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Technical University students threaten nationwide demonstrations

The Ghana National Union of Technical Students (GNUTS), is threatening to boycott lectures and embark on nationwide demonstrations by Tuesday [March 27, 2018], if the government does not respond favorably to the concerns lecturers have raised about the Technical Universities (Amendment) Bill 2017.

The Bill, which is currently before Parliament, according to the students, seeks to cede the management of the Technical Universities to the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE).

 The lecturers contend that the bill in its current form undermines the autonomy of technical Universities, a position that the students support.The students had previously indicated their dissatisfaction with the Bill at a press conference, during which they described the move as an “oppressive and dictatorial management of tertiary institutions.”

The President of the Union, Kamal-Deen Mohammed, in Citi News interview said, “The battle just started because we will never sit down for this to happen. So we are waiting till Tuesday, if they fail to respond, there will be boycotting of lectures and nationwide demonstrations.”

At a previous press conference, Kamal-Deen Mohammed stated that, “Since the conversion of the polytechnics to technical universities in September 2016, these institutions are still running the same programs as they were when they were polytechnics, and have not been given clearance by the National Council for Technical Education (NCTE) to begin offering a straightaway 4-year degree program. This has largely affected the technical universities and is contributing to low patronage by applicants…In spite of the crippling but avoidable challenge affecting technical universities, government intends to worsen the case of these institutions with unnecessary sections in the technical universities (amendment) bill 2017.”

Technical University students on nationwide boycott

In 2017, the Ghana National Union of Technical Students (GNUTS), declared a nationwide boycott of lectures in all technical universities and polytechnics to protest government’s failure to constitute governing councils for the various Technical Universities.

The absence of governing councils had left graduates of 2015/2016 academic year without certificates to apply for jobs or further their education.

By: Marie-Franz Fordjoe/citifmonline.com/Ghana

Plan International hands over WASH facilities in commemoration of World Water Day

Plan International Ghana through the IWASH project has handed over a mechanised water system in Liati Datem and five-seater girl-friendly latrines located in  Agbonyra, Datem, Dafornu, Soba, Adzekope, Gagbefe, Konda and Ablodime all in the Afadjato South district.

These facilities have been provided under a 3-year Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWASH) Project being implemented by Plan International Ghana with funding from the German public.

The project seeks to provide a total of 19 units of school-based five-seater girl friendly latrines; and 20 community water systems in 2 districts in Volta and Eastern regions.

WASH-PLAN INT

The project ensures sustainability through capacity building of WATSAN committees and Natural leader teams in all the beneficiary communities.

Five communities (Liati  Datem, LiatiAgbonyra, Liati Soba, Have Adzekope and Have Ayoyoe) that have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) by the regional verification team.

In a short ceremony held at Liati Datem on March 22, 2018 – World Water Day, Acting Country Director of Plan International Ghana, Ahensah Asum-Kwarteng urged communities to ensure transparency and proper accountability of all fees collected in order to boost confidence of the communities in the running of the facilities to promote peace in the communities.

He further stressed the importance of the latrines for the girl child.

He said, “the provision of Girl friendly latrines for the schools is to ensure children, especially girls have access to decent toilet facilities during school hours so as to contribute to positive learning outcomes. These facilities should not be turned into communal latrines.

Individual households must construct their own latrines for their use.”

The District Chief Executive of Afadzato South, Hon. Wisdom SemanuSeneadza joined Plan International Ghana to commission the mechanized water system in LiatiDatem. He called on the community to ensure good sanitation practices in the community.

He stressed how the contribution of Plan International and other NGOs in the district ensured that Afadzato South District made a leap from the position of 201, out of 216 districts in the District League Table in 2016 to 90th position in 2017.

He further called for the community to maintain the mechanized borehole to serve future generations.

A representative of the Director of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CSWA) called on the community to ensure strict maintenance of the facilities to ensure sustainability.

The communities were delighted and hailed Plan International Ghana’s efforts in their communities.

The women and girls were particularly thrilled as they will now be able to access water quickly as traditionally, the responsibility of provision of household water rests on the woman.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Ghana Water Company gives water to St. Justin Basic School

The Accra West Area of the Ghana Water Company has installed two poly tanks on St. Justin 2 Basic School at Blekuma in the Ga Central municipality of the Greater Accra Region.

The action was in a swift response to a distress call from the authorities the school’s compound to provide potable water supply to cater for the water needs of  2,278 students.

To ensure constant and reliable supply of water, the company also connected the school to its national water supply network free of charge.

Though the school is within the GWC – Accra West supply area, it had no potable water supply thus affecting sanitation management as well as hygiene in the school.

At a short ceremony to unveil the facility the GWC Accra Area Chief Manager, Peter De-Veer said the access to potable water supply is essential for public health management and his company will continue to work hard to provide good drinking water for the populace.

Receiving the facility, Director of Education in the Ga Central, Denise Welbech, thanked the management of the company for coming to the aid of the school.

She said the school was relying on borehole which was not helping them and they resort to buying from water tanker vendors and that cost the school a lot of money.

She said the situation was affecting academic work of the school…adding that GWC donating 2 poly tanks and connecting the school to the National Water Supply Network to make sure there is a constant water supply will enhance effective teaching and learning in the school.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Dr Opuni, Agongo trial begins today amid claims of witch-hunting

Former Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Stephen Opuni, and the Chief Executive of Agricult Limited, Seidu Agongo, will appear before the Accra High Court Monday, to answer to 27 counts of various charges.

The charges include willfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption and defrauding by false pretence.

Dr Stephen Opuni is said to be the main brain behind the award of contracts totalling about $512 million during the transition period.

Dr Opuni, appointed on November 30, 2013, to head COCOCBOD, is alleged to have mismanaged the cocoa sector during four-year tenure.

He was one the first government appointees to be sacked by Akufo-Addo administration and was once headed the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

He was relieved of his post at the FDA on January 12, 2017, barely a week after the Akufo-Addo regime took office.

It is alleged that Dr Opuni awarded contracts to Mr Agongo’s company to import fertiliser although he knew Agricult Limited was in no position to execute the contract.

Background

The state, led by Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, claims that Dr Opuni connived with CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited, Mr Agongo to secure GHS43.1million worth of fertilizer contract even when the two knew the terms and conditions could not be met.

The fertilisers were to be imported from Germany for onward distribution to farmers for the 2013/2014 cocoa farming season.

But the fertilisers were produced locally by Mr Agongo’s company contrary to the terms of the agreement.

The state observed the clandestine strategy was carried out in the subsequent farming seasons resulting in a major contract costing GHS75.3million in 2015.

Investigations into contracts signed by Dr Opuni started three days after the inauguration of President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in January last year.

In February 2017, the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) froze the assets of Dr Opuni as part of investigations into his tenure as CEO of COCOBOD.

His passport was seized and was subsequently invited by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) where he reportedly endured some six-long hours of questioning on a wide range of issues, including alleged massive corruption in the cocoa sector.

In March 2017, the government cancelled a contract worth GH¢255 million awarded by the John Mahama administration for the supply of farm inputs to cocoa farmers upon the advice of the newly inaugurated Board of Ghana Cocoa Board chaired by Hackman Owusu Agyemang.

The contract was for the supply of pesticides, weedicides, fungicides, insecticides and fertilizers to COCOBOD for onward distribution to cocoa farmers throughout the country.

However, it was later detected that six companies involved in the supply of the chemicals all belong to one person, necessitating the abrogation, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang revealed.

Witch-hunting

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), the governing party that appointed Dr Opuni in 2013 says it will rally behind  Dr Opuni.

Describing the charges against Dr Opuni as made-up, Kofi Adams, National Organiser of the NDC said NDC executives and farmers whose lives have been impacted by the work of the former COCOBOD CEO will rise to his defence.

Mr Adams said the former COCOBOD CEO has done nothing wrong to deserve the treatment being meted out to him by the current government.

“Why didn’t the Board report any wrongdoing when it approved those contracts?” the NDC Organiser asked, adding the government is hunting for people to blame for its inefficiency.

No witch-hunting

Meanwhile, the Attorney-General has said her office is not witch-hunting any member of the opposition NDC.

Gloria Akuffo said she is only executing her mandate as stipulated by the laws of the state.

“By the time we finish the hearing, we will know if I am witch-hunting or that they [27 charges] are justifiable,” the Attorney-General counters.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Instil ethical conduct in your practice – Akufo-Addo urges Engineers

The President has charged the newly inaugurated President of Ghana Institution of Engineering (GhIE), Ing. Steve A. Amoaning-Yankson to instil ethical conduct among local Engineers.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo wants members of the Institute to ensure their projects are delivered on time, conform with quality standards and are within budget.

This admonishing was contained in a speech read on behalf of the President by Boakye Agyarko, Minister of Energy, at the 49th Presidential Inauguration and Banquet to celebrate 50 years of GhIE existence.

The event was held to climax the 2018 Engineering Week Celebration held at the International Students Guest Centre (ISGC), Teiman, near Abokobi, Accra on Friday, March 23, 2018.

Mr Agyarko noted that the theme for the anniversary, ‘GhIE @50: Engineering Ghana’s Sustainable Development’, aligns perfectly with the President’s vision of Ghana Beyond Aid.

“If we take a critical look at your theme, we would come to the conclusion that it is critical to ensure the long-term operation and maintenance of the infrastructure in the country,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo assured Ghanaian Engineers that his government is ready to work with them in various engineering fields to enhance the quality of services and infrastructure in Ghana.

Delivering his inaugural address, the newly sworn-in President of GhIE, Ing. Steve A. Amoaning-Yankson backed the President’s call and urged his fellow Engineers to stay relevant.

“We must develop our Engineering institutions to offer training and mentorship to shape the attitudes and behavioural patterns for the next generations of Engineering Practitioners. Particularly for our members in the civil and public service, character ethics must be recognized as the foundation of success. The critical ingredients are integrity, humility, simplicity, courage, justice and modesty,” the new President said.

Handing over the button of authority to the new President, the outgoing President of GhIE, Ing. Mrs Carlien Bou-Chedid thanked WINE (Women in Engineering) members, Council members, Past Presidents and staffs of GhIE for their great support in assisting her, as the first female President of GhIE to deliver her mandate flawlessly.

GhIE-at-50-elevate

-Photo: Outgoing President of GhIE, Ing. Mrs Carlien Bou-Chedid, handing over the chain of authority to the new President, Ing. Steve Amoaning-Yankson

Past Presidents of GhIE, Council members, Engineers from all over the country and the general public were at the banquet, where the 50 years anniversary cake was cut.

12 Engineers were elevated to the status of Fellows of GhIE at the ceremony.

The 2018 Engineering Week celebration and the year-long Golden Jubilee anniversary celebration were proudly supported by Tullow Oil, VRA, G&J Technical Services Ltd, Bui Power Authority, Ghana Gas, Ghacem and other sponsors.

Source: myjoyonline

KIA gets 7 new biometric e-Gates

Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has inaugurated seven biometric e-Gates at the International Arrival Hall of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

Two other e-Gates are being installed at the Departure Hall, while in the near future others would be installed at the new Terminal Three after Airport construction works are completed.

The e-Gates provide automatic border control solution and ease peak traffic workload for immigration.

The e-Gates allow travellers to use their passports to automatically enter and exit the country and it would also cater for Registered Traveller Programmes and for regular passenger processing.

This new system would be replacing the PISCES System, which only does identification.

The new system also supports the functionality of border control by performing identification, authentication and verification.

The entire project costs $18 million and is being sponsored by the Communications Ministry.

It covers the KIA, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) Headquarters and subsidiary offices, Disaster Recovery, the two seaports at Tema and Takoradi, three land borders at Paga in the Upper East Region, Aflao in the Volta Region and Elubo in the Western Region.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the Communications Ministry was supporting the deployment of the e-Immigration solution as part of the Government’s digitisation agenda and for the GIS enhanced service delivery by facilitating the exchange of information.

She described the e-Gates as a total integrated e-Immigration system that was capable of regulating entry and exit from Ghana.

She said it would provide a case management system to process permits and also meet the current and future needs of the GIS.

“We should, therefore, look forward to an improvement in the quality of service they offer to the public,” she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the focus of the e-Immigration system was the provision of an end-to-end integration of border control operations, permit and visa management systems, business processes including document and record management, web-enabled system, improved and efficient information technology infrastructure and interconnection with key stakeholders.

She said it was the expectation of Government that the GIS would make optimum use of new improved Secure Border Management System, specially developed for Ghana that conforms to global standards and completely migrates from the present PISCE System.

“I entreat all the stakeholders to engage in extensive public education to enable the public to avail themselves of this innovation,” she said.

She commended other institutions, which were collaborating in the execution of the project namely the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Aviation, the GIS, the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the contractors (Gemalto, Josanti and Dart Company).

Mrs Cecilia Dapaah, the Minister of Aviation, said: “We are particularly elated that this thing is now being commissioned to start work. We all want to see people go through a seamless arrival process; thus they would go and sell Ghana out.”

She said the project was part of the process to lessen the hustle of travelling adding that it was in line with government’s vision to ensure efficiency at the KIA.

Mr John Dekyem Attafuah, the Managing Director, GACL, said the inauguration of the project was a major milestone in the history of the aviation industry in Ghana.

“It is our hope that the GIS would let this service operate efficiently,” he added.

Mr Eric Afari, the Deputy Commissioner of GIS, said: “It is our desire and hope that this gate will be put to good use so that it will have the full benefit for Ghana.”

“We believe that after this inauguration, Ghanaians would be encouraged to enrol so that we take about 57 per cent of all the travellers who come here to the e-Gate and then free the rest of the electronic booths for the non-Ghanaians,” he added.

He said the overall effect would be to reduce the processing time and make it stress-free at the KIA.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Respect ban on corporal punishment – GES warns teachers

The Ghana Education Service [GES], has warned that teachers in both private and public schools who inflict Corporal punishment on students would be appropriately dealt with per the guidelines of the service.

In a statement signed by the Director-General of Ghana Education Service, Jacob A. M. Kor,  he said “it has come to their notice that the ban on corporal punishment is not being enforced in schools.”

“We wish to indicate that Corporal punishment in our institutions is illegal and would not be tolerated in any form”

The Service explained that “The directive is in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the right of the child (CRC), which was corrected in Ghana in 1990, and the Children’s Act of 1998 m(Act 560).

“We strongly advise that teachers, Educational Workers and staff of Public and Private would continue to exhibit the best professional conduct throughout the entire process of educational service delivery to pupils and students, without having to resort to the use of corporal punishment”.

According to the GES, it was becoming public knowledge that teachers continued to apply the cane even though the GES had banned the practice.

Concerns are that, there have been instances where in the course of administering corporal punishment, the teachers ended up deforming the pupils.

The Service is of the firm belief that there are different ways by which pupils or students could be punished, citing for instance, giving students assignments to do while their mates are playing during break time among others.

By: Farida Yusif/citifmonline.com/Ghana

We’ll review forest fines to tackle deforestation – Amewu

As Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark International Forest Day, government has reiterated its commitment to  implementing interventions aimed at addressing deforestation.

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, who made this known indicated that government will review fines for forest offences to make it more deterrent.

The Minister indicated that this will ensure a preservation of  Ghana’s forest reserves and  the economy in general.

The interventions, some of which have been implemented, according to the Minister, include the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Ghana and the European Union (EU) to eliminate trade of illegal wood in both domestic and international markets, as well as a reduction in emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation through the implementation of the Ghana Forest Investment Program (GFIP) among others.

Mr. Amewu added that there is going to be massive forest plantation development drive, adding that there would be a Tree Tenure Policy Reform and benefit sharing arrangements to motivate farmers to plant more trees on their farms during land preparation.

By: Kojo Agyeman/citifmonline.com/Ghana

AWMA summit: Be versatile, creative – female journalists urged

Women are under-represented in the media in Ghana: A cursory look at the media landscape particularly on radio, shows men dominate many of the programmes as hosts.

Some veteran media professionals believe the reason for this is that many women especially, upcoming female journalists, are not adequately preparing themselves to take up the roles their male colleagues get so easily.

The solution? Versatility and creativity according to speakers at the maiden summit organised by the Alliance for Women in Media Africa (AWMA) on the subject.

AWMA-summit

The speakers, most of them veteran journalists,  made a case for women empowerment in the media landscape.

Former Information Minister, Elizabeth Ohene and veteran journalist Nana Yaa Ofori Atta discussed the issue with Joy FM’s Head of Talk, Nhyira Addo at the summit held in Accra.

“Learn, Learn, Learn every day. There is somebody near you who knows how to do something. Learn and tomorrow you will be different,” the former Information Minister advised.

Nana Yaa Ofori Atta also urged young ladies to challenge themselves to achieve more in life. “Don’t be in a straight jacket,” she stressed.

The maiden AWMA summit was organised to highlight the challenges and opportunities that exist for female media personnel in Ghana.

Convener of the group Shamima Muslim Alhassan said the summit is the first step toward shaping the future of Ghanaian women in media.

“We need to be deserving about whatever progress we seek but we need to also be intentional about it. We can’t always just sit and expect things to fall into our laps.

“We are just saying that be conscious of what you want and then work towards achieving what you want given the opportunity available to you,” she urged.

 Source: myjoyonline

‘Your case is without merit’: Amidu replies Ayine’s suit challenging his age

Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, says a suit challenging his appointment on grounds that he has passed the statutory age for employment is without merit.

Prior to Mr Amidu’s vetting by Parliament, former Attorney General, Dr Dominic Ayine,filed a case at the Supreme Court praying the apex court to revoke the nomination on grounds that Mr Amidu’s age, 66 years, bars him from public service employment.

However, in a reply filed at the Supreme Court, Mr Amidu notes that Mr Ayine has refused to “appreciate the fact that Parliament has residual power under the 1992 Constitution to enact sui generis provisions in an Act of Parliament such as Section 13 of Act 959 to deal with matters such as the intractable canker of corruption and corruption related offences expressly proscribed by the Constitution and laws of Ghana by engaging such legal talents on such terms and conditions as would effectively achieve the objective of the Constitutional proscriptions.”

Mr Amidu also wants the Supreme Court to dismiss Dr Ayine’s case “as being without any merit whatsoever under the 1992 Constitution”.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Department, which is joined to the suit challenging Mr Amidu’s appointment, has also asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the case filed by the Bolga East Member of Parliament.

In the statement of case filed by the Attorney General’s Department, the Deputy Attorney General Godfred Dame avers the Special Prosecutor is not subject to the retiring age of the public servant and cannot, therefore, be disappointed under Article 199 of the Constitution.

The court is yet to set a date to hear the case.

 

Source: myjoyonline

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