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Newsflash

  • NDC RIGGING MACHINERY IN MOTION …. as DI raises red flags over suspicious NHIS registration numbers -

    Public policy and governance think tank, the Danquah Institute has expressed grave concern about the Electoral Commission's decision to register all persons in the country who, simply, are in possession of identity cards issued by the National Health Insurance Authority.

    At a press conference organised by DI last week, a fellow of the institute, Mr. Boakye Agyarko, explained that “one of the objects of the National Health Insurance Authority” as captured on the NHIA’s website which states that “persons not resident in the country but who are on a visit to this country” can obtain NHIS cards is deeply worrying.

  • GHANA MUST WAKE UP, SHOUT FOR A NEW REGISTER AND SHAKE UP THE EC -

    FITCH Rating’s latest report on Ghana lays particular emphasis on the importance of Ghana’s democracy and stability to the country’s economic prospects. Whiles it gives a negative outlook based on how the economy is being run, Fitch makes the point that Ghana’s credit rating has not, however, fallen below ‘B’ because of the country’s “strong governance record and recent democratic history,” and that, this is “reflected in Ghana’s ability to attract foreign direct investment, which at 7% of GDP is well above that of Nigeria, Gabon, Zambia, Kenya and Angola.”

  • Danquah Institute Reacts to Bogus Polls On NPP General Secretary Race -

    The attention of the Danquah Institute has been drawn to a story making the rounds on social media and now on www.ghanaweb.com, as well, titled “Danquah Institute predicts 64.7% win for Kwabena Agyepong.”

  • The Monetary Policy Committee - November 2013 -

    You are welcome to this Press briefing. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) held its 58th meeting on November 25 to 27, 2013 to review the latest economic developments and the monetary policy stance. I present to you the outcome of the deliberations.

    The latest projections by the IMF indicate a pickup in the pace of global activity from 2.9 percent in 2013 to 3.6 percent in 2014, driven largely by the advanced economies with the impulse to global growth expected to come mainly from the United States against weaker prospects in emerging market economies.

  • Africa’s tax systems: progress, but what is the next generation of reforms? -

    Mick MooreTaxation is zipping up the development agenda, but the discussion is often focussed on international aspects such as tax havens or the Robin Hood Tax. Both very important, but arguably, even more important is what happens domestically – are developing country tax systems regressive or progressive? Are they raising enough cash to fund state services? Are they efficient and free of corruption? This absolutely magisterial overview of the state of tax systems in Africa comes from Mick Moore (right), who runs the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD). It was first published by the Africa Research Institute.

    Anglophone countries have led the way in reforming tax administration in Africa, considerably more so than their francophone peers. The reasons for this are numerous. Networks of international tax specialists are based mainly in English-speaking countries. Many of the modern systems that promote best practice within tax authorities were developed in anglophone countries, especially Australia. International donors, and particularly the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), have directly and indirectly promoted a lot of reform of national tax authorities. In fact, this has been one of the success stories of British aid.

  • TWO DECADES OF FREEDOM: What South Africa Is Doing With It, And What Now Needs To Be Done -

    As the 20th anniversary of the birth of democracy in South Africa, on April 27 2014, approaches, it seems a perfect opportunity to take a step back and get a long-range perspective on the important question: “So, what has Nelson Mandela’s South Africa done with its freedom?”

    Goldman Sachs has produced this report in the hope of contributing to- wards a more balanced narrative on South Africa; one, which in the wake of 2012’s tragic events at Marikana, had become somewhat hysterical, short-term and often negative

  • Shifting Power? Assessing the Impact of Transparency and Accountability Initiatives -

    Accountability and transparency initiatives hav e taken democratisation, governance, aid and development circles by storm since the turn of th e century. Many actors involved with them – as donors, funders, programme managers, implementers and researchers – are now keen to know more about what these initiatives are achieving.

    This paper arises from a review of the impact and effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives which gathered and analysed existing evidence, discussed how it could be improved, and evaluated how impact and effectiveness could be enhanced. This paper takes the discussion further, by delving into what lies behind the methodological and evaluative debates currently surrounding governance and accountability work. It illustrates how choices about methods are made in the cont ext of impact assessment designs driven by different objectives and different ideological and epistemological underpinnings. We argue that these differences are articulated as methodological debates, obscuring vital issues underlying accountability work, which are about power and politics, not methodological technicalities.

  • ADVISORY NOTES TO PARLIAMENT ON THE PETROLEUM AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA, AGM PETROLEUM AND COLA NATURAL RESOURCES -

    The Ministry of Energy has officially laid before Parliament two Petroleum Agreements for ratification following earlier approval by Cabinet. The Agreements are:

    1. Petroleum Agreement among Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC Exploration and Production Company Limited and AGM Petroleum Ghana LTD in respect of the South Deepwater Tano Contract Area (and shall be called AGM Contract for the purpose of this Analysis).

    2. Petroleum Agreement among Government of the Republic of Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Cola Natural Resources and Medea in respect of East Cape Three Points Contract Area (and shall be called Cola Contract for the purpose of this analysis).

    This Advisory Notes is provided to members of Parliament to enrich debate during the consideration of the Agreements. The Notes are based on analysis by the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) of the Negotiated Agreements and the memoranda accompanying them. These Notes do not cover most of the subjects in the two Agreements as most of them have common provisions. The focus of the analysis therefore covers subjects that show material differences between the Agreements for the purpose of enriching the debate in parliament.

  • CADA DISCUSSES OVER VOTING -

    Of late Ghanaians have become obsessed with throwing electoral ‘jargons’ around arising from the recent Election Petition in the Supreme Court of Ghana and most people have overnight turned themselves into Electoral Specialists in view of the enormous interest generated during the petition hearing. However, there are still lack of clarity and understanding in some of the widely used electoral terminologies. The Centre for African Democratic Affairs (CADA) a ‘Think Tank’ of Election Experts, has taken upon itself the challenge to critically examine some of the terms that created confusion in the minds of people during the court proceedings. One of such terminologies is over voting whose definition is still ambiguous even after the ruling of the Supreme Court. CADA therefore discusses the term Over Voting in the first of its series.

  • A strong Parliament is key to fighting corruption - Minority Leader -

    The Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, has stated that strengthening Parliament’s financial oversight responsibilities is critical to combating corruption.

    He noted that “the evil enterprise of corruption which has become cancerous in Ghana”, explaining that Parliament has no option than to demonstrate extreme concern about the problems and threats that corruption poses to the stability and security of the country.

    He said corruption undermines state institutions and the values of democracy, as well as cultural and traditional values and the justice system. According to him these work against sustainable development and the rule of law.


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Enough of the Rhetorics: Ghanaians Need Sustainable Solutions To The Energy Crisis.

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The frustrations of Ghanaians keep growing by the day at the inability of elected officials to show leadership in the handling of the energy crisis that currently engulfs the entire space of Ghana. From children and schools that need light for their studies at night, the hospital laboratories and theatres needing reliable power to save lives, the cottage and large scale factories in the villages and cities respectively that need reliable and affordable power to sustainably remain competitive with the global trends, Ghanaians are simply tired of the regular excuses and description of age old problems by policy makers without actions to resolving them.

And the Danquah Institute fully identifies with the plight of these ordinary Ghanaians, who have to continuously bear with this unbearable circumstance without the benefit of any reasonable hope of a lasting solution to the current energy crisis situation from its elected leaders, enabled by their mandate to solve these problems on their behalf.

What Ghanaians need now is not the shifting of blame, which has become the character of the power generation, transmission and distribution companies, but a concrete plan of action towards resolving this emergency for the next 90 days, 180 days right through the medium and long term plan of actions. We do not need any rhetoric on how many megawatts one party or government came to meet and what the other party failed to add; neither do Ghanaians need hurriedly planned visits to the power stations as if we already did not know the problems.

We have seen a lot of such recently and yet we are where we are. Such gimmicks may only be worth their PR and propaganda value! Ghanaians are fed up with the lame excuses of, “oh, it was an accident, some pirates attacked a ship which had to flee and in so doing damaged the gas pipelines in the sea” and “oh, just as they were about repairing the broken pipes, two engineers died” emanating from government. If our government’s leadership is satisfied with these excuses because they do not experience the discomforts, domestic and business losses due to the erratic power supply, Ghanaians are not. Ghanaians want reliable and affordable power for our homes and businesses.  As far as we are concerned at the Danquah Institute, President John Mahama failed to articulate a robust strategy for solving our energy problems as he delivered his state of the nation address last week Thursday.

Is it not ironic that only a few months ago just before the 2012 elections, there was a huge campaign of the wonders that had been attained in the power sector by this same government only for us to be thrown into the state we find ourselves less than three months after? The gospel truth on the situation with power in Ghana is that we have never really tackled the problem. While our population and demand for energy has long outstripped production/supply beyond the capacity of the Akosombo dam, governments have pretended to be providing solutions with the Aboadze and Asogli thermal plants, Bui dam etc when they were indeed cosmetics, unreliable and not the grossly need long lasting solution.

Right from the onset of the West African Gas Pipeline, Ghana had a contractual agreement with the company to be supplied a minimum of 100 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (100 mmscf/d) which has never materialized. On the average, Ghana was intermittently supplied about 40 million standard cubic feet per day (40 mmscfd) by the West African Gas Pipeline Company to power the Aboadzi and Asogli plants with relatively cheaper gas for power production.

The failure of the Nigerians to meet up with dictates of the contractual agreement meant that even with the existence of Aboadzi, Asogli and any envisaged thermal plant, gas supply and therefore energy production would never be reliable. Not even the discovery of gas in commercial quantities in Ghana would be sufficient to guarantee reliable power supply for the numerous thermal based plants our governments keep dreaming about. Indeed, assuming the Nigerians are able to supply all the 100 mmscf/d and the Jubilee fields produced its estimated 140 mmscf/d at optimum giving Ghana a total of about 240 mmscf/d, it would still fall far below what is the current gas need to adequately and reliably power our thermal plants. And this is a luxury Ghana does not even have presently. The rate of growth of energy demand by private and commercial consumers in Ghana can never be met if action plans for alternatives are not invoked. The cycle of load shedding, blackouts, and more crisis will continue unabated.

Granted that ECG still has to grapple with replacing its numerous obsolete equipment, the picture is pretty clear that even when all such are replaced tomorrow, Ghana will not become energy self sufficient overnight without investments into additional or complimentary energy sources and infrastructure. 
We at the Danquah Institute believe one such energy alternative source lies with our solid waste.

Following the debate on the current energy crises that the country is going through, it is imperative that as a nation we start looking at other new and cleaner sources of energy instead of relying on our traditional sources. There has been talk of looking at solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy to augment the hydro and thermal sources that we already have, but a very viable and easy to come by source of energy which has added environmental and health benefits, are the tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) that we generate in our cities every day which gets piled up in front of houses, offices and by our streets because of poor collection and disposal.

In May 2012, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) a non-profit, nonpartisan civic organization devoted to influencing constructive change in the finances and services of New York State and New York City governments released a research report on the financial and management practices of the State and the City. The report makes the case for a significant change in New York City's solid waste disposal practices, a shift from heavy reliance on long-distance exporting to landfills to greater reliance on use of local waste-to-energy facilities.

Solid waste can be converted to energy in alternative ways. The most common and widely used method is combustion. In Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plants with combustion technologies, waste is fed into a boiler and converted into electricity through the production of steam. Operators use the generated electricity to power plant operations and sell the excess. Most plants produce 550 to 650 kilowatt-hours of electricity for sale per ton combusted (typical examples can be found in  Dwaben Oil Mills in the Ashanti Region and most timber processing firms in the country where waste from processing the palm fruits and timber  are used to generate electricity for “in-house” operations on smaller scales).
According to the CBC report, a new 900,000-ton per year capacity combustion waste-to-energy (WTE) plant can produce 440 to 520 kilowatt-hours of excess electricity for sale per ton combusted; hypothetically a new 900,000 ton per year capacity WTE facility can produce 495,000 megawatts of excess electricity a year for the City of New York.

According to a performance audit report of the Auditor-General on solid waste management by Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) which was conducted between October 2008 and August 2009, it estimates that on a daily basis between 1,800 and 2,000 tonnes of solid waste are generated in the Metropolis.  The Waste Management Department (WMD) and 14 private solid waste contractors are able to collect between 1,500 and 1,800 tonnes. This means that between 300 and 500 tonnes of waste remain uncollected daily, resulting in filth and unsightly environments.

The urban areas of Accra produce about 760,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) per year or approximately 2,000 metric tons per day (EPA, 2002). According to the EPA report, by 2025, this figure is expected to increase to 1.8 million tons per year, or 4,000 metric tons per day.

Based on the composition and the caloric values of Municipal Solid Waste in Ghana, it is estimated that combusting waste to energy plants in Ghana can produce 154,000 megawatts of electricity annually based on the over 760,000 tonnes of waste generated annually in Accra alone. This means over 421 megawatts of power can be generated daily from the 2,000 tonnes of solid waste the geographical boundaries of Accra Metropolitan Authority creates every single day.

According to the ECG, the reason for the current intensive load shedding is due to a shortfall of about 400 megawatts, just the equivalent or a little less than what can be generated from the 2,000 tonnes of solid waste Accra alone generates. (400 megawatts of power is enough to light the entire Ashanti, Central, Eastern and Volta regions).
Not too long ago, we all heard in the news about the shortage of waste in Sweden such that they had to import waste to power their plants. It is true that the initial capital investment into a ‘waste to energy’ is usually huge; it pays off in the long run. And there are environmental and health related benefits as well which adds up to the cost saving in the long term.

Even though the planning, designing and construction of a new plant would take some time, the long term cost of building a WTE plant in Ghana should be compared with the long term effects of relying on landfilling as a “waste management” option and also relying on our traditional sources of power in terms of the cost of buying crude oil and gas as to the cost of collecting solid waste to generate electricity. Aside providing us with an alternative source of cleaner power, a waste to energy plant will sure keep our environments cleaner since it would be in dire need of the waste we generate to produce power. Many more people will go into waste collection as a business because they have a ready buyer. Also, our hospitals will be less burdened with the usual outpatient visits because our environments will be cleaner and therefore healthier. The combustion processing of the different combination of solid waste will also give us ash which is a major requirement for the production of asphalt necessary for road constructions.

Suffice to say that without a reliable and adequate power supply and infrastructure, all the talks about Ghana’s industrialization supposed to be occasioned by our petrochemical resources and middle income status will be much ado about nothing.

The author of this article is the Head of Research at the Danquah Institute



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