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Summon Board, Management of Winneba Trauma Hospital – Ablakwa urges Parliament

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The Member of Parliament for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has demanded the immediate summoning of the Board and Management of the Winneba Trauma and Specialist Hospital and the Ministry of Health over the alleged abandonment of a patient in a bush at Gomoa Ojobi in the Central Region.

Pictures emerged on social media on Thursday, purportedly showing a woman wrapped in sheets and left in a bush.

Unconfirmed reports suggest she has died after being allegedly abandoned in the bush by hospital authorities.

The abandoned patient

Addressing Parliament, Mr Ablakwa said. “There is a matter that I was hit with on national television this morning, and I am sure the Majority Leader will be concerned because it happened in his constituency.

It has been reported that doctors and nurses at the Winneba Government Hospital just threw out a patient who had an accident because they couldn’t locate her family. They just took her in an ambulance and went and dumped her in the bush and she died after three days.”

“This is the height of inhumanity and Parliament should take an interest, and we have to summon the Health Minister, the Ghana Health Service, and the Board and Management of the Winneba Government Hospital. We have to conduct an urgent probe into this matter and this negligence, abuse of the 1992 Constitution, and the gross violation of the Hippocratic oath of our doctors cannot be accepted,” he stressed.

In a response, the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin said, “The institution concerned, has a primary mandate, they have indicated that they have instituted an investigation. I hold a humble view that we allow them to do their work, get their report published, the necessary sanctions meted out, and if Parliament would want to do that, we can. “

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin was saddened by the story.

“It is soo heart wrecking. Infact, when I read and viewed on TV what happened, I got so sad that as a country, we have gone that low. It should not happen, but these are allegations. We should allow the investigation by the appropriate authorities, and if we feel that justice has not been done, we will exercise our oversight responsibility and take it on,” he assured.

Germany thrash Scotland 5-1 in Euro 2024 opener

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Germany kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign in spectacular fashion, overpowering Scotland with a dominant 5-1 victory at the Allianz Arena on Friday night.

After recent disappointments in major tournaments, Die Mannschaft displayed their intent from the outset, controlling the game from start to finish.

The 1996 champions set the tone early with Florian Wirtz opening the scoring in the 10th minute, capitalizing on a precise pass from Joshua Kimmich.

Germany’s dominance continued as Jamal Musiala doubled the lead in the 19th minute, delivering a thunderous strike from inside the box.

Scotland’s woes were compounded when a reckless challenge by Ryan Porteous on Ilkay Gundogan earned him a red card, leaving the Tartan Army with 10 men for the remainder of the match.

Kai Havertz further extended Germany’s lead just before halftime, converting the resulting penalty and ensuring a commanding 3-0 lead at the break.

In the second half, Germany maintained their momentum. Substitute Niclas Füllkrug added a fourth goal, showcasing the depth of the German squad. Emre Can then sealed the victory with a well-placed shot, rounding off Germany’s scoring.

Scotland managed to find a consolation, courtesy of an own goal by Antonio Rüdiger, but it did little to dampen the German celebrations.

This comprehensive win is significant for Germany as it marks their first victory by 3+ clear goals since June 2022. Since the World Cup, only three of their wins had been by a two-goal margin, with only one such victory occurring in 2024.

Germany’s performance not only boosts their confidence but also sends a strong message to their rivals as they aim to reclaim European glory on home soil.

The team’s next challenge will be closely watched, with fans eager to see if they can maintain this high level of performance throughout the tournament.

Roger T. D. Wills writes: Analysis of Ghana’s potential recession by 2026

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The prevailing economic situation suggests that by 2026, Ghana’s economy could face a severe decline following a recession. While the nation’s current strategy of postponing economic reforms through debt restructuring offers short-term relief, it also poses significant long-term financial and economic challenges.

Ghana is currently renegotiating its debt terms to enhance economic stability. However, the commencement of debt repayments after 2026 may lead to substantial economic difficulties, including heightened financial pressure and potential depreciation of the dollar-cedi exchange rate. Understanding these potential consequences requires a study of economic theories, comparative analysis with other nations, and an examination of evidence illustrating the economic challenges Ghana may encounter.

Ghana’s Debt Restructuring

Restructuring debt involves changing the terms of current debt to ease fiscal pressure. Ghana has adopted this approach in an effort to reduce its high debt levels and establish a viable path to economic recovery. However, when repayments resume after 2026, the nation might encounter a number of financial problems.

Economic Theories and Implications

Debt Overhang: According to Krugman (1988), large levels of debt discourage investment because prospective investors anticipate that taxes or austerity measures will be necessary to repay the debt, which would lower their profits. If debt repayments begin beyond 2026, Ghana may see a decrease in public spending on infrastructure and education, impeding the country’s long-term economic growth.

Ricardian Equivalency: This theory, proposed by Barro (1974), holds that when a government takes on debt, people expect future taxes to pay it back. As a result, they save more money, reducing their current consumption. This could cause Ghana’s aggregate demand to decline, hindering economic growth and possibly triggering a recession if private sector spending does not compensate for the reduced government spending.

Interest Rate Spirals: Excessive debt levels can lead to higher borrowing costs as investors demand higher interest rates to offset the perceived risk. This creates a vicious cycle where the national budget is increasingly consumed by rising interest rates, leaving less money for essential services and productive investments (Blanchard, 1985).

 Doing a Comparative Analysis with Other Countries

Analysing the debt restructuring and repayment experiences of other nations yields insightful information:

Greece: According to Arghyrou and Tsoukalas (2010), the country’s financial crisis and subsequent restructuring in the 2010s caused a sharp decline in the economy, a significant increase in unemployment, and social unrest. Ghana could experience similar socioeconomic difficulties if austerity measures are required to fulfill financial commitments.

Argentina: The country’s repeated debt crises and attempts at restructuring serve as a warning about the potential for long-term instability. Despite restructuring, Argentina has faced frequent defaults, hyperinflation, and a decline in investor confidence (Sturzenegger & Zettelmeyer, 2006). Ghana must ensure that its restructuring agreements are sustainable and promote economic stability to avoid such dangers.

Jamaica: The island nation successfully restructured its debt in 2010 and 2013, which improved its fiscal situation and spurred economic expansion. The implementation of structural reforms, such as tax reforms and public sector modernization, was crucial to its success (Jamaica’s Ministry of Finance, 2013). Ghana might take a cue from Jamaica’s strategy by combining extensive economic reforms with debt restructuring.

 Potential Repercussions for Ghana

Fiscal Strain: Resuming debt repayments may put pressure on Ghana’s finances and make it more difficult for the country to invest in infrastructure, healthcare, and education. This can impede progress and exacerbate already-existing socioeconomic problems.

Depreciation of Currency and Inflation: Higher borrowing rates and lower investor confidence may cause currency depreciation and inflationary pressures. Ghana’s economy heavily relies on imports, particularly of basic commodities like food, fuel, and raw materials. A weaker cedi relative to the dollar would increase the cost of these imports, driving inflation and reducing consumer purchasing power. This would impact businesses and consumers, raising living expenses and possibly inciting social unrest.

Historical Examples: Strong currencies and high debt levels have historically resulted in severe economic suffering for nations. For instance, hyperinflation and a collapsing currency brought about by Argentina’s repeated debt crises resulted in extreme poverty and unstable economic conditions (Sturzenegger & Zettelmeyer, 2006). Ghana needs to execute responsible budgetary measures and preserve macroeconomic stability to avoid similar consequences.

Social Discontent: As demonstrated in Greece, austerity policies and a decrease in public spending may cause social discontent and political instability. It will be essential to guarantee social safety nets and targeted assistance for vulnerable communities. High rates of underemployment and youth unemployment in Ghana may escalate tensions, leading to unrest and political instability.

Evidence of Economic Hardship

Indicators of possible financial stress that we can examine include the following:

Volatility of Exchange Rates: The recent volatility of Ghana’s exchange rate is indicative of underlying economic risks. The Bank of Ghana estimates that in 2021 the value of the cedi fell relative to the US dollar by about 12% (Bank of Ghana, 2021). If debt repayments put pressure on foreign exchange reserves and investor confidence after 2026, this tendency might worsen.

Growing Inflation: High import costs and currency depreciation have been the main causes of Ghana’s ongoing inflation problem. As of December 2021, Ghana’s inflation rate was 12.6%, among the highest in recent memory (Ghana Statistical Service, 2021). Resuming loan payments after 2026 may increase inflationary pressures, lowering real incomes and living standards.

Fiscal Deficits: Public spending on debt repayment and basic services is the main cause of Ghana’s ongoing large fiscal deficit. The forecasted budget deficit for 2021 was 12.1% of GDP, far higher than the 3% convergence threshold set by the West African Monetary Zone (IMF, 2021). After 2026, it may become necessary to balance debt repayments with other expenses, requiring challenging budgetary adjustments and austerity measures.

Youth Unemployment: High youth unemployment is a serious problem, with an estimated 12% of Ghana’s youth population unemployed as of 2021 (World Bank, 2021). Reduced public funding for job development and education initiatives after 2026 may exacerbate this problem, escalating social tensions and possibly sparking instability.

In summary

Restructuring Ghana’s debt is an essential step toward achieving economic stability. However, the consequences when repayment starts in 2026 could present serious difficulties, including financial hardship, inflation, currency depreciation, and social unrest. Ghana can better navigate these potential risks by understanding economic theory and learning from the experiences of other nations. Reducing the risks associated with debt repayment will require implementing structural reforms, maintaining budgetary restraint, and promoting an inclusive growth approach.

References

  1. Arghyrou, M. G., & Tsoukalas, J. D. (2010). The Greek debt crisis: likely causes, mechanics and outcomes. The World Economy, 34(2), 173-191.
  2. Bank of Ghana. (2021). Annual Report.
  3. Barro, R. J. (1974). Are government bonds net wealth? Journal of Political Economy, 82(6), 1095-1117.
  4. Blanchard, O. J. (1985). Debt, deficits, and finite horizons. Journal of Political Economy, 93(2), 223-247.
  5. Ghana Statistical Service. (2021). Consumer Price Index.
  6. International Monetary Fund. (2021). Ghana: 2021 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Ghana.
  7. Krugman, P. (1988). Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang. Journal of Development Economics, 29(3), 253-268.
  8. Sturzenegger, F., & Zettelmeyer, J. (2006). Debt Defaults and Lessons from a Decade of Crises. MIT Press.
  9. World Bank. (2021). World Development Indicators.

By Roger T. D. Wills, Economist and Financial Analyst

Residents of Kwashieman live in fear due to poor drainage system

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Residents of ‘Kwashieman-Addy junction’ in the Ablekuma North District may continue to live in fear and panic amidst the rainy season due to poor drainage system.

The area is deprived of adequate gutters as residents often suffer flooding whenever it rains.

‘Kwashieman Addy junction’ typically is a lowland area where flooding remains a major challenge during rainy seasons.

The gutters are sapped and can no longer contain the volumes of water in the area, yet the sewers are choked with a stench posing a health threat for the people.

The residents in an interview with Onua News expressed fret over the situation and the fact that they have been neglected by the District Assembly.

They equally frowned on lack of public toilet facilities and household lavatories as it compels the people to practice open defecation.

Unit Committee Member, Dina Tagoe on the other hand blamed the situation on the practice of dumping waste into the gutters by the residents.

She disclosed a decision by the Assembly to begin sanctioning offenders and households without lavatory.

Responding to the plight of the people, the National Democratic Congress Parliamentary Candidate for Ablekuma North, Awurabena Aubynn, has funded the services of an excavator to desilt the gutters for free flow of water.

Awurabena Aubynn, NDC PC for Ablekuma North

She has pledged to construct a better drainage system in the area if given the mandate in the December 7 general elections, but was quick to entreat the people to desist from indiscriminate dumping of refuse to avert any outbreak.

She chastised the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for failing to develop Ablekuma North after winning the Parliamentary seat in the area for over 28years.

‘Dumsor’ simply means shortfall in electricity generation – ECG’s Deputy MD

The Deputy Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Mr Kwadwo Obeng, has said that the simplest explanation for the prevailing erratic power supply situation in the country is shortfall in generation. 

He said this in an answer to a question posed by the Co-chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), Dr Steve Manteaw at a public forum organised by CSOs in the energy sector, led by IMANI Africa and the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, COSECA, NRGI and IES.

Dr Manteaw’s question was, “What is Dumsor?” Mr Obeng answered, “it is basically a shortfall in generation. It means there is shortage in the system. We expect a quantum, but we don’t get. Sometimes, it is gas shortage, sometimes it is maintenance. It could be a number of factors.”

His explanation comes at a time when the Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has said emphatically that the current electricity supply challenges are due to maintenance works, which he referred to as, “Dum-siesie.”

Dumsiesie
Energy Minister

In a development that confirms Mr Obeng’s assertion, on June 13, the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and his outfit (ECG) announced that parts of the country will experience power cuts in the coming days.

This, they explained, is due to a reduction in gas supply from Nigeria.

“GRIDCo and ECG, however, wish to assure the public that we are collaborating with other stakeholders in the power value chain to optimize available resources and ensure minimal impact of the reduction in gas supply on consumers,” a portion of the joint statement read.

Related article: 

Parts of the country to experience power cuts for 3 weeks – GRIDCo, ECG announce

During the public forum aforementioned, members of the public took turns to share their concerns with Mr Obeng, one of which had to do with low voltage.

He said until customers report their low voltage experiences to the ECG fault section, the officials will not know about their predicament.

“If you don’t report low voltage, it is difficult for us to know. It is always good to report”, he said.

While he acknowledged the challenges being faced by customers in accessing electricity, the Deputy ECG MD stressed that they can only help when the faults are reported.

He pledged that they would keep improving their services.

“You will agree with me that our services keep improving. Now, you can be in Kumasi and buy electricity for a house in Accra,” he said, but was greeted with chuckles from the audience.

Read also:

We only get to know about low voltage challenges when they are reported by customers – ECG’s Deputy MD

Background

The purpose of the forum was to engage the Management Teams of the VRA, ECG, GRIDco, PURC and Energy Commission to understand the key issues leading to the recent power sector challenges and the mechanisms implemented to restore stability and improve institutional coordination in the power sector.

The public forum was held against the background that the power sector remains critical to Ghana’s economic growth and development.

Over the last decade, the sector has witnessed episodes of short-term stability and long-term unreliable supply. Despite successive governments’ investments, the power sector continues to experience perennial challenges that affect reliable power supply.

The recent power outages have sparked serious concerns about the institutional coordination between the power sector utility companies and the leadership needed to ensure coherence of action to restore stability in the power supply.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the energy sector have keenly monitored the debates and disputes that have accompanied the processes to restore stability in power supply for households and businesses.

Given the key role CSOs play in the energy sector governance, advocacy, discussions must be evidence-based and target the critical issues that affect the power sector, devoid of aspersions and accusations.

Locked-up Global Fund medical supplies include life-saving medications and health commodities – PSGH refutes MoH claims

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) is saying the medical supplies which have been locked-up at the Tema Port contain life-saving medications and health commodities whose extra delay at the port would have dire consequences.

This comes as reminder to the government to fulfill its promise of getting the supplies cleared, having been locked-up since August 2023.

In a press release issued by the Ministry of Health Thursday, June 13, 2024, it said funds have been made available to clear the medication in two weeks.

Meanwhile, an earlier interview granted by the Ministry’s PRO, Isaac Offei Baah, denied claims that the supplies include medications for the treatment of HIV and tuberculosis.

He said the HIV medications were cleared in April, assuring the public that the Ministry is doing all it can to clear the supplies to ensure they are put to good use.

“I want to put it on record that we have mosquito nets, and we don’t have anything like HIV drugs or TB drugs [locked up at the port].

“Once it is something that has been given to the people of Ghana, we are working towards bringing it out and putting it to good use.

“So for clarity sake, we don’t have any HIV drugs locked up at the port that we have not cleared. All those ones were cleared somewhere last April,” Mr. Baah told Accra-based Starr FM.

But, a statement from the PSGH Friday, June 14, says the consignment still contains essential supplies which should be cleared as early as possible to avoid any consequences.

“The PSGH reminds the MOH and the general public that some of the remaining containers hold life-saving medications and health commodities, including artesunate injection for severe malaria, Tuberculosis (TB) medicines for both category 1 and category 2 patients, malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits (RDTs), and GeneXpert cartridges for TB diagnosis, among others.

“Further delay in clearing the remaining containers would have severe repercussions including: Complete stock-out of malaria RDTs: This hampers our ability to diagnose and treat malaria promptly.

“Fatal consequences for severe malaria cases: The rainy season is upon us, and severe cases of malaria may arise, especially in children under 5 years and pregnant women.

“Shortage of TB medicines: As at May ending, most facilities had only one month supply of TB medications for Category 1 & Category 2 patients. If medicines for TB treatment runs out, it will lead to default in treatment leading to drug resistant TB which is very difficult to treat,” the PSGH listed.

It added that “these disruptions not only threaten the health and well-being of countless Ghanaians but also undermine the significant progress we have made in combating HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. Ghana’s recent celebrations of 20 years of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and our pledge of $2 million to the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment reflect our commitment to these global health initiatives. However, the current impasse casts a shadow over our achievements and international standing.”

Stacked up medical supplies: Global Fund to advise itself if not cleared

Free dialysis: Unless you are on admission before you can benefit – Patient’s relative reveals

Latest checks at the Renal Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital reveals a partial opening of the unit.

Sources however say, the facility is only open to persons on admission.

The facility was reported closed for maintenance works on Thursday June 13, after an 80-year-old kidney patient, Victor Sormenah, waited at the facility for his dialysis session over an hour, only to be told the unit had a challenge.

Meanwhile, the hospital authorities, according to the patient’s wife, said there was a shortage in supply of the items needed for the treatment.

Although the National Health Insurance Authority has announced a free dialysis treatment for patients 18 years and below and those above 60 years, some patients have complained of paying over GHC400 for treatment at the facility on Friday June 14.

Aunty Yaa (not her real name) brought her uncle to the facility for treatment on Friday, however she was told to pay a fee before her uncle could receive treatment.

“The information is that unless you’re on admission before you can be given free treatment. So yesterday we went to Abofu and paid about GHC490. But they couldn’t do it, they said there was a problem with the tube. We had to come back here today. So today we came, they corrected the tube and he’s on dialysis now. But we had to pay GHC491”.

For now the fate of kidney disease patients in Accra hangs in the balance with no positive word from the hospital as to when the facility will be fully opened.

 

Power crisis: Privatise ECG – Energy analyst

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Executive Director for African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye, has implored the government to privatize the Electric Company of Ghana (ECG).

He wants the ECG to be privatised to help solve the erratic power outages, commonly referred to as “dumsor,” in the country.

The power sector remains critical to Ghana’s economic growth and development, yet the sector has witnessed episodes of short-term stability and long-term unreliable supply despite successive government’s investment.

Recently, the government has come under a severe pressure to fix the perennial challenges in the sector to avoid the folding up of businesses in the country.

This has compelled business owners, civil society organizations in the energy sector and the general public to demand a load shedding timetable to enable people to plan and safeguard their livelihoods.

Mr. Boakye, addressing the media at a public forum on June 14 with the service providers and regulators underscored the need for the government to privatise ECG if it cannot efficiently and effectively manage its operations.

Ben Boakye

He is optimistic that the sale of ECG to a private entity would enhance its operations to deliver reliable electricity to Ghanaians as well as saving the country millions of cedis.

“Government must privatize ECG and it doesn’t matter who buys it, what is important here is to ensure that the person is able to provide Ghanaians a reliable and efficient power supply.

Because we cannot converge here every day to discuss “Dumsor” whilst the government continues to spend millions of cedis that could be used to remove schools under trees in the country,” he stressed.

Kofi Kapito

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), Kofi Kapito thinks otherwise, he believes that if institutions and government agencies will settle debts owed ECG, it would empower them to deliver.

Story by Maxwell Otoo/ Onua FM/ 3news.com

Traders at Mallam Atta market lament high prices of ‘provisions’

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Wholesale and retail prices of provisions such as milo, milk, sugar and other food items like bags of rice and gallons of oil have soared, some with a 100-percentage increase.

This came to light when 3news visited the Mallam Atta market.

A trader at the market, Regina, intimates that currently there is a downturn in sales due to the high rate of food inflation.

Regina

She further added that customers do not visit the market often as they used to because of the high cost of food.

“5kg of rice which used to be sold at GHC70 is now being sold at about GHC100. Oil is also expensive, however the price range for tomato paste is much better”. “Regina said.

Provisions

Another trader, Osei Boamah, said that the wholesale price of a bar of chocolate was GHC15 about a month ago, but now it is 25 cedis. He mentioned that the surge in prices is gradually affecting his business.

Osei Boamah

“The prices of provisions continue to increase significantly. Now chocolate which is an all-time favorite of most people and other food products are not bought frequently,” he lamented.

Amid the soaring inflation, the rising cost of food in the country has left many families struggling to make ends meet.

Recounting the unstable prices of provisions, Gifty Sarpomaa said the increase in prices of food items especially provisions, is witnessed every day.

She said there is a 50 to 100 percentage price increment daily and sometimes within two days.

Until Ghana’s food inflation stabilises, traders and consumers would have to grapple with the skyrocketing food prices.

BY AKUA OFORIWA DARKO

 

One shot dead, three injured after land guards attack construction workers at Tebu

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One person has been shot dead, while three persons are injured after a group of land guards attacked construction workers at Tebu in the GA south Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.

The deceased, Gabriel aka Alekye was one of some four persons who were shot by suspected land guards this afternoon, Friday, June 14.

The land guards had demanded from the victims a digging fee resulting in heated confrontations upon which a second batch of land guards arrived at the scene and began shooting sporadically resulting to the injuries.

The victims were rushed to a private hospital in Danchira but the deceased whose condition became critical was transferred to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra where he was later pronounced dead.

In an interview with Onua news, Joseph Aidoo who escaped from the gun shot explained how the incident happened.

“They took all our working tools and were sending them away. All of a sudden, a motorbike was approaching us and all we could see was he was giving warning shots. Immediately, he started shooting at us and we started running away,” he narrated.

Meanwhile, Assembly Member for Danchira Electoral Area Ebenezer Ahotor said activities of the land guards are getting out of hand as they have been terrorizing innocent people including military officers who have bought land in Danchira.

According to him, reports have been made to police in the electoral area but no action has been taken.

“Last year December, a group of land guards attacked some members in the community. It’s the same way they threatened a military man who bought a land in this community that they will kill him.

“I have reported all these occurences to the police who said they were going to investigate the issue,” he told Onua news.

 

By: Nana Yaw Asare/ Onua news