29.6.07

New Cedi in circulation on July 3

The Bank of Ghana announces for the information of the general public that the Ghana cedis and Ghana pesewas will be put into circulation on Tuesday, 3rd July 2007, the first banking day of the month.

Ghana Police declines permits for demonstrators at AU Summit

The police have banned all demonstrations during the African Union summit in Accra which starts Sunday.Several groups from across Africa had planned protests during the summit, which runs until July 3.More than 2,000 police and an unspecified number of soldiers have been drafted in to provide security for the summit in the Ghanaian capital.Accra Region Police Commander, Douglas Akrofi Asiedu told would-be protestors to postpone their demonstrations until after July 3.
"We said they should postpone it because the date selected for the demonstration is not ideal for security," he told a local radio station. "We are overstretched and it would be very difficult for us to get police to protect them."Amongst the wouldbe protesters were Zimbabwean activists led by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change.Another group had intended to stage a protest against Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, for failing to investigate the deaths of 44 Ghanaian migrants in Banjul in 2005.Another organization had intended to highlight the Darfur conflict in Sudan.
Demonstrations do not necessarily need police permits in Ghana. But it is mandatory for organisers to inform the police and make security arrangements.
Source:GHP

28.6.07

UN Deputy Secretary General arrives for AU Summit


Ms Asha-Rose Migiro, United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary General, arrived in Accra on Thursday evening for the annual Summit of the African Union (AU) during which, she will call for stronger partnership between the UN and the AU on African issues. While in Ghana, Ms Migiro will speak on pertinent issues including the need to speed up efforts for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the war against the spread of HIV/AIDS and the empowering of women and girls.
She will also touch on issues of peace and security on the continent and the latest joint efforts by the UN and the AU to resolve the crises in the Darfur region of Sudan. The Deputy Secretary General is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with some African leaders.GNA

27.6.07

State of the World Population Report launched


Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on Wednesday launched this year's World Population Report and said the increase in urbanisation was inevitable but had positive sides that should be recognised.Launching the report jointly with Ms Hane Fama Ba, Director of the Africa Division of the UNFPA, headquarters in New York, Mr Baah Wiredu said "no country in the industrial age has ever achieved significant economic growth without urbanisation". The report under the theme: "Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth", looked at the problems faced by cities and the struggle to meet the current needs to prepare for future urban growth. The Minister outlined problems associated with urbanisation such as housing, poverty, and slums and admitted that the implementation of the country's on going Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) had an implication on the spatial mobility of economically active individuals and the growth of urban areas."The influx of rural poor to the urban centres therefore is an indication to the poor to take advantage of the opportunities in the urban areas. In 2001 for instance, the number of people living in slums in Ghanaian cities was estimated at 4.9 million and was said to grow at the rate of 1.8 per cent per annum".The Minister noted that to address problems associated with urbanisation, government had set priority strategies to upgrade slums areas through the strengthening of physical planning of urban settlements and enforcement of planning regulations.He mentioned other strategies as promoting adequate supply of safe and affordable shelter, developing and promoting local building materials, facilitating adequate finance for all income groups and upgrading basic services in the urban areas.Mr Baah Wiredu explained that there were advantages in urban areas over and above those in the rural areas in Ghana in terms of economic opportunities though urban poverty was real.He said the latest Living Standards Survey for 2007 had shown that whereas poverty levels had generally increased, it had worsened in the Greater Accra Region.He mentioned HIV/AIDS, housing and shelter, drainage, water and sanitation, as well as transport as some of the areas posing challenges not only to Ghana but the continent as a whole. He commended UNFPA for the leading role it had played in the dynamics of population and pledged to tackle the obstacles of urbanisation and share the benefits through prudent policies, good governance and strategic investments.Ms Fama Ba noted that poor people would make up a large part of the future urban growth and called for realistic planning for explicit consideration of the needs, rights and participation of slum dwellers and the urban poor.She said African governments that are responsive to their citizens and eager to achieve a sustainable growth path were increasingly looking to their cities and local authorities to play a greater role in the national development agenda".Dr Makane Kane, Country Director of UNFPA, Ghana, said the report was timely to address the global, regional and national dimensions of urban growth and proposals for the way forward at each level. He expressed the hope the report would lead to policy development and policy change where needed.Dr George Owusu, a Research Fellow of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana who commented on the report called for urban Development Strategy or Urban development Policy to address problems associated with urbanisation. Ms Grace Gyimah Boateng, President of Curious Minds, a non-governmental organisation, who spoke on the Youth Perspective called for partnership, dialogue and investment in the youth to address the enormous problems facing the youth affected by urbanisation. The report said half of the world's population comprising 3.3 million, will in 2008 be living in urban areas. It said the number is expected to swell to almost five billion by 2030. The urban population will double between 2000 and 2030 with many of the dwellers becoming poor, it added.
Source:GNA

They're Fighting Over The Oil Already?


By Cameron Duodu

It would be funny if it were not so serious. A company drilling for oil in Ghanaian waters has announced that its made a find.The highest figure put on the reserves it has discovered is 600 million barrels. Nigeria can produce that much oil in a single year. Currently, its producing about 2 millions barrels a day; if you multiply that by 365 days, you get 730 million barrels.Even the tiny bit of oil we've discovered is deep down in the sea and is yet to reach the surface and into a tanker. And yet, already, our politicians are at each other's throats, arguing bitterly about all sorts of irrelevant things.




DISCOVERY Was the discovery made earlier in the previous regime? Or was it only salt that was discovered under that regime?Are these the sort of questions that should preoccupy fully grown adults?One chap has even gone to the extent of saying that just because the $20 million given to the Ghana@50 committee for the celebrations has not been fully accounted for, Ghanaians should not, in his words, over-jubilate over the oil find.Let us grow up in our attitude to matters or we shall frighten away those who want to work with us to develop our country. Of course, everyone knows that oil and politics go together. There have been political squabbles all over the world, wherever oil has been discovered. From Texas to Iran, from Libya to Saudi Arabia, from Kuwait to Nigeria, the way the money from the oil should be shared, always causes trouble.But in all these countries, arrangements have been arrived at, some satisfactory, others less so, for governing the income from the oil. So let it be with us.Since we won't be getting anything from oil for at least a couple of years, we should use the time between now and the first sales, to work out our arrangements, so that we are not caught with our pants down.As far as I am concerned, we should be grateful even if all we get is enough oil to stop us from having to use our puny foreign exchange earnings to import the stuff. Right now, oil has passed the $70 per barrel mark and if we continue to import the stuff, our annual expenditure on it will pass the $200 million per annum figure given by Mr Kwamena Bartels. So that is where our concerns should be at the moment.I remember in 1979, when we ran out of oil and were queueing for days to obtain a few gallons of rationed petrol,I asked about a company that was supposed to be producing oil in our waters, Agri-Petco. It wasn't getting much; I think it was only about 15,000 barrels a day. But it would have been a grand gesture on the company's part if it had announced that, it was going to offer its production to Ghana, pending our ability to import oil from abroad again. That gesture never came.We should ensure that, such situations do not arise again in future to tease us. Can you imagine having petroleum shipped from your country, when its economy is grinding to a halt because there isn't a drop of petrol to be had anywhere? I am sure Agri-Petco could have argued and probably did that because it had a contract to ship its crude oil abroad, until such time as it had recouped its exploration exopenses, or something like that. But there had been what in international law could be considered an insurrection in Ghana, and it could have used that clause to help us out, if it had wanted to.
FUTURE Escaping from situations like that in future, will mean, using our experience to good account. We can't do that unless we view the oil industry from a national, as against party political, standpoint.That's why the bickering about the oil find should stop in its tracks right now, so that the Government can feel free to ask advice from opposition parties, if necessary; and to include the opposition when it is dishing out any appointments that come about as a result of establishing arrangements to govern the oil industry in its new guise.When we didn't have prospects for producing oil in respectable quantities, most of such considerations were of academic interest only. That is no longer the case, and to pretend that we can go on as usual with the instituinal framework we've already got, would not be realistic.It would be a good idea if Parliament were to send an all-party delegation to Nigeria and some of the Middle Eastern oil-producing countries to study their oil industries.Talking to government and opposition elements in such countries, if possible (not all of them are democracies!) would open our Parliamentarians eyes to the knotty problems that can arise in relationships between oil-producing countries and the foreign companies they work with, as well as the minefield through which these Governments have to wade, as they attempt to steer their way through the dual carriageway of satisfying local interests while, at the same time, not neglecting the huge demands that are made on central government finances, once it is known to reap revenues from oil.So God bless Ghana's nascent oil industry. Let us all rejoice that we have made a find, however small. If we don't show gratitude for the little we've got, we won't be given a large chunk, for nature abhors ingratitude.Of course, we are aware that production of oil in any country can lead to corruption; the destruction if traditional patterns of economic production, and social dismemberment, including civil war (Biafran civil war, Nigeria, 1967-70; the just-ending Sudanese civil war).But at least we are going into it with our eyes wide open. There is no reason why we should repeat other peoples silly mistakes, is there?
Source:Ghanaian Times

21.6.07

War on Ghana's Oil Find

The Minority in Parliament on Thursday debunked government claims that under the current regime, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was producing oil while it produced salt under the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime.

They said the GNPC under the NDC produced some 62,000 barrels of oil during the testing of a horizontal well drilled in the South Tano field in 1992.
Briefing the parliamentary press corps in response to statements made by the President and his key Ministers on the oil find and energy situation in the country, Mr Moses Asaga, Ranking Member on Energy said under the PNDC and the NDC governments oil was refined at the Tema Oil Refinery, while the GNPC restarted production in the Saltpond in November 2000.

"Besides, in petroleum industry, sodium bicarbonate (salt) is a very important resource which the industry would have required, therefore it was not wrong for the GNPC to have invested in that area." The Energy Minister on Tuesday addressed Parliament wielding a bag of salt and bottle of oil to tell the story of the oil find. Mr Asaga noted that as a major entity in the country, it only made sense that GNPC invested in certain strategic national assets, notably in Cocoa, telecommunication, gold production, banking as well as the Osagyefo Barge and the West African Gas Pipeline Project.

He described the government's decision to go public on the oil find at this time as "premature", saying that it was a complete show of desperation over the continued exposure of its incompetent handling of the energy sector.
"In the process of this PR ploy, the President made A statement, re-echoed by his Minister of Energy, ... which are simply false ...", he added.

Mr. Asaga described the claim by the President that the GNPC was a general purpose company and that it was not focused on its core business of oil exploration as false, indicating that given the limited resources of the corporation there was a tremendous effort to attract foreign investment in undertaking exploration.

He argued that the GNPC enabled companies to have ready access to all data in respect of Ghana's sedimentary basins and made available its interpretations, including maps of prospects in the various areas. Mr. Asaga, a former Director at GNPC's Corporate Department, said GNPC undertook a number of promotional activities, including the annual Oil and Gas Africa International which not only became popular on the oil and gas calendar across Africa, but a strategic source of industry data and expertise.

The GNPC, he noted, successfully attracted companies into Ghana in the 1990's, the most intensive exploration period with investments worth about 200 million dollars.
"The deepwater areas were of particular interest to GNPC and 65 per cent of the area over which petroleum agreements had been signed were in deepwater by the end of the 1990's," Mr Asaga said, noting that Hunt Oil discovered a column of oil in one of the wells but considered that it was not commercial and it was after this that Kosmos Energy came to partner GNPC to yield this discovery.
He said it was wrong for the government to take whole credit for the discovery since these works by earlier companies and data they left behind resulted in this find.
"Indeed, it was the valuable data that GNPC made available to Kosmos Energy as well as GNPC's own assessment of the prospect that enabled Kosmos to succeed."

Mr Asaga said the GNPC personnel in the exploration and production division are the same people that have been in place before 2001. "At no point prior to 2001 did the exploration staff of GNPC get distracted from their main responsibilities," adding that, it was important to understand the rationale of GNPC investments." He said in the international oil industry, it was normal to have oil companies investing in fields ranging from telecommunications, mineral resource development through farming and ranching, citing the case of Shell.

Mr. Asaga said it was important for government to rally the nation together in the light of the worsening energy crisis, instead of polarising the nation as they seek to escape responsibility for their actions and inactions.
He said the NDC was ready to share ideas with the government in good faith in pursuit of the common national goal of solving the energy crisis, which is threatening the entire nation. 21 June 07
Source:GNA

Mass mosquito spraying exercise for Accra


The Libyan government is to embark on a mass spraying in the Greater Accra Region to help in the malaria control programme.Libya would also offer free vaccination covering about two million animals in the region to help prevent the out-break of animal diseases. This was disclosed when two representatives from the Libyan Embassy, Dr Abdulai Abubakar and Dr Bashir Gshera paid a courtesy call on the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C.Quaye, on Thursday. Dr. Bashir Gshera, General Director of Agricultural Pest Control Centre, said the exercise was part of the Libyan government's efforts to assist some African countries prevent malaria.He said similar programmes had been carried out in four African countries- Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Senegal.
The two exercises were estimated to cost about two million dollars and Ghana had the opportunity to decide which type of vaccine to be use in the programme.He said the vaccine and pesticides to be used would be bought in the country at the expense of the Libyan government in addition to the payment of personnel working under the exercise which is expected to target the most mosquito breeding areas in Accra.
Dr Abdulai Abubakar, General Director of Animal Breeding and Veterinary Centre in Libya said it was a mere coincidence that the programme had to meet with the upcoming African Union Summit to be held in Ghana.Mr. Sheikh I. C. Quaye said the Libyan gesture was most welcomed and called on Ghanaians to join in the campaign against filth in the city.The Minister expressed gratitude saying, "this will go a long way to strengthen the ties between Ghana and Libya".
Source:GNA

NDC running mate: Betty Mould to partner Mills


The jostling among potential running mates to the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) presidential candidate for the 2008 polls, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, continues but The Chronicle can reveal that the opposition party is now most likely to settle on a surprise candidate in the person of Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, wife of Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu.
Deep throat party sources disclosed to the paper that she currently stands tallest among all other aspirants for the party’s number two slot though the lobbying for Hon. John Dramani Mahama, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bole-Bamboi cannot be downplayed and he may still be the only person to, in the most unlikely situation, thwart the almost certain selection of Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu as Mills’ running mate.
Top members of the party at its Kokomlemle headquarters and other non-executive but influential figures are now split into two as far as the choice between the two is concerned, with each group lobbying strongly but with the pro- Mould-Iddrisu group seen as the one likely to carry the day. The new development throws out names of key contenders like Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, wife of party founder and former President, Jerry Rawlings; Mrs. Christine Amoako Nuamah, former Minister in the NDC regime; Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Minority Leader in Parliament and Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, an influential Northern lawyer and running mate for Mills in the 2004 elections, who held the Kumbugu Parliamentary seat till the dissolution of the third parliament of the Fourth Republic.
The 54-year-old Betty Mould-Iddrisu holds a master of Law degree from the London School of Economics, a Bachelor of Law from the Ghana School of Law and an LLB from the University of Ghana.
She currently works with the Legal and Constitutional affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat as the Chief Legal Advisor and in-house Counsel to the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Secretariat.
She worked with Ghana’s Ministry of Justice from 1978 until her appointment at the Commonwealth Secretariat in November 2003. At the Justice Ministry, she headed the Industrial Property Law Division and was later appointed Ghana’s Copyright Administrator before leaving for the Commonwealth job, after serving as Head of the Ministry’s International Law Division.
A co-founder of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) in 1999, Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu chaired the group till 2003, during which period she chaired also, both the Ghanaian and African Regional groupings of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).
Party sources revealed to the paper that Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu’s surprise inroad into the running mate race stems from the fact that many party strategists found her to be the most suitable candidate going by the guidelines spelt out by the party for the selection of its running mate.
She satisfies the gender balance factor, which is highly rated by the party and has what sources described as cross-cultural appeal by marriage and other genealogical traces. On her own, she stands out as the most regionally balanced among all the other contenders.
By marriage, she is strongly bonded to the northern sector of the country as her husband, Alhaji Iddrisu, who currently heads Professor Mills campaign team, is from the Upper West Region and has influence in other parts of Northern Ghana.
Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu is linked to the Ashanti region maternally. Her late mother, Felicia Mould, hailed from Ejuratia near Mamponteng in the Kwabre District of Ashanti Region.
Her father, the late William Jacob Kwesi Mould, is a thoroughbred Ga from the heartland of Accra - Jamestown, and most NDC strategists say with this multi-ethnic composition, Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu would be the best candidate to partner Prof. Mills.
John Mahama, 47, still has extreme affability and decorum as his key strengths and his possible appeal to women voters because of his good looks remain indubitable.
Interestingly, John, son of prominent Northern Convention People’s Party (CPP) politician and former Regional Minister in the Dr. Nkrumah regime, Mr. E. A. Mahama, is also linked to the Brong Ahafo Region by marriage. His wife, Laudina Mahama, a businesswoman, hails from Yefri-Bodom in the Nkoranza District and those lobbying for the affable legislator add this factor of his linkage to the Brong Ahafo Region, where the NDC is relatively strong, to his strong points.
General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, had previously told the paper in an interview that the guidelines for the selection of running mate did not make room for ethnic and religious considerations. However, party sources have stated that behind the scenes, the party was working to see how to break the NPP’s domination of the Akan areas by getting a running mate with at least some traces of Akan.
This saw names like Mr. Paul Victor Obeng, a man described by Jerry Rawlings in the PNDC days as having unique brainpower that could not be matched by any in the then opposition, being proposed for consideration.
The decision to settle on someone with Akan links is further enforced by the argument that almost all the party’s holders of shadow ministerial positions in parliament are MPs from the North and the Volta Regions, which seems to enforce the position that the NDC is a Northern and Voltaian party.
The General Secretary told the paper in an interview yesterday that as far as he was concerned, the choice of running mate was the prerogative of Prof. Mills and that the Professor had not yet disclosed his choice to the party. He said the NDC, as a Social Democratic party, believes in equality and justice and would, in line with that, not in any way discriminate against any sex in its activities.
Mr. Asiedu Nketiah emphasized that it was for that reason that gender consideration was made one of the major issues in the guidelines for the selection of a running mate for the 2008 elections.
Asked whether the party was likely to come out with its presidential running mate before the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) goes to congress, he responded, “in fact, that is information we are keeping close to our chest. It is something I won’t tell you,” the General Secretary emphasized.
The Chronicle has however learnt that strategically, the party would want to know who leads the NPP before naming its running mate. The NDC is also said to be having fears that the NPP may ultimately settle on a woman as a running mate to exploit the gender factor, which is likely to be hyped by gender activists in next year’s election, hence the consideration for Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu as running mate.
Other female contenders whose names had come up for the position were, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa-Doe, the party’s Women Organizer and Hannah Tetteh, former MP for Ewutu Senya but their names had to be dropped from the list because they both hail from the same region as the flagbearer –Central Region - and could therefore not go as running mate for strategic reasons.
Source:Ghanaian Chronicle

Addo Kufuor quits government?

Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, Minister of Defence and a key presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has blazed the trail by formally tendering his resignation to his boss, President John Agyekum Kufuor, in response to a directive that those who seek to succeed him should quit their portfolios.Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, by the decision, has opened a new chapter in the NPP’s march towards the 2008 polls, which is gradually heating up.Communications Minister, Prof Mike Oquaye, is also said to have tendered his resignation to pursue his presidential ambition.
It is expected that more letters will be handed to the Office of the President, before or after today’s Cabinet Meeting.Dr. Addo-Kufuor told DAILY GUIDE in an exclusive interview yesterday at his Burma Camp office that his decision was based on principle.“I believe that a man must live by his words. The decision is the price one must pay for aspiring to serve his country at another level,” he said in a very sober mood.This move is expected to be emulated by others with similar ambitions within the next few days, in consonance with the presidential fiat.Eight ministers are expected to bow out in a dramatic style, after the presidential marching order.
The physician/politician, Dr. Addo-Kufuor, is also the MP for the Manhyia constituency in the Ashanti Region, a position he has held for three consecutive parliamentary terms.He has been described as one of the leading contenders in the race and by the strategic importance of his portfolio and his blood relationship to the President, the attention of many political observers have been turned to him, with reference to the resignation order.His decision therefore will come as a shock to observers who speculated that he would be the last to obey Big Brother’s orders.Addo Kufuor has covered the whole country with his message of service to Ghana and with ample time at his disposal, now that he has resigned, more of his presence is going be felt in the nooks and cranny of the country as he engages the delegates.Following in Dr. Addo-Kufuor’s foot steps is the Communications Minister, Prof Mike Oquaye, the man who once served as the country’s High Commissioner to India.
The Prof is the MP for Dome/Kwabenya constituency in the Greater Accra Region and it has been gathered that last Tuesday’s Meet the Press was his last official function as a minister.President Kufuor has not yet responded to the resignation correspondences, but observers are of the opinion that today being Cabinet meeting day, he would state his position on the resignations and other matters.Last week, media reports said President Kufuor had read the riot act to his ministers who harboured presidential ambitions, asking them to quit his government to concentrate on their campaign.
Source:Daily Guide

18.6.07

Oil Will Start Flowing in 2014

UK firm Tullow Oil has announced the discovery of 600 million barrels of light oil offshore from Ghana.Reserves in the Mahogany exploration well were far greater than the 250 million barrels than the firm had earlier forecast.
The Tullow chief executive, Aidan Heavey, said it was one of the biggest oil discoveries in Africa in recent times, but warned it could be up to seven years before the oil started to flow.

11.6.07

Kufuor swears in new Chief Justice

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday swore into office Justice Georgina Theodora Wood as Ghana's first woman Chief Justice at the Credentials Hall of the Castle, Osu.
Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Huges, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Daniel Adzei-Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State and Justices of the Supreme Court were among those present.













9.6.07

G8 Summit Photos










5.6.07

Canada denies Winnie Mandela visa

Canada has denied a visa to the South African anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Mrs Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, was to have attended the premiere of an opera about her life in the Canadian city of Toronto.
In 1991 she was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to murder.

Canadian authorities can refuse entry into the country on the grounds of a criminal record, although it is not clear that has happened in this case.
Her application was turned down a day before she was to arrive in Toronto, for a gala fundraising dinner.
The organisers, the arts group MusicaNoir, said they were devastated and do not know why her visa was withheld.

They said Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's daughter and two security guards did receive visas.
The decision was made by the Canadian embassy in South Africa.
Canadian immigration officials in Ottawa have not given any reason why the visa application was denied.
MusicaNoir pointed out that Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was permitted to visit the United States two weeks ago to receive an award for her work with Aids organisations.
Known as one of South Africa's most famous anti-apartheid activists, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is also a controversial figure.

A six-year prison sentence for kidnapping a young activist who was later murdered was suspended on appeal.
In 2003 she was found guilty on charges of fraud and theft.

Somanya goes gay as NDC marks June 4 Uprising

Somanya the capital town of Yilo-Krobo went gay on Monday as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) staged one of their spectacular fiestas in recent memory.A large crowd comprising the old and the young gathered at the main Somanya Lorry Park as loudspeakers blared the NDC anthem and various Party songs.The Park was decorated with June 4th and NDC flags with adherents wearing tee shirts of the various groups within the Party.
On the main street and alleys of Somanya various groups within the Party displayed their colours and danced to the music while the town's folks waited patiently on trees and in storey buildings around Park for the arrival of Former President Jerry John Rawlings and Professor John Evan Atta Mills, NDC Presidential Candidate for Elections 2008. Former President Rawlings and Prof Mills were escorted by a large crowd from the outskirts of the Township first to the palace of Konor of the Yilo-Krobo Traditional Area and then to the rally grounds.
As they made their way to the Lorry Park the crowd got excited and went into frenzy. The excitement continued throughout the rally, which ended at 1830 hours.Among one of the unusual faces that surfaced at the rally was General Arnold Quainoo, Former Member of the Provisional National Defence Council. Some retired Amy Officers; Former District Chief Executives in the NDC era and NDC Members of Parliament were also present.
Source:GNA



4.6.07

Nigeria sues drugs giant Pfizer

Nigeria has filed charges against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, accusing it of carrying out improper trials for an anti-meningitis drug.
The government is seeking $7bn (£3.5bn) in damages for the families of children who allegedly died or suffered side-effects after being given Trovan.

Kano state government has filed separate charges against Pfizer.
The firm denies any wrongdoing, saying the trials were conducted according to Nigerian and international law. Pfizer - the world's largest pharmaceutical company - tested the experimental antibiotic Trovan in Kano during an outbreak of meningitis which had affected thousands in 1996. Some 200 children died and others developed mental and physical deformities.
These allegations... are highly inflammatory and not based on all the facts
Pfizer Q&A: Nigeria sues Pfizer
The government says the deaths and deformities were caused by Trovan and that the children were injected with the drug without approval from Nigerian regulatory agencies.
A Pfizer spokesman in New York, Bryant Haskins, reiterated the company's position that its trial of Trovan was conducted with the full knowledge of the Nigerian government and in a responsible way.

"These allegations against Pfizer, which are not new, are highly inflammatory and not based on all the facts," he told Reuters news agency.
He also said the trial had helped save lives.
The company has previously said that "verbal consent" had been obtained from the parents of the children concerned and that the exercise was "sound from medical, scientific, regulatory and ethical standpoints".
Suspicion
This is the first time Nigeria's federal government has filed charges against Pfizer but individual families have previously taken legal action.
The separate case in Kano - in which the state is seeking $2.7bn in compensation - has been running for more than two years.
On Monday, judges postponed that trial by a month, to allow the firm to appear before the Kano court.
Trovan has been approved for use by adults, but not children, in the US.
The BBC's Alex Last in Nigeria says the case has added to suspicion of western medicine and drug trials in northern Nigeria and that has had a damaging effect on attempts to get the whole population to accept polio immunisation.
Kano was one of the Nigerian states which refused to take part in a World Health Organization vaccination programme, leading to a re-emergence of polio in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.

Ahwoi Blasts Gov't over energy crisis

As the nation continues to grapple with its worsening energy crisis, a leading member of the main opposition National Democratic Congress has slammed the government over what he describes as its incompetence, which has plunged the country into the present crisis.A report of The Heritage newspaper says Mr. Ato Ahwoi, one of NDC’s most knowledgeable in energy issues, has also challenged the Electricity Company of Ghana to justify the load shedding exercise going on now.
According to him, what the country is experiencing is "electricity problem and not energy problem."Speaking in an interview with The Heritage, Mr. Ahwoi noted that the current problem had exacerbated with the load shedding having moved from 12 hours every five days to the present 12 hours every other day.He said the government, over the years, did not put proper mechanisms in place to ensure a reliable electricity supply; therefore something went wrong. "Now they have realized they are over burdening the lake; hence the worsening load shedding exercise being experienced.
"He recalled that, in 1998, Albert Kan-Dapaah who was then New Patriotic Party Parliamentary Spokesman on Energy questioned why the NDC, knowing the growth in demand of electricity, had made no attempt to increase the country's generating capacity. Mr. Ahwoi then questioned what efforts this government, formed with Mr. Kan-Dapaah and other NPP leaders, has made to increase electricity production.The NDC kingpin argued further that his party manifesto had clearly stated that, by the year 2020, the country should be aiming at producing 40,000 megawatts of electricity, contrasting that with the NPP whose development plans and budgets he derided for failing to men¬tion any intention of increasing electricity production.
Mr. Ahwoi made reference to the July 9, 1998 Hansard of Parliament which recorded some statements by Mr. Kan-Dapaah, who was and still is MP for Afigya Sekyere West, in which the MP described the then energy crises as being the result of governmental ineptitude and inefficiency “which has plunged this country into virtual darkness and in spite of several assurances the energy crisis which should now be described as the energy disaster, continues to exist."At the end of the quotation, Ahwoi queried what the NPP government was doing now since Ghana is experiencing the same condition Kan-Dapaah was so critical about ten years ago.
Challenging the ECG to justify the load shedding exercise, Mr. Ahwoi said the current figures on the energy balances do not support the claims by the ECG for the load shedding. He said, in January last year, the Volta River Authority sold just 455,132 GWh of electricity to the EGG; February, 424.227 GWh and in March 470.775 GWh for onward sale to consumers.This notwithstanding, there was no load shedding and, therefore, Ahwoi questioned why there should be load shedding when for January, February and March this year, the VRA sold 438.385GWh, 414.527GWh and 471.161 GWh electricity respectively, quantities which are higher than last year's figures.
"Is it that some people are enjoying the electricity while others are suffering? There is something wrong somewhere and it must be looked at," he arguedMr. Ahwoi said it was rather surprising that the ECG was undertaking the load shedding exercise when electricity sales from VRA to ECG had been on the higher side since August last year when the load shedding began.The NDC member said, in the short term, the only way out is for the government to bring in more power generators which only have between one and 2.5 megawatts capacity and would run on diesel at a unit cost of production standing at 24cents per KWh and questioned who would pay for that cost. He said the government should also consider thermal plants that would require 18 months to two years to in¬stall and operate in. the medium term.
This, he noted, would use crude oil or natural gas, which Ghana does not have now, until the West African Gas Pipeline (W AGP) is here, saying all that there is to the W AGP is substituting one source of fuel for the other."Government was not smart enough to bring in more thermal plants and now this is where they have brought us to," he said, adding that he was aware a company by name GECAD and the VRA were putting up a 125 megawatt plant at Tema which, when completed by December, would use crude oil until the WAGP is in.
Commenting on the much-talked about nuclear energy, he said it would take a minimum of 10 years to get the first unit of electricity while the hydro would take a minimum of seven years to get the first unit of electricity.He said, while all these are being considered Government should look at the long term solution which must include hydro, thermal nuclear, wind and solar sources of power.Mr. Ahwoi advocated conservation of power; not only by domestic users but by industries, by way of the machines and the motors used and again questioned the whereabouts of the six million CFL energy saving bulbs that the government promised saying, if all households were asked to use the CFL bulbs, the nation could save 30 percent of the power being used now.
Source:The Heritage

Petrol Price Increased

THE National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has announced a review of the price of premium gasoline (Petrol).The review does not affect the other fuel products - diesel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas.Petrol will now sell at ¢9,400 per litre, representing an increase of six percent.John Attafuah, Chief Executive of the NPA, told the Times yesterday that he does not expect any increase in transport fares because the percentage increase in the price of petrol is minimal.
He explained that the review was necessitated by the change in the price of crude oil on the international market which hit 73 dollars last month.He noted that the demand for petrol on the international market had gone up, and that explained why petrol was the only product affected by the change.Meanwhile, the Ghana Road Transport Council has asked its members not to increase transport fares.
A statement signed by its chairman, Kojo Moses, said the council had unanimously decided at a meeting with the NPA on May 24 that if the price increase should affect only petrol and was pegged at six per cent, there would be no increase in transport fares.