Oil Revenue Distribution Bill for parliament soon – Akufo-Addo

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The government will soon present to parliament a regulation on oil resources revenue distribution, President Akufo-Addo has said.

According to him, the bill when passed will ensure that communities, where the natural resources are sited, will not be affected negatively but enjoy the benefits of the proceeds from the resource.

President Akufo Addo said this at the launch of the first oil and gas licensing round in Accra.

“I have received lots of reports about the adverse conditions the oil find brings to our brothers and sisters in the communities along the coast and areas the oil exploration activities are going on.

To this end, I have directed the Ministries of Energy and Finance to draft a bill to be passed by parliament as the oil revenue distribution bill to regulate the distribution of the resources,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo expressed optimism that the oil licensing round process will be successful and help the government rake in the necessary revenue from the sector.

The first round of the bidding process involves six oil blocks in the Western basin with one reserved for the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC on behalf of the Ghanaian citizens.

Minister of Energy, Peter Amewu on his part warned that participating companies risk being disqualified if any false documentation or misrepresentation is made during the bidding process.

“Let me be clear to you all that any false document or misrepresentation in the process will be disqualified,” he said


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Parliament to summon Agric Minister over ¢1m residential renovation

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The Minority in Parliament want the Agric Minister before the House to explain reports that ¢1 million of COCOBOD funds are being used to renovate his residence.

Its spokesperson on Finance, Cassel Ato Forson, told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gapko the spokesperson on Agric, Eric Opoku “has indicated that he is going to ask the Minister responsible for Food and Agriculture to come to Parliament to answer questions.”

At a press briefing at Goaso in the Brong Ahafo region on Wednesday, Mr Opoku claimed COCOBOD is using money meant for farmers to provide comfort for the Agric Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto.

“Even as we hear the lamentations by COCOBOD over lack of funds as a result of declining world market prices, the same COCOBOD has been able to raise over ¢1 million for the renovation of the residence of the Minister of Food and Agriculture.

“Is the Minister’s comfort a priority over the welfare of our farmers,” the Asunafo South MP queried.

The claim has been denied by the Agric Ministry, but Mr Forson says COCOBOD officials admitted the claim at a sitting of Parliament’s Agric Committee.

“In one of the Committee meetings, they conceded…they said they were doing the renovation for the Minister’s official residence.”

The Ejumako-Enyan-Essiam MP said, Parliament is aware of an initial request for ¢300,000 to be used to renovate the minister’s residence but has not been told about the new price.

According to him, parts of the building have been demolished and that so far, “they have spent ¢1million.”

“They have not given Parliament official documents on it,” Mr Forson added.

Already, the Minority has described government as insensitive towards the plight of cocoa farmers after the Agric Minister announced there will be no increase in the producer price of cocoa for the 2018/2019 season.

Dr. Akoto Owusu Afriyie said government will maintain the price of each bag of cocoa at ¢475.

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KNUST student’s parliament wants Nkrumah’s abandoned factories revamped

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Students of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) want the government to revamp abandoned factories built by the first post-colonial government.

The Student Parliament believes it will complement the One District, One Factory policy and other job creation interventions by the government aimed at reducing graduate unemployment.

Members also suggest it is a more effective way to remember Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah than the observance of a memorial day.

The students say efforts at reactivating some factories credited to the first President stalled due to what they consider political interests.

Citing the Kumasi Jute and the Komenda Sugar factories as examples, they urged the government to factor their proposal to its industrialisation agenda.

Speaker of the KNUST Student Parliament, Frank Blay, believes the revamping of the abandoned factories will restore lost confidence in political leaders.

“A lot of the industries that Nkrumah left behind have either been divestiture or collapsed. This is a country we live in, where legacies are left to rot. These industries when revived can create employment for the youth. Now undergraduates are afraid of leaving school due to joblessness,” he said.

The students also called on the government to follow examples of developed countries by making Dr Nkrumah’s birthplace a tourist site.

Mr Blay believes it will boost the local economy of Nkroful and drive national development.

“If Osagyefo’s body had not been exhumed from his place of birth, we believe the place would have seen a lot of development because tourist will be going to the place.  At least it will be a revenue generating-venture for the people,” he emphasised.

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AUDIO: Bagbin drops secret behind his long stay in Parliament

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One of the presidential aspirant for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Alban Bagbin has revealed the secrets behind his long stay in Parliament.

Describing his leadership style as that of Napoleon, Mr. Bagbin said he has embarked on developmental project for his constituents and he believes that was what has kept him in the August House.

He said in his wisdom and humility, he believed he has developed the constituency till date.

MORE: Ken Agyapong, Sam George trade insults over StarTimes deal

According to the Member of Parliament for Nadowli/Kaleo constituency in the Upper West Region, he worked hard to improve the lives of his constituents through education, health and others.

“I don’t regret serving my people. I can assure you that I have done more than Napoleon could do. My people have I have done more than Napoleon could do. My people are still keeping me for so many years because I have done so much for them.

MORE: NPP executives want Mampong MCE sacked

“I have built two hospitals in my constituency and two other clinics adding that “most of the times I use my personal resources to support my people and I see that as a great thing opening doors for me. I have indeed set the record and willing to do more” he said.

Mr. Bagbin was speaking exclusively on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen Thursday.

ALSO: Spio-Garbrah outlines what NDC needs to win election 2020

Alban Bagbin, born on 24 September 1957, hails from the Upper West Region of Ghana. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and English at the University of Ghana in 1980.

He is the only person who currently holds the record as having served both as the Minority Leader, during the Fourth Parliament, and the Majority Leader, during the Fifth Parliament.

In 2008, Bagbin announced intentions to run for president on the NDC ticket, but he never stood for the primaries.

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Blows In Parliament Over StarTimes

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Kennedy Agyapong and Sam George

The Chairman of the Communications Committee of Parliament, Kennedy Agyapong, and Sam George, a member of the committee, nearly exchanged blows yesterday in the House during a highly charged meeting to discuss the controversial Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project to be undertaken by StarTimes.

The meeting was necessitated by a petition sent to parliament by the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) for it to intervene in the impasse between it and the government over the DTT project. The meeting came to an abrupt end after tempers had flared.

But the meeting with GIBA’s representatives was reconvened for matters to be discussed in camera.

Kennedy Agyapong, who is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central, was said to have been infuriated by some utterances made by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Pampram at a stakeholders’ forum organized by IMANI on the controversial project at the Regency Hotel on Wednesday.

According to Ken Agyapong, members of the committee had resolved at closed door meeting in parliament on Tuesday to refrain from making public utterances on the DTT matter until the meeting with the officials of GIBA and the minister.

The NDC MP for Ningo-Pampram also indicated that he attended the IMANI programme because the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, had scandalized the committee by allegedly saying members of the Communications Committee are ‘hypocrites.’

The chairman, Ken Agyapong, accused the NDC MP, Sam George of disrespecting members of the committee by breaking their oath not to make public comments on the matter.

When the meeting with the GIBA people was later reconvened, the chairman of the committee told journalists that he was really upset with Sam George but after getting further explanation from him as to why he went to the IMANI programme, he smoked the peace pipe with his colleague.

“Initially I was very furious about his utterances at the IMANI meeting, and so I confronted him but after listening to his explanation I realized he was right to make those utterances in response to a comment made against the committee members so I apologized to him.”

He pointed out that the matter would not end there because the committee would have to look into that allegations made against members of the committee, saying “we had a fruitful discussion with GIBA”.

He said they would also meet the minister over the matter.

Mr Agyapong, however, said the Minister of Communications had kept the committee in the dark as far as the StarTimes issue is concerned.
Sam George, on his part, told journalists that there was a slight miscommunication between him and the chairman of the committee and that they had resolved the matter.

According to him, he has great respect for the chairman of the committee but that miscommunication brought about the confrontation, adding that such a miscommunication would not happen again.

The government has postponed migration to digital broadcasting for more than three times.

It, however, contracted StarTimes in 2012 to supply and install the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure for Ghana.

The infrastructure was to guarantee multiple TV channels, clear pictures, better sound quality and offer more opportunities for advertisers and broadcasters.

The project, which cost $95 million, was supposed to have been completed before 2015.

But StarTimes allegedly failed to execute the project on time so the contract was abrogated in 2014 and handed over to Ghanaian firm, K-NET.

The termination of the contract, according to then Minister for Communications, Omane Boamah, was due to “the failure of the company to secure the necessary funding from the China EXIM Bank to execute the project.”


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StarTimes TV deal: Meeting with Comms Ministry, Parliament ‘comforting’ – GIBA

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The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) says a meeting between its leadership, the Communications Ministry and Parliament’s Communications Committee was productive.

The Association which complained of neglect when a deal on Ghana’s digital television space was handed over to Chinese firm, StarTimes believes the Thursday meeting will iron out all doubts it has raised concerning the agreement.

Speaking on Joy FM’s news programme, Top Story, Andrew Danso Aninkorah said the leadership of GIBA is grateful to Parliament for granting them audience.

“It ended very well, we have assurances of continuing engagement and Parliament has also shown interest in the matters that we took to them.

“We hope we will be able to continue with them into the future and then bring sanity to all the issues that we have been discussing,” Mr Aninkorah said.

GIBA sounded the alarm over the Communication Ministry’s involvement of StarTimes in the project which has been built by a local firm, K-Net.

Related: Gov’t relationship with StarTimes will create jobs – Ursula

According to GIBA, StarTimes has already set up a pay-TV in Ghana, therefore, allowing them to handle the entire DTT infrastructure would threaten Ghana’s security and independence.

“If StarTimes is allowed to control both Ghana’s only digital television infrastructure and the satellite space in the name of digital migration, Ghana would have virtually submitted its broadcast space to Chinese control and content,” GIBA said.

The Association promised to fight until the right things, as regards the deal, are done. It appears to be making progress with the meeting it had today.

Related: ‘Market distortion’: GIBA big shot explains opposition to StarTimes deal

Mr Aninkorah said the meeting with the Committee ended on a fruitful note with the promise of further engagements anytime the need arises.

“We felt at a point in time that government had closed its doors and we were not getting avenues to address our issues but in this particular case, they have given us the assurance that anytime we have issues that we want to discuss it is better for us to come and get them involved in what we are doing.”

He said Committee has promised to look into their claims of the unfair treatment and that  “Our main concern before now has been the non-engagement and when the Committee opened its doors to us, we believe we have crossed a major milestone. That is quite important.”

The GIBA President said details of the meeting with the Communications Ministry will be released by the Information Ministry at a yet-to-be-disclosed date.

It’ll also meet with the Ministry again in 21 working days.


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Abronye attacks Speaker of Parliament over Collins Dauda [Audio]

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The Brong Ahafo Regional First Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe has chided Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye for scolding the police over the “rambo-style” arrest of Member of Parliament for Asutifi South, Alhaji Collins Dauda.

The speaker had urged the Police administration to follow the laid-down procedure of inviting Members of Parliament (MP) to assist in police investigations.

His comment follows reports that the police raided the homes of the MP for Asutifi South, Alhaji Collins Dauda in connection with alleged abatement of assault.

The law requires the police to inform the speaker and the leadership of Parliament in matters of police investigations involving MPs.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament Tuesday, Prof Oquaye condemned the manner in which the police disregard the privileges enjoyed by parliamentarians.


But Abronye DC as he is affectionately called commenting on the Speaker’s position said the Speaker of Parliament has no right to warn the police.

He accused Prof Oquaye of shielding what he describes as lawlessness by a Member of Parliament, a situation he said does not augur well for Ghana’s democracy.

“Prof Oquaye should know that he is not the only lawyer in this country. He should come again because a lawyer doesn’t behave like that. How can you warn the police and interfere in their work”.

“Collins Dauda is not a saint. He is the cause of all the troubles in that town and so the speaker should just leave the matter to the police to deal with,” he said on Neat FM as monitored by Adomonline.com.

Abronye DC said he will go all out to ensure that Collins Dauda is brought to book.


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Parliament approves Akufo-Addo’s SC nominees

Parliament on Tuesday approved President Akufo-Addo’s nominees for the Supreme Court.

They are; Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Justice of Appeal; Justice Agnes M. A. Dordzie, Justice of Appeal; Prof. Nil Ashie Kotey, former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon; and Nene A. O. Amegatcherr, Private legal practitioner and former President of the Ghana Bar Association.

President Akufo-Addo is likely to swear them into office in the coming days. Some five justices were sworn in to the Court of Appeal in April.

Their elevation on the bench comes after the retirement of Justice William Atuguba, one of the longest-serving judges of the Supreme Court.

Respect our privileges – Speaker of Parliament to police

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Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Ocquaye has described as unfortunate the alleged raid of the home of Member of Parliament for Asutifi South, Collins Dauda.

According to him, the police erred in invading the privicy of an honourable member which is against parliamentary privileges.

In a statement issued in Accra Tuesday, Prof. Ocquaye urged the police to inform Parliament before it takes any such action on any MP.

RELATED STORY: Heavily-armed police officers storm Collins Dauda’s residence

“We would want to put on record that in the future, the leadership of the House, the Speaker of the House should be informed of all such leads so that it can be done with all the appropriate decency…” he added.

Below is the full statement

“Hon. Dauda’s residences in Accra and his constituency have been searched by the police in a manner that honourable members felt were not in consonant with parliamentary privileges…

“We want to inform and to repeat that the privileges of this honourable House have been clearly set out in the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. It applies to all members upon whatever side and at all times and in all circumstances, and those also in charge of security agencies are very much aware of this.

RELATED STORY: (AUDIO): IGP ordered Collins Dauda’s arrest  – Asiedu Nketia asserts

“Nevertheless, we are also mindful of the fact that we are not above the law. It, therefore, means that what we essentially ask for is not to be taken by surprise or not to be treated in a manner that will not be consistent with the dignity that an honourable member of parliament should be attended to, and that is the essence of our parliamentary privilege…

“We would want to put on record that in the future, the leadership of the House, the Speaker of the House should be informed of all such leads so that it can be done with all the appropriate decency…”

Prof. Oquaye reiterated that: “When an invitation is required, we will want it to be routed rightfully and the appropriate honourable member will attend to the appropriate invitation at the highest quarters, preferably the Commissioner of Police CID in-charge of investigations because monkeys play by sizes.

READ: Video: God can favour you in difficult times – Mahama preaches

“If you want an honourable member of parliament, that person will come in the good company of parliamentary leadership and to the Commissioner in-charge of investigations at the Ghana police.

“We want the security agencies to be mindful that the police should not invade the premises of a member, or appear to be doing so in a manner that will raise unnecessary difficulties for us.”

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Minority to drag Ursula to Parliament over dealings with China’s StarTimes

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Minority to drag Ursula to Parliament over dealings with China’s StarTimes

The Minority in Parliament is seeking to drag Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu before the House over the controversy surrounding the involvement of Chinese firm StarTimes in the country’s digital television space.

Speaking to Citi News, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, said their side will haul the Minister before Parliament to provide further clarity and documentation on the matter.

“We have asked members on our side, and I want to believe that many members even on the Majority side in good fate, want to listen to the official positions, then they can react. We are hopeful that it will happen this week then they will seek the help of the Minister to come and give them further and better particulars,” he added.

The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) last week raised concerns over the possible handing over of Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure to StarTimes; a move they say is not good for the industry..

But these fears were refuted by the government.

The government had previously said the platform will be managed by a new firm called the Central Digital Transmission Company, which will be presided over by a seven-member Board, on which GIBA has a representative.

The Minister of Communicatiobs, Ursula Owusu, has explained that “the selection of a contract and financing options for any aspect of the project should not be interpreted as an intention to hand over the ownership and management of the platform to any third party.”

She has taken a swipe at some critics suggesting that they’re misinforming the public.

But Muntaka Mubarak has urged Ursula to take the criticisms in good fate.

“We are asking our members to go get the official documentation, based on the official documentation we will respond officially. But primarily I don’t think it’s a good thing. And I want to urge my colleague, the Minister of Communication to stop personalizing things. When people are pointing to you the dangers, just pause, listen and interrogate more, but don’t be annoyed and be talking as if you are trying to pick a fight. It’s not about fighting; it’s about the destiny of Ghana”he said.

“If you know what the Chinese are doing in Djibouti, Tanzania and Zambia to the extent of being recruited in the Zambian police; they mean business. We have been told that they have a strategy to move 250 million Chinese into Africa. So we all have to be cautious. So when we are pointing out issues, it doesn’t mean that we hate Chinese. If they want to do good business we will do it, but the bad ones, we will certainly point them out,” he added.

Phase 2 of digital migration cost unclear – Ursula

The government remains unclear on the amount of money it will receive from the China Exim Bank for the second phase of the Digital Terrestrial Television network platform for Ghana.

As it stands, the government expects $97 million as part of an agreement with the Exim Bank of China.

“The contract I signed indicates that before it becomes effective, certain very key milestones have to be undertaken, and so we are nowhere near operationalizing this contract,” the Communications Minister explained further on the Citi Breakfast Show.

By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citinewsroom.com/Ghana

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