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Ghana is important to the US – Okudzeto Ablakwa



Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says the decision by the United States’ Vice President, Kamala Harris, to visit Ghana first on her three-leg Africa tour is testament to how important Ghana is to the US.

According to him, the Americans over the years have cultivated a strategic alliance with Ghana spanning public health, security, education and trade.

He noted that the Vice President’s visit to the country was significant as it was a continuation and preservation of that strong alliance.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he said, “the symbolism is significant and it tells you that the example that we are on the African continent, our stability, our democratic credentials and the fact that we remain a role model nation for many African countries despite our setbacks particularly in the economic arena.”

He added that it was for this same strategic alliance that Mrs. Harris has committed to put in a word on behalf of Ghana at the IMF as the country seeks a bailout from the Bretton Woods institution.

“…All of that clearly they are all concerned that Ghana, the huge reputation we have, the fact that we are such a strategic ally, they would not want the Ghanaian economy to collapse,” he said.

On other collaborations between the US and Ghana, he said Ghana being made the deployment centre for key Ebola medical aid and support during the Ebola epidemic was also as a result of the long-held alliance.

“…The fact that Ghana has been a hub for all kinds of, you know, deployments, if you look at even when Ebola struck, remember that President Mahama had made a case at the United Nations that the US and other Western nations had agreed to use Ghana as the logistics hub, through which they were more comfortable to work through Ghana to reach out to the affected nations.

“You look at even the Millennium Challenge account; you’ll notice that Ghana was a special case from AGOA all the way. And so in terms of all of those strategic alliances, in health, public health, in security, in education in trade, we really are an important nation, to the Americans,” he said.

Okudzeto Ablakwa said that strategic alliance has become more critical now that the US is trying to consolidate her waning influence on the continent in the face of China’s rapid expansion on the continent and the Russians attacks on Ukraine which has received wide support from African countries.

“Don’t forget that currently, in terms of the geopolitics, we have a seat at the Security Council, we are one of the 10 non-permanent countries At the Security Council. And with what is going on every now and then there is a critical vote at the United Nations on the on-going Russia Ukraine conflict.

“And remember that Africa has not been, if you like, decided, voting in a unanimous way. The last time there was a count Africa was virtually divided. A good number of African countries abstained, and the Americans will want to have more allies.

“On the case of Ghana, you will say that our President has already committed so that gives further impetus. The Americans feel more comfortable to deal with that. But they would want to consolidate that, you know, alliance,” he said.

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Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products



The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.

The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.

The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.

Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”

He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”

He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.

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Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia



Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.

According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.

Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.

“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”

“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.

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Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency



The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.

Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.

Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.

“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”

“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.

The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.

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