Sunday, February 28, 2010


FIVE thousand households with Orphaned Vulnerable Children (OVC) in the Northern Region have been supported with GH¢150,000.
The facility was provided under the Emergency Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme.
The beneficiaries are located in the East Gonja, West Gonja, East Mamprusi, West Mamprusi and Sawla-Kalba-Tuna districts.
The programme was aimed, among other objectives, at providing relief to worst affected households during the 2009 floods.
The Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Mr John Ankrah who made this known to the Daily Graphic in Tamale, stated that each household was given GH¢30.
According to him, 25 communities benefited from the programme.
Mr Ankrah explained that the LEAP programme was meant to complement the existing pro-poor government intervention by catering for the basic needs of the vulnerable and less fortunate people in the society.
“The LEAP has additionally been designed to respond to emergency situations by providing livelihood support to households made vulnerable by natural or manmade disasters,” he stated.
Mr Ankrah said in natural and man-made disasters such as floods in northern Ghana, poor households for instance became even more vulnerable and sank deeper into poverty.
He said the effects of those problems were not far-fetched as the victims lost the opportunity to bounce back from those shocking disasters.
“Unless the government seriously deals with vulnerability, in parallel to promoting economic growth, poverty would not be reduced; the role of social protection is to assist people to get out of poverty and cope better with risk,” the director stressed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


“MY brother I never knew Tamale was that peaceful and beautiful. Whenever we hear of disturbances in the area, we become apprehensive because of the negative publicity over the years.”
This remark made by Mr Agbeko Ben Coffie, the Volta Regional Correspondent of Joy FM, summed up the views and impressions of most visitors to the metropolis when the 8th national delegates congress of the NDC was held in the metropolis at the weekend.
Mr Coffie, who visited the metropolis for the first time, could not hide his feelings as he was full of praise for residents.
Indeed, the peace and stability of the area was put to the test but the event was successfully hosted.
For most of the visitors to the metropolis, their apprehension when they got to know that the city was to host that important event gave way to excitement and satisfaction after the congress.
At the end of the day, residents, including chiefs and opinion leaders, were commended by both politicians and visitors for the peaceful nature of the event.
The visitors observed that owing to the negative publicity gained by the area over the years, many of them nearly refused to attend the congress for fear that it might end up in chaos.
Delegates, media practitioners and dealers in party paraphernalia were equally astonished about the level of peace they experienced in the area.
Madam Afia Dadziwa, a dealer in party paraphernalia who travelled from Accra to transact business in Tamale during the two-day congress, was happy but surprised at the peaceful nature of the congress that enabled her to do brisk business.
It is heart-warming to note that dealers in food, particularly guinea fowl, clothing and smock, had a field day and cashed in on the event.
Some dealers in fruit drinks and commercial drivers apparently took advantage of the event and slightly hiked their prices and charges for their services.
Mobile phone service providers also made good sales as most of them succeeded in selling all their products, including SIM cards, by the close of the event.
It was also gratifying to note that drinking spots, fast food joints, restaurants, Internet cafes, salons, hotels, guest houses and chop bars were all busy with activities and equally made huge sales.
Owners of such businesses described the event as timely and wished similar events would be organised in the metropolis.
The well laid out roads with pedestrian and bicycle lanes, the level of infrastructural development, the hospitality exhibited by residents, the appetising and sumptuous traditional dishes, as well as the general peaceful atmosphere, were the toast of visitors to the metropolis.
One pertinent question is: Will this success chalked up by residents of Tamale after the NDC congress change the perception of the north as a volatile area?


INVESTORS in the Tamale metropolis have a lot to gain if they channel their resources towards unearthing the potential in the sprawling city.
For one thing, the Town and Country Planning Department has given an indication that investors stand to gain a lot owing to the little land litigation in the metropolis.
The Northern Regional and the Tamale Metropolitan directors of the department, Messrs Sylvester Gyogluu and Zikiru Sulley Shittu, respectively, told the Daily Graphic that the relatively fewer land litigation cases in the metropolis should be an incentive to investors to invest in the area and give employment to the youth.
Indeed, investment opportunities exist in the area, including large tracts of arable land, the arts and culture industry and leather processing.
The metropolis that covers a land area of approximately 750sq km also has the potential for an irrigation scheme. The Pagazaa river which collects all the waters of the streams could be dammed for irrigation purposes.
There are some artificial dams and dug-outs, including the Bulpela, Lamashegu and Fooshegu dams.
According to the directors of the department, some infrastructural service providers had plans to extend water and electricity to the peri-urban communities to support investment in the area.
They, however, cautioned against the practice of putting up structures in the metropolis before obtaining permits.
They explained that when some structures were marked “remove by order”, it meant that their owners did not obtain permits and that the structures were illegally constructed.
The directors indicated that the Building Inspectorate Department of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TAMA) was responsible for posting such warning signs on illegally constructed structures.
They described the processes for obtaining a permit as getting a site plan from the landowner, a title from the Lands Commission, drawing up one’s building plan, purchasing Town and Country Planning forms 1 and a development permit from the District Town Planning Office.
The steps included filling of the forms with the help of an architect, payment of the required fees and a receipt bearing dates for site inspection.
The directors noted that town planners were required to visit the site for inspection and request for corrections if necessary.
They, however, stressed that a permit would only be granted after meetings of the Technical and Statutory Planning committees.
The process takes between three and four months after submission of the application.
Touching on the activities of the Town and Country Planning Department, the directors stated that the greatest challenge facing it was the enforcement of bye-laws on planning.
Mr Gyogluu particularly mentioned that the proposed planning law placed emphasis on community participation in planning, saying, “Gone are the days when technocrats and experts planned for people.”
“Planning should now be seen as a highly democratic principle, instead of a technical principle,” he explained.


SCRAP dealers in the Tamale metropolis are now losing huge sums of money as profits and business capital due largely to the high cost of materials.
They equally complain of alleged undercutting by some foreign nationals who are in similar business in the metropolis, thereby killing the businesses owned by residents of the area.
They have entreated the government to come up with an effective policy to regulate the activities of scrap dealers and set up a revolving fund for them.
They also stressed the need for non-governmental organisations and the private sector to support the dealers, since it would ultimately generate more employment for the youth of the area.
Mr Salifu Abukari, a scrap dealer whose shop is located on the Tamale Water Works road, did not mince words when he told the Daily Graphic that as a result of the challenges being faced by the dealers in the industry, he incurred losses to the tune of GHC5,200.
According to him, another dealer in the metropolis had, from the beginning of this year, incurred a GHC8,500 loss, while others also made losses in various sums.
“My brother, are you prepared to give me some money? Please I need money to sustain my business,” he lamented.
He further intimated that for a dealer to sustain his business, he needed not less than GH¢40,000.
Mr Abukari has about 10 people working under him who assist him to produce consumer items such as buckets, coal-pots, bowls, dustbins, gates and block laying machines.
“The scrap business is a big industry that supports almost all the various sectors of the economy. Talk, for instance, of the construction and housing industries,” he noted.
He suggested that it was necessary for those in the industry to form a formidable association to fight for their rights.
But he was quick to point out that the people in the industry were apathetic towards the formation of the association.
Mr Abukari further pointed out that the implementation of a policy that reduced the loading weight of articulated trucks loaded with scraps from 40 to 30 tonnes per truck had adversely affected the profit margins of the dealers.
He noted that transporting scrap from Tamale to Accra cost between 1,800 and 2,000 Ghana cedis.
“Because of the high cost of materials, we now purchase vehicle body frames which are cheaper for us,” he stressed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


President John Atta Mills has said the perceived factionalism in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lacks any substance and that he is not aware of any such division.
He, therefore, advised those who were holding themselves up as belonging to the Atta Mills faction to desist from that since they were wasting their time.
“Those who hold themselves up as belonging to Atta Mills faction, if there is any, are wasting their time. Atta Mills is not a product by itself but an entity created by the NDC,” he stated.
The President, who was addressing the eighth national delegates congress of the NDC in Tamale last Saturday, however, reminded the people of the need to close their ranks and ensure that unity prevailed at various structures of the party at all times to position the party for future victories.
He asked them to count their blessings that the party won the 2008 elections and wondered where they would have found themselves if the NDC had failed to win the elections.
The President further acknowledged that even though they might have some reservations or be frustrated in the scheme of things, it was better for the party to be in power than found itself in opposition.
He, therefore, advised both leadership and supporters of the party to use the opportunity the congress had offered to forgive each other and chart a path of unity for the strengthening of the party.
“Let this congress be remembered as the event that brought total unity and renewal of a better NDC,” he stated.
President Mills described those wishing for the demise of the party as doomsday prophets and emphasised that, “we should not give the doomsday’s prophets their due; let us not allow the media to set the agenda for us”.
On the elections, the President entreated those who did not win not to be troubled because there was always another chance.
He asked them to take a cue from his personal experience concerning his attempts at the presidency and said, “the serial loser has become a winner and he will be a serial winner”.
The President also tasked the new national executive of the NDC to institute an enquiry into the allegation of vote buying and bribery at the recent election of the National Youth and Women’s Organiser at Sunyani and Winneba respectively.
The allegations were made by some of the disappointed candidates after the elections at Sunyani on January 9, 2010, in which an aide to the President, Mr Ludwig Hlodze, was elected as the new National Youth Organiser of the party, replacing Mr Iddrisu Haruna, who did not contest.
“I am concerned and disturbed about reports of alleged doling of monies to obtain votes; even as they relate to the Castle and I think it is important we all realise that what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong,” he stated.
Touching on governance, the President admitted his government’s inadequacies in some sectors but gave the assurance that the situation would improve to give meaning to his better Ghana mantra.
President Mills, however, asked the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to spare his government “the sanctimonious and self-serving effusions,” since they created the mess the nation was undergoing.
“The country that we took over was certainly not a country that had seen eight years of positive change; if there had been candour on the part of the NPP, people’s expectations will not have been high as they are today,” he stated.
The President, however, affirmed that he and his team were undaunted because the government was guided by their commitment to raise the standard of living of Ghanaians. “We are more united, focused and determined to build a better nation for our people.”
President Mills pledged his readiness to accept constructive criticisms from party members and Ghanaians and expressed appreciation for former President Rawlings for his suggestions and advice to the government.
The Vice-President, John Mahama, described the congress as historic, being the first mass gathering of the party since 2005 and the maiden assembly of such event in the northern sector of the country.
He acknowledged that the party had faced some challenges lately and urged members to reflect soberly on those happenings to chart a new progressive course.
Mr Mahama attributed the bickering to open criticisms and hostilities towards each other and the breakdown in the communication system.
He, however, reminded the people that “we have gone through difficult times during which people have died and others maimed. Therefore, our destiny is in our own hands”.
Former President Rawlings also called for party harmony and observed that the NDC might have overcome the NPP government’s malice and viciousness but that the government might also have to deal with the vindictiveness of some of its party members.
He advised the delegates to vote with their conscience by electing credible and hard-working people who could support the government to fulfil its electoral promises to the people.


TWO candidates vying for various positions in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have expressed the hope that the party would come out stronger after its National Delegates Congress, if delegates choose the right caliber of leaders for the party.
When the Daily Graphic caught up with Mr Richard Quashigah, who is among three candidates vying for the position of National Propaganda Secretary, he intimated that “we will need to rebuild the structures of the party at the regional and constituency levels to make the propaganda secretariat and the entire party strong”.
He explained that when given the nod, he would facilitate the organisation of refresher programmes for the propaganda secretariats at all levels in order for the party to conduct adequate research that would ultimately enhance its fortunes.
“Rebranding of the NDC positively is what we need and we need to resuscitate the younger people with apt communication skills to stand toe to toe with our opponents in the use of the media,” Mr Quashigah observed.
According to him, he was confident of achieving a lot for the NDC, saying as a communications expert I could bring my experience to bear on the propaganda arm of the party.
A 48-year old businessman, Mr Eric Sorkpor, who is among 15 candidates contesting for five positions within the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, noted that the delegates needed to choose someone who had the potential of building bridges between the executives of the party and those at the grass roots.
“There must be a lobbyist who can build trust between the executives and those at the branches and constituency levels to enhance the fortunes of the party in the years ahead,” he further noted.
According to him, delegates needed to choose a NEC member who had the business acumen and ideas to mobilise more resources for the party.
“I am a businessman with the needed acumen and so I am confident of winning this race as I have the needed business contacts; I deal in microfinance and other business services,” he pointed out.
Mr George Tetteh Lawson, who is also contesting for the Deputy General Secretary position, for his part, stated that he was not in the position to talk to the press as he claimed he was busily campaigning for votes to occupy that position.
An observer and political analyst, Mr Adam Mahama, stressed that although there were the Rawlings and Atta Mills factor, he believed that would not change the voting pattern.
He acknowledged that there were divisions in terms of opinions, approach and appreciation of issues and not on personalities.
According to him, he expected candidates to vote for a candidate who would understand the “Social Democratic Concept of the NDC”, as well as one who had the mass appeal and could mobilise both NDC and non-NDC members.
In all, 64 candidates are vying for 10 positions in the party and indications are that the candidates are seriously campaigning to win their respective positions.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


THE Tamale Collection point of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) has seized 50 bales of suspected uncustomed wax prints abandoned by their owners in a bush near a CEPS barrier at Yapei on the Tamale-Kintampo highway.
Briefing the media in Tamale, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Tamale Collection Sector, Mr Ernest Frimpong-Nuamah, said the items were suspected to have been manufactured from China, saying “they are usually the cheap products our people buy to disturb the local industry here in Ghana”.
According to Mr Frimpong-Nuamah, based upon a tip-off that some smuggled goods had been abandoned around Yapei, he detailed his officers to be on the lookout but sensing danger, the owners of the items decided to abandon the goods for fear of being arrested.
He said over GH¢ 11,000 would have been collected as customs duty on the wax prints.
The commissioner expressed regret that due to smuggling and other cases of tax evasion by businessmen and traders, the government lost on the average four hundred million Ghana cedis a year in expected revenue from duties on such goods.
Mr Frimpong-Nuamah equally advised traders to pay their duties in order to improve on the revenue base of the country.
He observed that importers should desist from enriching foreign industries to the detriment of the local ones by patronising Ghanaian industries.


THE Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TAMA) completed eight out of the 27 projects earmarked for last year.
Nine of the projects are still ongoing while one has been awarded and six of them yet to be awarded.
The projects are estimated to cost GH¢744,370 and are being funded from sources such as the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Internally Generated Fund (IGF), District Wide Assistance Programme (DWAP), the Ghana Road Fund and the Community Based Rural Development Programme (CBRDP), among others.
Those completed are the rehabilitation of the Gulkpena’s Palace, transport officer’s office and store, renovation of police primary school, re-roofing of Farukiya Metropolitan Assembly Primary School.
The others are re-roofing of the Dakpema Metropolitan Assembly Primary “B” School at Chagni, a suburb of Tamale, re-roofing of Anwar Rahman Islamic Primary School at Tuutingly, a suburb of Tamale, and re-roofing of a silo at Kulaa in Tamale.
According to the Metropolitan Chief Executive(MCE), Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday, the projects that were yet to be awarded included grading of Second Ring Road, the Zagyuri-Gurugu area roads, Zunjun-State Insurance Company (SIC) quarters area roads, pothole patching of roads in the metropolis and culvert repairs at Kulyneveya-Kumbungu road.
The MCE commended residents for maintaining peace in the past year but urged chiefs and opinion leaders to help iron out differences among residents for the accelerated development of the metropolis.
He assured the youth that at the appropriate time, they would benefit from job opportunities that would be created in the near future.
Alhaji Haruna further entreated residents to avoid bush burning to avoid destroying vegetative cover.
He announced that by February all the sub-metro councils would be made operational to enhance smooth administration in the metropolis.


A number of institutions and organisations in the Tamale Metropolis have held separate end-of-year get-togethers for their staff and partners to celebrate the prevailing peace in the metropolis that culminated in the successful hosting of national events in the past year.
among the institutions are the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) in Tamale and the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC). MOFA held an end-of-year get-together while the RCC held a press soiree where the Regional Minister and his team interacted with media practitioners in the metropolis.
the past year was eventful for the sprawling metropolis. it hosted the National Farmers Day Awards, the first Town Hall Meeting instituted by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), among other national programmes. There were other events including national workshops that were successfully held in the metropolis without any reported incidents.
The pertinent question is why would residents and organisations be happy about the past year’s events? Residents have every justification to celebrate, because of the negative perception about the metropolis and for that matter the north due to unfavourable media reportage over the years.
At the Picorna Gardens in the metropolis where the MOFA held its get-together, one of the major success stories on the lips of both residents and staff of the ministry was the successful hosting of the National Farmers Day Awards.
They contended that such a situation was enough proof that Tamale and indeed the north was peaceful for which reason they must celebrate.
The Executive Director of the Association of Church Development Projects (ACDEP), Mr Malex Alebikiya, in his remark lauded residents and staff of the ministry for co-operating to make the National Farmers Day celebration a success last year.
He entreated suburbs of the metropolis to avoid bush burning, since such negative practices had a telling effect on the environment.
A former Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Sylvester Adongo, observed that a lot had been achieved in 2009, saying 2010 should be used to build upon the successes chalked up so far. He commended staff for their hard work, saying “let us endeavour to make a difference in the life of some body”.
The acting Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Michael Addah, said staff should continue working hard so as to intensify “our collaboration with all partners including non-governmental organisations”.
According to him, through the successful implementation of the block farming project the region had bumper harvests and urged staff to be committed to its implementation to help chalk up more successes this year.
The Central Gonja District Chief Executive, Mr Salisu Be-Awuribe, commended the sector for its achievement in the past year but said a lot more needed to be done to improve on the lot of farmers.
He suggested the introduction of more improved technologies to support dry season farming and post-harvest losses.
At the RCC’s press soiree in Tamale, media practitioners in the metropolis raised concerns about poor road network in the region and poor working relationship between the RCC and some media houses.
The Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Nayina, thanked media practitioners for being candid in their assessment of the working relationship between the RCC and media organisations in the metropolis.
According to him, “we have a lot to learn from you because he who cuts the path does not know if its crooked or not but it is those observing him from behind who would know and tell him”.
He indicated that the Tamale-Salaga-Makango and Tamale-Kumbungu roads would be looked at this year.


VODAFONE Ghana has donated 30 used flat screened desk top computers and accessories to six deprived schools in the three northern regions.
The items are to support the efforts of the beneficiary schools in the teaching and learning of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the schools.
The schools are the Kpandai and Savelugu Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Northern Region, Kongo and Chiana SHS in the Upper East Region and Ko and Piina SHS in the Upper West Region.
Each of the beneficiary schools received five computers and accessories.
Making the donation in Tamale, the Regional Sales Manager of Vodafone, Mr Inusah Abdul-Majeed stated that the gesture was part of “our drive and social responsibility initiative to introduce ICT in our schools”.
He noted that the geographical location of a child should not limit their education and for that matter ICT learning.
The manager said last year the company made similar donations to a number of schools across the country and mentioned some of them as the Akropong School for the Blind in the Eastern Region, the Kpeve SHS in the Volta Region and the Ejisu-Juabeng Municipal Hospital in the Ashanti Region.
He announced that Vodafone has opened a first class internet café to make internet services accessible to people. According to him, the facility had a speed of 40 megabyte per download and the fastest in West Africa.
The Corporate Communications Manager of the company, Mr Gordon Wellu observed that the donation was the beginning of many more good things to come from Vodafone saying education without ICT is not the best.
The headmaster of the Ko SHS Mr Kilian Guo thanked Vodafone on behalf of his colleagues saying it was a timely intervention for the selected deprived schools in the three northern regions.
He expressed regret that “in my school for instance we have only one computer which is hampering our efforts at teaching ICT”.

Monday, February 22, 2010


THE Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, has said the availability of market for farm produce is crucial for farmers to generate the much needed financial resources to overcome poverty.
He, therefore, asked stakeholders in the agricultural sector to concentrate more on creating markets for farm produce.
Addressing the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) Value Chain Practitioners Forum in Tamale, Mr Ahwoi said “past efforts emphasised increasing productivity and that often resulted in lowering prices and the farmer is often made worse off”.
Among other objectives, the forum was aimed at creating a platform for stakeholders in the NRGP to interact and share experiences to adopt common programmes and strategies.
Mr Ahwoi said “we should only increase the productivity of commodities that are in high demand and for which the markets have already been identified”.
To create more market access, Mr Ahwoi underscored the need for farmers to consider the comparative advantages of their agricultural produce to increase their competitiveness on the market.
“The youth must be encouraged to take up agriculture as a business. To do that, we the youth must make agriculture attractive in terms of mechanisation and sourcing of markets to make agri-business profitable,” he stated.
Mr Ahwoi stated that the sector ministry was bringing in 1,000 more tractors to continue the programme of the Agriculture Mechanisation Service Centres.
He indicated that already eight combine harvesters had arrived in the Northern and Upper East regions to harvest rice, which saw a boost this cropping season.
“I have directed the NRGP to expedite the rehabilitation of strategic warehouses under the infrastructure component for the storage of the bumper cereal harvest, especially produce from the block farms sponsored by the ministry for the youth,” he stressed.
The minister further stated that the Value Chain Approach was the current focus of his outfit and one of the central pillars of the current Food and Agricultural Sector Development Policy (FASDEP).
“To date, the ministry, with technical assistance from the German Development Co-operation (GTZ) under the Market Oriented Agricultural Programme (MOAP) are institutionalising the Value Chain Approach in the ministry by piloting the application of the approach to some commodities,” he pointed out.
The Northern Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Sylvester Adongo, intimated that the NRGP would succeed if stakeholders were committed to its implementation process.