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Press highlights Finance Minister’s position on President’s foreign trips, others

The position of the Minister of Finance on the cost of the President's recent official travels outside the country is…

The position of the Minister of Finance on the cost of the President’s recent official travels outside the country is the office of National Security and the participation of the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana in the commemoration of the Shea Day with a tree-planting event at Damongo are some of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Graphic reports that the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has told Parliament that the “best place” to furnish the House with details on the cost of the President’s recent official travels outside the country is the office of National Security.

He said due to the national security implications, the air travel for the President, including the cost for the advance team, flight arrangements, security, accommodation, and air tickets, are coordinated operationally between the Office of Government Machinery and National Security Secretariat.

He said in line with the 2021 budget implementation instructions, the Ministry did not release any funds to the Chief of Staff specifically for the President’s recent trips to France, Belgium and South Africa.

According to him, the current practice is that the Ministry released quarterly funds to the heads of department including the Office of Government Machinery for all the operational activities of the Office.

“To facilitate the safe coordination of the President’s travels, domestic and foreign, the Office of Government Machinery and the National Security Secretariat work together to achieve this,” he stated.

Answering a question on the floor of the House Wednesday, Mr Ofori-Atta said, “Mr Speaker, the Presidents’ domestic and international travels are matters to do with National Security.

“The National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honorable House with the details needed,” he stated.

The newspaper says that the average change in the selling prices of goods and services as received by domestic producers and measured by the Producer Price Index (PPI), dropped from 11.8 percent in the month of May to 10.1 percent in June this year.

The rate indicates that between June 2020 and June 2021 (year-on-year), the PPI increased by 10.1 percent.

It rate also represents a 1.7 percentage point decrease in producer inflation relative to the rate recorded in May 2021 (11.8%).

The month-on-month change in producer price index between May 2021 and June 2021 was 1.1 per cent according to a release issued in Accra and signed by the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim.

In June 2020, the producer price inflation rate for all industry was 9.5 percent. The rate decreased to 9.0 percent in August 2020.

It increased to 9.7 percent in September 2020 but declined consistently to record 7.0 percent in December 2020.

In March 2021, the rate increased to 13.0 percent.

However in April 2021, it declined to 10.9 percent. In May 2021, the rate rose to 11.8 percent but decreased to 10.1 percent in June 2021.

The Times says that Mrs Stephanie S. Sullivan, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana joined the Buipewura Abdoulai Jinapor II and members of the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) to commemorate Shea Day with a tree-planting event at Damongo.

The event is a part of the Action for Shea Parklands initiative, which was launched in 2020 to preserve and protect the shea parklands across West Africa.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency quoted the Ambassador as saying that, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), was supporting women’s cooperatives across northern Ghana to plant 15,000 shea trees during the month of July, recognized as “shea month.”

Mrs Sullivan emphasised the critical need to protect shea parklands and take progressive action to reverse the effects of degradation.

“It is imperative that communities lead action at the local level – restoration begins with a clear understanding of your landscape and your needs.  Each one of us here must then take action to promote climate resilience, and tree planting is a positive first step,” she said.

“The task is more complex than simply planting trees, however.  The restorative process requires our long-term investment in the management and growth of the trees we plant today and into the future.”

She expressed the U.S. Government’s commitment to contribute to global climate solutions, highlighting the US’ return to the Paris Climate Agreement and that the US was supporting the global one trillion tree initiative, which sought to conserve, restore, and grow that number of trees by 2030.

The Ambassador said the USAID was supporting GSA members to undertake cross-regional activities such as tree planting, parkland management training, advocacy, and social media campaigns in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo under the Sustainable Shea Initiative (SSI).

The Sustainable Shea Initiative is an $18 million five-year programme that promotes the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Mali, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso.

It also helps to increases the incomes of hundreds of thousands of rural women.

In Ghana, 20,000 trees would be planted across five northern regions this year alone.

 

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