Tuesday, 8 April 2014

High utility bills cripple hospitality industry

By Benjamin Glover | Tuesday, 08 April 2014 Page 55 The Tema Region branch of the Ghana Progressive Hotels Association (GAPROHA) has appealed to government to consider the rated status of hotels by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) which is crippling the hospitality industry. The association said being rated by the new tariff structure which puts them to the level of as a manufacturing companies is affecting the operations of the hospitality industry and will compel the operators to close down . According to the GAPROHA, hotels have all along been levied as commercial entities but to their surprise per the new tariff increases, hotels have now been elevated to the status of Special Load Tariff - Low Voltage (SLT-LV) which is the same as manufacturing companies by the Electricity Company of Ghana Limited (ECG) in its billing cycle. This according to them has lead to losses in revenue to the state, retarded growth in the sector and a massive unemployment as a result of their inability to operate. The association made the observation at its caucus meeting held in Tema to find ways of redeeming the industry and also to take steps to remedy the situation. The Association stated that with the new status, energy tariffs have risen significantly in recent times and become unbearable and difficult to remunerate its workers. They said they could foresee the closure of a greater number of operators because of their inability to foot their energy bills. Briefing the media at the meeting, the National President of the GAPROHA, Nana Kodjo Opei IV, appealed to the government to consider the plight of the hoteliers and come out with appropriate directive to help sustain the industry. He explained that hoteliers have over the years regularly and patiently been absorbing steady increases in our overheads, particularly utility bills without drawing the authorities attention to their situation which has affected their finances Nana Opei IV stressed that the Association has come out because the situation has reached an alarming point . He noted that as manufacturers could pass on the increases to products, the same cannot be said of hotels. Nana Opei stated that Ghana is not a good tourist center and therefore they cannot pass on the current tariff increases to our guests, He appealed to government to in the interim placed hotels in the commercial category in order to lessen their burden stressing that if that was not done, the sector faces collapse or forcible closure of a large number of hotels. -End-

COTVET equips Tema woodworkers with skills

By Benjamin Glover | Saturday, 05 April 2014 14:01 A two-week workshop, intended to train woodworkers in modern techniques of carpentry and entrepreneurship to enhance productivity and income has been held in Tema with a call on the government to restrict the importation of cheap wood products into the country. One hundred members of the Tema Wood Manufacturers Association (TEWOMA) drawn from the Tema metropolis and Ashaiman municipality attended the training, which was funded by the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) and facilitated by the Wood Industries Training Centre (WITC). They were taken through various topics including design, finishing and marketing of wood. Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic during the opening session of the programme, the President of TEWOMA, Mr Maxwell M. Prempeh, observed that cheap imported wood products had contributed to suppressing the local wood manufacturing sector and led to the decline of the industry. Mr Prempeh acknowledged the potential of the local wood industry and stressed that wood products made locally were not only durable but could compete favourably with those imported. He bemoaned the lack of technical and financial support for the sector and said the local artisans had problems with good finishing, but without good finishing, many people would not patronise their products. He was also of the view that the products of local wood workers would be of good quality if they were given the necessary training and support. Mr Prempeh also said it was against that backdrop of challenges, that the association approached COTVET for support. He said the training which was funded by COTVET under the Skills Development Fund to the tune of over GH¢ 83,000, was to equip its members with modern skills that would help keep the workers abreast of the current trends in the wood industry. Mr Prempeh expressed the hope that the training would help to enhance their output and thereby increase productivity. The Director of the Wood Industries Training Centre, Mr Douglas Asuming, recounted that one of the major problems facing the wood industry was the drastic reduction in forest resources which served as the raw material base for the sector. He, therefore, stressed the need for woodworkers to constantly equip themselves with modern technology to enable them add value to the limited wood products in the system. Mr Asuming advised the participants to adopt new marketing strategies and entrepreneurship skills to enhance their businesses. An Executive Member of TEWOMA, Mr Delali Amexo, was optimistic that the training programmes would contribute to high productivity and improve the lives of the artisans. Mr Amexo appealed for the construction of a wood village with modern facilities for carpenters and woodworkers in Tema to provide a more secure, safe and congenial environment for the wood workers and help increase productivity. Writer’s email: Benjamin.glover@graphic.com.gh - See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/20845-cotvet-equips-tema-woodworkers-with-skills.html#sthash.hIrnQA8Y.dpuf - See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/20845-cotvet-equips-tema-woodworkers-with-skills.html#sthash.hIrnQA8Y.dpuf

Tema Traditional Council demolition victims appeal for help

More than 1000 displaced residents of Tema Manhean whose structures were demolished last Wednesday have appealed for help to enable them to cope with the aftermath of the demolition exercise by the Tema Traditional Council (TTC). Some of the victims told the Daily Graphic that they were taken unawares by the taskforce, which descended on them with bulldozers to eject them from the land. Residents of the community have been rendered homeless following the demolition of their houses by a taskforce of the TTC. The residents, who are mainly fishermen and fishmongers, told this reporter that they had lived in the community for decades. The Chairman of the Area Residents Association, Mr Evans Horve Fiadu, said the community was allocated the land between the 1950s and 1960s by the TTC to facilitate their fishing trade. He stated that during the latter part of last year, and the early part of this year, the TTC started inscribing eviction notices on their structures. According to Mr Fiadu, they initiated series of meetings with the TTC with the view to amicably solving the problem but to no avail. Demolition He indicated that last Wednesday, bulldozers, accompanied by a team of police officers and members of the TTC taskforce, descended on the community and demolished the structures. “We are not litigating over the land with the traditional authority,” he stated, adding that “we are only appealing for help as we struggle to cope with the sudden misfortune that has left our people without a place to lay their heads and undertake their fishing vocation to earn a living”. Asked why they had not moved to another land allocated to them by the TTC, Mr Fiadu said the new place was not only closer to the sea but also a refuse dump, which was not habitable. TTC reacts The Tema Traditional Council (TTC) has, however, justified its action of demolishing the structures. The council claimed that it was ready to undertake a project on the site as the encroachers got more and more entrenched in the area. A source at the Tema Traditional Council (TTC) told the Daily Graphic that a 120-acre land area of which the U-compound was not part had been taken over by visiting fishermen who came to perform their vocation there many years ago. It said the land on which they were encroaching belonged to the TTC but because they were moving in and out, the council allowed them to continue to use the area. According to the source, the council, however, realised that the encroachers had sub-leased the encroached land while the original settlers moved upwards to an area near the Roman Catholic Church at Manhean. Quit order It said in June 2013, the TTC, sensing danger, announced a quit order to the encroachers and those the land was sub-leased to, because the TTC had a purpose for the land and more so their presence was creating a slum. The source explained that the quit order was not to punish those living in that area but rather to sanitise development of Tema Manhean. It said many of the encroachers understood the order of the TTC and had moved while others refused to heed the order. The source was of the view that the traditional council had shown some magnanimity by allowing the illegal settlers to continue to stay for a period of about one year just to enable them to move to the new area allocated to them by the TTC. NADMO Intervention Meanwhile the Tema NADMO has started registering the victims to enable it to support them with some materials. According to the Tema Metropolitan Co-ordinator of NADMO, Hajia Zainab Abdulai, the situation was not as it happened at Adjei Kojo. - See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/20918-tema-traditional-council-demolition-victims-appeal-for-help.html#sthash.XRwAsS5o.dpuf

Bear with govt — NDC regional chair appeals

By Benjamin Glover | Sunday, 06 April 2014 08:57 | The Volta Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDC), Mr Kwasi Aboagye, has appealed to members of the party to bear with the government, since the President is focused and has plans to deliver . He called on them to massively support the party to attract more supporters, and added that “we must eschew complacency which could affect the fortunes of the party.” Inauguration of NDC office Mr Kwasi Aboagye was speaking at the inauguration of a new NDC constituency office at Agbozume in the Ketu South Constituency He commended the constituency executive and members of the party for contributing towards the acquisition of an office for the party. He said it was a mark of growth, and urged members to remain united . President focused He also indicated that the President was focused, and appealed to all to be patient with him, saying, “my appeal on behalf of the President is that we should be very patient with him for everything will go right’. Economic situation temporary Mr Aboagye explained that what was happening and the difficulties the nation was going through was temporary, noting that the government has very good plans which will soon be delivered. Some citizens of Ketu South in the Volta Region called on the government to promote the area by enhancing its natural resources to help create jobs for the youth. They claimed that, “it is not enough for the region to be used as a ‘World Bank’ for the political interest of the ruling party but to also help in the growth of the area.” Philanthropists A philanthropist, who contributed to funding the project, Mr Famous Kwesi Kuadugah, appealed to the government to transform the Ketu South Constituency into a hub of economic activities to create jobs, improve livelihoods and alleviate poverty. Mr Kuadugah, who is also the Managing Director of Fame Safety Consult, said with the vast natural resources available in the area, coupled with the vibrant trading activities along the route linking Aflao and its surrounding towns, the area was strategically positioned for trade and industries. He noted that the area was endowed with resources including salt, and called on the government to invest in the industry to attract private entrepreneurship and also create jobs for the people. He was emphatic that since 1992, the constituency had turned out to be the political “World Bank” for votes for the NDC but were not benefiting in commensurate terms. Mr Kuadugah said it was time Ketu South did not only remain a ‘World Bank’ for votes for the NDC, but also an economic hub for the nation. He noted that as much as they expected the government to address all the challenges they faced, the citizens must also show determination and confidence in contributing their quota to the development of the area. Mr Kuadugah said he was glad to have contributed towards the securing of the new constituency office for the party, and expressed the hope that it would go a long way to galvanise the party. The office has, among other facilities, a conference hall and offices for various constituency officers. The Constituency Chairman, Mr Marshal Ackumey, said the acquisition of the office was made possible through the collective efforts of some members of the party in the constituency, including Messrs Kuadugah, Frederick Alipui, Albert Zigah and Raphael Alorwu, Madam Bertha Amenuvor and Madam Elizabeth Kuenyefu. He said that the party was initially headquartered at Denu but later moved to Aflao then to Tokor, noting that the absence of a permanent office had affected the party’s activities and grassroot mobilisation. He said by securing a permanent office the constituency officers would be in a position to organise effectively and administer the affairs of the party more efficiently. - See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/politics/20813-bear-with-govt-ndc-regional-chair-appeals.html#sthash.Vv0Cke94.dpuf - See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/politics/20813-bear-with-govt-ndc-regional-chair-appeals.html#sthash.Vv0Cke94.dpuf

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

2 Suspected robbers arrested in Tema

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 The Tema Police have arrested two suspects for allegedly carrying out two separate robberies at ECOBANK and the Ghana Commercial Bank, both at Tema Community One. The robberies are said to have been carried out about 3 p.m. yesterday, April 1, 2014. The suspects have been identified as Mohammed Ahmed, 31, a motor mechanic who lives at Dome in Accra, and Emmanuel Ahiagbedzi, 23, a resident of Accra New Town. During a search on them, the police found a pistol, a Nokia mobile phone, GH¢2,605, as well as a talisman in a lady’s bag they were carrying. At a press briefing in Tema yesterday, the Tema Regional Police Commander, DCOP Mrs Beatrice Zakpa Vib-Sanziri, said a police patrol team from Tema Community Two had information that the suspects had robbed some customers of the banks of their money. Based on that information, the patrol team pursued the robbers, who were riding an unregistered motorbike. Realising that the suspects might escape, the driver of the police team, Corporal Stephen Kyei Mensah, used the police vehicle to push the motorbike. As a result, the suspects fell down from their Honda motorbike, enabling the police to arrest them. DCOP Vib-Sanziri commended the public for the timely information leading to the arrest of the suspects and charged security officers manning the various banks in Tema to be extra-vigilant. She advised bank authorities to give information on criminals timeously, so that they could be arrested on time. - See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/20604-2-suspected-robbers-arrested-in-tema.html#sthash.bO8AuXmP.dpuf

Thursday, 27 March 2014

2011 National Best Farmer receives prize from adb

By: Benjamin Xornam Glover| Thursday, 27 March 2014
The Agricultural Development Bank (adb) has presented a GH¢108,000 three-bedroom fully furnished house to the 2011 National Best Farmer, Mr Ignatius Agbo, at Old Ningo in the Greater Accra Region. The bank financed the construction of the house as part of the package for Mr Agbo when he was adjudged the best farmer at the 27th National Farmers Day. Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the keys to the house at Old Ningo, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, recounted the history of the awards and indicated how they had improved from the presentation of machetes, wellington boots and radio sets to award winners at its inception in 1985 through to single cabin pick-ups, double cabin pick-ups or fully mounted tractors to the now soft-furnished three-bedroom houses. He commended the adb for persistently providing a residence for the best farmer each year.
abd The Managing Director of the adb, Mr Stephen Kpordzih, in his address, said the bank’s continuous support to the National Farmers Day was motivated by the fact that it shared the vision of the government to boost agricultural production and productivity. He indicated that the adb regarded its sponsorship of the National Farmers Day as a social responsibility. Mr Agbo Mr Agbo, for his part, expressed appreciation to the government for acknowledging farmers by introducing the National Farmers Day which had continued over the years. He also expressed appreciation to all sponsors of the National Farmers Day, particularly the adb, for continually providing a house for the National Best Farmer - See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/20293-2011-national-best-farmer-receives-prize-from-adb.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook#sthash.N6iTLsPN.dpuf http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/20293-2011-national-best-farmer-receives-prize-from-adb.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Pupils in Ashiaman benefit from eye screening and dental treatment

By Benjamin Xornam Glover, ASHIAMAN More than 1,500 pupils of Ashaiman 1 and 2 cluster of schools have benefited from a medical screening exercise conducted by a by a team of medical personnel from the New Crystal Health Services (NCHS). The pupils were screened and given both dental and eye treatment while with support from Unilever Ghana, tooth paste was distributed to all the beneficiaries of the exercise. The exercise began with a talk by hiplife artiste Okyeame Kwame who is collaborating with NCHS to educate the public to adopt a healthy life style. Okyeame Kwame who is also a Health Ambassador stressed on the need for people to take advantage of such screening exercises, saying that it helped to detect diseases. He called on parents and teachers in the area to ensure that all children in the area benefited from such prorgammes and also visit the hospital on regular basis regular to have their system checked to avoid an preventable diseases. A Dentist with the NCHS, Dr. Emmanuel Hinneh Kyere said most of the children examined were found having tooth decay, bleeding gums as well as discolored teeth. He said although most of the pupils claim they brush their teeth, it was observed that they were not brushing well enough and this has led to the depositing of dirt and food particles on the teeth causing stain on the teeth. He said the only way to avoid these problems was to brush the teeth regularly and properly to prevent bacteria from dwelling in the mouth. Dr Kyere also advocated the use of soft bushes and the adoption of the right techniques of brushing the teeth to achieve good results. The NCHS has been holding various public engagements in the Tema, Ashiaman and Takoradi area where it has five hospitals, as part of its corporate social responsibility. These engagements include regular education and health screening and education for people within its catchment area. These include students, traders, and drivers of commuter vehicles all targeted at promoting a healthier society. -END-

Tema Rotary Club Donates books to Koluedor Primary School

By Benjamin Xornam Glover, KOLUEDOR The Tema Rotary Club has donated books worth GH¢ 6,000 to the Primary School at Koluedor, a village in the Ada West District of the Greater Accra Region. The donation of books which covers several topics, which is part of the club's corporate social responsibility, also saw members of the Club offering dental care service to the over 800 pupils as well as teachers and parents in the community. With support from Unilever, which donated toothpaste, the club handed out tooth brushes and tooth paste the students. The President of the Tema Rotary Club, Dr Victor Nyamalor said the books were donated in response to a request made to the club by an NGO Break the Silence Child Development Foundation which supports basics schools in deprived communities. Dr Nyamalor said Rotary Club being a service club thought it wise to donate items to the children to encourage them to read more and improve their standard of education. He expressed the hope that the books will contribute towards building a better future for the children and the community as a whole. The founder of Break the Silence Child Development Foundation, Mr Isaka Koney said his organization had been working in deprived communities and through the support Ga-Damgbe Students Association of the University of Ghana; they identified the community and appealed to the Rotary Club for support. Mr Koney called on parents and teachers to ensure that the children cultivate the culture of reading since it has been established that knowledgeable people read a lot and that reading was an activity of getting information. The Circuit Supervisor for the area, Mr Akpe Glover commended club for its support for the school and appealed to other organizations to emulate the Rotary Club’s example and help to develop other schools in the district. Mr Amanfo Owusu Kesse on behalf of the Headmistress of the school expressed his gratitude to Tema Rotary Club and Break the Silence Child Development Foundation for their collaborative effort of donating the books to the communities. He gave the assurance that the books would be put to its rightful use and that measures would be put in place to provide maximum care for the books as well as avoid pilfering. -END-

Ship Owners call on government to incorporate PPP to help improve port services

By Benjamin Xornam Glover, TEMA The Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG) has observed said a public and private partnership arrangement could promote efficient port services delivery and also foster better relationship and high turn-out of goods and services at the ever-busy Ghanaian Port system. They have therefore called on called on the government to come out with innovative initiatives and measures that will attract increased investments from the private sector in port activities to help mobilize the needed revenue for the nation. The Vice President of SOAAG, Mr Adam Imoru Ayarna made the call on behalf of the association at a press soiree jointly organized by SOAGG and the Tema Chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association. Mr Ayarma explained that the private sector participation which could lead to some port services been could lead increase output, extended operational hours. He referred to some port systems, which has been concessioned to the private sector which is yielding results and is worth emulating The Apapa Port Story Citing the Nigerian Ports Systems where since 2005, parts of the Apapa Port has been concessioned, Mr Ayarna said Ghana stood to benefit if the private sector is brought on board to help operate the system He said under the Apapa Port experience, the average vessel wait time reduced from 14‐28 days during the pre-concession era to 0‐24 hours post concession. Additionally, he said the working days per week increased from 5 to 7 days, while the working hours move to 24 hours from 12 hours post concession. This, Mr Ayarna explained led to drastic increase in vessel productivity, increased throughput, reduced turnaround of vessels, extended operating hours for the container terminals. “All of the above will translate into reduced cost of doing business via Apapa port with direct positive impact on the economy” he said stressed on the need for Ghana to adopt a public private partnership to bring about the needed infrastructure development at the port. Challenges on imports He enumerated some of the challenges facing the Ghanaian shipping agent such as high cost of doing business congestion and delays at anchorage, adding that a day’s delay by a vessel costs the principal or carriers a minimum of $25,000 per day. Other challenges are detention long layover of containers with cargo as well as cumbersome procedures and demands on shipping agents. The rest are fictitious documentation presented by some agents and clients, imposition of charges by some regulatory bodies, in adequate security which has led to an increase in stowaways in teh recent past. Mr Ayarna disclosed that cargo due for auction are not auctioned but mostly left to go bad or a selective auction system is dome thereby further congesting the port and its attendant increasing cost to the shipping lines and agents. He said Reefer containers with poultry, meat and pharmaceutical products were also left plugged for 200 plus days, after which they are destroyed with a huge electricity burden on the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority as well as cost to the shipping lines and agents who pay for the destruction. “Due to this situation in the past 5 month, vessels were not able to discharge all of their Reefer containers for lack of plugging points, making them return the boxes or keeping them on board” he said. Mr Ayarna also called for attitudinal change amongst stakeholders to ensure the smooth clearing of cargo at the Ports. GJA President The President of the GJA, Affail Monney described the interaction as very successful and called for more of such fora to highlight issues facing the shipping industry. “The greatest need of the journalist is not the fattest pay cheque or palatial home, but our greatest need is capacity building” He also said it is necessary for both the media and SOAGG to collaborate with the view of empowering their various stakeholders in the shipping industry in order to make a bigger impact on the economy of Ghana. Mr kwasi Afrifa, a member of SOAAG who chaired the function emphasised the need for journalists to take keen interest in the shipping industry which in his view is a crucial industry and controls worldwide 90 per cent of global trade. He commended the Ghana Maritime University for introducing a course in shipping and urged other universities to train more people in shipping. He also advised the journalists to develop keen interest in shipping to help remove some misconceptions by the shippers. -End-

Louis Dreyfus Commodities organizes Safety Awareness Day

By: Benjamin Xornam Glover, TEMA The over 600 factories and establishments within the Tema Industrial setting do not have adequate factor Inspectors who are suppose to ensure safety and good maintenance practices. There are currently only four factories Inspectors in the Tema office of the Department of Factories Inspectorate who also lack logistics and funding to help them effectively discharge their mandate. These were disclosed by Mr Evans Opare, Senior Factories Inspector at an annual Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) Day celebration organized by Louis Dreyfus Commodities, (LDC), Ghana limited at Tema. LDC has set aside a day every year to celebrate safety awareness at workplace to ensure that workers focus their attention on the need to create a safe and healthy work environment. This year’s safety awareness day celebration was on the theme: “Sustainability starts with safety” Inadequate logistics Mr Opare bemoaned the lack of resources and logistics for the factory inspectorate and stressed that the situation has greatly limited the capabilities regularly visit the factories and establishments to enforce safety rules and regulations. He explained that under normal circumstances, Inspectors are expected to visit each factory at least twice a year but due to the logistical challenges they are unable to do that adding that in some cases for close to two years, they have not visited a factory to inspect their premises. “At the moment what we are doing is to improvise by organizing training programmes since we are not able to visit all the factories as we ought to do,” he said He therefore appealed to government to support the department with logistics and fund to enable it discharge its duties effectively. Mr Opare underscored the importance of safety in an organization and encouraged managers of establishments to take keen interest in ensuring a safe working environment for their members of staff. Incorporate safety in output The Chief Executive of Louis Dreyfus Commodities in charge of the West Africa Sub-Region, Mr Robert Dovlo expressed the hope that employees will incorporate health and safety issues into their output and help the company grow. “When you breached common sense, you breach safety and hence put everyone else at risk,” he said. The Managing Director of Louis Dreyfus Commodities Ghana, Mr Francois Centlivre said credible sustainability program must have a strong safety program as a foundation to build upon. He added that as safety results improve, workers will be contributing towards the building of strong sustainability program and stressed the need for all to play their roles efficiently. “To be a sustainable company, we need to move from reactive to proactive safety and risk management”. The SHE Officer of Louis Dreyfus Commodities, Mr Francis Obosu recounted a number of measures taken to ensure a safe and working environment for employees. This he said included the installation of 10,000 liter containment to hold water to be used in by the Fire Service in case of emergency as well as the installation of power regulating device in their offices to check the misuse of energy amongst other safety measures. Awards were presented to three employees of Louis Dreyfus Commodities who have contributed to Safety Awareness in the organization. They are Mr Dauda Djibu, Albert Appiah and Enoch Kwesi Sarpong. Examples of industrial fires in Tema The industrial hub of Tema has in the past years recorded a number of bad fires that led to the lost of properties and job. It will be recalled that in June 2012, the packaging unit of the Tema Chemicals Company Limited (CHEMICO) was razed to the ground by fire at the company’s premises at Community One. Another incident occurred in January 2013 at the BBC Industrial Company a paint manufacturing company, in Tema. In all these incidents not only did it take personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) several hours of intense fire fighting to bring the fire under control under control but also led to job losses and damage to equipment installed at high cost. -END-

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