wings of freedom

Location: Accra, Accra, Ghana

Franklin Cudjoe is head of Ghanaian think-tank Imani: The Centre for Humane Education, whose vision is to educate and create a core of young scholars that will promote market oriented policies throughout Africa. He was formerly a programme officer and research assistant at the Institute of Economic Affairs in Ghana. A Land Economist by training, Franklin works closely with partner think-tanks across the world to promote public policy ideas in Ghana and abroad. He is a frequent commentator in print and broadcast media about Africa development issues, including appearances on BBC, CBC, Swiss and Swedish National TV, Austrian National Radio and varied local Ghanaian media, and has been published or quoted in the Ghanaian Daily Graphic Accra Daily Mail, Ghana Web, My Joy online, London's Daily Telegraph,The Wall Street Journal, El Mercurio (Chile), La Republica (Costa Rica),the Ottawa Citizen, the San Francisco Chronicle, Netzeitung Voice Of Germany, and many others. Franklin speaks to policy makers, students groups in Ghana and abroad. Franklin is an Adjunct Fellow at the Independent Institute in the USA and the International Policy Network in London.

Friday, September 23, 2005

MPs welcome "free land for farming"

Fallacy # 1.

The Member of Parliament for Asokwa, Maxwell Kofi Jumah says perception that the package is meant for only ministers; deputy ministers and members of Parliament must be discarded because the package is aimed at enticing Ghanaians to venture into agriculture.

He said the concept is not new in Africa because it has been used in Cote D’Ivoire and proven successful and beneficial to the people.

My comment-
ITS A BIG LIE- Ivory Coast's first president, Houphet Boigny ddid not limit his socialist state farms concept to members of his government. He declared the country free for all immigrants to farm any where they settled. It worked at first but that what got them into trouble as settlers were now naturalised Ivorians and the skewed minded current Ivorian President declared them per so non grata with his xenophobic ideas of "the Ivorian"

Fallacy # 2.

Another Member of Parliament for Asawase, Mohammed Mubarak lauded the initiative and said it will go a long way to supplement the income of MPs on retirement.

He however disagreed to suggestions that the facility be directed to traditional farmers, explaining that it will be difficult to recover loans from farmers.

“ Its very difficult dealing with the farmers because anytime they such access money, they this its some kind of Father Christmas and paying it back, they will tend to have one reason or another,” he said.

My comments-

Whats about the MPs who took a $20,000 car loan five years ago, though they were paid $300 a month, and NEVER paid back. They have been rewarded after heavily defaulting on the first loan witha $25,000 car loan again!! These MPs should rather help reduce the rsing cost of doing business by voting to lower taxes for the ordinary farmers. They also need to axe the central bank's directive to keep almost 30 per cent of commercial banks cash as rserves in order to free up resources and reuce interest rates on loans for farmers.

-Franklin Cudjoe

The Wisest counsel from another MP, although it pains me to admit that he is right-

The NDC’s national organizer and former MP for Fanteakwa, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo said----
“ My only problem is that MPs, ministers and deputy minister are very buy now and for that matter they will end up being absentee farmers so if we not careful and this large sums of monies and quantum of resources are channeled into it and the returns are not favourable, it will create problems,” he said.

Mr Ofosu Ampofo suggested that former MPs and minister who are not doing anything now and are interested be encouraged since they have more time on their hands.

“Every year we get 138 district best farmers, 10 regional best farmers, 3 national best farmers and 2 runner ups. We can go back to trace these winners to see how they are faring.

We can use them to set up nuclear farms and engage several people in their areas. I believe that because they are experienced, if we support them it will boost agriculture rather than turn the wheel to have somebody who is not interest in farming,” he said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Free Farming Land For Ministers and MPs- Government's 'wisdom' in boosting agriculture.

General News of Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Free Farming Land For Ministers & MPs ... Each allocated up to 100 acres of land The government has decided to allocate part of its land banks meant for oil palm and cassava plantations to Members of Parliament, ministers and deputy ministers to go into large-scale farming.
It said each interested person would be allocated up to 100 acres of land and also provided with further support in the form of seedlings, clearing of the land, planting and maintenance of the farms over the next four years.
The Minister of Private Sector Development and President’s Special Initiatives (PSI), Mr Kwamena Bartels, who announced this when his ministry took its turn at the weekly "Meet-the-Press" series in Accra yesterday, said “the idea is to give respectability to farming, to send a clear message to our people that we need to take farming very seriously and to show that farming is a profitable venture”.
He said beneficiaries of the initiative were expected to start paying back government’s investment in the project in the fifth year.
"We are also looking at the possibility of extending this initiative to the PSI on salt, garment and textiles,”Mr Bartels said.
He said a consortium of three companies were to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to set up three cassava starch processing companies at Atebubu,Amantin and Ejura.
These companies,he said,would process 20,000 metric tonnes of cassava a year,adding that they also hoped to establish 20 such plants all of 20,000 metric tonnes capacities to process cassava into food-grade starch and into ethanol for the petroleum industry.
On the garments and textiles sector,Mr Bartels said under the PSI, $4 million worth of garments had been manufactured while a centre had also been set up in Accra to train 300 machine operators each month.
He asked those in the textile industry to complement the government’ s efforts at making the sector more vibrant by improving on their managerial skills,as well as replacing old machinery.
Mr Bartels said the more such companies used obsolete equipment,the more their cost of production went up, adding that that was bound to affect their operational cost and make their products uncompetitive.
He said the managers and board of the Venture Capital Fund,a fund meant to support small-scale enterprises, would be put in place by the end of the month.
Mr Bartels said the fund had yielded up to ¢200 billion and gave the assurance that with the managers and board in place,the money would be disbursed to the beneficiaries.
Source: Graphic

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Do you realise the MPs will be the first to qualify for the Venture Fund established from poor subsistence farmers yearning for support and ordinary people's taxes??

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Green Earth calls for ban on imported fridges- Regulating some mythical ozone depletion substances to keep the poor poorer.

Kumasi, Sept 19, GNA -

The Ashanti Regional branch of the Green Earth Organisation has called on the Government to ban importation of second hand fridges into the country to help reduce the release of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere.

In a statement issued in Kumasi and signed by Nana Tom Osei Owusu, Ashanti Regional Coordinator of the Organisation to mark World Ozone Day, it expressed concern about the booming business of importing second fridges by some few rich people to the detriment of the masses in the society.

The statement said the obvious danger from the reduction in the amount of ozone in the atmosphere was the increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface of the earth. This had resulted in the sudden upsurge of skin cancer and other danger to the local biological life.

It attributed the massive reduction in the thickness of the ozone over the years to the use of CFC materials and urged the government to respect the Montreal Protocol of which the nation is a signatory and enforce the laws banning the use of CFCs in the country.

Misdiagosing road accidents- High costs of spare parts(due to excessive taxes) and high police bribery by traffic offenders are the REAL culprits.

Road Traffic law comes into effect

Traffic Policeman The Road Traffic Act 2004, Act 683 comes into force on Monday September 19, 2005.

From Monday any drivers plying on the road cannot use a mobile phone, they cannot put a child on their lap whilst driving nor can a child below the age of fifteen sit on a passenger seat beside the driver.

The act will enforce the rule that all passengers should have their seat belts on.

In addition drivers would be required to carry on their vehicles all necessary accessories like fire extinguishers and genuine driving license.

Again no driver would be allowed to drive when he or she is improperly dressed.

Commanding officer of the Motor Traffic and Transport Union- MTTU, Chief Superintendent Victor Tandoh announced these at an education programme for drivers in Accra at the weekend.

The act deals with restrictions on road use in the interest of Road safety, registration and licensing of motor vehicles and trailers, licensing of drivers of motor vehicles, test of vehicles and issuance of road use certificates and licensing of drivers of commercial vehicles.

A stern looking and tough talking Superintendent Tandoh told the drivers bluntly,” there is no option for a fine when the new Road Traffic Regulation 2004, Act 683, comes into force but a three or more years imprisonment”.

Source: Public Agenda

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Govt won't impose ban on poultry importation

Govt won't impose ban on poultry importation - Bartels
Posted: Sep 14 2005

The government would not subsidise or institute any form of protection for the domestic poultry industry so long as it cannot produce at a comparative cheaper cost than the imported ones.

Minister of Private Sector Development and President Special Initiatives, Kwamena Bartels, said on Tuesday said, "Even if the local industries are subsidized they can't produce chicken at lower prices compared to the imported product.

"Our Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) situation would not allow us to do that besides, because of the dilemma of not being able to compete with the heavily subsidized products from the developed nations," he said.

The Minister was responding to questions regarding Nigeria's ban on the importation of some items including poultry products when he launched the 2005 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Report in Accra.

The report was launched was under the theme "Rethinking the Role of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs)" under the auspicious of the Third World Network-Africa, an international network of groups and individuals that seek greater articulation of the needs and rights of people of the Third world.

Mr Bartels said Ghana would not follow Nigeria's example since it had advantage over Ghana in terms of market size.

"If we decided to ban the importation of poultry products, will the ordinary Ghanaian be able to buy chicken.

"Our poultry farmers have not been able to develop the industry to the state where they can produce chicken to the ordinary person so why talk of banning," he asked.

Source: GNA