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Ghanaian press spotlights President’s concern on governance infractions, others

President Akufo-Addo’s concern about governance infractions and the enormous costs that affect the entire society is one of theleading stories in the Ghanaian press on Friday.The Graphic reports that President Akufo-Addo has said that everyone should be concerned about governance infractions as when they arise, they exact enormous costs that affect the entire society.

“The cost of poor governance can be enormous,” he stressed in remarks presented on his behalf by Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Charles Adu Boahen, to the Institute of Directors, Ghana (IoD-Gh) at its stakeholders’ forum.

According to President Akufo-Addo, no sooner had the government assumed office in 2017, than it realised it had inherited “a deficient financial infrastructure” and ended up spending over GH¢21 billion “to remedy the consequences of bad corporate governance in the financial sector” and a further GH¢4.5 billion “to protect investors in failed asset management companies.”

“Poor corporate governance across public enterprises has also had a significant adverse impact on our fiscals, with state owned enterprises reporting significant and persistent operating losses,” the President said, adding that by the end of 2019, a cumulative total of GH¢16.37 billion in outstanding on-lend loans stood against state-owned enterprises.

Similarly, in 2020 and amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, government had to transfer over GH¢166 million as government support to a number of these state owned entities.

“These resources could have been used to expand social welfare programmes to mitigate the impact of the pandemic for the average Ghanaian, amongst others,” he said.

The newspaper says that the Ministry of Health, in consultation with key stakeholders, is developing a national roadmap to facilitate the phasing out of mercury in the health sector due to its harmful effect on human health.

The initiative forms part of the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury which the country ratified in 2017.

Health experts say Mercury is a very poisonous substance which when ingested or inhaled might produce significant adverse neurological and other health effects such as digestive and immune system dysfunction, diseases of the lungs, kidney, skin and the eyes.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international agreement designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

At a consultative meeting in Accra yesterday, the Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the MoH, Dr Emmanuel Odame, said the current stage constituted the phase two of the implementation of the treaty which sought to phase out mercury containing devices and chemicals in the health sector.

The stakeholders included health sector agencies and training institutions and organisations, actors in the environment sector, development partners, civil society organisations, the Ghana Standards Authority and the media.

He said the agreement was premised on a number of reasons including the fact that health experts had established that exposure to mercury, even small amounts could have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

Ghanaian Times reports that Afreximbank is to set aside an amount of $250 million as seed funding to support deals and initiatives of the African Sub-Sovereign Governments Network.

Launched yesterday on the sidelines of the ongoing Intra-African Trade Fair being held in Durban, South Africa, the Network is expected to serve as a platform to promote socio-economic cooperation among Africa Sub-National Governments within a continental framework.

Prof Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank speaking at the launch here on Thursday, said, given the differences in levels of development and industrial and technological advancements, members would benefit from the exchange of experiences and knowledge.

“It can also be a platform to promote technology exchange and foster cross investments that take advantage of market opportunities, resource endowments and even relative geographic proximity that will be given meaning by borderless Africa that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFT) will ultimately engender,” he said.

He said “We will be willing to consider technical assistance and provide project preparation facility, guarantees, trade and project finance supports. Our Trade Intelligence solutions can support market access studies.”

Professor Oramah said the creation of the Network was another crucial step towards accelerating continental integration and using it as a platform for pursuing the African continent’s joint development aspirations.

He said members of the Network could work together to influence regional or continental trade and economic policies and programmes, particularly those that directly impact their economies.

“Such lobbying or advocacy initiatives will include influencing the formulation, adoption, and implementation of industrial and general economic policies as well as expected outcomes,” he said.

The newspaper says that the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has directed the Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, to with immediate effect, restore the collection of road and bridge tolls across the country.

Mr Bagbin said the decision by Mr Amoako-Atta, NPP MP for Atiwa West, to order for the cessation of tolls collection across the country was an “empty boast and has no effect.”

Presenting the budget statement and economic policy of the government for the year 2022 in Accra on Wednesday, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, announced that toll booths would be abolished because they have become a source of vehicular traffic impacting negatively on time and productivity in the process.

“To address these challenges, government will zero-rate tolls on all public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately the budget is approved,” Mr Ofori-Atta told the House.

Few hours, however, after that indication by the Finance Minister, the Roads Minister in a statement directed the “cessation of the collection of road and bridge tolls at all locations nationwide effective 12am on Thursday, November 18, 2021.”

But Mr Bagbin said the Minister has no such powers to without amending the law which imposed those toll and charges, stop their collection.

“It is very clear that the Minister has no such authority to do what he sought to do.

“I want to clearly direct that what the Minister released is a complete brutumfulmen. It means it is an empty boast and has no effect,” he directed.

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