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Regional News of Saturday, 24 November 2012

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MTN Foundation Debate Held

By Mohammed Saani Ibrahim-The Accra Times
The fifth anniversary celebration of the MTN Foundation has been climaxed with a debate between four Senior High Schools in the Greater Accra Region.
The debate which pits two segregation and two mixed schools was held at the premises of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra.
In the first round St. Mary’s Senior High School from Accra saw off stiff competition from their Accra Academy Senior High School counterparts while SOS Senior High School from Tema showed their academic prowess to defeat Labone Senior High School to advance to the final respectively.
The topic for discussion in the first round was Corporate Social Responsibility is a Moral Obligation and not a Public Relations Gimmick.
In the Grand Finale SOS Senior High once again came out victorious as they defeated their St. Mary’s Senior High counterpart in a keenly contested bout on the topic The Independence of Ghana is Meaningless unless Corporate Institutions help to bridge the gap between rural and urban communities.
In his closing remarks, Prof. J. Plange Rhule commended all the participants and urged them to take their studies seriously in order to be meaningful citizens in the future. He further urged them to read beyond their academic curriculum in order to be abreast with current and other related issues.
Prof. Rhule who is a Board Member of the MTN Foundation said the Foundation was purposely established to enrich the lives of Ghanaians. He mentioned education, health and human empowerment as their three main focuses.
He congratulated the SOS Senior High School for winning the glittering Trophy at stake and commiserated with the runners up and other losers and urged them to aspire to the top always.
The debate he explained has been an education session for both participants and audience adding that as a Foundation they look forward to many such activities aimed at enriching the lives of the people.






FORUM AGAINST INDECENT SPEECHES HELD
By-Mohammed Saani Ibrahim-The Accra Times

With less than a Month to the December 7th General Elections, a lot activities are being organized geared towards ensuring a successful, credible, peaceful and transparent polls.
Against this background, the Media Foundation for West Africa MFWA organized a one day forum held under the Theme: Radio, Hate Speech and Election Related Violence in Africa:
The Forum brought together participants from the Government, Political Parties, Academia, Civil Society Organization, the Clergy and the Media to brainstorm on the best ways to ensure decent campaign speeches and violence free elections.
The Forum also has the objectives to highlight the potentially negative ramification of intemperate expressions and irresponsible media conduct in Africa.
In his address Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, called on politicians to ensure the success of the forthcoming General Elections. Democracy calls for competition of ideas and issues rather than attacking each other.
Ghana’s reputation as the beacon of hope of Africa’s democracy can only be ensured through decent campaign speeches, exchange of positive ideas rather than politics of insults and acrimony.
He advised Ghanaian journalists to aspire to gain a kind of good recognition associated with good journalistic practices. Ghanaian political reporters should be accurate and fair in their reportage.
On his part Mr. George Lawson of the NDC said his party is committed to ensuring a peaceful, transparent polls in December. The ruling party would want the media to cover all aspects of the elections.
Mr. Kwame Gentua of the Convention People’s Party CPP noted that the responsibility to ensure decent speeches prior to the polls lies heavily on the political parties. He recommends for Parties to sanction any member who goes on radio to make any speech that has the tendency of sparkling violence in the country.
Mr. Mike Ocquaye Junior reiterated the New Patriotic Parties stand to ensure that the upcoming election goes on peacefully without any setback. The NPP decided to participate in the Forum because they believed in peace.
The NPP under Nana Addo’s leadership is more committed to the peace of this country before, during and after the December 7th General Elections. He charged stakeholders of the polls to be more vigilant to ensure fairness for all contestants.
Prof Kwami Karikari, the MFWA Boss on his part thanked participants for taking part in the Forum. Peace is need in Ghana not only before the elections but during and after. He thanked Star Ghana and Ibis Ghana Foundations respectively for their tremendous support to his outfit.


POLICY RATE RETAINED AT 15%
By-Mohammed Saani Ibrahim- The Accra Times
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana [BOG] last week maintained its policy rate at 15 percent.
The Committee attributed the reason to maintain the rate to balanced risks to inflation and growth.

Briefing pressmen in Accra during the Committee’s 53rd Press Conference, Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, Acting BOG Governor, noted that price developments suggest diminished inflationary expectations as reflected in the bank’s latest surveys.

BOG’s inflation forecast indicates that inflation has been well anchored within the projected range of 8.5 (plus or minus 2) percent and is likely to end 2012 in a single digit.

He said inflation outcomes had been in line with expectations though some upside risks emanating from the external sector and fiscal operations were noted.
In particular, Dr. Wampah said, risks to the outlook were identified as the high wage bill, arrears and fuel as well as utility subsidies.

The Committee further observed deterioration in the balance of payments on account of weak export growth, rising imports and short-term capital outflows.

Exchange rate pressures, which threatened macroeconomic stability and heightened inflationary pressures during the first half of the year, have eased largely as a result of the policy measures implemented, the BOG Boss said .

“In the past two months, we have observed some marginal appreciation of the cedi relative to the US dollar. The reduced volatility in the foreign exchange market has helped to lower inflation expectations in the near term” .

On the growth outlook, he said, positive developments in the business and consumer confidence indices, private sector credit expansion, and improved credit conditions were upside risks which could be moderated by the on-going energy sector challenges and global uncertainties.

The credit to the private sector continued to expand providing additional impetus to economic growth. The updated CIEA reflected increased economic activity although at a moderate pace relative to last year

Dr Wampah said fiscal consolidation was crucial at this stage to preserve the resilience of the economy against these risks, noting that the arrears related to wages had been largely cleared and therefore unlikely to pose additional risks to the outlook.

“Going forward, the Committee will continue to monitor the economic and financial developments and respond appropriately to preserve macroeconomic stability,” he said.

On government fiscal performance, Dr Wampah said the execution of the budget for the first three quarters of the year resulted in an overall budget deficit of GH¢5.1 billion (7.3% of GDP), against a target of GH¢4.3 billion (6.2% of GDP).

NADMO DEBRIEFS THE MEDIA ON MELCOM DISASTER
Mohammed Saani Ibrahim-The Accra Times

The National Disaster Management Organization [NADMO] in collaboration with its stakeholders has briefed the media on the aftermath of the Melcom Supermarket disaster.
The disaster that occurred in Achimota, a suburb of Accra in the early morning of November this year is known to have claimed 14 lives while six are currently being treated at both the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital and the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.
According to Mr. Kofi Portuphy the NADMO Coordinator, commended the effort og Ghanaians in general for rising to the occasion to rescue those trapped in the disaster but he added that more need to be done in such situations.
The media which played an important role in the event were however advised to be circumspect and accurate with their reportage when next if such incident occurred. Some press houses according to him quoted unreliable figures as which help in creating panics in the public.
He indicated that Ghana as a nation has exhibited its readiness to tackle any disaster in future when it occurs. The effective professionalism shown by people from all walks of life explains our unity as a people one destiny.
On his part, the Director for Public Affiars of the Ghana Armed Forces, Col Atintandi pointed out some challenges confronted them during the exercise. He mentioned the challenges of control and command as the people without any knowledge of disaster rescuing were found to be in the lead.
He also commended the people of Ghana for their donation and effective response to the call to help rescue those trapped in the disaster as well as the Israeli Government for their assistance.
NADMO is also with the support of the United States Army setting up a National Operation Center at their Head Office to be furnished with all available gadgets to boost disaster management in the country. The building is expected to be completed in the next two Months.



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