Thursday, October 8, 2015

First Columbian Ambassador to Ghana Visits CNS

2 July 2015. The first ever Columbian Ambassador to Ghana, HE Claudia Turbay Quintero paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro on Thursday,         2 July, 2015 in his office in Burma Camp, Accra.

HE Quintero in her introductory remark disclosed the purpose of her visit, to invite the Ghana Navy to participate in the upcoming operation code named “Operation Atlanta”. She was optimistic that the Navy’s participation would serve as a basis for developing a strong bilateral relationship between the Columbian and the Ghana Navy.

According to HE Quintero, Ghana and Columbia share a common interest of combating sea crimes in the sub-region. Hence, establishing a strong relationship between the two Navies would enable them join their resources together in fighting sea crimes, such as arms trafficking, drug trafficking, human trafficking, piracy etc.

The CNS welcomed and congratulated the Ambassador for being the first Ambassador to Ghana and the ECOWAS. He acknowledged the need for the joint operations between the two countries. He further explained how they have in their small ways been working with other sister countries such as Togo, Benin and Ivory Coast in combating maritime crimes. Joint exercises, joint training, exchange of information and making resources available to each other are some of the activities ongoing between the aforementioned countries.

“No single country has the capability of combating piracy and drug trafficking, so there is the need for us to join our resources together”, CNS added.

HE Quitero encouraged the CNS to create more avenues for women to join the Navy. She hopes that gradually, our society would be able to embrace more women into higher offices.

To demonstrate Ghana’s appreciation of their visit, the CNS presented to the Ambassador and her Deputy Head of Mission Mr Fernando Grillo, a plaque, an engrossed Ghana Navy kente sash and other souvenirs.

Present also were the Acting Chief Staff Officer Capt Issah Yakubu, Director Training Commander Prosper Modey, Director Engineering Commander Eric Osei and Director of Operations Commander Derrick Attachie.

Understanding your Provident Fund Benefits - Lt Col Zubaviel

30 June 2015. The Deputy Director Resettlement of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Lt Col R B Zubaviel has called on personnel of the GAF and civilian employees who are on the provident fund to take advantage of the policy and make a higher contribution to secure a better and efficient retirement package.

Lt Col Zubaviel made the call on behalf of the Director Resettlement Brig Gen AK Adokpa at the General Headquarters (GHQ) during a sensitization program with soldiers and civilian counterparts on Tuesday, 30 June, 2015 at the Burma Hall, Burma Camp.

He said each member of the scheme would contribute a compulsory minimum of 5% of his or her basic salary each month to the fund. However, a member has an option to add a further contribution of 2.5%, 5.0% and 7.5% to attain the highest contribution of 20% into the fund. With the civilian employees, he said because they already contribute to the Social Security of National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), it is voluntary for them to join and withdraw at any time. But once a policy is withdrawn, one cannot join again.

He added that National Investment Bank (NIB) does not grant loans based on the Provident Fund.  If one wishes to acquire a loan, it should be a personal loan between the individual and the bank. One cannot also use the fund as collateral to get a loan from a bank.

Lt Col Zubaviel also used the opportunity to remind contributors to pick up a form at the resettlement office to provide details of beneficiaries, in case of sudden events. Personnel should note that the form is not the same as the known form 400.

Mr John Blay, a member of the fund management, on behalf of the Head of Treasury, Mrs. Esther Agyemang Prempeh of the National Investment Bank (NIB) also stressed the need to have their contributions voluntarily increased for a better retirement benefits.

Mr Blay advised personnel to visit the resettlement office in their quest for information or clarification, instead of the premises of the NIB which he said, is one of their challenges as managers of the fund.

According to Mr Blay, the National Investment Bank has been a principal manager of the GAF provident fund since November 2009 and that the Bank has succeeded in handling it creditably over the periods. In addition, the contributions are carefully assigned to the right individuals and investing in diverse portfolio to ensure that all payment requests are handled in a timely conscientious manner.

Furthermore, Mr Blay explained that, the investment is protected against inflation with diverse portfolio to ensure risk-reduction. “Investment provides contributors high returns and interest on matured investments are apportioned at the end of the year on pro-rated basis according to one’s contributions”.

Rule Pertaining to the Provident Fund, he urged the contributors of the Fund to be guided by rules of the policy, so that their decisions would be accordingly informed.

“A contributor is permitted to have access to the fund only after five (5) years of contribution. The approved withdrawals are not to exceed 20% of accumulated contributions. Subsequently, withdrawals may be made by the contributor after every two years.

A contributor who has not contributed for the minimum term of five years before release from the GAF is entitled to the full benefits of his contribution.

Also, a deceased contributor to the Provident Fund would have the full benefits of her contributions paid to his beneficiaries. No loan shall be granted to the contributors of the fund. Contributors of the fund shall have the option of 75% of their contribution for a mortgage or any other project they deem suitable after 15year of contribution to the fund. Contributors are advised to make withdrawals on a need basis”.

Explaining the benefits, Mr Blay stated that the benefit derived from this provident fund is far better than other banks savings. While other banks give 2% interest on their savings, Provident Fund provide about 7% of the interest rate serving as a fast moving investment for its members. Contributors were therefore encouraged to make more contributions in order to get higher interest. The interest rate of 7% appears on their statement yearly, helping them to know the development of their fund.

Finally, he disclosed that it is the duty of the Commercial banks to ensure smooth running of all activities and urged members to have their account details with commercial banks and not rural banks.

Couple Gives Birth to Quadruplet

29 June 2015. Exercising patience when in dire need of children can sometimes be painful and difficult, especially when the couple has been married for years. Couples tend to accuse each other for their inability to bear children. In most cases, women are always the targets of the woes. In event where pressure persist and all hope is lost, men often  look elsewhere to test their fertility or check their potency on other women outside their matrimonial homes.

Some Christians and unbelievers resort to pastors and ritualist for miracles and instant solutions. However, like Hannah and Elizabeth in the Bible (Old Testament), who waited on the Lord to get them children, the couple WOII Amankwah and Mrs Cynthia Amankwah at the Air Force Base, Takoradi whom have been married for 10 years without a child, through the grace of God have been blessed with a set of quadruplet namely, Andraine Arhema, Audriana Affua, Arian Yedua and Andrain Arhin Amankwah.

WOII Amankwah said, they were happy when the scan disclosed that his wife was carrying quadruplet. Again he reiterated their constant devotion to prayer and the word of God.

On the question of how they were going to take care of the children, WO11 Amankwah said, God who provided them with the children would surely grant them the provision they need. He continued that even though he is a salary worker, his monthly pay would not satisfy the demands of the children, but was confident of taking care of the children. Adding that, God is always on their side.

The couples who worship with Roman Catholic Church at Takoradi expressed their heartfelt gratitude to God for giving them such a wonderful gift and advised his colleagues who are also seeking for children to exercise patience, pray unceasingly, and have faith in God that He will fulfill their needs.

He warned them against resorting to fake pastors and ritualist who have the tendency of duping their followers.

NUTAG Supports June 3 Disaster Victims at 37 Military Hospital

29 June 2015. The Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG) has donated relief items worth GH¢2,000 and a cash amount of GH¢2,000 to the recent June 3 Disaster victims at the 37 Military Hospital to speed up their recovery process and to show solidarity with their Ghanaian neighbours.

Presenting the items on behalf of the Association on Monday 29, June 2015, the National President, Deacon John Igwe Ukala said that the plight of the victims was really sympathetic and touched their hearts. In this regard the Association decided to contribute their widow’s mite to alleviate their plight as well as show their love and concern by visiting the hospital.

The items included 8 cartons of Frytol Cooking Oil, 17 cartons of Bel Aqua purified water, 4 bags of toilet rolls, 2 bags of Cindy Rice and 2 bags of sugar.

Again, he thanked the hospital authorities for the good work being done and encouraged them to continue giving off their best.  He asked for God’s blessings for all of them.

Receiving the items on behalf of Command and Staff of the hospital, the Commanding Officer, Col Samuel Adjei expressed profound gratitude to the Association for their generosity and said the items will be used for the intended purposes. Also present was the Matron of the hospital, Col Mercy Yelbert.

GAF Central Band Conducts Fire Exercise and Inspection

29 June  2015. A fire exercise and inspection have been conducted for troops at the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Central Band on Monday, June 29, 2015 at the bandline, 37.

The fire exercise was aimed at educating troops on fire prevention and how to fight it when it occurs.   It was also to alert them on the need to always prepare during such incidents especially in the various barracks.

The G1 of Support Services Brigade Group, Lt Col George Nkansah, on behalf of the commander of the unit Brig Gen Musah Whajah said because of the recent rampant fire outbreaks, there is the need to prepare and educate troops on the prevention of fire outbreaks.

He added that troops should rehearse always in order not to forget what they have learnt and urged them to educate their families at home should the unfortunate occur in the various barracks.

The officer in charge of the GAF fire service unit, Maj Samuel Dok in his remarks congratulated the troops for putting out the fire that occurred at the Ministry of Defence some few weeks ago and emphasized that the best fire fighter is the one who can prevents fire, therefore troops should always be cautious on the use of heavy electrical gadgets in their homes.

Maj Dok advised soldiers to desist from procrastination, and to put off all electrical gadgets in their rooms before going out and also to limit the use of combustible materials in their rooms.

As part of the fire exercise, an inspection was conducted on the newly constructed armoury, school, rehearsal block, guard point, two accommodation blocks and two ablution point for both male and female which were constructed under the leadership of the Commanding Officer (CO) of the unit Lt Col Francis Kweku Annin.

The CO said the under mentioned  facilities were solely funded by the unit and since the inception of the GAF Central Band, the unit did not have the opportunity to use weapons, since there was no armoury for the unit, which made them borrowed from other units for operational activities.

Lt Col Annin hinted that the armoury can take about 200 to 300 weapons whiles the square would be used for parade and other rehearsals. He however said the unit had some challenges such as shortage of water which was somehow solved by the Ghana water company.

He added that, accommodation is also one of the major challenges facing the unit; making it difficult for about ten percent of the troops to stay in the barracks, hence the need to address such issues.

Finally, the CO noted that, the square and armoury being the first of its kind in the unit and other renovated blocks have also been completed and yet to be inaugurated.

Through Lt Col Annin’s initiative, the unit has acquired a parcel of land behind the 37 station for the construction of recreational activities, he added.

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