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Press highlights commissioning of $16m tomato processing factory, others

The commissioning of $16 million tomato processing factory at Domfete in Bono Region by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and…

The commissioning of $16 million tomato processing factory at Domfete in Bono Region by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the call by the Trades Union Congress for the tripartite committee to review the variables used in arriving at salary increases are the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.The Graphic reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned a $16-million tomato processing factory at Domfete in the Berekum West District in the Bono Region.

The Weddi Africa Tomato Processing Factory, constructed under the government’s flagship programme, One-district, One-factory (1D1F), is a wholly-owned Ghanaian company

It has the capacity to process 40,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes a year into tomato concentrate and tomato mix, which translates into 720 crates of fresh tomatoes per shift per day.

The factory also has a 500-tonne cold room to hold fresh tomatoes and established a nucleus 2,400-acre tomato farm, with a tomato out-grower farmers association made up of 2,000 registered and trained farmers from the Tano North District in the Ahafo Region and Berekum in the Bono Region.

The farmers are being supported with inputs and technical services from relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to ensure the sustainability of the factory.

President Akufo-Addo, who was assisted by the Omanhene of the Berekum Traditional Area, Daasebre Dr Amankona Diawuo, to cut the tape to commission the factory yesterday, did not make any remarks.

The newspaper says that the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said the time has come for the tripartite committee, which determines the base pay of public sector workers, to review the variables used in arriving at salary increases.

The TUC said over the years, the major determinant had been inflation, but there was the need to bring in other variables, such as the real cost of living, because the previous method did not work to the benefit of employees.

It explained that inflation was just a representation of cost of living but not the actual, hence the need to use the living cost.

Speaking at an Economic Forum on the 2021 mid-year budget, the Director of the Labour Policy and Research Institute of the TUC, Dr Kwabena Nyarko Otoo, said the union was working to bring in other variables, such as the real cost of living.

“Inflation is just a representation of the cost of living but not the actual cost of living. We want to include cost of living itself, as opposed to changes in the cost of living, and this places us into things such as housing.

“Inflation can show a downward trend, but rent prices will rise, so we need to open it up and bring in some of the individual cost items that significantly affect people,” he stated.

The forum was organised by the TUC with support from Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) for the leadership of the TUC at the national and sub-national levels.

The Graphic also reports that Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged Ghanaians to be optimistic about the competent management of Ghana’s economy, saying it has begun to show strong signs of recovery following the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the exceptional economic prowess and intelligence of the managers of the economy, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was key to wealth creation to reduce poverty, attract investments, empower businesses to expand to create jobs, and deliver quality education to make the economy yield prosperity for all.

The Vice-President gave the assurance last Saturday at the Central Regional conference of the Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON), a tertiary students wing of the New Patriotic Party, held at the University of Cape Coast.

Speaking on “Breaking the Eight: the role of TESCON”, Dr. Bawumia said the country’s current political administration had generally exercised impressive discernment, good judgement and management of the exchange rate, and described it as “the best since 1992 and the performance in 2020 and 2021 simply superb”.

Regardless of the recession across the world due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Dr. Bawumia said Ghana’s economy had witnessed one of the lowest inflation rates in about two decades, and emphasised that at the peak of the pandemic, inflation was 11.8 per cent, but dropped to 10 per cent in May, and further dropped to seven percent in June 2021.

He said “the prudent management of the economy” had ensured that the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP), excluding oil, which declined to 5.8 per cent and three per cent in the first and second quarters of 2020, had rebounded strongly and registered a positive growth of four per cent by the last quarter of 2020.

Dr. Bawumia said the growth momentum had continued in the first quarter of 2021 as the economy registered further non-oil growth of 4.6 percent.

The Bank of Ghana (BOG) Composite Index of real sector activities, according to him, had also seen a strong pick-up in the economic activities, recording a 33.1 percent annual growth in 2021 as compared to a contraction of 10 percent in 2020.

The Times says that three pre-tertiary education unions have issued a September 30 ultimatum to government to address challenges impeding effective teaching and learning in schools.

Amongst the challenges are lack of teaching and learning resources, increased contact and working hours of teachers without compensation, slow pace in upgrading of teachers, absence of responsibility allowance, teachers’ promotion crisis, refusal to appoint teachers in the offices as Heads and Assistant Heads, transfer of teachers in special schools and signing of performance contract.

Without disclosing their next action if government fails to meet the deadline, the groups including the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT-GH), said “we will advise ourselves in the best interest of our members within the framework of our Collective Agreement and the applicable laws of Ghana.”

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, Thomas Tanko Musah, General Secretary of GNAT, who read a joint statement, demanded that government immediately address their concerns to avert any catastrophe.

Despite threat of the spread of COVID-19, he said government has not provided all the needed facilities and materials for pre-tertiary institutions to operate safely as some authorities have claimed.

He cited the absence of modern aids teaching and learning in schools, saying “there are no textbooks, school environment is not conducive for learning, classes are overcrowded, the payment of capitation grant and administrative resources are delayed among others”.

Mr Musah said the hours teachers were required to work per day and per week as enshrined in the Collective Agreement has been increased by the Ghana Education Service (GES) without prior notice from their end or compensation to make up for the affected teachers.

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