Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kumasi business district decongested

The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) on Monday night began its long awaited decongestion exercise in the central business district (CBD) of the Kumasi metropolis.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive, Madam Patricia Appiagyei, led a team of Police, Military, Fire Service and KMA Guards to demolish all wooden structures in the CBD in the exercise, which started at 9pm.Several wooden structures being used by traders, such as tables and shelves were demolished from the Unicorn House through the Prempeh II Street to Kejetia as well as the area in front of the Kumasi Central Market and PZ.
Madam Appiagyei warned that any recalcitrant trader who returned to the street and pavement would be ruthlessly dealt with and prosecuted in a court of law.
“We are very serious this time. We are going to apply the law”, the chief executive said.
She said the KMA had resolved to ensure decency in the metropolis and create sanity on the streets to enhance the movement of vehicular traffic and pedestrians, hence the decision to decongest the CBD.
She said the KMA was determined to sustain the exercise as part of an overall effort to bring Kumasi back to its glorious days.

Early this year, the KMA issued a directive to the traders to quit the streets and gave January 15, 2007 as the deadline, but the traders continued to remain on the streets and pavements, doing brisk business by displaying their wares on pedestrian walkways and streets in the CBD to compound the congestion in the area.
The operations of the traders created problems for motorists and pedestrians leading to accidents, some of which claimed life.
Public outcry about the inability of the KMA to address the congestion created by the traders made the metropolitan authority embark on the exercise to rid the streets and pavements of the CBD of petty traders and hawkers, following an unsuccessful attempt a year ago.
To help ensure the success of this particular exercise, a monitoring team has been instituted to ensure that the traders do not return to the streets and pavements.
Unlike in Accra where the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (MA) had to build a new market for petty traders, the KMA improved on satellite markets in the metropolis and have asked the traders to move there for their business transactions but the traders have refused to move there, arguing that the shops at the satellite markets are not adequate.
Most traders converged at the CBD on Tuesday morning with the hope of undertaking normal business transactions only to find their structures demolished and a monitoring team comprising KMA City Guards hanging around to prevent them from doing business on pavements and streets.
The traders were seen roaming, hoping that the City Guards would move away to enable them to resume business.

Work progresses at Kumasi Sports Stadium

Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Youth and Sports inspecting progress of constructional work on the Kumasi Sports Stadium.
This was when the committee, led by its Chairman, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah inspected ongoing constructional work on the Kumasi Sports Stadium.

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The members after touring the constructional site expressed appreciation about the progress of work and expressed the hope that the contractor would be able to finish the work on schedule.
The Chairman, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah for instance said he was particularly happy that the facility was being developed for it to be disability friendly such that physically challenged persons could be able to access all parts of the stadium on their own.
Mr Stephano Ramaella, Managing Director of Consar Limited, contractors of the project said all concrete works at the stadium would be completed by the end of April.
He said his outfit was currently having problems with cement with the recent hikes in the price.
“We have been buying cement at 95,000 cedis and 100,000 cedis every week.”
He said because of the price they have been buying in smaller quantities of 50 and 100 bags every week with the hope that the price would return to normalcy.
He said he has spoken with an importer to supply them with cement in case the situation does not improve so as to be able to complete the project on time.
He said the project was ahead of time and was scheduled to complete on time.
He said the stadium has now been designed to have four dressing rooms, an elevator at the VIP lounge, and four masts to host 300 bulbs, 75 on each mast to serve as flood lights.
Grassing of the playing field has commenced and Mr Ramella said the equipment for the tartan tracks has also arrived and would soon been constructed.
The VIP stand has also been designed to take a capacity of 5000 people as compared to the previous one which took only about 2000.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Looming water crisis in Kumasi, as encroachment on Barekese Dam forest reserve for farming purposes intensifies

The water level in the Barekese Dam, which supplies water to the Kumasi metropolis and its environs, is gradually reducing pre-empting a looming water crisis in Kumasi in the coming years.
According to the Ashanti Regional Chief Manager of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Mr Obeng Boateng, a recent survey of the raw water reservoir indicated that the original volume of 35.3 million m3 has reduced to 25million m3.
He said the reduction was partly due to the clearing of the forest reserve, which protects the catchments of the Offin River, which empties into the Barekese Dam by neighbouring villages for farming activities.Pix. Parts of the forest which has been burnt in readiness for a farm.
On a visit to the forest reserve to inspect the extent of encroachment by some journalists and staff of the GWCL on World Water Day, it was detected that there was also serious logging going on in the forest reserve to the extent that trees planted by a timber firm in Kumasi, LLL for the GWCL have all been logged.
Farms have been constructed very close to the river bank with a number of vegetable farms springing up along the river bank.
At the time of the visit, parts of the forest had been cleared awaiting burning to be turned into farms.
Although the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has on numerous occasions appealed to neighbouring villages to desist from clearing the forest cover that seems to be falling on deaf ears.Pix. Parts of the forest which has been cleared in readiness for farming.
The Chiefs and people of Penteng, one of the neighbouring communities along the Offin river for instance have vowed to continue clearing the forest for farming purposes unless compensation were paid to them.
They claim compensation for the land have not been paid to them since the construction of the dam 35years ago and as a result their only source of livelihood depended on farming in the forest.
They claim while other communities such as Nkwantakese and Denase have all been paid their compensations, theirs were yet to be paid.
They also claim that they have on numerous occasions applied to supplied with pipe-borne water from the GWCL and have not received any responses even though other neighbouring communities such as Nkwantakese and Denase have all been getting pipe-borne water from the GWCL.
The Regional Chief Manager of GWCL explained that the delays in the payment of the compensations were as a result of inaccuracies in the documentation, which the Land Valuation Board was trying to resolve.
He said it was true that some of the people have been paid crop compensation with others yet to be paid and appealed to the residents of Penteng to exercise restraint and desist from encroaching in the forest reserve.
“Lack of patience is destroying this all important national asset”, he said.
Mr Boateng said the forest cover is purposely to prevent silt of rain water from entering the dam and this is to prevent siltation as well as prevent rapid evaporation of the dam from the intense sun and also to encourage rains around the area to fill the dam.
He said the trend of encroachment if not checked could put the dam in danger in the near future.
The idea of the Barekese Dam was muted in 1965 and a total land coverage of 10, 723.25 acres was acquired. Some villages were resettled at Asuofua.Pix. Parts of the cleared forest
Mr Boateng said that dredging of the dam was currently required if they have to increase the treatment plant capacity to more than 24million gallons a day.
The dam was originally designed to treat 48million gallons a day at full capacity but the machinery currently available can produce 18millions a gallons a day.
At the Barekese end of the forest someone has also constructed a fishpond on the boundary of the catchments forest by blocking one of the streams.
Mr Boateng said the blockage was seriously affecting the dam, especially during the dry season but efforts to get the owner of the fishpond to dismantle has fallen on deaf ears.
“Kumasi cannot lose this dam. It is the water pot and therefore the life of Kumasi”.Picture shows journalists glancing through the map of the forest reserve
Mr Boateng said the government was in the process of rehabilitating both the Owabi and Barekese Headworks and also expand the Barekese system by additional six million gallons a day.
He said the contract for the project has been signed and people should be grateful and not allow impatience to disrupt the important programme.
The Regional Chief Manager said water supply the world over was not sufficient and particularly in African and Asian countries and that was the reason why governments have been spending much of their budgets on water supply.
He called for support in the protection of water sources.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Graphic launches Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regional newspaper

The Deputy Ashanti Regionl Minister, Mr Osei Assibey-Antwi, has launched a regional newspaper for the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions being published by the Graphic Commmunications Group Limited (GCGL) with a call on the company to use the paper to positively influence the pace of development in its catchment area.
He observed that, effective communication was essential for rapid socio-economic and political development of every community.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that the new paper, Graphic Nsempa, would chart a course that would further underline the position of the GCGL as a strong leader in the newspaper business of the country.
The weekly newspaper would be on the newstands on Mondays and would concentrate on the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions.
It would be principally used to create a platform for all stakeholders in the two regions to interact and shape their development agenda.
The paper is also to be used to partner the people of the two regions to promote their traditional values, culture and tourism among other issues as a way of enhancing their growth and raise their standard of living.Picture shows (L-R) Elvis Ayeh, Acting MD of GCGL and GM Newspapers, Rt Rev Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, Anglican Bishop of Kumasi,Board Chairman of GCGL, Osahene Offei Kwasi Agyemang IV glancing through a copy of the Graphic Nsempa. This was after the launching ceremony.
Mr Assibey-Antwi said the people of the two regions and residents of Kumasi in particular were pleased that such a newspaper had made its debut.
He said he was very much aware of the contributions of the GCGL to the growth of the media landscape and its positive impact on socio-economic development in the country and that it was, therefore, not surprising that, “they are breaking new grounds in the media landscape”.
The Deputy Minister said the launch of Graphic Nsempa was quite significant and was a manifestation of the efforts of the GCGL in redefining its role in societal development.
“It is against this background that I wish to remind you as professional communicators to be objective in your approach to duty”, the Deputy Minister said.Dep Ashanti Regional Minister, Osei Assibey Antwi launching Graphic Nsempa.
Introducing the paper, the Board Chairman of GCGL, Osahene Offei Kwasi Agyemang IV, said apart from educating, informing and motivating the people in the two regions and beyond, the paper would later be replicated in the other regions as part of the company’s growth and expansion strategy.
“As a business entity, the company is constantly scanning the business environment to identify opportunities for growth and profitability”, the Board Chairman said.
“In doing so, the company has identified the publication of regional newspapers as a growth strategy”, he said and added that the project took almost four years to accomplish as tours had to be embarked on in all regions to key stakeholders about the concept and to take their concerns on board.A section of the audience at the launching ceremony.
The Board Chairman added that the project was now on a pilot basis and that it would be evaluated subsequently and replicated in the rest of the regions, which have been zoned into Eastern and Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West, Greater Accra and Western and Central regions.
Osahene Agyemang said the GCGL’s strategy of product diversification for growth had made it imperative to have a paper that regionally identified the concerns and the needs of the target.
He said the paper would act as the voice of the people in terms of business, social values, politics, which eventually would promote regional integration, which would embolden them financially and economically.Picture shows (L-R) Elvis Ayeh, Acting MD of GCGL and GM Newspapers, Rt Rev Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, Anglican Bishop of Kumasi,Board Chairman of GCGL, Osahene Offei Kwasi Agyemang IV glancing through a copy of the Graphic Nsempa. This was after the launching ceremony.
The Acting Managing Director and General Manager, Newspapers of GCGL, Mr Elvis D, Ayeh said the company had been organising health screening exercises in Accra and would soon extend it to the Kumasi Metropolis.
Rt Rev Daniel Yinkah Sarfo, the Anglican Bishop of Kumasi who chaired the occasion, called on school children to develop reading habits.
He commended the GCGL for its qualitative articles in its newspapers, wider news coverage and also coming out with a new paper.
The GCGL burst unto the Gold Coast (now Ghana) media scene with a daily newspaper, Daily Graphic in 1950 and followed it up with The Mirror three years later.
Three decades later in 1985, the Graphic Sports was launched. Subsequently, the Graphic Showbiz, the company’s fourth title was also published to take care of the arts and entertainment industry in 1998.
The Junior Graphic was introduced in 2000 to cultivate reading habits among Ghanaian youth, especially school children.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ashanti region goes to Burkina Faso to tap Agric experience

The Ashanti region had struck a partnership deal with the North Central Region of Burkina Faso to develop various areas of agriculture in the two areas.
The move is to ensure that farmers and agriculture extension officers in both regions exchange ideas in the area of livestock rearing, vegetable and crop farming and also to improve upon trade links for mutual benefit.
To help concretise the partnership, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Osei Assibey-Antwi led a delegation from the region to participate in an AGRO-SYLVO-PASTORIALISM forum at Boulsa, which is one of the important communities in the North Central region of Burkina Faso.
The trip was to enable the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinating Council (ARCC) concretise the partnership deal, which was first initiated by the former Regional Minister, Mr S. K. Boafo two years ago.Picture shows Mr Osei Assibey-Antwi (3rd right in suit) and Mr George Badu-Yeboah, Ashanti Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ashanti Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture with some officials from Burkina Faso touching a big cow at the Forum at Boulsa.
The Agro-sylvo-pastoral system of agriculture involves the integration of trees, crops and livestock where residues from crop and vegetable farms are not just thrown away but used in feeding livestock.
Cattle in Burkina Faso for instance are far stronger and bigger than those in Ghana. Therefore livestock farmers in Ghana are to go to Burkina Faso to learn from their experience to be able to breed stronger and bigger cows in Ghana.
According to Mr Antwi Ghana had reached a stage of declined soil fertility and scarcity of fuel wood in the coastal and northern belts of the country where cow dung, grass and cassava sticks were being used as fuel wood. Mr Osei Assibey-Antwi and Mr George Badu-Yeboah, Ashanti Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Governor of the North Central Region of Burkina Faso, Madam Fatimata Legina admiring some handicrafts at the forum.
In such instances, it was prudent that the nation try to reverse the trend through the introduction of Agro forestry practices into the farming systems and one of such systems was Agro-sylvo-pastoral, which involved the integration of trees, crops and livestock and with ecological and economic interactions among those components.
According to the Deputy Minister it was a source of great pride and inexplicable joy to have struck such a partnership deal.
Accompanying the Deputy Minister of Ashanti on the trip were, Mr Ernest Yaw Kwarteng, Chief Director at the ARCC, Mr Charles Oteng, a Deputy Director at the ARCC, Dr Kwasi Osafo Ampadu, Ashanti Regional Engineer of Department of Feeder Roads, Mr George Badu-Yeboah, Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Pastor Augustine Kyei, 2006 Ashanti Regional Best Farmer and Madam Alice Botchway, Regional Director of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWAC).
Mr Antwi said the visit was yet another mile stone in the warm, friendly and mutually relationship between the North Central Region of Burkina Faso and Ashanti region.
He expressed appreciation for the invitation to be part of the programme and said such a visit was a demonstration of close linkage and collaboration between Burkina Faso and Ghana and more particularly between the North Central Region and Ashanti region.
He said being two sister ECOWAS states in the sub region and sharing common boundary, conditions were not so largely different from each other hence the need to be partners.
The Deputy Regional Minister said as developing countries, agriculture played an important role in the economic and social life of Ghana, as it served as a direct and indirect source of livelihood for a considerable segment of the population.
It was observed that even though the quality of soil in Burkina Faso was not as rich as what pertained in Ghana, the farmers were able to use it to produce very good vegetables such as tomatoes and onions.

Throwing light on the potentials of Ashanti to the Burkinabe community, the Deputy Minister said the total arable land area in Ashanti was about 57percent with about 38 percent of it under cultivation of various crops.
He said about 45 percent of the total population of Ashanti was engaged in farming as their main occupation where crop production creates a large supply of by-products that provides good grounds for a flourishing intensive livestock industry.
Mr George Badu-Yeboah, Ashanti Regional Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture said it had been observed that palm oil and citrus for instance were not produced on a large scale in Burkina Faso hence Ghanaian farmers could take advantage and produce in large quantities to export.
He said it had also been observed that farmers in Burkina Faso used a lot of irrigation on their farms hence the need to encourage farmers in Ghana to also not only rely on rain water but develop small systems, which they could use on their farms.
The Governor of the North Central Region of Burkina Faso, Madam Fatimata Legina, at the opening of the forum said the region was mainly agrarian and was the first to grow green beans in Burkina Faso.
She said farmers in the area were very good producers of tomatoes, onions and cereals and that 11 percent of the vegetables in Burkina were from the region.
Madam Fatimata said it was a great opportunity that her region had struck a partnership deal with Ashanti to improve upon trade links and that the government of Burkina Faso had even earmarked CFA 46billion to help revamp the agric sector.
Other countries which participated in the forum included Cote d’ Ivoire and Niger and the governor said such partnerships would help improve upon the brotherliness between the three countries.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Adum "ashawo" area gutted by fire

Properties worth millions of cedis were destroyed on Monday night when fire swept through the premises of some residents at Adum in Kumasi.
The incident happened at an area near the Challenge Book Shop where "ashawo" ladies are noted for operating their nocturnal businesses in the metropolis.
The fire, which started at about 3am destroyed a number of properties including television sets, clothing, food and cash.
Pix some of the items destroyed by the fire.

World Bank orders change of Asafo interchange contractor for non-performance

THE World Bank has asked the Ministry of Transportation to look for a new contractor to complete the Asafo Market Interchange in Kumasi.
This has become necessary following the rejection by the Bank of new estimates quoted by Sarroch Gelfi, the Italian firm working on the project.
Although the exact amount quoted by the contractors has not been disclosed, the work remaining to be carried out includes the asphalting of the interchange and the provision of street and traffic lights.
This came to light when the acting Minister of Transportation, Felix Owusu Agyepong and his deputy, Magnus Opare Asamoah, inspected the project last Friday.
They were accompanied by the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Osei Assibey Antwi and officials of the Ministry and Ghana Highways Authority. The inspection was part of a three-day working tour of major road projects in the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions.
The estimated ¢128 billion Interchange project, which stated in 2004, was expected to have been completed in December 2006. However frequent work stoppages resulting from workers unrest and some changes in the project design have combined to increase the original cost of ¢76 billion, with only 75 per cent of work completed.
In view of the latest development however the completion date is now uncertain.
According to Sekyere Owusu Antwi, Resident Engineer of the project, the appointment of a new contractor will soon be advertised.
Mr. Agyepong expressed the hope that the advertisement would start early to expedite the work to avoid further delay which might cause public disaffection against the government.
The project is the first by the construction firm Sarroch Gelfi in the country and involves the construction of railway overpass bridges and four ramps and pedestrian and traffic management facilities.
There will also be a steel footbridge over the railway to link Roman Hill to Adum.
Earlier, Mr Agyapong had inspected the 47 kilometre Accra-Kumasi trunk road from Asuna to Asaman, and the 41.7 kilometre stretch from Konongo to Kumasi.
The Asuna-Asaman portion is estimated at 15.9 million dollars, funded by the Ghana Government, while the Konongo – Kumasi stretch is estimated at 40 million dollars to be funded with a grant by the Danish International Development Agency.
The Thirty-nine kilometers of the Konongo-Kumasi portion will be single carriage-way from Konongo to Ejisu and then a dual–carriageway stretching, from Ejisu through Fumesua to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.
A 15 – 26 kilometre by–pass, at Nkawkaw which runs through a virgin terrain, estimated at 11.215 million dollar was also inspected.
The contractor, Sonitra, gave assurance that the work which started in September 2005 would be completed in August this year while the Nkawkaw by-pass, will now extend to 2008. SOURCE-GHANAIAN TIMES