Business activities bounce back

maBusiness activities in Accra have returned to normal, a day after the Supreme Court affirmed Mr John Dramani Mahama as the validly elected President in the 2012 elections.

When the Daily Graphic toured the streets of the city yesterday, most of the places that had been quiet on Thursday had started bustling with normal activities.

The shops and stalls had opened for business. Corporate institutions, including the banks and the ministries that were deserted last Thursday had also resumed operations.

Busy marketplaces such as the central business district (CBD) that were virtually empty on Thursday were back in business, as traders were seen busily selling their merchandise.

The commercial transport business had its fair share as ‘trotro’ and taxi drivers were spotted shouting for passengers at their respective stations.

As is normal in Accra on Friday morning, there was vehicular traffic on some major roads, while hawkers and traders that were out of sight from the roads last Thursday had returned to business.

The Atmosphere before the judgement on Thursday

An unusually quiet atmosphere, closed shops, empty streets and deserted markets were the defining features of Accra while the country awaited the landmark Supreme Court judgement on the 2012 election petition.

The fear of violence as a reaction to the pronouncement of the ruling was the cause of the empty streets, markets and closed shops.

The typical rush hour traffic that is seen in most parts of the national capital was absent.

The closure of the shops, stalls and kiosks resulted in deafening silence uncharacteristic of the CBD, known for its chaotic atmosphere occasioned by human and vehicular congestion and the host of hawkers and head porters.

Business activities are slow
Although business activities had resumed, most traders at the various markets, including Kantamanto, Kaneshie and Makola, complained that business was yet to pick up.

They attributed the slow pace of business to the purchase of bulk items, especially foodstuffs, on Wednesday, in anticipation that there would be violence after the ruling.

‘I did not go to my shop on Thursday because of the fear of violence.

‘However, by the grace of God everything went on peacefully and so I  also have returned to my business. But the pace of buying is slow,’ Madam Rita Donkor told the Daily Graphic.

At the Trades Union Congress (TUC) Market, it was observed that most of the traders, mostly hawkers, who were not on the streets on the day of the judgement had taken over the streets again as they sold their wares.

Reactions to the verdict
While most of the people described Thursday’s ruling as victory for the country, others congratulated Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on accepting the judgement.

‘The victory went for President John Mahama, but it was the attitude of Nana Akufo-Addo that united the country,’  a trader at the Makola Market, Madam Adwoa Kyerewa, said.

‘I also like the fact that Ghanaians listened to the message of peace and, indeed, heeded the pieces of advice by our leaders and stayed away from violence,’ she added.

source: modernghana.com

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Nana-Akufo-AddoThe National Executive Committee of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has set up a committee to assess the ruling of the Supreme Court which dismissed a petition that sought to challenge the declaration of John Mahama as winner of the 2012 presidential election.

The party took the decision after a NEC meeting Friday, a day after the Supreme Court ruling.

Though the party’s 2012 flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated he will not seek a review of the judges’ decision, the executive committee of the party has tasked the team to study the reasons for the rejection of their petition.

Although it is not yet known the composition of the committee, Ashainti Ashanti Regional Chairman, Frederick Fredua Anto told Joy News, the committee will also advise the party on the way forward.

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision on Thursday, dismissed the case of the petitioners and upheld the declaration of president John Mahama by the Electoral Commission.

In a related development, Chief Executive Officer of construction firm, EUROGET Dr. Said Deraz, has congratulated Ghanaians for the maturity they showed during last Thursday’s ruling.

Dr. Deraz in a statement said the maturity and tolerance exhibited by Ghanaians ‘are worth emulating by neigbours in the sub region and the entire continent of Africa”.

‘Ghana’s experience has charted an exemplary path for the continent and all of you will never be forgotten for recording this remarkable space in the political annals of the continent,’ the statement said.

soiurce; modernghana.com

We must overhaul our Mining Laws – Wacam

Wacam, a human right, environmental and mining advocacy Non Governmental Organization (NGO), has called for a comprehensive review of the Minerals and Mining Act (Act 703) 2006 to ensure that Ghana derives maximum benefits from her mineral resources.

Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, the Associate Executive Director of Wacam while addressing the press stated that “Past and present administrations have adopted a piecemeal approach to resolving the concerns of the people of Ghana with respect to mining and thereby allowing mining companies to do whatever they wanted in pursuit of their corporate interests, to the detriment of the people and Government of Ghana.”

“The mining industry goes through a boom and a bust. The high gold price peaked around $1,910 per ounce in 2011 from $290 per ounce in 1999 and $405 per ounce in 2004.

“In 2004, Newmont used a gold price of about $400 for its profitability analysis and even at that low level of gold price, the Company deemed the Ahafo Project as a profitable venture.”

She emphasized that today, with a cash cost of Newmont around $600.00 and the price of gold hovering around $1,400, many mining companies like Newmont “are making a lot of profits while the State is losing out in terms of benefits”.

The statement observed that: Though the Act states that a development agreement is subject to ratification by Parliament, the discretion granted the Minister responsible for mines on a wide range of benefits to companies whose investment is more than US$500 million is the cause of the facility granted to Newmont in the investment agreement for the retention of 100% of its earnings in an offshore account.

“The problem is with the Mineral Laws of our country, and the opportunity for a comprehensive review of the Minerals and Mining Act of Ghana is now because we are already late in taking advantage of the gold boom” the statement reiterated.

Calling for a review of the Minerals and Mining Act to the Minerals Commission, Mrs. Hannah said the review of the minerals and mining law should take on board the inclusion of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) principle which gives mining communities leverage in the decision-making process that must be free from intimidation to accept or reject a mining project

“The Law must provide for No Go Zones to protect our environment, especially Forest Reserves, from mining. It must also incorporate the Polluter Pays Principle for mining companies to absorb socio-cultural; environmental; civil; political and economic cost of their operations.”

Wacam said the Law must enjoin holders of mining rights and other businesses related to mining to respect and promote human rights including the rights of women, children and workers arising from mining activities, which include but not limited to making adequate provision for the progressive realisation of economic, social and cultural rights as they relate to mining activities and empowerment of women.

It called for the review of the fiscal regime for mining with respect to tax exemptions, stability clauses and the implementation of windfall profit tax to increase benefits to the country.

“Wacam recognizes that the Government of Ghana has signed and gazette the ECOWAS Directives on Harmonization of Guiding Principles and Policies on Mining, and it is expected that by 1st July 2014, Ghana would have internalized the provisions of the Directives in our laws to make the provisions justifiable,” the statement said.

source: Ghanaweb.com

Base pay of public sector workers increased by 10%

ashNii Armah Ashietey, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, has announced that the 2013 Base Pay of teachers and other government workers has been increased by 10 per cent.

He indicated that the base pay which was previously GH¢4.84 had been increased to GH¢5.32, explaining that the increment aimed at improving the financial status of public sector workers.

He, therefore, implored the workers to reciprocate the gesture by working hard to justify the increment so as to enhance productivity.

Nii Armah Ashietey made the disclosure at the 10th National Delegates and Second Biennial Conference of the National Association of Graduate Teachers in Takoradi.

The Minister revealed that the government and its social partners would soon begin negotiations towards the determination of the 2014 National Daily Minimum Wage and Base Pay, which would be factored into the 2014 Budget

The conference was on the theme: “It all starts with a good teacher,” which brought together graduate teachers all over the country to take stock and strategise for the future.

Professor George Kofi Twentoh Oduro, Chairman of the Takoradi Polytechnic Council, urged teachers to be self-disciplined and meticulous in all their endeavours.

He appealed to them to eschew negative behaviours since it could affect the quality of teaching and learning in schools.

Prof Oduro noted that teachers could not peruse quality education if they are not motivated and, therefore, entreated the government to support them adequately in order for them to give off their best.

He noted that little would be achieved if requisite teaching and learning materials are not provided, saying “no matter how effective a teacher is, little achievement will be recorded if there is no laboratory equipment, positive learning attitude by pupils and professional support”.

Prof Oduro observed that currently, trainees at the teacher training colleges are trained academically just to pass their examinations rather than towards professional competence.

He therefore appealed to the authorities concerned to consider the calibre of students admitted into the colleges of education in order to ensure that they have strong foundation in subject content in order to build on their professionalism.

source: Ghanaweb.com

Tsatsu accuses Justice Anim Yeboah of political bias

37640tsatsu tsikatLead Counsel for the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the just-ended election petition case, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, has accused Justice Anim Yeboah, one of the nine Supreme Court Judges that heard the matter, of allowing his political affiliations to cloud his judgment.

Mr. Tsikata said Justice Anim-Yeboah consistently took an opposing stance against the NDC’s arguments and position as far as the case was concerned, from the onset.

According to him, he was not really surprised by Justice Anim Yeboah’s persistent and consistent opposition to the stance of the NDC because he was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Mr. Tsikata expressed his concerns when he spoke on TV3’s Hot Issues programme on Saturday August 31, 2013.

Asked by the host, Kwesi Pratt Jr., if he was surprised that three of the nine Judges consistently voted against the respondents in three of the six pleadings of the petitioners as far as the final verdict of the case pronounced on Thursday August 29, 2013 was concerned, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata said: “I’ll tell you very frankly that it didn’t surprise me that Justice Anim Yeboah was consistently in that group”.

“I mean he has been consistently against even the NDC being joined as a party and consistently in Court, I mean, it was quite clear that he was taking positions against everything that was put forward from our side, I mean, there was a very consistent way”, Mr. Tsikata observed.

He noted that: “…Again I think that we all understand that the judiciary is made up of human beings. They have their own political ambitions and in his [Justice Anim Yeboah] case, he was appointed as a Judge by President Kufuor. He probably still has a certain loyalty to the cause of [Mr. Kufuor]”.

Responding to a question about whether a Judge’s political affiliation should matter when taking decisions on issues before the court, Mr. Tsikata said: “It should not, but I’m giving you a frank example in a situation where it seems to me like somebody like that [Justice Anim Yeboah] really did not take up what I will call a truly balanced judicial posture in relation to the matters that were before him and I say that very frankly, but I believe that that is an observation that one can make and we do recognise as Lawyers and as Law teachers particularly, we do recognise the ways in which sometimes decisions are affected by some of these personal prejudices and positions”.

Adducing further anecdotal evidence to support his allegations against Justice Anim Yeboah, Mr. Tsikata recalled that: “I gave you an example in relation to my own case. Again Justice Anim Yeboah, he sat in the court of appeal. He gave a decision. Its in the reports – you can go and read it – in which, you know, against the position that I had taken, that the IFC, International Finance Corporation – is not immune from the jurisdiction of the Courts of Ghana. He gave a decision asserting an immunity and in asserting it, all he relied on was the statement of the immunity of the International Monetary Fund, a different organisation”.

“I mean its in black and white. He read, you know, an article from a statute which is about the International Monetary Fund and he read it to apply to International Finance Corporation. I mean you don’t do that but he did, in my case, and again in that case, there was no doubt in my mind about his political convictions being the driver of the decision,” Mr. Tsikata noted.

According to him, “…I think we need to uncover them in order to correct them also, because Judges should not, indeed, let political partisanship be the determinant of positions they take”.

source: Ghanaweb.com

Tsatsu Tsikata must stop attacking judiciary. – Sir John

Kwadwo-Owusu-Afriyie-Sir-JohnThe General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, has descended heavily on counsel for the 3rd respondent in the just ended presidential election petition, for his unwarranted attacks on one of the Justices of the Supreme Court.

Tsatsu Tsikata, who spoke on TV3’s Hot Issues on Saturday, accused Justice Anim Yeboah of allowing his political affiliations to cloud his judgment. Mr. Tsikata said Justice Anim-Yeboah consistently took an opposing stance against the NDC’s arguments and position as far as the case was concerned, from the onset because he was appointed as a judge by President Kufuor.

However, the NPP General Secretary popularly referred to as Sir John, described Tsatsu Tsikata’s attacks as being without basis and clearly a calculated attempt by him and the NDC to begin their attacks on the judiciary.

According to Sir John, there were numerous instances during the trial where an 8-1 ruling was given by the court in certain matters and never was there an instance where Justice Anin Yeboah was the only dissenting judge in such a situation.

He further noted that four of the judges did not find anything wrong with the irregularities highlighted as having occurred in the December 2012 election, and yet neither the NPP nor its lawyers have come out to attack these judges.

“If going by Tsatsu Tsikata’s logic, Justice Anin Yeboah was appointed by Kufuor and as such owes his loyalty to NPP, then what do we say about the four judges who decided that no irregularity occurred in the 2012 elections to warrant a nullification of the tainted votes?” Sir John asked.

Continuing, Sir John asked: “Again, if I’m to go by Tsatsu’s logic, did Justices Atuguba, Gbadegbe and Akoto Bamfo, who voted decided that no infraction took place in the December 2012 election and that the petition was without merit, do so because they were all appointed by the NDC under President Rawlings and late President Mills?”

Sir John further intimated that if Justice Anin Yeboah was truly biased in favour of the petitioners, he would have upheld and not dismissed the petitioners’ claims on duplicate serial numbers, unknown polling stations and polling stations with same polling station codes.

Sir John admonished the NDC to call its “hawks” to order as their continued attacks on the judiciary were not helpful.

Sir John noted that if Tsatsu Tsikata was a very brave man, he should have made his comments during the trial and not wait for the case to end before attacking Justice Anin Yeboah.

“The consistent attacks on the 3rd arm of government by functionaries and surrogates of the NDC must cease. It is not helpful for our democratic dispensation to always tag a judge as belonging to one political party or another. It must stop,” Sir John added.

source: Ghanaweb.com

Elikem represented Ghana very well – Bull Dog

Elikem (1)Chief Executive of Bullhaus Entertainment Bull Dog says Elikem Kumordzi’s impressive performance at the just ended Big Brother Africa; the Chase show in South Africa, has raised the bar for Ghanaians who have future plans of participating in the reality show.

Speaking to NEWS-ONE, the outspoken TV personality and artiste manager admitted that by far, Elikem was the only housemate to have really represented Ghana in the biggest reality show in Africa.

“For me, he is the only person—since Big Brother Africa started—who has represented Ghana very well. He was always saying things about his country. From day one, he has been himself and was even teaching the rest of his housemates how to do the Azonto,” Lawrence Nana Asiama Hanson, as he is known, stated.

According to him, Elikem should not be seen as a ‘third placer’ in that competition since in the end, it was a win-win situation for Ghana.

“I don’t even see him as a loser or a third placer, I see him more like a winner because it is actually the first time any Ghanaian has gone that far. For me, it is a win-win situation for Ghana and we should all see it as such,” he said.

Bull Dog therefore urged Elikem, who landed in Accra Thursday night, to use his three-month exposure and recognition gained at the BBA to transform his fashion design career.

“My advice to Elikem is that when he comes back home, he should try and channel positive things for himself. He should just move ahead and do greater things for himself because he just succeeded in getting Africa’s attention for three months.”

source: Ghanaweb.com