Nigerian press focuses on $1m tree planting scheme by UNDP, others

APA – Accra (Ghana)

The launch by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of a $1 million ‘One Tree Planted programme to plant five million trees by 2024 to restore degraded areas in the Black Volta landscape is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Friday.

The Ghanaian Times reports that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a $ 1 million dollar ‘One Tree Planted’ programme to plant five million trees by 2024 to restore degraded areas in the Black Volta landscape.

The programme was launched under the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme (GEF/SGP) at Maluwe in the Bole-Bamboi District of the Savannah region of Ghana.

The ‘One Tree Planted’, according to the UNDP Resident Representative, Dr Angela Lusigi, would enhance capacity and supply various seedlings including Cassia, Mahogany, Cashew, and Mango to selected communities in the Black Volta landscape for planting. The aim is to fight environmental degradation and promote sustainable livelihood enterprises in the landscape.

“This programme is about not leaving anyone behind. We are all expected to be involved in tree planting on farms, in open spaces, around towns, school compounds and in forest areas. Plant at least one tree and maintain it for people and for the planet,” Dr Lusigi said.

Dr Lusigi stated that the programme was aimed at contributing to the Government of Ghana’s Green Ghana agenda by supporting the communities to invest in sustainable land management and the conservation of the Black Volta Basin ecosystem.

She stated that it would also focus on providing alternative livelihood support systems to enhance the wellbeing of the people, while sustaining the environment.

The National Coordinator of the UNDPGEF Small Grant Programme in Ghana, Dr George Ortsin said that the UNDPGEF Small Grants Programme would devote $1 milion direct funding support to the ‘One Tree Planted’ programme while mobilising additional support from other development partners.

“I am glad to say that the Terra Fund for financing Africa’s Top 100 Tree Restoration Projects and Enterprises has committed US$150,000 over the next three-years to support the programme. We would want to appeal to other donors to join the implementation of the programme,” Dr Orstin stated.

The Ghanaian Times says that the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has said the government and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) must collaborate to address the factors causing inflation to rise.

 According to the economic think tank, the current inflation rate of 33.9 per cent in August 2022 was largely driven by supply and cost factors, particularly food, fuel, transport, and exchange rate.

 In a statement issued by the IEA in Accra on Monday and copied to the Ghanaian Times, it said the “supply and cost factors fueling inflation should be directly targeted with appropriate policy interventions.”

Inflation for diesel in August stood at 116.9 per cent, petrol was 80.5 per cent, and transport inflation (embedding fuel costs) stood at 45.7 per cent, imported and food 34.4 per cent.

IEA called for subsidies on basic staples and reinforcement of measures to ensure that food stocks were easily transported from farm gates to markets.

“Also reduction of fuel taxes or levies and the use of part of Government’s windfall gains from higher oil prices to cushion pump-prices, while expanding public transport and subsidising fares to cushion the masses,” it said.

Further, IEA urged the BoG to enforce the foreign exchange laws, including relating to forex carry-on limits for travellers, forex trading, pricing of goods and services in forex and forex transfers through banks.

“We call on the BoG and the government to work to adopt additional targeted measures to fight the inflation crisis and also negotiate with foreign companies to stagger repatriation of their dividends and profits to reduce pressure on the exchange rate” it stated.

IEA said in countries, including major economies where inflation, tended to be mostly demand-driven, a more appropriate tool such as Inflation Targeting had resorted to interventions directed to the supply factors.

The economic think tank said some advanced countries had taken unorthodox and innovative measures to cushion its citizens and was time for the country’s policymakers to be equally proactive.

“The United States has passed the Inflation Reduction Act, where the new UK Prime Minister has imposed caps on energy prices for two years, also France has capped fuel prices and limited electricity tariff increases to 4 per cent,” IEA said.

The Graphic reports that the US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, has expressed the commitment of the US Embassy to clear the backlog of visa applications from prospective Ghanaian students seeking to pursue studies in the US.

She said the embassy was currently working around the clock to get students’ visa interview appointments on time to enable successful ones to travel ahead of time.

Ms Palmer, therefore, encouraged prospective students desiring to undertake undergraduate, post-graduate and doctorate degree in the US not to be deterred by delayed appointment interviews in going ahead to apply to US universities.

Welcoming prospective students to the opening of the 2022 Education USA College Fair in Accra, Ms Palmer said “I have, with permission, taken every officer with the Consulate and put them to work on the visa line.

“The Consulate section has opened up lots of appointments for non-emigrant visas and I will encourage people that need to go to the United States to go ahead and apply for visas,” she said.

The two-day fair brought together about 40 high education institutions in the US to offer the students accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities for students to study at accredited universities in the US.

Some of the participating universities are Howard University, Drexel University, Emory University School of Law, Millersville University, Iowa State University of Science and Technology and Middle Tennessee State University.

The rest are New York Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Taxes Technology University, PACE University, Webster University, University of Houston-Victoria, University of Arizona and University of Kentucky.

The newspaper says that Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Limited (BOST) has assured the public that there is no looming fuel shortage as speculated by some media publications.

A release issued by the company said estimates from the National Petroleum Authority indicated that the total volumes of fuel available in-country as of September 20, 2022 was equivalent to 43 days of national demand and not 13 days as being bandied around.

It said out of the total quantity, BOST held what could last for 13 days, while the Bulk Oil Distributing Companies (BDCs), together, are holding close to 30 days of national demand.

The company has, therefore, urged the public to disregard any publication attributed to its managing director that there was a looming fuel shortage.

“We have taken notice of a publication attributing a prediction of imminent fuel shortage in the country to our Managing Director, Edwin Alfred Provencal.

The allegation is unfounded, and we wish to dispel it,” the release said.




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