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Press highlights cost of repatriating Ghanaians from China, UAE due to Covid-19, others

The report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration that government spent GH₵8,725,000 and $1,866,934 in repatriating Ghanaians,…

The report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration that government spent GH₵8,725,000 and $1,866,934 in repatriating Ghanaians, who were stranded in China and the United Arab Emirates respectively due to the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Friday.The Graphic reports that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has stated that government spent GH₵8,725,000 and $1,866,934 in repatriating Ghanaians who were stranded in China and the United Arab Emirates respectively due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to her, the expenditure involved quarantine and air tickets.

An additional $475,895 was expended on evacuating those in West and Central African countries and a further GH₵44,460,530 spent to quarantine evacuees in eighty-five hotels spread across Accra, Prampram, Bolgatanga, Takoradi and Kasoa.

The cost of the hotel accommodation for the evacuees included three meals and water per day for the fourteen-day quarantine period.

Answering questions on the floor of Parliament Thursday, July 22, the Foreign Minister said some private individuals also made donations including the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, who mobilised $428,000 and a personal cash donation of $200,000 to support evacuation from Lebanon.

A cash donation of GH₵200,000.00 from Sethi Brothers was also received to subsidize the cost of quarantine of some evacuees from the United Kingdom, she told Parliament.

The newspaper says that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has cleared small-scale miners in possession of the requisite permit to pursue their business in a responsible manner.

It said such miners were not the focus of the government’s renewed fight against illegal mining, popularly called galamsey.

The Head of Public Relations at the ministry, Mr Abraham Otabil, told the Daily Graphic Thursday, July 22, that the permission granted to small-scale miners was reached following a meeting between the minister and the Ghana National Association of Small-scale Miners (GNASSM) in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region today.

He said members of the GNASSM who attended the meeting were drawn from the various mining districts, including Wa, Tarkwa, Bibiani, Dunkwa-on-Offin and Akim Oda.

“At the meeting, the Deputy Minister, Mr George Mireku Duker, dismissed fears of members of the GNASSM that government has banned small-scale mining,” he said.

He said Mr Duker reiterated government’s positive interest in mining, and noted that “mining supports Ghana’s economy hence government has not and will not ban mining in the country”.

Mr Otabil said the government, however, expected the legal small-scale miners to engage in responsible and sustainable mining.

The Graphic also reports that owing to the surge in COVID-19 cases, much of this year’s Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) and the Emancipation Day celebrations will be held virtually to prevent the spread of the virus.

Contrary to previous celebrations, there would be no grand durbars and for activities that would require in-person participation, the intake would not exceed a third of the total capacity of the venue.

This was revealed by the organisers of the event – PANAFEST Foundation and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) – at a news conference in Accra last Tuesday.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, this year’s celebrations will start from July 26, 2021 to August 1, 2021.

Among the activities outlined for the week-long celebration are wreath-laying ceremonies in Accra to pay tribute to the ancestors, a Pan African Arts Market at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, and Creative Explosion, African World Artists at the National Theatre, which will offer Africans across the globe an opportunity to showcase their craft.

This year’s Emancipation Day celebration is on the theme: “Reclaiming Our Right to Weave Our Own Narrative”.

PANAFEST is a cultural event held in Ghana every two years for Africans and people of African descent to promote and enhance unity, Pan-Africanism and the development of the African continent. 

The Times says that Fiscal consolidation is needed to address Ghana’s debt sustainability and rollover risks, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

In a statement on its latest review of the Ghanaian economy under the Article IV Consultation issued on Tuesday, the IMF lauded the government for the fiscal adjustment outlined in the 2021 budget.

Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year in which staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies.

On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board, and after the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities.

The IMF said Ghana continued to be classified as high risk of debt distress.

“While noting that risks to Ghana’s capacity to repay have increased, Directors concurred that they are still manageable and that Ghana’s capacity to repay the Fund remains adequate,” the IMF said.

It said while there were encouraging signs of an economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it remained uneven across sectors.

“In this context, directors stressed the importance of entrenching prudent macroeconomic policies, ensuring debt sustainability, and pressing ahead with structural reforms to deliver a sustainable, inclusive, and green economic recovery,” the IMF said.

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