Press focuses minister’s plea for media support to revive economy, others

The plea by Minister of Information to the media to be partners in complementing government's efforts to revive the economy…

The plea by Minister of Information to the media to be partners in complementing government’s efforts to revive the economy from the economic downturn and the warning by the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association that any intention by the government to scrap the 50 percent Benchmark Value at the ports “will be suicidal” are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.The Graphic reports that the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has charged the media in the post-crisis recovery era, to be partners in complementing government’s efforts to revive the economy from the economic downturn.

This, they should do by highlighting the opportunities and amplifying the successes of the government and businesses.

He said there was the need to re-engineer an economic recovery across Africa at a time when media penetration was deepest, which meant that the impact of the media to either spur that process or derail it could not be discounted.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah was delivering the keynote address at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank breakfast meeting at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra yesterday.

The meeting, held on the theme: “Media and marketing communication post-COVID-19: A catalyst for socio-economic resurgence”, brought together policy makers, captains of industry, media and communication practitioners and people in academia.

It was held as an in-person event, while a link was provided for others to participate virtually.

The newspaper says that there are poor harvest prospects in communities downstream the White and Black Volta following Burkina Faso’s imminent opening of the spill gates of the Bagre and Kompienga dams on Friday.

Farmers in the communities are yet to harvest their produce, and the possibility of another destruction of farms looms.

SONABEL, the agency that manages the Bagre and Kompienga dams in Burkina Faso, has announced that the annual spillage of the dams would take place from Friday, August 27 to Monday, August 30, this year.

In a notice to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and its partners, SONABEL said it had decided to begin opening the valves of the dams in the coming days due to the rapid rate of rise in the water levels.

It, therefore, urged residents of communities downstream the White and Black Volta to move to higher grounds for safety.

The level of the Kompienga Dam as of last Monday was 174.05 metres with the rate of rise at 49.12 percent as against 42.74 percent for the same period last year.

The upstream level of the Bagre Dam has also risen to 233.99 metres, with the rate of rise at 86.51 percent as against 101.16 per cent same period last year.

Within the White Volta enclave at the weekend, residents appeared to brace themselves for the annual ritual of flooding even as NADMO intensified measures to save lives and properties.

The Times reports that the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, Dr Joseph Obeng, has reiterated that any intention by the government to scrap the 50 percent Benchmark Value at the ports “will be suicidal”.

In a press statement, Dr Obeng said that the Benchmark Value brought relief to the trading community, sanity into the system, and eased tension and agitations amid the impact of the coronavirus on cross-border trade.

“Any attempt to remove this good policy of the government that brought relief will be suicidal for the state because it will not only collapse business but also cause an unbearable rise in prices of goods and services beyond the reach of consumers, especially, low income earners and the unemployed,” he warned.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) hold the position that the reduction in the Benchmark Values by up to 50 percent had cheapened imports and dampened demand for local substitutes, resulting in a slowdown in growth in the manufacturing companies.

In a plea that had since been rejected forcefully by the umbrella body of the trading community, the advocacy body for manufacturers said the policy on benchmark value reduction must be reviewed downwards to safeguard manufacturing jobs and protect the fortunes of the sector from deteriorating further.

The Chief Executive Officer of the AGI, Seth Twum-Akwaboah, told Joy news that domestic processors of rice and edible oil were the worst hit, with big names such as the Avnash Industries Ghana Limited and the Wilmar Africa Limited shrinking operations and laying off workers, following the introduction of the policy two years ago.

He said following the drop in demand for their products, the local manufacturers have been forced to reduce their demand for raw materials from local farmers “and that is having a supply chain effect.”

The newspaper says that the Tema Region of the Electricity Company of Ghana Limited (ECG) from January to June this year, invested GH¢989,800.00 on five major projects to improve electricity supply in its operational areas.

The projects, which include the construction of a link between two of their main overhead sub transmission cables had now made it possible to transfer load from one feeder to the other during repair works, to ensure continuous power supply.

The Tema Regional Engineer ECG, Mr Emmanuel Appoe, told the Ghanaian Times that the beneficiary communities under the projects were Communities 12, 11 and parts of Community 6.

He said another project involved the restoration of faulty underground sub-transmission link cables between two substations to improve power supply to Communities 5, 6 and 10.

Mr Appoe noted that in some areas, the company realised that the load on the available transformers were getting too high, a situation that could lead to low voltage for customers in the catchment area.

He said to forestall that, a number of transformers were added to the existing ones serving Power City (Prampram) and other areas surrounding Prampram, Community 19, and behind the Emef Estate.

Mr Appoe, who is also the Acting General Manager for Tema Region, however, indicated that GH¢142,141.92 out of the total amount was invested in the upgrading of undersized conductors serving Community 8 and its environs.

”The Company is committed to its mission of providing safe, quality and reliable electricity services in order to support Ghanaians meet their obligations,” he said.

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