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Latest Ghana Web News - 01.07.2012

Daily Ghanaweb News


- Five Biodiversity areas in C/R being

  developed for ecotourism
- CPP flag bearer slams abject poverty

  in Ghana
- Indian Workers in Ghana Left in the Lurch
- John Mahama woried over ethnic intolerance
- Vice President cautions christians

  against unbridled proliferation of churches


Five Biodiversity areas in C/R being developed for ecotourism
* Source: GNA

Five Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) comprising five Forest Reserves in the Southern Dry forest of the Winneba Forest District are being developed for ecotourism with the participation of the local Community Biodiversity Advisory Groups (CBAG).

The five GSBAs are all protected reserves with a total perimeter of 20.23 km and total area of 9.36 km square.

They are Ahirasu Numbers one and two, Akrabong, Obotumfo and Abasumba, all in the Awutu-Senya district.

Mr. Wilson Owusu-Asare, Winneba District Forest Manager, who made this known in an interview with the Ghana News agency in Winneba on Friday said the programme is being undertaken by the Forestry Services Commission and the Winneba District Forest Office.

Mr. Owusu-Asare said interesting potentials within the GSBAs include tree species such as Triplochilon Scleroxylm (Wawa), Mansonia Altissima (Mansonia) Militia Excelas (Odum cola Gigantia (Watepuo) and Pterygota Macrocurpa (Kyereye)

According to him, there are many species of rodents, squirrels, birds and a River designed as elephant bathhouse and Lion’s Cave could be found in the forest reserves.

Mr Owusu-Asare said perennial water holding rocks which serves the forest fringe communities are also found in the areas.

These ecotourism potentials, when completely developed and implemented would in no doubt provide numerous benefits to the surrounding communities, the district, and the World at large, he said.

According to him, these benefits include alternate livelihood schemes, income generation, employment, market for local products and improved standard of living of the local people and that its reliance on healthy ecosystem offers a powerful incentive to conserve and protect biodiversity.

Mr. Owusu-Asare said a multipurpose ecotourism centre is under construction at Mfafo-Bewuanum for tourists to showcase the various tourist sites in the reserve among others.

He said the Winneba forest District has jurisdiction over eleven forest reserves and a large tract of off-reserve areas in Effutu, Gomoa East and West, Agona East and West, Ajumako-Enyan Essiam and Awutu Senya districts.

The total area of forest reserves is 4,913.33 hectares with a total perimeter of 97.12 kilometers.


CPP flag bearer slams abject poverty in Ghana

Dr Abu Sakara, Flag bearer of Convention People’s Party (CPP) has noted that the “essential software to run the nations operating system” has been corrupted.

He said patriotism born of selfless commitment in pursuit of the national agenda, has been corrupted “by the virus of unbridled ambition and excessive greed”.

The observation formed part of the opening remarks by Dr Sakara at “An Evening Encounter” with Presidential candidates organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think-tank, in Accra.

He said the infrastructure “hardware” Ghana inherited has been neglected and is not keeping pace with current needs and trends.

“The opportunity for advancement at a critical moment in time has been lost forever. We must now create our own possibilities in our time when the world is less idealistic, less forgiving and more aggressive in the pursuit of individual nation interests,” he added.

He stressed his determination to make Ghana once more the pinnacle of Africa’s achievement to demonstrate that “we can manage our own affairs”.

“To achieve this we must find a new way forward to make Ghana work again.”

The CPP Flag bearer observed that the mass of the people live between abject poverty and the verge of civility on meagre rations of less than GH¢10 a day.

“The remaining 10 per cent live very well,” he said.

Dr Sakara said, amidst the euphoria of appreciable oil flows and a fast growing economy, the illusion of middle income status is punctured by the stark and bestial reality that 90 per cent of Ghanaians do not have access to toilet facilities and only five per cent have access to modern toilet facilities.

“In this regard, Ghana is the fourth worst in the world and the second worst in West Africa after Niger, this is unacceptable!”

According to Dr Sakara, the nation has failed to prepare the human resources required for knowledge based technological economy.

He said in 2011, 53 per cent of pupils taking the Basic Educaton Certificate Examination exam failed to go to Senior High School (SHS) whilst on the average only 20 per cent of pupils entering primary school reach SHS and only three per cent gets to the University level.

Dr Sakara said as a nation, the poorest people cannot afford the National Health Insurance Scheme subscription.

“Maternal mortality is unacceptably high at 350 deaths for every 100,000 live births. Those who survive join a population that remains protein deficient… living in poor sanitation conditions and afflicted by avoidable diseases.

“Together we are all gripped in a web of poverty that is spun by poor decisions, lack of patriotism, rampant corruption, insatiable greed and gross indiscipline.

“The sad reality is that increasingly many more of our citizens will never have access to these basic amenities and necessities of life for as long as the country remains on the path of a solely market driven economic development model that incapacitates the manufacturing sector.

“The market driven model’s ardent advocates, our two main opponents (National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party) are on the centre right of the political landscape. They have looked on in consternation as their interventions following the market model have failed to deliver expected results.

“Instead, things have fallen apart. Manufacturing has collapsed, borrowing has increased, imports have grown and the currency continues to depreciate (two million per cent depreciation in 40 years),” he said.


Indian Workers in Ghana Left in the Lurch
* Source: IANS

Accra, Jul 1 (IANS): Three years ago a group of five Indian workers arrived in Ghana to make a living at a local steel company located near the capital of this West African nation. But today they have ended up as paupers and living on their neighbours' benevolence.

Niyaz Ahamad, one of the five men, told IANS: "We have to borrow money from the neighbours here because the company has stopped paying our salaries."

"Shop owners in the neighbourhood have shown understanding to our plight and sell to us on credit hoping that we would be able to pay them when we finally get paid which we do not know when."

They received their last payment in July 2011. "Since then, we have been left to our fate and it has been really difficult for us since we do not have any source of income," Ahamad said.

Western Steel and Forgings Limited (WSFL), located in Tema city, had recruited the Indians to work in their two steel plants in Tema and Takoradi in the western region on a $1,400 monthly salary on a two-year contract. They were promised return tickets on the expiry of their contracts.

"After the end of the second year, they asked us to stay on. On December 30, 2011 we were issued letters terminating our contracts," said Ahamad, who belongs to Bihar and used to be a pit engineer in Punjab.

The letter, signed by the company's chief executive Pius R Tamakloe stated: "Following the current financial challenges that the company is going through, the accounts department has been advised to prepare your final emolument and pay same by January 6 (this year)". But since then, the affected workers claimed to have been paid nothing.

Ahamad said the company in a letter claimed that it had turned necessary to restructure the manpower "since we are over-staffed".

"The extension of our contracts was not put down in writing because the officer in charge kept telling us that it was on his computer and all he had to do was to print it out for us. We believed him," Ahamad said, adding: "But this turned out to be untrue and no one is helping us in any way."

These men are today worried to see how those involved with their recruitment, who are Indians and work for the company, are least bothered about their fellow countrymen's plight.

Shailesh Kumar Singh from Chhattisgarh is another affected Indian worker. He said he did not receive a termination letter but a text message, which is not the standard practice.

"For the moment, my colleagues and l do not want anything from the company. All we want us our pay and ticket to return home. I have a wife and four children back home and cannot afford to remain longer in Ghana to suffer," he said.

Attempts by IANS to speak to WSFL's management proved futile as security officials at the company's headoffice in Tema kept repeating for three days the managers were not in the office.


John Mahama woried over ethnic intolerance
* Source: JoyOnline

Vice President John Dramani Mahama has expressed grave concern about ethnic intolerance that has recently led to violent conflicts in parts of the country.

According to Joy FM’s Anny Osabutey who is traveling with Mr Mahama, the Veep bemoaned what he said is the growing ethnocentrism among Ghanaians.

Mr Mahama was speaking at the 75th anniversary of the Saint Paul’s Catholic Church in Kumasi.

According to the Vice President, individuals who hitherto were identified by their personality are now been identified by their ethnic affiliations.

John Mahama stated that such ethnic partitions only create a divisive society which does not augur well for development.


Vice President cautions christians against unbridled proliferation of churches
* Source: GNA

Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Saturday appealed to the Church to come out with measures that would help eliminate the proliferation of several churches and false prophecies.

He said such a proliferation was tarnishing the image of the true and genuine church and creating numerous broken marriages and disregard for traditional values in society.

Vice President Mahama made the appeal when he joined the leadership of the Catholic society to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the St. Paul’s Catholic Cathedral in Asante Mampong- Konongo-Mampong Diocese.

The church, which has a membership of about 1,500 congregants also has 13 out stations in the Diocese with numerous development projects in education, health and potable water sectors.

The programme also attracted Catholic Bishops and Priests from all over the Ashanti Region and beyond.

Vice President Mahama said the activities of the false prophets had over the years cast a slur on the reputation of the well established church and the only way they could redeem their image and extricate themselves from that ‘religious indictment’ was to expose such false prophets in society.

He denounced the deliberate attempt by some people in society to turn a cold shoulder to traditional values which had united Ghanaians and appealed to Christians to use their pulpits to preach against the rising cases of armed robbery, rape and internet fraud, which were bedeviling society.

Vice President Mahama commended the Catholic Church for partnering government to provide health, educational and sanitation infrastructure and promised to create better partnerships that would foster development.

Most Rev. Joseph Osei Bonsu, Catholic Bishop of Konongo-Mampong reiterated the church’s stance against same sex marriage and promised that the church would continue to fight against it, since it is a moral canker in society.

He cautioned politicians against unguarded statements that could throw the country into a state of insecurity in the coming general election, adding that, "the church will continue to play its part to ensure peaceful elections come December this year.”

Bishop Osei Bonsu advised drivers against indiscipline on the roads, which results in numerous accidents and deaths and appealed to government to mete out stiffer punishment for future road- traffic offenders.

Dasebere Osei Bonsu II, Mamponghene, called on politicians to avoid all kinds of conflicts and violence that could escalate into disunity in the country and appealed to them to exhibit civil language to “keep the country in its status quo even after the December polls.”

He commended the Catholic Church for contributing tremendouslyworking towards the socio-economic development of the country and appealed to government to continue partnering the church to harness the potentials of the youth to become useful future leaders.

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