Monday, April 26, 2010


A TWELVE-MEMBER Northern Regional Census Implementation Committee (RCIC) has been inaugurated in Tamale with a call on stakeholders, particularly district assemblies, to ensure that the exercise succeeds.
The committee chaired by the Regional Co-ordinating Director, Mr Joseph Dasana, is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the success of the 2010 population and housing census in the region.
Members of the committee were drawn from the Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Regional House of Chiefs, Information Services Department, Electoral Commission and the National Population Council, among other organisations.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the Government Statistician, Dr Grace Bediako stated that the 2010 census was “an indispensable governance tool, required to ensure that democracy works for all and therefore we must not only succeed, but also do a great job.”
According to her, Ghana had a long history of population censuses, the first held in 1891 during the colonial era and the last, in 2000.
She stated that the intensity of work fell within a brief period of four to five weeks encompassing the training, listing of structures and actual enumeration.
“We have to depend on all communities, institutions, individuals and development partners to make this a truly national exercise of unprecedented dimensions,” Dr Bediako stressed.
She was of the view that “having conducted censuses in four decades, there should be thousands of former census enumerators, supervisors, trainers and district census officers, who have the experience that we can use in the field operations”.
Dr Bediako said the inauguration of the regional and district census committees marked the beginning of field operations.
“We have no doubt that the depth of knowledge and experience of these committee members would provide the complement of skills and competencies needed to successfully conduct the census and ensure the best quality results,” she stated.
A Member of the National Census Co-ordinating Team in charge of Field Operations, Mr David Kombat, said so far cartographic field work had been completed in all the 170 districts in the country.
He further stated that office cartographic work was expected to be completed by the end of April, 2010, adding that 36,403 enumeration areas in 165 districts had been compiled out of about 37,000 expected to be compiled.
Mr Kombat announced that an estimated 24.5 million people were expected to be enumerated.
He explained that the 2010 Population and Housing Census would provide an up-to-date socio-economic data for planning at both the national and sub-national levels.
Mr Kombat said the census would provide basic indicators to track government development policies, as well as the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Mr Kombat said 50,000 field workers were to be recruited and trained nationwide, adding that recruitment forms were being reviewed and applicants were expected to fill the forms online.
In a speech read on behalf of the Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, he called on district assemblies to support the Ghana Statistical Service for the effective implementation of the 2010 census programme.


A MECHANISATION Service Centre (MSC) is to be established at Chereponi to boost farming activities in the area.
Under the initiative, farmers who wish to use equipment such as tractors to enhance their farming activities but cannot afford it due to financial constraints and the huge cost involved in acquiring them, would be supported.
Already, the Chereponi District Assembly has taken delivery of five Mahindra 605 Di tractors with other implements valued at GH¢90,000 to support the MSC programme in the district.
The District Chief Executive (DCE), Alhaji Mohammed Issah Abah, made this known at the first ordinary meeting of the assembly at Chereponi.
According to him, the assembly had made an initial payment of GH¢45,000 and that the balance would be paid over a one-year period.
“It is heart-warming to note that the government’s desire to make this nation food sufficient through the block farming concept has been extended to this district,” Alhaji Abah stated.
He, therefore, advised the youth to take advantage of the interventions by the government to go into farming.
The DCE further stated that the government was providing two wells at Wenchiki and Adali to boost dry season farming, particularly in the area of livestock farming.
The Presiding Member (PM), Mr Emmanuel Kandoh, entreated the government to help address the numerous development challenges facing the district.
He said as the rainy season was approaching, there was the need to sensitise communities in flood-prone areas to move upstream to avoid disasters during torrential rains.
The presiding member urged residents of the area to sleep in well-ventilated rooms to avoid being infected by the Cerebro-spinal Meningitis.
A Member of the Council of State, Kpan-Naa Mohammed Bawah, educated the assembly members on their activities.


THE Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, has cautioned the youth in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the region against allowing other political parties to set the agenda for them.
He entreated them to be patient with the government while it initiated laudable programmes for their benefit.
“Although I must acknowledge that it takes time for such programmes to be implemented, the government is determined to meet its set targets and, therefore, the youth should avoid buying into propaganda,” he said.
Mr Mabengba was responding to a question from the Northern Regional Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Zakaria Alhassan, on the security situation in Yendi, following recent agitation among a youth group in the area against the style of administration of the Yendi Municipal Chief Executive (MCE).
This was during an interaction the regional minister had with staff of the Tamale Office of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL).
The visit was to help build bridges and a fruitful working relationship between the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council and the media.
Mr Mabengba explained that he had personally met with the youth groups in Yendi and spoken to them, and that had considerably reduced tension in the area.
He also confirmed that the Yendi MCE was now at post and that the area was calm.
He commended the Daily Graphic for maintaining high journalistic standards, avoiding sensationalism and ensuring balanced reportage.
“As for Daily Graphic, we do not have problems with the paper and we thank the company for promoting peace in the region through its reportage,” he stated.
“The GCGL is a giant media house and we respect the company for the leading role it has been playing in the media industry,” he said.
Mr Mabengba was accompanied by his deputy, Mr Sam Nasamu Asabigi; the Regional NDC Secretary, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan Umar; the Northern Regional Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Alhaji Abdulai Mahama Silimboma, and the Regional Co-ordinating Director, Mr Joseph Dasana.

Friday, April 23, 2010


THE Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Ghana programme has so far disbursed $2.7 million to support 80 farmer-based organisations (FBOs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in five districts of the Northern Region to boost agriculture.
The beneficiary FBOs and SMEs are in the Tamale metropolis, the Savelugu-Nanton, Karaga, West Mamprusi and Tolon-Kumbungu districts.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Mr Martin Esson-Benjamin, made this known during an interaction with media practitioners in Tamale aimed at highlighting the challenges and achievements of the Northern Intervention Zone MCA programme.
Mr Esson-Benjamin observed that low levels of technology and technical assistance, inadequate farmer training skills development, low investments in production and processing, under-developed marketing systems and unco-ordinated development supportive programmes accounted for more than the 90 per cent poverty levels recorded in some rural agricultural districts in the north.
He explained that the strategic goal of the MCA Ghana programme was to create an enabling environment for sustainable business in agriculture.
The CEO stated that 23 out of the 30 beneficiary districts nation-wide were selected based on their agricultural growth potential, scope for rural poverty reduction and private sector participation in the growth process.
“The MCA programme is meant to assist small rural farmers to participate in local and international markets through investments that, among other things, will enable communities to become better organised through the training and commercial development of FBOs,” he noted.
According to Mr Esson-Benjamin, 15,488 farmers had been trained under the MCA programme, while $3.6 million worth of starter packs had been donated to members of the Kpangmanga Youth Association, an FBO based at Kanvilli, a suburb of Tamale.
He further disclosed that 1,161 irrigation schemes had been rehabilitated at Ligba, Bontanga, Golinga, Nasia, Wala, Janga, Arigu, Karaminga and Gunayili.

Friday, April 16, 2010


PARTICIPANTS at a day’s forum on increasing women’s participation in decision-making and leadership positions have called on civil society organisations (CSOs) to help re-orient women to believe in themselves as potential good leaders in the country.
They stressed that as this year’s district assembly elections approached, it was imperative for women’s participation in the decision-making process at the district level to be increased.
The participants also suggested the establishment of a group to lead a “lobbying process” of increasing female appointments at all levels of governance.
The participants were drawn from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), gender desk officers of the district assembly, CSOs, the Department of Women and the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS).
The forum was aimed, among other objectives, at sensitising the CSOs to facilitate regional level campaigns on women’s participation in leadership positions, decision-making and other rights issues affecting women.
It was organised by the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), with support from ActionAid Ghana and Ibis West Africa, both NGOs.
The Director of NORSAAC, Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, stressed the need to support and monitor the Northern Regional House of Chiefs’ promise of ensuring at least 20 per cent appointment of females into the various district assemblies after the district assembly elections.
He expressed regret that some assembly women had declared their intention to step down and had already negotiated with their male counterparts to take over.
Mr Awal suggested the need for a Legislative Instrument on the percentage of women to be appointed to the district assemblies to be put in place.
“We also need a law on affirmative action on women in decision-making, as well as increased public education on the need to fulfil the percentage appointees for women,” he stated.
The Programmes Co-ordinator of NORSAAC, Madam Hafsah Sey Sumani, said it was disheartening to hear that none of the two major political parties introduced new female parliamentary candidates in the region during the 2008 elections.
According to her, it was important also to point out that “having only one female district chief executive out of the 20 assemblies was a worrying situation and will not inspire young and enterprising females to demand leadership roles in the society”.
She announced that the Northern Regional Assembly Women Caucus on Good Governance was currently working closely with NORSAAC to ensure that current elected women performed satisfactorily to brighten their chances of being re-elected.
She explained that one of the strategies adopted was the engagement with traditional leaders at the regional house of chiefs to pledge their support for women’s representation in the upcoming district assembly elections and also towards the 2012 elections.


ACADEMIC performance of schoolchildren in deprived basic schools in the Chereponi District of the Northern Region is likely to improve in the years ahead.
This follows the provision of 112,484 free exercise and textbooks to schools in the district by the government. Additionally 3,862 free school uniforms have been provided to schools in the area. The items included language, writing and mathematics books for primary one, two and three.
The gesture was part of the GH¢17.2 million released by the government to procure educational materials for distribution to deprived schools in the country.
Presenting the items to the beneficiary schools, a member of the Council of State, Kpan-Naa Mohammed Bawah, observed that education was the backbone of every society and, therefore, the state had the responsibility to support that sector.
“The items are to enable our schoolchildren to perform well at the basic levels of education since that will help them to climb the education ladder to the highest level they can reach” he pointed out.
The Chereponi District Chief Executive, Alhaji Mohammed Issah Abah, expressed regret that the district was confronted with many hindrances that were thwarting its efforts.
“The performance of our students at the 2009 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination leaves much to be desired,”Alhaji Abah lamented.
According to him, “the performance is so abysmal that drastic and concrete measures have to be taken to improve the falling standards of education in this newly created district”.
He indicated that a quantity of graph and technical drawing books were expected to be given out to deprived schools in the area.
The Chief Executive announced that the assembly with support from the Community Based Rural Development Programme (CBRDP) would rehabilitate 13 educational facilities in the district that were hit by rainstorm last year.
Similarly, the CBRDP is supporting the construction of a three-unit classroom block at Naweiku at the Chereponi Senior High/Technical School, he stated.
The Chereponi District Director of Education, Mr Paul Konde, observed that although the district was deprived, it was progressing steadily.
He noted that the educational materials would enhance teaching and learning in deprived schools.


THE Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) is to start four Masters Degree programmes in Local Government by December this year.
To this end, the ILGS is working closely with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the National Accreditation Board (NAB) to kick-start the programmes.
The National Deputy Director of the ILGS, Dr Callistus Mahama, made this known at the opening of a two-day retreat in Tamale on enhancing effective and sustainable working relations with development partners and stakeholders of local government for improved performance in the local government sector.
It afforded staff of the ILGS the opportunity to find out from clients such as the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council, civil society organisations and development partners their independent and candid views about the Institute’s performance so far in order to chart a new course for improved performance in the years ahead.
It was organised by the ILGS with support from the German Development Service (DED).
Dr Mahama intimated that the programmes were part of efforts by his outfit to play a leading role in ensuring that the required human resource base was developed to an appreciable level as a way of improving local governance delivery in the country.
According to him, the ILGS had been working closely with the DED for the past four years in the areas of research, education and capacity building, decentralisation and local governance as well as local economic development.
Dr Mahama indicated that although the ILGS, Tamale campus, was facing challenges like inadequate infrastructure, the Insitute was currently putting up a number of structures, including 300 classrooms, while seeking funding to expand its services and other facilities.
The Head of Programmes of the ILGS, Mr Richard Kambootah, said his outfit’s mission was to design, develop and deliver world class training and education, undertake research, consultancy and advisory services among other services.
“ILGS derives its strength from the synergies of working with other capacity-building and research organisations; the mandate of ILGS is derived from sections 2, 3 and 4 of the ILGS Act 2003(Act 647)” he added.
Mr Richard stated that the “ILGS’s relationship with the DED had been very cordial and mutually beneficial”.
In a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, Mr Sam Nasamu Asabigi , the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, noted that the north still had the highest number of development challenges and expressed the hope that the retreat would help come out with concrete solutions that would shape the future of Northern Ghana for the better. Mr Mabengba reiterated the government’s commitment to bridging the development gap between the north and south through the implementation of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
“We must create our own peace and take up our own development challenges to win the confidence and support of our development partners for the attainment of our development agenda” he stressed.
The Co-ordinator of Decentralisation of the DED, Madam Annette Tutmann, observed that development was not only about policies, reforms and money but mainly about human beings and therefore the processes had to be human-driven.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


ONE hundred youth in the Tamale Metropolis are to be trained as firefighters and security guards for the Central Market.
The initiative, which begins in May, is to help ensure that the market is free from fire outbreaks and theft, as well as complement the government’s efforts at creating job opportunities for the youth in the metropolis.
Umarib Ghana Limited (UGL), in collaboration with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMA) and with support from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), is organising the training programme.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of UGL, Mr Abubakari Adam, explained that the youth would be trained on how to effectively fight fire outbreaks and ensuring that precautionary measures were taken to prevent the outbreak of fire at the Central Market.
He entreated road users, particularly commercial drivers, to strictly observe road signs to reduce accidents in the metropolis.
He indicated that as part of measures to generate more revenue for development projects in the various district assemblies, his outfit would liaise with the assemblies to introduce road tolls for the maintenance of roads in the districts.
Mr Adam intimated that his outfit had employed eight more people, bringing its total workforce to 30.
He assured residents of the metropolis that his outfit would not tolerate any form of abuse of office from members of the task force and called on the residents to endeavour to report cases of abuse and misconduct to the management of the UGL for the appropriate action to be taken.
He expressed regret that most commercial drivers in the metropolis did not utilise the various parking lots created in the central business district, thereby parking hapharzardly, creating traffic jams in the city centre.
He added that road users had no regard for the numerous zebra crossings provided on the streets, leading to accidents in some cases.
Mr Adam stated that political interference was one major problem facing the smooth operations of UGL and which would eventually stifle the initiative of members of its task force in the performance of their duties.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


A GROUP of youth at Sabonjida, a suburb of Tamale, has entreated the elite in northern Ghana to support the teeming unemployed youth in the metropolis to secure jobs.
According to the group, both graduates and non-graduates in the Sabonjida area for instance were jobless although they were willing to work.
A spokesperson for the group, Mr Mudasir Baba, said this when the group interacted with the General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Morna, in Tamale.
Mr Baba who is a teacher at the Ghana Senior High School (GHANASCO) in Tamale, explained that some of the youth were still waiting for results to further their education but stated that they needed adequate support to realise their full potential.
In his reponse, Mr Morna advised the youth to stay away from trouble, particularly chieftaincy disputes, and that they should rather unite to fight the common enemy which is poverty, ignorance and disease.
He, however, bemoaned the situation whereby successive governments had not been able to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the north.
Mr Morna advised the youth not to allow themselves to be used for the parochial interests of some politicians.
He stated that the educational system in the country was not the best as it only trained the youth for white collar jobs.
He appealed to the youth to offer concrete suggestions to the government to address the urgent needs of the populace, such as the establishment of factories to employ the youth.
Earlier, the PNC General Secretary had called on the Dakpema where he donated GH¢200 towards the Dakpema Education Fund.
Mr Morna commended the chief for establishing the fund, saying it would ultimately help to educate brilliant, needy children who would become useful citizens of the society.
The Dakpema for his part, cautioned the youth against receiving any form of inducements to foment trouble in the metropolis.

Monday, April 5, 2010


A Farmer-based organisation located at Kanvilli, a suburb of Tamale, Kpangmanga Youth Association, has chalked up a lot of successes in their farming activities that have resulted in employment for the youth in the area.
The association has been able to acquire a tractor and maize sheller valued at GH¢13,400 to improve upon their farming activities.
The group raised an initial GH¢6,700 through the sale of starter pack maize and their weekly contribution. With the tractor, they ploughed 20 acres of farmland and an amount of GH¢800 was realised from the activities of the tractor.
A four-member tractor operation committee was established and a bank account has been opened where all the proceeds from the tractor services would be lodged to help the group pay for the full cost of the equipment by December 30, 2012.
With an initial membership of 20 men and women who are into rice and maize production and processing, the group, formed in February, 2005 currently has a membership of 50. The group had no financial and technical support and therefore became dormant in 2006.
However, it became a beneficiary of the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) Commercial Development of Farmer -Based Organisations (CDFO) programme.
The group was part of the first set of 108 Farmer- Based Organizations (FBOs) to benefit from the CDFO training in the Northern Intervention Zone.
According to the Chairman of the association, Mr. Mahama Mahami; during the six-week business capacity training followed by another three weeks of technical training, the Northern Regional Implementation Consultants (RIC), of the International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) saw the potential in the group and through the assistance of the Technical and Training Service Providers (TTSP) followed the group’s activities closely.
He further explained that the group was encouraged to take up the challenge as stated in their business plan to look for alternative source of revenue for the group.
“Each group member was encouraged to increase their dues to a weekly fee of GH¢10 ” he said.
Mr. Mahami noted that when each member received the starter pack of improved maize seed, fertilizer, nose mask, wellington boots and hermatic storage bags from the MiDA, each member donated a bag of maize from the starter pack farms to be sold and money added to their regular contribution to the association.
“When we started this group in 2005 with 20 members, little did we know that with support in terms of organizational capacity building and motivation in the form of starter pack from MiDA we could attain this level of success” the chairman indicated.
“We can now boast of having our tractor with all the necessary implements and a maize sheller; we now have a lifeline aside our normal farming business” he added.


THE Northern Regional Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Adam Mohammed Amin Abio, has entreated the youth of the party to adhere to approved channels and structures within the party to get their legitimate demands met.
He also advised them against lawlessness, urging them to be patient with the government since it was putting in place the necessary structures to meet their aspirations.
Mr Amin said this at the handing over ceremony and swearing in of a seven-member executive of the Tertiary Education Institutions Network (TEIN) of the NDC at the Nyankpala campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS).
The organiser stressed “taking the law into your own hands is not the best way; it is unfortunate that because we are in power, some of the youth think that one must be rich within a particular period which is not the best.”
“I condemn what is currently going on in the region where some youth are aggrieved and would want to do anything just to get their demands; this is not a healthy sign for the party, the region and the country at large,” Mr Amin emphasised.
The organiser who is also the Regional Co-ordinator of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) enjoined the youth to be keepers and protectors of the NDC government to enable the party to win the 2012 general election.
He announced that the party in the region would establish a regional youth fund to create more job opportunities as well as support the activities of the NDC youth.
Mr Amin further stated that a community radio station for the NDC youth would also be established.
The Deputy National Organiser of the NDC Capt. Joshua Hamidu Akamba (retd), appealed to the youth in the region not to destroy the region through conflicts, adding that most of the conflicts were being orchestrated by some selfish people in Accra.
The incoming President of TEIN, Mr Amidu Awudu, on behalf of his colleagues, pledged to lay a solid foundation to ensure that the NDC won the 2012 general election.
He said measures would also be put in place to diminish the strength of political opponents on campus and improve on the party’s image and communication on campus.
On behalf of the new executive, Mr Awudu promised to ensure that ladies on campus took active part in the activities of TEIN.
The outgoing President of TEIN, Mr Jerry John Amedzro, mentioned lack of funds and logistics on campus as some of the challenges the outgoing executive faced while in office.