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Nov 18, 2017
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for KOANS Estates, Kofi Anokye, has taken a swipe at the government of Ghana for failing to highlight any initiative in the construction sector.   According to him, it was unfortunate that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta failed to touch on their sector. He said he was also unaware if any stakeholder in the construction, real estate sector was consulted before the budget statement was finally presented.   Mr. Anokye told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio that, the policy direction of the current administration is unfavuorable to the real estate sector. During the campaign by the NPP, we did not hear them touch heavily on the real estate and housing, he added. He was of the view that, government is concentrating on human resource development but may have serious challenges. He was emphatic that, if government is aiming at reducing unemployment, that he must concentrate on the construction industry. The industry he said employs basically all class of people in the construction sector including professors. ‘’The human aspect they are aiming to tackle is found in the construction sector and for them not to have mentioned anything of that sort, yet they are aiming to reducing unemployment; I think the two are not together. They don’t meet anywhere. I am surprised they didn’t mention anything of that sort,’’ he lamented.    He said once you mention unemployment, you cannot do away with the construction industry.  
Nov 18, 2017
The Executive Chairman for Radford University College, Nana Dwomoh Sarpong, has said the decision by government to grant tax reliefs to private universities is commendable but long overdue. In an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm he said, he was one of those who stood against the hefty taxes imposed on private universities.   According to him, they stood against the taxing of private universities however, no one paid attention to them but if someone believes it was about time to grant us tax reliefs, we thank them for that.   He lamented that although government universities benefit from a number of incentives, private universities suffered due to the hefty taxes imposed on them. The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday announced that, privately-owned universities will be granted the reliefs, enabling them to thrive and admit more students. He made the announcement during the budget presentation. Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, revealed that the private institutions will no longer be required to pay corporate income tax.   This Mr. Sarpong described as laudable but stressed that, they lost their competitiveness due to the expensive fees paid by students. Students’ intake by private universities he also indicated reduced annually due to the fees involved and has therefore commended government for the tax reliefs. He called on government to engage stakeholders when drafting policies. He emphasized the need for politicians to desist from politicizing our educational sector and rather concentrate on policies that will help the nation develop holistically through the delivery of quality education.
Nov 18, 2017
SEND-Ghana, a Civil Society organization has released its preliminary assessment of the 2018 budget statement which was presented before Parliament on Wednesday by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. The assessment which touched on education, agriculture, child protection among others lamented over the infrastructural deficits facing the implementation of the free senior high school The assessment said although there was increment in the budget allocation for education, large portion of the amount would be used to pay for compensation. SEND-Ghana also described as inadequate the allocation made for the sector. The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday when he presented the budget statement said, Allocation for education woefully inadequate-government has allocated an amount of GHc9.26 billion to the education sector. ‘’The  education  sector budget  increased  by  11%  from GH¢ 8.33  billion  in  2017  to GH¢ 9.26   billion in 2018. However,  much   of   the   increment   went   into   payment   of compensation  compared to goods  and  services  and  capital  expenditure Share  of  allocation to compensation  increased significantly from 91.4% in 2017 to 98.5% in 2018. This development raises serious concerns about government’s commitments to deal  with  infrastructural  (schools,  dormitories,  etc)  and  logistical  (Teaching  and  Learning Materials,  Monitoring  and  Supervision,  etc)  constraints  that  contribute  directly  to educational outcomes,’’ the statement said.  “The implementation of the Free Senior High School has led to increased enrollment at the SHS level from 300,195 students in the 2016/17 academic year to 396,951 students in the 2017/18 academic year, representing an increment of 32.2%. This development has exposed the infrastructural deficit and logistical challenges which is affecting the smooth implementation of the policy and for that matter impeding sound academic work. Yet government’s allocation to capital expenditure and goods and services were insignificant to address this situation,” the statement added.
Nov 18, 2017
The 2016 presidential candidate for the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Dr. Henry Lartey has described as ‘’fantastically brilliant’’ decision by government to give tax holidays to young entrepreneurs.   Speaking in an interview with Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said the initiative is a laudable one hence government must be commended. Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday when he presented the 2018 budget statement announced that, the government will through the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), grant the tax holidays to the beneficiaries based on the number of people they employ.   “As a further commitment to creating a supportive ecosystem for young Ghanaian entrepreneurs of age 35 years and below, who start their own businesses, government will through the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP), grant tax holidays based on the number of persons employed by a start-up or early-stage business.’’ “A preferential tax rate of between 3 to 5 years will be granted after the tax holiday,” he said.   Dr. Lartey in his view said, this is a fantastic policy because even in England, when you are running a business, the first three years you don’t pay tax because they give you time to sort yourself out. So the current administration has brought this policy in, we [GCPP] are very happy and we will support it to give the businessman the room to grow the business, room to make money, room to be able to be in the position to pay tax, he said. He also indicated that stimulus packages for businesses is another laudable initiative Ghanaians should support. He said, we have to help the current administration to achieve the goals they have outlined because government is setting the fundamentals right to make businesses take off. On the National Builders Corps, he said that is also a good initiative because they need to create jobs and they are going to divide it throughout the districts. It means graduates will get jobs. These jobs are for graduates and not for anybody because we have more than 300,000 graduates who do not have jobs. And if you can cut it down by that number, that is phenomenal. It is a very brilliant idea and we should support it.’’  
Nov 18, 2017
A former President of National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), George Kyei Baffour, the man who was appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as MCE for the Asante Akim Central Municipal Assembly but rejected on two occasions, says his rejection was purely political.   According to him, although his expertise in local governance is extensive both in and outside Ghana, and was appointed by the president on merit, unnecessary local politics got him rejected. He said the assembly wanted a particular person they have related to and other influences that he could not disclose on radio, also affected his appointment. Speaking to Kwame Tutu on the need for an effective leadership in the management of our local governance system as against the creation of more districts, he said although he is well experienced and was ready to apply his expertise, he was rejected based purely on politics.   He said the politics practiced in Ghana does not allow for effective leaders to be appointment to man our various institutions due to individual interest. He said, usually effective leaders appointed by the president, are rejected by people without any basis.   The nominee, Mr Kyei Baffour, who is a local government expert, served as a Presiding Member for the Asante Akim Central Municipality for six years during former President Agyekum Kufuor’s era.
Nov 18, 2017
Local governance expert, George Kyei Baffour says he does not agree with people who have kicked against the creation of new districts. In an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said decentralization is not only about economic factors but added to it is participation in governance, he said. He explained, the governance of a nation is done by the people and with the people. Our constitution requires that we have a president, regional ministers and MMDCEs and to get such persons to work effectively, the people they will work with, must understand the agenda and identify with the development processes involved and must also express readiness to work in achieving them.   He stated further that, sanitation may not necessary bring us money, however, serious insanitary conditions will bring diseases and that will affect our finances. All these factors have indirect and to some extent, direct implications on our economy and when government decides to manage sanitation in the country, and the people identify with the policy, it helps the nation develop. He stressed that when Ghanaians participate in governance at the local level, the nation develops. The benefits of the new districts are enormous, he stated. Government  has presented a Legislative Instrument (LI) to Parliament, for the creation of 38 new districts and municipal assemblies.        Local Government Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, in an interview with journalists said the LI will also give legal backing to other districts and municipalities which have been elevated or split.       “We’ve decided that we need to deepen our democratic process and decentralization system. There are some districts that have grown. We started district assemblies in 1988, the population of some of the district assemblies have even doubled. And the essence of our local government system is to ensure that all persons in the district participate in the governance system and feel part of the governance system. So we’ve decided to increase the number of districts, the districts that are big, divide them into other districts.”    
Nov 18, 2017
 Come Saturday November 25, 2017, the Ghana 60 Years On committee will support the Winneba Youth Choir,  the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Dance Company to stage a thrilling musical dubbed “Mirrors of Our Times”  at the Accra International Conference Centre.   This was contained in a statement by the Chairman of Ghana60 Years On Anniversary Committee, Mr Ken Amankwah.   The statement  said the producers of the musical recognise history as the key to defining Ghana’s national identity.   “For history to be understood, it must, sometimes, be produced to people in simple imaginative terms.   “Mirrors of Our Times” is stylished in sublime poetry with Greek chorus of Winneba Youth Choir and the National Symphony Orchestra providing the seraphic serenity of songs, drama and dance. The story is written by Edusei Derkyi, life founder of the Winneba Youth Choir. The music is scored by Rev. Newlove Annan. Both are musical maestros of polished edge with deep creative minds.   The statement further said although it  is a free concert, premium entry will be given to patrons dressed in Ghana60 anniversary cloth.
Nov 18, 2017
The Minister of Regional Re-organization and Development, Mr. Dan Kwaku Botwe, has announced that hearings for the creation of new regions in the country will take place from November 21 to December 5, 2017. He says a Commission of Enquiry will attend to petitioners from the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Western and Volta Regions. The petitioners he added would be allowed to explain further their request. After the hearing, the Commission will hold public hearings and other stakeholders to allow them make contributions to the process.   He also revealed at a press briefing that six petitions had so far been received from petitioners from the four regions requesting for new regions out of our existing 10 regions.   “The Commission will meet the representatives of the petitioners  from the Western Region on November 21, the Volta Region on November 22 , those from Brong Ahafo on November 23 and 28 while petitions from the Northern Region will be heard on November 29  and December 5, 2017 respectively,” he said. “Should the commission be convinced that such a need pertains, it will recommend the places and issues for a referendum. The matter will then be referred to the Electoral Commission for a referendum to be held according to the recommendations of the commission,” he added.   The Minister concluded that the referendum was underpinned by the fact that, the Constitution required 50 per cent of persons living within the proposed areas to endorse the proposal for new regions with 80 per cent of the votes being for or voting yes for approval.
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