A legal practitioner, Mr Rudolf Amenga-Etego, has called for public hearings to be organized in all regional capitals for the constitutional review process.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Bolgatanga at the weekend, the legal practitioner said such hearing would give the process a more nationalistic impetus.
He explained that since the process would require the multiplicity of views as to what should or should not be contained in the constitution it was very paramount to get broader views from the general public.
Mr Amenga-Etego, who is also the Executive Director of Foundation for Grassroots Initiatives in Africa (GrassRootsAfrica), indicated that it was only through the decentralization of the public hearing that true and fair representation of the people’s views could be captured.
“A national assignment like the Constitutional Review, should be considered seriously and given the necessary attention by extending it to other parts of the country to seek the opinions from the people,” he added.
He indicated that the proposal made by the Constitutional Review Commission that people could submit their views through electronic mails and telephones were not enough and that it should go beyond that process in collating public opinion on the subject.
He said that the Constitutional Review Commission could mandate officials at the regional levels to take up the exercise on their behalf if they could not do all that by themselves.
Mr Amenga-Etego said members of the Commission, who are experts, should be left alone to carry out the exercise noting that there were other experts outside there, who were equally competent.
The Executive Director of the GrassRootsAfrica commended Government for initiating the review of the constitution and said society was dynamic and changes with time.
He said there were lots of clauses in the constitution, which needed to be amended to meet the current legal needs.
Mr Amenga-Etego cited the appointment of Ministers from Parliament for example and said such element in the constitution, which gave power to the President to do so needed to be reviewed.
He said “this practice in the first place put a burden on Members of Parliament (MPs) in the execution of their duties since they had to attend to their duties as MPs and as Ministers”.
Mr Amenga-Etego further indicated that the practice also gave the President too much power to operate and also compromised the independence of the organs of Government.
He called on Ghanaians especially constitutional experts to actively participate in the exercise to contribute to make it successful to effectively nurture the country’s growing democracy.
He noted that the review exercise would bring a lot of positive changes and developments to the country, which would send out a signal to the international world that Ghana was growing.
Seven banks link customer to e-zwich
Seven banks have completed the interoperability process that enables them to link their customers’ traditional accounts to their e-zwich cards.
With this successful integration, it will now be possible for bank customers to transfer cash from their accounts onto their e-zwich cards and vice versa.
The seven banks are Cal Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Merchant Bank, Zenith Bank, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), International Commercial Bank and the Trust Bank.
The integration process, which was recently completed, has introduced flexibility in the use of the e-zwich cards, as customers can go to any Point of Sales (POS) device and transfer cash from their bank account onto their e-zwich cards and either use to shop or even transfer money to another cardholder.
The interoperability also known as e-zwich bank2card/card2bank is expected to greatly enhance the use of e-zwich cards.
“All you need to do is to link your traditional bank account held at the same bank that issued you the card, and you can conveniently load money directly onto your card from your traditional bank account.
“Or push money from your card into your traditional bank account at any e-zwich point of sales terminal or e-zwich ATM where available in the country,” the General Manager in charge of Project and Business Development at Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) Archie Hesse said.
Mr Hesse said the remaining banks were working to complete the integration certification so they could also provide their customers with this service.
In another development, various banks have started paying good interest rates on monies kept on the e-zwich cards.
Mr Hesse explained that each e-zwich card has two wallets, one of which is the savings wallet which attracts interest.
Currently UT Bank pays the highest rate of 15 percent, followed by Cal Bank with 12.5 percent. Other banks paying equally handsome rates for the e-zwich cards include First Atlantic Merchant Bank 9.0 percent, Fidelity Bank 8.0 percent and Ecobank 6.5 percent.
The other rates are Guaranty Trust 5%, United Bank for Africa (UBA) 5.0 percent, Amalgamated Bank 3.0 percent, Stanbic bank 2.0 percent and Prudential Bank 2.0 percent.
These rates, according to Mr Hesse, are being used by the banks to mobilize deposits in addition to the increasing use of the biometric cards.
Mr Hess, therefore, urged people to take advantage of the good interest rates and get an e-zwich card.
He expressed the hope that the payment of attractive interest rates on the card in addition to the completion of the integration of the traditional bank accounts to the e-zwich card would significantly boost the use of the e-zwich card.
There are currently over 340,000 cardholders.
KIA-CEPS to increase revenue collection
Ms Christiana Akoto Bamfo, Commander of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in charge custom excise and preventive duties, has shown greater commitment to step-up revenue collection at port.
She said Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) “seek to be an efficient revenue collection body to drive the wheel of public-private partnership in the right direction.”
Ms Akoto Bamfo said this at get-together organised to mark the end of 2009 in Accra.
She noted that despite the 2009 global economic downturn, a 3.18 percent growth was recorded over the previous year representing 98 percent of revenue target.
She congratulated personnel service saying, “we are determined to do better in 2010. We are greatly committed.”
In a speech read on his behalf, the Commissioner of CEPS, Mr Eddie Laryon, congratulated the KIA Collection of CEPS and noted that despite the challenges that faced the Service last year, KIA Collection was able to do well.
He observed that 2010 would come with new challenges that required good planning and strategizing.
“With determination and hard work, there would be success. I wish the KIA Collection the best in the coming year,” he added.
Awards were awarded to personnel for their hard work.
Ali Moro Saa received an award for being the best junior officer of the collection, whilst Ms Dillys Sika Togboto received an award for being the best senior officer.