Business in Ghana

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Critical News 18th July 2010

Posted by Business in Ghana on July 18, 2010

The week in Ghana ends with the JoyFm political news program “Newsfile” now hosted by Kwaku SakyiAddo.  Last week, the studio raged with the Rawlings’ home situation after Nana Konadu had come on air to tell Ghanaians how she and his “Jerryship” were not living together because Government had until now not given them alternative accommodation.  Well, it turned out not to be exactly true, but the two and a half hour discussion took up most of the three-hour program and other news was left to fester till the this week.

First thing Monday, news broke that Dauda Mohammed, a news journalist from Kwesi Pratt’s Insight newspaper had been “kidnapped” while taking pictures of the Rawlings’ home in Adjirinanor in Accra.  Through the day, news came filtering from various news stations about who had taken him and where.  The Rawlings camp put up a denial about any involvement through Kofi Adams and the mess raged till the end of the day.  One radio station regurgitated stories of the dark PNDC days with kidnappings and disappearances of loved ones.  JoyFm carries a really good report, follow the link and others when you get to their site.  Following day, the reporter re-surfaces, reports to the East Legon police station, recants his experience, says he eluded his captors.  Rest of the week, no more news of the event.  No arrests and no news from the police about the investigation.

Kofi “Chuck” Wayo made comments regarding Parliamentary indiscretion and lack of a common sense approach to issues.  Parliament discussed inviting him to the floor only to make a U turn, “wisely?” and leave Chuck to do the radio talk show rounds claiming victory over the “honourables”.  He even managed an early Saturday on Ato Kwamena Dadzie’s show.  Chuck has maybe been vindicated by the next story.  But readAkosah Sarpong’s review of Chuck Wayo and his Nima Boy style.

Parliament finally got round to debating the Korean STX deal.  Throughout the week, Asare “Gabby”Otchere Darko of the Danquah Institute (DI) together with Franklin Cudjoe of the Imani Think Tank and others were on air explaining why this deal was such a bad one.  The DI has all the contract documents on its website under RESOURCES.  The Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) was up in arms against the deal, went to Parliament and then dramatically withdrew their concerns.  JOYFm carried a story about death threats against GREDA executives, which resulted in the U-turn.  Government took up arms with JOY and the CID is investigating the death threats as purported.  The Daily Graphic carried a very good summary of all the concessions given out for this deal.  Noted, the contract came straight from the President’s office, not through cabinet!  That is next week business.

The NDC government, through Deputy Information Minister, Okudzeto Ablakwa was quick to remind Ghanaians that they are true believers in press freedom and they were not out to do any mischief to the station.

But back to the STX deal.  The minority charge, led by Osei Akoto and Joe Ghartey managed, after putting up a good and credible account, to disclaim majority arguments and finally “forced” President Mills to ask that Parliament recall the contract document forthwith.  Both sides agree that the houses are necessary for the country.  The NPP is planning a news conference next week to elaborate the finer details of the contract, which they say is more convoluted than what has been seen so far.  Now we talk about the “grandmother (200,000), mother (90,000) and daughter (30,000)” contract.  Chuck Wayo probably won the day when the minority described some of the clauses as weak and total giveaways.  Read this short analysis.

Sekou Nkrumah was sacked as the Acting Coordinator of the National Youth Council.  It was a strange co-incidence coming on the back of his fierce indictment of President Mills in Africa Watch magazine during the week and also a round of radio talk shows explaining himself.  A rather messy affair between Government and Nkrumah’s son, which in the end cost him his job.  Sekou Nkrumah should have known better says the pundits.  Many have been casualties of similar NDC dismissals, CPP’s Kwesi Ndoum being one of them in the years of (P)NDC rule.  John Ndebugre has recommended that he consider joining the NPP as they are a more tolerant party.  Hmm!

Ah! Last three items.  The GNPC/Exxon Mobil/Kosmos ménage a trois finally came to a head this week.  Government maintains its stand to block the sale of interest in the Jubilee Field by Kosmos to Exxon Mobil.  Interesting twist though, as this week, Exxon has been invited by Government to outline a strategy of how they can assist GNPC to fulfill its strategy as a leading exploration company.

The TUC met with Government amid threats to call a full-blown strike of members and gave Government an ultimatum to reverse all recent tariff hikes by the PURC.  Utility costs, especially electricity have hiked so high, the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union just today, 18th July, issued their ultimatum for a complete reversal of the utility hikes by 26th July or ALUTA!

And finally, the NPP are hoping to avert another injunction of the pending presidential candidate elections from a threat by others that the voting register is bloated and stacked in favor of some.  Can’t understand this.  The only persons who can vote are the elected delegates.  How else can other names be a part of this register?

Inflation dropped to 9.52% and the Bank of Ghana prime rate was reduced by 150 basis points to 13.5%.  Now we wait for the retail bank rates to come down.  Should take about 2 months to filter through.

Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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