Fertilizer Platform Ghana engages Agriculture Minister on 2023 Planting for Foods and jobs

Fertilizer Platform Ghana (FPG) has held discussions with Mr Bryan Acheampong, Minister for Food and Agriculture, over an enhanced Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) for the year 2023.

The FPG, in a working visit to the Minister, led by Mr Ernest Osei-Assibey, Co-Chair for Public Sector and Richmond Dogbe, Co-Chair for Private Sector, discussed issues confronting the fertilizer sector in Ghana, including revision to PFJ implementation and reinstatement of fertilizer tax exemptions.

Mr Ernest Osei-Assibey, in his address, said, the FPG would review fertilizer products that had been introduced for the PFJ since 2018 to determine their suitability for achieving the programme’s targets.

He also recommended to the Minister to facilitate the ongoing initiatives of the fertilizer sector which include the development and revision of soil maps across the country.

‘The soil amendment’s programmes in areas, particularly identified as acidic and incorporating such soil amendment products in government programmes that supplies fertilizers to farmers is paramount,’ Mr Osei-Assibey said.

He also said there was the need to encourage more the composite application of inorganic and organic fertilizers to increase yields while maintaining quality.

Mr Bryan Acheampong, in his response, said the Programme had been revised, emphasizing that the ‘Enhanced PFJ’ had a new approach that would take the form of cooperative farming where inputs would be distributed through aggregators to nuclear farmers groups.

‘The new model which has financial institutions, Ghana Commodity Exchange, Input dealers and farmers on one ‘Ghana Agricultural Platform’ will enable the repayment of input suppliers in a short time (4-6 months) for the supply of their inputs to support the programme,’ he said.

The Minister said there had been a plan in place to pay off arrears owed input suppliers for the past two to three years, which had been one of the drawbacks of the existing programme.

Modalities of the programme would be that the market would be allowed to operate freely, farmers’ choice of fertilizer would be respected and supply made through an aggregator that would be selected and profiled by a technical team.

A bank guarantee system would be used and aggregators would be expected to off-take the produce and supply to the Buffer stock or Ghana Commodity exchange.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Business and Human Rights: Stakeholders engaged on development of National Action Plan

A national consultative workshop on the development of a National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights has been held in Kumasi for key public sector actors.

Ghana has an obligation to develop a NAP to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights.

The UNGPs are a global framework to ensure states perform their obligation to protect the fundamental human rights of all persons in their country, and businesses comply with existing human rights laws or regimes both internationally and national.

It is also to address human rights abuses arising out of the negative impacts of their business operations.

To achieve the desired aims of the UNGPs, Ghana, with support from the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR) conducted a National Baseline Assessment to identify the existing gaps within the human rights ecosystem.

Subsequently, the country launched the National Baseline Assessment (NBA) and commissioned an 18-member Steering Committee, Co-Chaired by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, to draft the NAP.

Funded by the Oxfam and Frederick Ebert Stiftung, the goal is to provide a blueprint and guidance to state actors to work within the confines of the laws and be accountable to the people to ensure the protection of their human rights.

It is against this background that the Steering Committee has been holding national consultative workshops across the 16 regions of Ghana to sensitise stakeholders on the concept of human rights, apprise them on the gaps identified under the NBA and ultimately to solicit their inputs into the National Action Plan.

The Kumasi workshop was the last in the series of engagements by the committee to put together the NAP.

Mrs Mary Adjeley Nartey, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee, said a resilient NAP required inclusive and participatory approach and a sustainable implementation.

Stakeholder engagement is a way to deepen democracy and take cognisance of peculiarities across the various regions to ensure a holistic implementation of the plan.

She reminded the participants of how their valuable contributions could shape the final plan and make it national in character.

‘As state actors your valuable and rich inputs, suggestions, comments and recommendations are necessary to ensure ownership of the plan, as well as its holistic and nationwide implementation,’ she said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

AGI calls for recalculation of VAT on raw materials

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has called for the recalculation of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on raw materials that are unavailable in the country to reduce the cost of production.

The current calculation of VAT, which included the basic VAT and six per cent on the total goods, coupled with high utility charges, were crippling local production and industrialisation, it said.

Mr Tsonam Akpeloo, the Chairman of the Association, said this at a breakfast meeting organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre in Tema.

He said the high cost of production in Ghana was making competition with other countries in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) cumbersome.

‘What we’re asking for is a situation where they can take off some of the duties on the raw materials that we don’t have in Ghana, to make it easier to be productive when producing in Ghana,’ he said.

For the country to achieve development and make efficient use of the AfCFTA, it needed to champion the competitiveness and interests of the local industries…’ Mr Akpeloo said.

Policies must be clear on the ban of imported goods, the same of which were produced locally, to ensure that Ghanaians consumed what they produced, he said.

‘The President of Nigeria made it a point that you cannot import rice; every rice that is consumed in Nigeria has to be grown locally. It was a very painful policy; people suffered; the quality initially was so terrible, but they had to endure; as I speak to you, they are reaching self-sufficiency in rice production,’ Mr Akpeloo noted.

He said Nigeria’s decision had compelled investors to settle and invest in rice farming in that country, and that Ghana could take a cue from that and make her laws clear regarding the importation of goods that were locally produced.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Delta Airlines awards winners of Innovation Camp challenge

Delta Airlines, in collaboration with Junior Achievement (JA), has presented awards to participants of this year’s innovation camp challenge.

The participants, made up of 65 students from 13 universities, were grouped into 10 teams for the competition.

It was attended by students mostly from universities, in Accra, and held at the, Academic City.

Team Four emerged winners, team Five came in second, and team Two placed third.

The awardees were presented with medals, gifts, and certificates for their performances.

The participants were to develop a solution to a challenge: ‘How can modern technology be used to improve the overall customer experience of Airlines from booking to arrival’?

The evaluation criteria for the judges included understanding of the challenge, originality of the solution, feasibility of the solution, structure of presentation, presentation skills, teamwork, and handling of questions and answers.

Ms Eloina Baddoo, Sales and Marketing Manager, Delta Airlines, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, and Liberia, commended the students for their efforts, saying, ‘those who did not win are winners in their own right.’

She said the feedback from the judges was not to discourage them but to prepare them for the workforce in the future.

She advised the teams to keep in touch, form a strong bond beyond the camp, and share ideas for future projects.

The event, she explained, encouraged young people to find solutions to real-life business situations and enhance skills for the future workforce, including creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving.

She encouraged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity to engage resource persons and their colleagues to learn new ideas for their career improvement.

Ms Baddoo said Delta Air Lines remained committed to investing in the next generation of leaders and hoped their personal and professional development would be significantly impacted throughout the sessions.

She said Delta Air Lines supported 32 JA chapters across five continents to teach students about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.

For his part, Mr Abeiku Greene, Executive Director, Junior Achievement Ghana, encouraged the students to embrace the power of innovation by unleasing their creative thinking for success.

He admonished the students to leverage collaboration to get the most out of the workshop, adding that partnership resulted in excellence.

Mr Greene advised them to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to be self-employed and ensure resilience in the pursuit of their career aspirations.

Junior Achievement Africa, part of JA Worldwide, is one of Africa’s largest organizations working on youth economic empowerment.

Mr Isaac Aboah, facilitator for the Design Thinking Session, introduced the students to concepts of innovation and hands-on experiential activities to apply their skills to real-life case studies.

He said it was imperative to work together to produce better outcomes and to ‘think outside the box’ to solve a problem.

The one-day business simulation workshop was to encourage creativity, critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving as the young people put forward solutions to real-life business situations.

Delta team members were available to support JA Africa’s team and provide coaching and mentoring to the students throughout the day.

The workshop on innovation and design thinking was led by a resource person from the Technology and Innovation Centre at Academic City.

Through real-life case studies and hands-on experiential activities, the workshop challenged students to use their thinking faculties and think outside the box.

They learned to approach problems from different perspectives, recognise multiple solutions, and collaborate effectively in teams.

Following the workshop, the students were divided into teams and presented with real business challenges faced by Delta Air Lines.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Government’s initiatives towards youth development ineffective – Dr Zanetor Rawlings

Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, Member of Parliament (MP) for Korle Klottey, says the Government’s initiatives and programmes geared towards youth development in the country are not changing the lives of the youth.

‘They are propaganda. They have all the nice words; youth in Agric, YouStart, etc, but these are not changing the lives of our young people,’ she said.

Dr Agyeman-Rawlings said this during a lecture to mark the 44th Anniversary of the June 4 uprising at Hohoe in the Volta Region, on the theme: ‘Saving our Democracy: The spirit of June 4.’

She said the Government must recognise the aspirations of the youth and channel its policies to meet those aspirations instead of ‘forcing people to do what sounds nice on paper. This is not how you build a nation’.

The country’s democracy, which was 30 years and running, was built on a foundation of discipline, integrity, accountability and transparency, she said.

Dr Agyeman-Rawlings urged members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to be proud of their heritage, have the courage to fight injustice and not be divided, especially on tribal or religious grounds.

Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, MP for Adaklu and Minority Chief Whip, said party members must uphold the vision of the founders and sacrifice to ensure the NDC won power in 2024.

He said the 2024 general election would not be a challenging task if the members believed in the June 4 uprising.

Mr Samuel Ablakwa Okudzeto, the North Tongu MP, said the NDC must work hard to reclaim the Hohoe Parliamentary Seat from the New Patriotic Party.

The young people in the party must reflect on the story of courage and sacrifice of late former President Jerry John Rawlings and speak against injustice and destruction to make the necessary impact, he said.

Mr Eric Bortey, the General Secretary, June 4th Movement, said the celebration helped the citizens to know the history of the NDC adding that the factors that led to the uprising included high cost of goods and services, which were still persistent.

Alhaji Farouk Gyamodie, the Volta Regional Chairman, June 4 Movement, said bad governance, political arrogance, corruption, shortage of commodities and tribalism were some events that led to the June 4 uprising.

‘The period of Supreme Military Council (SMC) I and II was full of misery. Ghanaians were looking and waiting patiently for a messiah.’

He said basic commodities such as matches, sugar, soap, toilet rolls, which were in short supply, were given new baptismal names as ‘essential commodities.’

‘The story of June 4 must be told daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.’

Aside the declaration and celebration of Independence on March 6, 1957, the only event that brought joy to all Ghanaians was the June 4 uprising, Mr Antwi Bosiako, a member of the June 4 Movement, said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Routine workout session must be a habit – Cardiologist

Dr Aba Folson, a Cardiologist at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH), Tema, has advised the public to consider physical activities such as routine workout sessions as a habit for a healthy lifestyle.

Physical exercises should be encouraged and practiced at least five times a week for about 30 minutes to aid the heart to perform its functions well as well as other organs in the body, she said.

Dr Folson said this at the Ghana News Agency’s weekly health platform, dubbed: ‘Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility!’ in Tema.

It aimed at promoting health-related communication to influence personal health choices through improved literacy.

Dr Folson was speaking on the topic; ‘Measure blood pressure accurately, control it, and leave longer,’ which was the theme for the ‘May Measurement Month’ and the World Hypertension Day commemoration.

She said physical activities helped to keep one’s high blood pressure under control by aiding the pumping of blood into the heart and other organs from the blood vessels, adding that living a healthy life should be a choice.

‘Going to the gym is a good lifestyle practice, even though others who cannot afford the cost should not be discouraged from exercising but rather engage in brisk walking for at least five minutes daily.’

‘People should also use gardening, which also serves one with organic foods, washing, and physical activities that help keep the body fit and the cardiovascular system healthy.’

Dr Folson said bad lifestyle practices such as high intake of red meat, salty foods, and foods with excess fats, such as saturated and trans fats, may cause damage to the blood vessels, leading to hypertension and other chronic diseases.

Foods with low salt content and those rich in fibre such as fruits, vegetables, wheat, oats, sorghum, and beans helps in preventing hypertension.

‘You have a choice to live a healthy life; make the right choice,’ she emphasized.

Mr Francis Ameyibor, the GNA Tema Regional Manager, called on traditional and social media managers to devote some time on their platforms for health professionals to educate the public on healthy living.

‘The education we offer today through our media platform may save a life tomorrow,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ga Traditional Council entreats citizens to adhere to customary laws

The Ga Traditional Council Sunday urged all citizens to fully adhere to the customary laws regarding the ban on drumming and noisemaking.

It said the directive on drumming and noisemaking was still in force and must be adhered to without any interference by any institution.

A statement signed by Nii Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, the Ga Mantse, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said: ‘The Chieftaincy Institution protects our traditions, customs, norms and usages; It is strengthened by Article 11(3) of the 1992 Constitution.’

‘It is our custom and it is backed by customary laws,’ he added.

‘We need strong institutions and not strong men; this is the reason why we must never compromise the strength and dignity of the Chieftaincy Institution.’

He asked for peace and sanity in the GaDangme region to preserve and protect the customs and traditions.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECOWAS Court awards 50 million CFA against Burkina Faso for unlawful retirement of Civil Servant

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ordered the Republic of Burkina Faso to pay 50 million CFA as compensation to a retired civil servant, Mr. Kam Sibiri Eric, for the moral damages he suffered following his dismissal 20 years ago allegedly for ‘breach of the duty of discretion.’

Delivering judgement in the suit, Justice Ricardo Monteiro Gonçalves, the judge Rapporteur, held that the Respondent State violated the Applicant’s right to an effective remedy pursuant to Articles 7(1) of the African Charter, 14(5) of the ICCPR and 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Court also held that Applicant’s right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial tribunal by the Respondent was also violated in accordance with Articles 7(1) and 26 of the African Charter, 9 and 14(3)(c) of the ICCPR and 8 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In a suit, the Applicant said he worked as the Head of the Legal Affairs and Research Division of the Mediator of Faso until November 2002 when his appointment was terminated by decree for the breach of the duty of discretion.

He averred that several failed steps were taken to get the government to reconsider its action, including seizing the administrative court in Ouagadougou which after four years on 8th May 2007 annulled the decree and ordered his reinstatement.

But the Faso mediator appealed the judgment before the Council of State, which reversed the contested judgment and rejected as being ill-founded the request for annulment of the disputed decree.

In response to the decision of the Council, the Applicant lodged an appeal on points of law on July 6, 2007 which is still pending before the Council.

Faced with situation, the applicant, who was represented by his counsel, Mr Naboswindé Barthélémy Zongo approched the ECOWAS Court asking it to hold the government in violation of his human rights and to pay him the sum of seventy-six million nine hundred and twenty-nine thousand seven hundred (76,929,700) CFA francs as damages.

He averred that by delaying the case for more than 13 years, a situation he construed as a refusal to hear his appeal, the Council of State violated his right to fair and timely trial contrary to the country’s obligation under the various international instruments to which it is signatory, particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He also cited the preamble of the country’s constitution which provides under Article 8 that ‘Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.’

Unfortunately, the applicant pointed out that ‘although the appeal in cassation is instituted by law n°15-2000/AN relating to the Council of State, it is clear that the judicial body did not examine the case.’

He contended that effective remedy, even if it exists in law, had been rendered non-existent in this case as a fair trial is one that is held within a reasonable time.

In the present case, he said the Council neither communicated with the Applicant on the case nor notify him of the status describing this as a violation of a fair trial within a reasonable time, especially when it comes to restoring a civil servant to his administrative position.

The applicant relied on Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that: ‘Everyone has the right, in full equality, to have his case heard fairly and publicly by an independent and impartial, who will decide either on their rights and obligations or on the merits of any criminal charges brought against them. »

Among the other international instruments relied on which the country is signatory, are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in its article 2.3 paragraph a and paragraph b and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in its article 7 (1) and (2).

The applicant said the violations caused him moral and psychological damages and that the inaction of the Council on his appeal, despite several unanswered correspondances, demoralized him while his premature retirement adversely affected him financially.

During the judgment, the Republic of Burkina Faso was not represented while Mr Sibiri’s lawyer was represented by Barthelemy Zongo.

Also in the three member panel on the case were the president of the Court, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, presiding, and Justice Dupe Atoki.

Source: Ghana News Agency