Showing posts from October, 2017

Teacher trainee allowance ready; Govt to spend GH¢144m per academic year (August 30, 2017, Front)

Chief Executive of the SLTF, Nana Kwaku Agyei Yeboah

About 45,000 teacher trainees in 41 public colleges of education will, from next month, receive GH¢204 each as monthly allowance from the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF).
Although each student is entitled to GH¢400, part of that — GH¢196 — will go directly to the colleges to pay for trainees’ utilities and feeding.
The amount is, however, GH¢248 less than the GH¢452 the trainees were receiving after deductions before the allowance was scrapped in the 2013/2014 academic year by the previous government.
The figure means that each trainee will receive GH¢816 directly per semester (given that a semester is four months), while the government will spend GH¢144 million per academic year.

In total, the government is expected to spend at least GH¢18 million monthly on the projected number of students, with GH¢9.18 million of the amount going to the trainees in monthly allowances, while GH¢8.82 million goes to the colleges for feeding and th…

Scientists confer on research works on climate change, water insecurity (August 29)

Mrs Patricia Appiagyei ( 2nd row, 6th left), Prof. Samuel Nii Odai (5th left), Centre Leader of Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre, Kumasi (RWESCK) and Prof Aba Andam (7th left), President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, with participants. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

Climate change and sanitation experts and early career scientists working in Africa are meeting in Accra to discuss their research works with the aim of coming up with antidotes to water insecurity, climate change, flooding and sanitation issues confronting Ghana and other parts of  the continent. It is the first regional conference and school to be held in West Africa that is dedicated to discussing water, climate change and environmental sanitation. The meeting will particularly focus on the perennial challenges facing Ghana with regard to water shortage and sanitation.
The four-day conference and school is  on the theme: “Responding to the challenges of climate change, water security and environ…

Nissan Kicks: Rigid, roomy and comfortable (August 28)

Three young men with heights lurking around six feet plus enter the back seat of a car in a showroom, with smiles on their faces, while curious spectators watch—legroom under test.

A plumb woman gets behind the wheels; she plays around the steering and the dashboard and steps out winking at her male companion. He said nothing, both smiled.
Another man opens the boot of the same vehicle shocked to find a spare tyre tucked underneath the cargo space—he breaks into a grin.

Five smiles and hundreds of applause in minutes apart for Nissan’s latest badge—Nissan Kicks—launched by Japan Motors last Thursday.

The little monster of an SUV was cooked and garnished on Nissan’s V-motion platform, which is the same set of chassis that underpins two of Nissan’s poster rides— Qashqai, X-Trail, Micra and Juke. The Kicks represents everything that Nissan has learned as the crossover-pioneer.

To its credit, Nissan in 2006 created an entirely new market segment for crossover vehicles with the Nissan Qash…

Experts recommend ban on chemical, nuclear weapons (August 23, 2017)

A technical committee of experts in weapons, ammunition, and security has recommended that Ghana ban all chemical and nuclear weapons from entering or leaving the country.
However, the use of chemical and nuclear agents for peaceful purposes, including energy generation, research and for antidotes to diseases, including anthrax, is permitted. The recommendations were made at the end of a two-day workshop to approve a list of weapons and ammunition that will be allowed to enter or leave the country last Saturday.
The workshop, which brought together participants from the security services, some ministries, departments and agencies and academia, is in conformity with the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an international instrument to regulate the trade in conventional arms and ensure peace, safety and global security.
Control List
Known as the Control List, the draft list of weapons is expected to be validated by all stakeholders before it goes to the Cabinet for approval and subsequently forwa…

SSNIT engages audit firm to review financial records (August 23, 2017)

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has engaged the audit firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, to, among other things, review the financial records and state of affairs of the trust as of March 31, 2017.

The review, which is expected to be completed in eight weeks, will also assess the internal control and financial management systems to identify any weaknesses and make recommendations for best practice.

The review will also cover an audit of the trust’s Information Technology (IT) systems in use to identify and document gaps in the system, in view of the large expenditure on a new operating system.
At a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, the Board Chairman of SSNIT, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, said the review had become necessary because there were challenges, including financial irregularities, improper management practices, high management cost and imprudent investments which drained the resources of the trust.
The independent review would be anchored on four main areas…

Government overspent budget by GH¢4.2 billion last year — Auditor-General’s Report (August 15, 2017)

Last year, the government overspent its budget by a little over GH¢4.2 billion, although its revenue fell by almost GH¢9.5 billion.

The over expenditure and the shortfall in public revenue have been captured by the Auditor-General in its 2016 Report.

Blaming the development on the government’s weakness in budgetary management, the report stated that all major line items — direct tax, indirect tax, non-tax, compensation, interest, subsidy and other expenses — registered unfavourable variances.

“I noted, in this connection, wide variations between approved budget estimates and recorded actuals, ranging from 8.3 to 94 per cent in the main budget line revenue and expenditure items, resulting in a revenue shortfall of GH¢9,456,812,168 and excess expenditure of GH¢4,202,131,992,” the report, signed by the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Y. Domelevo, stated.
Revenue shortfalls
Although the government’s revised budget projected to collect GH¢11,358,930,103 in direct taxes, the Ghana Revenue Author…

Company accuses NRSC of selling its idea but NRSC denies (AUGUST 14, 2017)

The unfolding drama concerning the mandatory national towing project has taken a new twist as the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has been accused of selling the mandatory towing concept to Road Safety Management Service Limited (RSMSL) after it received the idea and piloted its implementation.

Officials of Ruttchen Trucks Ghana (RTG) Limited, who claimed ownership of the idea, told journalists at a press conference in Accra last Thursday that after due diligence was done on the feasibility of the concept from 2007 to 2009; the RSMSL was not one of the companies that submitted any interest when proposals were invited.

At the press conference dubbed: “Stop deception and corruption; mandatory towing—the facts and truth Ghanaians must be told”, they warned that should overtures for arbitration fail to settle the issue amicably, they would go to court because the company had copyright to the concept.
NRSC denies
But responding to the allegations, the Public Relations Officer of th…

Woyome’s GH¢51m not captured in ministry’s account

The GH¢51 million judgement debt which was paid to the businessman, Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, is missing from the accounts of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD), the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report has revealed.

According to the report, the MoF and the CAGD failed to capture the amount in their accounts in 2016.

The omission is one of two judgement debts that did not reflect in the accounts of the Consolidated Fund. The second one is a $3.8 million judgement debt against Dunkwa Continental Goldfields Ltd (DCGL) that the country won at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in August 2015.
The response offered by CAGD in the case of Mr Woyome’s money was that the amount had been “disclosed in the notes to the Public Accounts, since our revenue policy requires that revenue is recognised only upon receipt”.

On the ICC order, the report said: “The Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General (MoJAG) stated that the company could not …

Local airline operators seek govt’s support -To limit foreign airlines flight within sub-region (August 12, 2017)

Players in the local airline industry are asking the government to limit foreign airlines’ ability to lift passengers from Ghana to other countries in the West African sub-region while on transit.

They said the current arrangement, known as fifth freedom in aviation circles, was unfair to local airlines since by the time a foreign airline arrived in Ghana, it had recovered its cost and made profit hence could afford to charge very low rates.

Turf protection
Speaking to journalists on the fringes of a meeting between the Ministry of Aviation and officials of the local and international airlines, the Chief Executive Officer of Starbow, Mr James E. Antwi said the turf of the local airlines must be protected.

“When the country starts operating its airline, they should limit the big airlines from picking passengers from the country destined for other countries in the sub-region as the local airlines have the capacity to do it.

In June this year, the Ministry of Aviation indicated its readi…

MMDAs ‘chop’ money- 2016 Auditor-General’s Report reveals (August 12, 2017, front)

Deficiencies in the operations of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) created avenues for some officials of the assemblies to mismanage funds and resources valued at approximately GH¢ 70.1 million, the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report on the assemblies has revealed.

The amount shows a 32 per cent (almost GH¢17 million) increase in the 2015 financial irregularities of the assemblies that the Auditor-General’s Report pegged at almost GH¢53.2million.

According to the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report titled: “Management and Utilisation of District Assemblies' Common Fund and other Statutory Funds” for 2016, the management and members of staff of assemblies continued to violate measures put in place to safeguard the public purse.

“Management and staff of the assemblies continued to violate rules and regulations, policies, procedures and directives which had been put in place to ensure the economic, effective and efficient management of public resources made available to …

Doing business in Ghana tough - Illegal payments deter investors — US Ambassador (August 10, 20117, Front)

American and Danish companies find it difficult to do business in Ghana because of the demand for illegal payments, the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert P. Jackson, has stated.

According to him, particularly for American businesses, the fear of being prosecuted back home when allegations of corruption were found to be true was enough deterrent.

Quoting the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Tove Degnbol, he said: “These companies would rather lose an order than become involved in the endless game of paying and being required to pay even more.”

“I can tell that American companies feel the same way. And the problem confronting foreign investments also stymie foreign assistance,” Mr Jackson said at the opening of the Ghana Good Corporate Governance Initiative round table in Accra yesterday.

He, however, stated that there were more American businesses waiting in the wings to invest in Ghana to create opportunities for trade and bring the much needed jobs.


But he said …

Nursing schools given quotas - Admissions to reduce (August 9, 2017)

Public and private institutions accredited to train nurses in Ghana will reduce their intake by almost 1,600 this year.

This follows a directive from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to the 75 accredited institutions training nurses in Ghana, including private ones, to admit students in accordance with an earlier discussion.

The directive was contained in a circular issued by the council and signed by its Registrar, Mr Felix Nyante.

“The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Ghana would like to respectfully inform you of the admission quota for the 2017 admissions to nursing and midwifery training institutions. This follows discussions held in Koforidua on June 27, 2017 on the subject matter,” the document obtained by the Daily Graphic said.

Last year, 7,335 students were admitted to the various institutions, but the number will reduce to 5,737 when the directive is implemented.

The figures mean that last year’s admission figure has been reduced by almost 22 per cent.


Public sector is full and govt may lay off workers - Osafo Maafo (August 8, 2017)

The Ghanaian economy as it is today cannot support new employment opportunities in the public sector as it is choked, the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has said.

Giving hints of a possible downsizing in the public sector under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme, he said the government might consider laying off some workers in the public sector.

Currently, the public sector is estimated to be employing more than 700,000 workforce.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the sixth Ghana Economic Forum organised by the Business and Financial Times, he said the solution to the country’s graduate unemployment was a vibrant private sector.

The Senior Minister’s comments come at a time graduate unemployment is high in Ghana with private nurses and graduates of colleges of agriculture recently on the neck of government to employ them.

The statement also invokes memories of the 2015 when the Mahama Administration and the then running mate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alha…

3 Arrested for exporting endangered pangolin scales (August 5, 2017)

Three members of a syndicate that allegedly exported 400 kg of the endangered pangolin scales, worth $1.2 million, to Malaysia have been arrested in Accra.

The three Ghanaians, including two shipping agents — Prosper Kumako, Prince Anim and the exporter — Robert Konu — were picked up on July 27 and July 29, 2017 using the paper trail of the export during investigations.

The three are said to have outwitted customs officials by labelling the product which export has been banned in Ghana since the 1960s as oyster shells.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Accra yesterday, the Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah, said the commission decided to investigate the issues following a June 16, 2017 publication of the Associated Press (AP) that Malaysian customs officials had seized the said quantity of pangolin scales at the Kuala Lumpur Airport.

The report indicated that it was the second time the scales of the animals had …

Auditor General chases looters of public funds (August 2, 2017)

The Audit Service says the properties of even dead people who received or took funds from the public purse wrongly will not be spared, as it begins surcharging persons and organisations implicated in the annual Auditor-General’s reports.

Four persons named in the Auditor-General’s Report to have been involved in financial irregularities have been surcharged, while seven others were to be surcharged by the close of Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Accra Wednesday, Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo, the Auditor-General, declined to give the names of the persons involved, saying it was unprofessional for him to do so, but indicated that the report would be submitted to Parliament as required by law by the end of the year.

The action by the Auditor-General was prompted by the Supreme Court’s order to the Audit Service to recover all state funds which had been misappropriated by individuals since the coming into effect of the 1992 Constitution.

“Two weeks ago, I served the…