Friday, November 30, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Dalun

THE Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Adris, has stated that culture is a valuable resource that must be recognised and used to promote the region’s tourism sector, as well as the nation’s development agenda.
“Many conflicts, small and violent, have occurred due to lack of understanding and appreciation of the differences in cultures; as a nation we can only develop if we recognise that our individual cultures are different hence we must respect them and use them for the benefit of society,” Alhaji Adris further noted.
The minister said this in a speech read on his behalf at the Denmark Seminar of the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) at Dalun in the Tolon-Kumbungu District.
It was under the theme: “Art and culture in development”.
The seminar was aimed at among other objectives deliberating on relevant issues with a view to creating and increasing public awareness on those issues that are related to the development of rural communities.
Participants at the seminar discussed such issues as the role of art and culture in development, the significance of Danish culture in contemporary Denmark, significance of Dagbani art and symbolism and culture, technology and challenges of cultural development in Ghana.
According to Alhaji Idris, the role of culture in our development cannot be overemphasised because culture is the symbolism of our perceptions, predisposition, attitudes and behaviours.
He further stated that our culture was underpinned by our values which we had learnt from significant places, including our homes, schools and workplaces.
“In fact, we should expect differences in culture from one person to another and from one community to another; we should also know that culture is dynamic and can be used to accelerate development,” the minister stressed.
Alhaji Adris observed that the positive things about culture must be promoted, and cautioned against what he described as African punctuality.
According to him, the nation’s prosperity was linked to time management, which was the most crucial ingredient in development.
The Chairman of the GDCA, Professor Abubakr Al-Hassan, noted that his outfit had made significant impact on the socio-economic lives of the people and commended the media for supporting the GDCA to make known to the public the successes chalked up so far.
“The response we have received from the public so far demonstrates that we, together with our Danish friends, are delivering the right services and making great impacts on the lives of people in our communities,” the chairman further observed.
A spokesperson for the Danish delegation to the seminar, Madam Lis Brandt, expressed the group’s sympathies to the disaster victims in the three northern regions.
She underscored the importance of arts and culture in the socio-economic development of the country including the promotion of human rights issues, peace and reconciliation.


Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

THE Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, has cautioned non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in northern Ghana to avoid supporting local elites and middle class persons thereby denying the poor the needed resources to alleviate their plight.
“There is an allegation that NGO localism tends to support local elites and middle class persons more than the benefits they bring to the poor; findings of studies carried out in recent times suggest that the poor on whose wings the NGOs derive their raison d’etre feel alienated from the organisations,” he stated.
Alhaji Idris gave the warning in a speech read on his behalf at a day’s School For Life (SFL) Impact Assessment (IA) dissemination forum in Tamale.
It was aimed among other objectives at showcasing the key findings from the assessment exercise with the view to adequately educating stakeholders on it.
Representatives of civil society groups, NGOs, donor agencies and educationists attended the forum that was organised by the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) in collaboration with the SFL.
The minister stated that other studies had also proven that some NGOs had been true friends and savers of the poor.
He, however, commended the SFL for its immense contribution towards the promotion of functional literacy programme in the region over the past 12 years.
Alhaji Idris observed that the “deliberate colonial legacy and poor educational facilities in the north has made the area to lag behind in terms of education.
The Programme Director of SFL, Mr Sulemana Osman Saaka, said the programme had gone through two successful phases and had entered into the fifth and last cycle of phase three.
“The gains from the assessment exercise will go far beyond this documentation into medium to long-term benefits that we cannot even fully imagine today; indeed it will forever remain a major landmark activity to have been successfully accomplished by my outfit,” he stated.
He intimated that the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) was financing the printing of three versions of the impact assessment report, in addition to financing many other SFL activities this year and early next year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Tamale

THE inability of large vessels to sail on the Volta Lake to offload oil barges and other goods at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport/Tema Oil Refinery (BOST/TOR) depots at Buipe has resulted in a dip in the revenue target of the Tamale Collection Point of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS).
The CEPS gets about 98 per cent of its total revenue from the operations of oil companies in the area.
However, following the extensive dry season, resulting in the drying up of the lake, vessels that were supposed to dock at Buipe to offload oil barges could not do so, thereby affecting the targeted revenue for this year.
Out of the GH¢6.1 million (¢61 billion) earmarked for collection, it could only realise GH¢2.9 million (¢29 billion) as of October this year.
The Sector Commander, Assistant Commissioner Ernest Frimpong-Nuamah, who disclosed this at a press soiree in Tamale, however, stated that the situation was gradually improving as the rains had set in.
The soiree was aimed, among other objectives, at highlighting issues affecting the smooth operations of CEPS, as well as educating the public on its operations.
According to Mr Frimpong-Nuamah, the level of revenue could increase, since the rains had set in, but explained that it was difficult to meet the revenue targets by the close of this year.
The commander observed that the influx of vehicles with foreign registration numbers in the Tamale metropolis was a major source of worry to his outfit, stressing that the situation had worsened because of the introduction of the “temporary importation regime” that allowed citizens of ECOWAS countries to move their personal effects, including vehicles, across the borders of member countries.
He urged the public to volunteer information on people who abused such privileges.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Story: Vincent Adedze, Bawku
THE Bawku Municipal Assembly has committed an amount of GH¢60,000 (¢600 million) towards the construction of a new ward for the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital.
Similarly, the Members of Parliament (MPs) from the five constituencies in the Bawku area, namely, Bawku Central, Pusiga Polimakom, Binduri, Zebilla and Garu-Tempane have contributed a total of GH¢2,500 (¢25 million) towards the project.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Bawku, Mr Abdul Rahman Gumah, and the MP for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga, announced this at Bawku during the golden jubilee anniversary of the hospitals.
The anniversary under the theme: “50 Years of Collaborative Quality Healthcare Delivery: The Way Forward,” was to offer management and stakeholders the opportunity to thank God for the past 50 years of their stewardship in healthcare delivery in Bawku. They also mapped out strategies for the development of the hospital in the years ahead.
Citizens of Bawku from all walks of life as well as expatriates, who had served in the hospital over the years, attended the ceremony.
Speaking at the function, the MCE said even though the Bawku Hospital was a municipal facility, it did not receive adequate support from the government in terms of resources because it was being managed by the Presbyterian Church.
He said the assembly would continue to use every available means to ensure that they received the necessary resources to enable the facility to perform effectively for the benefit of the people.
The MP for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga, praised the management of the hospital as well as the Presbyterian Church for their invaluable contribution to the health needs of the people of Bawku.
“Although a mission hospital operating in a predominantly non-Christian environment, it has rendered its services without discrimination,” Mr Ayariga stressed.
He said he and his colleague MPs in the Bawku area were prepared to constitute themselves into a powerful lobby group to advocate increased funding for the hospital to enable it to meet its obligation to the people.
Mr Ayariga commended a number of individuals including expatriates from Europe and Cuba, who had defied all odds to serve the people of Bawku in addressing their health needs.
He also praised the management of the hospital for the introduction of the Nurses Training College, which had increased the training of nurses.
The MP, however, urged the authorities of the college to review its admission policy by ensuring that many natives with the requisite qualification, were enrolled.
He said further that that would encourage a large number of the nurses to stay back and serve their people, since they better understood the needs of the people.
Mr Ayariga stated that Bawku was now peaceful and debunked assertions that the area was conflict prone, stressing that the era of conflicts had been relegated to the pages of history.
He warned that anybody who would do anything to disturb the peace currently existing in the municipality would be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
The acting General Manager of the Northern Presbytery Health Services, Mr John Abugri, in his address, said after 50 years of existence, the hospital could not boast an administrative block or a conference hall for in-service training and meetings.
Mr Abugri added that accommodation for doctors and other critical staff was also a big problem facing the management of the hospital, thereby limiting its efforts to engage more doctors and others critical staff.
He noted another area of concern which was the fence wall that was on the verge of collapse.
Mr Abugri stated that the management of the Northern Presbyterian Health Services  was committed to making the Bawku Presbyterian Hospital a centre of excellence in healthcare delivery.
He therefore appealed to all stakeholders to join hands with the hospital authorities to make that dream a reality.
The Municipal Director of Health Services, Dr William Duodo, who deputised for the Minister of Health, Major Courage Quashigah (retd), commended the management of Northern Presbyterian Health Services, the staff of the Bawku Hospital and the Presbyterian Church for doing their best to maintain the hospital since it took over five decades ago.