Friday, September 28, 2012

STC Troubles Continue

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By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Friday September 28, 2012.
Workers of the beleaguered state-owned Intercity State STC are dissatisfied with  management’s inability to pay them their salaries.

According to the workers, they have not been paid salaries for the past three months.
The agitation started on Wednesday when the workers temporarily suspended their operations thereby disrupting activities at the STC yard in Accra.

Yesterday, the management of STC met the workers, most of whom have been wearing red arm bands since Monday to explain their position to them.

Cyrus De Graft Johnson, Communications Manager told CITY & BUSINESS that negotiations between the company, SNNIT, which owns 80 per cent shares in STC, is also a majority shareholder of Prudential Bank, the Transport Ministry and Prudential Bank are advanced.

The once-vibrant company currently owes banks, including Prudential Bank which is threatening to put it on auction and other suppliers over GH¢4 million.

“I can confidently assure the workers and the entire nation that we are making headway and the company would not be auctioned by Prudential Bank,” he said.

He said that at the meeting, the Managing Director (MD), Charles Thompson appealed to the workers to exercise restraint and assured them that they would receive one out of three months salary before the end of the September.

He said the MD told them that the management was working hard to get salaries for the remaining month released without delay.

Mr. De Graft Johnson also said that Intercity STC was waiting for a proposal it sent to the government for a bailout and this was articulated to the workers by the MD at the meeting.

He said although the management was not against the agitation by the workers, there was the need for corporation to resolve the issue amicably.

Intercity STC in July approached to the government to support them with about GH¢7 million to remain solvent until December 2012 but the government has since not made any favourable response to the proposal.

Minister of Transportation, Collins Dauda told Joy FM in July that he was going to recommend to the government to stop running the transport company.

“One thing that must be very clear is that in making my recommendation to Cabinet, I’ll not recommend to government that it should continue to run STC. I’ll certainly not. I’ll ask for private sector participation in the management of STC because several companies run transport businesses in Ghana...and they are doing very well. So one wonders why that of government is not performing,” Mr Dauda said.

“Anything owned by government lacks supervision and in doing business, if your ability to supervise is not good enough you better don’t venture. If you find that the private sector is better placed to do it, get the private sector to do it for you. 

“This ministry has a history. We used to have Ghana Airways, where is it? We used to have Black Star Line, where is it? STC is the next on line. Railways is gone. And you know the attitude of Ghanaians towards state-owned businesses.”

Currently, Intercity STC has a fleet of 47 buses on its normal routes but there is uncertainty about the fate of the 557 workers of the company.

The company pays GH¢7,500 weekly to JA Plantpool, which recently supplied it with buses.

The company was forced to make weekly payment under the agreement because it failed to honour its purchasing agreement with JA Plantpool, which seized 10 of its buses following a court order.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Media Is A jungle - Tarzan

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Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby
By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Thursday September 27, 2012. 
Firebrand Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby aka Tarzan has described Ghana’s media landscape as a “jungle” where gatekeepers are turning into “poachers” and says their actions are derailing the democratic gains made so far.

He said journalists have become “uncontrollable and arrogant” and accused them of becoming “collaborators” of the rot in the system.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, a former Chief Executive of Volta River Authority (VRA) was speaking at the 3rd Freedom Power Lecture 2012, organised by the Center for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA) under the theme “Assessing Ghana’s Democracy: What’s Right, What’s Wrong and the Future” in Accra yesterday.

He explained, “They are uncontrollable and arrogant because the media believes its freedoms are unfettered and without bounds and collaborators because its priorities are increasingly dictated by the monetary inducements from the unseen puppetry of the ruling political elite and the blackmail of exposure by supposedly erring citizens or public officials.”

Speaking on the topic “Taking Liberties with our Freedoms”, Dr. Wereko-Brobby - who was in charge of the secretariat that supervised Ghana’s 50th Independence Anniversary in 2007 - also described the country’s media as a “jungle.”

“It is ironical that the two principal contestants for the Presidency of Ghana in this year’s general elections have both fallen victim to the ‘unreasonable’ and ‘untenable’ insistence by Ghana’s media that their freedoms are unfettered and absolute and cannot be subjugated and limited by the equally legitimate rights and freedoms of their fellow citizens.”

He noted that events in the past since the inception of the 1992 Republican Constitution have shown that players in the media are not prepared to be accountable to the people and any attempt to introduce reforms have been “blocked” or “fought tooth and nail” by the players.

He said the situation had left the National Media Commission (NMC) “to remain the toothless bulldog that the framers of the constitution intended and successive elected governments have maintained.”

Dr. Wereko-Brobby said currently “Ghana’s media has travelled into the jungle and quagmire of: no law to regulate the broadcasting industry; no limits to how far FM stations can transmit; no rules as to what and when to put on as content; no control of language, accuracy or legality of what goes out; no enforcement of constitutional rights to equal weight of accusation & rejoinder; no control on bad language or offensive behaviour and no enforcement of people’s rights by a seemingly cowed and blackmailed judiciary.”

He said that is giving cause for concern and there was the need to address excesses in the media if the country’s democratic future is to be guaranteed.

“The political class do not ever need to pass oppressive and draconian laws to trample on the rights and the freedoms of the people as long as they can get a suppliant press to assist them in dressing the denials in the clothes of strengthening democracy and grassroots participation,” he said.

“The examples of the travails of Joy FM in the former and Oman FM in the latter        should serve as a timely warning to Ghana’s media that coming events cast       their own shadows , and that unless the media takes urgent steps to get out of the same bed with the political class and return to its noble role as the people’s watchman.” 

Duffuor Signs $210m World Bank Projects

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Dr. Kwabena Duffuor

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Thursday September 27, 2012.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor has signed three World Bank projects totaling $210 million on behalf of government to sustain economic growth and consolidate the country’s middle income status. 

The projects include $100 million Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project, $60 million West African Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP) and $50 million Urban Water project. 

According to the World Bank, the Commercial Agriculture Project is seeking to promote public-private partnerships in the Accra Plains and the SADA Zone.

“The Government of Ghana is currently implementing a nation-wide Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy focusing on six priority themes: Food Security and Emergency Preparedness; Increased Growth in Incomes; Increased Competitiveness and Enhanced Integration into Domestic and International Markets; Sustainable Management of Land and Environment; Science and Technology Applied in Food and Agriculture Development; Improved Institutional Coordination.”

It said the Commercial Agricultural Project, which is designed to support the implementation of above priorities, is made up of components including strengthening investment promotion infrastructure and facilitating secure access to land, securing Public Private Partnerships (PPPS) and small-holder linkages in the Accra Plains (US$45.4 million), securing PPPs and small-holder linkages in the SADA Zone (US$29.3 million; to be complemented by USAID co-financing of US$35.0 million), as well as project management including M&E (US$14.3 million; to be complemented by USAID co-financing US$7.2 million).

On the WAAPP, the World Bank said it seeks to “scale-up the use of improved technologies in Ghana’s priority agricultural commodity areas aligned with that of the sub-region.”

The WAAPP, according the World Bank, is a “regional project designed to scale-up the generation, dissemination and adoption of improved technologies in Ghana's priority agricultural commodity areas aligned with the sub-regions top agricultural commodity priorities.”

“In order to reach this objective, the project will strengthen regional cooperation in the generation of technology and scale-up dissemination and training programs focused on regional and national priority commodities. 

“It is made up of four components realigned to support the implementation of country-specific Agricultural Investment Programs such as Ghana's Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Program (METASIP). Urban Water Project (Additional Financing US$50 million).

The $50 million Urban Water Project is to support the on-going Urban Water Project being financed by the Bank with a $103 million dollar grant. 

“It will allow the completion of the original project activities that have suffered from unanticipated cost overruns and financing gap (US$42 million) and implement additional activities that would scale up the project’s impact (US$8 million). 

“The additional funds will be allocated for the expansion and improvement in the Central region to the Winneba water distribution network that serves several surrounding communities, including Apam, Ankamu, Mprumem, Mankoadze, Ankaful, Pomadze and Okyereko. 

The additional works will consist of the rehabilitation and extension of water distribution pipes and the construction of a new elevated water tank and a booster pump station. 

“While significant efforts have been made over the past decade to make potable water more accessible and affordable to Ghana’s ever growing urban centers, much more remains to be done to provide water to people, particularly those in low income areas, who usually buy it from vendors at a very high price,” it said.

Veep Goes West...Nana Still In East

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Vice President Amissah-Arthur

Nana Akufo-Addo
By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Thursday September 27, 2012.
Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has commenced a tour of the Western Region, to market himself to the chiefs and people of the oil rich area ahead of the December general elections.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur, a former Governor of the bank of Ghana, was recently selected and introduced as running mate of President John Mahama for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and he admitted he needed to “step up his game” to be able to make an impact in the contest.

This will be the first visit by Mr. Amissah-Arthur to the region since assuming office as Vice President following the elevation of then Vice President Mahama to the highest office as a result of the death of President John Evans Atta Mills on July 24.

According to a release from his office, the Vice President will visit the border town of Elubo and meet with security agents “in the face of the happenings at the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border.”

“He will also take time to visit some constituencies in the region, including; Jomoro, Ellembele and Axim, as well as meet with the Western Regional House of Chiefs.

“The visit will also afford the Vice President an opportunity to know at first hand the extent of work done on some major projects that are ongoing in the region and urge workers to speed up its completion.

“The Naval Base in Takoradi will also not be left out of the Vice President’s line up of events, as resourcing Ghana’s Navy was dear to late President Mills’ heart.”

Mr. Amissah-Arthur is expected to make a brief detour in his home region, the Central region before returning to Accra on Saturday.

In the meantime, New Patriotic Party (NPP) flag bearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is persisting with his “Restoring Hope” campaign in the Eastern Region, his home region.

He told enthusiastic NPP supporters in Asamankese that the ruling party has nothing to offer Ghanaians and urged them to vote them out of office in December.

He also explained his choice of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana as his running mate.

Nana Akufo-Addo said Dr. Bawumia was capable of helping to stabilise the Cedi which he said had seen some depreciation in the last three years adding that Ghana needed a leader who could arrest the continuous fall of the cedi.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the bad policies initiated by the NDC administration has resulted in the current harsh economic conditions.

“Every Ghanaian is suffering because the country’s currency has depreciated too much. That is the major concern I’ll tackle if I become president,” Nana Addo said. “This is why I selected Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to join me arrest this particular situation to ensure Ghanaians live well.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hugh Masekela Wants To Recapture Africa’s Lost Heritage

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Hugh Masekela

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Wednesday September 26, 2012.
He comes across as a chap who is sociable, jovial and bubbling with life but Hugh Masekela is serious about using music to transform African societies.

The Grammy Award-winner has used his music as a voice in the fight for issues of equality and justice in South Africa in the past 40 years but this time around, he wants to refocus on how to restore what he calls “Africa’s lost heritage.”

The 73-year old South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer wants Africans in responsible positions to lead a crusade against westernization of the African culture.

In a hearty chat with Daily Guide before the Kasapreko African Legends Night at the Banquet Hall, Accra, Masekela said “We have turned our backs on our heritage.”

“There is no society with so much diversity internationally as African societies,” and added: “Television and advertisements have come to convince us as Africans that our traditions are heathen, barbaric and backward.

“We are the only society in the world that feels ashamed of who we are.”

Masekela tries to trace the African heritage and says “Our wealth and strength is in the bush and we should not be ashamed of it.”

He faults African intellectuals for leading all the people astray. “Our educators are from the bush but they are taking us as far from the bush as possible…Africans by nature are farmers and hunters and we should recognize them as such.”

Masekela believes that reviving the can-do spirit of Africans would whip up enthusiasm. He wants governments to set aside a day to commemorate what he calls “African Heritage Day”.

Quality production of traditional performances including music and art would surely lead to restoration of the African heritage, according to Masekela.

“We need venues for traditional performances and if these are guaranteed we could make fantastic productions.”

The numerous languages are getting extinct because Africans themselves have adopted western and other foreign lifestyles. “It is amazing how we are losing our languages and nobody seems to take notice!”

He wants academies set up purposely for the learning of local languages.

Masekela is also not happy at the rate at which technology is “killing” creativity in the music industry.

“Technology has come with a lot of breakthroughs but it has as well affected us negatively and the music industry cannot be left out.”

“Technology has compromised the art and killed originality. It has completely decimated the music industry. We don’t have people who are proficient anymore. It has killed the desire for people to be artistically capable.

“When I grew up, there was only one microphone on stage but today, everybody has a microphone. I don’t like to criticise anything but I don’t find them artistic either.”

 “It is a very strange world we are living in today. I look at my grandchildren and have the feeling that in 20 years they might say they used to be Africans long ago.”

He says music is “inborn” in the African and must be credited for it.
“In South Africa, music to a certain extent lost us a country. We used to give free concert to the people who were attacking us. However we regain our country through singing.”

“Our music conscientised the rest of the world about what was happening under apartheid.”

The septuagenarian shares a secret about his healthy lifestyle, relating it to good living.

“I prefer locally prepared meal and eat well. I check what I eat and I don’t entertain junk food,” and adds “Besides, I do a lot of physical exercise to keep my body in shape.”

Masekela continues to maintain a very active tour schedule, spreading his musical message of peace, harmony and unity throughout the world. He can also be heard adding his distinctive voice and flugelhorn to many other world artists' recordings - from some of Bob Marley's earliest recordings to Buena Vista Social Club bassist Cachaito Lopez's 2001 solo record.

Betty Strikes! ...Sues 16

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Angry! Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu with her lawyers at a news conference

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Wednesday September 16, 2012.
FORMER ATTORNEY-GENERAL, Betty Mould-Idrissu is on warpath with some personalities and media outlets for allegedly defaming her.

According to Mrs. Mould-Idrissu who was also a former Minister of Education, 16 defendants published or circulated articles purporting that she had bought three houses in the UK, a claim she deems libelous.

She has therefore filed a suit at an Accra Fast Track High Court asking for aggravated damages of GH¢ 2,000,000 and an order to restrain the defendants from further publishing “falsehood” about her.

The suit filed by her solicitors Chris King Esq. of Heward Mills and Co. on Thursday September 20, cites Ken Ofori Atta and Keli Gadzepko as owners of The Statesman Newspaper as well as Asare Otchere-Darko –Editor-in-chief, Frank Agyei-Twum – Editor, and Annaliza Agyare – General Manager, all of The Statesman Newspaper and the newspaper itself.

Also, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), Abu Ramadan – Director of Operations of AFAG, DAILY GUIDE, Ghana Web and Francis Akoto are all cited.

The rest are: Robert Bellart, OMG Ghana, BiGX Group LLC, Kwadwo Ofori-Mensah and a certain Paa Kwesi.

In her statement of claim, Mrs. Mould-Idrissu who averred that she is a lawyer of “international repute” said that on June 12, 2012, the Ghanaweb published that “Ex-Minister buys 3 Houses in the UK” and that article was referring to her.

According to the plaintiff “this article was sourced to a fictitious and non-existent newspaper as part as the mischievous and malicious intent by the defendants to defame the plaintiff and smear her reputation.”

Mrs. Mould-Idrissu said that in their natural and ordinary meaning the words meant and were understood to mean that she had stolen monies belonging to Ghana and “surreptitiously deposited them in a bank account in the UK.”

She said the publications also meant that “the plaintiff had bought 3 houses through ill gotten monies and fraudulent means. Plaintiff had dealings with one Dr. Kumar as part of a ploy to siphon ill gotten monies. Plaintiff had been involved in conduct igniting investigations from a British Serious Organised Crime Agency.”

“The allegations made by the defendant in the said article are wholly false and without any justification whatsoever,” Mrs. Idrissu fumed.

According to the statement of claim the plaintiff in denial of the allegations caused her lawyer Nana Ato Dadzie to issue a rebuttal but in spite of the rebuttal, the defendants  “in defiance and deviance of same caused further defamatory words to be published I aggravation of the already caused to and sustained by the plaintiff’s reputation.”

To prove a point, Mrs. Mould-Idrissu averred that on Saturday June 16, 2012, Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe Jr. Ph.D caused to be published on Ghanaweb an article titled: “Nana Ato Dadzie is a liability for Betty Mould.”

She claimed that the article in their natural and ordinary meaning were understood to mean that “The plaintiff had stolen Ghanaian taxpayer’s monies and stashed illicit monies abroad.”

The plaintiff further claimed that on June 13, 2012 the Statesman newspaper that published that she had bought three houses in different locations in the UK as well as deposited 1.042 million pounds in her Barclays Bank UK private account between November 2011 and May 2012 and in the said article, AFAG and its Operations Director Abu Ramadan had called for a probe into the matter.

“In their natural and ordinary meaning the words meant and were understood to mean that the plaintiff as a high ranking political figure in high office of the government of Ghana had unlawfully amassed wealth and inputedly embezzled state funds.”

 The claim said “The plaintiff aggrieved by these ill motivated and malicious lies caused her lawyer to carry out an official search of the land registry in England and Wales on the properties that the false publications alleged she had purchased. The search proves that there is not an iota of truth or justification in the malicious and false publications by the defendants.”

The plaintiff said she neither owns nor operates a Barclays Bank account in the UK or elsewhere as alleged and said the publication was “false and malicious.”

“The publication of the words complained of have gravely injured the reputation of the plaintiff, has exposed her to public scandal and contempt and caused her embarrassment and distress.”

She also said by reason of the said publication by the defendants she had been “severely injured in her personal and international professional reputation and standing in the international professional legal and governance community.”

“By of the publications and the consequent loss of reputation in the international professional legal and political community, the plaintiff has lost opportunities and her future professional prospects have been diminished.”

Apart from damages and restraining order sought, the plaintiff is also asking for costs, interest on the damages awarded at the prevailing bank rate of judgement till date of final payment as well as any other reliefs or order that the court the court might deem fit.

The defendants are yet to respond to the suit but it is interesting to note that even though DAILY GUIDE was cited in the suit, there was nowhere in the averments of Mrs. Mould-Idrissu that the paper was mentioned.

Group Frowns on PetroSA Acquisition

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Mohammed Amin Anta Adam
By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Wednesday September 26, 2012.
The Civil Society Group on Oil and Gas has raised concerns over the bidding processes that enabled South Africa’s national oil company, PetroSA to acquire Sabre Oil’s stake in the Jubilee Oilfield.

PetroSA recently announced the takeover, which meant that South African company now owns interest in three assets: the producing Jubilee Field, the Deepwater Tano Block and the West Cape Three Points Block which represent about 4.05 percent stake and estimated at about $365 million.

According to media reports, Tullow Oil was said to have showed interest in buying the stake after Kosmos abandoned earlier plans of acquiring the Deepwater Tano Block for an estimated $365 million dollars but it was unclear how much the South Africa national oil firm paid to acquire the whole stake.

There have been intense debates over how to finance the sector as well as the capacity of Ghanaian entrepreneurs to compete effectively in the sector with foreign firms.

Civil society groups have raised issues, saying the process was not competitive enough to allow any Ghanaian entrepreneurs to attempt to acquire the stake.

They said given the right opportunities, Ghanaian firms would be able to address challenges of the sector.

Coordinator of the group, Mohammed Amin Anta Adam told Citi FM that “the financial market has been so globalized it doesn’t really matter where you raise your capital, what is important is the ownership of the Ghanaian community.”

He added that “Even Tullow and Kosmos both went for loans from the IFC of the World Bank; I think Ghanaian entrepreneurs also have that capacity to raise such funds.”

He said, “You recall the acquisition of E.O Group by Tullow, this was not floated openly for other people to express interest but was something more like an internal arrangement which I think was unfortunate especially because the interest held by a Ghanaian was taken over by Tullow Oil.”

According to Mr. Adam, apart from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the only Ghanaian interest left among the Jubilee Partners is Sabre and therefore PetroSA’s acquisition meant there would be no meaningful Ghanaian participation in the entire operation of the Jubilee Oilfield.

He said although it was not out of place to encourage foreign acquisition in Ghana’s oil and gas industry, the authorities should make sure that the rules were followed strictly for Ghana to gain maximum benefits.

“Foreign acquisition of interest in Ghana’s oil and gas industry is not bad because Ghana is still looking for foreign investments up stream to get the necessary capital and technology to be able to get more oil so from that perspective it should be encouraged,” he said.

Strengthen Security Systems - Banks Told

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Richard Kumadoe
By William Yaw Owusu
 Accra, Wednesday September 26, 2012.
A Fraud and Money Laundering prevention strategist is urging banks and financial institutions to strengthen their security mechanisms to boost confidentiality of customers.

“Data confidentiality and customer protection is becoming a high risk and of serious concern to customers as recent banking fraud schemes and robberies in the country could attest.

He told CITY & BUSINESS in Accra yesterday that banks and other financial institutions must “raise the bar” in establishing what he called “Sound and robust monitoring systems to strengthen the security systems in and around the operational environments.”

He said due to the open and complex nature and structuring of banking halls across the sub-region, there was the likelihood of “threats and vulnerabilities to the banks’ customers and assets” and it was of great concern to fraud and money laundering experts in the industry.

“Many of the banking halls/branches are congested with long queues during business hours, which are encouraging phishing schemes and shoulder surfing.

 “The act of direct observation, watching what numbers a persons taps into the key (ATM), signatures on cheques drawn and other vital information of customers are also posing concerns.”

He said criminals usually position themselves in close but not direct proximity to “covertly watch and observe PIN entered, signatures, amounts deposited and withdrawals by customers, sometimes in miniature/small video cameras.”

Mr. Kumadoe also stressed the need for banks to correct the lapses in the banking halls, saying “Security personnel assigned to various banks are often used as receptionist or operational staff, diverting their attention from their daily and approved security routines.”

“This could result in catastrophe if not corrected as this practice seriously affects logical and physical access security control breaches,” he cautioned.

He said the banks required “the strongest controls ever” to curb the surge in fraud and other banking crime across the sub-region.

He said “it is important for those in charge of security and risk management controls of the banks to implement regular test plans and adhere to constant and effective monitoring of activities unique to the bank operational environment.”

K. Adu Construction Fumes Over Sabotage

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Kwaku Adu Boateng, CEO of K Adu Construction Limited explains issues to the media. With him is his Communications Director Abdul Aziz Malik.

By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Wednesday September 26, 2012
MESSRS K. ADU Construction and Plumbing Works Limited is accusing some officials of the Ghana Urban Water Limited of persistently sabotaging their effort to bring potable water to the Ga West Municipality in the Greater Accra Region.

According to K. Adu Construction, the Ghana Urban officials are allegedly using National Security operatives to intimidate them in spite of a genuine contract it signed with the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) last year to supply water to over 500 residents in the area.

Briefing the media on Monday in the unfolding events, Abdul Aziz Malik, Communications Manager of K. Adu Construction said after carrying out feasibility studies on the water situation, the Ministry of Water Resources, Housing and Construction awarded them contract to commence the project in June 2011.

He said after the sod was cut by Ms. Hannah Bissiw, a Deputy Minister they have succeeded in providing constant potable water for the people.

The Communications Manager claimed on September 13, a man called Stanley Martey of Ghana Urban Water Limited and one Jordan Oku lead a team of 30 National Security operatives, six of whom were armed, to disconnect K. Adu Construction’s bulk metre which record the usage of water for the community, thereby disrupting water supply.

According to them, they sought audience with Ghana Urban Water Limited to understand their actions but the state agency would not give a listening ear.

He said that a dispute arose over debt in which K. Adu Construction explained their position after which a proposed payment plan was reached but water has still not reached the taps of residents.

“We wonder if Ghana Urban Water Limited has to use National Security operatives to disconnect water connection. Are there procedures and processes for addressing disconnection? Is the rationale only to recover amounts owed or sinister?” he queried.

He called on the government to institute enquiry into the circumstances leading to the actions by the Ghana Urban Water officials.

Kwaku Adu Boateng, CEO of K Adu Construction Limited said they have always been co-orporative with the water agencies but their contest over huge bills resulting from spillages which did not come from them appear to have broken the camel’s back.

He said the bill stood at GHC102, 3000 and they paid GHC10,000, issued a cheque of GHC 7,000 and the rest spread for subsequent months.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SSNIT Invests In Airline

Kwame Peprah - Board Chairman of SSNIT

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By William Yaw Owusu

Accra, Tuesday September 25, 2012
Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has confirmed its 10 percent equity in the newly-established Africa World Airline (AWA), a local airline founded by Togbe Afede XIV, paramount chief of the Asogli Traditional Area in the Volta region.

The Board Chairman of SSNIT and former Finance Minister, Kwame Peprah, who made the confirmation at the official launch AWA in Accra on Friday said, “We have so far invested between 3 and 4 million dollars in this venture and it is the first phase.”

He said the prospects of the aviation industry in Africa are encouraging and SSNIT decided to take advantage of the situation to make investment.

The partnership of AWA is such that Togbe Afede is supposed to be the principal founder, with SAS Finance Group, SSNIT, HNA Aviation (China) and the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) as the shareholders.

It was incorporated on November 15, 2010 and received its Air Carrier Licence (ACL) from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on March 4, 2011.

AWA is expected to provide services including schedule, charter and cargo flights as well as advertising.

Mr. Peprah said “this is the beginning of our involvement and we are expecting it to be a more dominant force in the industry.”

He said the partners have not paid much attention to competition in the industry at the moment because they were concentrating on how to bring efficiency into the operations of the airline.

“We have to worry about how to make the airline efficient instead of competition and that is what we are working to achieve.”

Togbe Afede said the partners had invested between 30 and 40 million dollars in the first phase of company and they currently have staff strength of 65 including Chinese.

He however said that a number of Ghanaians are indirectly employed to support the operations of the airline and added that plans for expansion were underway.

According to Togbe Afede, AWA was commencing business with Embraer ERJ-145LR jets to cover Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale with Accra as the nerve centre.

“The route network is structured to create a hub-and –spoke model centred upon Accra. This will allow seamless one-change connections between multiple city pairs,” he explained.

He mentioned the major challenge facing the local airline industry as the lack of lights on the runways of the various airports apart from Accra.

“There are no lights on the runways in Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale so we are unable to operate at night. It is a bother to us but I know things would be done right.”

Gong Jianzhong, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, underscored the need for the deepening of Chine-Ghana relations and added that China would continue to support Ghana.

“My government is ready to continue its developmental assistance to Ghana and I would urge Chinese businesses to come in to assist in the transformation of the Ghanaian economy.”

Chi Jianxin, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of China Africa Development Fund (CADFund) Ghana, said he was hopeful the involvement of the fund in the venture would “stimulate Ghana’s economic growth.”

Chen Wenli, Director of HNA Group, said the group would offer continuous technical assistance to AWA to make it the preferred airline in the sub-region.