Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ghanaians urged to cultivate savings habit

THE Martyrs of Uganda Co-operative Credit Union (MUCCU) of the Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church has held its second annual general meeting with a call on Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of saving.
The Chairman of the MUCCU, Mr John E. Moffat, who made the call at the weekend, said credit unions provided the avenue for businesses and individuals to generate additional income for future investments.
Presenting a report on the operation of the union, Mr Moffat said the shareholding of members grew from GH¢ 5,480.00 in 2007 to GH¢ 8,582.00 in 2008, while members’ savings also grew from GH¢ 13,150.00 in 2007 to GH¢ 25,061.00 in 2008.
During the first eight months of the union’s operations, 130 new members joined the union with total assets of GH¢ 9,600.00.
However, by the end of the year under review, its assets stood at of GH¢ 55,315.00 with a membership of about 300.
Mr Moffat said the union had disbursed loans to the tune of GH¢44,300 to over 30 members and commended members for their good repayment culture, which he said, must be maintained to sustain the financial base of the union.
He was, however, not happy that members were not responding to invitation to meetings which had made it difficult for the MUCCU to invite the micro finance team from the union’s head office to help them to access loans easily.
In an effort to increase the membership base of the union, he said, an educational committee had been set up to find solutions to the low patronage of the union in the parish.
For his part, the Greater Accra Regional Manager of CUA, Mr Andrew Amponsah, reminded members that the credit union concept started from the Catholic Church and was, therefore, glad that it was gaining popularity in the church.
He said credit unions offered better loan facilities to members than other financial institutions including the banks, insurance companies and non-governmental organisations in the country.
Mr Amponsah said the world financial crisis offered a better opportunity for credit unions all over the country to recruit more members into their unions by selling the numerous products they had to offer to non-members.
He challenged the leadership of the MUCCU to first seek the welfare of their members before using their savings for other purposes.
A certificate of registration was presented to the MUCCU to make the union a legal entity.

Global Evangelical Church Organise seminar

MEMBERS of the Youth Ministry of the Global Evangelical Church (GEC) within the Accra Presbytery of the church, have undergone a day’s seminar to empower them to be economically productive.
The seminar brought together over 500 youth from the over 55 congregations within the Accra Presbytery.
In his presentation, a pastor of GEC, Rev Y. K. Ahiabu, said poverty was a more devastating disease than some of the diseases that were described as deadly, “its effect is so severely felt throughout the world that the world talks and wages war on its alleviation very often,” he said.
Rev Ahiabu attributed the many conflicts, war, diseases on the African continent to the lack of financial freedom of over 50 per cent of the continent’s population.
He said many lives, particularly that of the future leaders of the country, were lost as a result of poverty, which he said prevented them from getting access to good education and good food.
He attributed the recent upsurge in teenage pregnancy, broken homes among others to the level of poverty in the country.
“Poverty has become a matter of great social concern to many nations particularly in our part of the world. I am therefore glad that the GEC is taking steps in this regard to empower the youth of the church to give them financial stability.”
Rev Ahiabu’s presentation centred on ways to generate income and make investment for future use. He cited the example of Isaac in Genesis 26:12, which states, “The man Isaac planted crops in that land and that same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord had blessed him.”
He said the man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy with many flocks and servants. “What are you planting today,” he asked the youth.
Rev Ahiabu told the youth that they had the opportunity to plant today the kind of future they would want to enjoy, stressing, “The opportune time for you to do anything, such as investing in your future prosperity, is now.”
To this end, he has proposed an invest account for the youth in the churches to serve as an example to be emulated by the youth while discouraging them from over-spending their income on alcohol among other things that would not benefit them.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Born4xploits, Mr Wilson Senya, said there were many opportunities today than ever before. “Our difficulties are how to identify these opportunities and make very good use of them to our advantage,” he added.
Mr Senya mentioned that economic empowerment of the nation, church and the individual was meaningless unless the opportunities that came with this empowerment were identified and utilised.
He noted that underdevelopment and poverty were two concepts associated with Africa and Ghana. He, however, said these were enough reason for the youth to stay in the country, where many opportunities abound.
Mr Senya urged the youth to desist from looking for people to help them; rather, “look out for opportunities to help ourselves with as God is our only helper,” he added.
The Presbytery Clerk, Rev F M Agbo, added his voice to the call on the youth to shy away from the get-rich-quick attitude, which has resulted in the increasing number of Internet fraud referred to as “Sakawa” that had become so prevalent among the youth in recent times.
Rev Agbo acknowledged the place of money in human life and in the life of the church, but added that this must be done in a manner pleasing to God and man. He bemoaned the situation where some were using human sacrifice to get rich. “What will it profit a man (youth) to gain the world but lose his life,” he asked.
He encouraged the youth particularly those in school to take their studies seriously as that would propel them into the positions that the envied today.
The youth were taken through the various investment opportunities available on the financial market and how to access them.

SHS Duration

A national educational forum is expected to be held later this month to review the duration of the senior high school (SHS).
To that end, a 12-member committee has been constituted by the Ministry of Education to spearhead the forum, which is scheduled for May 27 and 28, 2009.
The committee is under the chairmanship of Dr Stephen Ayidiya of the University of Ghana. Other members are Prof P. N. Boatsi, Mr Kosi Kedem, Dr William Ahadzie and Dr Dominic Pealore.
The rest are Rev E. K. Dadebo, Alhaji Salifu Seidu, Ms Bernice Adu, Mrs Mary Quaye, Mr Asolla Solomon, Mr Emmanuel Acquaye and Ms Benedicta Naana Biney.
At a media briefing in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, said the forum would also provide a historical perspective on both the national educational forum of 1999 and the Presidential Education Reform Review Committee’s Report of 2002.
He said the forum was in line with the government’s pledge to ensure affordable and quality education for all Ghanaians, as indicated in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto.
He said the forum would also put to rest the debate on the introduction of the four-year SHS system and afford the public the opportunity to make their input into the educational policy of the country.
The minister later told the Daily Graphic that the underlying issue about the duration of the SHS had to do with building a quality educational system based on continuity.
Mr Tettey-Enyo said students who had begun the four-year system or would be admitted to SHSs would be made to complete their programmes.
A member of the committee and member of the 2002 presidential education reform review committee, Mr Emmanuel Acquaye, said the discussion would be made public to give Ghanaians the opportunity to understand the issues which went into the formulation of the policy to introduce the three-year or four-year programme.

Ensuring quality education at local level-Govt is empowering communities

THE Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey Enyo, has restated the government’s commitment to empowering local communities in the running of educational institutions to ensure quality education at the local level.
He has, therefore, directed the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Samuel Bannerman-Mensah, to ensure the proper functioning of School Management Committees (SMCs) and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in all schools.
Mr Tettey Enyo gave the directive at the national Forum on Lessons Acquired for Good Practices in Community Participation in Education held at the Wangara Hotel in Accra.
The programme is a collaboration between the GES and the Government Accountability Improves Trust Programme (GAIT II) and supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The minister said education was a social activity that called for the collective and concerted contribution of the local people.
He noted that many communities had over the years contributed significantly towards the development and delivery of quality education in the country, adding that “many basic schools in Ghana were originally initiated at the community level where teachers were recruited within the local community to teach the children”.
Mr Tettey Enyo said the issue of community involvement in education got eroded as a result of the management and control of education by central government, which, he said, made the control of the educational system central.
To mitigate this effect, the GES and the Ministry of Education implemented the policy establishing and empowering SMCs and PTAs in all basic schools, he noted.
These bodies, according to the sector minister, constituted a partnership between the school and community leaders in effecting school improvement and management efficiency programmes.
Mr Tettey Enyo said the GAIT II programme had therefore come as good news to the GES and the ministry as the role of SMCs and PTAs had become very crucial in educational management.
Mr Bannerman Mensah said schools with well structured SMCs and PTAs had over the years seen significant improvement in the management and administration of their schools.
He stressed the need for the involvement of district education officers, parents and the districts assemblies to be done with the goal of developing civic involvement in local governance and education, through partnership with local citizens and local government.
He assured stakeholders that the recommendations by the GAIT II programme would be carefully considered and implemented to achieve the needed impact in education.
For his part, Dr Eric Johnson of the USAID said the GAIT II programme was to actively engage citizens through their civic union in decision making regarding education in their communities to address issues that were of concern to their schools.
Dr Johnson said the programme had so far covered 25 districts out of the 700 districts under the GES, adding that all the 25 communities in which the GAIT II programme was operating had achieved massive improvement in education.
He said quality education at all levels had the potential of eradicating poverty and other forms of underdevelopment in the country.
He tasked the participants to identify the strategies which had worked and those that did not work, to enable them to know which of them to modify in the years ahead.
Dr Johnson said the programme which started in 2004 would fold up by the end of July this year.
He therefore called on district education units to consider the proper implementation of the policies and recommendations of the GAIT II programme.

MiDA, USAID sign agreement with GES

THE Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) and USAID have entered into an agreement with the Ghana Education Service (GES) to recruit 260 teachers to teach in some selected deprived communities at the cost of $75 million.
The project, which is expected to last for two years, would cover 65 deprived communities, including the Afram Plains, Abetifi, Awutu Senya and Techiman districts.
The Chief Executive of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, disclosed this during a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Education and said, "this would address the problem of the shortage of teachers in the country".
Mr Eson-Benjamin said MiDA would be working closely with USAID and GES to execute the project which was one key component of the Ghana Millennium Challenge Account programme.
He said the programme sought to recruit unqualified individuals, who were prepared to be trained by the International Foundation for Education and Self-help (IFESH), to teach in schools which lacked the requisite number of teachers.
According to the Country Director of IFESH, Mr Kwesi Dzidzienyo, teachers would be recruited with the help of the GES for a two-year training course.
Mr Dzidzienyo said the teachers would be taken to any of the three training centres in the country, which he mentioned as Tamale, Ajumako and the Abetifi College of Education.
He said the programme was intended to address the problem of shortage of teachers in the selected districts while fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals.
The acting Country Director of USAID, Mr David Atteberry, said as a result of the partnership, USAID would collaborate with local officials in the recruitment, training and supervision of community teachers under the programme to ensure effective teaching at the basic level.
Mr Atteberry said the trained teachers would be posted to schools built or refurbished by MiDA in the communities, while the GES was expected to play a lead role.
He explained that the community teachers, who were supported by the USAID, were local residents who were educated, had a passion for teaching and represented a pool resource for the understaffed rural schools.
Mr Atteberry noted that many of the past community teachers had gone on to complete their teacher certificate courses and have been integrated into government schools, thus drastically reducing the issue of teacher shortage in rural communities.
As part of the project, the communities would enjoy some other infrastructural facilities, including schools, water systems and other projects that would benefit the community in an effort to eradicate poverty from the communities.
The Director, Basic Education, Mr Stephen Adu, expressed appreciation to MiDA and USAID, saying that the programme would go a long way to address the challenges of teacher deployment to rural communities.
Mr Adu said the refusal of most teachers to accept posting to the rural communities had affected the quality of education delivery in these communities.
He said the programme would also develop competent and dedicated teachers at the basic level and urged teachers to accept postings to rural communities.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Banking Awards

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Paul Acquah, has stated that the world financial crisis if not mitigated will roll back Ghana’s considerable gains made in terms of economic growth and financial stability
He said the economy needed a strong regulatory framework and sound financial system as a prerequisite for the growth of a healthy and stable economy.
He was speaking at the 8th Ghana Banking Awards gala last Saturday, which was on the theme: “Enhancing Confidence In The Ghanaian Financial System, In The Midst Of The Global Financial Crises”.
Dr Acquah said the fallout of the financial crises on financial institutions had been dramatic in many countries due to institutions that had been weakened under the wake of the crises.
He explained that the impact of the crises on Ghana was limited because the prices of goods remained relatively normal.
He, however, noted that an effective and prudent supervision of the financial system that is enforced evenly would create sustained stability in the country’s economy.
Dr Acquah said the country’s economy was in a position to withstand the global financial crisis but needed prudent financial management practices to achieve this.
He said one of the lessons from the global financial crisis was the need for a sound financial sector for the healthy growth of the economy.
The governor said the awards created an excellent platform for banks to compete and develop creativity in the banking sector.
Dr Acquah mentioned that the Bank of Ghana introduced certain measures to re-enforce the stability of the banks in the country, some of these he mentioned as the increased minimum capital of banks from GH¢ 7.0 million to GH¢ 60.0 million.
He again mentioned the recognition of ICT in financial service delivery and also a common electronic platform,e-zwich, which was established in furtherance of the development of the payment and settlement system, making it possible to link all banking institutions with a biometrics smartcard as a vehicle for the financial inclusion of everybody.
Dr Acquah said to build confidence and trust of the public, the banks needed prudent borrowing and respect for loan contracts with serious commitment to honouring debt obligations.
He also called for a prudent supervision of the financial system within the framework of transparent regulations and laws.
He therefore urged the banks to introduce innovation and creativity by modifying their services to appeal to the needs of the customer.
The Zenith Bank Ghana Limited was declared the 2008 Bank of the Year for its achievement as the highest scoring bank in all the categories assessed by corporate customers.
The categories included best bank in retail banking, corporate banking, financial performance, advisory services, trade finance and customer care.
The bank also won second position for the Best bank in short term loan financing and the best growing bank, third position for the best bank in retail banking and the winner of the best bank financial performance.
The awards night was organised by Corporate Initiative Ghana (CIG) in consultation with KPMG.
Other banks that won awards were the United Bank of Africa, best bank in customer care, International Commercial Bank, best bank in advisory services, Cal Bank, best bank in product innovation, Ghana Commercial Bank, best bank in competitive pricing and the Intercontinental Bank, best growing bank.
The Corporate Affairs Director of CIG, Mr Willing Vanderpuije, said the banking awards were introduced to improve the quality and efficiency of delivery of financial services to the banking population in Ghana.
These awards scheme has gone a long way to promote creativity and foster development among banks in the country, he said.
He appealed to the banks to continue to support the awards scheme to create the conducive environment for customer satisfaction in the banking sector.

SHS Duration

A national educational forum is expected to be held later this month to review the duration of the senior high school (SHS).
To that end, a 12-member committee has been constituted by the Ministry of Education to spearhead the forum, which is scheduled for May 27 and 28, 2009.
The committee is under the chairmanship of Dr Stephen Ayidiya of the University of Ghana. Other members are Prof P. N. Boatsi, Mr Kosi Kedem, Dr William Ahadzie and Dr Dominic Pealore.
The rest are Rev E. K. Dadebo, Alhaji Salifu Seidu, Ms Bernice Adu, Mrs Mary Quaye, Mr Asolla Solomon, Mr Emmanuel Acquaye and Ms Benedicta Naana Biney.
At a media briefing in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, said the forum would also provide a historical perspective on both the national educational forum of 1999 and the Presidential Education Reform Review Committee’s Report of 2002.
He said the forum was in line with the government’s pledge to ensure affordable and quality education for all Ghanaians, as indicated in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) manifesto.
He said the forum would also put to rest the debate on the introduction of the four-year SHS system and afford the public the opportunity to make their input into the educational policy of the country.
The minister later told the Daily Graphic that the underlying issue about the duration of the SHS had to do with building a quality educational system based on continuity.
Mr Tettey-Enyo said students who had begun the four-year system or would be admitted to SHSs would be made to complete their programmes.
A member of the committee and member of the 2002 presidential education reform review committee, Mr Emmanuel Acquaye, said the discussion would be made public to give Ghanaians the opportunity to understand the issues which went into the formulation of the policy to introduce the three-year or four-year programme.

Govt will partner religious organisations

THE Deputy Minister of Local Government, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, has said the government will collaborate with religious bodies to build a morally conscious society in order to minimise corruption.
Mr Ankrah said until society became morally upright corruption would continue to erode all the efforts of the central government to provide development to the people.
He said this in an address he delivered at the National Convention of the Men Ministry of the Global Evangelical Church in Accra, which was held on the theme: “Fulfilling God’s purpose through your gift.”
Mr Ankrah, therefore, called on religious leaders to endeavour to live by the standards they preached on the pulpit to set good examples for society.
The Deputy Minister said he was not happy about the over concentration of churches on issues related to generational or ancestral curses within their members.
This situation, he said, “painted a negative picture about our ancestors, and if there are generational curses as it is called, then I believe also that there will be generational blessings, let us put our efforts into identifying those blessings to develop the person and the nation.”
Mr Ankrah told the congregation that they could not build the Kingdom of God without building the nation, saying, “the Bible states that as you do for these little ones you do for me, adding that in the same way as you build the nation, you would be building indirectly the Kingdom of God as well.
He said the amount of time spent by churches in exorcising demons out of members could also be channelled into locating good things in those people.
“Let us have a better approach to some of these things for the good of society,” he said.
Mr Ankrah told the men in the gathering that their role as Christians in society was not being felt by the larger community, and called on them to put in much effort.
Mr Ankrah said the government was putting in place the right structures that would bring about different styles of leadership in the country, and therefore, called for patience and tolerance.
In his address, the Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church, Rt. Rev Dr E. K. Gbordzoe, said that the church had for a long time assisted the central government in many ways.
Rev Dr Gbordzoe cited some collaborations in the areas of the provision of schools and hospitals to augment what the government was providing for the people.
He added his voice to the call for decent dressing in the country, particularly, and attributed the situation to the over concentration on foreign cultures, which he said, was having a negative impact on the youth.
Rev Gbordzoe gave a pledge that the church would continue to support the government in its efforts at eradicating poverty and providing better standards of living for the Ghanaian.
For his part, the Director of the Men’s Ministry of the Global Evangelical Church, Rev N. Y. Azalekor, commended the government for the swift and non-partisan manner it had handled the conflicts in the northern part of the country.
He said the church would continue to support the government with prayers to overcome the challenges the government was facing in this direction.
Rev Azalekor asked the government to put in place policies that would create jobs for the youth.
The main speaker at the five-day convention was Rev J. F. K. Mensah, Chairman of the Apostolic Council of the Great Commission Church International.
Rev Gbordzoe led the congregation to pray for the nation.

National Youth Council to be restructured

THE government is to restructure and resource the National Youth Council (NYC) to enable it to carry out its mandate of empowering the Ghanaian youth.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, said empowering the NYC was in line with the government's policy and agenda for developing the potential of the youth.
The minister said this in a speech read on his behalf by the National Co-ordinator of the National Youth Council, Mr Archibald Donkoh, at a personality development seminar organised by the Communications Business Education Link (ComBEL) in Accra at the weekend.
Alhaji Mubarak said the government recognised the immense potential of the youth in the country and was in the process of putting in place the right framework to provide the youth with employable skills for them to be able to contribute meaningfully towards national development.
“In this regard, the government is committed to addressing the challenges facing the National Youth Council in order for it to be in a better position to carry out its mandate of empowering the youth,” he said.
Alhaji Mubarak said the government alone could not do everything but would partner with civil society organisations like the ComBEL in an attempt to empower the youth to play their role in developing the nation.
In his own words, Mr Donkoh called on the youth to make themselves available for the numerous opportunities the government would offer and shy away from social vices that would not benefit them.
The president of the ComBEL, Mr Moses Katamani, underscored the importance of building an attractive personality to gain the confidence, admiration and support of others in the world of business.
Mr Katamani said that one could only be attracted to others when they consciously built a personality that attracted others to them.
He encouraged the youth to make every effort to building this personality.
“For you to progress and succeed in any business, your own personality counts as an important ingredient,” he added.
The Executive Director of the League of Living Legends, Mr Dennis Totimeh, addressed the youth on how to secure their financial security and suggested various forms of investment to the youth.
Mr Totimeh appealed to the youth to put aside part of their income for investment.
“The world today is for only people who make money and consciously save towards future projects,” he stated.
He gave instances of people who spent most of their life time working but had nothing to show during retirement,
“You are aware of many individuals who have to change their age in order to work for longer years, because they never prepared for the future, ” he said.
He encouraged the participants to cultivate the culture of investing the little they made in order to enjoy early retirement.
Other speakers included Mr Akpeko Agbevade, a marketing executive and Mr Bright Adzroe, an administrator with the Internal Revenue Service, Ms Phyllis Salu, and Mr D. Wellington, both of the ComBEL.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Don’t grade children as poor during exams-Expert advises teachers

A CHILD development expert, Mrs Judith Mensah-Newlove, has asked teachers not to grade the performance of children in examination as poor or deteriorating, since these do not encourage them to perform better.
Instead, she proposed a narration of the child’s achievements, strengths and weaknesses with emphasis on improving on those weaknesses with the help of the parents and teachers.
Mrs Newlove-Mensah said this at a day's workshop organised by “Babi World” for some teachers at the pre-school level and some selected junior high schools (JHSs) throughout the Accra metropolis.
She explained that describing the overall performance of a child as poor or deteriorating because of the child’s position in an examination was the worst thing a teacher could do for the child in such a situation.
Mrs Newlove-Mensah also urged the teachers to treat every child as their own biological children, adding that “your personal interest in the child would bring out the best in him or her as this would come in the form of motivation to urge the child on”.
She pointed out that at the pre-school level, the child must be allowed to express himself even when the child made mistakes, describing the child as a natural learner who had the capacity to absorb whatever they were told.
Mrs Newlove-Mensah was, however, quick to add that those mistakes must be safe for the child. “Children learn while having fun, but this should not be to the detriment of the child such that would hurt the child,” she said.
She encouraged the teachers to adopt the Montessori system of teaching and learning as it concentrated on the development of the child while learning with aids as against the Froebel system of learning which concentrated mostly on the teacher.
Explaining further, she said the Montessori concept stressed the importance of adopting the child’s environment to his developmental needs and levels.
Touching on teachers who solicit money from parents to organise extra classes and to give them special attention, she said that would only lead to the neglect of some of the children in the classroom whose parents had not been able to see the teacher to present special gifts to them.
She said teachers must be motivated by their products. “Even though teachers must be well paid, the biggest motivation must be to see the children who pass through your care succeed,” she added.
The teachers were also taken through classroom management, how to maintain discipline in the classroom and how to build a professional image for the teacher and the teaching profession.
Some participants the Daily Graphic spoke with said their responsibilities as teachers were basically to shape the world of the child and make him or her develop in a very friendly environment.

111 Metro buses to be cannibalised

THE Managing Director of the Metro Mass Transit Limited (MMT), Mr Venk Visschers, has revealed that 111 of the 400 Yaxing (yellow) buses acquired from the Chinese Government in 2004 will be cannibalised.
Mr Visschers said the yellow buses which were almost 20 years old at the time they were presented to the government of Ghana as a gift to start the mass transport system under the previous administration had outlived their usefulness and were no longer economically viable on the road.
Mr Visschers, who was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the company would import 300 new busses from China to replace the over used yellow buses.
The dismantled parts will be used for other purposes such as replacement parts for the other buses which were still in operation.
“This we will execute in three phases and will take the company between two to three years to complete,” he said.
Mr Visschers said this would curb the unfortunate problem of constant break down of the company’s buses on the road, and that “our intention is to operate an efficient and effective transport system in the country, thereby becoming one of the best in the sub-region”.
Mr Visschers said the introduction of the Metro Mass buses in the country had been of immense help to the economy.
“Since the introduction of service we have been able to transport over 50 million Ghanaians across the country, particularly to the very remote areas of the country,” Mr Visschers said.
He also explained that during the 2008 elections the MMT transported over 10,000 Ghanaians from one destination to the other.
Mr Visschers said as a state transport service, the objective was not to make huge profit, but to help the less privileged in the economy.
He however said that, "we must be able to make some profit and invest it in other areas of the business, such as bringing in more buses, improving the service conditions of staff, particularly drivers and also put the company in a better position to compete.
The Managing Director said some of the difficulties the MMT faced were the over congestion in the cities and competition with “trotros” at the various terminals.
“The MMT buses cannot drive on the shoulders of the roads as the trotro drivers do,” he added.
He, therefore, suggested the construction of bus lanes in future road construction programmes to make bus transportation an attractive one.
Mr Visschers also suggested that in the short term buses should be allowed to use one of the other lanes in the opposite direction as most were empty at a particular point in time.
The introduction of the buses, he said, would bring fewer cars on our roads, and thereby reduce traffic in the cities.
Mr Visschers said the attitude of the staff had not been helpful in the past as most of them were involved in stealing and selling spare parts of the buses, issuing tickets and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.
These attitudes, he said, accounted for about 40 per cent of the losses the company made in the past. “We have been able to reduce this unfortunate incidence to about 15 per cent and the target is to eradicate it for ever, “ the managing director said.

IBG and eTranzact forge alliance

INTERCONTINENTAL Bank Ghana (IBG) has forged an alliance with eTranzact, an on-line service provider to provide on-line banking services for customers of Databank Ghana.
By this collaboration, customers of Databank with investments in EPACK, MFUND, and BFUND can conveniently make top-up payments on their investments at any branch of Intercontinental Bank.
Customers can also make payment through eTranzact by online and such payments will be credited to the customer's account with Databank.
At the launch of the collaboration at the office of Databank, a representative of the Managing Director of IBG, Mr Moses Coffie explained that customers must first open an investment account with Databank after which top-up of their investments could be channelled through IBG or eTranzact.
Mr Coffie said the collaboration between the three institutions was aimed at providing customers of Databank and IBG easy access to their investment accounts.
"We want to bring investment to the door step of the Ghanaian who might not have the time to always walk to the office of Databank to top-up their investment accounts with Databank," he said.
The Chief Operating Officer of eTranzact, Mr George Babafemi said the mobile airtime top-up service would enable customers their mobile phones to top-up with any amount of their choice.
Mr Babafemi hinted that the company would also introduce e-billing and value added service onto the Ghanaian environment.
He said their services were also available for buyers and sellers of goods and services who could utilise it to make and receive payment for purchases and sales.
A Director of Databank, Mr Yoofi Grant said his outfit duly recognised the need to make their services, particularly, investment products available to the general public.
"Many of us live in poverty because of our inability to put aside the little that we make," he stated.
He urged Ghanaians to take full advantage of the world’s financial crisis and make the needed investments; "all you need is the right information on the financial market and where to invest,” he stated.

DVLA New numbers

THE introduction of unique number plates for motorbikes is to curb the activities of criminals who fix the number plates of motorbikes on cars for criminal activities, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has explained.
The Greater Accra Regional Licensing Officer, Mr Abraham Tettey, told the Daily Graphic that there had been instances when criminals had affixed number plates of motorbikes on cars for criminal activities, making it difficult for the police to identify particular cars that were used for the crimes.
He added that using the same number plates for both motorbikes and vehicles also exhausted the number plates too quickly.
Mr Tettey said under the new arrangement, the old number plates of motorbikes would be changed for new ones when their owners went to renew their road worthiness certificates, a marked departure from what pertained in the past when all the number plates were changed during a particular period, putting pressure on the DVLA.
“However, those who want to change their number plates before their road worthiness certificates expire can do so,” he added.
Mr Tettey indicated that in January this year the DVLA registered 571 motorbikes, 716 in February and 892 in March, bringing the number to 2,179 as of the end of March.
He appealed to the general public to stop patronising the activities of agents who, according to him, charged huge sums of money from the people for the services they provided.
He said the authority had, with the help of the Information Services Department, mounted an information van on the premises of the DVLA to educate the general public on its operations.
That, he said, was in the short term, adding, “We are putting up our own public address system to provide information for clients who come to the yard.”
In addition, he said, the DVLA had set up a customer service department to provide client services for the public.
Some clients and would-be clients of the DVLA who spoke to the Daily Graphic lauded the innovations and indicated that they were in line with practices elsewhere.
They, however, urged the authority to make its services faster, as the long hours spent in processing documents accounted for the use of agents.


BARCLAYS Bank Ghana Limited and the African Regent Hotel have initiated moves to raise funds for a solar energy project for the Tari Number One Clinic in the Northern Region.
As part of the moves, a dinner was held in Accra last Friday in honour of the two youngest managing directors in Ghana, Mr Benjamin Dabra of Barclays Bank and Ms Abena Amoah of New World Renaissance Securities, during which funds were raised for the project.
About GH¢2,000 was raised, while individuals and companies pledged GH¢3,000.
The cost of a solar energy system for the clinic is estimated at more than GH¢60,000. The clinic, constructed with funds raised by Barclays Bank, is to serve members of the community, but it currently does not have any source of power supply.
Other events organised by Barclays Bank for the initiative include the sale of wrist bands and a special breakfast sale to staff of the bank.
A grand dinner will be held in Tamale tomorrow, during which funds will be solicited from opinion leaders, chiefs, parliamentarians and district chief executives.
Mr Dabra and Ms Amoah spoke about leadership and leadership development for the youth in the marketplace and shared their personal experiences as managing directors.
The Head of Corporate Affairs of Barclays Bank, Mrs Shola Safo-Duodu, said the nearest clinic in the area was at Daboya, which was about an hour’s drive from the mainland.
Tari Number One was, therefore, chosen as a central site for the construction of a clinic to serve the other communities in the area.
She told the Daily Graphic that the clinic had been completed but had no source of electricity, adding that the cost of connecting the clinic to the nearest electricity grid was quite expensive.
A solar power supply system was, therefore, identified as an option.
Other companies supporting the initiative are the Graphic Communications Group, Joy FM, Asempa FM, Adom FM, TV3 Network, the Accra Mall, Deroy’s Cuisine, SuperCopy and Joe Oppong Studios.

(JHS leaver drowns in swimming pool at Nungua)

A 15-year-old Junior High school (JHS) graduate, Daniel Bortey Borketey, died at a pool party at the Royal Majesty Hotel at Nungua, a day after he finished writing his Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Borketey, a pupil of the St Joseph’s School and said to be about 4.6 feet tall, got drowned in a nine-feet swimming pool at the hotel which was formerly known as the Royal Ravico Hotel.
At the same time his friends were attending to another boy who had earlier on been rescued from drowning.
The pool party, which was organised by the Red Lyon Entertainment, an event organiser based in Nungua, was meant for final year JHS graduates who sat for the 2009 BECE.
The roll call of some prominent local artistes like, Kwaw Kesse, Tinny, Mzbel and ASEM, as well as some foreign artistes, advertised on the bill by the organisers, was said to have attracted a large number of BECE graduates to the pool party.
However, investigations conducted by the Daily Graphic indicated none of those artistes turned up for the event.
When the Daily Graphic contacted the police at the Kpeshie Divisional Headquarters, they confirmed the story and added that the body of the deceased had been deposited at the Police Hospital for autopsy.
According to the police, the pool party attracted JHS graduates from most of the schools in the Teshie-Nungua community , which was to start at 6:00pm till day break (TDB).
The police also alleged that some of the graduates were seen drinking alcoholic beverages, which they suspected to have been bought from a nearby drinking spot since the hotel did not serve such drinks.
The mother of the boy, Madam Ellen Borkwei Kalebi, told the Daily Graphic that she overheard her son telling his brothers that he was attending a party.
She said she asked him not to attend the party and instead asked him to wash his clothes which he had soaked .
Madam Borkwei explained that a few hours later at about 8:30 p.m., she had a call informing her about the incidence and immediately the decased sisters rushed to the hotel.
The sisters alleged that when Bortey was brought out of the pool, the organisers of the programme refused to take him to the hospital and rather asked those who knew him to do so.
She said sensing danger, the family members took him to the Christian Medical Centre at Nungua but doctors there referred them to the La General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
According to Madam Borkwei, when she contacted the hotel manager, he denied that such an incident had occurred at the hotel.
When the Daily Graphic contacted the director of the hotel, he refused to talk to this reporter, and the staff members also declined to talk about the incident.
A number of people the Daily Graphic interviewed, referred to the organisers as people who only wanted to make money and called for a ban on such programmes, particularly for JHS graduates.
When the Daily Graphic contacted one of the organisers on telephone, he demanded to know the identity of this reporter after which he declined to comment on the incident, directing the reporter to the police.

Share information on energy

THE acting Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Alex Kofi Mould, has called for information sharing on energy within Africa to avoid the mistakes made by other countries.
That, he said, would facilitate the efforts of governments aimed at addressing the numerous challenges in the energy sector for the socio-economic growth of the continent.
Mr Mould said this at the opening ceremony of a five-day regional training course on how to formulate national energy plans and strategies for African countries by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Accra.
He said energy supply was a prerequisite for the development of a modern economy, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and the creation of employment opportunities in the country.
“Therefore, it is imperative that increased access to modern forms of energy supply at an affordable price is a necessary condition for socio-economic growth and the fulfilment of a number of economic and social goals of government,” he said.
Mr Mould also explained that the government’s strategy of transforming the country’s economy from a low-income one into a middle-income status with about $1,000 per capita income by the end of the decade would require the supply of modern forms of energy.
He, however, said that would require a comprehensive energy plan to examine new energy choices for the sustainable development of the energy sector so that the required future demand for energy to support the economy would be met.
”The current challenges facing the country’s energy supply system must not be allowed to persist,” he added.
In his address, the Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission, Dr Alfred Ofosu-Ahenkorah, said the commission would submit to the government a comprehensive energy policy for the development and utilisation of indigenous energy resources in the country.
He said it would also advise the Minister of Energy on national policies for the efficient, economical and safe supply of electricity, natural gas and petroleum products for rapid socio-economic growth.
He added that to achieve that objective, the commission had put in place the needed human resource to develop long-term energy plan, programmes and policies to ensure that current challenges and future ones in the sector were addressed.
For her part, the IAEA representative, Dr (Ms) Farzana Naqvi, said the objective of the training programme was to enhance the energy planning capabilities of the participating countries to come up with national energy policies for the sustainable development of the continent.
Dr Farzana stressed that the IAEA sought to assist participating countries to strengthen and sustain their institutional capacities for effective energy planning in those countries.

Accra Methodist Diocese holds 48th Synod

THE 48th Synod of the Accra Diocese of the Methodist Church opened yesterday with a call on Christians to be in the forefront in the campaign against social vices in the country.
The four-day synod, on the theme, "Challenges of Evangelism and Discipleship in the Accra Diocese", will discuss policies and programmes towards increasing the membership of the church.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Armah Ashitey, who made the call, said they could achieve that objective through “reaching out to the world with the word of God”.
He said evangelism had become important at a time there was a global crisis which appeared to suggest the last days of the world.
Furthermore, he said evangelism had become crucial in view of the increasing rate of crime, coupled with the fact that mankind had become lovers of worldly things, particularly money.
Mr Ashitey, therefore, appealed to the leadership of the Church to use the pulpit to re-orient the character of the members, particularly the youth of the church, towards adopting the lifestyle of Christ.
"Let us use our Sunday schools to teach the youth, who are particularly vulnerable, the ethics of honest living and that success in life will only come through hard work," he added.
He commended the church for the role it played in the form of prayers, among others, during the 2008 elections, which brought the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Prof Atta Mills to power.
Mr Ashitey asked the Church to continue to partner the central government to curb the challenges in the environment and sanitation sector, road accident, anti-social activities and prostitution in the country.
In his address, the Bishop of the Accra Diocese, Rt Rev Abraham Tagoe, bemoaned the increasing number of cases of corruption in the country even among Christians, noting that it was sad to hear that that act had found its way into the Church.
Rev Tagoe said it was important for the Christian to seek wealth, but "this must done in the right way as to depict the Christ in you," he added.
He mentioned that the recent acts of Internet fraud, particularly the one referred to as "sakawa" among the youth, must be discouraged to protect the youth from untimely death as seen in recent times.
Touching on the political situation in the country, the bishop said that there was too much antagonism among political parties and their leaders, particularly between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Rev Tagoe said that situation was not in the best interest of the nation and the unity that Ghanaians yearned for daily in their prayers.
Rev Tagoe told the congregation that the six-per cent growth chalked up by the church in Accra in the year under review was not the best, hence the need for a deliberate effort to address it.
He attributed the unimpressive growth in the church to ineffective follow-up to individuals who came to visit the church. "Available records in this connection is rather poor; we need dedicated men and women to constantly be in touch with those who come to visit and monitor them to offer help, if need be".
He called on the pastors of the church to focus more on evangelism outreach programmes rather than revival meeting which had always been an internal programme.
"When alter calls are made during these revival meetings, it is mostly the same church members who come forward and this practise does not add to the membership of the church,” he said.
There were fraternal greetings from sister churches.

stratcomm commends Graphic

THE Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Communications Africa Limited (Stratcomm Africa), Madam Esther Cobbah, has commended the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) for setting high journalistic standard in the country.
Madam Cobbah said this when she paid a courtesy call on the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Ransford Tetteh, to inform him about activities lined up to mark her company's 15 years of providing communication and reputation management solutions to the general public.
The visit was also to thank GCGL for its support and partnership over the years, which Madam Cobbah said had been of immense help to the company’s image.
"We as a company have been able to make it because your newspaper has always been available to help us grow the company and we are grateful," she added.
Madam Cobbah said her organisation had overcome many of its challenges partly due to the cordial relations it had with GCGL.
"It is, therefore, important that we get you involved in celebrating our achievements over the years," she said.
She called on Ghanaians to see communication as a tool that could be used to accelerate development and the eradication of poverty in the country.
Madam Cobbah noted that it was sad for organisations to call on media institutions only when they were in crisis.
Mr Tetteh, for his part, said the newspaper was prepared at all times to help grow the businesses of organisations in the country.
He said "as pacesetters in the media industry, all others are looking up to us to promote their businesses and we have positioned ourselves to do just that".
Mr Tetteh said GCGL would continue to partner media organisations to provide employment for the numerous Ghanaian youth.
He commended the management of Stratcomm Africa for helping to build an effective media industry in the country, adding that both organisations would continue to collaborate in the interest of the media industry.
Some of the programmes lined up for the anniversary celebration are reading competition in schools aimed at promoting the culture of reading in schoolchildren to build a literate society.