Category Archives: NATION BUILDING

BoG urges stakeholders in financial sector to intensify education on electronic payments

Wednesday 25th March, 2020
Dr Ernest Addison20
By Godwill Arthur-Mensah,GNA
Accra, March 25, GNA – The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has encouraged stakeholders in the financial sector to intensify public education and sensitisation on the new electronic payment system including the use of Universal QR Code Payment Service and Proxy Pay for efficient and convenient payment.

Speaking at the launch of the Universal QR Code and the Proxy Pay in Accra on Wednesday, Dr Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Central Bank, said the QR Code and the Proxy Pay had the potential to become the game changer by supporting merchants and non-bank entities to accept payments from customers of different financial institutions.

The new payment solution, he said, would also speed up digitisation of payments to distributors, wholesalers, and suppliers as well as encourage users and merchants to accept and use electronic payment platforms.

“This will further provide a boost to the financial inclusiveness through the digitisation agenda,”Dr Addison noted.

The Governor of the Central Bank said for the public to have confidence in the electronic payments, it was imperative to create the needed awareness of such electronic payment platforms, in order to enhance public confidence and acceptability.

Dr Addison urged financial sector players to improve the cyber security features of those payment platforms by using latest technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Beyond that, he said, it was prudent to offer dedicated platforms for resolving customer complaints timeously, and also provide assurance to boost customers’ confidence in the electronic payment products.

The Governor urged banks to continue working with the existing financial service providers and integrate new ones to develop new products that suited into the changing trend of the business climate.

“Let me state that the high penetration of electronic wallets and mobile phones has positioned Ghana to leverage on the Universal QR Code and Proxy Pay to advance our quest for a cash-lite economy, as we improve financial inclusion agenda,” the Governor of BoG said.

Dr Addison acknowledged the contributions of the Ghana Inter-bank Payment and Settlement System and other stakeholders for working diligently towards the launch of the Universal QR Code Payment Service and Proxy Pay in the country.

Trump signs immigration order curbing some green cards

Trump signs immigration order curbing some green cardsh

United States President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
United States President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

MORE ON IMMIGRATION

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an order to temporarily block some immigrants from permanent residence in the United States, saying he was doing so in order to protect American workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The order, which was immediately slammed by immigrant advocates and lawyers, is set to last for 60 days and then will be reviewed and possibly extended.

More:

Some critics saw Republican Trump’s announcement as a move to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to implement a long-sought policy goal of barring more immigrants ahead of the November 3 election.

“In order to protect our great American workers I have just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,” Trump said at his daily news conference about the coronavirus at the White House.

He also said it will “preserve our healthcare resources for American patients” afflicted by the coronavirus.

White House lawyers worked all day to craft the language for the order, prompting some officials to say the signing might have to wait for Thursday. But aides described Trump as eager to sign the document.

Trump won the presidency in 2016 in part on a promise to crack down on immigration, and has made the issue central to his presidency. But many of his major moves trying to curb immigration have been challenged in court and legal experts said this executive order could also face lawsuits.

Wednesday’s order would only apply to people applying for permanent residence from outside the US, not those already in the country seeking to adjust their status. The measure also limits the ability of current green card holders to sponsor their extended families. Several exemptions apply, however. 

Trump said the order initially would last for 60 days and could be renewed for the same period or longer, and that a second immigration-focused order was under consideration.

A person familiar with the internal debate at the White House said Trump and his advisers had discussed the executive order over the weekend and that the move was directed at his electoral base.

“He’s wanted this all along,” the person said. “But now under this pandemic he can absolutely do it.”

Separates families 

Immigration lawyers representing businesses and other advocates expressed opposition to Trump’s plan earlier on Wednesday, arguing it would only further depress the economy and separate families. 

Doug Rand, who worked in the Obama administration and is also the founder of Boundless Immigration, a tech company helps individuals navigate the immigration process, wrote that “far and away the primary immediate impact [of the order] is that parents will be separated from their children, for no legitimate economic or public health purpose”.

He added that if the order were to be in place for years it will “favour immigrants from Western Europe relative to other regions of the world, since they are more likely to be exempt.”

Doug Rand@doug_rand

🚨

Trump’s immigration ban applies only to *green card applicants outside the United States.*

Exemptions:
Spouses & minor children of US citizens
Special Immigrant Visas
EB-5 investor visas
Temporary visas of any kind

And surprise! It favors W. Europeans:https://www.boundless.com/blog/trump-immigration-ban-who-is-affected/ …Trump’s New Executive Order Will Favor Immigrants from Western Europe – Boundless ImmigrationOut of the 1.1 million green cards that the U.S. typically issues each year, 333,500 green cards would not be approved as long as the order is in effect.boundless.com557:23 PM – Apr 22, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy78 people are talking about this

Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Global Development, said prior to the final text of the order being released that a range of industries would be hurt, including ones that are critical during a public health emergency such as food processing, warehousing, shipping, eldercare, childcare, communication and technology.

Many of those jobs are filled by immigrants and the family members they reunite with from abroad, he said.

“Immigrants are the backbone of these industries,” Clemens said.

Most US immigration services are largely already on pause due to the crisis, but immigration lawyers – including those representing financial and tech firms – around the country fielded calls on Wednesday from applicants and employers worried about the possible order.

Democrats and immigrant advocates have criticised the new policy as an attempt to distract from Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as he seeks re-election in November. Some amounted the order to “xenophobic scapegoating”.

More than 45,000 people in the US have died because of the virus – the highest death toll of any country.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a liberal immigration reform group, said that the order was “more about grabbing a headline than changing immigration policy”.

Sharry said that to him, the order “smacks of an electoral strategy, not a policy change, and it smacks of desperation and panic.”

Some immigration hawks criticised the order, as described by Trump on Tuesday, for not going far enough.

“It doesn’t apply to guest workers, which are perhaps the most immediate threat to US workers,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which backs lower levels of legal immigration.

The order applies to those applying for permanent residence from outside the US, not those already in the country.3 hours ago

United States President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
United States President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

MORE ON IMMIGRATION

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an order to temporarily block some immigrants from permanent residence in the United States, saying he was doing so in order to protect American workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The order, which was immediately slammed by immigrant advocates and lawyers, is set to last for 60 days and then will be reviewed and possibly extended.

More:

Some critics saw Republican Trump’s announcement as a move to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to implement a long-sought policy goal of barring more immigrants ahead of the November 3 election.

“In order to protect our great American workers I have just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,” Trump said at his daily news conference about the coronavirus at the White House.

He also said it will “preserve our healthcare resources for American patients” afflicted by the coronavirus.

White House lawyers worked all day to craft the language for the order, prompting some officials to say the signing might have to wait for Thursday. But aides described Trump as eager to sign the document.

Trump won the presidency in 2016 in part on a promise to crack down on immigration, and has made the issue central to his presidency. But many of his major moves trying to curb immigration have been challenged in court and legal experts said this executive order could also face lawsuits.

Wednesday’s order would only apply to people applying for permanent residence from outside the US, not those already in the country seeking to adjust their status. The measure also limits the ability of current green card holders to sponsor their extended families. Several exemptions apply, however. 

Trump said the order initially would last for 60 days and could be renewed for the same period or longer, and that a second immigration-focused order was under consideration.

A person familiar with the internal debate at the White House said Trump and his advisers had discussed the executive order over the weekend and that the move was directed at his electoral base.

“He’s wanted this all along,” the person said. “But now under this pandemic he can absolutely do it.”

Separates families 

Immigration lawyers representing businesses and other advocates expressed opposition to Trump’s plan earlier on Wednesday, arguing it would only further depress the economy and separate families. 

Doug Rand, who worked in the Obama administration and is also the founder of Boundless Immigration, a tech company helps individuals navigate the immigration process, wrote that “far and away the primary immediate impact [of the order] is that parents will be separated from their children, for no legitimate economic or public health purpose”.

He added that if the order were to be in place for years it will “favour immigrants from Western Europe relative to other regions of the world, since they are more likely to be exempt.”

Doug Rand@doug_rand

🚨

Trump’s immigration ban applies only to *green card applicants outside the United States.*

Exemptions:
Spouses & minor children of US citizens
Special Immigrant Visas
EB-5 investor visas
Temporary visas of any kind

And surprise! It favors W. Europeans:https://www.boundless.com/blog/trump-immigration-ban-who-is-affected/ …Trump’s New Executive Order Will Favor Immigrants from Western Europe – Boundless ImmigrationOut of the 1.1 million green cards that the U.S. typically issues each year, 333,500 green cards would not be approved as long as the order is in effect.boundless.com557:23 PM – Apr 22, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy78 people are talking about this

Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Global Development, said prior to the final text of the order being released that a range of industries would be hurt, including ones that are critical during a public health emergency such as food processing, warehousing, shipping, eldercare, childcare, communication and technology.

Many of those jobs are filled by immigrants and the family members they reunite with from abroad, he said.

“Immigrants are the backbone of these industries,” Clemens said.

Most US immigration services are largely already on pause due to the crisis, but immigration lawyers – including those representing financial and tech firms – around the country fielded calls on Wednesday from applicants and employers worried about the possible order.

Democrats and immigrant advocates have criticised the new policy as an attempt to distract from Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as he seeks re-election in November. Some amounted the order to “xenophobic scapegoating”.

More than 45,000 people in the US have died because of the virus – the highest death toll of any country.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a liberal immigration reform group, said that the order was “more about grabbing a headline than changing immigration policy”.

Sharry said that to him, the order “smacks of an electoral strategy, not a policy change, and it smacks of desperation and panic.”

Some immigration hawks criticised the order, as described by Trump on Tuesday, for not going far enough.

“It doesn’t apply to guest workers, which are perhaps the most immediate threat to US workers,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which backs lower levels of legal immigration.

IoD – Ghana to engage academia to research on impact of COVID19 on businesses

Ho, April 20, GNA – The Institute of Directors-Ghana (IoD-Gh) is to engage academia, faculty and students to conduct research on long-term effects of COVID-19 on businesses, enterprises and organizations.



This is to help design strategies and solutions for possible negative impacts of the pandemic and also forestall similar occurrences in future.

Mr Rockson Dogbegah, President of IoD-Ghana said this in a press release copied to the Ghana News Agency.

He said the Institute was also developing an on-line platform to enhance the capacity of members to use virtual media to carry out businesses to mitigate negative impacts and effects of the pandemic.

Mr Dogbegah said efforts were also in place towards the rolling out of “IOD-GH SME Business Sustainability Programme (BSP)” to cushion viable but weak enterprises in the wake of COVID-19.

He said such programmes would include targeted training for Small and Medium Enterprises to develop resilient business models to ensure livelihoods were not adversely affected by the disease.

Mr Dogbegah said strategic consultations would also be organised to help directors and corporate boards to deal with COVID-19 related disruptions.

He said apart from the business and management interventions, the Institute was also complementing efforts of government, including mobilizing donations to resource the COVID-19 Trust Fund and called for the support of all.

GNA

President lifts movement restrictions, other measures still in force

Accra, April 19, GNA – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Sunday lifted the three-week restriction to movement of persons in Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa, effective 0100 Hours, Monday, April 20, 2020.



However, all other enhanced measures and protocols, including closure of borders, ban on social and religious gathering, and the strict adherence to social and physical distancing, is still in force to halt the rate of spread of the COVID-19 in the country.

In a national address, President Akufo-Addo explained that even though Ghana’s case count had increased over the past three weeks to 1,042 person from test results of 68,591 contacts, and with 67,549 of that number testing negative for the virus, the decision to lift the restriction on movement was backed by data and science.

He pointed out that the main reason the country had witnessed an increase in the number of confirmed cases over the period of movements restrictions due to the aggressive tracing and testing of contacts of infected persons, which “has enabled us to identify and isolate infected persons, protect the population from further infections, and contain better the spread of the virus.”

Thus, “In view of our ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons, the enhancement of our capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres, our better understanding of the dynamism of the virus, the ramping up of our domestic capacity to produce our own personal protective equipment, sanitisers and medicines, the modest successes chalked at containing the spread of the virus in Accra and Kumasi, and the severe impact on the poor and vulnerable,” necessitated the lifting of the restriction on the movement of persons, the President held.

President Akufo-Addo however stressed that the lifting of the partial lockdown “does not mean we are letting our guard down. All other measures are still firmly in place, and have not been relaxed.”

“I am referring to the suspension of all public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, parties, nightclubs, drinking spots, beaches, festivals, political rallies, religious activities and sporting events.
“All educational facilities, private and public, are to remain closed. Businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, observing staff management and workplace protocols with the view to achieving social distancing and hygiene protocols,” he added.

The President further called on operators of public transport, including buses, trotros and taxis, to continue to run with a minimum number of passengers, and to maintain established social distancing and hygiene protocols both in their vehiclkes and terminals.

He said the local Government and rural development ministry, in collaboration with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, would continue to implement measures to enhance conditions of hygiene in markets across the country, and expand the policy of alternate-days-for-alternative-products to improve social distancing in all markets.

The President further advised all and sundry to wear face mask “wherever you go, as it will help you not to contract the virus, and keep it clean.”

“If you own a business, or are providing a service, i.e. a barber, a hairdresser, a tailor, a taxi driver, a trotro driver and his ‘mate’, a shop keeper, a food seller, please do well to use a mask. The Ministry of Health will very soon issue guidelines on face masks for public use.”

He also admonished religious, traditional, community and opinion leaders to partner with government in engaging, mobilising and enforcing adherence to social distancing and personal hygiene practices in their respective communities, and urged persons who had lost their loved ones to bury them, as the morgues in the country are becoming full.

To the bereaved, he encouraged “to conduct private burials of their loved ones, but ensure that the twenty-five (25) person limit is not breached… Indeed, some are burying their loved ones now, in order to have the final funeral rites later. The morgues in the country are becoming full, and will, in themselves, soon pose a public health hazard. So, let us act quickly on this.”

Noting that though the country would continue to record new cases of infections, particularly with the policy of aggressive tracing and testing, the President assured that Government had put in place the appropriate measures to isolate and treat them.

“Should there be an unexpected outburst in infections within a community, I have put the health workers and the security services, including the Police Service and the Armed Forces, on standby, to co-ordinate a rapid response of human and logistical resources, if necessary, to cordon, impose a curfew, trace, test, and treat infected persons in the affected community.

“Indeed, the focus of Government’s policy and action will be based on the implementation of the 3Ts, i.e. tracing, testing and treating. In any event, stay at home, unless it is absolutely essential,” he stated.

“Our success in defeating the virus is largely within our control. That means each and every one of us must exercise, at all times, during this period without the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi, a strong sense of selflessness, self-control and self-discipline.

“It is important to stress strongly that coming out of the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi does not mean we are out of the pandemic. We will continue to monitor closely events in some hotspots in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area like Weija Gbawe, Ga East, and Ayawaso East Municipalities, and Tema Metropolis, and in the Eastern Region, like Asuoygaman and Lower Manya Krobo Districts.

“Whenever the situation so warrants, a community in which the virus is identified as becoming prevalent will be locked-down, until there is a clear understanding of the trajectory of the virus that will allow us to contain it. We must obey the measures still in place, including the new ones, because we know our survival depends on them, and, the harder we are on ourselves in obeying them, the quicker and more enduring will be the victory.

“To Ghanaians in all parts of the world, I urge you to remain steadfast in abiding by the rules and regulations that have been put in place by your host countries to combat the virus, and I extend the condolences of all your compatriots at home to all families abroad who have lost their loved ones to the virus,” the President said.

GNA

Take covid-19 serious protect your self and others around you

People may be sick with the virus for 1 to 14 days before developing symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.More rarely, the disease can be serious and even fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.


People may experience:cough fever tiredness difficulty breathing (severe cases)

Ghana Gets $14 Billion of Orders as It Issues 40-Year Eurobond

Moses Mozart DzawuBloombergFebruary 5, 2020

Ghana Gets $14 Billion of Orders as It Issues 40-Year Eurobond

(Bloomberg) — Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on Twitter

Ghana sold sub-Saharan Africa’s longest-ever Eurobond as part of a $3 billion deal that was almost five times oversubscribed.

West Africa’s second-biggest economy issued a $750 million tranche, which amortizes and has an average life of 40 years, at 8.875%, making it the highest-yielding sovereign dollar bond so far this year. Pricing was reduced from the initial talk of 9.4%

The government also sold $1.25 billion of debt with an average maturity of six years and a yield of 6.375%. A third segment of $1 billion has an average life of 14 years, yielding 8%.

Bids topped $14 billion, a person familiar with the transaction said.

Ghana said in September 2018 that it planned a century bond in dollars. While that didn’t happen, it did issue a $1 billion, 2051 instrument at 8.95% six months later. The yield on that dropped 12 basis points on Tuesday to 8.66%.

The latest offering comes at a time when the premium investors demand to hold riskier assets is rising, in large part due to the coronavirus outbreak. Spreads on emerging-market government dollar bonds have widened to 307 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, from 291 basis points at the start of the year, according to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. index.

Bank of America, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Standard Chartered Plc arranged Tuesday’s sale.

(Updates from first paragraph with final size and pricing)

–With assistance from Maciej Onoszko, Yinka Ibukun and Alex Nicholson.

To contact the reporter on this story: Moses Mozart Dzawu in Accra at mdzawu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andre Janse van Vuuren at ajansevanvuu@bloomberg.net, Paul Wallace, Justin Carrigan

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Why Ghana Is Africa’s Top Candidate for an Economic


The country scores high on development metrics; it just needs to break free of dependence on commodities.By Noah SmithFebruary 9, 2020, 7:00 PM EST

On the road to industrialization. 
On the road to industrialization.  Photographer: Cristina Aldehuela/AFP via Getty Images

Every time a region of the world goes from being poor to being rich one country tends to be responsible for getting the process started. In Europe that was the U.K., which was the first to industrialize. In East Asia it was Japan. In West Africa it could be Ghana.

Ghana has a number of big advantages over other countries in the region in terms of geography, institutions and human capital. It’s on the coast and has plenty of ports that can be used to ship and receive goods. With about 31 million people, it has a large enough population to create a substantial domestic market but small enough that providing jobs and food won’t be too insurmountable of a challenge. Members of the Akan ethnic group make up about half of the population, meaning that Ghana has less of the ethnic fragmentation plaguing many post-colonial states. It scores well on international indicators of governance quality, freedomdemocracy, ease of doing business and corruption. Ghana has lower child mortalitythan its neighbors, indicating a relatively healthy populace. It also has a head start in terms of literacy rates and education:

The Education Advantage

These advantages have helped to make Ghana one of the fastest-growing countries on the continent. Although its 2019 growth rate ended up being only 7% rather than the world-beating 8.8% forecast by the International Monetary Fund, that is still very solid growth.

But to become the Japan of West Africa, Ghana is going to have to undergo a structural transformation. The country’s main exports are all commodities:

Too Dependent on Commodities


Specializing in commodities is not necessarily a economic death sentence for a nation. Ghana doesn’t have the resource endowment of Norway or Saudi Arabia, but with wise and stable policy it could aspire to the comfortable middle-income status of Namibia, Botswana or perhaps even Chile.

Indeed, Ghana in recent decades has done a good job of moving in this direction. Agricultural productivity has increased, which allowed many Ghanaians to move from farms to cities, where they have been mostly employed in the service sector. This has been a typical pattern in a number of commodity-rich developing countries. In a 2016 paper, economists Douglas Gollin, Remi Jedwab and Dietrich Vollrath found:

But the service sector isn’t great at creating secure, well-paying jobs. Much of thisemployment is informal and precarious. And a large share of the gains from the commodity boom have flowed to the wealthy, worsening inequality. Gollin and his co-authors find that the residents of so-called consumption cities do considerably worse than residents of cities with economies based on manufacturing.

Meanwhile, industrialization has proved to be a much more reliable path to national wealth. Manufacturing is less subject to the whims of global price movements than commodities, allowing for a more diversified and complexeconomy and — most importantly — it encourages learning and rapid productivity growth.

But when a country is strong in natural resource industries, it can be hard to ignite the kind of manufacturing boom that countries such as South Korea rode from rags to riches. Strong commodity exports raise the value of a country’s exchange rate, making manufactured exports more expensive. They also make wages in the industrial sector uncompetitive.

This helps explain why Ghana’s laudable efforts to switch to manufacturing haven’t yet borne fruit. The country tried establishing export-oriented special economic zones similar to those of China. But these ended up specializing in commodities rather than manufacturing.

Ghana needs to keep trying. One idea is to provide subsidies specifically to manufactured exports. If these subsidies were stable, reliable, large and long-lasting, they might tilt the balance of comparative advantage. This could include subsidizing wages for workers in export-oriented manufacturing; that would allow workers to earn a decent living while factory investors save on costs. It could also mean providing export-oriented factories with cheap dedicated sources of electric power, because generation has been a problem in Ghana. That would help make the country more attractive to investors from China, as well as a place where domestic entrepreneurs can flourish. Taking in skilled immigrants, especially from nearby Nigeria or the African diaspora, could also help build a pool of expertise that makes the country an attractive destination for investment.

The raw materials for a Ghanaian manufacturing boom are there. The country has entrepreneurial and innovative talent, as demonstrated by the introduction a few years ago of the first Ghana-made car. And both China and other industrialized nations are clearly interested in Ghana as a production base for the burgeoning West African market. To get there, the country’s leaders will simply have to refuse to be satisfied with the recent boom driven by commodities and urbanization. Ghana has enjoyed great success; sustaining that progress will require a new model.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Noah Smith at nsmith150@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.netNoah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.Read more opinionFollow @Noahpinion on TwitterSHARE THIS ARTICLE

Minister advised to attach seriousness to parliamentary emergency sitting By Ghana News Agency – May 4, 2019

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, on Thursday sent an apparent fatherly appeal and order to absentee ministers to report to the House to work during the one-week emergency call.

“Honourable ministers should please come and let us work upon the emergency matters duly before us,” the Speaker said, adding; “This is my order.”

The order followed the absence of the ministers of Food and Agriculture, and Aviation, who were scheduled to be present at the plenary on Thursday morning to lay some papers.

The House has been called for five-day emergency meeting. Running from Monday, April 29, to Friday, May 3, 2019 for some urgent Government Business including the suspended treatment of the Vigilante Bill.

It, however, had to join the rest of the world on May 1 for the International Labour Day celebration.

When business resumed in the House on Thursday morning, Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, registered his displeasure at the absence of the ministers, with a reminder that the May Day holiday was over.

“It is not for us to get to an item, where you called us to suspend holidays and come and work and you are still, as I may assume, rightly or wrongly on holiday. They must be in the mood for an emergency,” he said.

It was then that the Speaker, Professor Oquaye, entreated ministers to treat the one-week emergency sitting of the House with seriousness.

“This is my order,” he declared.

An explanation by Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, to justify the absence of the ministers, however, did not go down well with the Speaker.

The Speaker said: “Honourable Majority Leader, I am simply saying let us make progress.”

It would be recalled that the Speaker, in his welcoming address to the emergency meeting on Monday, April 20, called for maximum cooperation from the leadership and members of the House to creditably discharge their obligations.

He had said: “I hope the Executive will also cooperate with leadership by ensuring dispatch delivery of information to the House and its committees.”

“Their presence to the House as and when needed should not be a matter of explanation but actualised indeed.”

EPA Says Ghana is not in position to enforce outright ban on plastics

Mr John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the country cannot put a total ban on plastics due to the large number of plastic industries in the country.

“If you look at the kind of manufacturing system we have in Ghana and the number of people that are employed, it’s not practicable to be banned outright but something can be done to ban certain uses that creates the maximum waste”.

Mr Pwamang was speaking at a sensitization cleanup exercise held in Tema Fishing Harbour as part of the activities by the EPA to mark the 2019 World Oceans Day on Saturday on the theme; “Gender and the Ocean”.

The Acting Executive Director said, they focused mainly on plastics this year because it was the major issue that affects fishing business and the government was putting good measures in place to limit the use of plastics.

Mr Pwamang said EPA was targeting to stop the use of carrier bags in order to reduce the plastic waste in the ocean.

“The carrier bags are what we are going to target because carrier bags may be something that is very strong and can be used for long time but what we are having here are very light and we think that if we are able to stop the use of this carrier bags it can reduce our plastic load”, he said.

He said EPA has received a proposal from the Ghana Tourism Authority to do Marine drive behind the independence square area to make it beautiful and attract tourists.

Mr Pwamang added that, going forward, EPA would make sure that the Chemu Lagoon would not bring waste load into the ocean and would put out some sieves to prevent the plastics from getting into the ocean and also sensitize the people not to dump plastics into lagoons.

Mrs Joana Frances Adda, Marketing and Public Affairs Manager of Tema Fishing Harbour said, they were not happy about the presence of plastics in the sea because of the effects on the fishes.

She added that, research from the EPA and Fisheries indicated that some of the fishes swallowed the plastics in the sea, which was not good for human consumption.

Mrs Joana said, it was one of their responsibilities to get the ocean cleaned and they are ready to assist the EPA to keep the oceans clean.
She urged the public to keep the oceans clean from plastic waste.

The EPA donated five wheel barrows, 10 rakes, 20 shovels and 10 brooms to the Tema Fishing Harbour.