The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has indicated that the period of stay of his administration has witnessed the fulfilment of a number of promises he made to the Ghanaian people in the run up to the 2016 elections.
According to President Akufo-Addo, many of the pledges he made to the Ghanaians, prior to the December 2016 elections, were described by his political opponents as lies and impossibilities.
“They told you that Free SHS was a lie. They said I could not restore teacher trainee and nursing trainee allowances. They said the revival of the National Health Insurance Scheme was also impossible.
Nananom, right before your very eyes, and in the eyes of all Ghanaians, I am fulfilling these promises one after the other. Before the end of my tenure in office, I would have fulfilled all of the promises I made to you”, the President said.
“Free SHS is now a reality. In September this year, the Free SHS policy will cover new entrants, in addition to those who will then be in SHS 2. By September 2019, it will cover all students in Senior High Schools across the country. Teacher and nursing trainees are also receiving their allowances. We have also retired a large chunk of the NHIS debt left by my predecessor, and the NHIS is working.”
The President was confident that with the fulfilment of his promises, “Ghanaians will know that I am an honest person who did not deceive them in order to win their votes in 2016.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Friday, 18th May, 2018, when he addressed a durbar of Chiefs and people at Busunya, in the Nkoranza North constituency, on day one of President Akufo-Addo’s 3-day tour of the Brong Ahafo Region.
Touching on one of his government’s flagship projects, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Programme for Plating for Food and Jobs has resulted in the Brong Ahafo Region receiving 15% of farming inputs of the programme, thus becoming the largest recipient region of inputs for the Programme in the country.
“Last year 200,000 farmers, nationwide, were beneficiaries of the programme. This year, we are increasing the scope to 500,000 farmers. By 2020, one million farmers will be beneficiaries,” he said.
On the proposed creation of new regions, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Justice Brobbey Commission, which is inquiring into the need for the creation of new regions, will, by the end of June, present its report.
The President told the gathering that if he receives the recommendations from the Commission, and they are positive, he will send the matter to the Electoral Commission to organise a referendum in the areas of the demand for the creation of new regions.
He explained that the referendum will require that 50% of all those registered in the area of the demand come out to vote, with 80% of those who come out to vote must vote ‘Yes’ for the new region.”
With 90% of refunds made to victims of DKM and other scams, President Akufo-Addo urged residents of the Brong Ahafo Region, and, indeed, all parts of the country to be wary of unlicensed microfinance institutions.
He urged residents to demand from microfinance institutions, into which they intend to deposit monies, their license from the Bank of Ghana before undertaking any transactions with them.
On the rationale for his regional tours, the President stated that “I cannot stay in Accra and know what going on in the country. If I do not leave my office and come to you in your regions, I will not know what is truly happening on the ground. So, every year, I will visit every region in the country to know what is going on.”
President Akufo-Addo also commissioned the new Techiman Divisional Headquarters of the Ghana Police Service in Techiman, and also cut the sod for the construction of a new District Hospital at Nkoranza.
A Deputy Chief of Staff, Francis Asenso Boakye has escaped death on Friday after one of the vehicle in the presidential convoy was involved in an accident.
Francis Asenso Boakye survived the near-fatal accident after an articulated truck ran into the presidential convoy at 1:45 am at Konongo in the Ashanti Region.
The vehicle was mangled, information available has said.
President Akufo-Addo is however safe and on his way to the Brong Ahafo region for a three-day tour.
Francis Asenso Boakye was rushed to the hospital and has been treated and discharged.
Two persons are reported dead and another injured after the police opened fire on some agitated youth, at Tumu on Friday.
Information gathered by Rainbow Radio indicated that the angry youth stormed the Tumu police station, lock up police officers and attempted to burn the station, local reporters say.
The youth according reports were agitated over the death of a youth who was chased by the police.
The deceased, Kanwei Hanidu, 21, was one of several others escaping arrest yesterday after the police mounted a swoop on suspected 'wee' smokers.
The suspects run into the Tumu dam but Hanidu failed to make it. His body was retrieved Friday morning and the youth are accusing the police of highhandedness leading to the death of the young man.
In anger, they marched to the Tumu police station, vandalized equipment, including two police vehicles, Joy News has learnt.
Kwesi Otchere Darko, a freight forwarder, has called for a governance structure of the process at Ghana’s ports.
Although he appreciated efforts to get operations at the ports improved, he believes ''there is more room for improvement''.
Appearing on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he raised a number of issues and asked who was in charge of the governance structure at the ports.
‘’We need to know who owes the governance structure. We want to know because if it is government, then all the agencies must abide by the policies of government.’’
Some of the agencies at the ports he alleged are frustrating the paperless port system introduced some few months ago.
Government on September 4 2017, commenced the implementation of the paperless clearing at Ghana’s ports.
Although the implementation was met with some stiff opposition from freight forwarders who claimed they were not educated well enough, the paperless system took off as directed.
The system was introduced to reduce the human interface and paper movements among the agencies.
Payments are made electronically via mobile, mobile, card (Visa Gh-Link) and online banking. It also involves joint inspection.
The system he lamented is fraught with delays despite the 4 hours estimated and sometimes it will take four days.
He also asked government to engage technical brains so they help pen a road-map for the smooth management of operations at the ports.
Mr. Darko said the system is perfect but the challenges must be addressed to make it work without any hindrance or inference.
‘’We raised the concerns, we raised the issues but they are not being attended to. The human interference should also be checked’’ he decried.
United States President Donald Trump has described persons who cross the border illegally as ‘animals’.
The president was holding a roundtable discussion with California elected officials who oppose the state's sanctuary.
The president is said to have opposed California’s immigration policies.
The meeting which was held on Wednesday had Trump appreciate officials saying they had "bravely resisted California's deadly and unconstitutional sanctuary state laws." He claimed those laws are forcing "the release of illegal immigrant criminals, drug dealers, gang members and violent predators into your communities" and providing "safe harbor to some of the most vicious and violent offenders on earth."
‘’We have people come into this country, or trying to come in[…] We’re stopping a lot of them, but we are taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. They are animals. And we are taking them out of the country at a level and a rate that’s never happened before. Because of the weak laws, they come in fast. We get them, we release them. We get them again. We bring them out. It’s crazy. The dumbest laws, as I said before, the dumbest laws on immigration in the world. So we are going to take care of it.’’
Political science lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Mohammed Abass, has said the practice of politics in Ghana lack principles, critical thinking and proper understanding.
Mohammed Abass told Rainbow Radio’s Kwame Tutu that, because of that, we [Ghanaians] accept anything.
Political party financing he explained is important and when not properly done, it will affect democracy and management of the country as a whole.
He was reacting to the decision by Mr. Freddie Blay, Acting National Chairman for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), to purchase 275 buses for the party to used for commercial transport services.
He described the situation is abnormal and an affront to political party financing and democracy in general.
The NPP will soon be entering into a transport business and according to Mr. Blay, the party has identified some transport companies to manage the buses on behalf of the party.
Each constituency is to get one bus and expected to hire out the buses to generate income needed for the constituency.
The move is to help the party raise enough revenue to fund the elephant family.
One Toyota Hiace bus is around $46,000 and Mr. Blay is serving as a guarantor for the purchase of the buses.
However, Mohammed Abass believes the move is not politically healthy and these issues usually makes those involved to hijack the party and has called for measures to be adopted to prevent the monetization of the political system by politician yearning for political power.
But another political science lecturer at the Methodist University, Dr. Osei Bonsu has disagreed.
In his view, there is nothing untoward about the plans by Freddie Blay.
He also disagreed with the assertion that, it will breed corruption.
To him, it is a business idea to help the party raise revenue to fund the party.
''I cannot call this moneycracy because this is not the first time he is buying cars for the party,'' he noted.
Spokesperson for Acting New Patriotic Party (NPP) chairman, Freddie Blay has reiterated that notice neither he nor his boss owes any obligation to proffer any information on the source of funding for the personal procurement of 275 buses for the party.
He has therefore challenged interested groups and individuals to go court if they so wish.
He told Kwame Tutu Friday morning that, his boss will not disclose any information about the bank because it is confidential information.
The buses he stressed is ‘’independent of government. Government is not contributing any amount. It is ingenuity. He [Blay] is an experienced entrepreneur. He has the largest private newspaper in Ghana and a television station; he is a lawyer at the bar for more thirty five years and so what are you talking about?
‘’Those who are talking should continue talking. We are not perturbed. We will disclose any information and so those talking should go to court or EOCO. He is not using state resources for the buses but his own resources.''
Meanwhile, Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho has laughed off the comments and expressed optimism that EOCO may step in to investigate.
He was worried that Mr. Freddie Blay who is the Board Chairman for GNPC is standing in as guarantor for the buses.
Acting General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho, has laughed off claims by spokesperson for Acting New Patriotic Party (NPP) chairman, Freddie Blay that, he owes no one any obligation to proffer any information on the source of funding for the personal procurement of 275 buses for the party.
The outspoken politician in an interview with host of Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said he was scandalized after Richard Nuamah, made such comments over the financial engineering being championed by his boss.
According to a publication by Starrfmonline.com, Mr. Freddie Blay is guaranteeing for the purchase of 275 buses for all the constituencies in the country.
The website in its publication said ‘’ Freddie Blay is to spend a whopping $11, 412, 500 – an equivalent of GhC52,846,171.65 – to secure 275 buses for the party.’’
Documents intercepted by the online news portal revealed that Mr. Blay, who is serving as a “Guarantor” on behalf of constituency chairpersons of the NPP, who are Trustees of the transport facility, has made a 30% deposit of the contract price, which is equivalent to $3,000, 000 (GhC13,795,561).
The make of the vehicle is Toyota Hiace 2.5L Diesel High Roof with ABS, Manuel Transmission buses and a unit price is going for $41,500 (GhC190,592.36).
But reacting to it, Koku Anyidoho wondered why the NPP attacked Mr. Woyome for his financial engineering he carried out for the construction of stadia in the country and yet, Mr. Blay is doing same for his party.
He described the purchasing of the buses as fishy considering the fact that Mr. Blay is the board chair for the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC).
‘’Mr. Freddie Blay, the Acting Chairman of the NPP is the Board Chairman of GNPC and the GNPC has announced the sale of some nine new oil blocks . They say they are selling six this year and the rest next year. And so if the man is the Board Chairman of the GNPC board, and they are going to sell nine blocks, do your own deductions and see where the money is coming from.’’
‘’I am not imputing any wrongdoing but I am just doing some mathematics. The GNPC has announced the sale of oil blocks and he [Blay] is the Board Chair…He was just in opposition but all of a sudden he is doing a financial engineering.’’
Koku Anyidoho was optimistic EOCO will soon step in and ‘’we will know the bank.’’
''People will certainly raise eye brows when they suspect something fishy and when you compare Chairman Wontumi who is a private businessman to Freddie Blay who is holding a state office, there is a lot be desired. It would have been different if Wontumi was the one doing it because he is not a state official.
Mr. Anyidoho, wondered why government has failed to pay Cuban doctors, pay allowances for nurses and teachers, embark on developmental projects and yet, the party's Acting Chairman will be able to raise money to front for the purchase of buses.
Newly installed chief of Sefwi Debiso Nana Kofi Asumeni I, has called on government to give traditional leaders more powers to ensure discipline.
The chief delivering his speech at his installation decried the lack of respect for traditional rulers and have since called for chiefs to be given the powers they had in the past.
Chieftaincy in the past was vested with the powers to summon people before them to adjudicate matters.
Chiefs he said are handicapped and no longer respected. In 2011, the Supreme Court of Ghana clipped the chiefs’ power to summon.
This ruling he added has led to indiscipline and immorality.
He promised to continue from where his predecessor left off and called for unity, prayers and support from his subjects.
He also used the opportunity to call on residents to take advantage of the free senior high school policy to send their children to school.
Brother of the late Chief Inspector Emmanuel Ashilevi, William Amoako has faith in the appropriate authorities to bring those who killed brother to book.
Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said, we believe the state will deal with the culprits. We are hopeful the offenders are going to be punished for their offence.’’
He was reacting to the decision by An Accra circuit court to discharge six out of the ten accused persons facing trial for their involvement in the Kwabenya police station attack which occurred in January 2018.
The court in its decision said the prosecution failed to present any substantial evidence against the six accused persons.
Reacting to the news, Mr. Addo said the family has no say at the decision of the court because if the law says they are guilty, then we leave it to God.
He noted, someone has been killed and we expect the offenders should be punished but we have witnessed cases of murder and the offenders are left off the hook. When will the police gather hardcore evidence to prosecute offenders?
‘’It was very sad to hear this news. When is Ghana police and their prosecutors going to produce evidence to prosecute cases in this country? It is very sad to allow people to go off the hook but without any hardcore evidence, how can they be prosecuted?
A gang of suspected armed robbers attacked the Kwabenya District Police Headquarters, which accommodates the Kwabenya Police Station, killing the officer on duty, and freeing cell inmates.