The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in its effort at helping to reverse the detrimental effect of the continuous burning of the more than 13 million tonnes of firewood annually would by the end of the year 2014 distribute 53,000 pieces of cylinders and cook stoves worth millions of Ghana Cedis among rural people in 13 selected districts in the country.
Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Armah-Buah, the Sector Minister announced this in a speech read for him at the launching of the Rural LPG Promotion Programme at Derma, in the Tano South District of Brong-Ahafo Region.
According to the minister, the government intended to distribute 200,000 to 350,000 cylinders and cooking stoves in all low access rural districts within the next three years.
Under the programme it is expected that the government would improve LPG access in rural areas from the current of about three percent to 15 percent by 2016.
Mr. Armah-Buah explained that the government through the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum had over the years spearheaded the promotion of the use of LPG as a cleaner, safer and healthier form of cooking fuel for households.
He said the Ministry began such serious efforts around the late 1980’s and raised overall consumption from 5,267 metric tonnes in 1989 to about 32,000 metric tonnes in 1996 adding that the promotion culminated in the setting up of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company to produce LPG cylinders and other related products and accessories for Ghana’s growing demand.
Mr Armah-Buah emphasized that all these and a number of efforts made so far by the ministry were to discourage the over-reliance on wood as a main source of fuel for especially people in rural communities.
Mr Armah-Buah explained that the ministry had partnered with LPG marketing companies and local dealers such as JOEKONA Gas in the Brong-Ahafo Region to facilitate the setting up of mini-refill plants in the communities to ensure that beneficiaries had constant supply of LPG.
This, partnership he observed would also help make the promotion meaningful by preventing beneficiaries and users from reverting back to wood fuels.
Mr Armah-Buah added that currently the ministry is working closely with the National Petroleum Authority, Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company, Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company, Energy Commission and other relevant stakeholders to come up with guidelines and regulations to re-introduce the Cylinder Re-circulation Model.
This model, he explained eliminate or reduce to very minimal levels the numerous health and safety LPG related incidents including fatal accidents that had been confronting the country in recent times.
Eighty-four (84) people died through 322 recorded road accidents in Brong-Ahafo in the first quarter of 2014, statistics from the Regional Office of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) has revealed.
The accidents, which involved 439 vehicles, left 467 people with various degrees of injury, Mr Agyabeng Mensah Abrampa, Brong-Ahafo Regional Manager of the NRSC disclosed this to Moonlite News in Sunyani.
Mr Abrampa said in the first quarter of 2013, 152 recorded road crashes killed 68 people and injured 221 others in the region.
He said the increase in accident cases requires a collaborative and radical approach from all stakeholders especially in the area of road safety education.
Mr Abrampa stated that the NRSC alone could not shoulder the responsibility of road safety education and that all road users and pedestrians had roles to play.
Mr Abrampa noted that human error continued to remain the major contributory factor to road crashes and advised motorists to be extra careful on the roads.
According to the Adolescent Heath and Development Programme 2011 Report by the Ministry of Health, unsafe abortion accounts for 25 to 30 percent of maternal deaths in leading teaching hospitals in the country.
This alarming rate of unsafe abortion impedes the country’s efforts at achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 which is primarily aimed at reducing maternal mortality by 75percent by 2015.
To support the efforts of achieving the MDG 5, Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF) with support from International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) under Safe Abortion Fund (SAF) has commenced a project titled: Advocating for Young Women Access to Safe Abortion and contraceptive Services in Ghana.
Chief Executive Officer of GLOMEF, Mr. Godlove Raphael Ahenu said the three (3) year project which starts from April, 2014 to March 2017 would be implemented in 21 communities and 14 Junior and Senior High Schools in the seven Municipal and District in Brong-Ahafo, with Sunyani Municipality, Kintampo North Municipality, Techiman Municipality, Wenchi Municipality, Dormaa Central Municipality, Jaman South District and Tano North District as the beneficiaries.
At a press briefing held in Sunyani Mr. Ahenu disclosed that the project, costing $127, 749. 31, seeks to increase awareness among young people both in and out of school and advocate for access to safe abortion and contraceptive services through the media in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
He continued that the project objectives are to increase access to safe abortion related services through information dissemination and strengthened referral linkages with government hospitals and other service providers for 500 young women in the region by 2016.
Also the project aims at increasing commitment of opinion leaders in Brong-Ahafo by having 75 opinion leaders signing-up as Safe abortion Advocates by the end of the project, and increase positive media coverage on safe abortion through the formation of Brong-Ahafo Reproductive Health Reporters Network by 2016.
Resource Link Foundation, a Ghanaian NGO with partners in the Netherlands has supported selected deprived schools in the Wenchi Municipality and Banda District of the Brong-Ahafo region with sanitary facilities and other materials.
Among the items presented include a toilet facility, eight hundred exercise books, two hundred pairs of foot wear, rain water harvesting and hand washing facilities for Sanwa/Makala D/A Primary school in the Banda District and Branam M/A Primary school in the Wenchi Municipality at a cost of GH¢ 22,202.85.
Mr. Jan Bras, Director of Resource Link Foundation-Netherlands expressed happiness that his organization has been able to provide for the needy during the handing over of the six-seater restroom facility to the Makala/Sawna D/A Primary School in the Banda District.
He said unsanitary conditions were not conducive to teaching and learning aside the health problems associated with such situations, and appealed to the school and the community in general to take good care of the facility to ensure a longer lifespan.
On his part, the Coordinating Director of Resource Link Foundation Ghana, Mr. Christopher Dapaah bemoaned the unsanitary conditions in most public schools in the country and urge government to include toilet in future design of schools.
He called on non-governmental organization to partner government to tackle the sanitation challenges in the country since government alone could not do it.
According to Mr. Dapaah, Ghana was lagging behind in achieving the Millennium Development Goals target seven of halving people without access to improved sanitation by 2015 and hence the need for government to increase spending in the sector.
The District Chief Executive for Banda, Mr. Alexander Bonsu appealed to all to fight the unsanitary conditions in the country since, according to him; diseases emanating from such conditions do not have boundaries.
He was full of praise for Resource Link Foundation Ghana/Netherlands. The Banda District Assembly presented a citation to Resource Link Foundation Ghana/Netherlands for the developmental drive in the District.
The Headmaster of the school, Mr. Peter Mensah receiving the keys to the facility expressed joy at the gesture of the NGO and appealed to the Banda District Assembly to provide the school with borehole, to save pupils from walking long distance to go home to drink water who most of them fail to return.
Some Ghanaians Travelling to Spain from Brong-Ahafo has accused Immigration Officers, particularly at the TAP Portugal section of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) of extortion.
The Concerned Travelers who stormed the Brong-Ahafo Regional Offices of Moonlite News and narrated that they have been going through lots of frustration by the Immigration Officers at that particular section of the Airport, TAP Portugal with monies being extorted from them before issuing Boarding pass.
Led by Nana Osei Kwadwo, the travelers said the worst victims are those who came to Ghana and have stayed for six (6) months and were returning to Spain to continue doing their respective jobs.
According to Nana Osei, lots of his colleagues have been complaining about the ordeal encountered at the TAP Portugal section of the KIA during their return from Ghana to Spain, adding that the other sections were not like that.
He explained that comparatively the Flight fare of TAP Portugal or Portugal Airlines from Spain is cheaper, so most Ghanaians have been patronizing their services; however, the attitude of some Ghanaian Immigration officers at their section casts a spell on them.
Nana Osei continued that personally, on January 22, 2014 he experienced a similar ordeal in the hands of such unscrupulous Ghanaian Immigration Officers when he went there to be issued a Boarding Pass after purchasing a flight ticket of TAP Portugal, which confirmed what the colleagues have been complaining of.
He said a guy who was only identified as Fii per his name tag, asked him to stand aside after glancing through his passport and noticed that he Nana Osei has stayed in Ghana for Six months –three days.
According to him, the said guy Fii told him he could not travel because a new law has been formulated that all Ghanaians who have stayed in Ghana for six months cannot travel back unless cleared by the Spanish Embassy in Accra, so Nana Osei must go to the Spanish Embassy for a note before he would be allowed.
Nana Osei Kwadwo continued that he and some colleagues were surprised to hear that for the first time and try to enquire further from Fii and some few Immigration Officers around, but Fii was incensed and allegedly started raining insults at them.
After continuous persistence, the said Fii asked them to see one lady by name Api, but the lady Api also redirected them to go back and talk to Fii in a nice way for the problem to be resolve.
However, Fii on their returned tagged them as arrogant and for displaying arrogance they should pay an amount of money before they are issued the Boarding Pass.
The frustrated travelers asked Fii, the amount to be paid, and he demanded a hundred Euro (€100) each, but Nana Osei pleaded for reduction and it was agreed that €90 be paid, which Nana Osei Kwadwo paid with the rest who were having Cedis paying GH₵150 each.
Immigration Officer Fii asked them to put the cash amount inside their Passports and hand them over to Api, which was accordingly done and their Boarding Passes were issued for them to continue their journey.
The concern travelers have therefore appealed to the authorities at the Ghana Immigration Services to as a matter of urgency step into the issue and investigate further to bring sanity into the system.
A senior lecturer at the Sunyani Polytechnic, Mr. Forster Adade has called for the creation and integration of academic and career counseling units into the educational curricula to give realistic meaning to basic and second cycle education.
He observed that because there were no such avenues to guide students to unearth and nurture as well as build on their career objectives and goals, basic education become meaningless to many of them.
Mr. Adade was addressing more than 2,000 final year students preparing for the Basic Education Certificate Education (BECE) and West African Senior High School Certificate Examination at summit in Sunyani.
Dubbed “Youth Empowerment Summit (YES)”, the programme, instituted by Pastor William F Kumuyi, General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Ministry is an annual event aimed at preparing the final year students spiritually and academically to enable them write their examination successfully.
Mr Adade blamed the abysmal performance of students and the fallen standard of education to distortions in educational policies stressing that priority ought to be placed on basic education as it served as the fundamentals of attaining quality education.
“When pupils and students are able to identify their potentials at the basic level, they will be in the better position to build up on that”, he said and advised teachers to create avenues to help students unearth and nurture their talents so they would grow to become responsible adults.
Mr Adade observed that mathematics, science and technology had become very essential because of globalization and advised teachers to endeavour and make teaching of the subjects lively to sustain the interest of students.
He said without the subjects, students could not pursue higher and achieve academic laurels and excellence.
Mr Adade warned students against destroying institutional properties stressing that students who always disrespect stood against authority brought curses on themselves.
He told the students the best way they could seek redress for their grievances was to channel them through the appropriate and laid down procedures.
Mr Adade cautioned them against unhealthy lifestyles that could ruin their lives and asked them to avoid examination malpractices.
Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, Chief Executive Officer of Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), an anti-corruption media Non-Governmental Organization has challenged Municipal and District Assemblies to use Internally Generated Funds judiciously.
He emphasized that IGF were monies collected from the people and it ought to be well utilized to benefit them.
Mr Ahenu threw the challenge at a separate tax education fora his NGO organized for the chiefs and people of Maasu, Kuren and Asikasu in the Dormaa Municipality in Brong-Ahafo Region.
The fora which were aimed at educating the people on need for them to appreciate and pay their taxes were in line with a programme the NGO and Gift Fm, a Dormaa-Ahenkro based radio station is undertaken in the municipality.
Sponsored by Star-Ghana, the 15-month programme dubbed “promoting revenue management and its utilization for development”, is aimed at helping to enhance transparency and responsiveness in the management and utilization of the assembly’s IGF and Common Fund for development in Municipality.
Mr Ahenu noted with concern that many traders and other tax payers in the informal sector failed to pay their tax not because they did not want to pay but because they did not recognize what such monies were being used for.
He said when Municipal and District Assemblies begin to utilize their IGF’s wisely for the benefit of the local communities; the people would not be reluctant to pay their taxes.
Mr Ahenu observed with concern that instead for some District and Municipal Chief Executives to continue and complete projects initiated by their predecessors, they rather begin new ones because of their parochial and partisan interest.
This situation, he noted had affected the development process in many local communities.
Nana Gyamfi Kumanini, Chief of Maasu observed that the community’s water system was not the best and appealed to the assembly to support them.
He said the Maasu-Nkrankwanta road needed urgent rehabilitation work.
Nana Kumanini commended the NGO for its prompt and regular support to the development of the community.
The Scheme Manager for the Sunyani Municipal Health Insurance (NHIS), Alfred Agamah, has called for strict adherence to the drug list by all accredited facilities under the scheme devoid of insertion and substitution of drugs to help sustain it.
Speaking at the 2013 Annual Review Forum at Abesim, Alfred Agamah disclosed that irrational prescription; inflation of prescribed quantities, and substitution of medicines, as well as no evidence of client attendance in their folders still remains a bane to the sustainability of the scheme.
The Scheme Manager therefore, stressed the need for the claims officers in the various accredited facilities to adhere to the clinical audit recommendations, or stand the risk of facing the necessary sanctions of the authority.
According to Mr. Agamah, Network/ connectivity and claims payment delays was also major challenges confronting the scheme, adding that the efforts were being instituted to help resolve them, whilst urging claims officers to avoid delays in the submission of claims for prompt payment.
In terms of membership, he disclosed that active membership for the year 2012 increased from 101, 488 to 109, 398 in the year 2013, whilst in terms of claims management and payment, the scheme from January to December 2013 had 409, 258 utilization with a claim of GHC8, 058230.98 out of which payments of GHC6, 39749126 for January to October has been made.
He said the scheme would increase promotional registration, and intensifies the instant renewal of the national cards, whilst waiting for the biometric system which would be introduced in Brong-Ahafo by the last quarter of this year to help sustain the scheme.
Mr Agamah said NHIS was doing everything possible to increase client satisfaction by attending to their concerns promptly and accurately and that emergency centres had been created in some health facilities in the municipality to address issues, especially network problems.
He said to improve on claim submission measures has been instituted to move from manual claims submission to Electronic claims submission, which Web front submission started in April 2013 with 18 facilities, and the pilot extends to 40 facilities in July.
The Scheme Manager added that by the close of March this year that is the first quarter, 25 facilities would be hooked to submit claims electronically.
He said the medicine list would be publicized to ensure transparency and fairness in drug administration which are covered under the scheme, whilst the sensitization on the capitation would be intensified.
A Cashew dealer at Techiman, Mr Tony Asare has appealed to government for measures to protect the industry from dwindling.
He suggested such a measure could be an Act of Parliament to protect financially, the interest of not only the dealers but the farmers and the exporters from dishonest and unscrupulous purchasing clerks (PCs).
Mr Asare, Managing Director of Techiman-based Rastony Cashew Trading Enterprise, a Cashew dealing company, made the appeal when speaking to Moonlite News.
He noted a Legislative Instrument (LI) guaranteeing security and protection of financial investments made by dealers, farmers or exporters into the industry would as well benefit the national economy immensely.
Mr Asare expressed worry that the dealers had created jobs for the PCs by advancing funds to them to purchase the commodity from the farmers on commission basis but some PCs decided to either bolt away or misappropriate the monies for other purposes.
The Cashew dealer complained that between 2011 and 2013, his company had lost about GHC130, 000.00 through the failure of some PCs to supply the commodity and their inability to refund the funds advanced to them.
He said the amount was owed his firm by about 20 PCs, lamenting that it was a disappointment, breach of contract, betrayal of trust and confidence.
Mr Asare mentioned that the amount released to individual PCs in a season ranged from GHC20,000.00 to GHC50,000.00 and hinted that one defaulted PC owed GHC34,000.00.
He indicated that some of the cases were being handled in the courts but nothing meaningful was coming out, because any hope of getting our monies repaid is far- fetched.
Mr Asare explained the PCs were spread in the cashew farming areas in the Techiman Zone which comprised four municipalities and five districts in the region, adding Ejura-Sekodumase District in the Ashanti Region and Bimbila in the Northern Region were also included.
The areas in Brong-Ahafo are Techiman South, Nkoranza South, Wenchi and Kintampo North municipalities as well as Techiman North, Tain, Banda, Nkoranza North and Kintampo South districts.
Mr Asare argued that the idea of taking collateral from the PCs as security guarantees was not possible because generally in those rural communities some of the houses did not have the required amount of value for that purpose.
The Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Police Commander, ACP Patrick Adusei-Sarpong has given a stern warning to Indian hemp dealers in the region, saying the Police would this year 2014 be tougher on them.
Speaking in an interview with Moonlite News before the destruction of a total of 144 bags of Indian hemps which was in the custody of the Regional Police Command at the final disposal dump site, ACP Adusei-Sarpong disclosed that the battle would be launched at the places where the substance is alleged to be cultivated.
He said there would be extensive swoops by the Police at the respective places where it is alleged the cultivation of the Indian hemp is very high, citing towns like Seikwa, Nsawkaw, Badu all in the Tain District and parts of Wenchi and Sampa where most of the 144 bags of the substance were arrested, indicating that cultivation was very high in such areas.
The Deputy Regional Police Commander called on the dealers of Indian hemp to desist or face the full rigor of the regional police command.
ACP Adusei-Sarpong explained that the 144 bags of the Indian hemp were seized out of police swoops and at snap check points, where the substances were abandoned, whilst others were those which were apprehended and prosecuted at Courts and use as exhibits and later the Courts ordered for their destruction.
He said some of the items have been in the custody of the police command for over three years, and it was necessary that, they seek Court’s order for their destruction, and fortunately, a Sunyani Circuit Court on Monday, March 17, 2014 grants the demand of the police.
The destruction exercise of the 144 bags of Indian hemp was supervised by officers and men of the Regional Police command, officers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Authority, as well as the Media.
A senior Programme Officer of the EPA, Mr. Anthony Duah indicated that the presence of the EPA was to ensure that the substance has been safely disposed or destroyed, and it also add up to the transparency of the exercise, whilst boosting the confidence of the public.