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President Akufo-Addo Inaugurates Inter-Ministerial Committee On SDGs

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Thursday, 7th September, 2017, inaugurated a 15-member Inter-Ministerial Committee for the implementation of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At the ceremony, which was also held to commemorate the President’s appointment as co-Chair of the Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons by UN Secretary General, António Guterres, President Akufo-Addo charged the Committee to discharge its duties efficiently, and ensure that Ghana becomes a shining example for the implementation of the SDGs.

The Committee, which is chaired by the Minister for Planning, Prof. Gyan Baffuor, has the Ministers for Trade and Industry; Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Finance; Food and Agriculture; Attorney General; Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Monitoring and Evaluation; Education; Health; Sanitation and Water Resources; Local Government and Rural Development; Gender, Children and Social Protection; Employment and Labour Relations; and Fisheries and Aquaculture as members.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the completion of the SDGs in 2030, presents this generation with the great opportunity to fight inequality on all fronts, wipe out extreme poverty, tackle the issues of climate change and reverse the degradation and unsustainable use of our environmental resources.

“This Agenda is an investment in our future – the future of our youth and that of our children. We are obliged to leave them with an enduring legacy of a richer, more stable, more secure and more peaceful world,” he added.

The President revealed that Ghana has taken up the challenge of the SDGs, and has captured them in its co-ordinated programme for economic and social development policies, which, in accordance with the dictates of Article 36(5) of the Constitution of the Republic, will be presented to Parliament in its next session, starting in October.

Reiterating government’s commitment to “leaving no one behind”, the President stressed that “the programmes and policies that have been outlined in our co-ordinated programme are all hinged towards the realisation of the SDGs, both at the national and local levels.”

Whilst acknowledging that the realization of the SDGs will only be as good as how well they are financed, and how robustly results are tracked and measured, President Akufo-Addo noted that achieving the SDGs will require all the resources the country can muster.

“We must, therefore, be efficient and effective not only in mobilising resources, but also in eliminating pervasive revenue leakages, and addressing misallocation and misuse of public funds. Crucially, if we are to succeed in enhancing domestic financing of the SDGs, we must address the unacceptable leakage of resources in the form of wanton corruption,” he stressed.

In urging the need to look beyond the benevolence of others to finance implementation of the SDGs agenda, President Akufo-Addo was confident that Ghana, and, indeed, Africa, has the means to finance the implementation of the SDGs.

“We cannot achieve the SDGs with an aid-dependent mentality. This is the inspiration and the passion behind my vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid,” he added.

The President continued, “the SDGs are intended to be the boldest and loudest articulation of a collective ambition for development the world has ever seen.  They have helped focus the world’s attention on a common agenda of development. We have a unique opportunity to transform our world, to protect this planet, and bring prosperity to all by diligently implementing the SDGs.”

Co-Chair of Advocates Group

Stressing the importance of his appointment as co-Chair of Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons for SDGs, which was announced on 11th April, 2017, by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the appointment was not about him, but rather about Ghana as a mark of trust in her leaders.

“It is one which honours the Ghanaian people, and honours the achievements we chalked in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. Furthermore, it is positive acknowledgement of our welcome adherence to the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability in the governance of our nation,” he added.

As co-Chair of the SDGs Advocates Group, the President stated that he is to work closely with fellow advocates to promote the SDGs, as part of an ambitious and transformative agenda of global development.

The SDG advocates are to: promote the universal character of the SDGs, including their commitment to leave no one behind; promote the engagement of new stakeholders in the implementation and financing of the SDGs; encourage partnerships with government, civil society and the private sector to share knowledge and resources; and raise awareness for the integrated nature of the SDGs.

4 Jospong Officials Quizzed By Police Over Questionable Contracts

The police administration says it is ready to prosecute persons against whom adverse findings will be made in the ongoing investigations into the Jospong scandal.

Accra Police PRO Shiela Buckman says four officials of the Jospong Group of companies have so far been interrogated in a scandal that has seen the media bleed with controversy.

The staff of Multimedia including Manasseh Azure-Awuni, whose investigations triggered the Jospong scandal will also be interrogated on Monday, Buckman revealed.

She will not say exactly when other officials will be invited for questioning on the matter.

It has been two weeks of revelations by Joy News into how the Jospong Group of companies together with ex government officials some of whom were at the Local Government ministry robbed the various assemblies.

The revelations were fruits of a nine month investigation which saw Manasseh Azure Awuni travel to the various assemblies across the country investigating how questionable contracts signed with the Jospong Group of companies left the Assemblies poorer and dirtier whilst the companies became richer.

In the first of two revelations five companies all subsidiaries of Jospong won a contract to supply the Assemblies one million waste bins and 900,000 bins at a contract cost of more some $74 million.

Checks by Joy News indicate that the price of the waste bins may have been inflated from ¢150.00 which was the market price for each bin to ¢235.00 the cost of which will amount to some ¢130 million.

Further checks indicate that the Assemblies did not even need to sign the contract at all because there were already thousands of waste bins at the various assemblies waiting to be transported to various homes, offices across the country.

The contract was sole sourced under questionable circumstances. Apart from that one, the Collins Dauda led Local Government ministry in 2015 signed a ¢98 million fumigation contract allowing the Jospong Group of companies access to spray markets, institutions across the country for a period of four months.

The contract objective was to fight cholera, which in 2014 killed over 100 Ghanaians across the country.

Interestingly, at the time the ¢98 million contract was signed with 11 subsidiaries of the Jospong Group of companies, Zoomlion another company belonging to the Jospong Group had fumigation contract already existing, a contract which millions of cedis being deducted from the Assemblies accounts every month.

Checks by Joy News indicate the Sole Sourcing contract was again awarded under questionable circumstances but the most worrying of it is the companies in most cases failed to do the jobs for which they were paid.

A good number of Assembly men and women claimed they had no idea of the fumigation contract and had never sighted Jospong officials undertaking any fumigation even though monies are deducted at source by the Central government and given to Jospong.

The company has denied any wrongdoing.

However on Wednesday, the Police CID announced it had begun investigations into the matter.

Shiela Buckman urged anyone with information on the contract to make it available for speedy investigation.

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