Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Local Enterprises and Skills Development Program (LESDEP), a private company fully supported by government and which has a unique business model rarely found anywhere in the world, was on Wednesday April 27, 2011 launched in Tamale by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta Mills.

LESDEP which is expected to train and equip 20,000 unemployed people by 2012, is being replicated in all 170 Metropolitan, Municipal or District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana, where unemployed youth could take advantage now to gain some employable skills.

It is extremely simple in its ideology in the sense that, a potential beneficiary only need to walk to his/her MMDA and register for free, after which basic training in business and entrepreneurial management skills is offered to the person to enable he/she acquire the necessary capabilities for effective management of their enterprises.

After training, the beneficiaries are given the equipment of their choice based on the economic potential of the equipment in each particular district. The cost of the equipment shall however be repaid on installment basis and shall be spread over 6 months to 2 years period.

LESDEP is a bold initiative that makes an example to the world on the unemployment issue, as it gives away massive financial assistance to its trainees, which is still unmatched in the world.

Besides, the company goes to great lengths in selecting the most profitable business opportunities such as mobile and laptop repairing, construction, revenue collection, agro processing and packaging, fisheries, agriculture, local foods and catering, batik, tie and die, beauty salon, ICT training, machine shops and developing customized modules for its trainees. These training programmes in all trade sectors would be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare and other agencies including National Youth Council, National Youth Employment Programme, GRATIS Foundation, Opportunities and Industrialization Centres, among others.

This unique initiative by President Mills according to LESDEP National Program Manager, Mr. Adam Gariba, intends to serve as employment creation through the acquisition of trades, vocational and entrepreneurial skills and serve as a means of enhancing the socio-economic standards of the youth in the country.

He said it also aims at developing the informal sector as a means of contributing towards national development and also support Small and Medium Enterprises to develop and play active roles in development programmes such as the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), oil and gas industry among others.

So far, 6,000 people have been enrolled into the program as an additional 4,000 shall be recruited before the end of this year, 2011.

Meanwhile, contrary to earlier speculations that the President would be met with violence in Tamale as a result of early threats issued by some disgruntled National Democratic Congress (NDC) youth, President Mills received a glorious entry to Tamale with several hundreds of party youth meeting him on arrival at the Tamale Airport.

It took him and his entourage about five hours to reach the Central Business District of Tamale from the Airport which is only about 9 miles away from Tamale town, due to the inability of his convoy to penetrate or move through the crowd easily.

What actually worsened the situation and brought Tamale to a standstill was the other large number of onlookers who lined up on the edges of the road, just to wave at and catch glimpse of the President. The President had no choice than to return the greetings from the crowd through the top window of his vehicle by waving his miniature flag in his right hand.

However, there was heavy security presence made up of the military, police and fire service, ostensibly due to the instability that preceded his visit some three weeks ago.


A report by the Northern Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has shown that, the region is making significant gains in the area of maternal health, and part of this achievement, has been attributed to frequent informative and educative reportage by media practitioners in the region.

According to Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr. Jacob Mahama who disclosed this to journalists during a bi-annual advocacy and updating seminar for media personnel on maternal health issues in Tamale, the media over the years has been identified as a key player in the promotion of positive health behaviours in the region, which he indicated is worthy of emulation by other stakeholders.

He disclosed that there has been a significant improvement in Antenatal Care in the region especially between 2009 and 2010 with 120% to 125% attendance, postnatal 85% to 86% and maternal deaths also reduced from 96% in 2009 to 85% in 2010.

Dr. Mahama added that, between January and February 2011, the region has recorded 12 cases of maternal deaths with “all the cases being institutional ones” that is, records from the hospitals in the various districts.

He also mentioned other health related problems where the region chalked some successes which include 85% treatment coverage for persons who contracted tuberculosis and supervised delivery 37%.

The Deputy Director of Public Health however attributed the causes of maternal death to postpartum haemhorrage constituting 19%, anaemia 16% and eclampsia 15%.

He further highlighted that, no single case of guinea worm has been reported yet since 2010 till date.


The nation’s leading power generator, Volta River Authority (VRA) has turned 50 years this year, with the resolve to deregulate the power sector of the economy by allowing private companies or individuals to come in and invest.

VRA’s posture is not to prevent competition but to position itself to thrive and even be more successful in the emerging new environment; Chief Executive of VRA, Mr. Kweku Andoh Awotwi, said this in a statement read for him at the VRA’s Open Day event held in Tamale.

According to him, with Ghana’s discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities, the cost of producing electricity could be lower for consumers if the gas is used to power or fuel the company’s thermal plants.

Further citing the formation of the West African Power Pool, Mr. Awotwi said it aims at interconnecting the sub-region to ensure improved availability of power and the economy for all in the region. “In a West Africa, where electricity access averages less than 30%, compared to Ghana’s current access of 60%, VRA sees enormous potential for growth, and great prospects for those utilities that are efficient, competitive and competent”, he observed.

The VRA Boss charged employees of the company to be more performance-oriented and customer-focused. “To our competitors, present and prospective, we welcome you all. The growing pie is big enough for all of us to participate in. To our electricity consumers, we renew our commitment to power the economy, bring value to your lives, and raise the living standards of our people”, Mr. Awotwi stated.

The Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority also paid glowing tribute to all those who in diverse ways contributed and made sacrifices to the Authority’s continued existence. He particularly acknowledged local communities and traditional authorities who allocated lands and property, so that the people of Ghana could enjoy electricity.

Established in 26th April, 1965 by Ghana’s first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the VRA has been the major source of supply of electricity to almost all Ghanaians and other neighbouring countries like Burkina Faso and Togo.

The establishment of the VRA set the foundation for newly independent Ghana’s economic and industrial policy. It is the reason why Ghana is the electricity leader in West Africa today, in terms of electricity access for the people.

Currently, aside the Akosombo Dam, Ghana has other sources of energy that have been developed in recent years by previous and current regimes which include the Kpong Dam, Takoradi Thermal plant and Tema Thermal Plant.

Meanwhile, as the journey for the next 50 years begins, most Ghanaians are asking for a drastic reduction of electricity tariff while those who are not connected yet, hope to get it in few years time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Gushegu, Alhassan Fuseini has announced plans by the assembly to undertake series of infrastructural projects this year for the promotion of quality education.

At the moment, the assembly has identified over 47 schools that are studying under trees and has therefore drawn the attention of the Ministry of Education and the GETfund for immediate support.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this blogger in Gushegu during a short ceremony to cut sod for the construction of a two storey dormitory for the Gushegu Senior High School, Hon Fuseini bemoaned that even though government had made several attempts to arrest the infrastructural problems facing the schools in the district, majority of the schools were still faced with serious infrastructural problems.

According to him, some of the schools were compelled to study under trees whiles others continued to suffer congestions in the classrooms or are compelled to vacate classrooms during heavy downpour or when dangerous storms.

The DCE noted that the Gushegu District Assembly was now linking up with the District Education Directorate to uncover some of the numerous challenges militating against the promotion of quality education especially at the basic levels.

He said that some of the existing classrooms needed complete demolitions for new ones to be built, others needed expansion and renovation, while other new ones are constructed.

Hon Alhassan Fuseini also hinted that the assembly was embarking on serious awareness creation and sensitization of all stakeholders including chiefs, opinion leaders and parents to prioritise the education of their children especially the girl child.

“Parents especially need to be sensitized to take advantage of the government’s Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education, the Capitation Grant, School Feeding Programme and the free books and uniforms among others to enroll their children. Education is a key to the development of this district and it is my responsibility as DCE to lead the campaign to ensure that a large number of our children are in school so that they can become useful to our society,” the DCE said.

Currently, the Gushegu District Assembly has procured over 10,000 dual desks for distribution to all schools in the district to enhance quality teaching and learning.

The Gushegu Senior High for instance which is the only secondary school in the district he said was also confronted with the lack of infrastructure ranging from classrooms, dormitory, library and computer library to teachers accommodation among others. Meanwhile, the school has a population of over One Thousand Six-hundred (1,600) students. But almost all the classrooms are congested.

Against this unfortunate backdrop, the Gushegu District Assembly has allocated an amount of GH¢700,000 to put up a two storey dormitory block to reduce students dependency on private house owners.

The DCE Alhassan Fuseini who cut the sod for the commencement of the project, charged the Contractors to execute quality work and on time scheduled.

He also presented four set of brand new football Jerseys to the School to enhance sporting activities.

The Headmaster of the Gushegu Senior High, Nuhu Inusah complained about the general problems of the school and called for the construction of 10 new classroom blocks to reduce congestions in the school.

He said female students of the school due to the lack of accommodation on campus, were now staying within the community without any supervision.

But the DCE, Alhassan Fuseini assured that the government would not renege on its promise of improving conditions of schools in the district and thus called for peace and tranquility to allow for such projects to be executed by the government.