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Fight against galamsey must be intensified – Inusah Fuseini



Former Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Inusah Fuseini, has called on government to spearhead a conscious and determined effort to stop the activities of illegal miners in the country.

According to him, their activities are causing dislocations in the eco-systems in mining communities and threatening the lives and livelihoods of locals.

His concern follows a case study report carried out by pathologist, Professor Paul Opoku Sampene Ossei, who has revealed that the exposure of expecting mothers to harmful toxins in the air, in water bodies and through the ingestion of foodstuff cultivated on contaminated lands has led to a rise in birth defects, stillbirths and maternal mortality in affected areas.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Inusah Fusieni noted that the phenomenon is not surprising as there has been ample scientific information concerning similar cases in the country.

“It is always known, a known fact that heavy metals can cause dislocations in the eco-system in the mining areas. I mean, we all know that. When they pollute the water bodies they can kill our fishes. I mean, when they kill our fishes we ingest them; we catch them and ingest them. They transfer unto us.

“So even grown-ups would suffer from kidney diseases because the heavy metals will finally lodge in the kidneys and impeded whatever development and function the kidney might serve the human body. I mean, babies clearly are the beginning of the human race and so in the mother’s womb they are insulated against external forces.

“But when you introduce, consciously or unconsciously, these heavy metals which are extremely hazardous to them in their mother’s womb I mean you will find deformities. And the scientists have known that, the environmentalists have known that. Just visit the hospitals.”

He said he was aware of the harmful effects of unregulated use of heavy metals in Ghana’s small scale sector while minister of lands and natural resources and added that it’s proliferation in these mining communities is largely due to ignorance on the harmful side effects they pose to both miners and locals.

“When I was Lands and Natural Resources Minister some eight years or so ago, it was already known to me that the use of heavy metals, unregulated use of heavy metals in the illegal mining sites was compromising our health, and the mothers and babies were likely to suffer the full brunt.

“I can tell you as a matter of fact that in one such visits to a mining area, we found little boy trying to open a bottle containing mercury with the mouth. Can you imagine how dangerous that activity was, and how he was overexposing himself to the dangers of mercury? He was ignorant, total absolute ignorance.”

Inusah Fuseini said while the country may tout earning a few billions from the small scale mining sector, the cost to lives and livelihood and the natural environment in general weighs heavier.

“That is why as we continue to count the cost of illegal mining activities, we must make a conscious determined effort to stop that illegal mining activity. In fact, the cause is that if you do a natural resource accounting and yesterday I read the minister of lands and natural resources, Abu Jinapor, saying that we had gotten 1.2 billion from small scale mining, in fact, we have lost more than we have gained from the small scale mining sector. We have lost more than we have gained if you count of illegal activities in the mining sector,” he said.

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Ghana patients in danger as nurses head for UK – medics



The recruitment of nurses by high-income countries from poorer nations is “out of control”, according to the head of one of the world’s biggest nursing groups.

The comments come as the BBC finds evidence of how Ghana’s health system is struggling due to the “brain-drain”.

Many specialist nurses have left the West African country for better paid jobs overseas.

In 2022 more than 1,200 Ghanaian nurses joined the UK’s nursing register.

This comes as the National Health Service (NHS) increasingly relies on staff from non-EU countries to fill vacancies.

Although the UK says active recruitment in Ghana is not allowed, social media means nurses can easily see the vacancies available in NHS trusts. They can then apply for those jobs directly. Ghana’s dire economic situation acts as a big push factor.

Howard Catton from the International Council of Nurses (ICN) is concerned about the scale of the numbers leaving countries like Ghana.

“My sense is that the situation currently is out of control,” he told the BBC.

“We have intense recruitment taking place mainly driven by six or seven high-income countries but with recruitment from countries which are some of the weakest and most vulnerable which can ill-afford to lose their nurses.”

The head of nursing at Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Gifty Aryee, told the BBC her Intensive Care Unit alone had lost 20 nurses to the UK and US in the last six months – with grave implications.

“Care is affected as we are not able to take any more patients. There are delays and it costs more in mortality – patients die,” she said.

She added that seriously ill patients often had to be held for longer in the emergency department due to the nursing shortages.

One nurse in the hospital estimated that half of those she had graduated with had left the country – and she wanted to join them.

‘All our experienced nurses gone’

The BBC found a similar situation at Cape Coast Municipal Hospital.

The hospital’s deputy head of nursing services, Caroline Agbodza, said she had seen 22 nurses leave for the UK in the last year.

“All our critical care nurses, our experienced nurses, have gone. So we end up having nothing – no experienced staff to work with. Even if the government recruits, we have to go through the pain of training nurses again.”

Smaller clinics are also affected by staff migration because even one nurse leaving a small health centre can have a large knock-on effect.

At Ewim Health Clinic in Cape Coast, one nurse has left their small emergency department and another has left the outpatients unit. Both nurses were experienced and had found jobs in the UK.

The chief doctor there, Dr Justice Arthur, said the effects were enormous.

“Let’s take services like immunisation of children. If we lose public health nurses, then the babies that have to be immunised will not get their immunisation and we are going to have babies die,” he told the BBC.

He said adult patients would also die if there were not enough nurses to look after them after surgery.

Most of the nurses that the BBC team spoke to wanted to leave Ghana due to the fact they could earn more elsewhere.

At Kwaso healthcare centre near the city of Kumasi, Mercy Asare Afriyie explained that she was hoping to find a job in the UK soon.

“The exodus of nurses is not going to stop because of our poor conditions of service. Our salary is nothing to write home about and in two weeks you spend it. It’s from hand to mouth.”

Ghanaian nurses told the BBC that in the UK they could more than seven times what they are receiving in Ghana.

Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo from Ghana’s Nurses and Midwives Association said her country’s healthcare system needed more help.

“If you look at the numbers, then it is not ethical for the UK to recruit from Ghana because the numbers of professional nurses compared to trainee or auxiliary nurses is a problem for us,” she said.

But she added that it was not possible to stop nurses from leaving as migration was a right and that the Ghanaian government needed to do more to persuade them to stay. The health ministry in the capital, Accra, declined to comment.

Ghana is on the World Health Organization’s list of 55 vulnerable countries, which have low numbers of nurses per head of population. The list – dubbed by some as the “red list” – is designed to discourage systematic recruitment in these countries.

The UK government recently gave £15m ($18.6m) to Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to help boost their healthcare workforces.

But the country is known to be looking at brokering a formal deal with Ghana whereby it might be able to recruit more proactively in return for giving the government there a sum of money per nurse.

It already has a similar agreement with Nepal.

But the ICN’s Mr Catton questioned whether it was enough.

He told the BBC that he believed such deals were “trying to create a veneer of ethical respectability rather than a proper reflection of the true costs to the countries which are losing their nurses”.

The WHO’s Director of Health Workforce, Jim Campbell, explained to the BBC that Brexit had been a factor in the UK turning to African countries for nurses to fill NHS vacancies.

“The labour market is extremely competitive around the world and, having closed off the potential labour market from European freedom of movement, what we’re seeing is the consequences of that in terms of attracting people from the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions.”

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Importers who qualify to register for VAT and have failed to do so will be charged an additional 12.5% – GRA



The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced to the general public especially importers, that with the passage of the VAT (Amendment) Act, 2022 (Act 1082), all importers who qualify to register for VAT and have failed to do so will from today Tuesday, June 6, 2023, be charged an additional 12.5% on the Customs value of taxable goods they import.

The GRA said the upfront payment is charged at importation on taxable goods imported in commercial quantities with a value of GHS 200,000 and above.

“Kindly note that the Upfront payment is NOT A NEW TAX,” the authority said.

It added “It is a compliance tool to encourage persons required to register for VAT to register and file tax returns in order to bring parity in the administration of VAT.”

“We, therefore, entreat all importers who qualify to register for VAT to make arrangements to register at the nearest Taxpayer Service Centre (TSC) to avoid the upfront payment,” the GRA stressed.

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Parliament resumes sittings today



The Eighth Parliament will return today, Tuesday, June 6 after weeks of recess.

It will be the commencement of the Second Meeting of the Third Session.

Notice was given on the resumption by Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin on Friday, May 19.

It was in pursuance of Standing Order 37 of the Parliament of Ghana.

The House will on Tuesday officially accept new member for Kumawu Constituency, Eric Yaw Anim.

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