1 Sep 2017

'Galamsey': Trading Life For A Quid

Water is life because the human body consists of about 70% water. It must, however, be known that not any water is life. It is only clean and safe water that can give life. Polluted water does the opposite. Polluted water is not just water that looks physically dirty. It is also water that may contain strong chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, DDT, cyanide and other chemicals substances that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Illegal miners use some of these chemicals in their activities without proper regulations. These minerals eventually get washed into and pollute water bodies.
Some (if not all) of these overzealous money scavengers lack knowledge of the dangers associated with these chemicals of the trade.
Image - Illegal miners in Ghana
Illegal mining is popularly called 'galamsey' in Ghana. Image Courtesy: Citifmonline
We complain about the destruction of water bodies due to 'galamsey' activities. We blame Chinese nationals for coming to destroy our environment with heavy-duty equipment. We threaten to deport them but, after their government intervenes with a loan facility, we allow them to continue and pretend we are working on it.

My question is, where do the Chinese nationals pass to enter into our country with their heavy-duty machines? How did they get access to the land? How come, without any exploratory work, they are able to identify our mineral deposits right away?


If we are serious about fighting illegal mining, why did we make it acceptable for Ghanaians? Don't Ghanaian nationals use cyanide and mercury in mining? It is no wonder we are still struggling very hard to bring the 'galamsey' menace under control.

We have 'Special Forces' who only show up on independence day to partake in march pasts. I am wondering what we keep the so-called 'Special Forces' for while we have a threat to life at hand. Remember, water and life are inextricably linked. A threat to quality water is a threat to life. The 'galamsey' menace is more dangerous than terrorism. It has the potential of automatically shutting down everything.

So, congrats to the Akufo-Addo government for deciding to crack the whip on this menace which threatens our very existence. We hope the verve with which this anti-galamsey agenda was pursued would be sustained.

16 Jul 2017

We Came To Ghana To Beg . . . Say Mali, Niger, Chad, Nigeria Migrants

Some African migrants have told The Chronicle that the hospitality of Ghanaians had brought them into the country to beg for alms on the streets.

These migrants, who The Chronicle interacted with at different locations at the Nima, a suburb of Accra, said they are from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Mali, and according to them, they came by foot, whilst others said they came by road.
Image - Immigrant beggars in Ghana
The beggars, who pleaded to speak on condition of anonymity, said begging for alms is a ‘profession’ they had adopted to survive in the country and to take care of their children back home in their respective countries.

An 80-year-old street beggar, who said she is from Zaria, in Northern Nigeria said she came to Ghana by foot, however, she could not recollect the number of days she spent walking from Zaria to Ghana.

She confidently indicated that begging for alms is what she had lived on since arriving in the country at a youthful age. The Zaria native said she was a divorcee.

According to her, her children had abandoned her because their father poisoned their minds against her.
In this regard, she said she would rather die and be buried in Ghana than going back to her homeland, where she would hardly have something to eat.

“I am not ready to go home because I have no one to take care of me. Here in Ghana, I have a lot of companions around me who are also beggars. So, I am more comfortable here,” she said.

A Nigerian beggar, with a calabash in his hand, also approached the reporters to beg for alms.

According to him, God had destined him to beg for alms to provide for himself and his family.

Speaking in pidgin English, he said: “My sister, give me GH10 and God will bless you.”

After collecting the money, he became furious when these reporters asked him how he arrived in Ghana.

Shop owners around the beggars' location told The Chronicle that the beggars are really making a great deal as much GH50 or more daily.

One of the shop owners said the beggars come in batches, and after making enough money, they convert the amount into CFA, then leave for their country.

“You would be shocked the amount of money these beggars carry on them. Sometimes, the coins alone they bring to us to change for them is a lot,” the shop owner said.

According to the shop owner, the beggars, because of their old age, send their children or other family members to continue the trade on a commission basis when they leave the country.

The shop owner added that some of the beggars chase and embarrass drivers, especially saloon car drivers for money.

The Imam of Kaldof Mosque at Nima, Abdul Rahman Abdullah told The Chronicle that Islam frowns against the practice where Moslems force people for charity.

Imam Abdul Rahman Abdullah said they had sacked the beggars from coming to the Mosque for alms because the Mosque was currently under construction.

However, he said, the beggars would not leave the area, saying their presence was causing a nuisance to the community.

Source: The Chronicle

14 Jul 2017

Ghana Cocoa Board Warns Farmers Smuggling May Jeopardize Pay

Ghana’s cocoa regulator is warning farmers that the smuggling of beans from neighboring Ivory Coast may jeopardize efforts to keep producer payments unchanged despite a slump in prices.
The regulator in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer, expects that as much as 70,000 metric tons of the country’s crop will be smuggled across its borders by the time the season ends in September, a person familiar with the matter said July 5.
Image - Ghana Cocoa
Cocoa Beans From Ghana.
Ivory Coast cut farmers’ pay by 36 percent to the equivalent of about 700,000 CFA francs ($1,211) per ton in April to cope with prices that have fallen by more than a third in a year on forecasts of an oversupply. Ghana, the second-biggest grower, kept farmer payments at the equivalent of 7,600 cedis ($1,723) per ton since October and has ruled out any cuts for the next harvest.

“If farmers want to continue to enjoy the privilege of high prices even at such times, then we must stop all forms of smuggling,” said Johnson Mensah, a director of the Ghana Cocoa Board who also farms in the western town of Enchi, near the Ivorian border. “When we do that we enrich other people with our country’s money,” he said by phone.

Chief farmers in border towns with Ivory Coast have started campaigns to curb smuggling, Mensah said.
Cocoa futures rose 0.1 percent to 1,493 pounds ($1,937) at 1:14 p.m in London, paring this year’s losses to 14 percent. Ivory Coast’s cocoa regulator, Le Conseil du Cafe Cacao, forecasts its crop for the year through September to increase to 1.91 million tons, according to the person familiar, while Ghana expects its harvest to rise as much as 16 percent to 900,000 tons.

Source: Bloomberg

Ghana To Suffer Major Food Crisis By End Of Year - GAWU

In April 2017, about 1,400 hectares were attacked by the fall armyworms
Ghana should expect an acute shortage of food by the end of the year, this is according to the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU). The Union claims that the ongoing fall army worm invasion is not being tackled well by government.

Image - Maize
Maize is a popular food crop in northern Ghana.
So far, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has revealed that although about 20,000 hectares of farm yields have been affected by fall armyworms invasion, the infestation is under control but the General Secretary of GAWU, Edward Kariweh, has argued that the number of hectares of farm yields goes beyond what government is gathering.

According to him, checks by the Union reveal that close to 100,000 hectares of farm lands across the country have been badly affected by the invasion.


“There is no doubt in our minds that at the rate at which these worms are spreading, the rural zone Ghana would be faced with a severe food crisis by the end of the year,” he revealed to Joy Business.

GAWU is, therefore, calling on government to “ declare a state of emergency” on the invasion so as to make up for practical steps of tackling the development in the next three weeks.

In April 2017, about 1,400 hectares were attacked by the fall armyworms.

The Agriculture Minister, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto had said then that, “it is under control, we’ve seen them spraying and by the end of the week, all the farms affected would have been sprayed and that will be the end of it.”

Source: Myjoyonline

Africans Getting Fed Up With Gay Rights Noise – Speaker Of Parliament

Ghana’s third most-powerful man, its speaker of parliament, says Africans are increasingly becoming fed up with external forces trying to force alien cultures on them.

Prof Mike Ocquaye, a seasoned lawyer and law lecturer, said it was unacceptable that foreign governments and groups were using the issue of human rights to champion acts such as homosexuality, bestiality etc.

He made the comments during a meeting with members of international rights group, Amnesty International (AI), who called on him on Tuesday. Among the issues AI raised was the need to scrap death sentence from Ghana’s statutes but LGBT rights did not come up specifically.

“It is becoming a human right in some countries. The right to do homosexuality. The right for a human being to sleep with an animal. We are tired of some of these things and we must be frank about it. I think all these matters need to be seriously interrogated.”

“Following what Tony Blair said which I personally wrote him a letter that if we do not go the homosexual way, it was going to affect their aid to us. Honestly, in view of these developments, we Africans are also concerned about certain things that may appear really intellectual.

"It is becoming a human right in some countries. The right to do homosexuality. The right for a human being to sleep with an animal. We are tired of some of these things and we must be frank about it. I think all these matters need to be seriously interrogated …," the Speaker stressed.

In 2012, the then-U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, warned African countries that they risked aid cuts if they failed to respect gay rights. Ghana’s president at the time, the late John Evans Atta Mills, rejected the threat stating that the UK could not impose its values on Ghana.

As at 2012, some 41 nations within the 54-member Commonwealth have laws banning homosexual acts. Incidentally, many of these laws are a legacy of British colonial rule. Former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh had promised to slit the throats of homosexuals.

The latest African government that has warned same-sex couples is Tanzania. At a recent rally, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country.

“Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things,” Nchemba said in the capital Dodoma.

“If we establish that any organization registered in our country is campaigning for gay rights … I will deregister that organization. If a Tanzanian national is doing that campaign, we will arrest him and take him to court … and if it is a foreigner, we will immediately order him to leave the country.”

Source: Africanews

11 Jul 2017

Secret Recording Device Is Mine – Inusah Fuseini Discloses

A Former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, has claimed ownership of the audiovisual recording device retrieved from the office of the current Minister, John Peter Amewu.

The device was discovered in the office of the Minister on Monday. It was retrieved by the National Security after they embarked on a routine screening exercise at the Ministry.
Image - Hon. Inusah Fuseini, MP for Tamale Central
Hon. Inusah Fuseini, former minister of Lands and Natural resources
But the Public Relations Officer [PRO] at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has told NEAT FM’s morning show host Kwesi Aboagye that, a native of Israel detected the audiovisual recording device believed to have been secretly planted in the office of the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu.

According to Mr. Abraham Otabil, the Israeli [Name withheld] was at the Minister’s office to discuss security issues with him after he had raised concerns about threats in his fight against illegal mining, popularly known as ‘Galamsey’.


The set-up included a camera, a storage unit and another device suspected to be a transmitter.

Subsequent reports that emerged suggested that the device was planted by persons who were against the Minister's galamsey fight.

The Minister has been at the forefront of the intense crusade against illegal mining, a source of livelihood to thousands of people in mining areas with powerful people both local and foreign behind their activities.

Security expert Dr. Kwesi Aning speaking on TV3’s 'News 360', Monday said the device may have been planted by persons against illegal mining.

“It is natural that those whose interest is being threatened by the state will also fight back,” he indicated.

However, the former Minister in an interview with Peace FM's morning show host, Kwami Sefa Kayi, Tuesday revealed that the device was for him.

According to him, it was a gift for him to protect himself as well as monitor what goes on in his office when he was the Lands and Natural Resources Minister.

However, the device was not installed.

“That was my personal property . . . it is for me; it was a gift but it was not installed and so it was not working . . . ," he said.

Asked why he didn't take it along when leaving office, he said "it was no longer important for me and so I decided to leave it behind".

Meanwhile, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini has urged current Ministers to install security cameras in their office so that "their security will not be compromised. It is very important".

Source: Peacefmonline

Prez Akufo Addo Gives PNC's Edward Mahama An Appointment

Image - Dr. Edward Nasigri Mahama
Dr. Edward Nasigri Mahama, 2016 PNC Flagbearer.
President Akufo-Addo has appointed the 2016 Flagbearer of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Edward Nasigri Mahama as an Ambassador-at-Large.

He was among 21 others who have been appointed to represent Ghana as diplomats in other countries.

They were all sworn in by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday.

An ambassador-at-large is an ambassador with special duties but not appointed to a particular country.

Others who were also part of the 22 sworn in include former Attorney General, Ayikoi Otoo is to represent Ghana in Canada, George Ayisi Boateng; South Africa and Mercy Bampoe Addo for Malta.

Others include Salma Francess Mancell-Egala; Turkey, Paul Oko; Egypt, Kwasi Owusu Yeboah; Togo, Miss Sophia Horner-Sam; Netherlands, Mrs. Amerleey Olennu; Denmark, Mrs. Elizabeth Salamtu; Namibia, Gen. Francis Adu-Amanfoh; Mali.

10 Jul 2017

Ghana's VP Encourages Sudanese Businesses To Invest In Ghana

Ghana's Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday encouraged Sudanese businesses to invest in Ghana while challenging Ghanaian businesses to build closer ties with their counterparts from Sudan.

He said there are a lot of business opportunities in Ghana adding that the priority of the president Akufo-Addo-led government is to make the West African nation the most business-friendly country in Africa.
Image - Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana

Bawumia was speaking when he hosted Osama Faisal Elsayed-Ali, the Sudanese Minister of State at the Ministry of Investment at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

He challenged Ghanaian investors to take advantage of the business relations existing between the two countries to make significant investments that would bring them appreciable returns.

He said such collaboration would offer opportunities to consolidate good political and diplomatic relations between Ghana and Sudan.


On his part, Faisal, who is leading a delegation to participate in the Ghana-Sudan Expo, said the bilateral talks would give opportunities for business people from the two countries to discuss areas of cooperation and joint ventures.

The three-day Expo is being held to introduce Sudanese and Ghanaian businesses and private corporations to tap into the huge business opportunities existing in the two countries.

The event is also to strengthen the good relations that exist between Ghana and Sudan which is expected to promote and sustain mutually beneficial business partnerships.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Ghana’s Rebecca Asamoah Places 2nd At Miss UN

Image - Miss Rebecca Asamoah
Miss Rebecca Asamoah, with winner and first runner up
Twenty-five-year-old Ghanaian beauty queen, Rebecca Asamoah, placed second at the 2017 edition of Miss United Nations international pageant held in Kingston Jamaica over the weekend.

Rebecca, who is the first Ghanaian queen at the Miss UN pageant beat several other contestants from over 80 countries to come close to winning the ultimate crown which went to Olga Makhlevskaia from Russia.
It’s Rebecca’s third win in three years after she was earlier crowned Miss Ghana 2015 runner-up and winner of Miss Africa Continent in South Africa.

Mexican queen, Irais Carbajal, also took the second runner-up position while Russia was crowned the overall winner at the event.

Miss UN is a humanitarian pageant which helps to better the lives of persons around the world. It identifies and showcases world’s best tourism cause ambassadors; those who have the skills, talents, and personalities best suited to promote their respective countries in furtherance of tourism, international goodwill, and cultural harmony. Apart from a strong emphasis on goodwill tourism protection programs and destinations promotion, the pageant also supports environmental protection via strategised programs.

“I am compassionate not only for people with status and stature but for the underprivileged. I believe Miss United Nations pageant is to embark on humanitarian works to uplift women and to positively impact the lives of people in our various societies and the world at large. I want to be a part of this family to contribute my quota in the world’s development,” the 25-year-old dental hygienist said ahead of the grand finale.

She is expected to return home on July 15.

Source: Starrfmonline

Ghana's Cocoa Loan Syndication Oversubscribed To $1.6 Bln - Sources

Ghana's cocoa regulator COCOBOD has already received around $1.6 billion worth of bids in an oversubscribed loan syndication aimed at financing purchases of the 2017/18 crop, government and COCOBOD sources told Reuters on Monday.
Image - Ghana Cocoa Beans
Cocoa beans from Ghana. Image Courtesy Ghananewsonline

The world's second-largest cocoa producer after Ivory Coast uses loans from international banks every year for bean purchases. It had earlier said it aimed to raise $1.3 billion in September to bring in a crop it estimated at around 850,000 tons.

Two sources familiar with this year's transaction told Reuters that more than 20 banks have signed up to the syndication since a London roadshow by COCOBOD last month.

"It was a successful roadshow because not only was the target loan amount oversubscribed by at least $300 million, but there were indications of new banks signing up to the syndication for the first time," one industry source said.


The syndication is still open for lenders to join until September, another source said. It is unclear whether COCOBOD would retain the extra bids or stick to its original $1.3 billion target.

The regulator received $1.8 billion last year for the 2016/17 crop purchases but the loan ran out early and COCOBOD's new management has said the money had been mismanaged.

Ghana's COCOBOD raised $200 million in a bond issued via the central bank to cover its operations for the rest of the cocoa season, the regulator's chief executive Joseph Aidoo said.

Source: Reuters Africa

6 Jul 2017

Ghana's "Democrazy"

Democracy seems to be Ghana's problem. Politicians are more concerned with winning elections than doing the right thing. This is why indiscipline is gradually taking over our society. People do all manner of things and go scot-free in the name of democracy. Corrupt officials get away with their booty because there is a ghost called "due process". Political party fanatics can intimidate people at will and are sure to go unpunished because their party is in power. These overzealous ones often forget that they can't win power alone. They forget that other people played a part in bringing their party to power.

We have graduates picketing almost on a daily basis at no other place than the ministries to pressurize the government to post them. These same ones will be seen there again in a year or two, after being posted, to demand payment of salaries. For how long must this continue?
Image - Ghana flag
Image Courtesy IEA Ghana

Why won't we allow the government do the right thing? Have we lost trust in the government? If the government tells you that there is no money for extra labor because it is still struggling to deal with the numbers already employed and you force them to employ you under duress, why do you complain again when you are not being paid? Why do we find it difficult to trust our leaders?

The leaders are also to take part of the blame for allowing themselves to be pushed around as if they know not what they are about. If you kowtow to people's requests instead doing a professional job because there are elections to win at all cost, this will be the result. Why must it always be about the next election? Could it also be that our leaders are deceiving us concerning the state of the national kitty? If not, how come they are always able to grant financial clearance for people to be employed after picketing?


Why must unemployed graduates march to a ministry to picket because they want the government to employ them? And because the government always yields to such pressures it has become the norm of the day. Some even go to sleep and spend days there. Election-minded ministers who are afraid of losing the next election will then push them into the workforce knowing very well there are not enough funds to pay them salaries.

How long would this craze continue? Is this how we plan to develop our nation?

2 Jul 2017

Lady Absconds With Properties Of Her Facebook Lover In Ghana (Photos)

Police in Ghana have reportedly launched a manhunt for a lady identified as one Nana And Asare, who allegedly disappeared with cars, luggage, other valuable items belonging to an EU-based Ghanaian man, Kingsley Osei Bonsu, (pictured) whom she met on Facebook and started a relationship with.

Kingsley posted the photos on his Facebook asking for information that could lead to her arrest.

"This lady has duped me heavily, if u know her where about kindly assist me to get her arrested.

Anyone who can help me in helping me get her arrested will be rewarded handsomely" he wrote.

See Photos Of The Lady Below:


From Nairaland.com

18 Jun 2017

No Law In Ghana Bars Us From Showing Porn - Ice TV Management

General Manager of Ice TV, Samuel Owusu Asare says the channel will not kowtow to the petition presented to the National Media Commission (NMC) and Information Ministry by two renowned journalists and stop showing pornography films on their channels.
Image - Ice TV Ghana
Ice TV is a religious broadcast channel in Ghana which was recently accused of telecasting pornographic content.

Speaking to Agyemang Prempeh on GH Entertainment on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the Manager said, he cannot set aside his business plan and serve the interest of the two aggrieved journalists who are not happy about their content. He quizzed how many Ghanaians have complained that they disliked the content on the television station and what study they two conducted to reach their decision to petition the NMC.

"I have insisted that until the NMC gives us a directive on what to do, we will not base on a mere report and stop showing the content." he told Agyemang Prempeh the host when he was asked whether they will continue showing the program.


He confirmed receipt of a letter from the NMC to Ice TV to respond to the petition from the two journalists. According to him, there is no law that prevents them from airing the porn rather there is a guideline for TV channels to follow through, however, they [Management] cannot hang their necks with the guidelines.

When asked why they show the porn, he said, they have undertaken a business feasibility studies and from what they have gathered, showing the porn is highly patronised by viewers. He stressed, ‘’to stop or not to stop airing the porn will be premised on our laws.
 If the law which I am not above or my TV station and lawyer are not above it, bares me from doing what I am doing, I will stop it. But if we are going to use guidelines to ask me to stop doing that, then I am not ready to stop.’’ ‘’I want to emphasise that I have not decided to be adamant or stubborn but we want the right thing to be done.’’

He also admonished the petitioners not to use the means to discredit their work and rather focus on what rather can boost local content in the country.

He wondered why the petitioners have refused to focus on other important issues affecting the industry and rather using Ice TV to gain a mileage.

Two broadcasters, Tommy-Annan Forson and James Kwasi Oberko, have made a complaint against three television stations in Ghana for showing films with pornographic scenes on their channels.

The two, on Monday, 12th June, 2017, presented their complaint to the National Media Commission and the Ministry of Information against TV XYZ, Ice TV and Thunder TV, for showing these films to their audience.

But according to Mr. Asare, he respects the two, however, their action is in bad taste.

Court Remands 14 For Allegedly Vandalizing Somanya Police Station

One of the police vehicles vandalized by the mob

The Koforidua Circuit Court has remanded 14 people for allegedly vandalizing the Somanya Police Station on May 29, 2017.

Refusing them bail, the court, presided over by Mrs. Mercy Addei Kotei, remanded them to reappear on June 27, 2017.

The remanded people include the Assembly Member for the Sawer Electoral Area in Somanya in the Yilo Krobo Municipality, Ebenezer Jones Adamtey.
The pleas of the accused persons were not taken.


Adamtey has been charged with causing unlawful damage, demonstrating without recourse to the Public Order Act and provocation of riot, while the 13 others, mostly young people, are charged with conspiracy to commit riot, rioting, rioting with weapons, unlawful assembly and forcible entry.

It will be recalled that on Monday, May 29, 2017, some irate youth of Somanya went on a rampage and vandalized the Somanya Police Station and other property following Adamtey’s arrest.


Adamtey is suspected to have led the irate youth to cause unlawful damage to the offices of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) on Friday, May 26, 2017.

The youth who vandalized the police station burnt the only police duty patrol vehicle, with registration number GP 2605, in the process.

They allegedly destroyed doors and windows, police diaries and computers at the station. Some policemen and their families had to run for their lives.


Following the action of the youth, almost every economic activity in Somanya came to a standstill for more than eight hours.

Most stores were closed down and many residents ran for their lives, as the demonstrators took the town hostage.

Major roads were closed to traffic, a situation which created inconvenience for travelers who passed through Somanya.

It took reinforcement from the Eastern Regional Police Command and nearby police stations to control the demonstrators, who were more than 1,000.

From Graphiconline

16 Jun 2017

IMF Says Ghana at Risk of Debt Distress as Bond Planned

The International Monetary Fund said Ghana remains at a high risk of debt distress as the West African nation plans to clear arrears owed by energy utilities through the sale of a 10 billion cedi ($2.3 billion) local-currency bond.

Ghana and the Washington-based lender are in talks over the terms of a three-year debt-support program that is scheduled to conclude in April 2018 as the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer’s debt rose to 73 percent of gross domestic product at the end of last year. The government said last month that it may issue a bond through a special-purpose vehicle to clear the debts that the state-owned electricity company and petroleum service providers owe to banks and other credit providers.

“The part of the bond used to finance the debt and arrears accumulated by the state-owned enterprises themselves would increase the stock of government debt,” the IMF said Wednesday in an emailed response to questions. “Ghana remains at high risk of debt distress. Continued fiscal consolidation would be required to bring public sector debt on a clearly declining trajectory.”
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta didn’t answer calls seeking comment. Mustapha Hamid, a government spokesman, didn’t immediately answer calls or respond to a request for comment by text message.

Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison, who was appointed in April, said last month that the bond sale wouldn’t add to the debt stock if the government issues it through a special purpose vehicle and uses energy sector levies to service it.

“If that is done, then it might not necessarily be part of the government’s debt,” Addison told reporters on May 22. “It depends on how that is handled.”

Discussions between the parties on how the bailout program’s objective of lower public debt can be achieved are continuing, and include the possibility of extending the debt program, the IMF said in the email.

“Any extension would have to be requested by the Ghanaian authorities, and we understand they are considering the matter,” the lender said.

Ghana to Tap Stabilization Fund for Cocoa Pay Next Season

Image - Ghana cocoa beans
Cocoa beans dry on a table in a village outside of Kumasi, Ghana. Photographer: Jane Hahn/Bloomberg

Ghana will probably start drawing from its stabilization fund to cover cocoa farmers’ pay during the season that starts in October as the second-biggest grower props up local prices in the face of a global slump.

While Ivory Coast, the largest producer, has already slashed the price it pays farmers for the smaller of two annual crops by 36 percent, Ghana’s Cocoa Board so far kept it unchanged and is ruling out any cuts for the upcoming main crop, despite its own mounting debt. The country is hoping that demand in Asia and the Middle East will increase to boost international prices, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Yaw Adu-Ampomah said in an interview.

Cocoa futures in New York have declined about 33 percent in the past year as analysts predict a large global surplus for the season ending in September.

“Right now the stabilization fund is being looked at in case it falls further,” Adu-Ampomah said. The government contributes to the fund during boom years and the money is available to support farmers when needed, he said, while declining to comment on the fund’s current balance.

Ivory Coast and Ghana are both expecting bumper harvests this season, and average cocoa prices aren’t seen rising more than about 10 percent over the next 12 months, according to the median of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Ghana may not pay bonuses to farmers this season because of lower prices, CEO Joseph Boahen Aidoo told reporters last week.

“Considering the current level of prices, we believe we are paying $400 more per ton to our farmers,” he said.
The two countries aren’t discussing production cuts as part of their efforts to cooperate on cocoa strategy and boost international prices, Adu-Ampomah said. The cocoa board and its counterpart in Ivory Coast are exploring partnerships in emerging markets such as India, China and Dubai to boost processing of the beans, as well as looking at ways to increase local consumption, he said.

The cocoa board is in talks with the Bank of Ghana about refinancing its debt, he said, without providing further details. Borrowing increased to 10 billion cedis ($2.3 billion) after the nation missed its production target in the previous season and as the slump in prices weighs on revenue from the current crop.

The board is also taking steps to reduce wasteful spending, Adu-Ampomah said. It has put contracts to build roads in cocoa-growing regions on hold while previous deals are audited and will better prioritize infrastructure projects and reduce social-responsibility spending, he said.

The board bought over 800,000 metric tons of beans in the 2016-17 main crop season and aims to purchase 80,000 to 100,000 tons in the light crop that began on June 9 and ends in September, he said.

7 Jun 2017

352 Chieftaincy Disputes Remain Unresolved In Ghana

The Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr. Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, has expressed concern about the high number of unresolved chieftaincy disputes.

He indicated that nationwide there were a total of 352 such disputes.
Image - Ghanaian chiefs
Traditional rulers in Ghana

He said his ministry was eager to deepen the engagement with the relevant stakeholders to amicably settle them to bring enduring peace the affected areas.

Mr. Dzamesi was speaking at the inauguration of the Asuboa Traditional Council at Asuboa in the Asante-Akim South District.

The Asuboa Stool was elevated to paramountcy by the late Asantehene, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, but the opening of the Council to enable it to start exercising its official mandate was held back.

A High Court Judge, Justice Kofi Akrowia, was on hand to perform the ceremony on Wednesday.

The Minister, who was there to witness the event noted that chieftaincy conflicts had unwelcomed consequences for the lives of not only the local people but the entire nation.
Resources that could otherwise have gone into the provision of health facilities, schools, water and roads, would often be diverted to maintain security in times of clashes.

He said this could not continue and outlined steps taken to reduce disputes.

These include making sure that traditional boundaries are clearly defined to avert potential disputes.

He gave the assurance that more registrars were going to be recruited for the traditional councils for effective administration of the chieftaincy institution.

Mr. Alexander Frimpong, the District Chief Executive (DCE), promised to work closely with chiefs in the district to bring development to the communities.

Baffour Kwaku Ofori II, Omanhene of Asuboa, pledged his unwavering commitment towards the progress of the area.

From GNA

31 May 2017

Cpt Mahama’s Lynching: “We Do It Everyday And We Will Continue To Do It” - Otabil

Image - Rev. Pastor Mensa Otabil
Pastor Mensa Otabil, General Overseer of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC)

Pastor Mensa Otabil thinks that the instant justice meted out to Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama which resulted in his lynching is a cultural issue.

According to him, “the only thing is that it happened to somebody with visibility so we are worried but we will go back to the same culture which is the culture of disrespect for life and to rules procedure.”
Speaking at the 4th edition of the Ishmael Yamson and Associates business roundtable Wednesday morning, Pastor Otabil said: “The big news in Ghana is what happened recently to the dear soldier who was lynched.”
“But really what happened to him is cultural. It is in our culture; we do it every day and we will continue to do it.”

Pastor Otabil who is the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), said the recent lynching of the army officer was a climax to the reflection of lawlessness in the Ghanaian culture.
The 4th edition of the Ishmael Yamson and Associates business roundtable was organized in partnership Accra-based radio station, Class FM.

Making reference to the slain soldier, Dr. Otabil said: “You cannot say they [the mob] have not gone to school, we cannot say they do not know human rights but in that circumstance, they chose to exhibit that behavior.”

“We have become a lawless people”, he emphasized, adding that “the law must work”.

He wondered why Africans have not challenged certain cultures that do not promote development.

From Graphiconline

30 May 2017

Tobacco; A Deadly Threat To Global Development

When I reflect on my tenure as Director-General of the World Health Organization, there are many areas where the agency played its unique role as the guardian of health for all people. But I am especially proud of our work to fight tobacco use, something that I have personally championed since 2007.

Tobacco is a deadly product that kills more than 7 million people every year, and costs the global economy more than US$ 1.4 trillion annually in healthcare expenditure and lost productivity.

Tobacco control will play a major part in meeting the Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases by one-third by 2030. But tobacco control is about more than preventing deadly cancers, heart diseases, and respiratory diseases.


In addition to posing a serious threat to health, tobacco use also threatens development in every country on every level and across many sectors — economic growth, health, education, poverty and the environment — with women and children bearing the brunt of the consequences.

The theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day, on 31 May, is “Tobacco – a threat to development”. This year, WHO will launch a new report that highlights the great harm to the environment inflicted by tobacco growing, manufacturing, trade and consumption. For example, growing and producing tobacco uses 4.3 million hectares of land resulting in deforestation of 2-4%, and the pesticides and fertilizers used in tobacco growing can be toxic and pollute water supplies.

Tobacco manufacturing produces over 2 million tons of solid waste each year. Up to 10 billion cigarettes are disposed of in the environment every day. Cigarette butts account for 30-40% of all litter collected in coastal and urban clean-ups.

Tobacco farming also stops children from attending school and exposes them to hazardous chemicals. Children in tobacco-growing families often miss class because they are needed to work in the tobacco fields. Women are also disproportionately at risk of chemical exposure, as they make up 60-70% of the tobacco farming workforce.

Tobacco use hits the poorest people the hardest and exacerbates poverty. Spending on tobacco products often represents more than 10% of total household income – meaning less money for food, education and health care. Some 80% of the premature deaths attributable to tobacco use occur in low- or middle-income countries. These countries bear almost 40% of the global US$ 1.4 trillion cost of smoking from health expenditures and lost productivity.

Fortunately, we have powerful tools to fight the tobacco epidemic. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO, provides governments with clear, legally binding measures that they can introduce to reduce the harm caused by tobacco use. These include banning advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco, effectively warning about the harmful effects of tobacco use, implementing tax or price policies and protecting people from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.

In line with WHO’s FCTC, WHO’s MPOWER measures support countries to reduce demand for tobacco, using methods that are practical, low-cost and high-impact. Tobacco taxation is a powerful tool for saving lives. Taxes reduce smoking rates and help governments raise revenues to improve health and promote development. Increasing tobacco taxes and prices is one of the most effective, yet least utilized control measures globally. By increasing cigarette taxes worldwide by US$1, an extra US$ 190 billion could be raised for development.

We need to make sure that countries know that this tool exists and how to use it. Ministers of health are convinced by the evidence, and I ask them to be vocal in persuading ministers of finance, trade, foreign affairs and others not to be swayed by the unsubstantiated arguments of the tobacco industry. Many countries have already shown tremendous progress in reducing tobacco use. Our challenge now is to help more countries follow suit and to fight the efforts of the tobacco companies to hinder or counter progress that has been made by countries implementing strong measures.

Everyone can help play a role in stamping out tobacco and promoting development at the same time. People can commit to never take up tobacco products or to seek help to quit the habit. Governments can strengthen implementation of the WHO FCTC.

The tobacco industry is a vector of one of the greatest threats our society faces. It takes courage to antagonize powerful economic operators. If we fail to accept this responsibility, we will never make sufficient progress in health and development.

WHO stands ready to help governments introduce innovative approaches to tackling tobacco use. We have taken off our gloves and entered the ring on the side of the countries working to advance tobacco control, and we are going to fight tobacco tooth and nail.

If we rise to the challenge of beating tobacco by adopting measures that reduce demand for this deadly product, we can promote a healthier, more sustainable world.

From HuffPost

Osafo Maafo, Atta Akyea, Ursula Missing In Akufo-Addo's 19-Member Cabinet

Image - Osafo-Maafo, Ursula Owusu, Atta Akyea
Osafo-Maafo, Ursula Owusu, Atta Akyea

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has submitted to Parliament a list of 19 Ministers who will make up his Cabinet Tuesday.

The President’s action is in fulfillment of Article 76(1) of the 1992 Constitution which enjoins him to select some Ministers to form his Cabinet.

The Article states that “There shall be a Cabinet which shall consist of the President, the Vice President and not less than ten and not more than nineteen Ministers of State.”

It did not state which Ministerial portfolio should be included in the Cabinet of any government.

Clause (2) of the same Article said the Cabinet shall “assist the President in the determination of general policy of the Government.”

Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye announced the list to the Members of Parliament (MPs).


Below is the list of Ministers selected:

(1) Alan Kyeremanteng – Trade

(2) Ken Ofori Atta – Finance

(3) Dominic Nitiwul- Defence

(4) Ayorkor Botchey- Foreign Affairs

(5) Gloria Akufo- AG

(6) Ambrose Dery – Interior

(7) Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto- Agriculture

(8) Boakye Agyarko – Energy

(9) Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh – Education

(10) Kwaku Agyeman Manu—Health

(11) Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei- Monitoring and Evaluation

(12) Dan Botwe—Regional Integration

(13) Peter Amewu—Lands

(14) Kofi Ada—Sanitation and water

(15) Joe Ghartey – Railway Development

(16) Ignatius Baffuor Awuah— Employment and Labour

(17) Kwaku Ofori Asiamah- Transport

(18) Catherine Afeku – Tourism

(19) Mavis Hawa Koomson- Special Development in initiatives

26 May 2017

African Union: Where Is The Unity?

Africans just observed the African Union Day on 25th May. This day is observed annually to mark the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which has metamorphosed into the African Union (AU). The objectives of the union include fostering greater unity among its members, defending the sovereignty of its members, accelerating the political and socio-economic integration of its members, etc.


Image - African Union logo
Image courtesy Wikipedia

However, from the time I began recognizing this day and the summits that accompany it, I have always seen divisions at such meetings. People take entrenched positions on issues and are often unwilling to back down on such positions. A compromise is never reached on any issue.

One would wonder why a union can be so disunited. That all of its members are still on their own. Every country does whatever it thinks makes good sense without recourse to a supposed union.


The political and economic invasion of Africa has assumed an alarming proportion. The Chinese have found a new dumping ground for their inferior goods. The Americans and Russians now have a new market for their weapons. The many the wars, the more guns would be sold. Examples of such incidents were the events that led to the notorious and uncouth invasions of Ivory Coast, Tunisia, and Libya.

Surprisingly, no African leader uttered a word to condemn these Western-backed actions. Ghana's late President John Atta-Mills was asked about his opinion on the Ivory Coast invasion by France and he jokingly told the reporter in the local Fante language, "Dzi wo fie asem", meaning he should mind his own business. And that appeared to be the stance of all African leaders at the time on that issue.

Yet, these leaders will not spare any opportunity to drink beer together at a supposed union meeting whose legislations are not binding on any country.

2 May 2017

Christmas Christians

Last night, the Catholic church was filled to capacity and overflowing. People had come to church more than they normally do. They are not the "wise men" who traced a star to the manger Jesus laid. They always go at a time Mother Mary is still in labor. Even Muslims come to church and participate actively in most of the things done that day.

I was amazed when I saw one Muslim singing some of the hymns and reciting the prayers. I thought to myself, "Maybe, he is a converted Christian." And this was not the first time Muslims went to the Catholic church on Christmas eve in Sandema. They always do.


Image - Christmas begins with Christ
Image Courtesy: thankGodforJesus.org

The issue is people who have been properly integrated into the Catholic church and its doctrine who, as if they've just been released from prison, flood the church only during festive periods. These are Catholics who have been baptized and confirmed and can partake of the holy communion. They go there and their main objective is far from worship or to give praises. They even go partake of the communion without examining their conscience. Some even go there drunk only to make unnecessary noise and distract others. Mind you, these people are not strangers to the church. They know the circumstances under which partaking of the communion can be forfeited. Yet, they gladly do it with some kind of pride.

My confusion here is, why do some people show up in church only on festive occasions such as Christmas, New Year's day, and Easter? What is preventing them from showing up for the rest of the 365 days in the year? It is surely not just work, although some types of work can make it difficult for you sometimes to be present at church. An example is the nursing profession. But nurses tend to be regular at church than most these folks who enjoy weekends.

What might be the contributory factor(s) to this trend of religious behavior among latter-day Christians?

27 Apr 2017

Vigilante Groups: Breeding Lawlessness For The Future

Ghana has been hailed as a beacon of democracy in Africa. Having conducted several elections 'peacefully' and transitioned smoothly between governments, Ghana has really set a pace for the rest of West Africa in democracy. However, this pace may soon close and even be overtaken by other countries if the issue of vigilante groups is not addressed timely.

Vigilante groups in Ghana are creations of political parties. Political parties in opposition often lose trust in national security institutions because they believe the security agencies are doing the bidding of the party in power. They will therefore not want to have anything doing with these "compromised" institutions, especially when it comes to party security. These groups are then formed to serve their own security needs.


These groups often consist of unemployed youth who have no educational qualification. They believe their party can help them secure jobs when they win power. However, these guys are often disappointed for lack of qualifications. They then tend to vent their anger on people with requisite qualifications who have been chosen to positions they hitherto thought were reserved for their members.
Image - Delta Force members of NPP
Members of the pro-NPP Delta Force after raiding the Ashanti regional security coordinator's office.
The political parties, upon winning power, find it difficult to disband these vigilante groups. They then become a threat, not only to their party but to other innocent citizens as well. Any political appointments including security decisions without their consent are greeted with violent acts of vandalism. These uneducated guys feel they have enough experience to advice the government on security issues.


If we continue to practice our democracy with this vigilante group madness we will soon reap the fruits thereof; terrorism. There are countless examples we can learn from. Nigeria, Somalia, Egypt, etc. easily come to mind. If we pretend that nothing is wrong with these groups now because they serve our political interests, we should not cry when peace eludes us in the near future.

27 Mar 2017

Appointments Committee Or Assurances Committee?

Parliament's committee which scrutinizes political appointees before they can be sworn into office seems to be losing focus. This committee is tasked to assess nominees for competencies based on the offices they are being designated and to approve or reject same if they do not meet the laid down criteria. But, over the years, it appears the relevance of the committee is waning. This must be a big worry to all concerned Ghanaians.


I believe some of you will agree with me that this noble committee is turning out to be a platform to embarrass opponents who were once vociferous during the campaign season. I still recall Hon. Fiifi Kwetey's experience in 2009, when he was appointed deputy finance minister and had to face this committee. At the vetting, several questions were asked about certain comments he made in the past which the then majority in parliament deemed inappropriate and false, especially with his "Setting the records straight" press conferences. He tried explaining himself out but the minority wouldn't take any of his explanations. He was made to appear a liar in the eyes of the public.
Image - Parliament House, Ghana
Parliament of Ghana. Image Courtesy: Ghanaweb
In 2013, the minority in parliament abstained from the vetting because they believed the elections were not fairly conducted. They wanted to sue the president and were, therefore, not going to participate in what they believed to be an 'illegality'. The majority then had to vet their own ministers who all sailed through smoothly.


The 2017 vetting of ministers, with both the minority and majority in full swing, has not been without hiccups. From the Senior Minister, Hon. Osafo-Maafo, to the Gender Minister, Hon. Otiko Djaba, it has not been smooth sailing. At Ms. Djaba's vetting, one could easily recall the 2009 experience of Hon. Fiifi Kwetey. Ms. Otiko Djaba had made some unsavory comments against the then president, H. E. John Mahama, for being "wicked and evil". The minority demanded she apologized to the former president. She refused to do so, explaining that those words were not insults but a description of how the former president handled the SADA 'rot'. This has not gone down well with the minority, with some threatening to sue her in court for not doing the mandatory national service. For your information, some ministers have been approved unanimously, some of whom have also not done their national service.

As if the above are not enough, Parliament's Appointments Committee seems to be turning itself into an 'assurances committee' than a vetting committee. Many appointees who appeared before the committee are often asked questions like, "The ministry is blah blah blah. Can you assure this committee that when you are made the minister of blah blah blah, so-so and so will be done?" This appears to be one of the most used lines of questioning at the committee when it becomes clear they have nothing relevant to ask the nominees. What does the committee need those assurances for? What if the assurances are given and later the minister decides to do something different, would the appointment be revoked?

People are bound to change their minds when they get more and better information. So, a ministerial nominee with limited information about the ministry may decide to chart a new course after he or she gets more information. Hence, why ask nominees for assurances when you should be scrutinizing their academic and professional backgrounds, social backgrounds, misconduct, and so on?

23 Mar 2017

How Do You Know God?

Most Christians, especially pastors, claim they know God. But do you know what it takes to know God? God is our Father and we should desire to know Him every day. God wants us to know Him so we can serve Him better. He often reveals Himself to us in so many ways and forms.

It is common to hear so many pastors and preachers of the gospel claim that they know God. They often cite success in one endeavor or the other as a justification of their knowledge of God. What they forget is that God knows them, even before they were formed in the womb. That may be the reason why they are being blessed and not because they have so much knowledge of the workings of God and His kingdom.
Image - Knowing God
Do you really know God? What does it take to know God?

Paul the apostle admonished the Philippians;
"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;" - Philippians 3:10.
Paul, a great apostle who experienced the power of God greatly and could talk to God directly, admitted that he still didn't know God as much as he should. If Paul, with the great influence he had over the church in his day and even today, could admit that he didn't know God, who else can claim much knowledge of God?


God reveals Himself to us in different ways but we are often busy with our earthly lives that He goes unnoticed. God, therefore, allows suffering to befall us in order to know Him. Because of this, one person may know Him to be the Healer without knowing Him as the Great Provider. Another may know Him as the Great Provider without knowing Him as the Merciful.

Some people blaspheme about knowing God without having an experience of God's power in their lives. It takes a lot to know God. It takes suffering, sickness, poverty, financial crisis, joblessness, broken relationships, barrenness, disappointment, rejection and much more to know God.

It doesn't take only regular church attendance to know God. Saul was an Antichrist before God revealed Himself to him on his way to do evil at Damascus. It also doesn't take a reading of scripture alone to know God. You need obedience and commitment.


The church is not a fashion show. What you wear to church has nothing to do with knowing God. God searches the heart and not the physical. Is your heart clean and free? A greedy heart and lustful eyes are neither clean nor free. Your financial contribution in the church means little to God. You can't bribe God with huge sums of money and gifts. Jesus admonished the rich young ruler;

"If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”

So, don't feel too proud about anything. It's because God knows you. You're being blessed because God knows you, not because of your good works. You're healthy and everything seems to be going in your favor because God knows you. In all you do, say, and think, be guided by the one fact that it is because God knows you, not the other way round.