Ghana: Accra floods, power debate, ruling party's anniversary reported in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) – The perennial flooding in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, which inflicts havoc and pain on residents the ongoing debate on the controversial tariffs charged by the state-owned Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the ruling party's 24th anniversary were some of the stories highlighted by the media this week.

Barely one week after the country commemorated the first anniversary of the twin disasters of floods and fire in Accra that led to nearly 160 deaths, the city was once again submerged under water after several hours of rain on Thursday.

The 3 June 2015 deadly flood and fire disaster was caused by a huge fire at a petrol service station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle during heavy rains and flooding. The majority of the dead and injured were sheltering at the service station and other buildings in the area, which is a major intersection in the city.

And this year heavy rains again led to flooding of several parts of the city, where residents are notorious for dumping refuse in drains thereby chocking them and building on waterways.

“Accra under water again,” was the headline of the state-owned Graphic newspaper which reported that the fight against the perennial flooding in some parts of Accra was far from over as rains in the city on Thursday left residents of several areas counting their losses.

The Odaw River, which is being dredged, broke its banks, with excess water spilling into nearby homes and business ventures.

The Graphic reported that no casualty had been recorded in Accra on Thursday, but in Tema, 25 km east of the capital, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl was swept away by flood waters.

The intensive nature of the floods in the city compelled the state-owned power supplier, Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), to shut down its bulk supply point at Dzorwulu, which was under threat.

Personnel from the security services, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the Ghana National Fire and Rescue Services (GNFRS), were seen at the flooded areas working tirelessly to rescue stranded residents and members of the public. They used boats to rescue most of the victims.

The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) said Thursday’s rainfall recorded 143 millimetres, the highest since the beginning of the year.

The state-owned Ghanaian Times also reported the story under the headline “Accra submerged in floods again!”

It said a visit to Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Kaneshie and Danquah Circle showed vehicles struggling in the floods while stores and kiosks were submerged in waters as traders carried their wares from the market to safer grounds. Commuters were also spotted wading through the waters with difficulty.  The Times reported that for some people, it was brisk business as they were carrying people for a fee to cross the floods to safety.

“ECG workers on warpath; Give PURC 7 days to retract directive to suspend new software” was the headline of the Graphic on the tussle between the electricity company and the utilities regulator, Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC).

The newspaper reported that workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had given the PURC a seven-day ultimatum to retract its directive to the company to suspend the use of the new billing software.

The workers threatened to withdraw their services if the PURC did not heed their call, as they had faced harassment and intimidation from the public since the announcement of the directive on 24 May, 2016.

The General Secretary of the Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU), Mr Ato Kwamena Bondzi-Quaye, said the PURC failed to discuss its findings on the billing software with the ECG management before issuing the directive.

However, the Director of Public Relations at the PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah, said the directive to the ECG to suspend the new billing software was contingent on the need for the ECG to give consumers value for money.

She said the survey conducted by the commission clearly showed some grave anomalies in the billing system of the ECG.

The Ghanaian Times in a story under the headline, “Government will change ECG” reported that President John Dramani Mahama has said the government will go ahead with the private sector participation in the ECG in spite of opposition from some workers of the company.

According to him, the concession, “is in the supreme interest of the state” and meant to transform the sector so as to give the citizenry a better service.

“The world makes progress based on risks, so we have to prepare our minds for that change if it becomes necessary”, he said.

He likened the opposition to that of the deregulation of the telecommunications sector two decades ago, when he was the Communications Minister, and urged persons against the move to brace up for it

The risk government took in the telecoms sector, he noted, had paid off and it was important that private sector participation was allowed in the operation of the power distribution company for the desired efficiency Ghanaians crave for, he said.

"NDC will win 2016 elections – Prez Mahama," was the headline of the Graphic on the celebration of the 24th anniversary of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Friday.

The NDC is the most successful party in the 4th Republic, having won four of the six elections so far (1992,1996, 2008, 2012).

The Graphic reported that President Mahama, at a ceremony at the party's headquarters in Accra, confidently stated that their proven track record would secure it this year’s general elections scheduled for 7 November.

“I have no doubt that based on our proven track record in government, the NDC will win the upcoming elections,” he told party faithful and supporters. He consequently invited Ghanaians to examine the records of the party and vote for it accordingly.

President Mahama said apart from the unmatched record of the party, the manifesto it was preparing to launch would add to its image as the most credible and preferred choice.
-0- PANA MA 11June2016

11 june 2016 08:00:08

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