All posts by Stephen Kwabena Effah

Campaign for education of children with disabilities kickoff

By | Education | No Comments

A campaign for the education of children with disabilities has taken off with over 16 schools in Ghana expected to join the global crusade seeking to create awareness about disabled children’s inability to access education.

The move is to draw attention of the global community on the right to education of children with disabilities who are not able or allowed to go to school.

More than 25,000 primary school pupils in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America will participate in the annual international ‘We Ring The Bell’ campaign on March 22.

“There are currently more than 30 per cent children with disabilities who do not go to school in Ghana,” The Executive Director of SWEB Foundation, Mr David N. Botwey said.

Over 16 schools in Ghana would join the campaign on Wednesday on the theme: “Ensure all children with any form of disability have access to appropriate education programme”.

As part of this worldwide campaign, Mr Botwey said, primary school pupils all over the world will make as much noise as possible for one minute in the schoolyards, using bells, drums etc to attract the attention of policy makers and others whose duty is to eliminate barriers that prevent children with disabilities from going to school.

About 560 schools and 100,000 children in the Netherlands, and more than 365 schools and 25,000 children in 23 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America will participate in the campaign.

“’We Ring The Bell’ is an initiative by the Dutch Liliane Fund which collaborates with SWEB Foundation in Ghana,” Mr Botwey said.

SWEB Foundation, with this orgganisations, supports children with disabilities in education and other sectors of the economy.

“But much more needs to be done in our country and throughout the world,” he said.

“Schools need to become better reachable and more accessible (literally and figuratively) for children with disabilities.”

“Teachers and teaching materials must meet the needs of these children.” “Everyone should become aware of the fact that education is a fundamental right, also of children with disabilities.”

The Liliane Fund published a report in March which was based on most recent and relevant scientific studies on the theme.

In 2015, the United Nations set a number of Sustainable Development Goals.

These are the world goals that replaced the Millennium Development Goals in 2016.

In these new goals the focus is on those who have not benefited from the Millennium Development Goals, particularly children and adults with disabilities.

Their situation has improved only slightly since 2000. Worldwide, more and more children go to school (89%), but this is not the case for children with disabilities.

In the low- and middle-income countries, hardly 10% of the children with disabilities go to school.

He said: “Also in our country, the participation of these children in education is rather low.”

“It is high time to change this situation , and the louder the call sounds all over the world, the better it will be heard.”

Source GNA

Ejisu-Juaben NPP youth protest attempts to make ‘stranger’ MCE

By | Politics | No Comments

Some youth from the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality are protesting what they claim are moves by the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to get a stranger to be appointed as the Municipal Chief Executive.

They claimed one Serwaa Derchie who is among the five nominees presented to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is not a native of Ejisu-Juaben and does not vote anywhere in the municipality.

“We will fiercely resist any attempt to force one Madam Serwaa Derchie as our MCE because the woman is unknown to anybody in the municipality and made zero contribution to the election success of the party in Ejisu-Juaben”, the group warned.

It questioned why the leadership of the party is eager to reward Madam Serwaa Ejisu-Juaben MCE appointment when she is from Effiduase in the Sekyere East district and can be offered a DCE in that area.

“We find it difficult to rationalize why anybody would want to stir trouble, cause resentment among the rank and file of the party and the people in the municipality by taking such an unpopular decision,” the group said.

They have thus threatened to embark on series of massive demonstrations should the government go ahead and appoint a ‘wrong candidate’ for them as MCE.Spokesperson for the group, Bridget Akosah-Antwi, said that they are not against the other four nominees to the President because all of them are from the constituency and they cast their ballot there.

“We fought in the trenches to bring the party to power and we remain unwavering in our determination to go every length to ensure that the government puts its right foot forward” she stated.

The group said they want the right people to be put in the right position to assist Nana Akufo-Addo to succeed in building a nation that works for everybody.

By Ibrahim Abubakar|TV3||Ghana

Pension scheme not microfinance investment – informal sector workers told

By | Business | No Comments

The National Pensions Regulatory Authority has explained to the informal sector workers that pensions scheme is different from micro finance investment, some of which have been closed by regulators for various violations.

Many workers in the informal sector in the Upper West Region have no or little knowledge about the operations of the third-tier Pension Scheme and how they can make their contributions for their future.

It is against this background that the a team from the National Pensions Regulatory Authority has held an outreach programme in Wa to educate informal workers on that pension scheme which some of them consider to be microfinance.

The National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) under the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766), as amended has been implementing the contributory third-tier Pensions Scheme, which is for workers in the informal sector, since 2010.

The Pension Scheme grants informal sector workers the opportunity to make voluntary contributions which will be given to them when they go on retirement just like government workers.

Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority, Emmanuel Awuku Dagbanu, who took the participants through the pension scheme operations, and assured them of the safety of their money.

Team Leader and Senior Pensions adviser, Russell Galer said 85 per cent of Ghanaians are self employed hence underscored the need for them to belong to the pension scheme to sustain them during their retirement.

Some participants have also raised some concerns about implemention of the scheme.

Yakubu Abubakari “I was working with one construction company and they were paying my SNNIT contribution , a year later I went to check at SNNIT and I was told that their system does not capture my data, so I will be very grateful if you can include short message service to tell clients what transactions has been made if not I’m afraid”.

By Yakubu Abdul-Gafur||Ghana|

Ashaiman MP wants dismissed Police recruits recalled

By | News | No Comments

File: A recruitment screening exercise for police recruits

Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Ernest Henry Norgbey, has called for the reinstatement of the about 200 police recruits who have been dismissed across the country, arguing they are in their current circumstance, a threat to the nation.

He said the dismissed recruits have learned details regarding intelligence of society and crime, hence knowledgeable in crime prevention, which he said they can use to cause crime within their society if not regulated.

“These sacked recruits pose a great danger to societies in Ghana. This fact cannot be disputed. Let us not forget that security education is highly classified…They have knowledge about crime prevention and therefore can cause crime if not regulated,” he told journalists Thursday.

A number of police recruits across the country have from the beginning of the year been dismissed on grounds of forged academic certificates, falsification of schools or the names and photos on their certificates.

An ongoing forensic autdit of their qualification by the Police Administration revealed some males were found with female certificates and vice versa. But Mr Norgbey has underscored the need for the Ghana Police to recall them to continue their training and give them the opportunity to upgrade their educational qualifications within a stipulated period or absorb them into para-police institutions licenced to use weapons and intelligence.

The MP cautioned against attempts to take the matter for granted or to downplay the effect of the dismissal of the recruits on the security of Ghana and even on the people themselves

“This incident should not be taken for granted since it surely has the potential of degenerating into the formation of gangs, rebel actions and militancy,” he stated.

“Ghana as a nation is not immune to the horrifying accounts of kidnaps, carjacking, murders and above all terrorism happening in other parts of the world,” he added.

He said the affected recruits were exposed to security tactics, how to handle weapons, how to identify crimes and prevent them, a knowledge he said “can be used negatively to perpetrate all manner of intelligent crimes in our societies”.

“These young men may be tempted to make life unbearable for other Ghanaians by way of expressing their anger,” he observed.

He claimed the dismissed recruits were not given any psychological counseling; something he contended “may result in suicide attempts, aggressions, low self esteem, stigmatisation and high crime wave in our societies”.

Meanwhile, the MP said the recruitment processes should be restructured to ensure that persons being recruited into the Police Service were cleared before they are admitted to begin their training.

“I suggest the entire process of recruitment into the Police Service with regard to admission before vetting of or confirming results and other related documents should be given a second thought,” he urged.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah||Ghana

Over 100 attend GOIL dealers conference

By | Business | No Comments

More than 100 dealers and zonal managers of GOIL have attended the oil marketing company’s dealers conference for the Southern and Tema zones.

The conference was used to update on significant activities of the company.

Chief Executive and Managing Director, Mr. Patrick Akorli and the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Alex Adzew addressed the participants

The Head of Fuels Marketing of GOIL, Mr. Marcus Deo Dake in welcoming the partiipants charged dealers to improve on services at their various stations to ensure high customer satisfaction.

He said GOIL will continue to make safety and environmental issues a priority and this will be intensified in 2017.The Chief Operating Officer of GOIL, Alex Adzew, said the company has put in place adequate measures to maintain its leadership in the oil marketing industry.He assured customers of GOIL of quality products and safety at stations.

The Managing Director of GOIL, Patrick Akpe Kwame Akorli urged Ghanaians to continue to support GOIL with their purchasing power.


Bunso youth threaten to block Accra-Kumasi highway Monday if…

By | News | No Comments

Some youth of Bunsu in the Eastern Region have threatened to block a section of the Accra-Kumasi Highway running through their town if authorities fail to either install traffic light or construct rumble strips there by Monday.

According to the youth, that stretch of the highway which is close to the popular rest stop, Linda Dor, has become a death spot as residents are knocked down regularly by speeding vehicles.

The group say they are not happy with the chief of the town and the Motor Traffic and Transport Department who they accused of failing to act on the issue.

A member of the youth, George Nyarko told 3FM that said they are tired of seeing their people killed by speeding drivers all the time.

“Bunsu Junction is just close to Linda Dor. It is sad to learn that almost every weekend people get knock down and killed by over speeding vehicles,” he said.

George Nyarko said “at the mention of Bunsu Junction, most residents shiver. We cannot sit down and see our friends and relatives die just like that.”

He said they have written to the Motor Traffic and Transport Department and the chiefs of Bunsu but all to no avail, adding that they are thus compelled to block that stretch of the Accra-Kumasi highway on Monday and construct their own rumble strips.

“We have served the chiefs and the MTTD letters that we want them to assist us get at least rumble strips at Bunsu Junction to stop the deaths. We have not yet had any response from them.

By Solomon Mensah|3FM||Ghana

More than 200 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean

By | World | No Comments

Only five bodies have been recovered

More than 200 migrants are feared dead in a boat sinking off the coast of Libya, a Spanish aid organisation says.

Proactiva Open Arms said it had recovered five bodies floating near two capsized boats, which can each hold more than 100 people.

The group’s Laura Lanuza said the five they pulled from the Mediterranean were young men who appeared to have drowned.

A spokesman for Italy’s coast guard, which co-ordinates rescues, confirmed the five deaths.

But he told the BBC that they could not confirm the estimates of deaths given by Proactiva, and said they had received no distress calls from any boats.

Ms Lanuza said at least 240 migrants may have died as the boats were often overloaded by smugglers.

“We brought on board five corpses recovered from the sea, but no lives,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.

“It is a harsh reality check of the suffering here that is invisible in Europe.”

Numbers of migrants trying to reach Europe from Libya via Italy have risen dramatically this year since the route between Turkey and Greece was effectively shut down.

The Italian coast guard said they had co-ordinated more than 40 rescue operations in the last few days.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says more than 20,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year – and some 559 people are estimated to have died or gone missing en route.

This compares with fewer than 19,000 arrivals in Italy and about 350 deaths in the first three months of 2016.

“We have yet to complete March, and we are already racing at a pace of arrivals that has exceeded anything we’ve seen before in the Mediterranean,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman said earlier this week.

“This is typical of spring, getting very busy, but it’s not typical to have the numbers be so high this early and the corresponding deaths that go with it.”

Source BBC

Researchers assess harmful effects of mercury use on small-scale miners

By | News | No Comments

A research to assess the effect of excessive use of mercury in gold extraction on artisanal miners and residents of mining communities in Ghana is currently underway. The miners are said to be exposed to cancer-related diseases.

The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) is funding the 1.5 million-dollar research to assess the environmental and socio-economic impact of Artisanal Small-Scale Mining on the livelihood of communities.

Ghana’s artisanal small-scale mining sector continues to grow in size and significance.

The contribution of the sector to wealth creation, employment and the economy makes it one of the nation’s most important livelihood activities. Yet majority of miners in Ghana operate informally without the security of license.

The use of mercury, which is an efficient chemical in the process of extracting gold, poses a myriad of health risks to the miners as well as mining communities when it gets into the ecosystem.

It is against this background that DANIDA) is funding the project to assess the environmental and socio-economic impact of small-scale mining on the livelihoods.Six PhD students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with supervision by researchers from Arhaus University in Denmark and the KNUST will undertake the project

One of the 6 researchers, Rejoice Wireko-Gyebi, said their activity will focus on educating local miners on the dangers of using mercury.

“The issue of Artisanal Small-Scale Mining largely called galamsey has become a worrying situation in the country despite government’s interventions.

“Several projects to address the negative impact of the activity to miners and residents in mining communities have failed because of the use of top-down approach. We want to adopt the bottom-up approach to help address the situation.

“Mercury has a severe health implication because it has the tendency of damaging the central nervous system but the miners are using it without taking into consideration its effect. We want to engage the miners and residents in mining commutes to find out how the use of mercury has affected them and educate them on its dangers,” she said.

Rejoice is hopeful that government will take initiatives to implement some of their recommendations after they are done with their work.

Project coordinator, Dr Godfred Darko said the project has just commenced but there is cause for concern in some places that they have scanned so far as “people are found heating mercury in their rooms after adding it to the gold”.

Dr Darko indicated that, they are looking to having data across Ghana on how galamsey is impacting on the health of miners and persons living in mining communities.

The 5-year DANIDA funded research forms part of the Xenobiotic Substances and Heavy Metals in the Environment – A Threat to Health, Ecosystems and Development (SHEATHE) project.

By Ibrahim Abubakar|TV3||Ghana

Heads of two companies arrested for failing to insure property

By | Business | No Comments

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) Taskforce has arrested the heads of two companies in the Greater Accra Metropolis for failing to insure their commercial property.

The companies are the General Auto Zone Company and Ghana Heavy Duty Truck and Spare Parts and were detained at the Police Headquarters for the necessary action.

They were among 70 companies which were cautioned two weeks ago by the NIC to insure their property or face the full rigours of the law.

The Taskforce, made up of officials from the NIC, Ghana Police Service and the Ghana National Fire Service, inspected the companies to ensure the compliance of the Insurance Law, Act 724 of 2006.

Out of the nine privately owned companies inspected, only the two did not have the fire insurance certificates, in spite of several notifications by the NIC to have them insured.

The Insurance Law makes it compulsory for all commercial buildings, either under construction or completed, to have an insurance certificate.

Compulsory insurance was designed to cover the legal liabilities of owners or occupiers of commercial buildings or vehicles in respect of bodily injury to users and third parties, loss of life or death suffered by users and third parties, and damage to property belonging to users and members of the public.

Interacting with the media after the exercise, Mr Joseph Bentor, the Chairman of the Taskforce, said the exercise formed part of the move to enforce Sections 183 and 184 of the Insurance Act.

He said the NIC did a visibility study and identified that 40 private entities in the Metropolis out of 67 had not complied with the directives.

Mr Bentor said there had been sufficient public education on the need for privately-owned commercial property owners to insure their property against fire, flood, collapse and any other risk since 2007 and expressed worry about the reluctance of some companies to comply.

He said although the law exempted churches and government institutions from such mandatory insurance, they must also insure their premises to ensure the safety of all.

Source GNA