Ghana has become the first country in the ECOWAS Sub-region to deploy a system for digital verification of COVID-19 PCR test results.
The platform, based on the African Union Trusted Travel and ECOWAS BIOMARS standard, would help stop the circulation of fake test results.
A statement signed by the Health Minister, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said the new verification tool, which took effect on Wednesday, April 21, will allow only travellers with certificates bearing Trusted Travel of BIOMARS codes to travel out of Ghana.
It said the platform covered all the authorised COVID-19 PCR testing laboratories in the country.
This, travellers arriving in the country must use a tool made available through the UNDP-supported Global Haven partnership (www.globalhaven.org) for Covid-19 PCR test results certificate verification.
It also advised all travellers to sign up for accounts on trustedtravel.panabios.org with the same e-mail address and mobile numbers they provided to the laboratories during testing.
The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has released the power outages timetable for Greater Accra for the month of May 2021, due to ongoing construction works in the power sector especially at the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point.
According to the ECG, as part of projects to improve power supply reliability and system voltages, the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in collaboration with the ECG are undertaking interruptions in the power supply to facilitate the work of contractors at various stages and times.
This, according to the ECG requires a complete shutdown of the 330kv line thereby affecting power supply reliability to the Mallam Bulk Supply Point (BSP).
This is because, the new Pokuase Bulk Supply Point, which is near completion and sponsored by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) under the auspices of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) will require a tie-in to GRIDCo’s 330kv transmission line.
While some of the areas will sleep in darkness for two nights and have their power off for two days during the day in the month of May, others will sleep in darkness for three nights and have their power off for just one day.
The outages will rotate between day and night from 6 am to 6 pm and 6 pm to 6 am for eight days.
According to the ECG, the tie-in works will take eight days from Monday, May 10 to Monday, May 17, 2021, and will affect power supply to some customers in the North-Eastern parts of Accra.
The ECG has explained that other needed interruptions in power supply to enable contractors to complete the different intervention projects, will be communicated in due course.
The affected areas which have been divided into four groups are listed below.
Group A – Power off on May 10 and May 14 during the day and power off at night on May 12 and May 16.
Nsakina, Oduman, Odorkor Official Town, Awoshie, Odorgonno, Mallam Abease, Top Base (Gbawe), Kokompe, Zamrama Line, Banana Inn, Chorkor, Korle Gonno, Gbegbeyse, Shiabu, Kwashi-Bu, Abeka Lapaz, Nii Boye Town, Alhaji, Sowutuom, Ablekuma New Town, Dansoman Control, Market, GBC Staff Quarters, Old barrier, Opeikuma, Ashalaja, Lamptey Mills (Kasoa).
Group B – Power off during the day on May 12 and May 16 and power off during the night on May 10 and May 14.
Lower McCarthy, Mallam, Gbawe, Agape junction, Bubiashie, Demod, Abossey Okai, Santa Maria, Bortianor, Red Top, New Aplaku, Mataheko, Dansoman SSNIT Flats, Glefe, Nyanyano, Nyanyano Kakraba, Iron City, Breku, Tuba.
Group C – Power off during the day on May 11, May 15, May 17 and power off during the night on May 13.
Sakaman, Hansonic, Upper McCarthy Hill, Tetegu, Melcom Plus Industrial Area, Abeka Market, Lartebiokorshie, Tantra Hill, Nyamekye, Pokuase ACP Estates, Amasaman, Anyaa, NIC, Nsumfa, Antieku, Bortianor, Wesley Grammar, Ayigbe Town, Korkordzor, Banana Inn, Mamprobi New Town.
Group D – Power off during the day on May 13 and power off at night on May 11, May 15, May 17,
Odorkor, St. Anthony, Djaman township, Oblogo, Salaga market, CMB Flats, Mamprobi, Soko, Taifa, Ofankor, Asofa, Alhaji, Tabora, Chantan, Israel, Fadama, North Kaneshie, Joma, NIC Top, Seminary, Sowutuom Last Stop, Ablekuma Curve, Russia, Sukura, Kokrobite, Bortianor, Osofo Dadzie, Datus.
Ghanaians endorse taxation and are willing to pay higher taxes to support the country’s development, a new Afrobarometer study has shown.
The study said majority of the citizens, however, said it was difficult to find out what taxes and fees they were supposed to pay and how government used tax revenues.
The report was made available to the Ghana News Agency by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), organisers of the study.
The findings indicated that citizens were more supportive of taxation if they believed the government was doing a good job of delivering basic services.
Nevertheless, many also expressed mistrust of tax authorities and saw widespread corruption among them, it said.
The Government, in the 2021 Budget Statement, introduced new taxes, including a one per cent COVID-19 levy added to the VAT and a one per cent to the National Health Insurance Levy.
The study found that eight out of 10 citizens (79 percent) said tax authorities always had the right to collect taxes while fewer than two out of 10 (15 per cent) disagreed.
It noted that large majority (72 percent) were willing to pay more in taxes to help finance the country’s development from domestic resources rather than through external loans.
The study said citizens who thought the Government was doing a good job of improving basic health services, addressing educational needs, providing water and sanitation services, maintaining roads and bridges, and providing a reliable supply of electricity were six – eight percentage points more likely to endorse its right to collect taxes.
Large majorities, however, said it was difficult to find out what taxes they were supposed to pay (61 percent) and how the government used tax revenues (70 percent).
It said only four in 10 citizens (39 per cent) said they trusted the tax authorities “somewhat” or “a lot.”
The study noted that more than eight in 10 (84 percent) thought at least “some” tax officials were corrupt, including one-third (34 percent) who thought that “most” or “all” were involved in graft.
The Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on Africans’ experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.
Seven rounds of surveys were completed in up to 38 countries between 1999 and 2018 while round eight surveys in 2019/2021 are currently underway.
The Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.
Its team in Ghana, led by CDD-Ghana, interviewed 2,400 adult Ghanaians between September 16 and October 3, 2019.
A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of /-2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.
Previous surveys were conducted in Ghana in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2017.
The Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, has declared Monday, April 12 to Friday, April 16, 2021, as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Week for the legal year.
A statement from the Judicial Service said the focus of the ADR Week was to reduce “the backlog of cases at the 131 participating courts.”
The week is under the theme: “Making our courts user-friendly through the use of ADR”.
“The one hundred and thirty-one (131), comprising thirty-three (33) Circuit Court and Ninety-eight (98) District Courts shall participate by devoting the whole week for settlement of Court cases with ADR across the country,” the statement said.
It said a press briefing would be held at Ada District Court in the Greater Accra Region to mark the official opening of the ADR week.
The statement urged the Bar, disputants, the Media and the public to participate fully and cooperate with the Judicial Service to make “this legal year a success.”
ADR has been adopted by the Judicial Service of Ghana as part of its adjudication process dubbed, “Court connected ADR”.
The aim of the ADR programme is to ensure that access to justice in Ghana was made easier, cheaper, non-adversarial, expeditious and flexible to all, particularly the poor and the vulnerable.
Pursuant to this, the Chief Justice in a policy directive on the Court -connected ADR Programme, has instituted an ADR Week in every legal year term to give parties the opportunity to settle their cases through mediation and to run programmes and activities to create awareness on the availability of ADR as a compliment to the adjudication process in the courts.
The public is advised to contact the ADR Directorate within the law Court Complex, High Street, Accra on phone number 0242004573 or email- firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
A mixture of dolphins and different species of fish, with some dead, have been washed ashore the coast of Brawire and Ankobra, both in the Lower Axim Traditional Area of Western Region, but the cause of death is unknown.
Residents, however, suspect they might have eaten contaminated or poisonous substances.
Meanwhile, information gathered by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) indicates that seven of the about 60 dolphins had been butchered and sold off by some residents to fishmongers.
A resident, Mr George Grant, told the GNA that some of the fishers could not wait for officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to arrive at the scene before cashing in on the situation.
He said most of the dolphins were alive and that officers from the Marine Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service managed to trace and seized the ones that were taken by the residents for sale.
“They have also been able to protect the area from intruders as they wait for officials from the District Assembly and the EPA to give directives on what to do,” he said.
Mr Grant said officers from the Fisheries Commission in Takoradi were in Axim to meet stakeholders on the incident.
A similar incident occurred at Osu in Accra on Saturday where large species of dead fish were washed ashore with the Korle Klottey Municipal Assembly sounding the alarm against the consumption of such fish.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on investors and business leaders in Spain to participate in the exceptional investment opportunities in Ghana.
Ghana, with its stable security and political environment, coupled with a sound legal and regulatory environment, and a stable domestic market and macro-economic stability, he noted, had the best investment climate in West Africa for both local and foreign investors.
“As most of you know, Ghana is a haven of peace, security and stability, indeed, the safest country in West Africa, where legitimate investments are protected. We have witnessed, through the ballot box, three peaceful transfers of power from one political party to another in the 28-year period of the 4th Republic.”
President Akufo-Addo made the call on Monday when he addressed the business community in Spain, as part of the “Focus Africa 2023” Conference in Madrid, Spain.
The Conference defines Spanish foreign action in Africa until 2023 and forms part of the Spain’s foreign action Strategy from 2021 to 2024. The strategy includes; the specific actions the Spanish government intends taking with key stakeholders in Africa, including; Ghana. It is aligned with the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s 2063 Agenda.
The President told the meeting that between, 2017 and 2020, his first term in office was spent correcting the fundamentals of the economy, which were all pointing in the wrong direction.
“We have, over the period, put in place measures needed to reduce the cost of doing business, improve the business environment, and made the Ghanaian economy not only one of the most business-friendly economies in Africa, but also one of the fastest growing economies in the world between 2017 and 2020,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo pointed out the fact that though economies of most countries were recording negative growth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s economy was one of the few that still managed to record a positive GDP growth.
“In spite of the ravages of the pandemic, we are working to grow the economy at a much faster rate this year, our target being a five percent (5 percent) GDP growth rate, which will enhance the prospects of a win-win environment for both private sector and country; an environment, where companies do not just survive, but actually thrive,” he said.
The President told the business leaders that the major intervention driving the revival and revitalization of the Ghanaian economy is the GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES ‘Obaatampa’ Programme, whose main elements included; supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming; and building the country’s light manufacturing sector; developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries; amongst others.
“It continues to be an exciting time to be in Ghana, and to do business in the country. Already, global car manufacturing giants, Volkswagen of Germany, Sinotruk of China, Nissan of Japan have established assembly plants in the country. Energy giant, ExxonMobil of the United States of America, is establishing an office and base in Ghana, and the well-known Norwegian energy company, Aker, is much established in Ghana, and I believe it is for good reason,” he added.
He, thus, urged business community in Spain to take advantage of the business-friendly climate in the country to invest in Ghana, adding, “I am sure you have heard of some of my government’s flagship policies of “One District, One Factory”, “One Village, One Dam”, and the programme for “Planting for Food and Jobs”, which I commend to you, as I do areas in water, health, housing, road and rail infrastructure, transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, the exploitation of our mineral wealth of bauxite, iron ore and gold, renewable energy and ICT growth.”
The President told the gathering that a key challenge of the Ghanaian economy, is its infrastructural deficit, noting that government was embarking on an aggressive public private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of both road and railway infrastructure.
“We are hopeful that, with solid private sector participation, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and with the potential to connect us to our neighbours.
“Ghana is, rightly, considered a beacon of democracy in Africa. In the same vein, we are determined to make her an example of rapid economic growth within the context of a well-developed market economy. We welcome your contribution to this endeavour,” the President stated.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, has called on religious bodies, especially churches, to hold services within two hours during the Easter festivities.
He noted that during Easter, religious activities across the country were always on the increase and it was, therefore, important to reduce the numbers and strictly observe all the COVID-19 protocols.
“Conventions, crusades, pilgrimages and such large physical gatherings are not allowed,” he stressed in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday.
Outlining measures put in place by the police to ensure peaceful festivities, the IGP said the police would provide enhanced security during the festivities and that would include the deployment of plainclothes and uniformed officers to monitor compliance with COVID-19 protocols and take the necessary actions.
“They will also intensify their vigilance over criminal activities across the country,” he stated.
The IGP indicated that hosting any carnival, festival, beach gathering, street dances, procession, parades and such events was illegal as nightclubs as well as cinemas and movie houses were also banned from opening.
“I want to assure citizens and foreign nationals living in the country that the police service is determined to ensure peace and guarantee the security of all. In this regard, a number of concrete operational strategies have been put in place,” he said.
“We continue to intensify day and night patrols, snap checks, intelligence-led swoops, highway and residential patrols, motor traffic enforcement strategies, community engagement and sensitisation on security,” Mr Oppong-Boanuh said.
He called on the public to continue to be vigilant and report all criminal activities to the nearest police station and also urged the public to abide by the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the President, which had legal backing, as the police would strictly enforce them.
“All activities of ‘closed room’ bar or pub, including those in hotels, remain illegal,” the IGP stated. However, Mr Oppong-Boanuh explained that open air drinking spots may operate provided that they observed all other COVID-19 protocols.
He added that tourist sites and attractions might, however, open to the public provided they ensured the wearing of face masks, social distancing and enhanced hygiene by all patrons.
On funerals, the IGP said, families might want to take advantage of the holiday period to bury loved ones but reminded the public that it was illegal to hold funerals, saying “private burials may be held with a maximum of 25 people if held outside the church or religious facility.”
“For church or religious burial services, the maximum number of participants should be 100. In all cases, the COVID-19 protocols are expected to be observed, with the duration not exceeding two hours,” Mr Oppong-Boanuh stated.
On road safety, the IGP said together with its partners, police officers would be present at mapped-out traffic congestion and accident-prone areas and that people who drove beyond speed limits, overloaded, drunk while driving and indulged in such other traffic irregularities would be arrested.
“I call on all to continuously give maximum support to the police and security services to facilitate the provision of adequate and guaranteed security. The police are your partners on a common drive to consolidate peace and security, and to also promote social cohesion,” Mr Oppong-Boanuh said.
The Police Administration encouraged the public to continue to be vigilant and in cases of emergency crime situations, the public should call 0550323323, 0275000156 or Toll-Free numbers 18555, 191 and 112.
A Ghana Green Programme (GGP) has been launched with a target of planting five million trees to mark the day on June 11, 2021.
The initiative forms part of the efforts by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) and the Forestry Commission to encourage Ghanaians to plant more trees to preserve and protect the country’s forest cover and the environment.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, yesterday launched the Green Ghana Programme as part of activities to mark this year’s International Day of Forests in the country.
Day of Forests
The International Day of Forests was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
To commemorate the day, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.
Mr Abu Jinapor said to ensure the success of the programme and to get all Ghanaians involved, the tree planting exercise would see President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, and the Chief Justice, Mr Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, plant a tree each on June 11.
Other high-profile personalities who will take part in the exercise are the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the Overlord of Dagbon Kingdom, Yaa-Naa Abukari II, as well as all the heads of other traditional areas.
Mr Jinapor explained that the rationale behind the planting of five million trees in Ghana formed part of a strategy and a programme to embark on aggressive afforestation to protect forests and the environment in Ghana.
He said the initiative was a joint responsibility for which more broad-based support was needed to address the adverse degradation of the country’s forests and ecosystem.
“To achieve our goal of protecting our forests and ecosystem, we will see to the planting of five million trees, which is significant by all standards, to help raise national consciousness of the need to protect the environment and the forests,” he said.
According to him, the President had a vision for the FC and the forestry sector which required that the FC worked with all stakeholders to increase the country’s forest cover and ensure the protection of the environment.
“As Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, I am looking forward to working with the Chief Executive and directors of the FC as well as staff of FC across the country for us to be able to realise the vision of the President and the aspiration of the Ghanaian people so that we can preserve our ecosystem. This will help Ghana to become a worthy and responsible member of the international community in the issues relating to forestry in the world,” he said.
He gave an assurance that enough preparatory measures and plans had been put in place to ensure the success of the tree planting exercise.
“With the success of the exercise, we hope to receive more funding from corporate Ghana and green world in order that a day will come in our Ghana where in a day, all of us in Ghana can mobilise ourselves to plant 100 million trees in a day and nurture them to maturity.”
“My view is that we also plant commercial trees such as shea, wawa, rosewood so they become an investment so that down the road, future generations will be able to harvest these trees and it will promote the economy of Ghana,” he said.
Ghana’s forest area
The forest area of Ghana is estimated at 9.17 million hectares, accounting for about 40 per cent of the total national land.
The state of the forest reserves indicates that there is a general increase in forest disturbance from the wetter to the drier forest areas. About 14 per cent of the total permanent forest estates in Ghana are without adequate forest cover.
Ghana has swept all the top three International Excellence awards instituted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) which seeks to honour candidates with outstanding performance in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Master Cecil Tetteh Kumah formerly of Mfantsipim Senior High School was adjudged the Overall Best Student in the 2020 WASSCE written by over two million candidates from the five participating countries.
Master Kumah is currently with the Columbia University in the USA studying Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science.
For topping West Africa, Master Kumah was presented with a cheque for $1,500.
The second Overall Best student went to Mr Godfred Aseda Obeng from Hope College at Gomoa Fete. He is currently with the University of Ghana.
Master Obeng had a total score of 625. 6953 and for placing second, he took away $1,200 while Ms Afua Manukure Ansah who took the Overall Third Best had a total score of 624. 640.
Miss Ansah, who is currently studying at the Cornell University, USA, took home $900.
The Distinguished Friend of Council Award was presented to Dr John Anum Sackey, a former Senior Lecturer, Department of English of the University of Cape Coast and Central University as well as a Chief Examiner, Literature in English and Oral English.
For his award, he took home a plaque.
Making Ghana proud
Earlier, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo congratulated the three on making Ghana proud, saying “the three awards winners are Ghanaians who are beneficiaries of the free SHS policy.”
He urged prospective candidates in the region to learn from the success chalked up by the three.
President Akufo-Addo further lamented on the high level of examination malpractices, particularly the leakage of examination questions, saying that the menace must be of concern that needed immediate attention.
That, the President noted, hindered quality assessments, adding that it erased the public confidence in the examinations by the council.
He, therefore, called for comprehensive measures to be put in place to curb the practice.
President Akufo-Addo gave an assurance that “the government is working with WAEC to help curb examination malpractices in Ģhana.”
According to him, that would ensure that Ghanaian children became competitive and also maintain the integrity of the examination administered in the country.
Investing in WAEC
For his part, the Chairman of the Council, Mŕ Baboucarr Bouy, commended Ghana for promoting the work of the council and education in the sub-region.
He also called on other governments to invest in the council’s in their various countries.
Mr Bouy emphasised the need to help curb examination malpractices in the region.
Master Kumah and Master Obeng were grateful to God for how far He had brought them.
Criteria for the award
The criteria for the award is opened to only candidates with a minimum of eight Grade A1s at one sitting, without any hint of impropriety.
The raw scores of the eligible candidates are converted to T-scores and used to rank the candidates.
In the event of time, the T-scores of the candidates in their common subjects (English and Mathematics) are used.
Where there is still a tie, the raw scores of the candidates in the core subjects are used and in the event of a further tie, the T-scores of the best of the candidates’ remaining core subjects are used.
The public has been cautioned to take weather warnings seriously, with the on-set of the rainy season.
This is because many suffer the ill effects of rainstorms, as a result of being taken by surprise, and not prepared for the sudden weather outburst.
Mr. George Ayisi, Director of Communications for the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that while NADMO was ready to deal with any potential ill-effects of the season, it was crucial for all to take full responsibility of their safety.
He advised people to desilt drains within their respective communities, in order to allow the free flow of water during heavy rains to minimise flooding and all its ill-effects.
Mr. Ayisi urged people staying in flood prone areas to take life saving measures such as moving to safer places during the season or if possible, do so when it begins to rain heavily.
He also urged them to place items that could be destroyed by water such as documents safely, and remember to switch off all electrical gadgets during rains to prevent electrocution through contact with flooded waters.
Mr, Ayisi said NADMO now had “Safe Havens” within respective communities, where victims of flooding could seek temporary shelter, adding that respective communities should liaise with NADMO officers for such assistance when needed.
The country is currently having its first and major rainy season of the year.
While the season was of immense benefit during activities like farming, it was also characterised by ill-effects such as flooding, which threatened life and property.