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A tale of two Britons of Ghanaian descent managing UK’s economy from opposite sides- Kwasi and Abena

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Abena Oppong Asare (R) and Kwasi Kwarteng (L)

Born in London to Ghanaian parents, Kwasi Kwarteng and Abena Oppong Asare are on the opposite sides of the United Kingdom Exchequer.

When Newly appointed 56th Prime Minister Liz Truss took office after meeting with the late Queen Elizabeth at the Balmoral, she proceeded into number 10 Downing Street to begin appointment of her cabinet members.

Business secretary under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed the new Chancellor and Finance Minister.

A tale of two Britons of Ghanaian descent managing UK’s economy from opposite sides- Kwasi and Abena
Kwasi Kwarteng
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the government’s chief financial minister and as such is responsible for raising revenue through taxation or borrowing and for controlling public spending. He has overall responsibility for the work of the Treasury.

Kwasi Kwarteng born in the London Borough of Waltham Forest in 1975 is the only child of Alfred Kwarteng and Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng, who had emigrated from Ghana as students in the 1960s. His mother is a barrister and his father an economist in the Commonwealth Secretariat.

He was previously Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and also worked as Parliamentary under Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union from 16 November 2018 to 24 July 2019.

Kwasi read classics and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship. He earned a PhD in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000.

Before becoming a Member of Parliament, Kwasi worked as an analyst in financial services.

Kwasi was elected the Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2010. From 2010 until 2013 he was a member of the Transport Select Committee, and in 2013 he joined the Work and Pensions Select Committee where he was a member until 2015.

What do we know about the “Black Boris,” as he was enthusiastically dubbed by his own campaign team in his Spelthorne constituency? And is he up to the job of tackling the worst economic crisis since the late 1970s?

The role could hardly be more demanding, given the fact that the current cost-of-living crisis is nothing compared with what is likely to come this winter, and that the war in Ukraine is settling into a prolonged stalemate.

On the opposite of Kwasi Kwarteng expected to provide oversight over the exchequer is another British-born to Ghanaian parentage, Abena Oppong Asare who is the Labour Member of Parliament for Erith and Thamesmead serves as the shadow Exchequer secretary to the treasury.

A tale of two Britons of Ghanaian descent managing UK’s economy from opposite sides- Kwasi and Abena
Abena Oppong Asare

Born in 1983, Oppong-Asare was educated at Kent University and worked as a parliamentary researcher before becoming an MP. “When the opportunity came, a lot of people encouraged me to go for it but there were those who said I couldn’t do it” and if she had listened to such voices she wouldn’t be here today and this is why she been urging her colleague female MPs “not to listen to the small voices because the higher you rise the tougher it gets,” she told JoyNews.

A tale of two Britons of Ghanaian descent managing UK’s economy from opposite sides- Kwasi and Abena
Abena Oppong Asare
As the first Black woman to hold the chair of labour Women’s network, she has been involved in the training and mentoring of young females aspiring to go into public service.

“Within the short period that I have been in Parliament, I have been promoted several times and currently occupy the role as Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and also sit at the front bench and this has not come easy but also bears testimony to the fact that when given the opportunity women can do it despite the obstacles and we must work towards changing the narrative on sexism and other barriers that work against women in politics” she added.

The constituency of Erith and Thamesmead found in South East London which voted for leave during the Brexit referendum, is ethnically diverse, with a third of the local electorates being black or mixed race.

Source: Myjoyonline

BUSINESS

National: Oppong Nkrumah calls for more stakeholder collaboration to train journalists in financial reporting

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Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has called on stakeholders within the Ghanaian media space to collaborate and help build the capacity of Ghanaian journalists in business and financial reporting.

According to the Minister, training of journalists in business and financial reporting is essential in equipping them with the needed skills and know-how to ensure accuracy in reporting financial issues.

He made the call when he addressed the graduation ceremony of 88 journalists at the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) Financial Journalism Training program on Thursday, October 10, 2022, in Accra.

“As I have mentioned in times past, the media and journalism frontier require collaborations for impact. That is why we appreciate partnerships such as this one between Bloomberg, Strathmore Business School, the University of Ghana Business School and Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) to train more economic and financial journalists and welcome more of such partnerships.

“Trainings such as this targeted at journalists are essential to ensure that the media industry and journalism deliver on their true purpose to our democracy.

“Which is to serve all stakeholders with equal access to the public space to participate in discourse that promotes our best values, our best aspirations and a thought-led good society,” he said.

He said government on its part has put in motion a number of capacity-building programmes to assist journalists to meet the dynamics of the profession.

One such programme he said is the Media Capacity Enhancement Programme (MCEP) which was rolled out in January this year. So far, the programme has trained the first cohort of 60 journalists in ethical journalism and related modules with a further 190 set to also be trained in the coming months.

He admonished the graduates to as much as possible apply the knowledge acquired from the training programme in their line of duty and eschew false narratives and the publication of uninformed opinions instead of facts.

Present at the event were the Deputy Minister for Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour; Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo; Provost of the College of Humanities, University of Ghana, Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori; Dean of the University of Ghana Business School, Prof. Justice Bawole; Dean of the Strathmore Business School, Dr George Njenga, as well as representatives from Bloomberg.

On his part, Mr Fordjour underscored the important role journalists play in promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance. He said journalists over the years have become an important component of our governance system which is why it is incumbent on the graduates to put to use the knowledge they have acquired from the training programme.

Prof. Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo was confident that the training program will go a long way to support the continuous progression of the Ghanaian media and help address the capacity challenges of journalists in the country.

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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National: Agric Ministry’s sale only a stopgap measure in addressing market failure – Dr. MahamaMahamadMahamadd

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Economic Advisor at the Office of the Vice President, Dr. Tiah Abdul-Kabiru Mahama, says the government’s foray into retailing foodstuff from the hinterlands at the Agric Ministry is only a stopgap measure to deal with the current food inflation.

According to him, government has no intention of continuing the project when the situation stabilizes especially with regards to cost of fuel and transportation which is driving the high cost of food produce in markets across urban centres.

“I don’t think that government wants to take the supply of food as part of the mandate of the Agricultural Ministry. Government is just doing this for the meantime whilst we work to ensure that we have some stability in the fuel market,” he said.

He explained that the need for this stopgap measure is to address a market failure.

He noted that while there have been suggestions such as capping the price of goods at the markets, government cannot employ such tactics due to the liberalized market system the country runs.

As such, creating the alternative market is in the hope that it will help bring some reprieve to consumers while also causing other market players to reduce their prices to match government’s competition.

“The assessment of government is that there is some discrepancies between the supply and then the demand and that they cost much. The transfer of cost from the seller to the buyer is that it’s not proportionate to the import cost as has been noted by my colleague Dr. Theo.

“Now how to address it, government will have to come in because the business of government if you’re operating a liberalized system or a liberalized market is sometimes to correct market inefficiencies, to correct the failure of the market.

“So the intervention by the Ministry is purely to correct a terminal problem because two years ago, three years ago, we were not having the Ministry of Agriculture having to force itself into the business of bringing foodstuff into the market centre for people to buy,” he said.

His comment comes after the Ministry of Agriculture on Friday began the direct sale of foodstuffs at its premises.

The move, according to the Ministry, is aimed at cushioning Ghanaians and mitigating the impact of rising food prices.

According to Dr. Mahama, the government does not intend to make the Agricultural Ministry a permanent market, as such other solutions are being interrogated to address the problem long term.

“So you see the core mandate of the Ministry is not to be trading stock, it’s not to be trading foodstuff that is well established. But they’re just coming into this particular stopgap measure to address a problem.

“We listened to your speakers say that this is a harvest season, hypothetically, in a harvest season prices of food stock supposed to be lower but this is the case where food inflation has gone to over 40% and specifically to the 43.4% as you alluded and from the data from the Ghana Statistical Service.

“So it means that there is a problem and of course one of the drivers is the fuel price and we all admit that it feeds into the billing of the farmers or the sellers but that gap has to be addressed.”

Source: Myjoyonline

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Energy | National: Fuel prices to be reduced next week – COPEC

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The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has announced that fuel prices are likely to be reduced by Monday, November 14, 2022.

There has been a recent hike in fuel prices, including diesel and petrol. Diesel is currently selling for more than GH¢23, while the price of petrol is hovering around GH¢18.

But speaking to Roselyn Felli on Prime Morning, on Wednesday, the Executive Secretary of the Chamber, Duncan Amoah, indicated that measures are being put in place to help subsidise the rising prices.

“We will be expecting diesel to drop from GH¢23 to somewhere around GH¢21.19, and the petrol will also drop from GH¢17.99 to somewhere GH¢17.10 or GH¢17.00.

“All things being equal, diesel could go down by GH¢2.00 a litre and petrol could go close to a cedi per litre based on the forex numbers that we have picked over the past one week,” he said.

Mr. Amoah stated that the rise is due to the increase in taxes on petrol to around 422% within the year.

He noted that the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) should not be blamed for the increase in prices; instead, he believes it is due to mismanagement by the government.

He, therefore, wants the government to minimise the increase in petroleum taxes, saying it may lead to loss of jobs in the petroleum sector.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mohammed Abdul-Kudus, is of the opinion that the increment in prices should be blamed on the cedi depreciation and not taxes.

According to him, deregulation of the fuel prices distorts the communication between the Authority and Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) when some companies’ prices are different.

“Another thing that has not helped us to a large extent has been the instability of our currency. We all know the dynamics in the management of forex around the francophone countries that normally guarantee them a certain stability on their currency,” he explained.

Mr. Abdul-Kudus believes there would not be changes in prices even when the government subsidises the prices of products.

 

Source: Myjoyonline

 

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