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Latest Ghana Morning News Update, Thursday 25th June, 2020

Mercynews 06/25/2020

1. Coronavirus: Health centres, vulnerable groups receive support

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Markaz Al Bishara, a Tamale based NGO in partnership with the Gushegu Area Child Development Programme, has donated assorted items valued at about GH¢240,000.00 to some health centres and 198 vulnerable households within its operational districts in the Northern Region.


The donation, which was funded by the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), an international non-governmental organisation, was to help mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the areas.


The beneficiary health centres included Kpatinga, Kanvili, Garizegu, Bogu-Naayili, Gaa, Galwie and Zinindo.


The health centres received gallons of liquid soap, hand sanitisers, disinfectants, disposable face masks, reusable nose masks, disposable hand gloves, tissue papers and thermometer guns.


Other items included Veronica Buckets with their supporting metal stands, basins, face shields, gallons of spirit, surgical gloves and doctors’ scrub.


The vulnerable households also received bags of rice, bottles of cooking oil and some quantities of dry fish.


Madam Patricia Gyan Bassaw, Programmes Manager of Markaz Al Bishara, who presented the items, said the COVID-19 pandemic had affected sources of livelihoods for many households, hence it was vital for her organisation to reach out to them and offer their support.


"This is our first time of distributing items such as these and we hope that they will help to lessen the socio-economic burden on the vulnerable in these trying times," she said.


She reiterated the need for the citizenry to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 safety guidelines issued by government to help curb its spread.


Mr Steven Notob, Physician Assistant at the Kpatinga Health Centre, receiving the items for his facility, expressed gratitude to the donors for the intervention, adding that they would help to enhance their work and improve on the health status of users of the facilities.


The beneficiary households also expressed gratitude to Markaz Al Bishara and its partners for the items, saying “The items have come at a time when we need them most and they will go a long way to help us”.


2. New LI will not allow importation of over-aged vehicles - NRSA

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The new Legislative Instrument (LI) that seeks to push the realistic enforcement of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) Act, would not allow importation of expired second-hand tyres and over-aged vehicles into the country.


When passed, the draft bill, to be sent to Parliament by August this year, would also train and certify vulcanizers to ensure they operate at certain required standards. 


Mr. Kwame Koduah Atuahene, the Head of Regulations, Inspections and Complaints Department of the NRSA, said when he gave highlights of the draft bill during the Bono Regional Stakeholders consultative meeting, held on Wednesday in Sunyani. 


The NRSA has started a nationwide consultative meeting on the drafting of the LI that would regulate road transport operations in the country. 


The passage of that LI would enable the NRSA to enforce standards to promote sanity and reduce crashes on the road. 


It would further advance realistic enforcement of provisions in the National Road Safety Act, 2019 (Act 993) which established the Authority.


Mr. Atuahene noted that the then National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) had since time immemorial scaled up road safety education to control accidents on the highways, but efforts seemed unsurmountable, as fatalities on the road kept increasing.


He observed the NRSA's continuous education on safety had impacted positively on especially many commercial drivers in the country, saying there was therefore the need to regulate transport operations and promote standards to control road crashes. 


In a speech read on her behalf, Mrs. Evelyn Ama Kumi-Richardson, the Bono Regional Minister, indicated that road safety was a key factor for preservation of human lives and material resources required for national development. 


Mrs. Kumi-Richardson noted that over the years, there had been several interventions to help curb road accidents by ensuring roads were safe for travelling, but expressed worry that accidents on the road were still alarming. 


"Under the ambit of the then NRSC, significant progress was made, although their mandate provided limited controls for the Commission to ensure compliance with certain aspects of the road transport sector," she indicated. 


Engineer May Obiri-Yeboah, the Director-General of the NRSA, expressed the hope that the participants would contribute and make good suggestions and inputs into the Bill to fine-tune it to facilitate its passage by Parliament. 


Earlier in a welcoming address, Mr. Kwasi Agyenim Boateng, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Manager of the NRSA, said the Authority had intensified education on lorry stations and bus terminals amidst COVID-19, and hoped there would be significant reduction of road accidents as the country prepares for Election 2020.


3. Govt to rebuild demolished Nigerian High Commission building

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The Ghanaian government has pledged to rebuild the uncompleted building on the property of the Nigerian High Commission after it was demolished by some armed men in Accra on Friday, June 19, 2020.


At a press briefing in Accra on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said the building will be restored with immediate effect. 


"The Lands Commission will proceed to issue a Land Title Certificate to the High Commission of Nigeria to regularize its ownership of the property in question...The Government of Ghana will ensure that the demolished building is restored to its original state as soon as possible,” she said. 


The demolition of the property has generated public outbursts and put a strain on the good relations between Ghana and Nigeria. 


Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo rendered an unqualified apology to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigerian over the building which was pulled down at the residence of the Nigerian High Commissioner in Accra. 


The president in a telephone call told his counterpart in Nigeria that "he has directed a full investigation into the incident”.


Akufo-Addo said some suspects have been arrested and arraigned before court. 


"Earlier in the day, it further emerged that some suspects had been arrested and will be arraigned before court,” a release signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President read further. 


4. Punishment in new executive instrument will serve as deterrent to others - Oppong-Nkrumah

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The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has defended the punished spelt out in the new Executive Instrument on wearing of face mask as he says it will serve as a deterrent to others.


He stressed that, "the punishment is in a right direction as it will force everybody to adhere to the directive of wearing of face mask.’’


The MP for Ofoase Ayerebi was speaking to the media at the Minister’s press briefing at the Information Ministry in Accra.


Mr Oppong Nkrumah added that, "it is better for the law to be strict and stiffer which he says will increase the adherence of the directives by Ghanaians.’’


He added that, "it is in the best interest of all Ghanaians to wear the mask in order to protect everyone from being affected with the virus as well.’’


Mr Oppong Nkrumah stated that, "The government is currently engaging the Ghana Police Service on the enforcement of the law especially with who sit in their private cars without wear it and how the law will be applied to them as well.’’


5. Laws on face masks not clear enough for enforcement – Police

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The Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Afia Tenge has clarified that the laws regarding the arrest of people without face masks in the wake of the Coronaviruspandemic are not clear enough to be strictly enforced.


In an interview with GhanaWeb on June 24, 2020, Afia Tenge mentioned that there were so many questions regarding enforcement of the law, such as the space law-breakers will be put after their arrest. 


“We are seeing some mass disobedience from people and as I indicated, I have been trying to find out our operational parameters because there were a number of some grey areas in the law regarding the enforcement. It is one thing coming up with a law, it is another thing enforcing it. We need clear guidelines on it, on how we are going to go about it. Even when we arrest them, where do we put them? Not knowing whether the person is a carrier or not?” she queried. 


She, however, maintained that people who do not wear face masks could still be arrested as ordered by the president, but it will be on the discretion of the police personnel.


“The law has been passed so everybody can be arrested … but as it stands now, if I see you in a public place and the police officer sees that you are not in nose masks, the police officer can arrest you. At first, there were no laws, but now we have the Executive Instrument 164 criminalizing not wearing of face masks, but most of it will be dependent on the discretion of the police officer,” she stated. 


Afia Tenge further cautioned the public to adhere to the president’s directives to largely save their lives and the lives of others from the pandemic. 


“It is behavioural, so if people are not adhering to the wearing, it has become more of a humanitarian operation and we expect people to comply so that they do not infect others or they also do not contract it,” she concluded.

Source: opera.com
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