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Fisheries sector transformation saves Ghana’s Oil and Gas industry

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Ground-breaking reforms and innovations introduced through the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP) continue to protect not only the fisheries, but other sectors.

On Saturday, 23 September 2017, Justice Boualem Bouguetaia, President of the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), delivered a judgement in the dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

The verdict was as follows:

  “That the single maritime boundary for the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf within and beyond 200 nm starts at BP 55+ with the coordinates 05° 05’ 23.2” N, 03° 06’ 21.2’’ W in WGS 84 as a geodetic datum

– That Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights of Côte d’Ivoire.

– That Ghana did not violate the provisional measures prescribed by the Special Chamber in its Order of 25 April 2015.”

Since the judgement, Ghanaians across the length and breadth of the country and the diaspora have been basking in the ‘elegant victory’. The discussions however have centered on how the victory has saved our new oil and gas exploitation in the disputed area from economic losses and paved the way for further expansion.

The critical success factor

In recognizing the regulator of the longest-operating maritime industry, the Ghanaian Legal and Technical Team consulted the MCS Division of the Fisheries Commission for the necessary assistance. Following these consultations, the Attorney General’s Department invited the Fisheries Commission for a meeting on 24th June 2015.

At the meeting which had the Attorney General presiding, the Ghanaian Legal and Technical Team of the Maritime Boundary Arbitration between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire sought urgently (before a deadline of 4 September 2015) “copies of all items of correspondence, maps and any/or other documentation relating to the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire relations in the area of fisheries. These materials are intended to demonstrate to the Tribunal that Cote d’Ivoire has recognized the current boundary since Independence.”

The Commission was represented by Mr. Godfrey Baidoo-Tsibu (Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Division), Mr. Paul Bannerman (Head of Fisheries Scientific and Survey Division), and Capt. (GN) Emmanuel Kwafo (former National Coordinator of Fisheries Enforcement Unit).

After struggling to glean enough information on archived hard documents, the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) of the Fisheries Commission became the ‘guardian angel’. The VMS which had been in place and currently funded by the West African Regional Fisheries Project (WARFP), is a satellite-based fisheries surveillance mechanism which provides accurate and timely information about the location and activity of regulated fishing vessels.

Unlike other monitoring methods such as the use of surface and aerial patrols, on-board observers, logbooks or dockside inspections, this system sends reports from vessels to a satellite and then onto a terrestrial, or “earth” station.

VMS chart

The earth station validates and stores the data, and makes them available to the monitoring agency. The fishery monitoring centres in Accra, Tema and Takoradi retrieve the data and store them in a database. The identity and location of VMS units are presented on a map display, comparing vessel positions with features of interest, such as regulated fishing areas within Ghana’s EEZ and beyond.

Several VMS reports on fishing vessel movement and activities in the disputed area were made available to the team in both hard and soft copies. In February 2017, the Ghanaian Legal and Technical team, requested remote access to the VMS whilst they were in Hamburg, Germany and this was granted by the Fisheries Commission.

Following this, the team was informed that Cote d’Ivoire Fisheries Authority was operating a Vessel Monitoring System powered by the same vendor (CLS, France) as Ghana’s and for that matter were using the same electronic admiralty charts.

There was evidence to show how both countries have cooperated and exchanged information on vessels leaving or entering the territorial waters of either country.

The MCS Division got CLS, France to confirm this to the Ghanaian Legal and Technical Team in Hamburg, Germany.

Objection to the boundary that has over the years being the reference point as per the VMS charts in the exchange of information on fishing vessels leaving or entering the territorial waters of either countries was considered duplicitous on the part of Cote d’Ivoire. This significantly weakened the Ivorian case and validated Ghana’s position.

This helped the Ghanaian Legal and Technical Team in demonstrating to the International Tribunal of the Law of the Seas (ITLOS) that Ghana had not violated the sovereign rights of Cote d’Ivoire.

It is hoped that beyond the ITLOS victory, the Vessel Monitoring System, as a key component in Monitoring, Control and Surveillance operations of the Fisheries Commission will continue to receive Governmental support. It also needs to be highlighted that interagency cooperation and coordination should be enhanced in dealing always with matters of National concern as was evidenced in the ITLOS victory.

By Godfrey Baidoo-Tsibu of the Fisheries Commission and Bright Yeboah, WARFP-Ghana

470MW powership inaugurated at Tema Habour

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Karpower moored at the Tema port

The largest ever powership in the world, Osman Khan, was on Thursday inaugurated at the Tema Fishing Harbour to supply reliable and uninterrupted electricity to Ghanaians.

The karpowership has the capacity to generate 470 megawatts of power.

Deputy Minister of Energy, Joseph Cudjoe, revealed the powership replaces the 225 megawatts powership, Karadeniz Powership Aysegul Sultan, TV3’s Ebenezer Agyekum reported.

Mr. Cudjoe said the Osman Khan powership would be relocated to Takoradi to make use of gas from off the Cape Three points in the Western Region.

He indicated with Ghana’s power demand increasing by 10% annually, government will put up the necessary policies to ensure sustainable, accessible, reliable and affordable electricity.

The CEO of Karpowership Orhan Remzi Karadeniz said the presence of the powership is the fulfilment of the obligation to ECG.

The new power barge is in fulfilment of a power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

The PPA, according to reports, requires Karadeniz to provide a total of 450 MW capacity of power and directly feed it into the national grid for 10 years.

“The 470 MW Powership will supply uninterrupted and reliable electricity at one of the lowest costs to Ghana for thermal power generation with its dual fuel engines and combined cycle power generation technology,” Karpowership Ghana Company Limited said in a statement in August this year

“The Powership will initially use low Sulphur Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to generate electricity but the fuel will be converted to Natural Gas as soon as local Natural Gas supplies become available, ensuring cost savings for Ghana,” it added.

It assured that the operations of the powership will have a significant contribution to Ghana’s electricity supply “as the most reliable power plant in the country and create more employment opportunities”.


Ghana Export Promotion Authority launches digital market hub for exporters

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United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with support from the Swiss Government through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) officially launched a national digital market hub designed for exporters and investors on Thursday at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra.

The market hub is to help guide producers and exporters do business with accredited and registered companies licensed to engage in exports.

The support is facilitated by the Trade Capacity Building (TCB) Programme for Ghana, a project implemented by UNIDO and funded by SECO.

UNIDO Project Manager Juan Pablo Davila explained that export marketers and entrepreneurs are challenged on how to deal with the ever-increasing volumes and velocity of multichannel data on export goods from countries.

Juan Pablo Davila

He added that the challenge is further complicated by the fragmented and complex customer buying touch points in countries of market interests.

“This support from the UNIDO –TCB project to the GEPA is to enable exporters, public and private sector including marketing organisations, to make insight-driven decisions and take actions based on opportunities in targeted markets,” he said.

“We are delighted that a national digital market hub in a form of trade information portal at the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) will allow marketers and exporters to fully identify customer’s quality requirements, identify where to find market data and information on export through a website,” Mr. Davila said.

SECO Deputy Head of Economic Development Cooperation Daniel Lauchenauer affirmed Switzerland government’s commitment to supporting the government of Ghana in the effort of diversifying the economy, job creation, improve trade and the investment value addition in the country.

“We are happy that Switzerland’s support to strengthening capacities in the export value-chains through UNIDO’s Trade Capacity Building Programme is positively reflecting in Ghana’s export operations,” he said.

“We have seen our support transform and improve Ghana’s quality infrastructure – such as standardization, metrology and conformity assessment and we are glad that our support is extending to the private sector who are the major beneficiaries of this national digital market hub,” Mr. Lauchenauer added.

He congratulated the GEPA team for collaborating with UNIDO to develop the digital market hub to enhance the competitiveness of Ghanaian export enterprises.

As part of the support, UNIDO organised training and coaching on the job for the team at the GEPA and also supported the designing the new digital hub.

The digital marketing hub will serve as one-stop shop institutional portal of the Export Authority. It will help exporters determine the best customers or countries to export to, give information on market trends, standards and certification requirements, export statistics including summaries of export requirements and other practical information on EU markets for Fruits, Cocoa, Wood and Fish sectors.

Present at the launch was the Deputy Minister of Trade, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Authority (GIPC) Yoofi Grant as well as officials of West Blue Consulting, National Investment Bank (NIB) and other partners of GEPA.

The TCB Programme aims at ensuring that goods and services emanating from or traded in Ghana are designed, manufactured and supplied in a sustainable manner that conforms to market requirements as well as those of the regulatory authorities in the local and in the export markets.

The Project is focused on four main value chains – cocoa, fish, fruits and wood.

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is the National Export Trade Support Institution of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) responsible for the facilitation, development and promotion of Ghanaian exports.


Ayesem targets Obrafuor, Sarkodie, Manifest to boost his music career

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Takoradi-based artiste, Ayesem, says he hopes to collaborate with some of the industry’s heavyweights in a bid to come into the limelight.

Speaking on Connect FM’s entertainment show (Oil City Mix) Thursday, Ayesem, said he is targeting Obrafuor, Sarkodie and M.anifest and other experienced musicians to collaborate with on some of his songs.

He told host of the show, DJ Oxygen, that as a young artiste, featuring such legends would give him the needed mileage in his musical career.

The Koti hit maker is one of several musicians billed to perform at the upcoming Made in Taadi Concert scheduled for December 23, 2017.

Ayesem has since entering the scene released a number of singles including One Mic, Satan which features Singlet, Oluwa Oluwa and Fantia Na Meka

He is currently signed to Shocks Entertainment.

By Victoria Nana Amoh|Connect FM||Ghana 

Ghana set to construct first vaccine manufacturing factory in Sub Saharan Africa

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Construction work for a vaccine manufacturing factory is set to begin in Ghana. The factory when completed will be the first of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa serving the needs of Ghana and the entire region.

This comes on the back of the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Merck KGaA and Ridge Management Solutions witnessed by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Brigitte Zypries.

“With all the issues with disease outbreaks we are confronted with, it is important that we have a vaccine factory. This will be something to build on as far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned here in Ghana,” Vice President Dr. Bawumia noted.

The Vice President said the agreement between Ghana and Germany forms part of government’s effort to strengthen economic relations between the two countries.

“Our relationship dates back to the 17th century, and we have built on that relationship over the years. Our co-operation in the economic sphere is where we want to focus the future of our relationship.”

This he said formed the basis of a 3-day visit by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and a business delegation to the country.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between Siemens AG and Rotan Energy Pte for the construction of a 330 megawatt gas-fired power plant in Ghana.

The plant is projected to be the cheapest on the market, and is expected to significantly reduce the cost of electricity when integrated into the national grid.

According Dr. Bawumia, the plant will ensure sustainable energy supply in the country with a major impact on the economy.

“Ghanaians can testify to what happens when we have issues with energy supply, and so it is very important that this MOU has been signed and we are moving forward to begin construction. The quality and efficiency this brings onboard will enhance the power supply.”

The Vice President also said government is looking forward to having more investments from Germany to further boost Ghana’s economy.

By Irene Amesimeku|| Ghana

C/R: 1,450 Police personnel deployed to ensure incident-free Xmas

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Over one thousand Police personnel have been deployed by the Central Regional Police Command to ensure incident-free Christmas in the region.

Regional Commander, COP David Neenyi Ampah – Bennin, said the Police in the region were ready to deal drastically with criminals who storm the area to harass innocent citizens during the festive season.

Addressing a news conference in Cape Coast Wednesday, he observed that criminal activities including pick- pocketing, drug peddling and arm robbery increases during festive seasons, hence the need to deploy personnel to all vantage points to combat such crimes.

COP Ampah- Beenin said personnel would also arrest motorbikes and vehicles without registration numbers, stressing that most criminals use this unregistered vehicles to commit crimes.

He urged the general public to desist from using cars without proper registration to avoid being arrested.

Some of the personnel in a warm up exercise

The regional commander appealed to police personnel to work diligently by protecting the public.

By Kwame Kakraba|Onua FM||Ghana

Traders pay fetish priests to pacify ‘hungry market god’ to boost sales

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Market women were held outside the market close to four hours before being allowed entry

Some rituals have been performed at the Takoradi Market Circle in the Western Region to appease a ‘hungry and angry’ market god who spiritualists say, is the cause of the recent continuous recording of low sales by traders in the market.

Legend has it that the god, nana abobonua, used to be the protector of the market and also ensured good sales for the traders.

A spirit manifested through a fetish priestess from Agona Nkwanta who was passing through the market, and revealed the god has relocated from the Market Circle to a different place because it has been starved by the traders, something she said had accounted for the low sales in the market.

According the traders, foodstuff and money were annually collected from traders in the market for the god but that was ceased eight years ago after the death of the chief of Amanful Royal family who was said to be the one responsible for the performance of the ritual.

The traders say the god manifested itself through a fetish priestess who was passing through the market. According to them, the god said it has been left hungry and angry because the ritual expected of them has not been performed.

The fetish priestess was said to have asked them to ensure the ritual was resumed if they wanted to record high sales.

The shrine of the god, nana abobonua.

Consequent to that, all the traders were made to pay GHC5 each by the traditional authorities of the Amanful family for the ritual to pacify the god who they said is ‘hungry and angry’.

On Wednesday morning, the priests and the priestesses stormed the Market Circle to begin a two-day pacification ritual that they hope would cause sales to surge in the market.

Some of the mashed yam sprinkled in the market

Traders were left stranded for about four hours as the market was placed under lock-down, libation poured and mashed yam sprinkled inside the market before the traders were allowed entry.

The pacification is expected to continue Thursday morning.

Some of the things used in the performance of the ritual

But the performance of the ritual has been received with skepticism as some of the traders believe it will amount to nothing but others are positive it will help boost sales especially during yuletide.

The skeptics  are of the view that the dwindling sales cannot be the doing of any god as is being told but rather the result of other traders who have intruded and are selling behind the market.

The traders largely blame Kobby Okyere Darko Mensah, Member of Parliament for Takoradi for allowing the intruders to sell behind the market at their expense.

By Loveridge Ampratwum Okyere|Connect FM||Ghana

Grisly: Articulated truck driver ran over by own vehicle

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An articulated truck driver lost his life on Tuesday December 12 at a quarry site belonging to the General Development Company (GDC) at Essipong, in the Western region, when he was ran over by his own vehicle.

The driver whose name has been given as Isaac Mensah, 43, had gone to the site to buy chippings around 2:00pm on that day.

After his truck with registration number GE 6661 – 16 had been loaded, he decided to go for his waybill. Whilst picking the waybill, he saw the truck reversing on its own.

A mind-boggling eyewitness account suggested that the deceased rushed to the back of his fully loaded double axle man diesel truck to find a way of stopping it. This was in an apparent attempt by him to prevent the truck from crashing into another truck close by which was waiting to be loaded.

However, he got trapped and was pulled under one of the front tyres which ran over his head, killing him instantly.

The headless body of Kofi was in an ambulance when TV3 news team got to the scene. Unfortunately, the head was shovelled and packed into the ambulance with the support of personnel from the Sekondi Police Command.

By Shirley Ewurama Smith |TV3|

2nd Deputy BoG Governor in showdown with govt

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Dr Johnson Asiama

The fate of the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Johnson Asiama, is uncertain, as his legal advisor says the government is pushing for his exit from the central bank.

His legal team is yet to begin discussions over a negotiated package for him.

The Daily Graphic has gathered that Mrs Josephine Ankomah, who heads Ecobank in The Gambia, is highly tipped to succeed Dr Asiama when his terms of exit are concluded.

Dr Asiama, who is on a 10-day leave, denied media reports that he had resigned from the BoG. Rather, he insisted that he was still at post, although reports suggest that he is on his way out.

“I have not resigned and I have not authored any resignation letter,” he told the Daily Graphic in a telephone interview.

Dr Asiama was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama in April 2016, but after serving barely two years of his four-year contract, he is bowing out in what analysts describe as a ‘difficulty working with the current regime’.

The Governor of the BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, has been widely commended for embarking on major reforms at the bank.

Exit by close of year

Although Dr Asiama would not say whether he was being pushed out of the central bank by the government, sources say the second deputy governor may not end the year at the bank.

“I have no problem working with any government any day, any time. I am a technocrat,” he told the Daily Graphic.

Dr Asiama rose through the ranks after joining the bank in 1996 as Assistant Director until his appointment as Deputy Governor.

He holds a doctorate degree in Economics from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, and a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Economics from the University of Ghana, Legon.

People who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity said the competence of the second deputy governor had never been in doubt.

But counsel for Dr Asiama, Mr Kojogah Adawudu, alleged that some people in the government were hounding his client out of the central bank.

According to Mr Adawudu, some government officials had indicated to Dr Asiama that they would want him to step aside.

“They have their terms and conditions of service and we expect them to apply them,” he said.

“He has not said he wants to leave or resign, but they want to push him out and if that’s the case, they should go by the terms as they did to others,” he said.

Cost to state

The sources at the BoG say if Dr Asiama’s conditions are accepted, then he will be paid his salary for the remainder of his contract.

He will also be paid all entitlements due him, including his end-of-service benefits, as was done in the case of the immediate past Governor, Dr Nashiru Issahaku.

Issahaku’s case

Analysts are concerned that the BoG will have to pay two governors and two second deputy governors.

Dr Issahaku, who also exited under similar circumstances, still draws his monthly salaries and has taken all other entitlements.

“This, they say, is a huge cost to the state,” the analysts said.

Effect of action

But an economist and lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Dr John Gatsi, said the exit of the second deputy governor from the central bank would send a negative signal to investors.

He said investors would be worried about policy sustainability at the bank because they would not trust the continuity of policies being agreed on with the BoG.

“This action by the government will also mean that the central bank is weak and not able to assert its independence if it allows politicians to interfere in its operations,” he said.

“Again, you should know that investors will be worried that they will not trust the continuity of any policy they agree with the bank once there is a political change,” Dr Gatsi added.

Source: Daily Graphic | Ghana

Sex for grades hits SHSs in Assin area; female students being harassed

By | Education | One Comment

Some female students and parents in the Assin area at the durbar

Female students of senior high schools within the Assin area in the Central Region have made damning allegations against their male teachers, claiming they are being sexually harassed by their teachers in exchange for grades and money.

According to the students, the teachers mostly coerce them into having sexual relationship with them in exchange for favours such as good grades in their end of term exams and money.

They claim female students who fail to give in to the demands of the male teachers are usually abused, hated, sacked from class and or failed in examinations.

At the climax of this year’s 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence at Assin Anode, the students expressed disappointment in the male teachers who are engaged in such immoral and unethical behaviour.

The students who spoke to 3News on condition of anonymity were from Assin Manso SHS, Nyankomasi SHS, Obiri Yeboah SHS, Assin State College, and Assin North Community Day School.

“Some of the teachers when they propose to the students, they tell us they want to date us, they are going to give you marks in examination, they’re going to give us money,” one student said.

She added “especially with the boarders, sometimes we get broke and we will be needing money so they tell you they’re going to provide you everything mostly in your academics. So if you refuse not to accept, they will hate you, they will be saying all sort of things…Sometimes they can even sack you from the classroom”.

Another student also observed some of their colleagues were influencing other girls into engaging in such practice with their teachers and other guys outside the campus.

“Sometimes it is our fault; we the girls, we look at our friends who don’t have money and [tell them] you can date a teacher he will give you money” she said, noting those girls go on to “say me, i am having someone outside who is giving me money”.

One other student shared similar claims that their colleagues who are engaged in relationships with teachers and other guys outside campus were influencing a lot more girls to tow in their line.

“We in boarding house most often get influenced by our friends. Sometimes you go to your friend and you see her stuff and you’re like where did you get it from and she’s like oh this guy or that man [provided them to them], so when you’re not careful you easily get influenced,” she said.

She indicated that when one is not smart, she will easily fall for the bait from their teachers, saying “When you’re not smart or you’re not able to contact an elderly person you easily fall for that.

Another student said “Our teachers who are supposed to be advise us rather end up proposing to us and when you refuse too they try to bring your self-esteem down, when they come to class they will be insulting you.

She added “sometimes they can even refuse to mark you exams papers”, indicating that one of such issued that came up recently was reported to the school council and “they are working on it. We are hoping something better comes out”.

The student said though such incidents happen a lot, they have remained quite about it because they don’t want to taint the image of their schools, saying “we don’t want it to go viral so we keep it to ourselves”.

For another student, their parents are also to be blamed in the issue, indicating that because of the Free SHS programme, some parents are shirking their responsibility in providing for their children the basic necessities they need as girls.

“Most of our parents they are illiterate so when you ask for something they can’t provide for us so we therefore engage in certain things we are not supposed to do, like premarital sex ending into teenage pregnancies,” she stated.

She thus wants the government to provide some scholarship for girls “because since the free education most of our parents they think it is free, everything is free so basic things we need they don’t provide for us”.

Meanwhile, Regent of the Assin Ando, Nana Kweku Antwi confirmed there have been several sexual harassment cases by the teachers in area, and partly blamed parents for not bringing up their children the way they should.

He said some of the dressings of these children are not the best yet the parents look on unconcerned.

Addressing a gathering of school children, parents and opinion leaders in the area, the Gender and Social Protection Minister, Otiko Djaba, said it important for all to know that it is against the law to commit a crime against both children and adults.

Otiko Djaba

“…As soon as there is a crime against, whether it is a child or adult, the first point of call is to report to the Police and then the social workers will come in and then justice will take its course through the court system,” she said.

She observed that Ghana frowns on all forms of abuses, and stressed on the need to end teenage pregnancy, child prostitution, defilement, rape, child marriage and human trafficking as Ghana progress as a nation.

By Kwame Kakraba|Onua FM||Ghana