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Press highlights gains of Ghana’s nuclear power programme, others

The report that Ghana's nuclear power programme is estimated to generate $1.2 billion from local industry participation during the implementation…

The report that Ghana’s nuclear power programme is estimated to generate $1.2 billion from local industry participation during the implementation of the project and the implementation of the pilot cocoa farmers’ pension scheme by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) in New Edubiase are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Graphic reports that Ghana’s nuclear power programme is estimated to generate $1.2 billion from local industry participation during the implementation of the project.

When completed, the nuclear power plant is expected to generate 1,000-megawatt (MW), the Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Professor Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko, has said.

He was speaking at the recently held Ghana Industrial Summit and Exhibition programme in Accra. He said a country that was beginning the nuclear project was expected to generate at least 20 per cent local content and participation.

Prof. Nyarko, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO) and the Board Chairman of Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), also said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approach to a newcomer country that was undertaking nuclear power programme needed to address 19 infrastructure issues, one of which was industrial involvement.

“And so, if we are talking about an industry that is going to cost about $6 billion, you can estimate how much benefit local industries in the country will derive from the programme,” he said.

The implementation of the nuclear power project will generate a lot of local content in the areas of engineering, manufacturing, civil construction and assemblying services, among others.

He, however, said the country’s ability to fully participate in the project would depend on the capacity of the local industry.

The newspaper says that Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has started the implementation of a pilot cocoa farmers’ pension scheme in New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region.

The pilot, which is expected to last for two weeks, is to enable the implementers and fund administrators to test the system before the national rollout in October this year.

Some 2,000 cocoa farmers are expected to be registered for the pilot exercise.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last year launched the National Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme in Kumasi and announced that it would be rolled out in October this year.

The scheme is a regulated one sponsored by the COCOBOD to cover registered cocoa farmers and their beneficiaries.

The scheme selected New Edubiase for the pilot project because it is the highest cocoa producing district in the Ashanti Region.

During a visit to some of the pilot registration centres yesterday, the consultant to Stallion Trust, the fund administrators, Mr Arnold Mensa-Bonsu, expressed the belief that New Edubiase would be the best place for the trial.

The Graphic also reports that Ghana’s food basket, the northern part of the country, risks low yields this year as a result of both man-made and natural activities.

If not addressed, the situation could have serious implication on food sufficiency and food security for the country.

The northern part of the country, which is predominantly smallholder farmers, is noted for the production of food items, including millet, maize, yam, rice, soya bean, watermelon, among others, besides the rearing of animals such as cattle, goats, sheep and poultry.

The area is also noted for the planting of tree crops such as shea trees, cashew and mango.

It is a fact that smallholder farmers contribute about 98 per cent of the domestic food production but unfortunately they are those who are always affected any time there is a disaster.

This year, the farming season began with the shortage of fertilizer throughout the country, which compelled some of the farmers to cut down their farm size.

The situation also affected the enrolment of new farmers onto the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, while some others, who had already enrolled, withdrew because they could not get the subsidised fertilizer and seeds, a major incentive of the programme.

The Times says that total direct taxes collected as of July this year increased by 26.8 percent year-on-year to GH¢1,466.34 million in May 2021, relative to GH¢1,156.19 million recorded in a similar period in 2020, the latest Bank of Ghana Monetary Policy Real Sector Development report on the economy, has said.

It said cumulatively, total direct taxes collected for the first five months of 2021 went up by 32.0 percent to GH¢8,993.23 million.

“In terms of contributions of the various sub-tax categories, income tax  accounted for 56.3 percent, corporate tax accounted for 31.7 percent, while other tax sources, contributed 12.0 percent,” the BoG July, 2021 report, said.

It said, the total private sector workers’ contribution to the SSNIT Pension Scheme (Tier-1) increased by 3.9 percent in year-on-year terms to GH¢205.14 million in May 2021, from the GH¢197.37 million collected during the corresponding period in 2020.

On private sector pension contributors, the report said the total number of private sector SSNIT contributors, which partially gauges employment conditions, improved to 804,849 (up by 15.4 percent  year-on-year) in May 2021 compared with 697,690 for the same period in 2020.

“Cumulatively, for the first five months of 2021, the total number of private sector contributors increased by 3.8 percent to 4,087,134 from 3,937,022 recorded over the corresponding period in 2020,” the report, said.

It said the consumption of electricity by industries went up by 49.0 percent on a year-on-year basis as of July this year in spite of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses.

The report indicated that industries consumed 266.25 gigawatts of power in May 2021, as against 178.64 gigawatts recorded for the corresponding period in 2020.

“In cumulative terms, electricity consumption by industries for the first five months of 2021 increased by 14.0 per cent to 1,276.70 gigawatts from 1,119.93 gigawatts for the corresponding period a year ago,” the BoG said.

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