Economic Hardship: Ghana Slashes Salaries Of Govt Appointees

(File Photo) Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo

 

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and his ministers have cut their salaries by 30 percent under measures to reduce spending as the country struggles with higher fuel costs from the Ukraine crisis and stalled progress on a new tax, the government said on Thursday.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced that foreign travel by government appointees, except for critical missions, and the purchase of imported vehicles had been suspended with immediate effect.

He said the government hoped to save around $400 million through the measures.

READ ALSO: 16 Malian Soldiers Killed In Separate Attacks – Army

Global fuel prices have hit all-time highs because of the Russia-Ukraine war, driving up costs of living and transport in a way that has hit West African countries like Ghana hard.

Ghana’s government is also struggling to raise domestic revenue as gridlock in parliament since last year has stalled the passage of a controversial 1.75-percent E-Levy tax aimed at bringing in additional funds.

“It is important to stress, right from the onset, that the difficulties we are facing in Ghana are not peculiar to Ghana,” the minister’s statement said.

“Governments in both developed and developing countries are busily coming out with various prescriptions to bring their economies back on track, after the devastating impact of Covid-19 which distorted global supply chains, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.”

Other measures include a 50-percent cut in fuel coupon allocations for all political appointees and heads of government institutions.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the decisions were inadequate.

“Our immediate response to the Minister of Finance is to state emphatically and unequivocally that he has lost touch with reality, he is not in-tuned with the state of the Ghanaian economy,” the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told reporters in parliament.

Recent data published by the Bank of Ghana indicates that the country’s debt to GDP was 80.1 percent at the end of December 2021.

Neighbouring Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is also struggling with the twin problems of an unstable power supply and the doubling of the cost of diesel that many businesses use to fuel generators which keep the power going during blackouts.

AFP

Many Feared Dead In Ghana As Explosives Truck, Motorcycle Crash

This combination of photos show the scene of an explosion in Ghana on January 20, 2022.
This combination of photos show the scene of an explosion in the Western Region town of Bogoso, Ghana on January 20, 2022.

 

A truck carrying explosives collided with a motorcyle in western Ghana on Thursday, causing an immense conflagration and the “loss of lives”, President Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo.

The accident happened around noon in Apiate, near the city of Bogoso some 300 kilometres (180 miles) west of the mineral-rich West African country’s capital Accra.

Saying the blast caused “the loss of lives and the destruction of properties”, the president added in a Tweet: “It is a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident.”

READ ALSO: 29 People Dead In Liberian Stampede

Local police released a statement saying that “preliminary investigation has established that a mining explosive vehicle… collided with a motorcycle resulting in the explosion”.

“Most of the victims have been rescued” and taken to various area hospitals, the statement said.

Others were injured and were taken to hospitals and clinics in the region, police added.

Dr Joseph Dark, working at Apiate hospital, told AFP that five of the casualties had been taken there, “including a five-year-old child who is in a life-threatening condition”.

Police asked surrounding villages to open their schools and churches to accommodate any additional casualties. Reinforcements have been deployed to the scene and people near the blast have been asked to move to nearby villages, the police added, while appealing for calm.

 

AFP

Ghana Court Dismisses Opposition’s Election Challenge

Photo collage of Nana Akufo-Addo and John Mahama

 

Ghana’s Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the opposition’s election challenge led by runner-up John Mahama who had asked for a rerun of the December 7 vote won by incumbent Nana Akufo-Addo.

Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won the vote with 51.59 percent ahead of Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, with 47.36 percent, according to official figures.

Former president Mahama contested the results, accusing the electoral commission of vote padding in favour of his longtime rival.

“(The) allegation of vote padding was not proved by credible evidence… we have therefore no reason to order for a rerun,” Chief Justice Kwesi Anin Yeboah said in its ruling.

“We accordingly dismiss the petition as having no merit.”

READ ALSO: Turkish Court Refuses To Include US report In Khashoggi Trial

Ghana’s new parliament was split down the middle with the two main parties winning 137 seats each.

Members of the NDC have described both the presidential and parliamentary election as “flawed” saying it would take steps to overturn a “brazen and shameless attack on our democracy.”

“Overwhelming evidence available makes it impossible for us to accept this spurious and hurried conclusion,” Haruna Iddrisu of the NDC said after the election.

Ghana stands out as a stable democracy in volatile West Africa and observers, both Ghanaian and foreign, viewed the polling as generally free and fair.

Mahama was expected to address supporters of his party later in the day.

AFP

Ghana Elections: Ex-President Mahama Rejects Result, Seeks Rerun

(COMBO/FILES) This combination of file pictures created on December 04, 2020 shows Ghana President, Nana Akufo-Addo (L) attends the fifty-sixth ordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja on December 21, 2019, and Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama (R) upon his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on September 27, 2016. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN, Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

 

Ghana’s opposition leader John Mahama, the runner-up in this month’s disputed presidential election, filed a case before the Supreme Court seeking a rerun of the vote which he has rejected as “fraudulent”.

He asked the court for an “order of mandatory injunction directing the Electoral Commission to proceed to conduct a second election”.

The petition charges that the announcement on December 9, two days after the vote, of victory for Mahama’s arch-rival Nana Akufo-Addo was “unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

The announcement was “made arbitrarily, capriciously, and with bias”, the petition reads.

Mahama, 62, also wants the court to restrain Akufo-Addo from “holding himself out as president-elect”.

The electoral commission declared 76-year-old Akufo-Addo winner with 51.59 percent of the vote, followed by Mahama with 47.36 percent.

Mahama told a news conference afterwards: “I stand before you tonight unwilling to accept the fictionalised results of a flawed election. We will take all legitimate steps to reverse this tragedy of justice.”

Observers, both Ghanaian and foreign, viewed polling in the West Africa country as generally free and fair, but police said five people were killed and 19 injured in election-related violence.

Akufo-Addo and Mahama had signed a symbolic peace pact ahead of the vote.

It was the third election battle between the rivals, and in 2012 it was Akufo-Addo who contested Mahama’s win.

Ghana Opposition Supporters Protest Against Election Results

Supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) sing, dance and gesture on the main road of the Electoral Commission, in Accra, Ghana, on December 8, 2020, as Ghanaians await results of presidential and parliamentary elections that passed off peacefully, reaffirming the country’s reputation for stability in a troubled region. Results are expected to be close between President Nana Akufo-Addo, 76, of the centre-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) running for a second term, and his predecessor, John Mahama, of the centre-left National Democratic Congress (NDC).
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Police in the Ghanaian capital Accra used water cannon on Thursday to disperse opposition supporters contesting the results of presidential elections.

Incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo won the December 7 vote with 51.59 percent ahead of long-time rival John Mahama, with 47.36 percent, according to official figures.

Some 200 Mahama supporters wearing red and black marched to the headquarters of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, carrying placards contesting the results.

They burned tyres in the middle of the road, causing a heavy traffic jam. Similar protests were held in other regions.

Ade Coker, regional chairman of Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC), said the protestors had come with a petition against the outcome of the polls.

“We have engaged in a peaceful march and everyone knows we’re a peaceful party. Suddenly, we heard gunshots and teargas by the police resulting in total chaos,” he said.

 

President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 

“We won’t be intimidated. We’re ready to protect our victory.”

Police said they intervened to prevent a breakdown of law and order, and the water cannons were used to douse the fire.

Accra’s head of police operations, Kwesi Ofori, said arrests had been made, but declined to give a number.

The elections’ close outcome has fuelled tensions between the NDC and Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP), with Mahama accusing his rival of abuse of power.

Observers, both Ghanaian and foreign, viewed polling as generally free and fair, but police said five people were killed and 19 injured in election-related violence.

Ghana, a nation of 30 million people, has a reputation for electoral stability in politically volatile West Africa.

Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo Wins Second Term

President and candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufo-Addo addresses supporters during the final day of campaigning at James Town in Accra, on December 5, 2020 (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has won a second term after a tightly contested presidential election, the country’s electoral commission announced Wednesday, beating long-time opponent John Mahama.

Akufo-Addo of the centre-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) received 6,730,413 or 51.59 percent of votes while Mahama of the centre-left National Democratic Congress (NDC) received 6,214,889 or 47.36 percent of votes, the commission’s chairperson Jean Adukwei Mensa said.

 

Parliamentary results for the country’s 275 constituencies are yet to be announced, but are expected to be very close. Both parties are contesting some of the provisional results.

Mahama, 62, and Akufo-Addo, 76, are old rivals who have faced off at the ballot box twice before.

Mahama was president for four years until 2016, before being succeeded by Akufo-Addo. Both of those elections were determined by small margins.

 

Ghanaian incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo, and candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), validates his registration before casting his vote at a polling station in the Eastern Region district of Kyebi on December 7, 2020 during Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, turnout was high on Monday, with 13,434,574 people voting or 79 percent of registered voters, according to the electoral commission.

While the vote was largely peaceful, five people were killed in election-related violence, police said Wednesday, casting a shadow over a country hailed for its stable democracy.

 

Ghanaian incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo, and candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), speaks to the press after casting his vote at a polling station in the Eastern Region district of Kyebi on December 7, 2020 during Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 

Ghana has had seven peaceful transitions of power since the return of democracy more than 30 years ago, and post-electoral grievances have always been pursued through the courts –- a rarity in the troubled region.

 

 

Ghana Opposition Candidate Mahama Warns Against Electoral Fraud Ahead Of Results

Ghana
A file photo of John Mahama.

 

Ghana’s opposition leader on Tuesday warned President Nana Akufo-Addo against any attempt to steal this week’s election, as both sides claimed they were winning ahead of official results of the vote, largely deemed free and fair by observers.

The strong statement by opposition candidate John Mahama raised the temperature after Monday’s presidential and parliamentary polls in a country known for stability in a troubled region.

“Some of what is happening is unacceptable and Nana Akudo-Addo continues to show credentials that are very undemocratic,” Mahama told a hastily convened press conference in the capital Accra Tuesday evening.

“You cannot use the military to try and overturn some of the results in constituencies that we have won. We will resist any attempts to subvert the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people,” the 62-year-old former president said.

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told a press conference — convened just minutes after Mahama spoke — that allegations of intimation by soldiers were false.

The electoral commission has yet to announce the final official results but the race was expected to be close between Mahama and Akufo-Addo, 76, of the centre-right New Patriotic Party (NPP), with recent polls putting the incumbent narrowly ahead.

The presidency released an unofficial tally on Tuesday claiming that results from 91 percent of polling stations showed the president with 52.25 percent of votes and Mahama with 46.44 percent.

Mahama, the leader of the centre-left National Democratic Congress (NDC), meanwhile claimed that his party had won a majority — 140 — of the 275 seats in parliament.

“We thank the Ghanaian people for the confidence they’ve expressed in us. It’s clear, the Ghanaian people want change in this country,” Mahama said.

The government strongly rejected the opposition’s claim that it had won a parliamentary majority, saying the announcement “could endanger the peace of this country.”

READ ALSO: Indonesia Holds Nationwide Poll Despite COVID-19 Warnings

Oppong Nkrumah said “this dog whistle to supporters by the candidate to jubilate, to get out on the streets” was “categorically irresponsible and it flies in the face of good conduct.”

– ‘Isolated challenges’ –
The electoral commission has urged the public to wait, saying it was “working round the clock to ensure that the collated results are accurate and a true refection of the will of the people”.

“The commission will release all the certified results as soon as they are received,” it said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

At a polling station in Accra’s Jamestown neighbourhood, dozens of election staff spent Monday night counting ballots while party officials, journalists and election observers watched, some half asleep.

Outside the gates, guarded by a police tank and a handful of armed guards, some residents of the poor neighbourhood were nervous.

“People are saying NDC won but I voted NPP!” said Rebecca Vorsah, a 20-year-old student among the nation’s 17 million registered voters.

Some 12,000 observers deployed on voting day across Ghana gave the process a relatively clean bill of health.

A coalition of observers, CODEO, said its 4,000 observers reported a total of 254 incidents during the voting process.

“While there were some challenges, these challenges were isolated and did not undermine the process’s overall credibility,” it said in a statement.

– Economic woes ahead –
There has never been a second-round in Ghanaian elections and the two main parties have handed over power peacefully seven times since the return of democracy more than 30 years ago.

Post-electoral grievances have always been pursued through the courts.

To ensure its continued tradition of peaceful polls, Akufo-Addo and Mahama signed a symbolic peace pact on Friday.

The stability in Ghana contrasts with that of other countries in the region, with deadly unrest this year in Guinea and Ivory Coast.

Key issues that voters want the next government to address included unemployment, infrastructure, education and health.

The world’s second-largest cocoa-producing country has made giant strides in the last 20 years but many people still live in extreme poverty and the country faces mounting debt.

Ghana could face a recession in 2021 with double-digit inflation, according to Damina Advisors, a political risk consultancy.

AFP

Ghana Anti-Graft Prosecutor Quits Over ‘Interference’

Photo Credit: JoyNews

 

Ghana’s special anti-corruption prosecutor has quit, accusing President Nana Akufo-Addo of “political interference” over a report into a controversial gold royalties deal.  

The move comes just three weeks ahead of a presidential election that sees Akufo-Addo facing a tight race against former leader John Mahama.

Former attorney general Martin Amidu announced his resignation late on Monday, saying he had become convinced “that I was not intended to exercise any independence” in the job.

“You had laboured under the mistaken belief that I could hold the Office of the Special Prosecutor as your poodle,” Amidu wrote in a letter to the president.

Amidu was appointed by Akufo-Addo in 2018, sparking hopes that he could help curb graft in the country.

The prosecutor said he decided to quit after the president tried to get him to “shelve” a scathing report on a plan to sell the bulk of Ghana’s future gold royalties to an offshore firm.

The government is seeking to cash in on the high price of gold and raise some $500 million dollars (420 euros) by floating half of the firm on the London Stock Exchange.

Amidu accused Akufo-Addo of trying to act as “a judge in your own cause” after the report contained “negative anti-corruption assessments” over the presidency’s role.

There was no immediate response from the presidency to the allegations but officials have previously insisted they are acting transparently.

The report was eventually published two weeks ago and the government has said it was delaying the London floatation in the face of opposition until after elections on December 7.

The authorities insist the plan will help Ghana raise vital cash to help offset the damaging impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy.

Ghana is viewed as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies but corruption remains a persistent problem.

The country ranked 80th out 180 nations in Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, with a survey saying that a third of public service users had paid a bribe in the last year.

-AFP

Gbajabiamila To Visit Ghana On ‘Legislative Diplomacy’ Over Maltreatment Of Nigerians

A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
A file photo of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says he will embark on a ‘legislative diplomacy’ visit to Ghana on Wednesday, over hostilities against Nigerians living in the West African country.

Gbajabiamila who made this known to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.

According to the Speaker, he got the blessing from President Buhari to meet with his Ghanaian counterpart to find a solution to the problem.

“I am leaving for Ghana tomorrow to meet with the Speaker of the Parliament in Ghana to look at the issues on ground as it affects our citizens, to try and calm things down to see if there is a way forward.

“I informed the President; he is aware of every single step that we are taking. We hope that we will come to an amicable settlement one way or the other,” he said.

 

When asked what his demands were, Gbajabiamila said he was not demanding anything on behalf of the Nigerian government.

The Speaker explained that his mission to Ghana is to “discuss and see how the two countries can resolve whatever the issues are. It is not about making demands, it is diplomacy.”

READ ALSO: Lagos Govt Commences Reconstruction Of Helicopter Crash Site

This comes four days after the Nigerian Government warned that it would no longer tolerate the maltreatment of its citizens in Ghana.

In a statement issued on August 28 by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government is deeply concerned by the incessant harassment and the progressive acts of hostility towards the country by Ghanaian authorities.

To Mohammed, the President Buhari administration is urgently considering a number of options, as part of measures to contain the situation.

He also revealed that the government “has been documenting the acts of hostility towards Nigeria and Nigerians by the Ghanaian authorities.”

But reacting on August 30, Ghana’s Information Minister, Endkojo Oppong Nkrumah, faulted claims made by the Nigerian government.

He however explained that President Nana Akufo-Addo will engage with President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the matters amicably.

While reiterating the country’s commitment to maintaining what could be described as warm relations between the two countries, Nkrumah said the move is necessary to guard against straining the diplomatic ties.

 

Ghana’s Akufo-Addo To Engage President Buhari Over Maltreatment Of Nigerians, Others

(File Photo) Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo

 

The Ghanaian Government has reacted to claims made by the Federal Government over the maltreatment of Nigerians in the country among other issues raised.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Ghana’s Minister of Information, Endkojo Oppong Nkrumah, said President Nana Akufo-Addo will engage with President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the matters amicably.

While reiterating the country’s commitment to maintaining what could be described as warm relations between the two countries, Nkrumah said the move is necessary to guard against straining the diplomatic ties.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Will No Longer Tolerate Harassment Of Citizens In Ghana – FG

This comes two days after Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed said the Federal Government will no longer tolerate further maltreatment of its citizens in Ghana.

 SEE FULL STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE GHANAIAN GOVERNMENT HERE:

 

                                                                       Republic of Ghana

                                                                  MINISTRY OF INFORMATION  PO. BOX M 41, ACCRA

Tel No: +233-(0)30-2227201

Fax No: +233-(0)30-2229786 EMAIL: info.m [email protected]

August 30, 2020

STATEMENT

The Government of Ghana notes, with concern, a statement, dated Friday, August 28, 2020, issued by the Ministry of Information and Culture and signed by the Federal Minister, Hon. Lai Mohammed, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, concerning current relations between Ghana and Nigeria.

Ghana remains committed to the maintenance of warm relations with all sister nations, particularly, for well-known historical reasons, with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and will proceed to engage the Federal Government of Nigeria with a view to resolve comprehensively and exhaustively any matters that have the potential to sour relations between the two countries.

Ghana finds it imperative, however, from the onset, to state, for the public record, that the outline of issues by my Nigerian counterpart is not reflective of the developments in Ghana. Any protests, decisions or actions based on these reports will, thus, be unjustified.

We are obliged, therefore, as a first step, to provide our counterparts, as well as the Ghanaian and Nigerian publics, with a more reflective account of events, even as we pursue substantive diplomatic engagements to resolve matters.

(I) Accusation:

The seizure of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 10, Barnes Road, Accra which has been used as diplomatic premises by the Nigerian Government for almost 50 years; and which action, is a serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

Response:

This statement is inaccurate. The transaction was a commercial arrangement between Thomas D. Hardy, a private citizen and the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana on 23rd October 1959.

The terms of the Commercial Lease expired 46 years ago, without any evidence of renewal by the High Commission of Nigeria in Ghana. The Government of Ghana was not involved in the transaction and has not seized the property in question.

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(II) Accusation:

Also, even though the main reason given for the seizure of Federal Government property at No. 10 Barnes Road in Accra is the non-renewal of Lease after expiration, the Ghanaian authority did not give Nigeria the right of first refusal or the notice to renew the Lease. By contrast, the lease on some of the properties occupied by the Ghanaian Mission in Nigeria has long expired, yet such properties have not been seized.

Response: The Government of Ghana does not, did not and never owned the land, and has not been involved in the seizure of any property of the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana. The land in question is owned by the Osu Stool and managed by the Lands Commission.

In response to the claim that the lease on some of the properties owned by the Ghana Mission in Nigeria has long expired, it must be noted that the Government acquired a freehold land at Pope John Paul II Street in Abuja in 1989 through a commercial arrangement, and built the current structures on it. The staff of the Ghana High Commission in Abuja have been living there since the construction of the current structures.

(III) Accusation:

Demolition of the Nigerian Mission’s property located at No. 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, East Ridge, Accra, which constitutes another serious breach of the Vienna Convention.

Response:

This statement is not factual. A search at the Lands Commission indicated that the Nigerian High Commission failed to complete the documentation process after paying for the land in the year 2000 A.D. The High Commission failed to acquire the Lease and Land Title Certificate, which constitute documentation for the said property, as well as a building permit for construction. In Ghana, land is owned not only by the Government, but also by Stools and Families.

The demolition of the property was not carried out by agents of the Ghanaian Government, but by agents of the Osu Stool. Nonetheless, the Government of Ghana, valuing the relations between our two countries, has decided to restore the property, at its own cost, to its original state for the Nigerian High Commission, and has duly communicated same to the Nigerian Authorities. The Government of Ghana has also agreed to facilitate the proper acquisition of title by the Nigerian High Commission, as announced by Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs at the time of the incident.

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(IV) Accusation:

Aggressive and incessant deportation of Nigerians from Ghana. Between January 2018 and February 2019, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Five (825) Nigerians were deported from Ghana.

Response:

This statement is not factual. In 2019, seven hundred (700) Nigerians, who were found to have been involved in criminal activities such as fraud, prostitution, armed robbery etc., were deported.

(V) Accusation:

Residency permit requirement, for which Ghana Immigration Service has placed huge fees far higher than the fees charged by the Nigerian Immigration Service. These include the compulsory non- citizen ID card (US$120, US$ 60 for yearly renewal); medical examinations, including for COVID-19 which is newly introduced (about US$ 120), and payment for residency permit (US$ 400 compared to the N700,000 being paid by Ghanaians for residency card in Nigeria).

Response:

It must be noted that all foreigners, who apply for resident permit in Ghana, pay same fees as stated above. These fees are not specific to Nigerians.

(VI) Accusation:

“Media war against Nigerians in Ghana. The negative reportage of issues concerning Nigerians resident in Ghana by the Ghanaian media is fuelling an emerging xenophobic attitude against Nigerian traders and Nigerians in general.

The immediate fallout is the incessant harassment and arrest of Nigerian traders and closure of their shops.”

Response:

The statement is not factual. There is no media war against Nigerians in Ghana.

There is also no negative reportage on Nigerian residents in Ghana by Ghanaian media, which could potentially lead to xenophobic attitude towards Nigerians, particularly Nigerian traders in Ghana.

No Nigerian trader has been arrested. The closure of shops was as a result of infractions on Ghanaian laws. Even then, those affected who are not only Nigerians, have been given ample time to regularise their documents. Furthermore, no Nigerian- owned shops are currently closed.

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On the contrary, the negative reportage has been against the Ghanaian Government from high places, (tweets by Foreign Minister of Nigeria and a Nigerian businessman, who appears to have political interests in Ghana), in Nigeria. This is inconsistent with established practice in our very good relations. The Press Release by the Information and Culture Minister of Nigeria is a clear departure from the manner in which officials of the two countries have related with each other in the past.

(VII) Accusation:

“Nigeria has time after time demonstrated its fidelity to the long cordial relations with Ghana. But indications especially in recent times, are that Nigeria’s stance is now being taken for granted and its citizens being made targets of harassment and objects of ridicule. This will no longer be tolerated under any guise.”

Response: Ghana has always demonstrated her commitment to excellent relations with Nigeria which is evidenced by the manner in which Ghanaian Government officials dealt with recent issues, which have had severe economic impact on our country.

Ghana did not resort to any media war. However, the Ghanaian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade travelled to Abuja to try to resolve diplomatically the issue of closure of Nigerian borders, and to seek safe corridor for ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) exports from Ghana, all to no avail. It is expected that the response of Nigerian Authorities to situations that evolve in our relations should be guided by the merits of the matter and our mutual interests.

(VIII) Accusation:

That three hundred (300), six hundred (600) and two hundred and fifty (250) shops belonging to Nigerians were closed down in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively

Response:

Upon evidence that some individuals, including Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, had been involved in various forms of trade, without complying with the laws and regulations of Ghana, several engagements and prior advice had been given to encourage compliance.

Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry personally intervened to ensure the reopening of closed shops, pending compliance with Ghana’s laws by their operators.

5

Among other corrective measures, the Committee on Foreigners in Retail Trade, comprising representatives of various regulatory agencies and institutions in Ghana, was tasked with the responsibility of conducting inspections of retail shops in designated commercial districts in both Accra and Kumasi to ensure compliance with retail trade laws and regulations.

The compliance exercises conducted in the selected markets revealed gross violations of retail trade laws and regulations by Ghanaians and foreigners, including Nigerians. These violations included tax evasion, immigration offenses, trading in sub-standard products, violation of the Ghana Investment

Promotion Centre (GIPC) law, improper registration of firms, under-payment of business operating permits, falsification of documents, among others.

In all cases, non-compliant shop owners are given adequate notice to regularize their documents, before action is taken to close any shop/business.

It is an incontestable fact that there is widespread abuse and disregard for local laws and regulations governing retail trade by some foreigners, including Nigerians, which need to be addressed without discrimination. It is important to note that the compliance exercise under reference is not restricted to either ECOWAS nationals or Nigerians for that matter, but extend to all individuals engaged in retail trade, including Ghanaians.

(IX) Accusation:

Harsh and openly biased judicial trial and pronouncements of indiscriminately long jail terms for convicted Nigerians.

Response:

Ghana’s courts, at all material times, function independently, and with strict respect for the Laws of Ghana, regardless of the nationalities of accused persons. Judges neither convict nor sentence with a bias for or against nationalities. Nigerians and Ghanaians convicted for same offenses are not treated differently.

(X) Accusation:

Outrageous stipulations and amendments of the GIPC Act.

Response:

It is untrue that the law has been amended twice, and, accordingly, there is no 2018 GIPC Act. Further, the statement that a review of the Act has increased the minimum capital base for foreign owned businesses to US$1.00m is false.

Perhaps the reference is to sections 27 (2 & 3) of the GIPC Act and relate solely to persons who are not citizens but want to engage in retail trade or trading activities, which are otherwise restricted exclusively to Ghanaians. Accordingly,

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‘a person who is not a citizen may engage in a trading Enterprise if that person invests in the Enterprise, not less than One Million United States Dollars in cash or goods and services relevant to the investments. Trading includes purchasing and selling of imported goods and services. The amount does not relate to the broad universe of investors. We are also somewhat astonished to have the laws of a sovereign nation described as outrageous, especially since they have not attracted the rebuff or criticism of any regional organization, especially

ECOWAS.

The Federal Republic, on the other hand, is on record to have taken a number of steps in recent months, in pursuit of her national interests, which have gravely affected other countries in the Region. These include the closure of Nigeria’s Seme Krake Border from August 2019 to date and the issuance of executive orders by Nigeria’s Presidency, preventing foreigners from getting jobs which Nigerians can do, to mention a few. Ghana and other West African countries continue to believe redress to even actions like these can be sought, diplomatically, without resort to media statements and related activities that have the potential to aggravate further the situation.

The aforementioned notwithstanding, the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who values very much his excellent relations with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Muhammadou Buhari, will engage President Buhari with a view to develop immediately a framework for validating claims of ill treatment of citizens of either country, and ensure citizens enjoy the full exercise of their rights, while respecting the sovereignty and laws of both countries. Ghana and Nigeria, as they have been doing, must continue to work together for a successful West Africa.

 

-ENDKOJO OPPONG NKRUMAH (MP)

MINISTER

Ghana Leader Says Airports May Reopen Next Month

President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo speaks during the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship forum 2018 in Lagos on October 25, 2018.

 

President Nana Akufo-Addo has indicated that Ghana’s international airport may reopen next month after measures are set in place to test arriving passengers for coronavirus.

“I know many still ask when our borders, especially our international airport, Kotoka International Airport, will be open,” Akufo-Addo said in a televised address late Sunday.

“Under my instructions, the Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Co. Ltd., have been working with the Ministry of Health and its agencies to ascertain our readiness to reopen our airport,” he said.

“I want to ensure that we are in a position to test every single passenger that arrives in the country to avoid the spread of the virus,” he said.

“The outcome of that exercise will show us the way, and determine when we can reopen our border by air. I am hoping that, by God’s grace, we will be ready to do so by 1st September.”

Kotoka, located outside the capital Accra, was closed in March along with other border points in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. Schools were also shut and public gatherings banned.

Ghana, a country of 30 million people, has recorded 42,653 cases since March, 239 of them fatal.

AFP

Ghana President Self-Isolates Despite Negative COVID-19 Test

 

Ghana’s president has gone into self-isolation for two weeks as a precautionary measure despite testing negative for coronavirus, the government said, after one of his contacts was confirmed to have the illness.

President Nana Akufo-Addo began his quarantine on Saturday and will be working from the presidential villa in Accra, capital of the West African country, the information minister said in a statement.

“The president has elected to do so after at least one person within his close circle tested positive for COVID-19,” the minister said.

“(The president) has, as (of) today, tested negative, but has elected to take this measure out of the abundance of caution.”

Ghana has reported more than 19,300 cases of the new respiratory disease and 117 deaths, and has lifted its strict lockdown although social-distancing measures remain in place.

The announcement came a day after the presidency said a junior minister had resigned for failing to self-isolate after testing positive.

There was no official indication the events were linked.

Since the pandemic erupted, a number of senior political figures worldwide have caught the disease, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalised and has now recovered.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall also went into a preventative quarantine last month, despite testing negative, after coming into contact with a coronavirus case.

AFP