KATH receives huge boost to forestall frequent water shortage

Efforts at ensuring adequate water supply to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) has received a huge boost with the installation of two tanks, fitted with auto-sensitive booster pumps.

The two tanks have the capacity to hold 30,000 litres of water and it would serve the hospital’s main theatre and the family planning and reproductive health centre.

The project was funded by Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) under its “Water of Life” project in partnership with Water in Africa Through Everyday Responsiveness (WATER), an international NGO.

The Chief Executive of the referral facility, Dr. Joseph Akpaloo, speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the project, applauded the company and the NGO for the support.

Apart from the water tanks, they had connected the six existing boreholes at the hospital and fixed these with a mechanized pump.

Added to this, is the construction of washrooms at the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and a 5-unit urinal for patients.

Dr. Akpaloo said the intervention had helped to assure the facility of uninterrupted flow of water – ending frequent interruptions, which was a major challenge to quality health care delivery.

The occasion coincided with the start of construction work on an underground water tank and the sinking of additional boreholes.

He singled out for praise Dr. Ernest Kwarko, a Consultant Obstetric and Gynaecologist, for the role he played to get the project done.

He spoke of the readiness of the hospital to enter into long-term partnership with GGBL and WATER to improve the quality of care.

Managing Director of GGBL, Francis Osemwegie Agbonlahor, said the provision of the facilities was his company’s contribution to healthcare promotion in the country.

The chief of Nkwantakese, Nana Boakye Yam Ababio, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, commended GGBL for helping to save lives.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Citi FM petitions Parliament over galamsey [Photos]

Citi FM on Friday presented its #StopGalamseyNow petition to Parliament in a bid to secure the legislative body’s support for the fight against illegal mining in the country.

The Petition which was submitted by Director of News Programming and host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Koku Avle was received by the leadership of Parliament led by the Majority and Minority Leaders, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu respectively.

Citi FM in the petition urged Parliament to take up the galamsey fight and put pressure on the executive and other stakeholders to stop the menace.

“We are praying Parliament to use the petition to cause some work to be done and recommend what government should do decisively on this menace. This is a lot of media partners, CSO coming together with Citi FM being the prominent one praying Parliament to take up the galamsey fight,” said Bernard Avle.

The Majority Leader in receiving the petition commended Citi FM for taking up the fight.

“Galamsey operations are contributing to the wanton destruction to the natural resources of this country. Lands are being destroyed, water bodies are being destroyed and minerals are being stolen. The constitution provides that all natural resources in this country shall be vested in the President. The President holds them in trust on behalf of the people of this country. What is happening now is that whatever they gain they smuggle away from this country and the country doesn’t benefit in anyway apart from the havoc that is being caused in the environment.”

“People who farm are denied their farms leading to the rising of poverty in the country. Water bodies are contaminated and today it takes about four to five times the cost of purifying water in those areas there is galamsey activities and there are times that they are unable to treat the water due to the chemical content and that is a dangerous thing that is going to happen to this country. So I think as a country we should unite behind this clarion call…every one of us is affected and in particular generations yet unborn.”

For his part, Haruna Iddrisu described the #StopGalamseyNow campaign as “bold and courageous initiative.”

He further urged Citi FM and his partners not to give up on the fight against the menace.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Minerals Commission signs MOU with Solidaridad

 

Accra, April 7, GNA – The Minerals Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Solidaridad West Africa to promote responsible mining practices in small-scale gold mines.

The MOU is to formalise an on-going relationship with Solidaridad to support licensed small scale gold mining companies to operate responsibly.

Solidaridad, is an international Civil Society Organisation with almost 50 years of global experience in facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound and profitable supply chains.

The organisation has been implementing a Gold Programme in Ghana since 2012.

The overall objective of the programme is to improve the livelihoods of small-scale miners and communities around them. In order to achieve this, Solidaridad works with small-scale Mines with the aim to improve environmental, safety, social and business practices and build better relationships using the Fairmined standard for gold as a tool.

The Fairmined Standard is an international voluntary standard for gold that promotes responsible business practices such as formal and legal mining operations, human rights, labour rights and environmental protection, health and safety among others.

In the next four years, Solidaridad would be implementing projects aimed at improving the livelihoods of small-scale miners by promoting responsible mining practices; assisting in the development of mining communities, facilitating access to technical and financial services for small scale mines and engaging with various stakeholders in the small scale mining sector to help find policy solutions to land issues in the sector.

The Minerals Commission as a result of its role of regulating and managing the utilisation of the mineral resources of Ghana and the co-ordination of the policies relating to them would assist Solidaridad in the implementation of its Gold Programme.

Speaking at the brief signing ceremony in Accra, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dr Toni Aubynn said that provisions in the MOU would only be beneficial if they are implemented and promised that the Minerals Commission was committed to ensuring that the thrust of the MoU was achieved.

He therefore thanked Solidaridad for the opportunity to collaborate with the Commission to ensure that the developmental benefits of small scale mining were harnessed.

On his part, the Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, Mr Isaac Gyamfi noted that with Solidaridad’s experience in building the capacity of small scale mines to perform responsibly, he was confident that if small scale mines in Ghana were exposed to the right health, safety and environmental standards, they would be able to mine responsibly without having negative effects on the environment.

He said, ‘together we can work to ensure that small scale gold mining preserves the environment and improves the livelihood of mining communities’.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Galamsey operators support measures to address menace

By Lydia Asamoah, GNA
Accra, April 7, GNA – A group of Illegal miners (galamsey operators) from the Western Region have called on Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, to express their readiness to assist government in addressing the menace of galamsey.

The group, who were made up of members from Amanfi East, Amanfi West, Amanfi Central and Prestea Huni- Valley districts, mining operators, was led by Nana Ntori Bonkyi Akomea and Nana Asafotse Badu both from Amanfi East District.

The Group said they were also concerned about the devastation to water bodies and the forest lands as well as appreciated the public outcry over the situation and therefore supported efforts at finding solutions.

Nana Akomea on behalf of the group said they were ready to collaborate with government to regulate activities of small-scale miners and illegal operators and to ensure that they operated within the confines of the law.

He said they supported the idea of a moratorium, a period of time where everybody would be made to lay down their mining tools and to be made part of addressing the menace.

‘We are ready to halt all activities of mining in the communities, to allow all stakeholders to come together to repair the damages by covering abandoned pits left uncovered whilst reclaiming the land through afforestation and tree planting,’ he said.

Nana Akomea suggested that all those who mined in the rivers and along the river banks should be stopped but those who operated on the land within the confines of the law should be supported and their capacities be built to enable them operate in the right way.

‘We all know that gold cannot be left under the ground, it needs to be mined so we are pleading that we should be helped to do it in the right way,’ he said.

Nana Badu on his part called on government to look at the licensing regime in granting mining concession to individuals and organisations and decentralised it at the district levels to ensure that all operators were granted appropriate licenses, and were monitored to see that they operated under the rules of engagements.

He said indeed there were about some four million people in the country who benefited from galamsey operations both directly and indirectly, and that it should not be disregarded at all but that they should be assisted to do the right things in the right ways.

The group also appealed to government to assist them form taskforces to monitor their colleagues in doing the rights things in the mining sector.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng appreciated the efforts by the operators in helping find solutions to the menace, saying, that it was critical to protect and preserve the water bodies and to recover the lands.

He said he would send their concerns and appeals to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to take a decision on the way forward.

He said the government would also collaborate with the local communities to recover the lands through tree planting exercises after the land had been recovered.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Chief appeals for bridges on Kulun, Ambalaara Rivers

By Prosper K. Kuorsoh, GNA
Bulenga (U/W), April 7, GNA – Naa Abdulai Seidu Nawologimo, Paramount Chief of Chakali Traditional Area has made a passionate appeal to government to prioritize the construction of steel bridges on the Kulun and Ambalaara Rivers.

This, he said, would not only make the District easily accessible, but would facilitate the free movement of goods and services thereby, promoting development in the area.

Naa Nawologimo, who is also the Bulenga Naa, made the appeal when Mr. Sulemana Alhassan, Upper West Regional Minister and his Deputy, Mr. Amidu Issahaku Chinnia paid a courtesy call on him at his palace in Bulenga.

He said because of the two rivers, accessing the District capital, Funsi, was very cumbersome as one had to divert route back to Wa and going through Wahabu, a distance which could cover the entire day.

The Paramount Chief said the situation was affecting business at the Assembly and also made citizens’ participation in the development process less effective.

Naa Nawologimo also raised concern about illegal mining in the District and appealed for an alternative means of providing livelihoods for the miners so that they do not become nuisance to people in the District.

The Bulenga Naa appealed to government to provide a hospital for the District to cater for the health needs of the people, especially pregnant women.

He said some needless maternal deaths had been occurring in the District owning to the lack of a district hospital, compelling patients to travel long distances to Wa for medical attention anytime they were sick.

Naa Nawologimo also raised issues concerning disturbances of Fulani herdsmen as well as illegal logging of timber in the District and called for urgent measures to address those menaces.

Mr. Alhassan assured Naa Nawologimo and his people of government’s commitment to look into his concerns with the view to addressing them.

He said government has recognised that a strong human resource base was the strength of every nation, hence its determination to work with all including traditional rulers to bring development to the people.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Government urged to implement campaign promises on oil and gas and fisheries sector

By Justina Paaga, GNA
Sekondi-Adiembra (WR), April 7, GNA – A Research Officer at the Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD) Ghana, Mr Mohammed Awal, has called on the government to create a registry and publish all oil and gas licences and contracts awarded in the country.

This, he noted, would help improve transparency, accountability and efficient management of the country’s oil and gas resources for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

Mr Awal, who made the call during a day’s workshop on ‘Post-Election Accountability monitoring Matrix on Election 2016 Oil and Gas Campaign promises’ held for Stakeholders in the Western Region, also called for a competitive and open bidding for oil and gas licences and contracts.

The Workshop organized by CDD in partnership with Friends of the Nation (FON) was supported by Ghana Oil and Gas for Inclusive Growth (GOGIG), UKaid and OXFAM.

It was to among others discuss the draft post-election accountability matrix for monitoring the fulfilment of the 2016 campaign promises by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Oil and Gas and fisheries sector.

It was also to sensitize stakeholders on the need to engage political party leaders, Members of Parliament and assembly-members on the government’s campaign promises on oil and gas, in a bid to assess the performance of the government in the next four years.

Mr Awal said it was also important for the government to develop and pass a robust legislation to clearly define the exercise of any residual discretionary power in the oil and gas legal framework as well as integrate into national and sector policy the principle of the African mining vision.

He said instituting public inquiry and investigation to review evidence into any alleged corrupt practices in the oil and gas sector was also paramount and that supporting an informed public dialogue about oil and gas wealth could contribute to national development and stability.

He said to avoid a repeat of the current menace in the gold mining sector, it was imperative for the government to publish requirements for companies bidding for concessions or licences to fully and publicly disclose their beneficial ownership structure, with strong penalties for non-compliance.

On the fiscal and revenue management regime, Mr Awal suggested that the government should develop a fiscal responsibility and public financial management bill and pass it into law and also to develop and enforce a public investment plan and public guide on value for money audit of publicly funded projects.

Touching on the priority areas for spending and investing revenue from oil and gas, he stressed the need for funding commitment to the completion of the Accra -Paga rail line connection and the western and eastern rail line.

On local participation, Mr Awal called for the publication of the details of the ‘accelerated oil capacity development programme’ policy framework and also to provide incentives that would favour foreign investors to build links with domestic suppliers, to undertake local processing and support skills development.

Mr Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Project Officer of Friend of the Nation (FON), who spoke on the fisheries sector, expressed concern about Ghana losing its fishing resources to the emergence of the oil and gas industry, and called on the government to ensure that all laws and regulations on the fisheries sector were duly implemented.

He also suggested that all stakeholders especially fisher folks be involved in the negotiations and signing of concessional contracts by oil companies. This, he noted would help reduce the unnecessary conflicts between oil companies and fishermen.

Mr Ampofo further called on the government to ensure that all the budgetary allocations to the fisheries sector were implemented to enhance the development and growth of the sector.

Some of the participants the GNA spoke to expressed concern about the current situation where the government and oil companies did not involve fisher folks in the negotiation and signing of contracts, and stressed that as a matter of urgency the situation should be addressed since they have a stake in the oil and gas industry.

 

Source: modernghana.com

More graduates are deserting agriculture specialty

By: Prince Appiah, Luv Fm.

A lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology is expressing worry at the rate at which agric graduates are drifting from their chosen fields after school.

Many agric students graduate annually from the KNUST but experts say few remain to  work in the sector.

Though figures are readily not avialable, Dr. James Osei Mensah who describes the situation as “very pathetic”  tells Luv Biz urgent solution is needed.

“For us to make the transition of agric as the way of life to agric as a business, we need the manpower with the requisite knowledge and these are the young people we have spent four years with the skill to make the change. So it is very disheartening when you see one of your students doing totally something different from the agric sector.”

He however indicates one cannot begrudge anybody for deciding not to practice agriculture, graduates are expected to effect change in the life of farmers and within the agric sector.

In the midst of difficulties, Dr. Osei Mensah reveals agriculture lecturers take consolation in the fact that some are able to stay and that is what encourages.

Figures from the Ghana Labour Force Survey Report put the unemployed at 1.2 million in 2015 representing 11.9 per cent of the national population.

Meanwhile, agriculture company, Farmerline Company limited has gone to the rescue with the KNUST Department of Agriculture Economics, Agribusiness and Extensions during an Agric Entrepreneurship Clinic.

Director of Farmer Services at Farmerline Company Limited, Schandoph Adu Bright says  various opportunities exists in the agric sector for students.

 

Source: Joy online

 

Kenya: Why Nairobi Is Thirsty City in the Sun

Nairobi’s Kaloleni Estate is like a town that city fathers forgot: Rusty pipes, blocked sewers and rivulets of a dark oily substance are its daily hallmarks and it wears them like emblems of shame.

Decades of neglect have turned this once beautiful estate — in past years characterised by manicured lawns and streets lined with Jacaranda trees — into a site of derelict homes, overgrown grass and aged roofing.

Kaloleni today sticks out like a sore thumb. It looks nothing like the estate built to house Nairobi’s 1950s and 60s middle-class.

For Ms Clementina Otieno, who has lived here since 1973 when each house had clean, running water, Kaloleni is a far cry from its glorious days. She only stays on because for Sh2,500 a month, she has a three-bedroom house.

The last time she saw water flowing in her kitchen was in 1991, when Steve Flavian Mwangi was elected mayor of Nairobi.

That was 26 years ago. When we met her, a handcart had just pulled up to deliver water, a ritual that she, and her neighbours, are now accustomed to.

WATER CRISIS WITH NO END

As the Nairobi population grows, the reality is dawning on city fathers that they might not be able to deliver water to all the residents. The tens of vendors who deliver water to Kaloleni are now filling a gap left after City Hall uprooted the old pipes with a promise that they would replace them.

“They didn’t. Up to now, the meters and the water pipes have never been seen again,” said Ms Otieno.

Kaloleni reflects the general problem facing Nairobi’s close to five million people, who are facing a water crisis that might not end soon.

At the moment only 220,000 households in the city are supplied with water and although the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company pumps 550,000 cubic litres a day to the city, officials say that 40 per cent of this is never accounted for and is either stolen or leaks to the ground due to aged pipes and illegal connections.

With the acute water shortage that is now the norm in the seat of government, the aged pipes rust and once water is pumped with force they puncture easily.

“These pipes are old,” said Nairobi Water’s managing director Philip Gichuki as he explained the reasons behind the punctures. “We are then forced to shut down the entire water system for repair.”

SCRAP METAL VANDALS

Whenever this happens, some estates have to go without water for a week, sometimes longer.

For a city that has not invested in upgrading its water piping system, Nairobi is also grappling with vandals who take advantage of the unregulated scrap metal market.

City Hall officials blamed some of the leakages on vandalism of metal pipes. They are now investing in plastic ones because these are not targeted by vandals.

However, there is a historical problem that has turned into a nightmare. “Some of the underground leakages are hard to detect since water seeps in the foundation of old buildings,” said Mr Gichuki.

Such leaks cannot be detected by the naked eye. In the recent past, the company has invested in leak detection tools that use helium gas to detect underground leakages.

With some buildings in Nairobi dating back to the 1920s, when the city grew from a small railway depot to a commercial hub, the pipes in some of the estates now lie below highrise buildings and it is now impossible to fix leaks on such locations.

As a result, the city is losing 57,200 cubic litres or 10.4 per cent daily through leakages that cannot be seen. Mr Gichuki said this leakage loss amounts to 40.35 per cent of water lost by the company.

WATER RATIONING

In its books, Nairobi Water calls it Non-Revenue Water because it is never accounted for and does not earn any revenue.

Under international standards, a water company is allowed to lose about 25 per cent of the water pumped from its dams.

In the past three months alone, the company has reduced its water production to 440,000 cubic litres — which is 20 per cent below its normal production — due to the low water levels at the Ndakaini Dam. The water levels at the dam now stand at 30 per cent while at Sasumua it is at 57.1 per cent.

As the rationing goes on, Kaloleni and its residents have to wait much longer for Nairobi to sort out its water problems.

According to the Nairobi Water Strategic Master Plan (2015/16-2018/19) the city proposes to invest Sh3.2 billion to reduce non-revenue water from 40 to 16 per cent by June 2019, only two years from now.

The company also hopes to install regional boundary bulk water meters to avoid central reading of the meter which is prone to inaccuracies.

LEAKY OLD PIPES

Mr Gichuki said there is little that can be done about the aged pipes because the company lacks sufficient resources to undertake the work and also because of the many developments sprouting in the city.

Pipes in the old City Council estates that include Bahati, Huruma, Mbotela and the City Centre are now more than 80 years old and have never be replaced.

Chinese Galamsey Operators Caged

The structure which housed the Chinese on the river. INSET: The suspects

The structure which housed the Chinese on the river. INSET: The suspects

A Sekondi high court has remanded the five Chinese and five Ghanaians who were arrested last Friday by the police in the Western Region for reportedly mining gold in River Ankobra, as their lawyer, Stephen Alawabah, wants them freed.

“I want them to be set free because they are human beings. They have rights and I think once they have been here (court) they need someone to defend them in order to be able to prove the case,” he stressed.

The Chinese and their Ghanaian counterparts were reportedly seen mining in the river in two communities – Bamiankor and Duwale – last week Friday.

The Chinese suspects are Dong Cheng, 30; Hung Jian, 51; Ning Guorui, 42; Yin Biquiang, 46 and Li Zilong, 44.

The Ghanaians are Eric Owusu, 28; Kwabena Adjei, 50; Nana Adu, 42; Kwasi Owusu, 28 and Kofi Darko, 21. The police were said to have seized mining equipment from the suspects and were put before court yesterday.

Speaking to journalists at the Sekondi magistrate court after brief proceedings, the lawyer for the suspects remarked that the truth of the matter would be uncovered in the course of the trial.

“The onus lies on the prosecution to prove their case better. What the prosecution is saying might not be necessarily the truth and at the end of the trial people will appreciate the fact that may be the police did not do well for bringing up the case.”

When pushed further, he added, “Not necessarily do I want the suspects to be set free. In fact, we want justice to be delivered – the type of justice that everybody will appreciate.”

Drama
Drama unfolded when the ten suspects were initially hauled before a Sekondi magistrate court yesterday.

The expectations of the audience and journalists who trooped to the court premises in their numbers were not met as the proceedings did not last long.

According to the prosecutor, Sgt Francisca Nyarko, the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, considering the nature of the offence and the punishment assigned to it.

She then prayed the court to refer the case to the circuit court in Takoradi.

The magistrate, Susana Eduful, then discharged the suspects but they were rearrested and sent to the circuit court for hearing.

Immediately the judge made the pronouncement, the journalists and some of the residents who were in the court room quickly moved out and joined available vehicles straight to the Takoradi circuit court.

However, to the disappointment of the numerous journalists, they realized that the circuit court did not sit when the suspects were brought to the court premises.

The suspects then had to be taken back to Sekondi and this time, to the high court.

The suspects were put before a Sekondi high court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante.

Their pleas were taken and the court remanded them into police custody to reappear before it on Monday, April 10, 2017.

That was after a state prosecutor, George Sackey, had prayed the court to give the prosecution some time to further investigate the case.

“We want to find out whether they (suspects) are conducting their mining activities with licence from the relevant authorities and so the police should be given adequate time to investigate,” he told journalists.

He continued, “If the suspects are granted bail, they are likely to interfere with witnesses desiring to testify in the case.”

Counsel for the suspects told the court that his clients were entitled to bail, looking at the offences preferred against them.

The court however, refused to grant the alleged galamsey operators the bail and remanded them.

Water Bed
The Chinese were arrested in the well-built ‘water-homes’ on River Ankobra covered with tents and mosquito nettings. They had also built a toilet on the river, surrounded by their mining equipment.

 

Source: modernghana.com

How mercury is driving the illegal mining business in Ghana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Marlvin-James Dadzie

It remains uncertain whether Ghana can win the fight against illegal mining as the country maintains a loose regulatory regime on mercury accessibility.

Mercury, the most commonly-used chemical for gold extraction in the small and artisanal mining industry, often fall into wrong hands due to the gap in regulating the product by the Minerals Commission, ghanabusinessnews.com can confirm.

Research has shown that the Minerals Commission issues a renewable license to importers and dealers of mercury at a fee of GH¢7,000 per year while that of industrial users is pegged at GH¢1,000. Free licenses are also issued to educational institutions to use the product for educational purposes.

However, investigations indicate that the commission does not regulate the product from dealers to the end-users and as a result, it is sold on the open market to all who can afford.

In the mining town of Tarkwa in the Western Region, ghanabusinessnews.com counted about 10 shops where this silvery-white substance is sold.

Both legal and illegal artisanal miners troop to these shops as buyers require no permit or documentary evidence in order to purchase the substance from these dealers.

This regulatory gap has been fuelling the illegal mining business popularly known as galamsey in the country, ghanabusinessnews.com has observed.

George Appiah, an illegal miner in Tarkwa, confirmed that, having access to the product was not one of the challenges facing his business.

“Occasionally, we encounter the police raiding our mining sites but having access to mercury is not a problem at all. It’s sold everywhere”, he said.

Isaac Mwinbelle, a Principal Inspector of Mines at the Western Regional Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, says the commission has not yet explored the option of restricting access of the substance to end-users.

He doubted whether such an option even if adopted, could curtail illegal mining since some miners could still smuggle the product into the country due to the country’s porous borders.

“One thing about galamsey is that they’re ready to do anything to ensure that their business goes on. They’ll definitely find a way out.

“They have an organized system like a mafia and so they’ll use their mafia tactics to get their way through”, he said.

Meanwhile, Ghana on March 23, 2017, fully ratified the Minamata Convention which seeks to reduce the use of mercury in artisanal mining.

It is however not too clear whether as the country embarks on this journey of implementing the objectives of the Minamata Convention, it would require end-users of mercury to obtain permit before buying it, in the same way some drugs are bought only by a doctor’s prescription.

 

Source: Ghana Business News