1,010 rural telephony sites completed – Ursula Ekuful

A total of 1,010 rural telephony sites have been completed under the Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project to connect underserved and unserved communities, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has said.

The Communication Minister said the completed sites were part of 2,016 sites to be constructed to extend mobile network coverage to approximately four million residents of selected unserved and underserved communities to bridge the digital divide.

Speaking at the Ministry of Information’s press briefing, she said 618 out of the 1,010 sites had been operational, offering essential voice and data services to citizens in about 1,620 rural communities.

She said people in those communities could make calls, and use data services to enhance social and economic activities.

‘The Ministry will build the remaining 1,006 sites, integrate, and activate them all for voice and data services to ensure reliable, affordable, and secured broadband infrastructure this year,’ Mr Owusu-Ekuful said.

She said between 2017 and
2018, government in collaboration with the private sector oversaw the building and activation of 430 rural telephony sites and connecting ‘approximately 700,000 previously underserved and unserved Ghanaians in remote communities.’

The Minister said in promoting inclusivity and expanding the coverage, the government in 2020 secured a pound 155 million facility from the China EXIM Bank to start the Ghana Rural Telephony and Digital Inclusion Project in partnership with Huawei and China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC).

She said the Rural Telephony Project presented up to 70 per cent cost reduction compared to traditional masts, adding that it had made the project both economically and financially feasible and capable of generating a decent return on investment.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the project had facilitated remote learning, digital financial inclusion through mobile banking and mobile money, access to market information for farmers, and enabled small businesses to reach customers d
ue to the availability of mobile internet in small communities.

The Minister said prior to that intervention, basic healthcare delivery and education, among other critical services, presented a challenge, as health workers and teachers were reluctant to accept postings to certain communities due to the lack of connectivity.

So far, Ahafo, Ashanti, Bono, Bono East and Central Regions have 34, 153, 36, 49 and 92 built sites respectively.

The Eastern Region has 89, Greater Accra Region one, North East Region, 28, Northern Region, 58, whilst Oti and Savannah Regions have 58 and 50 sites respectively.

The rests, Upper East Region, has 44, Upper West Region, 77, Volta Region, 63, Western Region, 91, and Western North Region, 87.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Preserve urban greens, adopting sustainable to reducing temperatures – Issifu

Preserving urban green spaces and adopting sustainable housing systems and practices, are crucial in addressing the current warming trends, especially in the cities and urban communities in the country.

Mr Sulemana Issifu, Director of Research at the Center for Climate Change and Food Security (CCCFS), who stated this, indicated that, recent increases in temperatures, particularly, the discomfort during nighttime, highlighted the pressing need to address climate-related challenges.

Sharing a policy brief with the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi, he advocated for the implementation of sustainable housing systems that incorporated climate-responsive designs.

This includes improved insulation, natural ventilation, and materials that regulated indoor temperatures.

Again, afforestation measures that mandated every new house construction to include the planting of shade trees.

He explained that this did not only contribute to carbon sequestration but also provides natural shading, reducing indoor, and outdoor temp

Mr Issifu said the government must take stringent measures to halt the menace of illegal mining (galamsey), which threatened the existing forests.

The CCCFS also encourages architects and builders to avoid excessive glazing in building structures, explaining that, while natural light was important, excessive glazing contributed to heat gain, and alternative design strategies should be explored.

According to him, the CCCFS recent study highlighted the discriminative felling of the few remaining trees in urban areas, particularly in Greater Kumasi.

The study underscored the importance of preserving existing green spaces for their cooling effects and overall environmental benefits.

Some key findings identified were that a concerning trend of indiscriminate tree felling in urban areas, especially in Greater Kumasi, leading to a loss of crucial green cover.

Also, the removal of trees contributes to the urban heat island effect, exacerbating rising temperatures in affected areas and this posed a dir
ect threat to the well-being of residents.

On the policy side, Mr Issifu, stressed the need for strict enforcement of tree preservation laws, promotion of green spaces as well as educating citizens on the importance of tree preservation, and sustainable practices.

Source: Ghana News Agency

SDF chairman calls for a peaceful inclusive transition in cameroonOpuni Trial: EOCO never completed the investigations – Witness

The Social Democratic Front, SDF party’s chairman Honorable Joshua Osih has appealed for an inclusive approach that will provide a peaceful political transition in Cameroon.

He was speaking during the second National Executive Committee (Nec) meeting, held on February 17, at the party’s regional headquarter in Olezoa-Yaounde, since the party’s elective convention.

This is coming at the time when within the position of oppositions in Cameroon, there are calls for a coalition against the ruling party in the presidential election in 2025. This was on the agenda of proceeding in which the party chair told the media that the party was opened.

‘The SDF has been able to organize coalitions since 1990. We sincerely believe that where Cameroon stands today, we need to seriously work towards pushing an agenda and not running after a coalition so that one actor wins. we are for a winning Cameroon and not for a winning individual’ Joshua Osih told the press.

For the country to be in good shape, the SDF foresees a pol
itical transition through a broad based concertation, which is inclusive and meetup the aspirations of all cameroonians to rebuild from what the party considers a sociopolitical and economic breakdown, for a system that has reigned for long.

‘We are today at a turning point, and we’re looking forward to put proposal on the table that can be as inclusive as possible to bolster our country to a political transition. We’re not running to win the race, but trying to bring together, to make sure that the only outcome that can save this country-which is the political transition, is the agenda that will be taken’ he stressed.

The party’s finances was also under review as well as the work of adhoc committees created, all geared towards giving the SDF, the new momentum with the new leadership.

Six adhoc committees were created to give the desired steam and to redefine SDF policy.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Mr Paul Adjei Gyang, a Senior Staff, Operational Unit, Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) said they never completed investigations on the alleged fraudulent importation of agrochemicals sold to COCOBOD.

He told the Accra High Court hearing the trial involving Dr Stephen Opuni, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Seidu Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, that during the investigations, the Organised Crime Unit, which he used to head, was asked to hand over the docket to the Police for further investigation.

Mr Gyang, who is the subpoena witness for Mr Agongo, gave his evidence led by Counsel for the accused person, Mr Benson Nutsukpui.

Dr Opuni and Mr Seidu Agongo, a Businessman, are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, wilfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, and corruption by a public officer in contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GHS300,000.00 self-recognizance bail each.

He said it w
as around January 17, 2017, that an investigation was referred to the Unit through the Deputy Executive Director of Operations from the Executive Director of EOCO.

He said Dr Adu Amponsah, the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at COCOBOD brought in samples of Lithovit to have it tested.

‘I was called into the Executive Director’s Office and given the bottles of the product together with covering letter from COCOBOD, which had details of the product,’ he added.

He said one of the samples was sent to the Ghana Standards Authority, while the other was sent to the Chemistry Department of the University of Ghana for testing.

Mr Gyang said the testing was to establish through experts whether the chemical was fertilizer.

When shown a copy of the report received by the Unit as part of the evidence before the court, the witness confirmed it but said the evidence does not have a cover letter as it was addressed to EOCO.

The court, therefore, directed the witness to provide from his
outfit a copy of the cover letter that came with the report.

The witness told the court that the face of the report that represented the chemical lacked the necessary ingredients to make it a fertilizer.

He said after the Executive Director of EOCO went through the report, he directed that Agongo should be charged with the appropriate offence immediately and Agongo was invited.

He said Agongo requested for a copy of the report initially for his lawyers to enable them to advise him, but he objected to the request.

He said Agongo was informed after the report was submitted but insisted that the product submitted for testing might not be part of what he supplied to COCOBOD.

The witness said after some deliberations, it was agreed that they should still have some products from the COCOBOD warehouse, where suppliers were informed to assist in identifying the products to be tested to avoid any objection.

‘All the suppliers were written to, to assist in the selection of the products to be tested and in this ca
se Agongo came with his lawyers,’ he added.

Mr Gyang said according to the investigator, when they went to the warehouse, there were two security personal present from COCOBOD.

According to the investigator, they were given one liter of lithovit, which seal had already been broken.

Asked what the arrangement was, the Executive Director of EOCO said with Dr Ampomah regarding the collection of the samples, he said the arrangement was that both the suppliers and the receiver met with COCOBOD officials.

He said they met two security men, attended on behalf of COCOBOD, and they gave the team a liter of lithovit with a broken seal.

According to the witness, Agongo initially rejected the product looking at the broken seal but seeing the label on it, he said it was his but could not guarantee the content and the parties agreed for the product to be sent to Ghana Standards Authority.

The witness said on June 30, 2017, the product was sent for testing and the Office received the second test report from the GSA an
d a copy addressed to the Executive Director of EOCO.

He said from the report’s surface that the second testing indicated that lithovit was a fertiliser and the witness agreed with the defence that even with the seal being broken, the content was fertiliser.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Anlo-Afiadenyigba drivers displeased over deplorable roads

Some drivers at Anlo-Afiadenyigba, Havedzi, and other neighboring communities in the Keta Municipality of the Volta region, have expressed frustration and anger over the deplorable road network in the area.

They said the untarred road networks, have existed for decades and now appeared to be full of trenches, dusty, and serving as a death trap, especially during the rainy season.

Mr December Atinyo, a taxi driver at Anlo-Afiadenyigba junction, told the Ghana News Agency, in an interaction that many drivers expressed worry about the deteriorated nature of the road, which is becoming unmotorable.

‘We always spend a lot of money in replacing vehicle parts due to the deplorable nature of the road,’ he said.

He said apart from the difficulties faced in plying the road, many households and shops along the road always complain about the dusty environment whenever vehicles ply the road.

Madam Rejoice Shigbadie, a provision shop owner, along the Anlo-Afiadenyigba road, told the GNA that her business was heavily a
ffected by the dust particles that always settled on her goods.

‘The deposits of dust particles on my wares always drive my customers away, and l have incurred very huge losses of thousands of cedis within these few days.’

She added that despite the plea and the numerous complaints made to the authorities and the government, they were yet to witness any facelift to address the challenges.

She appealed to philanthropists, corporate organisations, and the government to help put the roads in proper shape to prevent any unfortunate situation.

Meanwhile, a source disclosed to the GNA that some youth of Anlo-Afiadenyigba have freely contributed earlier towards putting the deplorable township road in a good shape.

It was also revealed to the GNA that the government had stepped in to construct the road for the residents but that had also stalled for about two years.

Source: Ghana News Agency

AGOSA shows love to Christ Faith Foster Home

The Accra Girls’ Old Students Association (AGOSA) has donated assorted items to the children of Christ Faith Foster Home at Frafraha in the Adentan Municipality.

The items included bottled and sachet water bags, bags of rice, cooking oil, oats, sugar, milk, drinks, and loaves of bread.

The rest were chocolates, tinned tomatoes, eggs, sardines, assorted food supplies, toys for kids, toiletries, detergents, and sanitary pads.

Professor Adelaide Naa Amerley Kastner, National President of AGOSA, presenting the items on behalf of the Association, said the gesture was to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the children of the Foster Home.

‘Accra Girls’ Old Students Association, we looked into our hearts and we said that we would want to come and share love with the children in Frafraha Orphanage. So, that is why we are here,’ Prof Kastner said.

She expressed gratitude to the caretakers of the Home for their dedicated care and love towards the children.

Mr Edward Adu-Amoako, Deputy Manager of the Home, receiving th
e items on behalf of the children, thanked AGOSA for the kind gesture.

‘Looking at the things here, I’m just overwhelmed. So, today you have really shown love, and it is our prayer that God will continue to bless all of you.

‘Wherever you took the money to do this, it is our prayer that Almighty God will replenish you immeasurably. God richly bless you,’ he said.

With Ghana having instituted February 14 as Chocolate Day, AGOSA used the occasion to educate the children and their handlers on the importance of consuming chocolate and other cocoa products.

Key among the benefits is the protection against heart diseases.

Some students of the Accra Girls’ Senior High School also joined AGOSA to spend the day with the children.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Winners Cooperative Credit Union holds maiden media soiree at Akatsi

Winners Cooperative Credit Union (WINCCU), a financial institution in Volta Region has held its maiden ‘media soirée’ at Akatsi.

It was aimed at appreciating the role of the media in educating and shaping society for economic growth.

Mr Sammy Oscar Tuagbor, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Union, in a welcome address during the engagement held at the Union’s headquarters at Akatsi, commended the media for their commitment and dedication.

‘On all counts, the Union recognises the roles journalism played in sensitising the public, especially our catchment areas about our policies, programmes, and the purpose for our existence.’

He said the media could not be left off for the various roles played in supporting the mission, and vision and for the successes chalked over the years.

Mr Tuagbor, stated that the remarkable progress of the Union was made on the general growth of winners, more especially in membership enrolment, shares and saving deposits, credit facilities, and assets- based on the strategi
c partnership with the media over the years.

‘Our vision is to be among the best five leading credit unions in Ghana, which cannot be compromised, and as we look to the horizon, our vision is clear to be counted among the top five credit unions in Ghana.’

He said the Union had rehabilitated some roads and donated printers, television sets, and air conditioners, among others to some public sectors in the Municipality as their corporate social responsibilities.

He urged the media to continue to support their work.

Mr Robert Darrah, the Board Chairman of the Union, in his keynote address, commended the media for their collaboration and continuous support for the success of the Union.

‘The media in Akatsi South, and Ketu North and South has served as a critical bridge between us, Winners Co-operative Credit Union, and the public by providing timely, accurate, and comprehensive coverage of market trends, economic developments, and regulatory changes.

‘As a Credit Union, our main aim is to impact lives positi
vely and alleviate poverty, and you, the media, have been our partners in achieving our goals through diligent reporting, and insightful analysis in the journalism space,’ he added.

Mr Darrah pledged to equip members of the media ‘so they can also empower members of our Credit Union and the public with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the financial landscape.’

Mr Agbaxode Emmanuel, the Volta, and Oti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, commended WINCCU for bringing their innovative ideas to bear.

He appealed to media practitioners to work within the ethical requirements of the profession.

Participants, which include, members of the clergy, business partners, radio station managers, radio workers within Akatsi South and beyond, staff of WINCCU, and others took their turn to share ideas regarding the growth of the Union and the community at large.

WINCCU, the leading credit union in Volta and Oti, is the fastest Credit Union in Ghana and has over 25,000 members.

Ghana News Agency