By Bernice Bessey & Jeremiah Nutsugah
The the 2018/2019 Ghana District League Table II report, which scores and ranks regions and districts for the delivery of social development to their people, has revealed the abysmal performance of the Eastern Region in this direction.
The Eastern Region, which has about six different ethnic groups, was the least on the regional league, due to its failure to meet the standards set, in terms of child protection, education, health, governance, sanitation, water and security.
Ironically, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, hails from this region which is dangling at the bottom of the league table.
Thus, the Eastern Region performed abysmally on the league table, with the score of 38.8, followed by the Northern, 39.6, Volta, 43.4, Brong Ahafo, 47.6, Upper West, 47.8, Upper East, 48.5 and Western, 49.5.
The Greater Accra Region, however, topped the league table with 54.8 points, Central, 51.9 and Ashanti, 51.4.
The 2018/2019 District League Table II (DLT II) was launched yesterday in Accra, and was initiated by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICE) in collaboration with the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) since 2014.
As part of measures to improve the effectiveness of the league and achieve favourable outcomes, new methodology was deployed in 2018/2019.
Dr Yoshimi Nishino, Chief of Policy and Evidence, UNICEF, presenting the findings, indicated that the Eastern Region performed miserable on all the indicators such as sanitation, quality water supplier, skilled birth attendance (SBA), education, governance and security.
Interestingly, the Ashanti Region was, however, discovered to have the best and the worst performing districts, when it was scrutinised by the UNICEF and CDD-Ghana.
According to her, the Asante Akim North and Asokore Mampong Municipal assemblies, both in the Ashanti Region, were ranked first and lowest respectively.
She said the report provides district ranking within the social sector, which also enables better prioritisation, planning, resource allocation and implementation, adding that the objective was to provide evidence to inform equity-focused decisions that would impact on the quality of social services.
Dr Yoshimi Nishino said that the 2018/2019 DLT II added two more indicators – birth registration and net school attendance/net intake at primary level – to the seven indicators.
Marian Kpakpah, Chief Director of the Ministry of Planning, chairing the report launch, indicated that the findings would serve as a guiding principle in the government’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She commended UNICEF and CCD-Ghana for their laudable initiative of birthing the District League Table, and, however, added that the idea behind the initiative was not to name and shame least performing regions and districts, but to encourage them to do more.
Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative to Ghana, indicated that since the initiative commencedt in 2014, it has proven to be useful for monitoring, social accountability and advocacy.
“It is a holistic and multi-sector tool that has been providing evidence for enhanced decision-making. Indeed, it allows the government, parliamentarians, civil society, media and all partners to understand the geographical spread of social development, to determine which parts of the country are doing well or lagging behind, and to make evidence-based policy decisions,” she added.
According to her, although the results have revealed the least performing regions and districts, more emphasis should be placed on the ones that performed highly.
She said UNICEF and CDD-Ghana will maintain in close collaboration with the supervisory ministries, such as the Ministry of Planning and Finance, and the National Development Planning Commission, Ghana Statistical Service, academia and the me
Parliament Cringes Over Nigeria …calls on media to tone down …as ‘Anago’ population in Ghana hits 7m with 2m Ghanaians also living in ‘Alata’
By Agnes Ansah
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs has made a clarion call to the media to tone down reportage on recent kidnapping issues implicating some Nigerians.
The committee, made up of both the Majority and Minority Members of Parliament (MP), collaborated and called on the media to be circumspect in its reportage to avoid confrontations between Ghana and Nigeria.
“We have heard reports in newspapers and radio about some Nigerians who have committed crimes. This is not a new thing. I agree we have to speak about it, but the level with which it has gotten to, we all have to be circumspect and cautious of our speech,” Mr Frank Annor Dompreh, MP for Nsawam/Adoagyiri Region in the Eastern Region and Chairman of the committee, said.
He said both the Minority and Majority are concerned with the issue, hence, have extended an invitation to the Nigerian High Commissioner to meet with the committee to deliberate on the issue.
Mr Annor-Dompreh intimated that just as we have about seven million Nigerians living in Ghana, we also have our nationals in their country.
“Some few weeks ago, Ghanaian delegations including myself, were in Nigeria and were told that there are about two million Ghanaians in Nigeria who are working and have established themselves over there, so what would happen if they are deported back to the country?” he quizzed.
He said one shouldn’t associate crime with a particular country, because when “we went to Nigeria, we heard that some Ghanaians are also involved in some illegalities.”
“We shouldn’t generalise the atrocities that are being committed. If someone commits a crime, let’s deal with the individual instead of generalising the issue. Let’s leave the security agencies to do their work. We don’t want the events that took place in 1969 and 1982 to repeat itself. We don’t want to Ghanaians in Nigeria to be deported back home,” he said.
He beseeched Ghanaians not to pre-judge offenders when they have not been pronounced guilty by the court, since same could be done to Ghanaian nationals in Nigeria.
The Chairman also observed that aside the aforementioned reasons, the presidents of both countries have mutual respect for each other, and implored the media to be cautious of its reportage.
“I beg you in the name of God to be circumspect in your reportage. Let’s not mention names. If something happens in the country, we will all be affected. If you look at the geographical proximity, we are all not safe, so let’s be guided by this. I have confidence in the media that, just as we have said it, all of us will display some level of maturity in our subsequent reportage.”
Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu and Ranking Member of the committee, also advised that Ghana preserve the relationship that it has with Nigeria. He said that the two nations have long standing relations, so both will be affected if something should happen.
“Let’s preserve the diplomatic and bilateral relations that we have with them. The two nations have a standing relationship, so if something happens we will all be affected. Let’s avoid comments and conducts that will spark conflict.”
Nigerian spare parts dealers attacked at Suame
However, the call from the committee seems not to have sunk in with some traders in the Suame Market in Kumasi, as shops belonging to some Nigerians were forcibly shut.
The Nigerian traders said that they had been targeted ostensibly for the involvement of Nigerian nationals in the recent alleged kidnappings in Ghana.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association, Chief Kizito Obiora, said the attacks started on Saturday. He disclosed they have been forced to close their shops since last Friday, and all through the weekend, and the perpetrators are demanding that they leave the country.
Fortunately, the police in the Ashanti Region stepped in and is providing security for them to ensure their safety.
Response of Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana
Meanwhile,the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Olufemi Michael Abikoye, issued a statement yesterday to address the issue.
He indicated that the commission does not, and will never condone some misguided youth that have taken to criminality as a way of life, regardless of nationality, creed or colour. He said Nigerians or Ghanaians alike stand to be condemned in its totality and punished according to the municipal laws of the land if found guilty.
It, however, becomes terribly worrisome to take the actions of an insignificant few elements from Nigeria to criminalise and to unfairly or unreasonable canonise a brotherly country like Nigeria as a country of criminals who have come to disturb the peace in Ghana, he lamented.
Ambassador Abikoye said the excellent relations that exist between Nigeria and Ghana as maternal brotherly countries under His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and his brother, President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo, can never be allowed to be jeopardised by xenophobic tendencies over such intents.
He, therefore, called on the media to be moderate in its reportage on criminal issues.
Cabinet has given approval for a 233million Euro facility for the construction of the Tamale and Damongo water systems, aimed at improving delivery of potable drinking water to an estimated 800,000 people in the Northern Region.
The existing water supply system for Tamale and its environs was constructed in 1972, with some expansion works carried out in 2008. However, as a result of the rapidly growing population, demand has outstripped supply, compelling the Ghana Water Company to ration supply in these areas.
Briefing journalists in Accra on Tuesday, July 18 2019, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the new project was aimed at addressing the supply constraints for Tamale and its surrounding communities, as well as achieving the Government of Ghana target of water for all by 2030.
“The total number of target beneficiaries is almost 800,000 from Tamale through Yapei and Damongo,” he told reporters.
Mr. Nkrumah disclosed that the scope of work for the project covers the construction of a new water treatment plant with pumps and transmission pipelines, pumping station, new district offices at Tamale, and installation of dedicated power lines.
Additionally, the water asset management would be improved through the provision and laying of a primary distribution network, service connection materials, and training of staff.
The project is financed by an export credit facility from a number of institutions, led by the Deutsche Bank.
By Maxwell Ofori
Some students who have first degrees in the medical sciences would be offered scholarship for post graduate training in the field of medicine.
This opportunity has been made possible following an agreement signed between the Scholarship Secretariat of Ghana and the St George University School of Medicine in the Carribean island of Grenada.
A brief ceremony was held last Thursday in Accra to officially seal the agreement through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The Registrar for the Scholarship Secretariat, Mr Kingsley Agyeman, signed on behalf of Ghana, while the Executive Director of International Growth and Strategy, Mr Christopher Sauer, initialed for the university. The Scholarship Secretariat will be the coordinating agency.
The packages will range from 50 per cent to 100 per cent funding by the St George University, the awarding institution.
In his remarks, Mr Kingsley Agyeman noted that investment in human capital was the best venture to create opportunities, particularly for the young ones. “Consequently, such agreements were critical in creating better opportunities for the younger generation,” he added.
Breaking the package down, Mr Agyeman said: “The institution (St George University) has given a partial scholarship of 50 per cent, which means [the] Government of Ghana will also add 50 per,” adding that five students who have their first degree in biological science and science-related courses will benefit from the scholarship.”
Commenting on the uniqueness of the programme, the Registrar asserted that the institution contributed about 40 per cent to the Grenada Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through its international affiliations to over 400 schools across the globe.
That, he believed, would also give the students lots of exposure and experiences in building their capacity and skills to help Ghana upon their completion and return to the country. It was the hope of the Registrar that students who would be selected for such programmes would excel and make Ghana proud.
On his part, the Executive Director of International Growth and Strategy for the University, Mr Sauer, said Ghana had a reputation for creating great students at the international level, saying that was one of the reasons for the partnership.
He expressed the hope that the collaboration between Ghana and the St George University would see to the grooming of great health professionals in the country.
St George University School of Medicine is a private international university offering degrees in medicine and other related programmes.
It is reputed to be among the best universities that offer world class educational experience in the training of health professionals.
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, and the Board Chairman of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Okoe Boye, witnessed the signing of the MoU.
By Maxwell Ofori
A legislation to ensure further robustness of the country’s financial sectors, and to bring banking closer to the people, is in the offing, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated.
The anticipated legislation follows the Central Bank’s recent moves to sanitise the financial sector, which saw some banks being merged, and some directors facing trial over alleged mismanagement of funds.
To make the sector healthier, “We expect a new legislation to ensure that our banks and non-banking financial institutions, especially rural and community banks, provide services that could bring banking and financial transactions even closer to the public,” the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo was speaking at this year’s Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) African Regional Conference, held in Accra on the theme; ‘Enabling the digital economy.’
President Akufo-Addo observed that Ghana, and by extension Africa, could not afford to lag behind the digital world, adding that all government institutions were undergoing rigorous measures to digitally transact business.
However, looking at the emerging trends in this digital era, President Akufo-Addo commended the Central Bank’s move to strengthen the regulatory environment, and urged it on.
The President listed the numerous digital transformations the country is currently witnessing, including the mobile money interoperability, digital address system, national identification card, E-justice system, and others. He mentioned that the government was rolling out a programme to ensure that by 2020, all government payments and receipts were done electronically.
“In all of these, we recognise that the evolution of technological innovations also has a downside. The world over, cyber-attacks on digitsed payment platforms have become sophisticated, and it is important that we close ranks to deal with these new emerging threats, lest we risk the erosion of confidence in our financial payment system.
“Just as technology offers opportunities to grow our economies and bring progress to our people, there are criminal syndicates who will always be bent on exploiting it for their selfish interests. They have to be relentlessly fought,” he advised.
The President also urged the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to make sure the financial sector remained strong for global integration, by ensuring compliance with international standards.
According to the President, as part of global efforts to secure the financial sector against cybercrime, Ghana has set up a National Cyber Security Center, to oversee and coordinate the nation’s cyber security progress.
Through the center, a computer emergency response team ecosystem has been developed, as well as other programmes, which have set Ghana on the path to developing a robust national cyber security system, the President noted.
The event brought together over 500 participants from over 45 countries across Africa and beyond, including policy makers and industry players.
Delivering his address, the Governor of the BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, indicated that digital innovation was creating unprecedented opportunities for Africa to grow its economy, create jobs, and transform people’s lives.
He believed that the numerous digitisation processes, being implemented by the government, such the E-justice, paperless port, and digital property addresses system would ultimately improve Ghana’s business environment.
Dr Addison further stated that the BoG was collaborating with stakeholders, including telecommunication companies, to digitise the financial sector.
The 26th edition of the SWIFT African Regional Conference, which was opened yesterday, June 18, at the Kempinski Gold Coast in Accra, Ghana, would end on Thursday June 20.
The Responsive Private Healthcare Service Providers Association of Ghana (ROPHESPAG) has threatened to withdraw the services of its members if the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) does not pay their ten months claims in arrears.
The association says the delay in payments has put some health service providers in court for defaulting in paying their suppliers, bank loans and drafts, honouring tax obligations to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and non-payment of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions.
The Private Healthcare Service Providers, which consists of pharmaceutical companies and outlets, hospitals, clinics, maternity homes, investigation and images companies in Ghana, say the inability of the NHIA to pay claims for long periods is collapsing their businesses.
The Chronicle finds this development very worrying, considering the fact that the health insurance scheme has, over the years, proven to be an initiative that is enhancing the health status of the people, and any attempt to stifle it should not be entertained.
We, therefore, join the Private Healthcare Service Providers and urge the government, Ministry of Health, NHIA, Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, and stakeholders to treat this issue with the utmost urgency it deserves, to pre-empt any imminent action from the service providers.
The Chronicle would like to remind the NHIA that if there has not been any review in the rules of engagement between it and the health service providers, then it stands to reason that the Authority has breached its contractual agreement that mandates it to make payments within 90 days of receipt of a claim.
Further, if the claims by the health service providers that the most recent payment they have received under the scheme was for the month of July 2018, leaving a huge debt of between nine to 10 months, then The Chronicle would appeal to the NHIA to urgently put in place measures to redeem itself as a step to sustaining the scheme.
We would also like to emphasis that if tariffs on the operational price list for the Private Health Service Providers is unrealistic, then The Chronicle sincerely believes that both the NHIA and the Health Service Providers should find a common platform to iron out the differences, so as to improve upon the scheme.
The Chronicle recalls that the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme was a consequence of the government’s effort at adopting a sustainable health care financing system with the aim of achieving universal health coverage.
Therefore, there is the need for stakeholders to explore the perceptions and experiences of health care providers and subscribers, regarding the sustenance of the NHIS in Ghana.
The Chronicle has not lost sight of the fact that the NHIS has, over the years, contributed to the revenue base of health service providers and increased healthcare utilisation at provider centers. That notwithstanding, pragmatic measures must be put in place keep the health service providers in business.
The NHIS has the potential of ensuring universal health coverage, provided stakeholders make deliberate efforts at addressing the obvious sustainable threats identified by the health service providers.
Written by Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey
There is no doubt that in today’s Ghana, the city of Cape Coast boasts of the highest concentration of the best schools in Ghana – Mfantsipim, Adisadel, St Augustine’s, Wesley Girls High School, Holy Child School, Ghana National College, Aggrey Memorial School… add University of Cape Coast and top it up with Cape Coast Technical University… truly Cape Coast is the educational capital of Ghana.
I have been to St Augustine’s only once, and that was in 1990 when I took my drama group, Theatre Mirrors, there for a performance of ‘The Trial of Nelson Mandela.’
You can, therefore, imagine how I felt when, on Monday 10 June 2019 I received a phone call from the Headmaster of St Augustine’s …
“Captain, we are doing an anniversary this Saturday, 15 June, and we want you to come as Special Guest of Honour …before I could respond the line went dead.
Me, Captain, old boy of Achimota School, to be invited as “Special Guest of Honour” to St Augustine’s? No! The school is over 80 years old, with a tall list of famous old boys, including Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere… no, there is something wrong somewhere.
One hour later, the line came alive again…
“Captain, sorry, the network was bad. This is the Headmaster… St Augustine’s.
“Yes, Honourable. We are celebrating our 5th Anniversary at NSAPOR Berekum …sorry for the late contact – it was difficult getting your number…”
Now I understand. St Augustine’s Senior High School in Berekum, my hometown, celebrating its 5th Anniversary, very well. I am Presby not Catholic, but as a former Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, why not?
Friday evening circa 10 pm we left Accra for Berekum, and after filling petrol at Achimota, I slept, only to wake up to find the car at a standstill.
“Driver, what is the problem?”
“Captain there is an accident which has blocked the road.
There are over 200 cars ahead of us…”
“Oh, my God! Time check – midnight.”
“Where are we?”
“We just passed Linda Dor, Bunso junction…”
After about one hour, a local boy volunteered a detour route which took us through thick bush – along the old abandoned dis-used Accra-Kumasi highway, then after about 10 kilometres, we hit the main road at Anyinam and continued our journey. We got to Berekum around 7.30 in the morning.
The programme was billed to start at 9 am and I was ready, but my personal advisors suggested that we wait awhile. One of them made a valid point.
“Captain, this is a Catholic institution, and as for the Catholics they don’t joke with discipline. Let’s go…”
Reader, we got to NSAPOR, 2 kilometres outside Berekum to see that the programme had taken off already. We were late!
A Guard of Honour of the School’s Cadet Corps, under the command of a female student, formed up, marched past in salute, and the school’s cultural group entertained us with a rapturous performance.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Berekum West, Hon Isaac Osei, was around, and he spoke beautifully, donating 10 ceiling fans and making very nice statements about the school.
The Guest Speaker was Dr Adjei Hinneh, formerly Headmaster of Berekum Secondary School and retired Regional Director of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Brong Ahafo.
You know at such functions people hardly pay attention, apart from those of us at the high table. He spoke, of course, in English and rattled on and on …
According to him, in the year 1955, Japan made a national survey and discovered that the average life expectancy was 61 for men and 60 for women. Nuclear families were on average of six and basically rural farming.
After 50 years of vigorous educational policy, Japan had changed. Another survey in 2005 showed remarkable results – the life expectancy had increased to 80 years for both sexes, family size had reduced averagely to four, and percentage in agriculture drastically reduced in favour of industrialisation.
“Good quality education is directly related to improved quality of lives,” declared Dr Adjei Hinneh.
In his report the Headmaster, Rev Fr Kumi, said the school had a student population of 248, predominantly a day school, with 41 staff and a tall list of problems – classrooms, dormitories, computers, sick bay, staff common room… they seemed to be a school struggling to survive.
You can imagine the paparazzi – all over with their cameras. There was one particular elderly man, definitely over 60 years old, with a pronounced all-white beard, holding a small camera pitched on a pole, in jeans and black T-shirt, all over the place on the anniversary ground – one minute he is here, the other minute over there, wiping his white beard.
It was now past 3 pm, and the Chairman for the occasion, Osaberima Kyere Dartey II, Benkumhene of the Berekum Traditional Area and Chief of Nsapor, my boyhood friend in the 80s, a renowned contractor in Accra – he summarised everything up beautifully, pledging the support of Nananom for the school.
We left for home at about 4 pm.
A three-unit classroom block for the Wurompo L/A Primary School in the Wenchi Municipality in the Bono Region awarded on contract between the year 2000 and 2004 has been abandoned, forcing pupils and teachers to undertake lessons under trees.
The Unit Committee Chairman for Wurompo/Akete Electoral Area, Mr. Isaac Manu, said “the issue of abandoned projects has become a concern on [a] daily basis, yet we are not seeing any positive results,” adding, “At the moment, the pupils are sitting under trees for classes.”
“Others also sit in a shed, but during the rainy season, we do allow them to run into church buildings to have classes,” he said.
In a related development, Mr. Kwaw Joseph, Unit Committee Secretary for Wurompo/Akete Electoral Area, has appealed to the Wenchi Municipal Assembly, the Member of Parliament, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other philanthropists to come to their aid and assist them with some basic social amenities such as electricity, and toilet facility among other things. Attempts to find the contractor proved futile, as the school authorities, Unit Committee Chairman had no idea about who the contractor was.
According to them, it was during ex-President Kufuor’s regime that the contract was awarded, and they hardly recollect anything after fifteen years.
The Techiman Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), John Kofi Donyina, has distributed 280,000 poly-clonial cashew seedlings to 1,000 farmers in the Municipality.
The MCE assured that the Assembly has nursed enough poly-clonial cashew seedlings for all farmers in the Municipality.
Addressing a gathering at the launch of the free distribution of the poly-clonial cashew seedlings for the 2019 season, organised by the Assembly, the MCE said the move was in line with the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
Mr. Donyina said cashew farming was now a lucrative business in this country, and explained that the vision of the Planting for Food and Jobs programme is to provide money for farmers to enable them cater for their families.
He urged farmers to plant and nurse more cashew trees, because foreign donors from Canada have pledged to support the programme. The MCE appealed to farmers to adopt good farming practices, and also follow the instructions of the Agriculture Extension Officers.
The Municipal Director of Agriculture, Mr. Eric Hudson Asamani, explained that the Agriculture Department had released more extension officers within the Municipality to assist farmers in the planting of the poly-clonial seedlings.
He added that this type is the improved variety with quality yields, and it produces more healthy seeds than the local variety.
Mr. Asamani said farmers who want to apply fertiliser to their poly-clonial cashew seedlings in order for it to yield more can do so, and stressed that the extension officers were ready to support farmers in the Municipality to meet their dreams.
He advised farmers to adopt the irrigation farming methods to water their cashew plants in case the rain pattern fails them.
The Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Gyeile Nurah, said that the Bono-East Region is one of the leading producers of cashew in the country, and explained that the government will soon establish a development authority that will manage cashew in the country, and there will be no cheating or differences in the prices of cashew.
He thanked all beneficiaries for taking part in the President’s initiatives that is geared towards ensuring the welfare of farmers in the country.
The Techiman Municipal Chairman of the Cashew Growers Association, Mr. Kingsley Owusu Acheampong, appealed to the government to increase the prices of cashew in the country.
The beneficiaries applauded the government for the good initiative, and pleaded for more support that will help farmers get enough money to cater for their families.
Pix: John Donyina, Techiman Municipal Chief Executive, presenting seedlings to the farmers