‘We’re part of the problem; we make EC’s work difficult’ – Kufuor

Former President John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, has expressed confidence and trust in the Electoral Commission (EC) to live up to expectation.

“Within your short stay in office, I am impressed with your work. I feel comfortable, especially with the approach of reaching out to engage with stakeholders. I have been following the EC from afar and I know the affairs of the commission is being steered evenly,” he said.

He counselled the EC not to succumb to pressure from political parties but should remain firm, transparent, and professional, as well as take decisive decisions that would ensure peace in all its electoral activities

Former President Kufuor said this when Mrs Jean Mensa, the Chairperson of the EC led a team of its Commissioners to pay a courtesy call on him in Accra.

Among the team were her two deputies – Mr Samuel Tettey, the Commissioner in-charge of Operations and Dr Bossman Eric Asare, the Commissioner in-charge of Corporate Services, as well as Mrs Adwoa Asuama Abrefa, a CommissionerThe visit formed part of EC’s efforts to explain its operations and bring the Commission closer to stakeholders as well as afford the Commission an opportunity to know at first-hand, the concerns and issues regarding its operations.

The EC’s delegation was received by the Former President, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, the former Chief of Staff and other staff members.

He lauded the EC’s transformation agenda and urged the Commission to equip its staff with the requisite training to ensure smooth electoral processes because the EC was a pivot around which political system revolved.

“Wherever there is power there is tension because everyone wants to be on top to manage the power it but it is the duty of the referee to ensure fairness and impartiality,” he said.

“Your agents at the local level must reflect your integrity with which you are working. They must do their work without compromising.

“Do not expect the political parties to love you. The constitution enjoins you to be a good referee and ensure that the right things are done in the interest of the state. The stability of the nation will depend on your work.

“I believe 2020 will be crucial to Ghana and many countries look up to Ghana so we need to prepare very well for events before during and after. Use the best practices to conduct the elections and be firm”.

The former President encouraged the EC to continue the Inter-Party Advisory Committee meetings and listen to constructive concerns to enhance its work.

Mr Mpiani said the EC over the years had not opened up to its stakeholders hence political parties in opposition constantly had issues with the Commission.

“We politicians are part of the problem of the EC. I have had the opportunity to engage with the EC and I think politicians make the work of the EC very difficult,” he said.

To enhance the work of the EC, he suggested that, the EC engaged the right and competent people at the local level to administer the electoral processes.

He advised the EC to open up to all politicians and the public about its operations to win their trust to reduce tensions.

Mrs Mensa said the Commission recognised the immense contribution of former President Kufuor to the political dispensation of Ghana, hence the decision to visit to seek wise counsel and partnership.

Mrs Mensa reiterated that the Commission was poised to run an open door policy and would give a level playing field to all political parties to ensure credible, transparent, free and fair elections.

She briefed them about the commencement of processes to build a strong administrative governance structure to correct lapses at the EC.

“I am not too surprised because I know of your integrity, professionalism and exemplary work that contributed to the growth of the Institute of Economics Affairs when you led that body”.

Ayariga’s lawyers urge court to put trial on hold

Lawyers for Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga are urging an Accra High Court to put his trial on hold.

Member of his legal team, Edudzi Tamakloe, on Wednesday argued before an Accra High Court that the case cannot proceed due to a pending appeal they have filed. 

The former Sports minister’s counsel is challenging an earlier ruling of the court. The Mp who has been charged with using his public office for private gain by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, had earlier urged the court to dismiss the case against him as he questioned the eligibility of Mr Amidu.

This was dismissed by the court presided over Justice Asare Botwe as it ruled that despite a pending suit questioning Mr Amidu’s eligibility at the Supreme Court, he can still file charges. 

However, the Office of the Special Prosecutor’s represented by Michael Baafi opposed the application.

He argued that no harm will be occasioned Mr Ayariga if the trial progresses.

According to him, the Court of Appeal (hearing the appeal) and the Supreme Court (hearing the Amidu eligibility case) can make orders truncating the trial if it finds merit in the case. 

Justice Afia Asare Botwe adjourned the case to July 31st to deliver her ruling.

The court which is also hearing another case involving the MP relating to importation of cars granted a request by the Special Prosecutor to replace the charge sheet filed earlier.

But Mr Tamakloe urged the court to halt proceedings as they are seeking to overturn the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

N.P.P CHINA BRANCH TO HOLD THEIR 2019 CONFERENCE.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) China branch to hold their annual conference under the Chairmanship of Mr. Owusu Achiaw (China Chairman. other dignitaries include national branch Chairman Mr Freddy Blay, National Organizer Sammy Awuku, Mr John Boadu (General secretary ) and many others. the event will take place at grand skylight hotel Boaen Shenzhen from 26th to 28th july 2019 8:00am to 5:00pm each day.

According to the communication affair for N.P.P china branch Mr Mark Amponsah wishes to invite all N.P.P members around China to come and support them for successful conference.

Why gov’t must include private schools in free SHS policy

The former South African President, Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

On 1st September 2017, the NPP government led by President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo rolled out a policy that saw the 2017/2018 academic year Senior High School entrants admitted into the various schools they were posted to without paying any fees. This policy is termed “Free Senior High School” program and it aims at eliminating the element of cost which often becomes a barrier to higher education in Ghana.

In the 2017/18 academic year, over 200,000 students benefited from this program. This commendable policy was well-received by the citizens, as it brought a sigh of relief to many parents, especially to the children from financially-challenged homes.
This policy is also commendable in terms of helping Ghana achieve the Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) 4 which is to ensure that “all boys and girls complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030” and also to eliminate educational inequality in terms of gender and wealth disparities.

The increasing number of students that were admitted into the free SHS program in the 2018/19 academic year necessitated the introduction of the double track system in order to accommodate more students into the program. The double track system was also due to infrastructural challenges faced by the various senior high schools in Ghana, which the government intend to resolve over time.

With about 517,332 candidates who wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examinations this year, the issue of infrastructural challenges is likely to worsen and could deepen the multiple-track system introduced into the senior high schools in the 2018/19 academic year.

One reliable means by which the government can ease the pressure on the infrastructural facilities in the various senior high schools in Ghana is to include private senior high schools in the free S.H.S program. Even though the effort has been made by the government to provide extra classrooms blocks for some senior high schools ahead of the 2019/20 academic year, the inclusion of the private senior high schools in the free S.H.S program will be highly commendable and will provide more room for curbing the temporal double track system in no time.

There are over 500 private senior high schools in Ghana, who are providing various forms of educational programs ranging from business, general and agricultural science, visual and general arts to home economics. Most of these schools are well equipped in terms of infrastructural facilities such as adequate classroom blocks, boarding houses to accommodate students as well as excellent teaching and learning materials. These schools also have qualified teachers who offer excellent tuition to students. This often translates to excellent performance in the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

There are several benefits the nation stands to gain when private schools are included in the senior high school program. Notable among them are:

Less pressure on government in dealing with the infrastructural challenges facing public senior high schools

The inclusion of private senior high schools in the free senior high school programme will relieve the government of the expected urgency in the provision of extra infrastructural facilities in the public senior high schools in the short term. This is because some private senior high schools are well equipped in terms of infrastructure to accommodate students in the boarding houses and also have quality teachers just the public senior high schools, and therefore have the capacity of providing quality education and contribute immensely towards human capital development in Ghana and the world as a whole. This can help Ghana achieve greater economic growth, just as empirical work has proven that quality education played an active role in the economic growth and development in the Asian countries (Asian tigers) such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and others. 

Furthermore, it will help the government in ensuring fiscal discipline, have ample time to make effective decisions to improve the educational sector and also enable the government to channel funds to other sectors of the economy in order to achieve significant growth in all sectors of the economy. It will also help in eradicating the multi-track system, which the government introduced as a short term measure of dealing with infrastructural challenges among the public senior high schools in Ghana.

Prevention of collapse of private senior high school and enhanced growth and employment

According to Ghana Statistical Service, the number of people living in extreme poverty in Ghana increased to 2.4 million as at 2017, with Gini coefficient of 43.0% (GLSS 7) and poverty rate standing at 23.4%. This can partly be attributed to high unemployment rate and lack of sustained source of livelihood. Hence, any policy that can provide employment opportunity is highly recommendable.

The inclusion of private schools in the free S.H.S program is, therefore, one of the means of eradication of unemployment in Ghana, since it will liberate the private schools from fear of collapsing due low intake of students, thereby sustaining employment and huge investment in the private schools in Ghana.

Furthermore, the inclusion of private schools in the free S.H.S program will induce employment of extra teachers by the private school to meet the expected increasing demanding of teachers. This will there result in the employment of teachers beyond the 59,000 the Education Ministry has already employed since 2017.

It will also ensure that private schools do not collapse, as many private schools are on the verge of collapsing due to the decreasing number of student intake.

This will prevent the current private S.H.S employees which include teachers and other staff who are making an immense contribution to the growth of the economy through education, from losing their jobs and source of livelihood, thereby contributing to the reduction in the unemployment rate and ensuring significant growth of the economy of Ghana.

The continuous rise of Ghana’s energy sector debt and its implications

Benjamin Boakye, Executive Director of African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has assigned reasons for the mounting debt stock in the energy sector despite the institutionalisation of several taxes and levies to address the issue.

Ghana’s energy sector has a debt of $2.2 billion accumulated over a period of more than two decades. This is generally referred to as the legacy debt.
This has resulted in government’s inability to occasionally purchase fuel for the production of power and pay independent power producers leading to intermittent power outages.

The operations of State Owned Enterprises within the energy sector like ECG, VRA, GRIDCo have been constraint largely due to the massive debt overhang.

In 2015, Government of Ghana, during the administration of John Mahama passed the Energy Sector Levy Act (ACT 899) to bring under one umbrella, taxes and levies collected for the settlement of Ghana’s energy sector debt.

The ESLA was introduced to among others bring together energy sector levies for their efficient utilisation; defray the country’s energy sector legacy debts and other liabilities within the energy sector; serve as source of funds to facilitate sustainable long term investments in the energy sector.

Continuous debt accumulation

Speaking on PM Express Thursday, Ben Boakye noted that despite efforts at addressing the problem, the energy sector seems to be piling up more debt in recent times at a faster rate largely due to power agreements signed in the last 5 years.

This, in his opinion, has rendered the levies gathered under the ESLA inadequate to deal with the debt menace that has adversely affected the institutions for years.

“The money doesn’t appear to be adequate. You have an ESLA that is supposed to clear outstanding debt and we have not been able to stop accumulating debt. So whiles you want to address an existing debt portfolio, you are still accumulating debt” ACEP’s Executive Director disclosed.

Excess power

Currently, Ghana has an available installed electricity generation capacity of 4,399 MW – Hydroelectric: 1,580 MW, Thermal: 2,796 MW and Renewable: 22.5 MW.

The country’s peak demand in 2018, according to the Energy Commission, is 2,523.49 MW meaning Ghana has a little below 1000 MW in excess which is produced but not consumed.

The ACEP Executive Director points to this phenomenon as a significant contributing factor to Ghana’s inability to settle the legacy debts as it initially planned.

He disclosed that Ghana is compelled to pay millions of dollars monthly for power generated despite the fact that it is not being used. The situation, he adds, will compound should more of the IPPs with whom agreements have been signed come on stream.

Benjamin Boakye asserted “currently the excess capacity that we have to pay for is about $25 million every month. So by the end of the year when you have Amandi coming on, you have Cenpower coming full stream, that shoots us to about $42 million a month for excess capacity. The debt accumulation is not stopping, you always have to get extra money to address some of these challenges. We need to have a real look at these situation and say how do we deal with it? How do we stop the debt accumulation so that we can the opportunity to address the existing debt? Else, the ESLA alone will not be enough”

According to the “Annual Report on the Management of the Energy Sector Levies and Accounts For The Year 2018” submitted to Parliament by Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister, GHC2.5 million out of the GHC3.1 million gathered from the ESLA was utilised by Government.

Misuse of funds

Contributing to the discussion of Ghana’s energy sector debt, the Damongo MP and Ranking Member on Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, Adams Mutawakilu, accused the Akufo-Addo government of misappropriating funds accrued by the ESLA.

This, he insists, has affected the performance of institutions who would have had some fiscal room to manage their operations and go for facilities on their own balance sheet.

“If a government in 2017 ESLA could tell us that they use GHC600 million to pay for pension arrears, What is more of misuse than that? That ESLA is purposely for energy sector and therefore you can’t just say you have liability and then you dip your hand (into it). It is captured in the report.”

“ECG in 2016 made a profit of GHC725 miilion under President Mahama, GRIDCo GHC69. So the ESLA if utilised in the manner it is expected, we expect these agencies to perform better. The more they are able to perform the more they are able to shoulder any facility they go in for. As at 2017, we got worst performance. ECG recorded a loss of GHC2 billion because it is not performing; GRIDCO, GHC118 million loss. So you realise that even with the ESLA the performance has gone down terribly” the lawmaker stressed.

In the view of the Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, Mutawakilu Adam, the energy sector debt will linger on for long time to come because of the government’s approach to dealing with it.

“This energy sector debt will hang on us for a very long time.”

“The rate of accumulation of debt is astronomical. If we can take from 1992 to 2015 to accumulate $2.4 billion debt and from January 2017 to today the energy debt accumulated is about GHC2 billion then there is cause for worry.”

“There was the need to put an end to it and that is why ESLA came in, bringing all the taxes under one envelop. And as at the end of 2015 we had $2.4 billion but by the end of 2016 it had reduced to $2.2 billion because $250 million of the $2.2 billion had been paid.”

Solution

To resolve the issue, however, Executive Director of ACEP, Benjamin Boakye has advocated strongly for the cancellation of some agreements signed between the government and power producing companies for the generation of power.

He emphasised that government must confront the issue of the energy sector debt head-on to reduce the risk of intermittent power outages.

“We have to sit down and address this energy issue because its going to be recurrent. We will be talking about it, blaming others but the situation needs solutions now. I think we have to bit the bullet, some of the contractors have to go. Who can go? Bear the consequences because if you are going to pay $200 million today it is better than waiting to pay GHC 500, GHC1bn in 2-3 years” he cautioned

Over GHC3 million Duase warehousing projects defective

A four-warehouse project, rehabilitated at the cost of a little over GH?3 million at Duase in the Manhyia North district of the Ashanti Region and just handed over to the state, has been classified as having several defects less than five months after completion.

The project, which was awarded to Messrs Seliwas Company Limited, in 2017, to be completed in five months, was originally estimated at a little over GH?1 million but was revised to a little over GH?3 million, being GH?2 million difference.

Out of this total sum spent on the project, GH?572,243 was a contribution disbursed from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).

The expected date for the completion of the project was also revised from April 4, 2018, to May 4, 2018, however, according to officials at the facility the project was handed over in February 2019.

This notwithstanding, parts of the newly rehabilitated facility, handed over to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) for use, has already started showing signs of wear and tear.

Three of the four structures – including an office used by the Ghana Commodity Exchange for monitoring – leak heavily when it rains, while other parts have visible signs of cracks.

During the visit to the facility by members of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), it emerged that a number of reports had already been filed on the development. One of such memos reporting the issue stated that “immediate action needed to be taken before it becomes disastrous.”

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However, authorities in charge of the facility appeared to have ignored this plea and persistent calls for attention to be given to the defects while the newly-rehabilitated facility deteriorate.

The current rate of the facility’s deterioration is feared could affect the work of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) and National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO), which currently occupy parts of the facility.

NAFCO stocks variety of food items – including soya beans, rice, and maize – to guarantee an assured income to farmers by providing a minimum guaranteed price and ready market. Part of its mandate is also to mop-up excess produce from all farmers in order to reduce post-harvest losses resulting from spoilage due to poor storage, thereby protecting farm incomes.

Currently, NAFCO is in charge of food supplies to senior high schools as part of the government’s Free Senior High School programme, and therefore any delay in addressing the leakages at the facility could affect the quality of grains it stocks for supply.

The Corporate Affairs Manager of NAFCO, Mr. Emmanuel Arthur, explained in a telephone interview that NAFCO is just an end-user of the facility but with the current situation would take steps to secure its stock in order that it is not contaminated in any way.

However, he disclosed that effort was going to be made to engage the consultants and contractor of the rehabilitation works.

Meanwhile, attempts to get some clarifications from the contractor, Messrs Seliwas Company Limited, were unsuccessful. Several calls placed to clarify some of the issues that emerged at the visit of the Committee mandated to monitor and evaluate the management and use of Ghana’s petroleum revenues by institutions of the state, were not answered.

Also, the Ashanti Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Rev. John Manu, in a telephone interview also said he was not aware of the rehabilitation works. However, he indicated that it could have been done prior to his transfer to the Region.

The visit by PIAC formed part of its 2019 districts engagement and inspection of projects supported with oil revenue in the Ashanti Region.

The members of PIAC, led by the Vice-Chairman of PIAC, Dr. Thomas Stevens, to inspect the facility were not impressed with the state of the facility considering the amount of money that was spent on the rehabilitation.

Dangote refinery to end imports of petroleum products to Africa

Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries would soon heave a sigh of relief from the importation of petroleum products, with the imminent completion of the 650,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Dangote Refinery at Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos.

Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Devakumar Edwin, made this statement on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, during the opening of the Ghana International Petroleum Conference (GhIPCON), which took place in Accra, Ghana.

This year’s conference held under the theme: ‘Regional Collaboration: A Catalyst for Transformation,” organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Energy and the National Petroleum Authority, was attended by stakeholders in the petroleum sector in the West Africa region.

Represented by the Technical Adviser to the President of Dangote Group on Refinery and Petrochemicals, Ign. Babajide Soyode, Mr. Edwin expressed the belief that the completion of Dangote Refinery and other modular refineries projects across West Africa, would lead to the integration of the downstream industries and stabilise the prices of petroleum products across the African sub-region.

He stressed the need for other investors in West Africa to emulate the investment drive of Aliko Dangote in the downstream petroleum sector and make the sub-region exporter of refined products.

He also urged investors in sub-Saharan Africa to take the bull by the horn by investing in the downstream sector.

According to him, “If Dangote can do it, any investor can do it. Dangote has not waited for government to regulate the downstream sector before starting the construction of the refinery.”

“We don’t need foreign investors to turn around our downstream sector. African investors should be able to emulate Dangote and revive the African downstream petroleum industry,” he added.

He assured that the refinery is designed to process multiple grades of domestic and foreign crude, which can be converted into high-quality gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation fuels that meet Euro V emissions specifications.

The facility, according to him, would be integrated with a petrochemical unit that will produce polypropylene and fertilisers.

Mr. Edwin said Nigeria would soon become the largest exporter of fertiliser in Africa as the Dangote Fertiliser Company is set to commence full production.

According to him, pre-commissioning activities have started while construction work is still on-going at the Dangote Refinery site.

Speaking also at the event, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, assured stakeholders in the petroleum downstream industry that government would create an enabling environment for downstream business to thrive competitively, efficiently and with the highest of safety standards.

“Government, through the Ministry of Energy is in the process of ensuring institutional and regulatory re-alignment of the midstream gas subsector to bring clarity and a degree of certainty to players within that subsector,” he said.

The GhIPCON is designed to actively bring to the fore the operating industry’s perspective and guidance on issues of governmental and regulatory policy, as well as best practices for the advancement of the industry across West Africa.

The conference witnessed a convergence of about 250 regulators and downstream industry stakeholders from across the West African sub-region and beyond.

The event stimulated regional discussions that set the tone for a West African policy framework on the outlook of the petroleum downstream industry, regulate petroleum downstream infrastructure projects, efficiency and financing.

Participants discussed whether or not West Africa was ready for IMO 2020 and fuel specification trends, making West African refineries work, tackling illicit activities, fuel fraud and supply chain security in the West African sub-region, as well as consumerising West Africa’s natural gas.

Topics discussed at the event included: Unlocking West Africa’s Deregulatory Inertia,Making West Africa’s Refineries Work, Ghana’s Cylinder Reticulation Model, Harmonsing Sub-Regional Petroleum Products Specifications, and Challenges of Regional Distribution of Petroleum Products’.

How NAM1 wore hood to hide his moustache and bushy hair

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Menzgold Ghana Limited, Nana Appiah Mensah, aka NAM1, returned to Ghana on Thursday with a bushy hair and an unkempt moustache.

The man said to have defrauded one Francis Agodzie and 16,000 others of more than GH¢1.68 billion was spotted by Graphic Online’s Mary Mensah on the crime beat wearing an ash sweatsuit with a hood, with which he covered his face to avoid being recognised.

His hands were handcuffed behind him when he arrived at the Kotoka International Airport via Emirates Airline flight EK787 at 10.58 a.m. on Thursday.

He was quickly whisked away by security personnel from Interpol Ghana and the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

He was accompanied on the flight by Interpol officials from Dubai, who handed him over to Interpol Ghana officials as soon as he disembarked from the plane.

Flanked by two policemen, with other security men following closely behind, he limped slowly and managed to make it to the offices of the Financial Forensic Unit (FFU) on the first floor of the CID?Headquarters.

As soon as he made it to the offices of the FFU, the frail NAM 1 pulled off the hood to reveal his bushy hair and unkept moustache, as he awaited the arrival of his two lawyers, Messrs Kwame Akufo and Kofi Supremo.

He was arraigned at the Accra Circuit Court on Friday morning and was into police custody to reappear before the court on July 26, 2019.

The court, presided over by Jane Helen Akweley Quaye, remanded NAM 1 after the police prosecutors prayed for his remand to aid investigations.

Will the discontent 56% of electorates forgive and repose trust in Mahama’s leadership style?

It is extremely interesting to hear the former president and the 2020 flagbearer of NDC, Mr John Dramani Mahama, evocatively implying that Ghanaians are not happy with Akufo-Addo’s leadership style, which has allegedly led to high socio-economic standards of living.

If we draw an adverse inference on the Mahama’s seemingly isolated assertion, we can then conclude that the 56% of electorates were not happy with former President Mahama, and hence showing him the exit in the 2016 general elections.

Dearest reader, if you would recall, prior to the 2008 and 2012 general elections, Ex-President Mahama and NDC gave a slew of Manifesto promises to Ghanaians. But as to whether they honoured those promises, is a million dollar question.

During the 2008 and 2012 electioneering campaigns, Mahama and NDC gave a cornucopia of Manifesto promises, inter alia, one-time NHIS premium, free SHS, ‘making dumsor a thing of the past, putting money in Ghanaians pocket, creating more jobs for the jobless, stabilising the economy, protecting Ghanaians from the menaces of galamsey and Fulani herdsmen, bringing an end to dubious judgement debt payments, fighting the rampant bribery and corruption, amongst others.

Regrettably, after giving all those richly interesting, albeit unrealistic promises with a view to deceiving Ghanaians for their mandate, the NDC government, led by former President Mahama, as expected, wilfully failed to honour the promises, and, consequently, a total of 55.6% (44.4% for Mahama) of the electorates rightly voted them out of power in 2016.

Mind you, there have been numerous NDC’s broken Manifesto promises, but the one that has ineffaceably stencilled on discerning Ghanaians mental sheets, is the one-time NHIS premium.

The NDC’s Manifesto promise of one-time NHIS premium, so to speak, was destitute of honesty and integrity.

The overarching question then is: what will make the unhappy 56% of electorates change their mind and repose their absolute trusts in Mahama in 2020, given the encouraging signs of auspicious economic growth under the Akufo-Addo’s leadership?

Gone are the days when society anecdotally attributed leadership to a trait from birth. And more so leadership was only ascribed to tall, handsome and well-connected individuals.

Obviously, it was wholly illogical. The fact of the matter is that leadership skills can be acquired through remedial tutorials or routine training.

What is the difference between a leader and leadership?

In theory, a leader is a person who is appointed, elected or informally chosen to direct and co-ordinate the work of others in a group (Fiedler, 1995).

The preceding extant definition underscores the fact that the formally appointed leader cannot always be a real leader, but it also confines the notion of leader to a group context.

If we take the word “group” literally, this definition precludes leaders of nations, large corporations and so on, except in so far as they lead a small group of senior colleagues.

On the other hand, leadership can be considered to be the personal qualities, behaviours, styles and decisions adopted by the leader. In other words, it concerns how the leader carries out his/her role. Hence while the role of leader can be described in a job description, leadership is not so easily pinned down.

The crucial question then is: with so many people purporting to be leaders these days, how do we distinguish between a true leader and a demagogue?

To be able to do justice to the preceding question, we must pause, reflect summarily and ask: what is it that a leader is trying to achieve?

In fact, a true leader wants nothing more than to make people independent, as leaders in their own rights. Instead of trying to deceive us with his or her superlative oratory, a true leader reflects our own light back to us.

A true leadership, in practice, must give people a long-term vision that absorbs their lives with meaning; it must point them in a new direction and show how their every action is an indispensable part of a positive change.

More importantly, a true leader always comes up with pragmatic ideas with the view to transforming the lives of his/her subordinates.

We tend to believe that a leader is a person who is well-connected, who is powerful or charismatic or wealthy. We normally judge our leaders by what they have. But a true leader should be judged by his/her extraordinary qualities, not — ego, impertinent boldness, and self-interest.

A true leader, in theory, sees his/her work as altruistic service toward accomplishing a goal. That is by putting the acquired skills, experience, knowledge and empathetic qualities at the disposal of the needs of his/her subordinates. As the sages say, “Leadership is not just power and dominance; it is service to mankind.”

Candidly, after observing Nana Akufo-Addo over a long period of time, I do not need the likes of Ex-President Mahama to tell yours truly that Akufo-Addo has the attributes of a visionary leader.

Visionary leaders are noted for their positivism, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individual consideration (Nemanich and Keller, 2007).

Some experts, however, explain that idealised influence depicts visionary leaders as most respectful, reliable and meritorious. And more so idealised influence explains leaders unparalleled ability in setting vision and implementing it to impact on their subordinates (Bass et al., 2003).

On the other hand, inspirational motivation explains how visionary leaders consistently raise team spirit and encourage their subordinates to be creative (Bass et al., 2003).

If you may recall, during the 2016 electioneering campaign, the then-presidential candidate of NPP, Nana Akufo-Addo, insisted passionately: “I am promising you that within 18 months of a new government of the NPP, under my leadership, the face of our country, Ghana, is going to change”.

As a matter of fact, the preceding statement underscores Nana Addo’s positivism, commitment and enthusiasm.

If you would recollect, prior to the 2008, 2012 and 2016 general elections, the then presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, made the Free ‘SHS’ his principal campaign message. As it was expected, the opposition NDC communicators scoffed and labelled him an inveterate liar.

Astonishingly, however, some unsuspecting Ghanaians, including my maternal uncle, Oliver bought into the NDC’s manipulating gimmicks and rejected the handsome offer of the Free SHS on two previous elections (2008 and 2012 respectively).

But lo and behold, discerning Ghanaians saw the light and gave the Free SHS provider, Akufo-Addo the mandate on 7th December 2016.

And, true to his word, President Akufo-Addo has honoured his promise of the free SHS to the delight of the vast majority of Ghanaians. Apparently, it commenced in2017/2018 academic year.

It is, however, worth stressing that the implementation of the Free SHS is the judicious way of distributing the national resources. It really epitomises a true leadership.

Leadership and management scholars observe that visionary leaders act as role models, motivate, provide meaning, optimism, enthusiasm, strategic thinking and stimulate the intelligence of their subordinates(Bass, 1985).

Interestingly, Akufo-Addo insisted during the 2016 electioneering campaign: “We are going to get out of stagnation and backwardness, and move our country onto the path of progress and prosperity. We can do it. We, the Ghanaian people, have the capacity to change the circumstances of our lives”.

The preceding statement really emphasises Nana Addo’s intellectual stimulation and positivism. Apparently, intellectual stimulation explains how true leaders promote their subordinates innovative and creative skills by encouraging them to solve problems entirely in new ways (Bass et al., 2003).

More importantly, the Akuffo-Addo’s government is tackling the erstwhile Mahama’s government economic mess head-on.

Ghana’s economic growth, which had slowed from 4.0% in 2014 to 3.7% in 2015, was predicted to recover to 8.7% in 2017, following consolidation of macroeconomic stability and implementation of measures to resolve the crippling power crisis (ADB).

Despite the extent of the economic mess left by the Mahama’s government, the Akufo-Addo’s government is prudently taking steps to stabilising the economy.

Take, for example, during the presentation of the NPP government’s first mid-year budget review at the end of July2017, the Finance Minister, Ofori-Atta, forecasted favourable economic outlook against the backdrop of an improving macroeconomic performance and falling inflation.

“There were some positive takeaways; the government comfortably met the H1 budget deficit target of 3.5%, and now expects the budget shortfall to be smaller than expected for 2017 as a whole.”

It is also worth emphasising that agricultural growth was around 7.4 per cent in 2012, but the erstwhile NDC government nauseatingly reversed it to around 2.5 per cent as of October 2016 (GSS).

But as I write, the Ministry of Agriculture, under the able leadership of Mr Akoto-Owusu, has rolled out flagship programmes such as planting for food and jobs’, Planting for Export and Rural Development, Rearing for Food and Jobs, which are expected to boosts the agricultural growth.

It is also worthy of mention that the Mahama’s government could not hold on to the late mills “unprecedented” single digit inflation, as he somehow managed to move the inflation to double digits (15.8% as of October 2016).

However, as I write, the Akuffo-Addo’s government has dramatically reversed the inflation rate to a single digit (GSS).

More importantly, the Akufo-Addo’s government has efficiently raised the economic growth within a short space of time. Ghana’s economy grew provisionally by 8.5 percent in 2017 compared to 3.7 percent in 2016 (Ghana Statistical Service, 2018).

Currently, Ghana’s economic growth stands at around 8.6% from 3.4% in December 2016.

Interestingly, in the first two years of the Akufo-Addo’s administration, the Industry sector recorded the highest growth rate of 16.7 percent, followed by Agriculture 8.4 percent and the Services 4.3 percent.

Services share of GDP decreased from 56.8 percent in 2016 to 56.2 percent in 2017. The sector’s growth rate also decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016 to 4.3 percent in 2017.

However, two of the subsectors in the services sector recorded double-digit growth rates, including Information and Communication 13.2 percent and Health and Social Work 14.4 percent.

The Industry sector, the highest growing sector with a GDP share of 25.5 percent, had its growth rate increasing from -0.5 percent in 2016 to 16.7 percent in 2017.

The Mining and Quarrying subsector recorded the highest growth of 46.7 percent in 2017.

The Agriculture sector expanded from a growth rate of 3.0 percent in 2016 to 8.4 percent in 2017. Its share of GDP, however, declined from 18.7 percent in 2016 to 18.3 percent in 2017. Crops remain the largest activity with a share of 14.2 percent of GDP.

The Non-Oil annual GDP growth rate decreased from 5.0 percent in 2016 to 4.9 percent in 2017. The 2017 Non-oil GDP for industry recorded a growth rate of 0.4 percent, compared with 4.9 percent in 2016. Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 percent compared to 9.7 percent in the third quarter (GNA, 2018).

If you may remember, during the 2016 electioneering campaign, Nana Akufo-Addo asserted: “This ‘new Ghana will be a Ghana with opportunities for all, and where everybody is taken care off. We will have a society that is caring and compassionate and expresses solidarity. Nobody is going to be left behind. We are all going to march together, hands linked together, to that great future that beckons us, here in Ghana.”

In fact, back then, I had no qualms about Nana Akufo-Addo’s claim of bringing everyone on board to build the nation.

To his credit though, Nana Akufo-Addo brought all the people who contested him in the NPP’s flagbearership race together. Yes, he resolved all pre-election issues and worked collaboratively towards the 2016 election victory.

And, following his election victory, President Akufo-Addo graciously assembled a working team consisting of people from all walks of life, including a 2016 presidential candidate from an opposition party.

This is indeed a leadership by example. In fact, Nana Akufo-Addo is ‘the Moses’ of our time.

Biblically, Moses was a visionary leader. We read in Exodus that he was a shepherd – he had a modest, humble and patient upbringing. Moses employed his humility, patience and tolerance when he had the opportunity to speak to God. He kept watching as thousands of sheep grazed the fields. Moses noticed that one sheep was missing and went off to look for it, finding it at a distance apart.

When the sheep had finished drinking, Moses lifted it onto his shoulders and carried it back to the flock. When Jehovah God saw this, he became aware that Moses was a man of reason, empathy and selfless devotion, a man truly worthy to lead His people; a man who would put his empathetic qualities at the disposal of the needs of his subordinates. After all, no one was keeping an eye on Moses; Moses could easily have thought to himself, “why be concerned with one sheep when there are thousands”?

Fellow Ghanaians, I think it is about time we distinguished between a demagogue and a true leader. In this way, we would avert the apocalypse of our dear nation sinking deeper and deeper into the mire.

But the crucial question is: how do we stop backing the ‘semi-circle’ of economic managers?

To be quite honest, some of us, as a matter of principle, could not end our fury in condemnation when former President Mahama bizarrely doled out large portions of our scarce resources to inveterate apologists like the founder of Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), Madam Akua Donkor, who in all honesty, contributed nothing meaningful towards Ghana’s wellbeing.

Let us also remind ourselves that, but for Akuffo-Addo’s timely intervention, Mahama would have given away not less than 58% of Ghana’s Bauxite to his sibling, Ibrahim Mahama, just about a week before exiting power.

Ghana, to be quite honest, does not need a Father Christmas who would carelessly give away our hard earned resources to apologists. But Ghana rather needs a serious, a committed and a forward-thinking leader who can utilise our scarce resources judiciously to the benefit of all Ghanaians.

A judicious distribution of national resources is the implementation of poverty alleviation policies such as the Free SHS.

And, considering the enormous benefits therein education, it is, indeed, prudent and somewhat forward-thinking for any serious and committed leader to seek to bridge the ever widening social inequalities gap through rational distribution of national resources in the form of free SHS and other social interventions.

To me, I’ll always choose a forward-thinking leader over a reckless Father Christmas who cannot take good care of our scarce resources.

Yes, we, (Ghanaians), took the right decision on 7th December 2016 by electing ‘the Moses’ of our time (Akufo-Addo) to rescue us from the economic bondage of the ‘Pharaoh’ of our time (Mahama).

I don’t know when I’m getting married – 38-year-old Delay

At 38, TV presenter and entrepreneur, Deloris Frimpong-Manso, popularly known as Delay, isn’t doing badly for herself at all. Her Delay Show is in its 11th year and her products Delay Mackerel, Delay Tomato Paste and Delay Sardine are doing very well on the market.

However, it seems for many people, her success will be incomplete if she does not get married and she has to constantly deal with her fans asking when she is getting married.

In person and on social media, people keep telling her to get married but when Showbiz caught up with her at the Alisa Hotel last Thursday, Delay said she did not know when she would get married. “I’m a spontaneous, free-spirited person. I take my life as it comes, so I don’t put myself in that box saying I am getting married tomorrow,” was her answer.

The Delay Show is undoubtedly one of the most watched TV shows in the country and has stirred controversy while also giving the public more insight into their personalities’ lives. So how has she managed to sustain her show for a good 11 years?

“It’s the passion and the love I have for it. It’s not like a job for me. I just love it, that is why even when I am sick, I still have the urge to shoot. I used to have a passion for radio and I have transferred it to TV,” she said.

Over the years, Delay has interviewed everyone who matters in the entertainment industry as well as those from other sectors such as religion and sports.

She told Showbiz her most difficult interview was with footballer, John Paintsil. “He gave me yes and no answers throughout. He was so guarded it wasn’t funny. It was a very difficult one for me,” she said.

For the show to survive this long, there must be something Delay is doing right or is it her guests? “It’s a two-way street. The celebrities contribute and I contribute and that is what has kept the show going,” she stated.

Delay said although the celebrities also contributed to the success of the show, she brought an X-factor to it. “There are lots of musicians in Ghana but Daddy Lumba has stood the test of time and remained relevant all these years.”

Asked why she puts out a lot of information about her guests but everything about her is shrouded in secrecy, this is what Delay said, “I am not a guest on the show. I am just a host.”

So what next after the Delay Show? “I have shot another series, the Delay Show is the tree and the others are branches. I am watering the tree and all others come later,” she said.

Delay had some advice for young people.“Nobody gives you power, power to succeed in life or business. You have to take it yourself.

“We should not let our roots, colour, looks, background or gender restrict us. We can be anything we want to be in life and I am a living proof of that.”

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