This ‘bronya’ is too dry – CPP Gen. Sec tells NDC gov’t

In a heretical delivery of a solidarity message at the delegates’ congress of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), General Secretary of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) Ivor Greenstreet descended heavily on the ruling party, saying “nobody is feeling your ‘Better Ghana Agenda’”.

Mr Greenstreet said the energy crisis and perception of corruption are suffocating Ghanaians.

“Ghanaians are not happy at all,” he stated.

“This bronya is dry…too, too dry.”

The message by CPP’s General Secretary did not go down well with delegates including the leader of the party, John Dramani Mahama, who restrained himself from replying Mr Greenstreet.

“Government is a continuum and I’m therefore not one to play the blame game, and I’ve therefore had to restrain myself from responding frontally to the solidarity message that was given by our colleagues from the CPP.”

But Mr Greenstreet had earlier observed that: “The most painful thing of all is that you don’t care.”

Other political parties including the New Patriotic Party (NPP) also delivered their solidarity messages.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana


Government’s position on petrol prices untenable – NPP

The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has made another attempt to coerce government to reduce prices of petrol, saying: “A caring government can easily reduce the price by GH¢3 or GH¢4”.

“This will bring much needed relief to the hard press Ghanaian consumer, whilst still giving government some over-recovery towards paying the debt.”

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) announced  – amid recent public calls for reduction of the fuel prices – that it is using the over-recoveries to settle its debt to the Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs).

However, in a statement issued on Thursday, December 18, the NPP said government’s reason is not tenable.

“Whatever debt that has arisen between government and the BDCs has not been caused by the rise in price of oil or any other event over which the government has limited or no control,” the statement signed by Nana Akomea, NPP Communications Director, said.

“The debt has arisen largely because of foreign exchange losses – the loss in value of the Cedi related to the Dollar for most part of the year. This loss in the value of the Cedi is entirely within the economic and fiscal management of the Government.”

The global price for oil has reduced by close to about 50 per cent.

Citing petrol prices in some African countries such as Sudan, Cameroon, Egypt, Tunisia and Botswana, the NPP said the motoring public should not pay more than GH¢11 per gallon given the global changes and the 30 per cent fall in the value of the Dollar.

“The NPP calls on government to show a caring face to Ghanaians and reduce petrol prices now.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana


It is gov’t responsibility to collect taxes and clean cities – Nduom

Two-time presidential candidate Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom has condemned the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in its attempt to promulgate a law to make the National Sanitation Day mandatory.

“This is another example of leadership gone bad,” stated the Founder of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

According to the Former Minister of Public Sector Reforms, the Ministry’s decision lends credence to his call for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

“One of the key responsibilities of local governments in America, Japan, UK, South Africa and indeed Ghana, is to keep their environments clean and ensure a healthy people,” he stated on his official Facebook Page over the weekend.

He said it is within government’s remit to keep the cities clean to prevent the outbreak of diseases.

“Governments have a responsibility to collect taxes from us, and with it, clean our villages, towns and cities and keep us away from cholera, malaria, guinea worm, etc.”

“This is what the current administration and future ones must do in Ghana.”

He described as a shirking of responsibility on the part of government by blaming the filth that has engulfed the country’s cities on its citizens.

“In the same way, when utility companies insist on pre-paid meters because they are not able to bill and collect what is due them, it tells us of management gone bad.

“Let’s fix the real problem of incompetence. And let’s give the people the right to elect directly their local leaders.”

The second edition of the National Sanitation Day was held last Saturday, December 6 and it was greeted with apathy, TV3 learns.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana


Market fires could be sabotage of President Mahama’s gov’t – Pro-NDC group

Pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) group, Inside Ghana, has traced the spate of market fires to elements who have vowed to sabotage the presidency of John Dramani Mahama.

A statement signed by George Spencer Quaye, the group’s convener, said comments attributed to some high-profile persons in society may have triggered ill-motives by arsonists.

“We are therefore convinced beyond any shred of doubt that, these unprecedented fires are indeed arson with criminal motive. It is a deliberate act to galvanize support for a reckless narcissistic ambition of certain politicians and we can no longer afford to play the ostrich,” the statement read.

Below is the unedited statement from Inside Ghana:

Inside Ghana wishes to add its voice to the call for a full scale forensic investigation into the recent fires that have engulfed many markets in the nation especially the capital city and other State institutions. We are prevailing on the security institutions to launch criminal investigations into this spate of fires that have rendered many of our women and men homeless and left them with no livelihood or any source of income

As we count the losses, it will not be out of place to attribute the cause to ill motives of a group of persons who have sworn to make H.E President Mahama’s reign ungovernable.

Inside Ghana believes it is an arson attack and must be treated as such. Our call stems from statements of imminent personalities in our political sphere who ought to know better rather than selfishly pursuing their parochial political interest.

We would recall how on many occasions prior to and after the December elections, some politicians made known their intention unequivocally of making this nation ungovernable. “If they make the wrong move by arresting any of our officers, they will know no peace and this country will suffer for that. We are not scared to be arrested but if they try to arrest any of us we will make this country ungovernable.” Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, General Secretary, New Patriotic Party. Such unsavoury and unplalable statements have been repeated on platforms such as “Let My Vote Count Alliance” whose members have even threatened to throw bomb in their diabolic quest to bastardize State institutions.

We are therefore convinced beyond any shred of doubt that, these unprecedented fires are indeed arson with criminal motive. It is a deliberate act to galvanize support for a reckless narcissistic ambition of certain politicians and we can no longer afford to play the ostrich.

Inside Ghana therefore calls on the state security agencies to launch a full scale forensic investigation into what is gradually becoming a potent weapon for oppression.


George Spencer Quaye



Strengthen institutions to avoid labour agitations – Nana Frimponmaa tells gov’t

The 2012 Vice Presidential Candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Nana Akosua Frimponmaa, is calling for public institutions to be strengthened in order for them to be able to carry out their responsibilities as expected.

“Our institutions must work to avoid unnecessary labour agitations,” she stated in a release issued on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

“Why should it take the President to intervene before teachers agree to go back to teach? Is that not a failure on the part of institutions responsible?” she asks.

She noted it is about time that Ghanaians ensured that all those who have put in charge of the various sectors carry out their duties to the benefit of tax payers.

She questioned why upon all the many institutions in place, it took a meeting by President John Dramani Mahama to cajole teachers back to their posts.

“Why should we have so many Institutions in place and at the same time the President is the one to come and address grievances of workers?” she queries.

Nana Frimpongmaa’s call comes in the wake of the recent teacher strike action, which took the intervention of the president to get them back to work.

Nana Frimponmaa is unhappy that Children are the victims.

“If our institutions are strengthened, it would not get to the situation where doctors, nurses, teachers and other working force will embark on strike action before steps are taken to address their concerns,” she added.

She urged the National Labour Commission (NLC) to reach a satisfactory agreement between teachers and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to avert any future occurrence.

“I want to also urge the teachers that as they go back to the classroom, they should do all they can to make up for the time lost during the strike action and help the students they have toiled for all this while to succeed in their examination,” she advised.

Nana Frimpongmaa, also known as Cherita Sarpong, was grateful to teachers for agreeing to go back to the classroom “and will suggest they always consider our children before taking any decision to embark on strike action.

“Let us make Ghana work again, because this is the only Country we have,”she stated.



Governments’ spending in election years worrying – Kwaku Kwarteng

Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West Constituency Kwaku Kwarteng has expressed worry over the deficit incurred by the country during election years.

He noted the situation is worsening.

In a discussion on TV3’s news analysis programme Headlines, Mr Kwarteng questioned the level of spending that characterized the final quarter of 2012.

“If we don’t shed light on what is causing the periodic wild budgeting, we will continue to run into problems every four years,” he said.

He observed that most of the times, the monies are used to campaign.

Mr Kwarteng said when the country runs into deficit in an election year, “it takes about three years for us to recover and then there is another election,” he added.

He said the Mahama-led government spent more than any other government in the last quarter of 2012.

“Monies meant for NHIS were used for electioneering,” he cited.

“In the last three months of 2012, NADMO spent GH¢300 million,” he cited. “What were the disasters that NADMO managed that they had to spend such an amount?”

He also disclosed that there was a huge deficit at the Office of the President.

MP for Nanton Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, who was also on the programme, acknowledged the high spending in election years, citing that in 2008, there was also a huge deficit.

But Mr Kwarteng further argued that in 2008, the size of the economy was estimated at GH¢30 billion and the deficit was GH¢2 billion.

Nonetheless, the NDC had an economy of GH¢72 billion and incurred a deficit of GH¢8.7 billion, Mr Kwarteng argued.

He further disclosed that government has concealed some of its expenditure under the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) since, according to him, a budget which was read three months into a year still had the omission of financial reports from some MDAs.

“Ordinarily, the budget statement should have come in November,” he said.

“Three months, we are not able to account. Some monies spent are not being accounted for.”



NDC gov’t was fiscally indisciplined last year – PPP

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has attributed the budget deficit in 2012 – as stated in the 2013 budget statement – to fiscal indiscipline on the part of government.

“The extravagant campaign of the NDC through the funding of the ‘Thank You’ tour, the distribution of sewing machines, land cruisers, Hyundai vehicles, laptops and the rest to buy votes are the true cause of our problems,” the Party’s 2012 parliamentary candidate for Tema Central Constituency, Kwabena Okyere, told journalists in Accra on Thursday, March 7, 2013.

He said the Finance Minister Seth Terkper, try as he did, failed to explain the cause of the huge budget deficit.

“The Minister conveniently and unsuccessfully attempted to divert attention from the very cause of huge debts and the budget deficits of GH¢8.7 billion which represent 12.1 % of GDP,” Mr Okyere said.

He observed that government gave too much attention to the oil and gas sector at the expense of stronger areas like agriculture.

“In spite of the agricultural stronghold position in the budget, this sector of the economy is still not capable of fulfilling its overall economic tasks,” he noted. “The main reasons for this appear to be that agriculture has been neglected for years in favour of a stronger development of the oil sector of the economy.”

The PPP advocated appropriate investment, calling for the jettison of some of the projects in the 2013 economic policy.

“What is the point in investing in construction of a new chamber for Parliament when you cannot provide electricity for that chamber?” Mr Okyere asked.

He, further, pointed out that there is too much duplication of functions in the system, draining the economy of resources for other potentially viable sectors.

“There is too much duplication of functions within the government and a clear example is the president appointing six ministers to the Office of the President.”



Bulgaria government to resign, PM Boiko Borisov says

Bulgaria’s government has announced it is resigning after nationwide protests against high electricity prices and austerity measures, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has said.

The PM said he had decided to go after protesters against rising electricity prices clashed with police in Sofia.

At least 14 people were injured during Tuesday’s demonstrations.

“I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people,” Mr Borisov said.

“Every drop of blood is a shame for us,”

Low living standards

The street protests across Bulgaria – the EU’s poorest country – which began two weeks ago, were initially over high electricity prices but soon took an anti-government turn.

The PM tried to calm the protests on Tuesday by promising to slash prices and by sacking his finance minister.

He also pledged to punish foreign-owned power companies that he said charged too much.

But the BBC’s Central Europe correspondent Nick Thorpe says that the clashes on Tuesday were the last straw for Mr Borisov.

Many Bulgarians remain deeply unhappy over high energy costs, power monopolies, low living standards and corruption.

‘We did our best’

Parliament will vote on the resignation on Thursday. If it is accepted, President Rosen Plevneliev, a political ally of the prime minister, will have to appoint an interim government to rule until the next parliamentary elections., our correspondent says.

It was not immediately clear whether or not a parliamentary election scheduled for July would now be brought forward.

“Our power was handed to us by the people, today we are handing it back to them,” Mr Borisov said.

“I cannot stand looking at a bloody Eagles’ Bridge,” he added, referring to a busy intersection in the centre of Sofia that became the centre point of clashes between police and protesters on Tuesday.

“We did our best over these four years.”

Many of the protesters in Sofia and other major Bulgarian cities had demanded the resignation of the centre-right GERB party government and the re-nationalisation of power distributors.

The government lost support after it abandoned plans in March 2012 to build a new nuclear power station at Belene, close to the Romanian border.

A controversial referendum last month on whether to build a second nuclear power plant was invalidated by a low turnout, although more than 60% of those who voted backed the idea.

Correspondents say that while budget cuts have felled a series of governments around Europe, Mr Borisov – a former bodyguard to Bulgaria’s Soviet-era dictator Todor Zhivkov – had until recent weeks seemed relatively immune.

That was in part because he froze salaries and pensions rather than cutting them.

Bulgarians on average earn a relatively meagre 800 levs ($550;£356) a month.

Source: BBC


Minority can’t “halt” gov’t business – Alhaji Muntaka

Majority Chief Whip Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Constituency and a member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament says government business, and Ghana for that matter, cannot halt because of the decision of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to challenge the results of the 2012 Elections.

He said if indeed NPP MPs believed in rule of law, they would not have boycotted business in Parliament “once you have been given the opportunity for your case to be heard.”

Speaking on TV3’s late night news broadcast programme News @ 10 via phone, Alhaji Muntaka disclosed that report on the seven vetted nominees of President John Dramani Mahama will be put on the floor of Parliament for deliberations on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 when it resumes sitting, without recourse to reports that the Minority will boycott the discussion.

“They (NPP MPs) are members of Parliament and Parliament is meeting on Tuesday,” he said, implying the Minority are expected to make an appearance during resumption of sitting.

He noted that MPs work with the rules and the Majority is working within Parliament’s rules, which are backed by the Constitution, he added.

He explained that according to the rules, there has to be one-third of MPs present in order to form a quorum to conduct business while half of the total membership is required for decisions to be taken.

“We the Majority [members] are not taking chances,” he indicated.

“We will be there to ensure that the debate goes on and if it comes to voting, we will make sure that the president gets his ministers to start business,” Alhaji Muntaka told host Kenneth Osei Ampofo.

He, however, admitted that “it would have been more excellent and more beautiful if all of us were there”, arguing that the NDC perfectly formed quorum on the Appointments Committee.

He said they needed to be eight to form quorum and 13 to take decisions and on the first day of vetting, membership was 14.

The former Youth and Sports Minister further disclosed that Parliament has only been officially notified of 12 nominees from the president and so, after having vetted seven last week, five are left to go.

“So far as we are concerned, we have five more to go,” he stressed.

He outlined that Akwasi Oppong Fosu (Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development), Nana Oye Lithur (Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection) and Dr Oteng Adjei (Minister-designate for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation) are scheduled to be vetted on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 while Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang (Minister-designate for Education) and Dr Edward Omane-Boamah (Minister-designate for Communications) will be vetted on Thursday, January 31, 2013.

Once vetting is done with, he says, reports will be sent to Parliament for approval.

“We have to support the government,” he emphasised.



Show us some respect and talk to us well – Nduom warns gov’t

Two-time presidential candidate Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom has warned persons in leadership positions to respect the rights of “we the people” when complaints about the country’s difficulties are made.

The Founder of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) listed this as one of six wishes he hopes to see fulfilled in 2015 on the part of government.

He claims government gave a deaf ear to them in 2014.

“That when we the people complain about difficulties that confront us as we live in our own country, leaders in government will show us some respect and talk to us in a manner that will give us hope for a better tomorrow.”

Dr Nduom firstly charged all including himself to “work hard to improve the living conditions of workers, the poor, the aged and children”.

War against corruption

Writing on his official Facebook page over the weekend, PPP’s 2012 Presidential Candidate also called for an amendment of the constitution with regard to appointment of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and the office of the Attorney General (AG) and Ministry of Justice.

While recommending the election of MMDCEs, Dr Nduom charged President John Dramani Mahama to ensure that the office of the AG and the Ministry of Justice are separated “so that an independent prosecutor can lead a serious effort in the war against corruption”.

He also asked all politicians to focus on developing Ghana and improving the standards of living next year instead of concentrating on the 2016 elections.

“I wish all Ghanaians good health, tolerance for each other’s opinions and a good life in 2015,” he concluded.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana