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.”
National: Oppong Nkrumah calls for more stakeholder collaboration to train journalists in financial reporting
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.
Energy | National: Fuel prices to be reduced next week – COPEC
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.
FDA warns of unregistered weight loss regime on market
The Food and Drugs Authority has warned against the use of a weight loss regime known as Ascot Diet.
Ascot Diet involves the use of injections, appetite suppressants and a meal plan for weight loss.
The FDA in a statement said “Ascot Diet weight loss products, produced by the Ascot Diet Clinic have not been registered by the Authority and its use could cause severe allergic reactions like itching, hives, shortness of breath, wheezing, swelling of the tongue, throat or mouth, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, or faintness due to the sudden boost in minerals and nutrients.”
The FDA wishes to advise the public to desist from patronizing medicinal products that are not registered by the Authority since their safety, quality and efficacy cannot be guaranteed. Importers of such weight loss products are to note that Sections 99 and 118 of the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851 prohibit the importation and sale of unregistered products.
It warned further that “offenders would therefore be severely sanctioned when found.”
It encouraged the public to cooperate with the Authority and report the presence of any unregistered regulated products.
Source: Citi newsroom
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