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“Are you mad?” – Kwesi Pratt questions ECOWAS on force deployment to Niger

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"Are you mad?" - Kwesi Pratt questions ECOWAS on force deployment to Niger

Kwesi Pratt, a respected Ghanaian journalist and managing editor of the Insight newspaper, has spoken out against plans by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by Nigerian President Ahmed Tinubu, to deploy West African soldiers into Niger to fight for the reinstatement of deposed President Mohammed Bazuom.

He questioned why the leaders of these countries had allowed terrorists such as Boko Haram to wreak havoc in Nigeria and insurgents to attack several of their countries without a coordinated deployment of troops, but had instead chosen to endanger the lives of soldiers in order to restore an overthrown President to power.

He questioned if the West African leaders are acting in good faith, considering the community’s issues and their failure to address them straight on.

He singled out President Ahmed Tinubu for criticising ECOWAS for even considering such a move in light of Boko Haram terrorists’ success in devastating areas of the country.

“You cannot fight Boko Haram. You’ve allowed your citizens to be kidnapped, to be killed, to be molested. Your villages have been ransacked by Boko Haram.

You can’t deal with Boko Haram, so you’re sending troops to Niger to battle to restore Niger’s president? Are you insane? You fled from Boko Haram. You conduct a conference in Abuja to plan your trip to Niger to wage war? What are you taking the Nigerian people for? Are you insane? “Are you insane?”He questioned.

Mr Pratt believes that ECOWAS soldiers would refuse to be sent into Niger because they do not want to wage a senseless war.

“…I believe very strongly that West African soldiers are human beings. They are sensible. They know their interests and the interests of their countries. And that no West African soldier is ready to go and die a foolish death in Niger,” he added.

West African leaders will gather today in Accra, Ghana, to discuss the deployment of soldiers into Niger to reinstall the country’s democratically elected president.

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Ato Forson to the government: Fixing the plummeting cedi must be more important to you than getting additional loans

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Dr. Forson emphasised that the Akufo-Addo administration's main worry should be the worrisome devaluation of the Ghanaian cedi. The Minority Leader stated that the quick decrease in the value of the local currency is producing major economic issues, such as company closures and increased unemployment. The Minority Leader voiced alarm about the ongoing depreciation of the Cedi, which he claims is raising the cost of products and services throughout the country. According to him, this is placing a lot of strain on regular Ghanaians and making their lives worse.

Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority Leader, has criticised President Akufo-Addo for convening an emergency parliamentary session at the request of the Majority caucus on Friday, May 17.

He said that there was no genuine emergency that required the recall of Parliament to accept a $150 million World Bank loan.

Dr Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister, declared at the opening of the parliamentary session that loan clearance was unnecessary.

He emphasised that the administration had already misappropriated cash from the first portion of the previously approved loan.

Dr. Forson emphasised that the Akufo-Addo administration’s main worry should be the worrisome devaluation of the Ghanaian cedi.

The Minority Leader stated that the quick decrease in the value of the local currency is producing major economic issues, such as company closures and increased unemployment.

The Minority Leader voiced alarm about the ongoing depreciation of the Cedi, which he claims is raising the cost of products and services throughout the country.

According to him, this is placing a lot of strain on regular Ghanaians and making their lives worse.

He advised the government to concentrate on stabilising the Cedi rather than obtaining new loans for what he referred to as spending.

Dr Forson emphasised the need for the government to put economic stability and civilian well-being first.

The Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam congressman maintained that solving the Cedi’s free slide should be the government’s top priority.

He cautioned that failing to do so would deepen economic suffering and jeopardise the country’s financial stability.

In conclusion, Dr Forson urged the government to reconsider its objectives and take quick measures to stabilise the economy rather than incur further debt.

He advised a change away from borrowing and towards policies that would strengthen the local currency and promote long-term economic prosperity.

“How is the approval of a US$150 million loan an urgent issue, when US$200 million for phase one approved by this House has been misapplied and not accounted for?”

“How is it an urgent matter for Parliament to be summoned from recess to approve a-US$150 million loan agreement at a time that this government is granting questionable US$450 million tax waiver?”

“Therefore, we want to make the point clear that there is no urgent matter before the House to warrant this recall.”

“Rt. Hon. Speaker, the urgent matter facing the people of Ghana, particularly businesses, traders and households is the free fall of the Cedi. This is a matter that concerns everyone. The depreciation of the Cedi should be an urgent issue for all of us,” he said.

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Full list of Ministerial and deputy Ministerial nominees approved by Parliament

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The organisation claims that the present economic and electricity issues are the product of the government's incompetence, which necessitates immediate action rather than new cabinet nominations. Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson announced ahead of the adoption of the Appointments Committee report that the caucus will not support the candidates' confirmation. “Mr Speaker, the Minority does not support the nominations of these ministers, because of what the country has gone through and continues to go through, including economic crisis, food insecurity, “dumsor”, and reckless borrowing. "Businesses are hurting. While the government has urged Ghanaians to tighten their belts, it has loosened its own.

President Akufo-Addo has nominated nine Ministers of State, and Parliament has confirmed them.

In his first ministerial change since 2017, the President appointed Dr Bernard Okoe Boye as Minister of Health, Lydia Seyram Alhassan as Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, and Dakoa Newman as Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, among others.

The House has also approved President Akufo-Addo’s Deputy Ministers of State nominations.

The Minority in Parliament walked out before President Akufo-Addo’s confirmation of Ministers and Deputy Ministers-designate.

The organisation claims that the present economic and electricity issues are the product of the government’s incompetence, which necessitates immediate action rather than new cabinet nominations.

Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson announced ahead of the adoption of the Appointments Committee report that the caucus will not support the candidates’ confirmation.

“Mr Speaker, the Minority does not support the nominations of these ministers, because of what the country has gone through and continues to go through, including economic crisis, food insecurity, “dumsor”, and reckless borrowing.

“Businesses are hurting. While the government has urged Ghanaians to tighten their belts, it has loosened its own.

“Piling up ministers and deputies does not signal to the Ghanaians the president understands the seriousness of the mess created.”

Full list of Ministerial and deputy Ministerial nominees

Health Hon. Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye; Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ophelia Mensah Hayford; Information Ms Fatimatu Abubakar, Gender; Children and Social Protection Dakoa Newman;  Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah; Sanitation and Water Resources Hon. Lydia Seyram Alhassan; Tourism, Arts and Culture Hon. Andrew Egyapa Mercer, MP, Greater Accra Region Hon. Titus Glover, Oti Region Mr. Daniel Machator.

The deputy ministerial nominees are for Information Sylvester Tetteh, MP; Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Vincent Ekow Assafuah; Communications and Digitalisation Hon. Charles Acheampong; Health Adelaide Ntim, MP Alexander Akwasi Acquah; Works and Housing Hon. Dr. Prince Hamidu Armah;
Lands and Natural Resources, Akwasi Konadu; Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Hon. Musah Abdul Aziz Ayaba; Energy John Kobina Sanie, Collins Adomako Mensah; Education Kingsley Nyarko; Employment and Labour Relations Hon. Festus Awuah Kwofie; Gender, Children and Social Protection Hon. Benjamin Sekyere Yeboah.”

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None of my appointees will indulge in mining – Mahama

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Mr. Mahama pledged that if elected president, he will establish a sustainable mining scheme in all mining communities that differs from the current community mining scheme and will heavily involve traditional leadership in the granting of licences to help regulate mining activities. "It will vary in every way from the current community mining plan, which has indisputably become a conduit for enriching party chairmen, DCEs, and other politically connected persons. "Indeed, under my administration, if you are a minister, a DCE, or an official and engage in mining activities, I will request that you quit and go mining. You can either be a governmental official or a businessman running a mine.

John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has stated that if elected president in December, he will not hesitate to order any of his officials involved in mining activities to quit.

According to the former President, his appointees would be obliged to focus on their primary mission of improving the country.

Speaking at the 3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale Mining at the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) in Sunyani, John Mahama stated that none of his appointees will participate in galamsey.

Mr Mahama pledged that if elected president, he would establish a sustainable mining scheme in all mining communities that differs from the current community mining scheme and will heavily involve traditional leadership in the granting of licences to help regulate mining activities.

“It will vary in every way from the current community mining plan, which has indisputably become a conduit for enriching party chairmen, DCEs, and other politically connected persons.

“Indeed, under my administration, if you are a minister, a DCE, or an official and engage in mining activities, I will request that you quit and go mining. You can either be a governmental official or a businessman running a mine.

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