Press zooms in on EU’s pledge to support Ghana’s development efforts, others

APA – Accra (Ghana)

The pledge by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, that the European Union will support the efforts of the Ghanaian government to develop the country is one of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.

The Graphic reports that the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has pledged the European Union’s (EU’s) support to the government’s efforts to develop the country.

He said the EU considered President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as an important partner and Ghana as a close friend, and that the EU would “support your personal commitment to democratic principles and values, which are extremely important”.

Mr Michel made the pledge when he led a team to hold a bilateral meeting with President Akufo-Addo and some government officials at the Jubilee House in Accra last Monday night.

Mr Michel is in the country to participate in the Accra Initiative being organised by Ghana and hold an international conference on counter-terrorism in the sub-region.

The conference is to be held at three levels: a technical conference involving non-state actors, a ministerial session involving the ministers of Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs, and a summit on Heads of State and Government of member states.

The Accra Initiative currently comprises seven-member states, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Togo.

Nigeria has been admitted as an observer state and is hoping to be made a full member state.

Mr Michel said the EU would take time to address issues of importance between Ghana and the EU, especially in the area of economic cooperation.

He said other areas to be touched on were energy, the private sector, investment, economic development, infrastructure, fisheries and also how to make progress in those areas.

The newspaper says that about a dozen Twitter staff based in Ghana, which was the firm's only office in Africa, have rejected a severance package offered to them and are now considering taking legal action.

The staff's legal firm has told the BBC that Twitter wants to negotiate the severance package and termination process, but it did not provide details of how it will do so.

The layoffs were part of a global staff cull introduced by new boss Elon Musk.

The employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity, argue that they have been short-changed. They have hired lawyers to initiate talks with Ghana's labour authorities with a view to compelling Twitter to adhere to the country’s laws on redundancy.

Under local law laid-off staff must be paid redundancy and should be given three months notice, as opposed to under a month in the case of the Ghanaian employees of Twitter who have been told the "last day of employment will be 4 December 2022".

Ghana staff were sent messages about the end of their contracts to their personal accounts, after being denied access to work emails.

Twitter offered them what they say was less than the three months severance package that Elon Musk had said staff would get.

In their demand notice, the Ghana staff are also demanding other benefits such as health insurance, stocks, shares and unpaid leave allowances accrued to them.

Twitter is yet to respond directly to a BBC request for comment.

Ghana has refuted the claim that UK troops may come to Ghana in shift of strategy against terror.

The Graphic also reports that British newspaper, The Telegraph, had reported on Monday (November 21, 2022) that Britain may be invited to send special forces to Ghana after it [Britain] was forced to withdraw all of its 300 peacekeepers from Mali in the face of bands of Russian mercenaries and jihadist groups.

British ministers will this week fly to Ghana to hammer out a new security agreement, the newspaper reported.

It is unclear if the move is a face saving operation in the wake of the mission in Mali being shut down or something more significant as British forces already train troops in Ghana, it added.

But in a press statement issued on Tuesday night (November 22, 2022), Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said the newspaper’s report was “false.”

“The Government of Ghana has no interactions with the UK Government aimed at deploying UK soldiers to Ghana for purposes of operations as described in the story,” it stated.

The Ghanaian Times says that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country have commenced the blocking of partially registered SIM Cards from accessing data services, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has revealed.

According to Mr Kwame Gyan, Deputy Director, Consumer and Corporate Affairs Division of the NCA, the MNOs were undertaking the exercise in batches.

The move followed a directive by the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation to all MNOs to block SIM cards, also known as a Subscriber Identity Module which was yet to be fully registered by November 20 from accessing data services.

Speaking in an interview with Ghanaian Times yesterday, he said, although he did not have the data on the number of SIM Cards blocked since the expiration of the deadline readily available, the NCA was aware that the directive was being complied with.

He stated that, due to technical nature of the exercise, the MNOs would not be able to simultaneously block all the defaulting SIM Cards.

Mr Gyan, however pleaded with owners of defaulting SIM Cards to complete the registration process to avoid the sanctions.

He explained that a completion of the SIM Card registration process would support efforts in building a robust SIM database for the country.

“We expect the MNOs to block all partially registered SIM Cards from accessing data services as per the directive.

The Ministry and NCA has no joy in seeing SIM Cards blocked so we encourage all defaulting users to complete the process now,” he added.

The Ghanaian Times observed yesterday, that mobile phone users, in Accra were undergoing the registration process at the various offices of the MNOs.

The newspaper reports that a Control Price Mechanism (CPM) must be instituted by the government to ensure the uniformity of food prices across the country, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness of University of Ghana, Dr Edward Ebo Onumah, has suggested.

He said as pertained in the petroleum sector, the government should intervene to ensure that the increasing prices of food stuffs were controlled to bring relief to the citizens.

“When we take petroleum products for instance, when you go to all pump stations, you will see that the prices are the same, but when you look at agricultural products, you can be in the same market but the price of the same product will vary by individual,” Dr Onumah, said in his keynote address during the closing of the 2022 African Statistics Day celebration in Accra on Friday.

It was on the theme “Strengthening data systems by modernising the production of and use of agricultural statistics, information with a view to improving resilience in agriculture, nutrition, and food security in Africa.”

The African Statistics Day celebration organised by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is held every year to highlight the importance of statistics to national development.

As part of the programme, the GSS launched the Data Science Roadmap, a five-year strategy which, among others, highlights how the Service wants to use modern and electronic means to collate data and share same with stakeholders.

Dr Onumah, who was the keynote speaker, stressed that under the CPM, government through the buffer stock system, could partner the private sector to buy foodstuffs in bulk to help stabilise and control the price of agricultural productions and sell to the populace.

“Without a CPM in the system, you will see that farmers will be farming more but traders will be making profit more than farmers,” he said.

The Senior Lecturer entreated the government to support the local production of tomato, rise and poultry.

He said it was worrying the country was importing tomato from countries which did not have fertile and arable lands like Ghana, adding that Ghana in the 1960s, imported only ten per cent of poultry products to meet local consumption, but currently was importing 80 per cent of its poultry needs.


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