The deepening of diplomatic relations and bilateral ties between Ghana and the Swiss Confederation and the concern expressed by the Council of State over the steady rise in the prices of goods and services in the country are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.
The Daily Guide reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday said Ghana looks to deepening diplomatic relations and bilateral ties with the Swiss Confederation.
That is why, he said, Ghana was cooperating with the Swiss Government in the areas of energy, climate change, education, trade, among others areas of common interests.
The President said this when he hosted a former Swiss President, Simonetta Sommaruga, for a working lunch at the Jubilee House, Accra.
Ms Sommaruga, who is the current Swiss Minister for Environment, Traffic, Energy and Communications, is in Ghana as part of two-nation tour of Africa, which has also taken her to Senegal.
President Akufo-Addo recalled the relations between the two states, which dated back to when Swiss missionaries settled in Ghana in the early days of Christianity in the country.
He said that country and its people had in no small measure contributed to what Ghana was today.
“We all know the very positive impact of Swiss nationals on our national development,” he stated. “They have a lot to do with the fact that, today, about 70 percent of Ghanaians are Christians…much of the initial work (Christianity) was done by the Swiss, Since then, we have had a strong relationship.”
On her part, Ms Sommaruga also lauded the longstanding, good and close contacts between Switzerland and Ghana.
She recalled President Akufo-Addo’s reciprocal visit to Switzerland in 2020, which according to her, had strengthened the bonds between the nations.
The Graphic says that the Council of State expressed concern over the steady rise in the prices of goods and services in the country.
Consequently, members of the council held a meeting with stakeholders, with the view to helping find a solution to the issue.
The meeting, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, had representatives of all business and traders groups in the country in attendance to share with the council members issues relating to high prices.
The groups included the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and the Market Women Association.
Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, said one of the main policies of the council was to gather as much information as possible on matters on which it wished to advise the President, to enable it to proffer the requisite counsel.
That policy, he indicated, stood well with the council in 2019 when, after wide consultations with relevant bodies and institutions on the high cost of tariffs and charges at the country’s ports, it made recommendations to the government.
“The government accepted the council’s recommendations and reduced the tariffs and charges accordingly. This year, the issue on everybody’s lips is the rising cost of goods and some services. Much as we are aware that the government has taken some steps to address it, we consider this as our bounden duty to create a forum to discuss this, particularly the underlying factors contributing to the rising cost,” he said.
The newspaper reports that Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) had covered almost half of the expected households to be enumerated seven days into the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC).
Data received from 99.2 percent of enumeration areas in all 16 regions and 272 statistical districts indicate that an average of 42.1 percent of the expected households have been enumerated.
The completion rate ranges from 27.09 percent in the Greater Accra Region to 63.89 percent in North East Region.
In nine out of the 16 regions, enumeration completed on day seven (first week) of the 14-day exercise is in excess of 50 percent.
“The exercise has been smooth over the past one week,” the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, had told the Daily Graphic.
The assessment, he said, was based on systems for monitoring, which included the enumeration tracking dashboard, consistency checks and edit specifications.
He said the assessment also relied on reports from key officials on the ground, such as field officers, district data quality management teams, national monitors and international observers.
The Graphic also says that the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has called for a national discourse on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to see how the country can harness any potential the innovation has to offer.
He said unlike in the past, the national conversation should be based purely on science, devoid of anxieties and rumours.
The minister said this when he engaged the management and staff of the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in Accra as part of his familiarisation tour of agencies under the ministry.
Dr Afriyie used the tour to confer with the agencies on how to build on their achievements to enhance national development.
The Minister said a section of Ghanaians had taken a stand against GMOs based on anxiety and lack of adequate understanding, a development which, he explained, would be prioritised during the proposed national discourse.
Furthermore, a public discourse on GMOs would become a platform to educate the public on what the innovation entailed and its pros and cons, so that stakeholders would be on the same page to influence the right national policy on GMOs, he said.
Dr Afriyie stated that he was neither for nor against GMOs, but since other schools of thought had touted the enormous benefits of GMOs, such as food safety and security, it was critical to bring all the arguments to the table and discuss them at the national level to facilitate policy decisions.