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Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. has said that, 2017 was the first year since 2006 that, any government has set a target and being able to meet it terms of our fiscal deficit. The Vice President stated that the Nana Addo administration did not only meet its target but performed better than it. Speaking at the National Youth Authority’s (NYAs) - CAYE YOUTH Entrepreneurship Forum held today [Friday] at the Accra Digital Centre, Dr. Bawumia said, the NPP inherited a weak economy characterised by high fiscal deficit, 9.3 per cent of GDP on a cash basis against the then-target of five per cent on cash basis. However, we have been able to reduce the percent to 5.6 per cent. According to him, people are still confused about the performance of the NPP despite the huge deficit inherited by the current administration. ‘’I know people are a little confused about how this government can come into office, inherit this big deficit [and] at the same time as inheriting this huge deficit, with economic growth at 3.6 per cent; you as a government promised you are going to do these tax cuts-You go ahead and do all these tax cuts…’’ He said although government reduced the special import levy, abolished duty on spare parts, there were still issues to do with the cost of imports and that was part of reasons for us to suspend the import VAT on over 1,000 items in 64 commodity goods. This he noted will help businesses and these efforts to exclude the many other tax cuts outlined in the 2017 budget, has been supportive of the business environment and unmatched. ‘’Clearly, this government’s record on taxation has not only been supportive of the business environment, it is also unmatched in our recent economic history. Remarkably, we are doing all these while balancing the books to achieve the first ever positive primary budget balance over a decade,’’ he said at the event under the theme, ‘’Inspiring Youth Entrepreneurship.’’ The entrepreneurship conference is about bridging the gap between youth entrepreneurship, development stakeholders, financiers and beneficiaries.
Members of the Economic Fighters League were prevented from entering the premises of Parliament on Friday when they stormed the area in red bands in protest against the Ghana and the US military pact. The group has called on parliament to desist any attempt to ratify the agreement which has already been given a cabinet approval. Rainbow Radio’s parliamentary correspondent, Naa Darkuah Dodoo, reported that the group expressed their displeasure at the way they were handled despite organizing a peaceful march. Leader of the group, Ernesto Yeboah said the security officers have not “a single law or document that prevents citizens from coming into Parliament to observe proceedings." “And we are told this is a country of democracy where rule of law is the order of the day,” he quizzed. Parliamentarians on Thursday failed to reach a consensus on the agreement. Members on the committee of Defence and Interior disagreed on some aspects of the agreement. The Speaker then ruled against the laying of the report in the House and charged all 18 members of the Committee to resolve their differences before presenting it again for debate and voting.
The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, who doubles as the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs committee in Parliament, Samuel Okudzato Ablakwa, has condemned the press conference held by Defence minister, Dominic Nitiwul. According to Mr. Ablakwa, it would have served the Minister of Defence better, if he had not organized the press conference, because most of the issues that the Minister said were misleading and not exactly how it is, in respect of the agreement between Ghana and USA, he added. The law maker added that, if the government of the day and the majority side in Parliament, do not listen to the call of the minority in Parliament, and the majority of Ghanaians as a whole, and go ahead to sign this agreement between these two countries, it would be the beginning of our doom as a country. He said, it is a known fact that, the Americans have been in a war with Terrorists across the world, and looking at this agreement between Ghana and USA clearly admit that, we are in full support with the Americans to fight the Terrorists, meanwhile, Ghana as a country has not taken such a stand with the Americans. Mr. Samuel Okudzato Ablakwa said, the moment this agreement is signed, Ghana will definitely become a target point to these groups of Terrorists and this poses a serious threat to us as country. By: Naa Darkuah Dodoo
The Minority in Parliament has accused the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) of veering off their core mandate. Minority spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, believes the GNPC is investing huge sums of the tax payers’ funds into Gold mining, road construction and other areas that have no bearing on the focus of the entity which is in the petroleum sector. The former Deputy Finance Minister under former President John Dramani Mahama said “Basically, I am concerned about GNPC. GNPC has decided not to focus on their core mandate. I say this because the programmes that we approved today is something that stinks. GNPC is deviating from their core mandate as enshrined in law. For some strange reason, GNPC is saying they are going to spend 20 million dollars for the purposes of building their head office in Accra. In spite of that, they have an existing head office and they are saying they are spending 13.4 million cedis to renovate that office. What at all are they renovating?” he quizzed. “Let us not forget that the same people have budgeted 20 million dollars to build a head office in Accra. Again they are saying they are going to spend another 10 million dollars to build an operational office in Takoradi. I grew up in Takoradi and I do not know of a building that will cost 10 million dollars. They are also saying they will spend 2 million dollars to build a clinic… They are deviating from their core mandate. I think we should get GNPC to focus on their core mandate and not deviate from what they are doing. I think it is appalling.” He was speaking to Rainbow Radio’s Naa Darkuah Dodoo after Parliament approved the work programme for the state entity. GNPC is set to construct a new office valued at $20 million. The state entity is also going to 13.4 million cedis to renovate its existing office. This the Ato Forson noted was unfortunate. But Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko had this to say: ‘’ “For a GNPC headquarters that was projected to cost 76 million, we thought it was a ridiculous amount and so GNPC was instructed to look at the project again. What we have been able to do is to scale down the project and also commit 20 million dollars to the project. “Obviously at the end of the project, we expect plus or minus another 2 million so when the charge was made that 20 million is excessive, I wanted to point out to my friends on the other side that we had actually climbed down from 76 to 20 million.”
The Parliamentary Press Corp has added its voice to calls for the immediate passage of the Right to Information Bill. According to the corp, it has gathered information that, the House will be debating on whether a central laboratory should be established for accessing information and which kind of information should be concealed from the public when the Bill is laid in the House on Friday. Dean of the Parliamentary press corp Nana Agyemang Birikorang addressed a news conference. Meanwhile, Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has said the bill will be laid in the House today [Friday]. He was however quick to add that it will not be passed under a certificate of urgency. He however, said in view of the fact that the House will be rising, the bill will be referred to the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee to work on it.
President Donald Trump is replacing US National Security Adviser HR McMaster with Bush-era defence hawk and former United Nations ambassador John Bolton. Mr Trump tweeted to thank Gen McMaster, saying he had done an "outstanding job & will always remain my friend". Mr Bolton, who has backed attacking North Korea and Iran, told Fox News his job would be to ensure the president has "the full range of options". Gen McMaster is the latest high-profile departure from the White House. Last week, Mr Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by a tweet, replacing him with former CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Mr Bolton, whose appointment does not require US Senate confirmation, will be Mr Trump's third national security adviser in 14 months. He will take the job on 9 April. Responding to the move, Mr Bolton said he was looking forward to working with President Trump and his team "to make our country safer at home and stronger abroad". Credit: BBC
United States High Commissioner to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has said the $20 million money to be handed over to the state should we approve the military pact agreement, is a reasonable amount. Speaking to Accra Joy Fm, the High Commissioner said the money is good and will go a long a way to help government to resource our various security services. "We are going to have three major military exercises this year - navel exercise, judicious response and then United Accord a counter-terrorism/security exercise. These exercises bring a few hundred Americans and several hundred troops from Ghana's neighbours together with the Ghanaian armed forces so that they can learn to work more effectively together. "Once the exercise is over, the Americans will leave. There is no persistent presence and we have a very small group of military officers and soldiers at our embassy as defense attache and security cooperation officers and they are the only US military who are in Ghana on a permanent basis. This is not an invasion," Mr Jackson stressed. Ghana, per the agreement, is to bear the cost and take primary responsibility for securing their facilities while the troops are in the country. The US troops are also to be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free. They will also enjoy tax exemptions. The public have expressed their disagreement over the agreement which has been given a cabinet approval and awaiting ratification by Parliament. However, the US Ambassador allayed the fears of Ghanaians indicating that, there is no cause for worry and that Ghana rather stands to benefit from the deal. He emphasized that "20 million dollars being invested in the Ghanaian Armed Forces in one year is a pretty significant return," he said, adding that the US does not intend in any way to destabilise the country.
General Overseer of the Perez Chapel International, Bishop Charles Agyinasare, has challenged Christians to use the story of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,as a reference point and be assured that, God will lift them to the level they want to be. The renowned man of God in his Thursday’s edition on the month of March success series, which is aired on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, God granted the current president success, lifted him up to where he belonged and gave him greater exploits when everybody wrote him off. The man of God admonished Christians not to allow people to intimidate them because every individual has his or her time zone. He used the stories President Nana Akufo-Addo and former President John Dramani Mahama and the circumstances that led to them becoming first gentlemen of the land. Anyone who wants to be successful he stated must have a vision because without a vision, you cannot control yourself. He also stressed the need for people with a vision to pray about it because without prayers, the vision, will be meaningless. Bishop Agyinasare also admonished the public to forget about their past failures and focus on what is ahead of them. ‘’If you listened to the election campaign, there were some people who said, Nana Akufo-Addo can never be president [but] today, he is the [President]. Human beings wrote him [Nana Addo] off…When John Mahama was vice president, people will meet him in the corridor; and they won’t even greet him because as for the vice president, the next time we go for congress, you can’t win because you don’t have what it takes. In one day, God changed his story. He woke up one morning; he was president…If God has not written you off, no man can write you off. If God has said it is possible, no man call tell you it is not possible,’’ he added.
Hassan Ayariga, the founder of the All People’s Congress (APC) has suggested that the ratification of the military deal between Ghana and the United States will promote same-sex activities. In the view of the political leader, homosexuality and lesbianism would be on the increase in our basic schools because of the deal, hence the need for civil society groups, religious bodies and other well meaning Ghanaians to reject it. He also suggested at a press conference that the deal will expose Ghana to international threats and acts of terrorism. He said, ‘’Ghana does not need the intervention of American troops to fight terror or wars, the crime rate in America is worse than any country in the world. The intervention of American forces or bases in Ghana will expose our nation to international threats and terrorism. It is the beginning of gays and lesbians in our schools, societies, churches and our communities and we must stop it by all means. American military base or whatever they call it in Ghana will compromise our national security and our national sovereignty. 5. Ghana will be a transit of American security forces to engage in all fields of terror activities. Americans deported over 1,000,000:00 Ghanaians over the years back to Ghana without considering its security implication to the deportees and Ghana, but today our security is of utmost importance to the American people? Mr President and Mr Minister please come again with something better. Ghanaians are denied visas to American and you Mr. Minister thinks they have your country and people at heart? The only time you see America offering to do something for Africans is when they benefits more than you.’’ Meanwhile, has blocked the laying before Parliament, the report of the Joint Committee on Defence and Interior and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, on the agreement seeking to ratify the hosting of US military troops in Ghana. Deputy Majority Leader, Adwoa Safo, said she had been informed by the Chairman of the Committee that “the report is ready, but it is not being taken today, we are only laying it and the report will be taken tomorrow [Friday].” The Deputy Minority Leader, James Avedzi, disagreed and said: “The indication I have from the ranking member of the committee says that the 5(C) is not ready so I don’t know where the chairman is coming from. So the report for this agreement is not ready,” he stated.
The Manifest Family in collaboration with Young Automobile West Africa with support from the Meridian Ghana Conference and SGUC Youth Department of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (SDA), has organized its Meals on Wheels. The event was organized to share the gospel and 1,500 free meals to street children in Accra and sponsored by Champion Dishes, Service MART, SHAD Graphics, This is the Gospel (tig), DUGIX Foundation. The team set off at the Accra Mall through some major streets in the capital and climaxed the event at the Madina Zongo Junction, where they evangelized through music to an exciting crowd who stormed the venue to witness the life changing event. The event was in commemoration with the Global Youth Day which is held annually across the globe by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The Global Youth Day is a day when thousands of Adventist young people from around the world engage in acts of service in their local communities. The 2018 edition was under the theme, ‘’Food and Water Drive’’. Adventist youth across the globe and especially Ghana, participated in local projects to mark the event. According the organizers, God reminds us to be good and share God’s love for it is such sacrifices that God is well pleased. Christ they noted has called us to love one another and be each other’s keeper and in doing so; we have decided to share food and water to put smiles on the faces of our brothers and sisters on the street. The Global Youth day the organizers said is about sustaining kindness that will impact people’s lives. The Lord Jesus said in (Matthew 20:35-40)the poor would always be with us and also said we should show mercy to the poor, the sick, and the needy because when we do that, in effect we are ministering to him personally and will be rewarded accordingly. The “Global Youth Day” was launched on March 13, 2013. The vision of GYD is to recapture the reality of Adventist youth as a global movement mobilized for service, contributing to the proclamation of the everlasting gospel and ushering in the second coming of Jesus Christ. A Youth Week of Prayer under the theme, ‘’Leadership’’ will also kick off from March 17-24, 2018. About the Manifest The group which has been in existence since 2002 comprises of devoted Adventist youth with the zeal for music. The group is noted for its diverse creativity and skill in music composition and live performances. Another notable trait associated with the group is its rich and dynamic vocals that charge the atmosphere whenever they minister. About Young Man Automobile West Africa Since 2013, Youngman buses have been sold and supported by Youngman Automobiles West Africa Co. Ltd. Youngman Automobiles West Africa is responsible for the sales, services, parts and maintenance of all Youngman buses within the West African sub-region. With about sixty (60) buses operating in Ghana alone, we pride ourselves with the fact that all our buses are still operational and in good shape. The quality of Youngman Neoplan buses has attracted other customers in the sub-region such as TCV in Burkina Faso, SOTRA and UTB in Cote D’ivoire, ABC Transport in Nigeria amongst others. Likewise, Youngman Automobiles West Africa and the Youngman Automobile Group have collaborated with other passenger car manufacturers, such as ZOTYE and BAW which manufacture vehicles based on the Mitsubishi, Toyota and Isuzu Platform and have expertise in the manufacturing of Saloon cars and Minibuses.
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