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Haruna Iddrisu

Politics

The Minority Leader has hailed government’s proposal to reduce electricity tarrifs for the 2018 financial year but was doubtful the reduction will be any significant.

Haruna Iddrisu says just like how the excitement that greeted the proposed reduction of taxes on spare parts fizzled out, nothing much may come out of the proposed reduction in electricity tarrifs.

He was speaking to Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey, hours after the Finance Minister presented the 2018 budget on the floor of Parliament, Wednesday.

Former Deputy Finance Minister, Fifi Kwetey says most projects enumerated by the Finance Minister to be undertaken in 2018, are projects started by the Mahama administration and which were nearing completion as at December 2016.

According to him, the government under John Mamaha, had secured funding for the projects of which some had reached between 96% to 98% completion levels therefore, it was fitting for the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to credit the previous administration with that.

Mr. Ofori-Atta in presenting the 2018 budget to Parliament for approval, highlighted some infrastructure projects to be undertaken by the Nana Akufo-Addo administration including the construction of some road networks.

Cassiel Ato Forson

Politics

Minority spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson says government's plan to hire 100,000 unemployed graduates in 2018 is a job-sharing ploy for party faithful.

He called the program to hire the youths as nothing but "job for the boys" after government branded the graduate unemployment levels a national security issue.

The 2016 election campaign was mainly about jobs. Since the Akufo-Addo government took over in January, there has been several acts of violence and aggression from party youths most of whom are unemployed.

The NPP admits these acts of violence  is down to a lack of jobs and has promised to address these frustrations.

Vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has extolled the virtues of the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama who deputized for president John Agyekum Kufuor.

Dr. Bawumia noted the late Mahama played an instrumental role in his transition into politics from the Bank of Ghana to serve as running mate to President Akufo-Addo.

“I did not only look up to him, but I considered greatly the supportive role he played to make the Kufuor administration a success.

“I am constantly minded by the enormous part he played in my consideration to become a politician when H.E Nana Addo Dankwa called on me,” Dr. Bawumia eulogised the late Aliu on the 5th anniversary celebration of his death.

Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has described the 2018 budget statement presented to parliament Wednesday by his successor Ken Ofori-Atta as challenged.

As a result, he told Francis Abban, the host of Morning Starr Thursday he feared for the country’s fiscal sustainability.

Reading the 2018 budget and policy statement which the government themed: ‘Putting Ghana Back to Work,’ Mr. Ofori-Atta rejoiced that the Akufo-Addo led government has turned around the ailing economy in the last 10 months.

Submitting that the policies implemented by the government are yielding results, he told the Legislative House that: “We resolved to be fiscally disciplined and respect the limits that parliament set for us [and] I am glad to report that we are on course to end the year with the fiscal deficit of 6.3percent from 9.4percent.”

Former Minister of Finance - Seth Terkper

Politics

A former Minister of Finance Seth Terkper is backing government’s drive to create more jobs in 2018.

The government has dubbed the 2018 Economic Policy Statement as “Adwuma Budget” aimed at dealing with the canker of the age-old unemployment.

In commending the New Patriotic Party government, Mr. Terkper suggested to Morning Starr host Francis Abban, the private sector must not be left out.

“It’s laudable to create jobs but provide incentives for the private sector to create jobs,” the immediate past Finance Minister advised.

Former Minister for Trade and Industry - Ekwow Spio-Garbrah

Politics

Former Trade Minister, Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah has challenged the government’s claim that it has restored the ailing economy.

Presenting the government’s 2018 budget statement and economic policy statement Wednesday, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta flaunted that over the past 10-month, the Akufo-Addo-led administration delivered on its promises, adding 2018 will witness major transformation.

“We promised to pursue policies that will create jobs in the economy and we are delivering. This budget, by the grace of God, will deliver massively on jobs!” he assured.

The government has announced a special initiative called the “Akufo-Addo Program for Economic Transformation (AAPET)”, as a major intervention for job creation, infrastructure development and accelerated investment in Agriculture.

AAPET will envelope two already-existing special initiatives being implemented by the Akufo-Addo administration; the Planting for Food and Jobs and One-District-One Factory.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, delivering the budget statement in Parliament, explained that AAPET is envisioned “to modernize agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security and increase profitability for our farmers.”

It is a three-pronged economic development programme that will accelerate investments in agriculture, strategic infrastructure and industrialization.

The government intends to “invest in the entire agriculture and agribusiness value chain to create new business and job opportunities in the sector,” Mr. Ofori Atta said.

“Government will also invest in infrastructure that supports the opening up of the major agricultural zones of the country, in energy and related infrastructure to accelerate the industrialization agenda of Government. Significant investments will be made in the road and rail sectors of the economy to facilitate trade and the movement of goods and people, he added.

AAPET has also made provision for a grant funding facility for agribusiness startups, with support from the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan.

Infrastructure-wise, some 35 bridges and roads, will also be constructed over the next three years under this initiative. The government will also construct 99 steel bridges under this policy.

An already announced “major pension scheme for cocoa farmers” will also be launched under AAPET.

Boosting Planting for Food and Jobs

Planting for Food and Jobs, which is expected to to be rolled out in all 216 districts across the country, involves the supply of farm resources such seedlings to participating farmers, and its first phase targeted the creation of more than 750,000 jobs.

Mr. Ofori Atta noted that, investments under the Planting for Food and Jobs will be scaled up.

But the government wants AAPET to take numerous steps further, as duties on agriculture processing equipment are expected to be abolished along with support granted to agribusiness start-ups.

Minimizing the risk of agriculture financing will also be a target of the government, through agriculture financing and crop insurance schemes.

Funds from the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), could possibly be diverted to “increase the pace of agriculture mechanization,” according to the Finance Minister.

Support from One-District-One Factory

Given government’s anticipation of success, it also intends to develop modern storage facilities through the One-District-One Factory policy.

This is possibly in line with President Akufo-Addo’s April 2017 announcement that government will construct a warehouse in every district of the country to ensure the proper storage of surplus food produce from the flagship ‘Planting for Food and Job’ program, and prevent post-harvest losses.

Improving transport will not be left out, as the AAPET is expected to “open up key food basket zones through road construction and irrigation projects.”

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

 

The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) has described the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) as confused that lacks clarity on the source of ideas in fighting illegal mining known as galamsey.

The former Deputy Director of the Public Affairs Department of the Ghana Police Service DSP Freeman Tettey, has slammed the Major Mahama Trust Bill describing it as discriminatory.

The Major Mahama Trust Fund bill which was passed by Parliament November 8, seeks to give the legal backing for the establishment of a fund to cater for the wife and two children of the Late Major Maxwell Mahama.

The late Major was killed under bizarre circumstances at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central region after he was mistaken for a thief.

In a Facebook post DSP Freeman Tettey stated that the bill must encompass all those who died protecting the country.

The Minority in Ghana’s parliament has chastised the local media for being in bed with government. The Minority’s criticism comes barely a month after former President John Mahama accused the media in the West African country of treating the Akufo-Addo government with kid gloves.

“During my tenure, everything someone does they tag the person ‘Mahama boy’ or ‘Mahama girl’ but today the narrative is different. The media refer to people by their names,” Mahama bemoaned while addressing supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) after the party’s Unity Walk in the Central Region.

The leadership of the All People’s Congress (APC) has dissolved all elected positions from the constituency, regional and national levels in the party.

“All executive members are now acting leaders with the exception of the General Secretary and the Leader/Founder of the party."

At a Press Conference in Accra, Mr Hassan Ayariga, Leader/Founder of the party, said the APC has notified the Electoral Commission to that effect and that members of the party who are interested in managing the affairs of the party are welcome to begin campaigning for available positions.