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Report: $15 minimum wage bill would benefit 20.7 million workers

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I am a Ghana-based freelance Journalist fascinated in the Music Industry, A.M.G Medikal’s Personal Assistant, Experienced Blogger with a demonstrated history of working in the music industry. Skilled in Music Publishing, Event Planning likewise Event Management. Strong media and communication || Contact : 0241747840

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Business

Ghana seeks Burkina Faso support to fight PFJs fertilizer smuggling

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The Upper West Regional Minister Dr Hafiz Bin Salih has visited Leo in the Province of Sissili in Burkina Faso to seek collaboration to combat fertilizer smuggling from Ghana to Burkina Faso.

He requested that the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJs) fertilizer that would be seized by Burkinabe authorities should be shared among their local farmers free of charge.

The call for collaboration to deal with fertiliser smuggling in neighbouring countries was on the back of recent reports of wanton smuggling, misappropriation and infractions regarding distribution of fertiliser to Ghanaian farmers.

The growing menace has forced Ghanaian authorities to suspend the distribution and haulage of fertilizers to local farmers in nine districts in northern Ghana including Sissala East Municipality and Sissala West District.

Despite several concerns raised over the temporal ban, the government has justified that it was to protect farmers and ensure the success of the PFJs programme.

Dr Bin-Salih said, “We are here to interact with you but we have a number of concerns, one is the fact that a lot of fertilizers from Ghana are being smuggled into Burkina Faso and this is a worrying situation to the government and the people of Ghana”.

“Our presence is to inform you so that we will collaborate with your security to help us fight and stop it”. “We have pictures and reports of the presence of the products being sold on the markets here [in Burkina Faso] but these are not supposed to be sold”.

“Our Minister of Agriculture in Ghana has gotten in touch and has made correspondence with his colleague Minister in Burkina Faso and signalled that we are here to ensure that they are fully put into the picture so, wherever, they find PFJ fertilizer in Burkina Faso, they should seize and share them freely to their farmers as they are smuggled products”.
“We do in Ghana, when we seize smuggled products, we share them and appeal to you to do so”.

A description of the branded fertilizer was shown to the Burkinabe authorities.

The fertilizer has been branded in 25-kilogramme weight with unique yellow colours and inscription of PFJ meaning ‘Planting for food and jobs’
“This is my official visit to Leo and requested with their kind permission to go round and visit some of the shops in the market and see things for ourselves, but the request to visit the shops was turned down by the Burkinabe officials citing the need to inform stakeholders before such observation could be permitted,” Dr Bin-Salih said.

He added that the insurgence of terrorist activities in parts of Burkina Faso required the two countries collaborated in the area of security.

Welcoming the Ghanaian delegation, the Secretary attached to the High Commissioner of Leo Mr Kone Yaya said the Commissioner was away but pledged to support and help the call for collaboration.

He said farmers in Burkina Faso equally enjoyed some subsidy but smuggling was also a problem and appealed to the Ghanaian delegation to allow the two trade and agriculture ministries to collaborate and have a joint control programme.

The Customs Officer in Charge of Douane, Mr Traore T. Cyprian, told the delegation that sometimes, the officers find the fertilizers being brought into their country from Ghana.

“Sometimes they do see some of them but it is not on a regular basis and when they see them, they seize them, they are then fined to pay high taxes on them and we let them enter once they pay the fines,” he added: “But, henceforth, we shall collaborate but it needs the attention of all stakeholders”.

On the request by the Ghanaian delegation to visit the market, he said, “All the directors including Director of Agriculture and customs were not aware”.
He added that they would need to inform their top hierarchy otherwise the traders might see their visit as “coming to control them,” and requested that they reschedule the visit to another time.

The Ghanaian delegation was made up of the National Director of Crops at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Seth Osei Akoto, Mr Francis Ennor, and Regional Director of Agriculture for Upper East, Mr Emmanuel Sasu Yeboah Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, Mr Iddi Musah Representative of The Upper East Regional Minister.

The rest were COP Peter Ndekugri, the Deputy Upper West Regional Police Commander; Mr Karim Nanyua, Sissala East Municipal Chief Executive; Mr Mohammed Zakaria Bakor, District Chief Executive for Sissala West District.

The Burkinabe side included Mr Napon Akimou, Mr Voda Alphonse, Mr Ibouldo Moctar, Mr Ziba Asseni Mr Oudragou Issif, Mr Traore T Cyprian and Mr kone Yaya.

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Business

$1m per Constituency initiative to begin as MoF grants letters of commencement

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The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has granted letters of commencement to the three development authorities to commence the full implementation of the $1-million per Constituency pledge under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) for the 2020 fiscal year.

The commencement certificate makes available GH¢1.66 billion (equivalent of $320 million) for the 275 constituencies across the country.

This covers $275 million for the 275 constituencies and $45 million for outstanding commitments.

The IPEP, commonly known as One Million Dollars Per Constituency, is a government initiative aimed at meeting critical infrastructural needs identified by local actors at the constituency level.

Background

In the run-up to the 2016 elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) promised to eradicate poverty and minimise inequality among socio-economic groups within geographical areas through the direct provision of basic infrastructure at the constituency level, especially in rural and deprived communities.

“To attain this, the IPEP will be the main vehicle to direct capital expenditure towards constituency-level specific infrastructure and economic development,” a statement from the Jubilee House said.

It said under the IPEP, each of the 275 constituencies was allocated the equivalent of $1 million annually to be invested in infrastructural development initiatives of its choice, managed and implemented by the three development authorities (the Northern Development Authority, the Middle Belt Development Authority and the Coastal Development Authority).

The IPEP is under the Office of the President and supervised by the Minister responsible for Special Development Initiatives.

The infrastructure projects to be implemented will support and complement other government infrastructure projects.

Allocation

According to the statement, since 2017, there had been budgetary allocations to every constituency in the country.

“However, due to the time it took to establish the three development authorities, the One Million Dollar Per Constituency has been temporarily administered through the Minister for Special Development Initiatives.

“The three development authorities have since been established by an act of Parliament and are fully operational.

Therefore, the government has issued commencement letters to cover the full amount of the cedi equivalent of $1 million to all three development authorities to commence the implementation of constituency-specific infrastructure needs,” it explained.

It said the IPEP was to ensure a bottom-up development approach where the infrastructural needs of every constituency would be collated, prioritised and provided through the allocated funds.

Infrastructural projects such as drainage systems, footbridges, community town centres, reshaping roads, renovation of schools, provision of desks for schools and many more were being undertaken in all constituencies across the country, the statement said.

Needs assessment

Needs assessment of every constituency in the country had been conducted to ascertain the basic infrastructure priorities of each constituency for which the IPEP funds should be applied over the next couple of years, it said.

It added that the needs assessment was continually updated to capture the revolving basic infrastructural needs of all constituencies.

“Infrastructure plays a well-documented role in economic development and poverty eradication.

Consequently, the administration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is deeply committed to closing Ghana’s infrastructure and poverty gap, which is currently estimated at $30 billion.

“The government has expressly demonstrated its commitment by making funds available for basic infrastructural projects in every constituency across the country,” the statement noted.

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Foreign News

Justin Bieber, Diddy, Meek Mill and More Celebs Call for A$AP Rocky’s Release From Swedish Prison

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A number of notable artists and celebrities are speaking out to show support for rapper A$AP Rocky after news broke of his July 2 arrest and subsequent detainment in a Swedish prison. Rocky has been held in what is described in a TMZ report as “shockingly inhumane conditions” after allegedly getting into an altercation with two unidentified men in Stockholm.

Change.org petition demanding his release was created and has more than 400,000 signatures as of press time. Stars including Post MaloneDiddyTyler, The CreatorMeek MillJustin Bieber, Kris Jenner, and more have either shared the petition or calls to release the rapper.

“We’re with you bro,” Bieber captioned an image of the Change.org petition on Instagram. “Go sign this petition!! #freerocky”

“Stand in support and request Rocky’s release from Swedish officials!” Diddy wrote on Instagram alongside an image of the same petition.

Meek Mill reminded his followers on Instagram that this situation could happen to anyone: “Support each other This could be you tomar #freeasaprocky

Rocky’s manager John Ehmann described in a lengthy Instagram post the treatment Rocky has allegedly received since being arrested. “The conditions of the facility are horrific and include 24/7 solitary confinement, restriction of amenities for the most basic of human functions, lack of access to life sustaining food as well as unsanitary conditions,” Ehmann wrote. “Sadly, it appears the prosecutor in this case is looking for his own recognition by trying to make a name for himself based on Rocky’s global fame.”

Read the show of support from A$AP Rocky’s famous friends and associates:

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