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Kosmos Energy Ghana (KEG), one of the Jubilee partners, has partnered Safe Water Network, a developmental non-governmental organization (NGO) to provide clean potable water to some communities in the Jomoro District of the region.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held last Tuesday in the district to commence the construction of a new water station to service two communities in the River Amanzuri basin, Beyin and Atuabo, which face major water challenges.
In addition, pipeline extensions would be created to service small villages-Ngelekazo and Ekebaku.
The initiative, which will span the latter part of 2012 to the second quarter of 2013, will also provide clean water to three other communities around River Alehyiale basin which include New Edobo, Old Edobo and Atsobanso.
Upon completion, the project is expected to supply water to over 6,500 people in the communities.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sherry Ayitey, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, commended KEG for using part of its profits to execute the project that would benefit communities in the company’s catchment area.
She noted that the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) put emphasis on the need for every individual to have access to potable water and stressed that since access to clean water was a human right issue, it was incumbent on all district assemblies to ensure that the people in the various localities had access to potable water.
She was hopeful the project would help create employment for the people in the area since availability of clean drinking water would expand tourism and improve the health of the people in the communities.
The minister appealed to the chiefs and people in the communities to take good care of the project after completion.
Mike Murphy, Vice President and Country Manager of Kosmos Energy, noted that the initiative was in line with the company’s goal to build capacity and economic opportunities in its operational areas.
He said the project includes capacity-building components to empower the communities to manage and operate the water systems.
The Country Manager of Kosmos disclosed that KEG decided to partner Safe Water Network because of its vast experience in building water systems which provided safe access to over 35,000 people in different communities of Ghana.
He pledged that KEG would help train some of the local people to acquire the requisite skills to regularly maintain the facility.
Charles Nimako, Director for the Africa Region, Safe Water Network, described the project as a turnkey which would eventually help the communities to own and manage their water stations over the long term.
The Paramount Chief of Western Nzema, Awulae Annor Adjaye III, who expressed happiness with the water project, said people and pigs would no longer drink from the same source.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Benyin
The phones, which are widely regarded as the world’s most innovative smart phone runs on the Windows 8 operating system and comes with full-versions of Microsoft Office, Outlook and Internet Explorer 10.
According to Nokia, the devices which come in a variety of colors, are poised to give customers the best smartphone experience with their unique features, including an inbuilt wireless charging system, Nokia’s new PureMotion HD Plus display with a 1280 x 768 resolution, Nokia Maps and Nokia City Lens, which is a unique augmented reality app that helps users locate places by just holding up their devices.
The Lumia 920 comes with the latest innovations which include an advanced floating lens technology that takes in five times more light than other smart phones, enabling users to capture sharp, crisp pictures and videos indoors and at night without using flash.
Lumia 820 are ready for Business with a full Business suite right out of the box, comprising Microsoft Office suite, Sky Drive and Microsoft Lync Nokia.
At a colourful launch at the Silverbird Cinemas at Accra Mall, James Rutherfoord Vice President, Nokia West Africa said, “Ghana is one of Nokia’s largest markets that is why we decided that it was key to launch the first phase of the Lumia phones here.”
He noted that the handsets are “the best devices we have made in the smart phone category and we believe that this is going be much appreciated by our customers.
At Nokia, our focus is to bring the very best of technology to our customers, which aid, excite and benefit their work and social lives.
“With the groundbreaking technology incorporated in these devices, we are giving our consumers every reason to switch to Lumia.”
According to Mr. Rutherfoord, those who pre-order the Nokia 920 in December will enjoy 1GB data, 200 minutes and 400 SMS free for three months from MTN.
Launching the products, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister, said the Nokia brand is noted for its durability and innovativeness. He noted that the new devices will do well on the Ghanaian market.
The estimated retail price for the Nokia Lumia 920 is GH¢1,275 while that of Lumia 820 is GH¢920.
Government’s overall budget deficit for the first nine months of this year recorded GH¢5.1 billion, three percent higher than the expected target of GH¢4.3 billion.
The figure represents 7.3 per cent of Gross Domestic product (GDP) as against a target of 6.2 per cent of GDP.
Henry Kofi Wampah, acting Governor of the Bank of Ghana, who made this known, said the increase in the budget deficit was occasioned by the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and the clearance of some government arrears which amounted to 1.1 per cent of GDP.
Checks by the Central Bank indicated that during the corresponding period of 2011, the overall budget deficit was equivalent to 1.9 per cent of GDP.
For the first three quarters of this year, GH¢4.8 billion was sourced domestically to finance government’s budget compared to GH¢1.3 billion over the same period in 2011.
At the end of September 2012, the stock of public debt stood at GH¢29.6 billion, representing 44.7 per cent of GDP, Dr Wampah adds.
Compared to figures of December 2011, the stock of public debt stood at GH¢23.9 billion, representing 42.6 per cent of GDP.
He explained that the domestic component of the total public debt was GH¢17.8 billion as against GH¢11.8 billion at the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, the stock of external debt was US$7.8 billion compared with US$7.6 billion in December 2011.
Government records a budget deficit when its expenditure exceeds its income.
The opposite of a budget deficit is a budget surplus, and when inflows are equal to outflows, the budget is said to be balanced.
Historically, from 2004 until 2011, Ghana Government’s budget averaged -7.70 percent of GDP reaching an all time high of -0.40 percent of GDP in December of 2004 and a record low of -24.20 percent of GDP in December 2008.
In the past, Ghana’s fiscal deficits have been particularly high in election years, which are followed by painful adjustments in subsequent years.
A World Bank report on its website indicates that ahead of the December 2012 elections, Ghana faces the risk of continuing its cyclical high deficits.
“Political pressure is mounting on the government to deliver infrastructural projects and settle demands from labor unions.
The rapid depreciation of the Ghana Cedi in the early months of 2012 is understood as the response to the expectation of politically driven fiscal slippages.
Demands by community service organizations (CSOs) for fiscal responsibility arrangements are mounting,” it said.
The report projected Ghana’s economy to decelerate from 14.4 percent in 2011 to 7.5 percent in 2012. Growth in 2011 was driven primarily by the revised GDP in the oil sector, construction, transport and ICT.
Agricultural performance, cocoa in particular, was satisfactory with good rainfall and continued high prices. In the poorest regions of the North, rapid maize and rice production growth was recorded.
Early this year, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning said on its website that Ghana’s budget deficit last year was lower than targeted, as revenue and grants exceeded expectations.
The gap was 4.3 percent of gross domestic product as against a target of 5.1 percent, the ministry said.
Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor said on February 20, 2012 that Ghana will probably have a budget deficit of 4.4 percent of GDP, this year, compared to a target of 4.8 percent in the 2012 budget.
Over 90 per cent of vegetables on Ghana’s market are unsafe for consumption even though they may look attractive, the Crops Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has warned.
A recent study conducted by the Institute revealed enormous amounts of chemical residues in selected vegetables produced in the Greater Accra, Volta and Ashanti regions.
It said vegetable farming in Ghana was fraught with misuse and overuse of pesticides.
Some farmers have resorted to the use of such chemicals to reduce or eliminate yield losses, preserve high product quality, check or control pests, diseases, weeds and other plant pathogens.
George Ortsin, Country Programme Coordinator of the UNDP’s Global Facility for Small Grants Programme, in an interview with the BUSINESS GUIDE in Accra recently, noted that the selected vegetables included tomato, okro, lettuce, cabbage and cucumber.
The vegetables were taken from five different locations in Accra including Weija, Kawukudi; a farm gate at Akumada in the Ashanti region and Keta in the Volta region.
He revealed that the vegetables were subjected to chemical analysis by the Crops Research Institute, one of the 13 institutes of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research which conducted the study between 2007 and 2008.
“It was realized that all the vegetables had chemical residues of banned chemicals such as DDT and other bad chemicals. There were some with presence as high as 5000 per cent and the least was about 500 per cent.”
He stated that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), an organ chlorine insecticide “was very high in all the vegetables.”
DDT was banned in the United States in 1973, although it is being used in some other parts of the world.
Mr Ortsin hinted that “there are plans to repeat the research and I guess the situation will be worst in 2013 when we conduct the next chemical analysis on sampled vegetables.
“The problem is on-going because our borders are not tight enough when it comes to the flow of chemicals. There are all sorts of people carrying banned chemicals into the system.”
Mr Ortsin mentioned that “the finding was forwarded to government and the response we had was that something will be done about it but nothing has been done till date.”
To avert the effects of the chemical residues in vegetables on consumers, the Programme Coordinator said measures had been adopted to institute the certification of vegetables.
“When you go and buy tomato, you will have the option to choose from a certified and an uncertified tomato,” he said.
To encourage organic farming, the Global Facility for Small Grants Programme has identified five farming groups in the middle belt and southern zone of the country which would be certified to produced the organic vegetables.
The programme has also linked up with an Indian company to set up an organic fertilizer plant in Ghana.
“By December, the Indian company will be shipping samples of their products to us and then when the Ghana Standards Authority certifies it, the project might take off in 2013,” he disclosed.
The Indian company produces organic fertilizer from animal droppings and household waste which are processed into either liquid or granular forms.ations.
Ghana’s remarkable growth performance is yet to translate into the generation of productive, decent and sustainable employment, a research on youth unemployment has revealed.
The research, “Youth Employment and Unemployment Challenge in Africa: A Case of Ghana”, funded by the Japan International Corporative Agency (JICA) and conducted by a team of academicians, led by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, showed that the country’s economic growth performance has been quite high averaging 5.1per cent between 1984 and 2010.
It further indicated that the rebasing of Ghana’s national accounts in 2006 pushed the country to join the ranks of lower-middle income countries with annual average growth of about 8.5 per cent from 2006 to 2011.
The findings of the scoping study, expected to be drafted into a report and presented at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to be held in May 2013, showed the average annual employment growth had dropped from 3.94 per cent in 1992-1999 to 2.69 per cent from 1999-2006 as against real GDP growth of over 5 per cent.
The research also disclosed that according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s 2008 statistics employment elasticity of output dropped from an average of 0.64 in 1992-2000 to 0.52 and 0.4 in 2001-2004 and 2005-2008. among the educated.
Year-on-year inflation fell to 9.2 percent for October 2012 from 9.4 percent recorded in September 2012, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has noted in its latest report on the consumer price index (CPI).
The monthly change rate for October 2012 was -1.0 percent, meaning the general price level declined by 1.0 percent between September and October compared to a decline of 1.5 percent between August and September 2012.
The CPI measures changes over time in the general price level of goods and services that households acquire for the purpose of consumption, with reference to the price level in 2002, the base year, which has an index of 100.
The food and non-alcoholic beverages group recorded an average year-on-year inflation rate of 4.1 percent, down from 4.4 percent recorded in September 2012.
Eight sub groups of the food and non- alcoholic beverages group recorded inflation rates above the group’s average rate of 4.1 percent.
The non-food group recorded a year-on-year inflation rate 12.2 percent. Seven sub groups recorded year-on-year inflation rates above the group’s average rate.
Transport recorded the highest rate of 20.6 percent followed by alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics with 16.1percent. Inflation was lowest in the communication subgroup at 0.2 percent.
At the regional level, the year-on-year inflation rate ranged from 6.6 percent in the Volta region to 11.0 percent in the Central region. Four regions (Central, Greater Accra, Northern and Ashanti) recorded inflation rates above the national average of 9.2 percent.
The next release is slated for December 12, 2012.
The Labour Rights Institute (LRI) has advised Ghanaian workers to vacate their workplaces when conditions at those places threaten their health and safety.
Mohammed Affum, Executive Coordinator, LRI, in a release issued after the collapse of the Melcom Shopping Centre building, advised workers to exercise their right under the Labour Act and stop working for uncaring employers when the conditions are not good.
“Workers should take such action and report the life-threatening conditions to their supervisor,” it said.
The right of workers is derived from Section 119 of the Labour Act.
The statement said the Labour Act defines as unlawful any dismissal, termination of employment or non-payment of wages of workers who have dissociated themselves from dangerous and serious situations at their workplaces.
The Labour Act further provides that when workers find themselves in a situation at the workplace where they reasonably believe an imminent and serious danger to their life, safety and health, they should immediately report this fact to their supervisor and dissociate themselves from the situation, said the LRI.
If the workers of Melcom Shopping Centre were aware of their rights and had stopped working in the shop after a report of cracks in the building was made to their supervisor, those who died would have been saved, the statement said.
According to the LRI, the rights of workers provided for in the Labour Act include the right to work under satisfactory, safe and healthy conditions.
“That is why the Labour Act has, in addition to making employers largely responsible for ensuring a safe working environment, given workers the right to vacate health and life-threatening situations as protection from possible injuries or death from workplace accidents,” it explained.
“So where an employer orders workers, who have vacated dangerous working conditions at the workplace to return to work, the workers should refuse such order explaining that such refusal will not amount to insubordination.
According to the statement, the order itself will be against the Labour Act and therefore unlawful.
The Institute advised workers, who are threatened with sanctions for refusing to work in conditions that threaten their health to report to their trade unions, the Labour Department or the National Labour Commission for the employer to be called to order.
The LRI therefore called on government to resource the Labour Department and Factory Inspectorate Division, both of the Ministry of Employment and Manpower, to enable them conduct regular inspection of enterprises to ensure the rights of workers in employment, including the right to work under satisfactory.
By Stella Danso Addai
People in the Ashanti region would soon have the opportunity to purchase a variety of goods in an ultra-modern shopping centre scheduled to be opened in Kumasi.
To be christened the Garden City Mall, the facility is a subsidiary of the Accra Mall Limited, the largest multi-purpose shopping centre in Ghana. It would cover a 22,000 square meter space.
Work on the new mall is expected to begin early next year in the regional capital of the Ashanti region to serve the Northern sector of the country.
Alex Bruks, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Accra Mall Limited told BUSINESS GUIDE that the new mall would be bigger than the existing one in Accra and “the design will be different and we will have bigger space for tenants.”
He said anchor partners of the Accra Mall, including Mr Price, Shoprite, Game, had expressed interest in the Garden City Mall and had requested bigger space.
He said “it is to serve people who want a more conducive and safe environment where they could shop under one roof, products that are of high quality and contemporary goods.”
Accra Mall, established five years ago, has over 20,000 square meters of lettable floor area and a car park that accommodates over 800 cars at any time.
It has been a center of convenient and secure shopping, leisure and entertainment.
The mall now boasts of an average 535,000 foot traffic every month with about 17,500 people visiting the mall on a typical day while 26,000 people troop to the place on weekends and holidays.
It is situated near residential areas of Airport, East Legon, Spintex Road, Roman Ridge, Dzorwulu and Tema.
Joseph Amo-Mensah, General Manager of the Accra Mall Limited, pointed out that the facility had boosted the retail industry in Ghana.
“Indeed, the mall has served as a symbol of growth, modernization and progress in Ghana.”
So far, Mr Amo-Mensah said thousands of people had gained direct employment at the facility while thousands of indirectly jobs had been created.
“Accra Mall has shown the way in the retail industry and told others it is possible,” he said and added that “consequently, we would soon see more malls and shopping centers of international class springing up in Ghana.”
Emelia Ennin Abbey
Traders in Accra last week descended heavily on the Minister of Trade & Industry, Hannah Tetteh for refusing to eject foreigners from retail markets across the country.
The traders expressed dissatisfaction with Ms Tetteh for failing to enforce the law to rid the retail markets of foreign traders, saying “Hannah Tetteh has lied to us, so we will take our destiny into our own hands.”
They also blamed the minister for promoting lawlessness among foreign traders.
Hundreds of members of the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) last week embarked on a massive demonstration in Accra to register their dissatisfaction with the influx of foreigners in the country’s retail market and called on Ms Tetteh to quickly eject the foreign retailers.
Traders, who were clad in red attire from different parts of Accra, took part in the demonstration amidst drumming and dancing.
They converge at about 9:15 am on the Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, moved through Farisco and ended at the Rawlings Park in Accra Central at about 11:00pm.
Some of the placards they carried read “Ghana our land”, “The Chinese must go now”, “We want our freedom Mr. President”, “Stop pulling guns at us Chinese” and “Chinese leave our country now.”
Others include “foreigners away from our land”, “Our leaders think of us”, “The economy is collapsing”, “We can’t put bread on our table” and “Nigerians leave us alone.”
At the Rawlings Park, president of GUTA, George Kweku Ofori, pointed out that government had failed to eject foreign retailers from the market after several efforts.
The price of tomatoes has shot up unusually at the Kaneshie and Agbogbloshie markets, in Accra ahead of the Christmas season.
Currently, demand for tomatoes is high.
Elizabeth Okoe-Afful, a tomato seller at the Agbogbloshie market, who spoke to BUSINESS GUIDE in an interview, confirmed that the price of tomato had been increased lately.
Four pieces of tomatoes were being at sold at GH¢2 instead of 50p and GH¢1 previously, six or eight pieces also go for GH¢5 instead of GH¢2.
A small basket of tomatoes now sells at GH¢15 instead of GH¢6 and GH ¢8 respectively.
Mrs Okoe-Afful explained that even though the price of tomatoes increases a few months to Christmas, the change has been astronomical.
“This time the prices of tomatoes have been increased more than we can imagine, most of us are selling at a lost because when you give three small pieces of tomatoes for GH¢ 2 you see the anguish on the customers’ faces,” she added.
She noted that often times the traders travel to Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Kintampo and Northern region, among other places to purchase tomatoes.
“Drivers charge abnormally even though the government has not increased fuel prices in recent times but drivers have just decided to increase the fares for no apparent reason,” she stated.
“Since I started the tomatoes business 30 years ago, this has been the most difficult time; the price has shot up so high without any consideration.