Ghana commends thaw of US-Cuba relations

The Government of Ghana has commended the United States of America (USA) and Cuba for their recent initiative to normalize relations between the two countries.

According to the Minister for Communications Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, the recent release of the ‘Cuban 5’ who had been held in USA jails on charges of spying and the release by Cuba of an American national held in Havana “is an important first step towards a thawing of the frozen relations between the two nations since the cold war.”

Government, the statement noted, is hoping that this positive development, including the loosening of restrictions on travel by US citizens to Cuba will lead to a broader engagement that will eliminate the last relics of the cold war represented by the economic blockade of Cuba.

“President John Mahama commends highly, Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro for this initiative to normalize relations,” the statement added.

Source: FHCB


CPP lauds Ahmadinejad’s visit to Ghana

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) has praised the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to West Africa especially to Ghana.

The Party, founded by Ghana’s first president , underlined the role Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah played in the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of which President Ahmadinejad is current chairman.

“We recall that The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) comprising of a group of states which are not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc, founded in Belgrade in 1961, was largely conceived by five world leaders including Ghana’s first president and founder of the CPP Dr Kwame Nkrumah . NAM now has 120 members and 17 observer countries,” a statement signed by Nii Armah Akomfrah, Communications Director of the Party said.

It added: “Fidel Castro’s Havana Declaration of 1979 that the purpose of the organization is to ensure ‘the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries’ in their ‘struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics’, is still relevant today in a world of globalization and entrenched exploitation.”

The statement stressed the Iranian president’s visit is in line with the foreign policy of CPP.

“We wish President Ahmadinejad well on his African tour and hope this would lead to greater South/South cooperation,” CPP said.

“We hope that the17th Summit of the Non Aligned Movement to be held in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2015 would further strengthen the spirit of NAM and revive commitment to the original purpose of the organization.”



2013 budget statement to worsen Ghana’s hardship, says CPP

The Convention People’s Party (CPP) has referred to the 2013 budget statement delivered by Minister of Finance Seth Terkper in Parliament last Tuesday as “Yentumi Kraa Budget”.

According to the Party, the closing remarks of the Minister demonstrates government’s attitude towards managing the economic crisis.

“Finance Minister Seth Terkper summed up in his closing remarks when he said ‘I believe in solving problems when it confronts us.’ The CPP would wish that he and the NDC Government will rather plan to avoid problems. His words sum up an approach which has led to Ghana’s current crisis, a failure to plan,” the party pointed out in a statement signed by Nii Armah Akomfrah, the Party’s Director of Communication.

It blamed the current stresses in the country’s economy on government’s inadequacy regarding its development mission and objective.

“The government’s monetary policy expenditure cuts is not only medieval but for 30 years has not worked to revive the depressed economy. The proposition of current economics science is that short-term monetary expansion is the road for the achievement of long-term stability and deficit reduction,” the statement postulated.

The CPP called on the Finance Minister to manage the economy head-on.

“We call on the Finance Minister to revise his notes. He should understand that his purpose in the management of the economy is to demonstrate that we are capable as a nation to steer and manage our affairs and would not submit to policy dictates in exchange for donation or so called development assistance.”

It observed that the budget offers no immediate solution to the water and power crises while no hold has been put on the national debt, which has risen to GH¢35 billion, which represents 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“This figure will be bearable if Ghanaians can fully understand, see and feel the benefits. Borrowing must be channelled into productive investment which will ultimately reduce our deficit,” the CPP suggested.

The CPP stated its approach to managing the economy, saying it has the capacity to eradicate poverty from the Ghanaian society.

“We have solutions to the deficiencies of the budget with an alternative path to development – increased investment in agriculture to feed the nation and build real food security, massive industrialization linked with our rural economic activities.”



If Ghana were Greece, Prez Mahama would have resigned – NPP MP

New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for New Juaben South Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah says the huge debt that is choking the country is comparable to the Eurozone debt that hit Greece in 2011.

He suggested, therefore, that President John Dramani Mahama should resign like Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou did in 2011.

“If Ghana were Greece, the Prime Minister would have resigned,” Dr Assibey-Yeboah said on TV3’s News @ 10 on Tuesday while discussing the 2013 budget statement delivered by Minister of Finance Seth Terkper.

He pointed out that there is no way the government will meet any of the targets set in the 2013 budget and like in 2012, it will overspend in some sectors.

He indicated that in 2012, the then Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffour, came to deliver a supplementary budget, which was also not met.

“The Minister stated a budget deficit of 6.7 per cent,” he said.

Dr Assibey-Yeboah, however, raised concerns that the budget smacked of tax increases “though the Minister was not bold enough to mention them,” he said.

According to him, taxes such as Environmental Tax would be introduced by the government this year.

Dr Assibey-Yeboah, who is an economist, noted that he would scrap four ministries were he the president.

“The Minister of State in charge of Scholarship is a complete waste,” he stated.

He described the budget as a gimmick.

However, Minister of Information and Media Relations Mahama Ayariga, who was also on the programme, disagreed with Dr Assibey-Yeboah, noting that “the budget provides the greatest opportunity ever for the private sector.”

He stressed that the 8 per cent growth rate target is realistic and would have been achieved in 2012 if the five-year implementation plan of Single Spine Pay Policy was duly followed.

“This government does not regret that it has implemented a scheme that will increase public pay,” Mr Ayariga emphasized.

He said there are no plans to raise taxes.

“There is nothing in the Finance Minister’s statement that mentioned he will raise taxes. He talked about reform in tax administration. He then mentioned tax reliefs.”



Best social interventions in Ghana have been under Nkrumah and Kufuor – Antwi Danso

Senior Research Fellow at the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso has stressed that the best social intervention programmes introduced in Ghana since Kwame Nkrumah’s overthrow has been under the presidency of John Agyekum Kufuor.

“One of the best interventions we have as a country is pregnant women going to hospital for free, the poor also getting medical care for free,” Dr Antwi-Danso said on TV3’s weekend news analysis programme Headlines.

He, however, condemned the activities of the two major political parties – the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party – in embarking upon projects when in government to outwit each other.

He described such act as “a kind of cat and mouse game”, saying it is the people that suffer.

“It is not working,” he stressed.

According to him, there should be a clear-cut development policy for the country, whose people would ensure that any political party that assumes government follows the laid-down policy.

“I would always advocate that the NDPC [National Development Planning Council] should be turned into an autonomous body to plan for the country,” he suggested.

While he lauded the great initiatives by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in the First Republic, the academician implied Ex-President Kufuor’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a pro-poor programme that is laudable.

Dr Antwi-Danso also welcomed plaudits given Ghana across the globe as a beacon of democracy on the African continent.

“If Ghana has been touted as a beacon of democracy, I accept it,” he indicated.

He, however, cautioned there is room for improvement since “democracy is not perfect anywhere”.

Dr Antwi-Danso cited the transfer of power in 2008 and the 2012 election challenge in court as testimony to Ghana’s democratic credentials but said: “As soon as we bring in indiscipline and lose our institutionalism and constitutionalism, we are doomed.”



There’s no hope for Ghana under Prez Mahama – Kwaku Kwarteng

Member of Parliament for Obuasi West Constituency Kwaku Agyemang Kwarteng has questioned the source of hope promised by President John Dramani Mahama while delivering his state-of-the-nation address.

“I am a citizen of Ghana and I want to know, in the face of this dum so dum so, what the source of hope for the country is?” he asked on TV3’s current affairs programme Agenda on Thursday, February 28, 2013.

According to him, government has failed to keep its promise to Ghanaians and no plans have been put in place for an end in sight.

This was quickly discounted by Minister for Private Sector Development Alhaji Hassan Rashid Pelpuo, who was also on the programme.

He said there is a renewed appreciation of Ghana’s economic disposition and that is what was succinctly elucidated in President Mahama’s state-of-the-nation address.

“We must come to terms with the reality,” he advised, adding that that is the reason why the president said in his address the meat is now down to the bones.



This Minority is the most disappointing in Ghana’s history – NDC MP

National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for Shai Osudoku Constituency David Tetteh Assumeng says the Minority of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic is the most disappointing he has witnessed.

Speaking to TV3’s Edward Kwabi at the Parliament House on Tuesday, Hon. Assumeng, who has been MP for the Constituency since 2004, says to go to an extent of not recognizing a legitimate president is unacceptable on the part of the Minority members.

“Since my being in Parliament, I believe the current Minority is the most disappointing I have witnessed,” he told Edward Kwabi.

“Boycotts are accepted but not to the extent of refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the president of the Land,” he added.

The Minority has refused to engage in any activity that suggests it is helping President John Dramani Mahama run his government as its party, New Patriotic Party, is challenging the results of the 2012 Elelctions at the Supreme Court.



If policies won elections in Ghana, PPP would’ve won 2012 Elections in first round – PPP member

A member of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has stated that it had one of the multi-faceted manifestoes going into the December 7/8 Elections though founded eight months earlier.

“Mention any national issue and I can tell you the PPP had a message on that,” Kwabena Okyere said on TV3’s News @ 10.

According to him, that the PPP convinced over 60,000 electorates in few months shows it has become a force to reckon with in Ghana politics.

“It is a signal that we did not form a one-election party but a party that can win elections in Ghana,” he told host Bright Nana Amfoh on Monday.

The 2012 PPP parliamentary candidate for Tema Central Constituency said Ghanaian electorates would have voted PPP into power if they were not afraid of change.

“Black people are afraid of change,” he stated.

He said the party, which has lined up a series of activities to mark its first anniversary, will channel effort into urging electorates to vote for it.

“The greatest challenge is getting people not only to like you but to vote for you,” he stressed.

“We just have to continue building,” he added.

PPP’s Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom polled 64, 267 in last year’s elections to come third among the presidential aspirants. His votes represented 0.58 per cent of the total valid votes cast.



NPP create trouble anytime they lose elections in Ghana – Wa Central MP

Member of Parliament for Wa Central and Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Public-Private Partnership Alhaji Abdul Rashid Hassan Pelpuo says since Ghana’s return to constitutional rule in 1992, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have brought trouble any time they lost elections.

Explaining his assertion on TV3’s weekend news analysis programme Headlines on Saturday, February 23, 2013, Alhaji Pelpuo said in 1992 when the NPP lost the presidential elections, they, in protest, boycotted the subsequent parliamentary elections.

He also cited that when they lost the 1996 elections, the NPP wrote the ‘Stolen Verdict’ while they nearly held the country to ransom in 2008 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led then by late Professor John Evans Atta Mills won the elections. He noted that during that period they wanted to draw in some Supreme Court judges to file an injunction on declaration of results.

He said what the NPP MPs are doing now – boycotting some key parliamentary duties like vetting of ministerial nominees – is, therefore, not surprising. It is as a result of their party’s challenge in court of Election 2012 results.

He, however, stated that it only dents Ghana’s credibility as an oasis of peace in the sub-region.

“I think we have to examine ourselves that in 50 (plus) years whether the praise we are given is actually reflective,” he told host Kenneth Osei Ampofo.

He said the NPP is needed to run proceedings in Parliament.

“It is important that there must be an opposition,” he said.

The former Minister of Youth and Sports said what happened years back that is often cited by the NPP was “to save the rest of the country.”

“We were aggrieved but attended Parliament,” he added.

Alhaji Pelpuo said during Kufuor’s regime, a minister of state was arrested, tried and imprisoned.

However, he strongly rejected boycotts as a way of drumming home any grievances by any political bloc.

“We used it. I am not going to recommend it. They [NPP] used it. They don’t have to recommend it to themselves.

“When you boycott, it is the people who suffer,” he shared.

‘Ataa Ayi’

The former Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament said though the NDC was not happy with the outcome of the 2004 elections, they never called the president names like the NPP is doing now.

This was, however, sharply discounted by MP for Akuapem South Constituency Osei Bonsu Amoah, who joined the programme on phone.

According to the former Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Founder of the NDC Flt. Lt. (Rtd) Jerry John Rawlings referred to President [John Agyekum] Kufuor as Ataa Ayi, a hardened criminal who was on the wanted list of the Ghana Police.

Mr Amoah pointed out that “people should give NPP credit for the way we are going about this crisis.”

He further said: “If we choose to show evidence to people there will be disaster.”

“What the EC has done is very serious,” he bemoaned.





Ghana selects reps for Ecowas and Pan-African parliaments

First Deputy Speaker Ebo Barton Oduro will lead a five-member team to represent Ghana at the Pan African Parliament.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Cape Coast North Constituency will be joined by Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed, MP for Asawase Constituency and Majority Chief Whip, Juliana Azumah Mensah, MP for Agotime Ziope Constiuency, Dominic Nitiwul, MP for Bimbilla Constiuency and Deputy Minority Leader and Elizabeth Agyemang, MP for Oforikrom Constituency.

The composition of Ghana’s representation was based on the formula for the composition of Committees and Delegations approved by the House on January 9, 2013.

Meanwhile, eight members have also been selected to represent Ghana in the parliament of sub-regional body, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The eight-member delegation will be headed by Deputy Majority Leader Alfred Kwame Agbesi, who is also MP for Ashaiman Constituency.

The other members are Sampson Ahi, MP for Bodi Constituency, Ahmed Ibrahim, MP for Banda Constituency, Dominic Azumah, MP for Garu Constituency and Daniel Botwe, MP for Okere Constituency.

The rest are Fred Opare-Ansah, MP for Suhum, Simon Osei-Mensah, MP for Bosomtwe and Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, MP for Anyaa Sowutuom.

The functions of the Ecowas Parliament are basically advisory, as it is yet to have legislative powers conferred on it.

It was formed in 2000 with a total membership of 120 representatives from member states with Ghana having eight representatives.