Press spotlights position of Finance Minister on Ghana’s economic challenges, others

APA – Accra (Ghana)

The denial of the Finance Minister of allegations that his recklessness contributed to the economic challenges facing the economy and the report that 1,477,747 households in Ghana do not have access to a toilet facility (either in their household or a public toilet) are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Monday.

The Graphic reports that the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has denied allegations that his recklessness has contributed to the economic challenges facing the economy.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the claim was false as he had complied with every laid down regulation in the exercise of his role as Finance Minister.

Instead, he said it was the action of the Minority in Parliament last year that created chaos, leading to mistrust and subsequent withdrawals by investors.

He told the Adhoc Committee of Parliament hearing the censure motion brought against him that “I have not been reckless in the management of the fiscal operations of the government.”

He was responding to a claim by the Minority in Parliament, which alleged in its censure motion against the minister that fiscal recklessness by Mr Ofori-Atta has led to the crash of the Ghana Cedi.

“Hon Co-Chairs, the ground of recklessness presupposes that I have not been guided by the laid-down regulations.

“I want to state that I have not been reckless in the management of the fiscal operations of the government.

“Rather, our strenuous efforts to protect the public purse is what has helped this government to have achieved much, much more than any government over a similar period in virtually all sectors, including education, health, social welfare, policing, security in general, roads, railways, agriculture, industrialisation, tourism, digitization, and funding for anti-corruption institutions,” he said.

He said every action of his was first discussed with Parliament and approval granted before implementation.

“On all those occasions, I received approval as Parliament subsequently passed Appropriations Bills for all those Budgets.

“Every key expenditure made has been supported by this House.

“Indeed, we all saw the dire consequences when the House, for months, refused to pass a major revenue generation item introduced by this government to support the fiscal stability of the economy.

“Sadly, the Minority Leader, when this government was compelled to approach the Fund this year, triumphantly took credit for frustrating government’s efforts to meet its half-year revenue targets,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

The newspaper says that findings from the 2021 Population and Housing Census General Report on Water and Sanitation indicate that 1,477,747 households in Ghana do not have access to a toilet facility (either in their household or a public toilet) which is synonymous with the practice of open defecation.

This figure represents 17.7% of the household population with the prevalence of open defecation in rural areas (31.3%) being more than three times higher than that of urban areas (8.9%).

The percentage of households without access to toilet facilities was 19.3% in 2010 and 20.2% in 2000 indicating a reduction of 2.5 percentage points in the prevalence of open defecation over the 21-year period.

The regions with the highest proportion of households without access to toilet facilities are the Upper East (80.0%) and North East (79.7%) regions where eight in every 10 households practices open defecation.

There are six regions where more than 100,000 households are practising open defaecation: Northern (242,034), Upper East (180,797), Ashanti (111,306), Greater Accra (105,717), Volta (102,997) and Bono East (102,442).

The point of defecation for households without access to a toilet facility is predominantly bush/open field/gutter (1,380,720 households) followed by beach/water bodies (61,401 households).

World Toilet Day is commemorated annually on 19th November to raise awareness of the billions of people without access to proper sanitation.

The Graphic also reports that Statistics from the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) reveal that 1,215,546 children of school-going age (4 to 17 years) in Ghana are not attending school.

Out of that number, almost one million (942,427) children have never attended school.

The Savannah Region has 43.2 per cent of children who have never attended school which is the highest percentage in the country.

These findings are contained in the 2021 PHC Thematic Brief on Childhood Vulnerabilities in Ghana which presents statistics on children in Ghana focusing on the number and distribution of vulnerable children and the correlates of child vulnerabilities.

Over a quarter of a million children (275,562) aged between 5 years to 17 years have difficulty in performing activities in at least one of the following domains: sight, hearing, physical (walking or climbing stairs), intellectual (remembering or concentrating), self-care, and speech.

There are 5,976 children in Ghana living without shelter i.e. sleeping outdoors. About two in every five (43.6%) of the children without shelter are in the Greater Accra Region, which has the highest share followed by the Ashanti (15.7%) and Eastern (5.4%) regions.

Nationally, 51,081 boys and 79,733 girls aged 12 years to 17 years have ever been in union i.e. married or living together with a partner.

One out of every five (20.4%) children that have ever been in union is in the Northern Region which has the highest number of children ever in union (26,698).

The report further indicates that one-third of the household population under 18 years representing 3,862,259 children are multidimensionally poor.

The regions with the highest numbers, Greater Accra (550,118) and Ashanti (539,048), have more than half a million children each being multidimensionally poor.

It was released by the Ghana Statistical Service ahead of World Children’s Day which is celebrated annually on November 20, 2022.

This year, UNICEF is encouraging a focus on equality and inclusion for every child.

The Ghanaian Times says that the Minister for Fisheries & Aquaculture Development, Ms Mavis Hawa Koomson, has lauded GOIL for the provision of quality marine gas oil and lubricants to fishing vessels.

In a keynote address at a fisheries’ stakeholder meeting on fuel bunkering services for marine vessels in Tema, she noted that local companies such as GOIL was well positioned and capable of providing quality services to sustain the industry.

The Fisheries Minister underscored the importance of fuel bunkering operations in the industry and called for guaranteed, timely, safe, and closely monitored bunkering services that would protect crew members from piracy and other extremist activities.

She entreated offshore Marine Gasoil bunkering operators within the Ghanaian territorial waters to secure supplies from oil companies who have the requisite operating permits from the regulatory bodies.

The Head of Technical and Special Products of GOIL, Mr J.B. Tagoe, assured stakeholders that GOIL had partnered them by giving them quality services and given customers competitive prices and the best credit facilities.

“We expanded and made ourselves visible at sea, providing you with marine gas oil of highest international standard. Quality is always the cutting-edge differentiator for every customer like you and that is what GOIL provides. GOIL also provides quality marine lubricants that meets your engines’ specifications,”Mr Tagoe told fishing vessel owners.

The Chief Executive Officer of AMSOL Ghana, Technical Partners of GOIL, encouraged Ghanaians to patronise GOIL products because when GOIL wins, the government and the people of Ghana will derive maximum benefits in terms of the retention of profits locally.

The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Grace Jeanet Mason, encouraged the Fisheries Ministry to continue engaging the stakeholders to ensure that oceans are protected against pollution and environmental degradation. She promised to share good practices with Ghana.

At the end of the discussions, stakeholders called for a roundtable discussion with the Ministry and GOIL to find a lasting solution to the effect of fuel price instabilities affecting the smooth operations of the industry.


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