Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kumasi Shoe Factory to be resuscitated


THE Ministry of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President’s Special Initiatives (PSIs) has launched a fact-finding mission into the activities of the GIHOC Shoe Factory in Kumasi as a way of helping to resuscitate the defunct factory.
The factory was divested to Newack Commercial Capital of the Czech Republic in 2003 but it has not been able to resuscitate the factory as of now.

Equipment at the factory is currently deteriorating, while thieves have made away with vital components of the machinery.
That, according to Mr Alan Kyerematen, the sector Minister, was deeply worrying to the government.
“We are going to hold negotiations with the Czechs and see how a way forward can be found,” he said in Kumasi on Friday as he paid a familiarisation tour of the factory premises.

He explained that if it came out that the Czechs were no longer interested in the factory and returned it to the government, then his outfit would collaborate with the Association of Shoe Makers in Kumasi to find a possible way of resuscitating the factory.
The shoe factory started operations in 1967 as a state enterprise under the Ghana Industrial Holdings Company (GIHOC), in partnership with a company in the then Czechoslovakia, and produced mainly industrial boots but occasionally produced fashionable shoes upon request.

Between 1973 and 1995, activities at the factory took a nosedive and it was subsequently listed for divestiture.

Some workers of the factory hung around the factory, hoping that a prospective buyer would come on board to engage them.
They subsequently produced shoes upon requisition and used the proceeds to pay themselves until 2003 when Newack came on board to close down the factory permanently.

Mr Kyerematen said Newack paid a deposit and the factory was subsequently handed over to it, hoping that it would resuscitate it.
Currently, part of the factory premises is being occupied by some private individuals, a church and some companies, all of whom are said to be paying rent to Newack.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kiosks owners try to outwit KMA decongestion team

A NEW development has emerged in the ongoing decongestion exercise in Kumasi, with owners of a number of container shops and kiosks sited at unauthorised locations painting their structures in the national colours of red, yellow and green in a bid to save those structures from demolition.
Most of those structures are located in areas like Asokwa, Asafo, Amakom and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Junction.
City authorities have, however, indicated that there is no policy that exempted such structures from demolition, even if their locations were illegal.
“The issue is where the structures are located and not the national colours,” Mr Charles Ampomah-Mensah, the Metropolitan Engineer, explained in an interview.
He said the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) decongestion team had been compelled to remove and demolish some of those structures painted in the national colours at Kaase because they had been wrongly sited.
He expressed the hope that the Kaase example would drum home the fact that the KMA meant business and would not favour anybody for one reason or another.
The metropolitan engineer indicated that some people might have been wrongly carried away by the decision of the KMA to spare kiosks belonging to the Department of National Lotteries (DNL) in the exercise. DNL kiosks are in red, yellow and green.
On the decongestion exercise, Mr Ampomah-Mensah said it was progressing steadily, explaining that the team was now concentrating on the eastern railway line from the Central Market through Alabar and Aboabo to join the eastern by-pass.
He said the KMA decongestion team had faced serious security problems in the exercise in parts of the Zongo area, saying the security personnel attached to the team had had to fire warning shots to dispel rampaging residents who pelted various missiles on the members of the team.
Mr Ampomah-Mensah explained that the KMA was not out to destroy business in the Kumasi metropolis through the decongestion exercise, as some people might want to believe.
“The informal sector in Kumasi is so big and contributing immensely to the economy of the metropolis and as such we will not do anything to destroy the sector,” he said.
He pointed out that many of the people selling on pedestrian walkways could move to safe areas but they would simply not do that, adding that said a such situation could compel the KMA to forcibly remove them, creating problems for the affected persons.
He said the KMA was talking with identified groups like car dealers and mechanics to ensure that they complied with the directives without any disturbances.

Decongestion exercise extended outside CBD

THE Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has extended the decongestion exercise to the ring roads in the metropolis.

This is after it has brought sanity to the central business district (CBD) of Adum by ejecting traders transacting business on pavements and streets and demolishing major slum areas alleged to be the hiding places of criminals, illegal drug peddlers and prostitutes.

Last week the KMA started clearing all kiosks, containers and structures along the route from the Anloga Junction, where the Ring Road begins, to the Airport Roundabout down to the Krofrom traffic lights.

According to officials of the task force who are carrying out the demolition exercise, it would be extended to the Sofoline and Santasi roundabouts and continue to the Asokwa Police Station area.

The exercise, which started barely two months ago, forms part of efforts by the KMA to restore Kumasi to its former glory as the Garden City of West Africa.

According the Transport Officer of the KMA, Mr Atta Boafo, the exercise would come to an end in two weeks’ time, “by which period we would have cleared all unauthorised structures from the ceremonial roads”.

Explaining further, he said some of the structures were used for both business and residential purposes, explaining that that was against KMA regulations on trading and residential accommodation.

He said in the course of the exercise, the task force encountered some obstacles but its desire to clear all unauthorised structures prevailed and that made it possible for it to successfully execute the programme.

Mr Boafo expressed concern about some recalcitrant residents who refused to remove their structures from the restricted areas, even when, prior to the exercise, the KMA had notified the affected persons to remove the structures before the task force hit the road.

He said while some of the affected persons complied with the directives and removed their structures, “the recalcitrant ones refused so we had no option but to remove them to pave the way for the beautification programme to begin in earnest”.

He said the decongestion exercise was on course, adding that it would be extended to Suame Magazine “as soon as we clear the ceremonial roads of all structures which undermine our beautification programme”.

He said artisans at Suame Magazine had extended their activities to the major roads in the area, creating vehicular and human traffic, as well as sanitation problems, in the metropolis.

Mr Boafo said the KMA had already notified the executive members of the artisans and the Ghana National Garage Owners Association about the upcoming exercise and those who would be affected had started clearing their structures.

He gave the assurance that the exercise would not be a nine days’ wonder but would be sustained “to enable residents to appreciate the need to comply with the directives of the KMA”.

Mr Boafo said the KMA had set up a monitoring team to stop recalcitrant traders from returning to the CBD to transact business on pavements and streets.

The team consisted of a few members, he said, adding, “But when we finish with the demolition exercise we will increase the number of the monitoring team to enable it to stamp its authority on all restricted areas which had been used over the years for business transactions.”

Meanwhile, a section of the residents affected by the decongestion exercise has complained bitterly about the “excesses of the assembly”.

They contended that the KMA was taking the exercise too far and venturing into areas where they were not supposed to go.

According to Mr Moses Boadi, a resident of Krofrom, whose container was removed by the demolition team, his structure was far from the main road and so he did not understand why it had to be removed.

He said the KMA’s action was affecting the businesses of a lot of people and, therefore, urged it to take a second look at it.

Other affected people who spoke expressed similar sentiments and urged the KMA to suspend the exercise.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Accra traders throng Kumasi for poultry products

There is an influx of traders and farmers into the Ashanti Region to buy poultry and poultry products for distribution in Greater Accra.
"That follows an increased bio-security and hygienic conditions in poultry farms in the region against a possible spread of Avian Influenza (Bird flu)," Dr Thomas Addai, the Ashanti Regional Veterinary Officer has said.
Ghana recorded the outbreak of the deadly bird flu at Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo region and Tema in Greater Accra and efforts are underway to prevent the spread of the disease beyond the two areas.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Kumasi, Dr Addai said with the security measures underway in the region, “unless an airplane sprays the virus into the region, poultry farmers could be assured of the safety of their birds.
“However, we should know that we are not living in isolation”, he said and added that everything humanly possible was being done to prevent a possible spread to the region.
Dr Addai said the demand for poultry products in the region especially from Accra had increased and that he had been called upon on numerous occasions to issue permits for the products to be transported to Accra.
“I just issued a permit for some birds to be transported from the region to Prampram in the Greater Accra region”, he said.
Avian Influenza is caused by an orthomyxovirus or influenza virus and can survive for considerable lengths of time outside of the host and birds are infected through contact with other birds, mechanical vectors such as vehicles and equipment and personnel travelling between farms, markets and abattoirs.
Precautionary requirements include cleaning and disinfection of premises and the establishment of a bio-security barrier to help prevent spread of disease.
Dr Addai said that was essentially what was being done in many poultry farms and other areas in the Ashanti region with the assistance of the Veterinary Services Department.
Avian Influenza is a potentially devastating disease, predominantly of chickens and turkeys, although the virus can also affect game birds (migrating birds).
Dr Addai explained that the migrating birds normally preferred to land in wetland areas and explained that there are security measures also in place to ensure that, the disease did not spread from such areas.
There are three wetland zones in the Ashanti Region - Owabi, Bosomtwe and Nobewam - and the Veterinary Officer explained that in collaboration with Wildlife Officers, they had been carrying out random surveillance in the wetland areas hoping that any of the migrating birds found dead could be tested to see if it had been infected, but that has proved negative as of now.
He said they have also been conducting active surveillance activities involving sample collection from poultry farms all of whom have proved negative.
Dr Addai said with the measures instituted, a barrier has been placed to prevent the virus from spreading and said there was an active search ongoing in the region together with an intensified awareness creation on the disease.
He however expressed regret that the Regional outfit of the Veterinary Services was yet to be adequately resourced in terms of laboratory requirements and gadgets to deal with actual outbreaks, in case there was one.
Dr Addai proposed that from the recent bird flu cases in the country and the world at large, not everybody at all should be allowed to set up a poultry farm in future.
He called for the introduction of a policy that would require all prospective poultry farmers to register and be granted a license like it was being done with pharmacy shops and expressed the hope that would help curtail other poultry diseases.
“In this case, you could be sure of poultry farmers who would follow bio-security and hygienic conditions set out for them”, he said.