The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, but the earth He has given to the sons of men -- Psalm 115:16.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Employers Association decries high cost and access to credit

Ghana’s private sector cannot promote employment creation and slow the rate of unemployment if businesses do not have the capacity to borrow, expand and retool, says Terence Darko, President of the Ghana Employers Association (GEA).

According to him, employer-employee relation is no longer the most serious issue in improving Ghana’s business environment, but access to and cost of credit for businesses to achieve their objectives.

“Many businesses are suffering because the cost of borrowing is such that they are unable to go for the loans and facilities that will help them expand and retool their businesses”, Mr. Darko told a business forum in Kumasi.

He said the Association is working with the banks and the Finance Ministry to “make sure that interest rates are reduced to the barest minimum so that businesses can borrow and expand”.

The GEA also expects the government to be committed to addressing challenges stifling business growth, including unstable utility services, influx of counterfeit goods on the market and poor physical infrastructural development, which he noted adds to the cost of production.

The Association has provided a platform for business interest groups in the Ashanti region to brainstorm on removing bottlenecks that impede business success and enterprise sustainability.

Mr. Darko said the GEA is liaising with other trade associations for a proposal to have representation at the various local assemblies, in order to engage the assemblies on laws and regulations that impede business growth.

Regional Chairman of the Association, Dr. Kwaku Adu Aninkora, stated that professional training for employees is being promoted to curtail poor work attitude and unhealthy cultural practices that hinder productivity at the workplace.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Profile of Ghanaian league raised by sports betting business

A reputable sports betting brand in Europe, mybet.com, says it is contributing to raising the profile of the Ghanaian football league.

Sports’ betting entails placing a bet on the outcome of a sporting event with the primary intent to win additional money.

Mybet.com Ghana is regulated by the Gaming Commission to take bets on sporting events across the globe, with special interest in soccer.

“Since we came to the market, we have included the Ghanaian leagues in it, so as to give it more of a local content”, said Kwaku Ohemeng Agyei, Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Sporting wagers can be on fixture or tournament results. For example, in a football game between Asante Kotoko and Chelsea, possible bets include Kotoko to beat Chelsea, Kotoko to win 2-1, Kotoko to win by one goal, Kotoko to be leading at half-time, and a particular player to score a goal.

“Now we have bookmakers across the globe inquiring about the local leagues, thinking that if we’re taking bets on the local league, then there is credibility to the local league”, stated Mr. Agyei.

Mybet.com Ghana has ventured the Kumasi market, after successfully operating outlets in the capital city, Accra for the past eight months.

The CEO described the Kumasi market as huge with prospects to grow the business and excite sports enthusiasts.

“Sports betting is totally different from lottery because lottery if pure luck”, he explained. “If you research well and you know your team, you can basically make money everyday from sports betting… it’s something that you can calculate and win”.

The firm is hoping to take bets on other social events, including political elections.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jute sacks go on artistic exhibition in Kumasi

26 year old Ibrahim Mahama is of a new generation of artists that is redefining what art can be, how it is exhibited and how it interrogates our relationships with ourselves and our surroundings.

Whether kente, adinkra, or wax print, cloth has long been a semiotic, value-transferring art form in Ghana.

West African born, internationally acclaimed artists, like El Anatsui and Yinka Shonibare have carried on and reinvented this tradition by using bottle tops to take on the form of Kente or wax print to usurp Western historical and aesthetic narratives.

Ibrahim goes a step further by incorporating the provenance, narrative and context of the cloths in his work.

He creates out of a commonplace material. Jute sacks imported by the Ghana Cocoa Board and repurposed by charcoal sellers are again repurposed by the artist, and exhibited in the very places they are sold.

His epic installations move out onto the streets, into marketplaces, under abandoned railway bridges, rendering what is unseen – layers upon layers of rubbish, degradation normalised and neglected by inhabitants and their government – visible.

In his most ambitious work to date, Ibrahim covers the KNUST Museum, both inside and out, in jute cloth to give more obvious form to questions, such as – Is this Art? Who is the Artist? Is this the place for it? What is the relevance of the museum model? And what does it all mean anyway?

Ibrahim describes art as an inherent complex phenomenon and for him getting confused as a cursory onlooker is another way of contributing to the creative work “because you are causing them to think much more deeply about things that they wouldn’t have felt deeply about”.

The exhibition is staged in collaboration with the cultural research platform ANO, which hopes to provide a context for his work through writing, curation, discussion and an upcoming film.

“I think what people can come and take away is an opening of mind, of soul, and of questioning”, said Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, Curator and collaborator for the exhibitor. “Culture is the very foundation of society and without culture we’re nothing, so exhibitions like this one begin to bring arts to our lives, begin to bring these questions into our lives and engender more discussion; and I think the more and more this happens, the deeper look into and awareness of ourselves as a growing society becomes”.

It took Ibrahim about eight months to put the works together and he is hoping to put more of his creations out in public in coming months.

“We were living in arts many years ago, through dance, culture, tattoo and others”, he observed. “It’s not something that you actually do that becomes an object that people can actually worship or becomes sacred, it’s something that lives in you and translates from every movement, every sweat and every drop of your blood”.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Credit Union Bill anticipated to be passed this year

The Credit Union Association (CUA) is confident parliament will pass the Credit Union Bill this year, to provide an enabling environment for members to operate and sustain their activities.

Low interest rates on loans and drive for the culture of savings are factors that place co-operative credit unions in better position to compete with other financial institutions.

But the unions feel threatened by activities of other microfinance companies in competition for clients, due to the absence of a legal framework to regulate credit unions.

Anthony Augustine Aidoo, immediate past Chairman of CUA in Ashanti region, says the passage of the Bill is critical to consolidate credit unionism as a viable financial instrument to alleviate poverty.

“If the Bill comes, then Credit Unions will become autonomous and their activities will be regulated so that they don’t falter and fall by the wayside”, he stated.

Co-operative Credit Unions in Ghana are to operate under a separate regime in the Bank of Ghana’s ongoing reform of the microfinance industry.

Under the Non-bank Financial Institutions Act 2008, Credit Unions are placed under the second tier of the new regulated microfinance regime, together with Susu Companies taking deposits and making profits.

But Credit Unions are yet to be roped in the regulated activities.

The Bank of Ghana has stated that regulation of the unions would commerce as soon as parliament passes the legislative instrument for the sector.

Meanwhile, public interest continues to grow in the microfinance concept of credit unions.

Easy Investment Co-operative Credit Union, at its 2nd Annual General Meeting in Kumasi, posted an impressive financial performance for 2012.

The Union recorded 358 percent increase in net profit, with total income of Gh₵184,282.98 within the period.

Total assets, reserves, members’ savings and share capital as well as loan portfolio increased from between 200 to 674 percent in the financial year, whilst membership recorded 79 percent increment.

Managing Director, Samuel Addo Otoo attributes the performance to transparency in transactions, flexibility in accessing credit and payment of good dividend on shares.

“Some members bought shares and invested in other institutions but compared with the dividend that we’ve paid so far, I think members are very happy with it; our shares position increased by more than 200 percent and we want to continue strengthening the confidence that members have with us”, he stated.

Easy Investment Credit Union is in the process of signing a partnership agreement with telecom giant, MTN Ghana, to introduce mobile banking for members to easily contribute to their savings account.

Mr. Adoo Otoo added that an insurance scheme has been arranged to support members plan for their pension.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Monday, February 25, 2013

Entrepreneurship series initiated in Kumasi to empower youth

The Kumasi Center for Lifelong Learning (KCLL) has initiated an entrepreneurship series to empower young Ghanaians with information, training, mentorships and business start-up support.

500 young people would be supported to set up innovative community-based businesses to create jobs at the end of an initial two year cycle, under a pilot scheme with the North Suntreso Assembly of the Church of Pentecost.

The project involves initiation of ideas that address community challenges in the areas of environment, agriculture, livelihoods, literacy among others.

Executive Director of the Center, Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, has envisaged the series would become the flagship avenue to develop sustainable entrepreneurs poised to address social needs.

“There are lots of challenges that we have as a country and each of those challenges is an opportunity for people to make money, for people to change their lives and for people to be able to make impact in other people’s lives”, he stated.

According to Mr. Adu-Gyamfi, targeted beneficiaries work in groups on ideas that translate into businesses. “When they develop the ideas to certain levels, we have mentorship programme, with the kind support of the Barclays Bank through their Community Support Project, that support them regards setting up their businesses, sustaining the businesses and also building up the management structure and ensuring the business grow”, he said.

The KCLL has been involved in the introduction of new modules in embedded systems and micro-electronic training for Engineering and Computer Science students at the KNUST.

Mr. Adu-Gyamfi noted that the Center is focused on high-end technology and social entrepreneurship as well as working with people in the informal sector to access the requisite tools and finance to successfully run their businesses.

Meanwhile, Norbert Opare-Gyan, a youth leader of the Pentecost Church, has emphasised the need for churches to concentrate on devising socio-economic interventions in addition to their spiritual activities.

“If somebody is not working, the temptation for him to commit crime or do something bad would be so high on him, but if the person is well occupied we believe and trust that the person can organise himself as well as build his spiritual life”, he noted.

Mr. Opare-Gyan says the Church’s partnership with KCLL is to aid unemployed graduates and other young people in the church and within the community to start profitable ventures.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Interest groups join forces to uproot illegal mining

There is an insurgence of armed robbery, prostitution and drug abuse in Subriso, a galamsey prone community in the Ahafo Ano North District of Ashanti.
 
Farmlands are being destroyed whilst water bodies and the environment are gravely polluted as a result of illegal gold mining.

A collaborative initiative has been mounted to rid Subriso and other communities in the District of illegal mining operatives.

Interest groups, including the district assembly, Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and traditional authorities are devising strategies to get tough on the galamseyers.

Manfomanhene, Nana Kwame Ntim has decried the reluctance of the illegal miners to submit to regulation to minimize the negative impact of their activities in all aspects of livelihood in the area.

He has vowed to take all the necessary action to uproot illegal miners who have refused to formalize their operations, emphasizing that “the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II will not take kindly to any chief who condones illegal mining in his area”.

The illegal gold miners have been disrupting the prospecting activities and operations of Pelangio Ahafo Limited and looted gold worth millions of dollars.

A court recently ordered the police to shut down pits created by ‘galamsey’ operators after the company tool legal action on illegal activities on its concession.

According to District Chief Executive, David Addai Amankwaah the Assembly is ready to support the small scale miners to legally prospect gold.

He stated that the District Security Council has taken steps to minimize the social vices associated with galamsey operations, including boosting the capacity of the district police command and upgrading facilities.

Ashanti Regional Director of the EPA, Isaac Osei noted the country would need to curb illegal mining now to save the future.

“We are moving towards a very dangerous situation”, he observed. “If they are regulated, then the level of destruction will totally be minimized. But the people are very difficult to convince to come and register and that the basis of the problems that we are facing in this country”.

The Mineral Commissions expects all stakeholders to show commitment in curbing illegal mining.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Friday, February 22, 2013

LPG price hike to worsen Ghana’s depleting forest

Environmental campaigners are worried Ghanaians may be compelled to revert to the use of charcoal and firewood for energy with the hike in the price of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).

This, they say will harm efforts at protecting the country’s already depleted forest cover.

Subsidies on the price of LPG were placed as a measure to get majority of the population to shift from wood fuels to LPG with the intent of conserving the forests to help mitigate global warming.

It is not clear how much of an impact the subsidy has helped in discouraging felling of trees for fuel wood.

But Environmentalist, Lovans Owusu-Takyi says there are clear indications the hike in LPG prices would lead to an increase in deforestation.

“About 85 percent of the population depends on fuel wood for energy source and with the increase in fuel prices definitely people are going to go back to the use of charcoal and fuel wood”, he observed. “The more dependency on charcoal and fuel wood will also increase the depletion of forest resources”.

The price of LPG has gone up by 50 percent, selling at 194.85 per litre or GHS24.36 per a 12.5 kg cylinder.

Mr. Owusu-Takyi stated that Ghana is already importing timber from Cameroon and the “risk to our forest is high now, hence the need for urgent attention to be given and that the fuel price increase should be looked at again”.

Whilst urging the government to explore ways to subsidize LPG to benefit urban households, Mr. Owusu-Takyi noted access the improved and efficient cook stoves would be beneficial in reducing charcoal and firewood in both rural and urban communities.

“Improved cook stove is very good to save and reduce carbon emission, provide clean energy and improve the health of the people”, he said.

Already, producers of clean cook stoves are anticipating an increase in sales of products with the hike in prices of LPG.

“Once the price of LPG increases, definitely people will switch from the LPG and start using their charcoal. So with this efficient cook stove, it’s going to reduce the cost of their fuel consumption in terms of charcoal for their cooking so I think it’s good news for us”, said Michael Yaw Adjei, manufacturer of Holy Cook Stoves in Kumasi.

About 69 percent of urban households in Ghana use charcoal for cooking and heating.

Mr. Adjei is looking forward to expand production to meet anticipated demands.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Highlife greats to rock New York in Independence Day FestDance

The Ghanata Hall on Webster Avenue in the Bronx, New York is set to rock on Saturday March 9, 2013 with a celebration of Ghanaian musical and artistic ingenuity.

In commemoration of Ghana’s 56th Independence anniversary, Sam Paddy Productions in collaboration with the Ghana Mission, USA is putting together a night of exotic Highlife Music with legendary Highlife greats on the bill.

Dubbed the “Independence Day FestDance”, the night will parade an array of artists headlined by Smart Nkansah, Eric Agyemang and Prince Osei Kofi, in what can has been described as a “Star-studded showdown”.

Connoisseurs of vintage Highlife, popularly known in Ghanaian musical parlance as ‘Old Timers’ will not be disappointed as Smart Nkansah, who is flying in from London with his Sunsum Band is all poised to slam mega hits like Nsem Pii, Odo kasa a mete asee  and Mensee M’adwen.

US based Eric Agyemang, acknowledged by National Geographic for helping to develop the ‘Sikyi’ strand of Highlife music is also set to enthrall patrons with classics like Abena na aden, Nea abe beto and I don’t care while Prince Osei Kofi, who is also domiciled in the US will do his part with unforgettable tracks like Enye mea and Fine Boy.

Generation X patrons will definitely relive the good old times and reminisce about bands like Sunsum, Sweet Talks and Black Hustlers.

Generation Y connoisseurs will also find a treat with an international all-star band featuring Padmore Oware of Sunsum, Chicago-based Joe Afriyie on trumpet, Asamoah Rambo formerly of Western Diamonds, Papa Jammer on drums, London-based King Kay on keyboards, Australia-based Tricky Joe, also on keyboards and US-based Akua Danquah, formerly of Western Diamonds on vocals.

Millennium generation and generation Z’ers are however not left out.  The night will also feature an Azonto dance competition and the crowning of Miss Ghana New York.

Special guest for the occasion is the Ghana Consular to the UN.

The event is supported by a host of Ghanaian businesses in the New York area including the Ghana Taxi Drivers’ Association, Gold Coast Shipping and the Joe Mensah Foundation.

New York has a significant Ghanaian population, especially in the Bronx but the event is likely to attract other African nationals as well as the general New York nightlifers.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Arts come alive as Tate hosts ‘Across the Board’ project in Ghana

Tate is hosting a major symposium in Accra, Ghana, from 21-23 February 2013, which will explore the Ghanaian art scene, looking at local initiatives which have broadened their scope internationally.
 
This is the second in the four-part project entitled Across the Board, promoted by Tate, an institution that houses the UK's national collection of British Art, as well as International Modern and Contemporary Art.

It will partner with three local institutions in Ghana – Nubuke Foundation, the Dei Centre and the Art in Social Structures – to examine art as an engine for social transformation though the building of art networks and new institutions.

Institutions such as the National Museum of Ghana, the Foundation for Contemporary art - Ghana, in Accra and the College of Art and Social Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, will also be in focus.
 
The project is sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank plc.

Over the past decade, non-state institutions and cultural platforms have occupied local art scenes in Africa producing new strategies to connect art and society, often beyond the remit of local government.

This symposium will invite local and international audiences to engage with artists and those working in the cultural arena from African cities such as Algiers, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Dakar and Nairobi.

Participants willinclude, among others, Aida Muluneh, Gabi Ngcobo, Kader Attia, Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Ato Annan, Rikki Wemega-Kwawu, Joe Osae-Addo, Kofi Setordji, Jimmy Ogonga and Nana Ofori Atta-Ayim.

A programme of film screenings will take place at the Dei Centre for the Study of Contemporary African on 23 February where artist, Senam Okudzeto will introduce a programme dedicated to the work Black Audio Film Collective.

The event in Ghana will explore emerging networks in Africa, encourage professional development in the arts and will foster long-term conversation on the impact of collectiveness and the arts on social change.

Across the Board was launched in November 2012 at Tate Modern - curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose of Curator International Art.

The project consists of a series of events exploring recent artistic practices in Africa.

Raising questions on the politics of representation, institution building, public space or public sphere, and interdisciplinary practices, it will contribute to local expertise and networks when it takes place in three cities in Africa in 2013 and 2014: Accra in Ghana, Douala in Cameroon and Lagos in Nigeria.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Chiefs go to school to learn management and customer service

Traditional authorities from across the country are learning to better manage resources within their localities and to treat their subjects like customers.

The chiefs are being exposed to innovative ideas in the discharge of routine duties in their communities.

The programme is run by the Osei Tutu II Centre for Executive Education and Research (OTCEER) in Kumasi, with funding from the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).

“We want them to have a different mindset in the way they interact with their subjects; primarily to treat their subjects like their customers”, said OTCEER Head, Nana Otuo Acheampong, who emphasized that people would be more loyal to the causes the chiefs lead when treated like customers.

The first batch of 30 from the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs is currently enrolled in the four month training course.


The four-modular programme covers service management and innovation, leadership and land administration, contemporary issues in leadership and financial management for chiefs as leaders.

Nana Acheampong noted the programme is inspired by the Asantehene’s project in land lease renewal “where about five or six banks are now resident at Manhyia taking monies as opposed to the traditional way where you’d have had to get a bottle of schnapps and for about two months you’d be trooping the palace to get your lease renewed”.

According to him, the beneficiary chiefs have demonstrated commitment to learn to benefit from the training.

“Our primary aim is for them to use the skills acquired in improving their communities. Now if the secondary aim would lead some, especially when we come to look at financial management, to them establishing enterprises to help their people, then we’d thank God for that; anything  that would generate income for the people to be self-sufficient would be encouraged”.

The course would be run for chiefs and queen mothers in all ten regions of the country.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Power to produce crippled by endemic energy crises

Yaw Opoku is a local footwear producer in the Bantama suburb of Kumasi. He engages five other hands at his production shed, in the quest to meet demands of customers.

The more they produce, the higher they earn to feed themselves and their dependents. But their dependence on electricity to complete the production cycle is on the decline.

Today, Yaw and his partners cannot plan their production schedule and they are worried about their future livelihoods.

“As I speak to you now the lights are off”, Yaw complained. “We’re sitting here hoping it will be on for us to resume work. I used to go on trek every week to sell my footwear but now I go when I’ve managed to produce enough”.

These footwear producers are not alone in feeling the heat from Ghana’s inability to produce enough electricity to feed domestic, commercial and industrial consumers – from the service industry to manufacturers, the impact of the power cuts is deeply felt.

The challenges to domestic users are enormous, especially the damage caused to electrical appliances from the power fluctuations.

But manufacturers are most worried. Worst hit are the small-scale businesses, including dealers in frozen products, wielding mechanics, drinking bar operators, beauticians and dressmakers who are constrained in resorting to power generators as alternatives.

In times past, Kumasi’s industrial sector was centered in the Kaase and Ahinsan areas, where the timber firms were concentrated.

This is not the situation today as industries are now scattered across the region. Hence, any planned load shedding targeting industries will not be beneficial.

Producers are therefore finding it difficult to plan production as power goes off sometime unannounced.

The general concern among businesses and industrialists is the rising cost of production. The erratic supply of electricity does not only disrupt production but people have to invest in fuel and maintenance to run their generators.

Now the prices of petroleum products have gone up, which according to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), are influenced by the government’s decision to withdraw subsidies on the products.

The Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) have also called for hikes in electricity tariffs if they are to boost their capacity to deliver on the country’s energy needs.

According to local manufacturers, a persisting energy challenge would push production levels low and eventually result in layoff of workforce.

They therefore expect government to protect them against cheap imports if they are to absorb the impact of hikes in the prices of petroleum products on productivity.
 
The producers say though the volatile oil market could adversely affect their operation, the major threat is cheap and imitated imports competing with local products.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Microfinance firm lends support to sports and more

The management of Kumasi Asante Kotoko has received a Gh₵50,000 sponsorship package from Noble Dream Microfinance Limited.

The financial support is to aid the team’s campaign in the CAF African Champions League.

Kotoko kicked off the competition with an exciting 7-0 win over Sony Ela Nguema at the Baba Yara Stadium on Sunday.

Marketing Manager of Noble Dream, Kwame Basoa is hopeful the sponsorship would ginger the Porcupine Warriors to bring joy to the country.

“We hope that they’ll do well and with this type of entertainment, we know some of our customers, who are most of the time in the Ashanti region, would also be very happy”, he said.

The firm has also made several corporate donations to orphanages, hospitals and mental rehabilitation homes.

Meanwhile, Mr. Basoa says the company has been responding favourably to calls for service extension to rural economies.

The upsurge in the number of firms operating in the financial services sector has focused more on supporting urban dwellers with loans and financial advice.

The Ghana Association of Microfinance Companies has prevailed on members to turn attention to the rural areas with financial products.

Noble Dream, one of the fastest growing microfinance companies, is focused on creating opportunities for people in local communities to save and make credit accessible to all.

The Marketing Manager expects private businesses to take up the challenge of leading rural economic development.

The firm prides itself as the biggest in the sector with its 20 branch network and 220 thousand customer base, as at end of 2012.

Mr. Basoe believes the Bank of Ghana can help protect industry interest in closing firms refusing to submit to regulation.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Monday, February 18, 2013

Real AMASS eyes 5th trophy in schools athletics

T.I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School in Kumasi (Real AMASS) is poised to annex the Super Zonals Athletics Championship trophy for the fifth year running.


The School is currently occupying the enviable position of being the four time champions for both the male and female categories of the sporting event in the Ashanti region.

Over 100 senior high schools have been participating in the annual event.

Headmaster of Real AMASS, Yakub Abubakar, says the achievement is unprecedented in the annals of sports in the region and most probably in the country.

“Our enviable track record in sports is such that anytime we are in competition with other schools, it is seen as a contest between David and Goliath”, he stated at the School’s 63rd Speech and Prize-Giving Day celebration in Kumasi.

“In fact, some of my colleague headmasters have strongly suggested that the school be upgraded to a tertiary level when it comes to sports so that we leave other schools who are equal to compete”.

Real AMASS has produced some of the finest national sporting personalities over the years.

Mr. Abubakar noted some boys and girls who have excelled in sports have been supported to gain admission to higher levels of education.

One of the best athletes for 2012, Atsu Nyamadi, has gained admission into the Neosho County Community College in Kansas, USA to pursuit of higher education.

To effectively combine its sports and academic work, the headmaster enjoined the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and the GETFund to speed up the completion of the school dining hall, Assembly Hall, Boys’ dormitories and Science Block.

Real AMASS also wants provision of girls’ dormitory, school library and staff bungalow.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Friday, February 15, 2013

KNUST Primary School kids lead environmental cleanliness

Some class five pupils of the KNUST Primary School in Kumasi have been on the streets of local communities in an exercise to promote environmental cleanliness.

With support from Zoomlion Ghana, the children stepped out of the classroom to appreciate factors that expose them to certain diseases and illness.

They also carried placards to sensitize the communities – inscriptions had messages like “without cleanliness we’ll get sick as children”, “keep our environment clean” and “We want our country to be clean”.

“We felt this is the time we have to take the children out for them to go and clean so that when they see filth, they’ll be able to tell other people not to drop these things around”, said Block Head, Nana Oye Woodeiz.

The kids were excited to be involved in the clean-up but amazed at the heap of filth around them.

“I want all my friends and other people in the world to know that when the environment is clean, we’ll not get sick, we won’t get diseases”, an excited pupil, Maxwell Mawutor, said.

Poor public attitude towards environmental sanitation has been identified as major obstacle in efforts to keep the environment clean and green.

Zoomlion has announced the formation of Zoom Kids Clubs in the various schools this year with the aim of targeting the children as agents of change.

Nana Oye has lauded the initiated, stating that “as children when one thing goes into their head it’s difficult for you to erase and I think when they start them young, it will help us, it will help our nation in years to come and our school would like to be part of the kids program.”

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

GRA in distress action to enforce tax compliance

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been impressing on businesses in the Ashanti region to honour their tax obligations, especially with the Value Added Tax.

The distress action is to retrieve accruing revenue from defaulting business establishments.

About five cargo trucks evading tax have been impounded, some businesses shut and managers arrested in Kumasi within the fie-day exercise.

Officials at the GRA’s Debt Management and Compliance Enforcement Unit have observed low compliance of VAT laws and regulations among both small and big institutions.

The on-going distress action targets institutions that have either refused to file VAT returns or defaulted in payment of other taxes.

“As when they are arrested, we make them to pay the tax; this vehicle that we’ve arrested they quickly went and issue the VAT invoice and the tax element would be accounted for,” said Wisdom Kofi Xetor, an enforcement officer.

Total revenue retrieved over the period would not be disclosed, but in one instance, an arrested cargo truck carried a single invoice with a VAT component in excess of Gh₵5,000.

Mr. Xetor says significant impact has been achieved, stating that the distress action puts businesses on the alert to honour their tax obligation.

The GRA expect institutions to voluntarily pay their taxes to avoid confrontations with tax agents.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Multimedia Group in Kumasi touches hearts on Vals Day

It’s a season of love and most residents in the Garden City are in the mood of the Valentine’s Day.
 
Petty traders are busy making sales from merchandising chocolate whilst other shops are busy devising innovative strategies to encourage more Vals day shoppers to purchase gift items.

Stations under the Multimedia Group in Kumasi, Luv Fm and Nhyira Fm have lined up series of events to excite listeners and add value to the season.

Nhyira Fm’s ‘Obra’ talk show hosted inmates of the All Nations Children’s Home in a special on-air Vals Day event.

Founder of the Home, Philip Kusi Nyamekye, narrated his past unpleasant experience which motivated him to establish the home, now accommodating 45 inmates.

A number of listeners who said they were touched by the programme phoned in to make several donations to support the upkeep of the children.
 
Programme Host, Mama Efe Amanor, emphasized that “love is beautiful to give and show”, hence the need for Vals Day enthusiasts to turn attention to the needy in society.

Meanwhile, the traditional town of Offinso in Ashanti is witnessing perhaps the biggest crowd ever as Nhyira FM hosts a musical extravaganza as part of Valentine.

The station is collaborating with Emass Hotel for the event which will feature hi-life greats, including Thomas Frimpong, Pat Thomas, Nana Aboagye Da Costa.

Side attraction includes popular actress, Rose Mensah, popularly known as “Kyiewaa” who will be Master of Ceremony (MC). She promises fans of a memorable show.

Residents of Offinso and surrounding communities say they are delighted to host, for the first time, such a big event.

Patrons of Luv Fm’s Valentine’s Day promotions “The Luv Couples Game” have been proving how well they know their partners – they have been testing their knowledge about each other live on air.
The most exciting segment of the promo is the “Surprise” or revelation lifeline, where calls are made to parents and siblings of partners to crosscheck some facts live on air.

Winners of the game, Joann Tagoe and Nana Gyasi Asiedu, are being treated to a weekend’s stay at the Golden Tulip, Kumasi City.

Others won attractive valentine packages from sponsors, Daviva Fashion Ghana, St. Ben’s Jewelry, Today’s Man and Woman Unisex Shop and Fred Craft N Things.

Luv Fm will partner Golden Tulip to climax the season with a Valentine Colour Jam at the Drive Night Club.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

AGI partners Multimedia Group for “Indutech 2013 Kumasi”

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is partnering the Multimedia Group Limited to host the “Indutech 2013 Kumasi, the 1st International Trade Fair in the Ashanti regional capital.

Over 100 exhibitors from Ghana and the West African sub-region are expected to partake in the event holding between March 27 and April 1 at the Kumasi Cultural Centre.

Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman of AGI, Robert Kwakye Nketia, said the garment, pharmaceutical, artifact and agro-processing sub-sectors of the manufacturing industry would be the focus of the Fair.

The ultimate goal, he noted, is to expose the Ghanaian populace to locally produced goods and services.

The “Indutech 2013 Kumasi” has been launched under the theme “Improving Market Share of Made in Ghana Goods, the Challenges of Access to Markets in a Global Competitive Market”.

Event planning committee chair, William Awuku Ahiadormey, anticipates 30,000 visitors to troop to the fair grounds, from all parts of the country.
 
He noted Kumasi is endowed with its nodal position in Ghana Kumasi to serve as the country’s industrial hub.

“If we can help Kumasi to have a very vibrant industrial sector with a good market, we should be solving more of Ghana’s problems. The rural-urban drift that mainly ends up in Accra would have been reduced if we can develop more industries in Kumasi because it’s easier reaching Kumasi from any corner of this country,” stated Mr. Ahiadormey.

The AGI plans to institute a biannual industrial and technology fair to find markets for locally manufactured products.

Johnson Adasi, Director of Industry at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, noted that collaboration between industry and knowledge-based institutions are critical for global competitiveness.
 
According to him, the implementation of Ghana’s Industrial Policy calls for effective government, industry academia cooperation.

He entreated local entrepreneurs to take advantage of the Indutech to build partnerships that would propel Ghanaian manufacturers to expand for Ghana to be less import dependent.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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