Tuesday, June 20, 2006

LPG Shortage Hits Accra

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Tuesday, June20,2006 (Front Page)

The Accra Metropolis has been hit by shortage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas
(LPG) for almost two weeks now.

The situation is taking a heavy toll on both domestic and commercial businesses
as drivers of both commercial and private vehicles continue to queue at LP filling
stations with their cars for gas.

People who require the product for domestic use are also seen in town with their
gas cylinders in desperate search for cooking gas.

The Times yesterday visited a number of gas filling stations including the
Odorkor Mamba Gas Filling station where more than 50 taxi cabs and private
cars had queued although the station said it has no supply.

The marketing manager of the station, Augustine Siaw-Wolfensohn, said the last quantity of 21,780 kilogrammes of gas received by the station on June 13 finished on Sunday as a result of the rush for it.

Kwaku Manu, a taxi driver told the Times that for the past week he had to park his taxi since he had run out of gas, the situation he said, was affecting his livelihood.

He said he preferred the gas to petrol as the latter is expensive and leads to loss adding “when we use gas, we are sometimes able to make 50 per cent profit at the end of the day”.

Another taxi driver who gave his name only as Kwame said he was able to get gas in Kasoa after parking his vehicle for more than three days.

“When we use gas, we charge moderately and that saves the passenger some
cedis,”he added.

An old man, Uncle Ebow, who looked helpless said he had been to about eight
gas filling stations without getting gas thus compelling his family to resort to the
use of charcoal.

At Awudome, where a notice has been placed, a manager of the station,
Stephen Adaku, said the last supply received by the station was on June 7, and
that had finished a week ago.

He told the Times that the station receives about 100 calls daily from customers
including restauranteurs, bakers, and chop bar operators.

He expressed worry about the shortage and wondered why officials of Tema Oil
Refinery (TOR) had not come out with any public statement on the situation.

The situation at the Glory Oil Filling Station at Lartebiokorshie was not different.
There, the Manager, Seth Nortey, told the Times that the station had its last
supply on June 7.

He said the station ran out of gas last Friday and all efforts to get new supplies
had been futile.When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of TOR, Aba Lokko, told the Times
that the refinery was not aware of any shortage of L.P gas in the metropolis.

She said however that L.P gas “is not for taxi drivers” but that TOR would
investigate the cause of the alleged shortage.

Godfred Gibba-Blay reports yesterday that there was a long queue of cars waiting in Tema to be served at some gas filling stations which had supply while other drivers also went round other places in search for the product.

Both the Star Gas Company and Gas Point Enterprise told the Times that the
companies received supply of 10 tons of gas each on Monday morning, but with
the huge patronage the stock could run out any moment from now.

At Kayens Company Limited at Community 2, gas had run out and people, most
of them taxis drivers, were seen with their cylinders and cars in queues in
anticipation of gas supply in the day.

There are reported cases of gas shortage in parts of the Sunyani but it has not
yet developed into queues at the gas stations reports Kingsley E. Hope.

In the Tamale municipality, charcoal sales are said to have shot up as a result of the shortage of gas for the past two weeks. Majeed Yakubu reports that consumers have given up any hope of getting gas supplies and have therefore gone back to the use of either firewood or charcoal.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Condoms Possession No Crime - AIDS C'ssion

The Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, has asked the police to be careful in using condom possession as evidence in prosecution of alleged commercial sex workers.

He said “the promotion of condom use is one of the national responses to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and, therefore, the action by the police in using condoms found on suspected prostitutes as evidence to put them on trial can jeopardize that effort.”

He noted that there are a lot of people, both male and female, who always keep condoms and questioned whether that makes them prostitutes.

Speaking with the Times on the recent exercise embarked upon by the police to clamp down on prostitutes in Accra, Professor Amoa said that although he was not against the police action, he had a problem with their use of condoms as evidence to put them before court.

He noted that if the sex workers and the public at large think the police would use condoms as reason for their arrest, then it is likely they would stop condom use.

The Director General has therefore urged the police to find other forms of evidence than condoms in order not to undermine the positive public response the commission’s campaign against HIV/AIDS has achieved.

He also reiterated the need to decriminalize prostitution in the country which would help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, saying that when that is done, activities of prostitutes would be in the open and they would be more amenable to undergo routine medical checks and counselling.

By StephenKwabena Effah
Friday, 16 June 2006 (Page Three)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Business Booms In National Colours

Sale of sports paraphernalia designed with the national
colours shot up in the Accra metropolis yesterday inanticipation of the Black Stars opening match at the ongoing FIFA Germany 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Before the opening of the World Cup on June 9, 2006, sports paraphernalia such as the national flags, Black Star jerseys, hats, bangles and handkerchiefs were not being patronized by football fans.

However, when the Times visited some sales points at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle yesterday morning, many soccer fans and Ghanaians in general had thronged the various points of sales to get paraphernalia ahead of the Black Stars encounter with the Italians in their group E opening match, later in the evening.

Many hawkers were seen on some of the busy roads with some of the paraphernalia perhaps to reach drivers and passengers who could not get time to make a stop at sales points.

A large national flag sold between ¢350,000 and ¢400,000 while a medium one sold between ¢200,000 and 180,000.

A small flag was pegged at ¢80,000 with a handkerchief size sold at ¢25,000.

A Black Stars jersey which has the names of the players at the back is being sold between ў100,000 and ¢90,000 while a hat decorated with the national colours is pegged at ¢25, 000, bangle and handkerchief ¢10,000 each.

Patrick Adu Mensah, one of the sellers at the Awudome Traffic Light, said that he was impressed about the way the public was patronizing the paraphernalia saying that “that signifies how much Ghanaians are supporting the Black Stars”.

He said sales started rising last Monday and expressed the hope that the trend continues till the end of the world cup tournament.

Kofi Appau also a seller, told the Times that so far, the jerseys and the flags are what many people prefer, looking at the rate at which they are being bought. He said some people have been complaining about the prices being too expensive.

“The way people are buying the paraphernalia in support of the Black Stars shows the level of patriotism of Ghanaians,” said Augustine Mensah who spoke to the Times after buying his jersey.

Meanwhile, both commercial and private drivers in the metropolis yesterday morning decorated their vehicles with the Ghana’s national flag and were either in a Black Stars jersey or a fancy hat.

By: Stephen Kwabena Effah
Tuesday,June 13,2006(Front Page)

Fight Moral Decadence - Religious Leaders Urged

By:Stephen Kwabena Effah
Tuesday,June 13,2006

An Islamic lecturer, Sheikh Salman Mohammed Alhassan, has asked religious leaders in the country to put their efforts together to fight the moral decadence which is plaguing the country.

He noted that nepotism, corruption and egoism among public officials and other influential leaders are gaining root in the country at a rate which needs much attention, otherwise the nation cannot move forward.

For Ghana to become a better place for its people, “its leaders must rather think about the collective interest of the people in everything that they do,” and lead exemplary lives.

Sheikh Alhassan said this at the second graduation and Qu’ran Certification Award of the Abdullah Bin Masud Centre for Memorization of the Holy Qu’ran in Accra at the weekend at which 15 students were presented with Diploma awards in Holy Qu’ran and Islamic Sciences and eight received Qu’ran Certification (Ijaaza) awards.

Sheikh Alhassan asked religious leaders in the country to “live above corruption, egoism and nepotism and teach the tenets of the Holy Bible and the Qu’ran”.

He also asked the graduates to use their leadership skills and teachings to fight moral decadence in their respective communities and the nation at large.

“If you as leaders are not upright, those learning from you will surely not be upright,” he said.

The director of the school, Dr.Muhamad Bashir Adam, said the students who came from Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, were trained by teachers and Imams in their respective communities.

He expressed the hope that the school would be upgraded into a University College of the Holy Qu’ran where courses leading to the award of a bachelor degree in Qu’ran and Islamic Sciences would be offered.

He thanked the government of Saudi Arabia through the International Organization for Memorization of the Holy Qu’ran for its support to the school.

Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I.C. Quaye, congratulated the graduands on their efforts throughout the two-year programme and urged them to share the knowledge they had acquired with their people.

He said “memorizing the Holy Qu’ran is a great miracle since even those who write their own books cannot memorize them.”

He asked them to learn more local languages to enhance their teaching in their respective communities.