper to the Ghana News Agency in Tema.

Mr Agyemang-Duah described the current tax payment system employed by GRA as a noose around the neck of all OMCs as it required the companies to pay taxes and statutory levies on petroleum products lifted within every two-week period in 25 days, whether products had been fully sold at the retail outlets or not.

“This is not corporate tax or income tax, but taxes on petroleum products which customers pay only upon purchasing fuel at retail outlets. This means, government can only get the taxes when the products are sold.

“But unfortunately GRA however requires the OMCs to pay all taxes whether the products have been sold or not. Failure to pay these taxes results in interest and penalty charges against the OMCs, which largely contributed to growing its debt portfolio,” he said.

Mr Agyemang-Duah who is also the AOMC Chief Executive Officer stressed that while the GRA required OMCs to pay taxes on products lifted within 25 days, government contractors who purchased fuel product on credit sometimes take about 90 days to pay with the excuse that the state was yet to credit their accounts.

“These delays in receiving payments for products supplied to Government Contractors and state institutions on credit also contributed to the growing debt in 2018 and 2019,” he noted and called for urgent realignment of the tax regime for OMCs.

The AOMC Industry Coordinator revealed that some State Contractors were still indebted to many OMCs, running into millions of cedis, due to failure to pay for petroleum products supplied since 2018. However, the taxes resulting from these inabilities of a third party contracted by Government to pay for fuel on time, was charged to the account of OMCs as deliberate non-compliance to tax payments.

On recent Auditor General’s Report, which cited 28 OMCs as having defaulted in tax payments to the tune of GH¢ 226.9 million between 2018 and 2019, the AOMC Industry Coordinator said the debt situation at the time was due to the inabilities of government contractors and institutions to timely pay for the cost of fuel they took from the OMCs.

However, many of these OMCs, through appropriate channels, wrote to GRA and requested for debt repayment schedules, which they have honoured wholly to its latter.

He also attributed the unprecedented rise in illegal fuel activities across the length and breadth of the country during the period as a major factor.

He said the illegal fuel activities had repercussions on the business of OMCs, which affected their ability to fulfil their tax obligations on time, as well as their inability to honour their responsibilities to paying the salaries of workers and basic operational expenses.

He said the spate of the illegal fuel trade in 2018 through 2019, saw rippling consequences on the true OMC businesses with the major effect being increased stock turnaround time.

“The consequences of such high stock turnaround time is not only the inability to pay the taxes on the volumes lifted, but also interests and penalties charges accrue from the day of default.

“Should the payment of the taxes delay unusually, the interests and penalty charges constitute a greater component of the total debt, relative to the principal debt,” he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

AUCC fails to pay GH¢4.7million for AVCTF stake in the College

Accra,- The African University College of Communication Limited (AUCC) has failed to pay a GH¢4.7million agreed buy-out of 30 percent stake of the AUCC owned by Activity Venture Capital Trust Fund (AVCTF).

According to the 2020 Auditor-General’s Report, this had denied the Trust Fund of its share of GH¢1,410,000.00, being 40 percent of its share of the amount, as per an agreement on the distribution of returns amongst the shareholders of Activity Venture Finance Company (AVCF).

The Auditor-General, therefore, entreated Management of the Trust Fund to pursue AVFC to ensure the recovery of the GH¢1,410,000.00 as its share in AUCC.

The Trust Fund, which became operational in 2006 is unable to effectively execute its mandate as the driving force of the private sector of the Ghanaian economy since the National Reconstruction Levy Act, 2001 (Act 597), its primary source of funding, was repealed in early 2007.

It said since the abolishment of the National Reconstruction Levy Act, the Trust Fund has had to rely on the Ministry of Finance for irregular and inadequate funding to date.

The report urged the Board of Trustees to liaise with the Sector-Minister to set up an alternative statutory funding source for the Trust Fund.

It asked the Board of Trustees and the Management of the Trust Fund to push for the release of the budgetary allocation reserved for the Fund.

The Auditor-General’s report further indicated that the Ministry was unable to meet the Trust Fund’s annual operational budget since the abolishing of the National Reconstruction Levy Act, 2001 (Act 597).

It, therefore, urged the Board of Trustees to liaise with the Sector-Minister to set up an alternative statutory funding source for the Trust Fund.

Meanwhile, two former staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who resigned in 2015 and 2016 financial years respectively had an outstanding loan of GH¢15,788.16 as of the end of the year 2019.

The report recommended to Management to ensure that the outstanding balance was collected or consider seeking approval from Parliament for the write-off of the amount through the Board.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Bank of Ghana wins Central Bank of the Year Award

Accra,- Bank of Ghana has been adjudged the Central Bank of the Year by the African Leadership Magazine, which unveiled the winners of the 2021 African Business Leadership Awards (ABLA) on Monday.

The awards attracted over 300, 000 entries on the website and across social media platforms, as well as submissions via email and physical posts from Africans across the continent and in Diaspora.

The Winners emerged through a keenly contested 3-step points-based selection process that included a call for nomination; a call for online voting for shortlisted nominees; and the editorial board’s final review of the nominations and voting submissions – using supporting evidence and voting considerations in their final decisions to decide the African Business Leadership Awards 2021 winners.

The online voting was responsible for sixty-five percentage points and supporting evidence was responsible for 35% in the final selection process for the 2021 winners.

The winners were unveiled by the Publisher of the Magazine, Dr Ken Giami, at the UK Head Office of the group after the editorial board reviewed the collated votes and supporting documents received to bolster the nominations.

The Publisher, Dr Giami, while unveiling the list of winners, made a special note of congratulations to all nominees in the categories and affirmed that each nominee is worthy of recognition and commendation for their selfless services to nation-building.

In his speech, the publisher said the 2021 Africa Business Leadership Award (ABLA) celebrates grit, purpose, and impact in Africa’s business environment, especially in what continues to be a difficult period for most people due to the impact of coronavirus.

He further added that the leaders who have emerged winners in the various categories have exhibited these celebrated attributes in admirable capacities and are deserving of great accolade.

Kwadwo Safo Junior, CEO, Kantanka Group Ghana was the winner of Young Business Leader of the Year award.

All winners and their runners-up shall be presented with an award trophy and formally decorated with the instruments of the honour at the 6th Invest in Africa Summit (Virtual), which is scheduled to hold on September 16 – 17, 2021.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GNCCI inaugurates 15-member team to lead trade sectors

Accra,– The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has inaugurated a 15-member committee to head trade sections of the Chamber to provide leadership and policy directives.

 

The trade sector leaders will be working with the National Executives of the Chamber in providing policy direction and advocacy in their respective sectors towards National Development.

 

They are also to coordinate with the Research and Advocacy Department of the Chamber as well as the Regional Managers to mobilise relevant empirical data and conduct technical analysis per their respective sectors to inform the design and implementation of policy dialogue and stakeholder engagement.

 

Mr Clement Osei-Amoako, President of GNCCI, at the inauguration, charged the trade sector leaders to provide the needed leadership in their respective sectors on matters of interest to member firms.

 

He said they would be advising the national executives, central executive committee, and the council on sector-specific issues as well as represent the chamber in their respective sectors at local and international events.

 

“The chamber looks forward to tapping into the skills, competencies, and social capital of individual members to achieve a shared vision of growth and prosperity for the private sector,” he added.

 

Mr Moses Atobrah, Manufacturing Sector Leader, on behalf on his colleagues, commended the leadership of the chamber for selecting them and pledge their commitment to their roles.

 

He said they would ensure that their respective industries were well-coordinated towards the overall growth of the private sector.

 

“We are going to do our best to contribute to the growth of the respective trade sectors we will be leading with support from the national leadership, members, and other stakeholders,” he added.

 

The trade sector leaders include Dr Kojo Aboakye-Debrah, who will be leading Banks and Non-financial Institutions; Mr Edward Forkuo Kyei, the Insurance sector; Mr Emmanuel Bekoe, Building and Civil Engineering; Mr Kwadwo Boakye, Agriculture and Fishing and Mrs Bella Ayayee Ahu, Hospitality and Brewery sector.

 

Also, Madam Theresa Poku, will lead the Export sector; Mr Terence Darko, the Automotive Trade and Plant Hire; Mr Dennis Adjei Dwomoh, Professional Service and Mr P. K. Mensah, Logistics and Transport.

 

The rest includes Mr Cleanse Tsonam Akpeloo, who will be leading Information Communication and Technology; Mr Michael Bozumbil, Mining, Oil and Gas; Mrs Patience Tsegah, Import; Mr Nuamah Esshun Fameye, Pharmaceutical, and Mrs Linda Ampah, Fashion.

 

The leaders are expected to lead the sectors to provide thought leadership in the respective sectors of the Chamber on matters of interest to Member-firms.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency