Ghana: Press zooms in on deepening ties between Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, others

The report that the visit of Ghana's Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Francis Asenso-Boakye, to Abidjan is to deepen…

The report that the visit of Ghana’s Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Francis Asenso-Boakye, to Abidjan is to deepen ties of cooperation between the two countries is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Graphic reports that the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Francis Asenso-Boakye, has paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Construction, Housing and Urban Planning of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Bruno Nabagné Koné, in Abidjan.

The visit was aimed at deepening the ties of co-operation between the two countries in the housing sector, especially with regard to providing affordable housing.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Asenso-Boakye said the government of Ghana was exploring all suitable options to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for the Ghanaian people.

He noted that bilateral relations between the two countries had been deepened under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Ivorian counterpart, President Alassane Ouattara, resulting in increased co-operation in the sectors of agriculture, maritime and energy.

“Our cooperation in the cocoa sector has resulted in the agreement of a common base price for our cocoa to cushion farmers in both countries,” Mr Asenso-Boakye said.

The newspaper says that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has presented assorted intensive care equipment valued at GH¢2,132,000 to Ghana.

The donation is the latest by the United Nations to the country through WHO towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gesture coincided with the commemoration of World Health Day on April 7, 2021, and was to help the country sustain the progress currently experienced in the fight against COVID-19.

The 9,580 items included 220 adult pulse oximeters and accessories; 160 paediatric pulse oximeters and accessories, eight ventilators; eight air compressors and accessories; 30 portable handheld pulse oximeters and accessories, and 275 adult venturi masks.

Others were 257 paediatric venturi masks; 1,100 nasal oxygen cannula with prongs for adults and the same number of the product for paediatric use; 55 oxygen concentrator kits with spare parts; 1,950 coveralls; 270 pairs of gum boots; 330 shoe covers, and 3,780 pieces of 200ml bottles of hand sanitisers.

Presenting the items through the Ministry of Health in Accra last Friday, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Francis Kaslo, expressed the hope that the equipment would help in containing COVID-19 in the country.

The Graphic also reports that Ghanaians endorse taxation and are willing to pay higher taxes to support the country’s development, a new Afrobarometer study has shown.

The study said majority of the citizens, however, said it was difficult to find out what taxes and fees they were supposed to pay and how government used tax revenues.

The report was made available to the Ghana News Agency by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), organisers of the study.

The findings indicated that citizens were more supportive of taxation if they believed the government was doing a good job of delivering basic services.

Nevertheless, many also expressed mistrust of tax authorities and saw widespread corruption among them, it said.

The Government, in the 2021 Budget Statement, introduced new taxes, including a one per cent COVID-19 levy added to the VAT and a one per cent to the National Health Insurance Levy.

The study found that eight out of 10 citizens (79 percent) said tax authorities always had the right to collect taxes while fewer than two out of 10 (15 percent) disagreed.

The Times says that the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said government is engaging with relevant stakeholders to pass the broadcasting bill.

According to him, government is taking inputs from technocrats and industry experts and at the same time being tactful in the passage of the bill so as to not create a situation where it becomes a tool for successive government to use in stifling media freedom and freedom of speech.

Speaking on TV3’s current affairs programme the Key Point, the Minister for Information, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah, said government was treading cautiously in the passage of the bill because one of the key tenants of democracy is media freedom and according to him, it will rather be out of place to pass a bill that curtail the freedom of the media – one of the key players in every democratic dispensation.

“We in government or the Ministry of Information responsible for information sector policy formulation agree that there is the need to pass the broadcasting law. I and my directors and technocrats have spent about a year working on it and engaging with stakeholders including the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), etc but doing it tactfully.

“We are being tactful because media freedoms and freedoms of expression are rights that are given to us by the constitution and which right even though can be effected by law must be done carefully in a manner that we don’t create a ruse for government to use it as an opportunity to stifle those freedoms,” he added.