The Graphic reports that the Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, last Thursday led a team of ECOWAS officials to Benin ahead of the presidential election in that country. It is scheduled for April.
The aim of the two-day pre-election mission was to exchange views with the main Beninois electoral stakeholders to assess the level of preparation of the institutions and socio-political actors to ensure the conduct of an inclusive, free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful presidential election.
The mission was in line with ECOWAS’ Additional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance to promote peace, stability and the consolidation of democracy in ECOWAS states.
Ms. Botchwey, who is also the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, was accompanied by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou; the Commissioner in charge of Finance at the ECOWAS Commission, Mrs Halima Ahmed; the Resident Representative of the ECOWAS Commission in the Republic of Benin, Ambassador Blaise Diplo-Djomand, as well as ECOWAS technical staff.
A communique issued by the ECOWAS Mission last Friday said the mission paid a courtesy call on the President of Benin, Mr Patrice Guillaume Athanase Talon, who expressed his appreciation for the initiative and explained the rationale for the implementation of the electoral reforms.
He assured the mission of the government’s commitment to continue to work with the relevant stakeholders for the effective conduct of an inclusive, free, fair, credible, transparent and peaceful election.
The newspaper says that an arbitration tribunal has ordered the government of Ghana (GoG) to pay $137.9million to Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC), an independent power producer (IPP), for terminating a power purchase agreement (PPA) between the two parties in 2018.
Out of the amount, $134,348,661 represents early termination payment claim, which in itself is made up of $69,361,680 as early termination fee, $58,492,005.562 for mobilisation cost, $6,462,528 as demobilisation cost and $32,448 as preservation and maintenance cost.
The arbitration tribunal also awarded $614,353.86 against Ghana as the cost of the arbitration, and also awarded cost of $3million against Ghana, which is the legal fees expended by GPGC during the arbitration.
The Graphic also reports that the Ghana Education Service (GES) has announced a suspension of the 64th Independence Anniversary parade, which had been scheduled to take place on March 6, 2021.
The suspension follows a directive from the Office of the President as a result of the high prevalence rate of COVID-19 cases in Ghana.
The directive was communicated to the GES in a letter dated February 11, 2021 from the Office of the Chief of Staff.
What it means is that the 64th Independence Anniversary and all its related activities in the regions, metropolitan, municipal and district assembles across the country have been suspended.
"Consequently, management of the Ghana Education Service wishes to inform all regions that the 64th Independence Anniversary Parade... has been suspended forthwith," a circular dated February 15, 2021, signed and issued by the Deputy Director-General of the GES, Anthony Boateng said.
"All Regional Directors are therefore entreated to bring this important directive to the notice of Metropolitan/Municipal/District Education Directors and Heads of all institutions under their jurisdiction for strict compliance," it added.
The Times says that the total value of mobile money transactions far exceeded the value of those of cheque by GH¢389 billion last year, data from the Bank of Ghana has revealed.
Whilst the total value of MoMo transactions was estimated at about GH¢569 billion in 2020, that of cheques was about GH¢180 billion.
According to a data released by the Bank of Ghana, the difference between the total value of mobile money transactions and cheque for last year indicated that majority of consumers, particularly retail customers, have now accepted MoMo for payment and transactions rather than cheque clearing.
This is largely because it is instant, faster, convenient and less cumbersome.
Cheque transactions will be mainly be used by wholesale or corporate consumers who have no choice but to issue cheques for payments.
With cheque transactions expected to decline in the coming years, banks will have to find innovative ways to rake in revenue, whilst retaining existing customers.
Beside ATM cards and other electronic products, they will have no option to introduce their own mobile money solutions in order to compete with the telecom firms. Alternatively, they will have to collaborate with the telcos to develop their mobile banking solutions or keep their MoMo transaction funds for a reasonable period, so that they can earn enough floating income.