Ghana: Press focuses on $400m loan agreement with South Korea, others

The signing of an agreement with the government of South Korea for concessional loans of up to $400 million under…

The signing of an agreement with the government of South Korea for concessional loans of up to $400 million under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) framework is one of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.The Graphic reports that the government has signed an agreement with the government of South Korea for concessional loans of up to $400 million under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) framework.

The loans will be used to finance five key projects, including the Techiman Water Supply project, expected to cost $100 million; the $60-million COVID-19 emergency response programme; the modernisation of the Regional Maritime University (RMU) at $140 million and the improvement of the Volta Lake Transport system, costing $100 million.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, signed on behalf of the government, with the South Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Kim Sungsoo, signing on behalf of the Korea Republic.

The funds will be disbursed between now and 2022.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Accra yesterday, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the Ghana-Korea bilateral cooperation dated back to 1977 when both countries first established diplomatic relations.

Since then, he said, there had been several bilateral engagements between the two countries, culminating in the Korean government providing Ghana with appreciable support for the implementation of a number of development programmes and projects.

The newspaper says that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has responded to Mr Martin Amidu’s allegation of interference in his work as Special Prosecutor following which he resigned on Monday.

President Akufo-Addo in a 9-page letter dated November 17, 2020, addressed to Mr. Amidu and written by the Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante debunked the allegation of interference and other matters raised in Mr. Amidu’s resignation letter.

He also said claims that he asked Mr. Amidu to shelve the corruption risk assessment report on the Agyapa Royalties agreement was not true.

“At no point did the President ask you to shelve the report, so he could “handle the matter”. It is difficult to see in what way and in what context the President would seek to “handle the matter” when the matter was already public knowledge and had led to the Ministry of Finance suspending action on the Agyapa transaction in anticipation of your report,” the letter said.

The President noted that even before he had been given the opportunity to respond to the contents of the 4-page letter by Mr. Amidu, “it had been put into the public domain prior to receipt by the President.”

The Graphic also reports that Parliament between January 2018 and February 2020 granted tax waivers amounting to $901 million to corporate institutions.

According to tax experts, one-fifth of the tax waivers could have provided 10,378 new classrooms or employed 78,254 additional teachers for the country.

While a total of $500 million tax waivers was granted to the private sector alone in 2018, an additional $400 million was granted between 2019 and 2020, available data has shown.

The figure covers waivers on customs and import duties, which constitute only a fraction of the total tax incentives granted in a year, excluding those on government institutions or goods.

These were made known in Accra yesterday at the dissemination of the findings of a study conducted between 2018 and 2020 to ascertain how tax incentives are depriving government of the resources needed to improve the quality of education in Ghana.

The Times says that about 3,967out of 4,458 children surveyed across the country have said the distance learning platforms provided as a result of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has not been effective, a research conducted by the Child Right International has revealed.

The research also said the digital platforms on education only reached five percent children in Bono, Ahafo, Ashanti, Western, and Eastern regions, while television and radio coverage reached 32 percent of children surveyed.

These were contained in a research conducted by the Child Rights International (CRI), between March11, 2020 and November 9, 2020, known as the “COVID-19 State of the Children in Ghana” and was launched yesterday in Accra.

The survey was conducted in 589 communities, towns and cities with a sample size of4,458 children and additional information from the nationwide data on COVID-19 provided by the Ghana Health Service.

Also, the survey said  more than 70 percent of  children  claimed  that they had no support  or encouragement from their parents regarding their studies, while 28 percent of the children surveyed said performing excessive activities for their parents affected their learning during their stay at home.