Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events

Annan in Moscow

PNDC member, Justice D.F. Annan is in Moscow to attend the meeting of the USSR's Olympic committee.

Currency devaluation to boost exports

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr J.S. Addo, has stated that as long as the country is not able to export enough to cover imports, the Central Bank will continue to adjust the foreign exchange rate within the framework of the PNDC monetary policy.

The new exchange rate of 38.50 cedi to the dollar which came into effect on August 24, 1984, is therefore in line with the monetary policies of the Government. The old exchange rate of 35 cedi to the dollar became effective in March this year.

Briefing the press on the new exchange rate in Accra Mr Addo made it clear that the country's expected earnings from its exports this year, for instance, will amount to about 560m dollars, whereas the import bill for goods such as pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, tyres and insecticides, is projected at around 800m dollars. This leaves a deficit of 240m dollars which the Government will have to find money from Ghana. elsewhere to finance.

The Governor, however, conceded that exchange rate adjustment alone cannot solve the country's economic problems. That was why, he said, the Government is actively rehabilitating the export sectors like the mining and timber industries. And with the recent changes and the support of certain friendly countries in these sectors "we are expecting a significant improvement in the export sector in the immediate future".

Mr Addo explained that as a result of the fiscal measures taken within the last two years, the country has been able to reduce its inflation rate from 120% to 35%. He explained that the primary cause of inflation in Ghana is the fact that the Government has been financing budget deficits with the result that the Government has been borrowing money from the banks to pay for the wages and salaries of workers. "We are trying to introduce a number of changes in monetary transactions and these will be made public by the appropriate agencies in the next few days", he hinted.

Foreign oil firms get concessions

The Government is to give concessions to foreign oil companies to go into oil exploration and production in the country early next year if analyses of data and other findings by Petro Canada prove positive.

This was disclosed by the Secretary for Fuel and Power, Mr E. Appiah Korang, in an interview with the Business Weekly magazine. He said in addition to the exploration programme, the Tema refinery is being rehabilitated to improve its operational efficiency and to ensure that it turns out important products like diesel and marine fuel as well as medium and heavy fuel.

Mr Appiah Korang explained that the modernisation will make it possible for the refinery to use both light and heavier crude suitable for bitumen production. On the general energy situation in the country, Mr Appiah Korang said Ghana produces just about 1,200 b/d as against a requirement of 30,000 b/d. Currently, all the country's crude oil imports come from Nigeria where about 80,000 metric ton are lifted every month.

Delivery of cattle under barter agreement

One hundred head of cattle from Burkina Faso have arrived in Ghana as payment of a debt owed by that country to Ghana. They are the first batch of 800 head of cattle expected from Burkina Faso for the settle- ment of a debt of 106,400 pounds.

The Secretary for Trade, Mr Ato Ahwoi, who took delivery of the cattle in Accra recalled that last May, Ghana signed a trade agreement with Burkina Faso for the payment of a debt in cattle and also for the supply of cattle in exchange for salt from

Another 100 cattle are at present in quarantine in Paga on the Ghana-Burkina Faso border to be distributed to other regions. Mr Ato Ahwoi said under the barter agreement the Meat Marketing Board has to deliver 521 tons of salt to Burkina Faso for 112 head of cattle.

He disclosed that under another term of the agreement, the Meat Marketing Board and the meat division of GHOC (Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation) will import cattle from Burkina Faso after the necessary agreements are concluded. Part of that batch will be used to start cattle production on a large scale in Ghana.

Ghana discusses extradition with three countries

The quadripartite meeting from Ghana, Benin and Nigeria and Togo on cooperation in the field of security in the subregion has ended in Lome. The deliberations were designed to find the most effective means that will help to bring an end to all kinds of trafficking at the borders of these countries. The aim is to extend peace to all the social groups of the countries involved and to ensure the complete freedom of individuals and groups of people.

In his closing address, Mr Mawuko Ajavon, member of the Central Committee and Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, declared that the Lome meeting was the starting point of a new form of sub-regional cooperation that must permit each of our peoples to emancipate themselves in peace and freedom. Minister Ajavon moreover, rejoiced over the spirit of concern that motivated the experts who were determined to make the Lome sessions a good example for emulation by other countries.

The Justice Minister further stated that the first quadripartite meeting that was held in Lome on August 6 and 7, 1984 at the level of ministers of foreign affairs and co operation and ministers of interior in order to examine ways and means to strengthen decided security and guarantee peace and stability of the four brotherly countries at the end of the meeting to set up a committee of experts and to give it the following mandate:

1. To draw up an extradition treaty.

2. To draw up a customs agreement to combat trafficking in currency, arms and drugs.

3. To draw up more clearly defined procedures to follow in police cooperation against crime.

The Minister further stated that the ministerial meeting had charged the experts with the task of concluding the deliberations within a period of six weeks so that the ministers could in their turn examine the draft proposals to be submitted to the Heads of State for their high consideration. He also said that the challenge had been happily met by the experts, because during the set period they had managed to draw up texts at the national level before coming to attend the quadripartite meeting that opened on September 21 in Lome.

Mr Ajavon also stressed that the tasks confronting the delegates who attend the Lome quadripartite meeting were not easy because they had to examine all the various draft documents prepared by each country before engaging in the deliberations that resulted in the drawing up of a common text that was likely to win the approval of the competent authorities of the four brotherly countries.

West German loan

The government is to receive loans and grants worth more than 120 million Marks from West Germany, according to the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

Most of the money would be used to finance a transport scheme on the Volta Lake. LIBERIA

Information Minister dismissed

A new Minister of Information has been appointed in place of the dismissed Alhaji Kromah. He is Gerson Karpeh. Head of State and President of the Interim National Assembly, Dr Samuel Kanyon Doe, dismissed Alhaji G.V. Kromah as Minister of Information for his persistent references to the establishment of a dictatorship and a one-party system in Liberia.

Dr Doe said it had not been the policy nor the intention of his government to adopt such a system as it is inconsistent with the approved Constitution. He said that the continuous pronouncements on this matter as the principal spokesman for the Government could therefore be construed to mean that such a matter is or has been under consideration by government, which is false

Dr Doe said Alhaji Kromah's statement in general could be seen as not promoting Government's policies but as intending to create confusion about these policies and undermining attempts at ensuring a smooth transition to democratic rule.

Sacked Minister is adamant

Minister of Information, Alhaji Kromah has said in Monrovia that he stands firmly by his recent statement against dictatorship and a one-party government. He said such a government will never survive in the second republic.

Minister Kromah, who was speaking when he met with senior staff of his Ministry, said that if the multi-party system is bad, the Liberian people are definitely aware that a one-party system is worse. GABON

President's visit to Asia

On his return from Fez, Morocco, where he was on a two-day private visit, President Bongo has left for an Asian tour which will take him to Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong. The visit is aimed at strengthening economic and political relations with the countries concerned. After Japan, South Korea and Thailand, Mr Bongo will visit Hong Kong on the last leg of his Asian tour. It must be said that Asia is Gabon's fourth economic partner after France, the United States and the EEC countries. IVORY COAST

Ivorian loan agreement with Canada

Ivory Coast and Canada have signed a loan agreement totalling 8.5bn CFA francs and also a subsidy agreement worth 1bn CFA francs to help in consolidating the Ivorian economy and in creating commercial and industrial links between Canada and Ivory Coast.

The loan is repayable in 50 years, with a 10-year grace period. It is also interest-free. The Ivorian Finance Minister, Abdoulaye Kone, signed for his country, while John Bell, the Canadian Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, signed for his country. CHAD

Libyan support for GUNT to continue

The Libyan Foreign Liaison Secretary, Turayki has said that Libya still supported the GUNT (of Goukouni) as the legitimate government of Chad on the basis of the Lagos agreement, but that it wanted Hissein Habre as the representative of the FAN (Armed Forces of the North) and other Chad factions to meet in Brazzaville in order to form a government of national unity.

Libya wanted to let the people of Chad solve their own problems but did not exclude the possibility of returning to Chad in the case of further foreign intervention. The Aozou strip was an integral part of Libya and not a topic for discussion.

Fears about French- Libyan agreement

President Habre has described the Oujda treaty between Libya and Morocco as "an accord between cheats, signed on the back of Chad". The Chad news agency, ATP, has also questioned whether "a cunning and unstable man" like Gadhafi would respect the troop withdrawal agreement with France. Libya would remain a threat to Chad as long as it maintained a base in Aozou from which it could invade Chad at any time.

The agency said the Libyan army was composed of mercenaries from various African countries which Gadhafi could easily pass off as Goukouni Oueddei's troops. The French, who had sent troops to Chad, should have ensured that the agreement guaranteed the integrity of Chad, but this was not the case.

The French decision to withdraw was therefore premature. However, the Chad people were now sufficiently organised to face up to an external threat.

Zairean President on French-Libyan agreement

Zairean radio reported on September 18 that President Mobutu had described the French-Libyan troop withdrawal agreement as "a very good thing". He would send an envoy to Hissein Habre to discuss the fate of the Zairean troops in Chad.

In an interview with the radio in the same broadcast, Guy Penne, the French presidential adviser on African affairs, who had been sent to Zaire to give President Mobutu full details of the disengagement agreement, said that the withdrawal would be simultaneous.

France believed that there was no military solution to the Chad problem; the only solution lay in national reconciliation. The French therefore supported the proposed Brazzaville conference.

OAU welcomes withdrawal agreement

Ethiopian radio has reported that the OAU has welcomed the decision by Libya and France to withdraw their forces, arms and equipment from Chad and that it believed that this gesture would guarantee the independent and territorial integrity of Chad and pave the way to lasting peace.

Engage discussions

Nigeria's External Affairs Minister, Dr Gambari has called on Chad leaders to seize the opportunity of the proposed withdrawal of French and Libyan troops to engage in meaningful discussions. During his visit to France Dr Gambari delivered a message to President Mitterrand from the Nigerian Head of State and held discussions with three French ministers on bilateral and multilateral issues.

On September 24 the Nigerian radio reported a Government announcement that approval had been given to requests from Libya and France for a mixed liaison group to be installed in Kano during the period of the troop withdrawal from Chad expected to last about 50 days and for transit facilities to be given to a small number of observer troops from Benin and Senegal.

Earlier, the Chad Government had refused Senegalese and Togolese observers proposed by Paris; nevertheless, it did not want to fall out with France. A Chad Government spokesman denied that there was a risk of a diplomatic crisis with France. He referred to the various co- operation agreements with France, including the military agreement of 1976. However, he described the present treatment of Chad as cavalier.

The Chad national radio has announced the Government's formal rejection of observers from Benin, "a satellite of Libya". The Government would prefer UN-mandated observers.

Dismissal of teachers

7,000 university and secondary school teachers have been dismissed, that is, 40% of the country's workforce. This decision follows a recommendation of the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, which has just granted a line of credit and has asked for measures to improve productivity. MALI

French medical aid

France, following the visit of the Minister of Co-operation, Christian Nucci, to Mal will send an urgent consignment medicines worth 150,000 francs, while 400,000 francs will be placed at the disposal of collectives for the distribution of food aid. The main regions involved in Mali those of Tombouctou and Gao.

Prime Minister in Spain

During his visit to Spain, Prime Minister Diarra Traore met with the Spanish Prime Minister and expressed interest in Spanish teachers being sent to the country. He also discussed co-operation with Spain in the exploitation of minerals, particularly bauxite, boron, diamonds and iron, which a Spanish delegation could study on site.

Drought in Mali

In a broadcast to the nation over the national radio on the occasion of Mali's 24th anniversary of independence, President Moussa Traore announced that drought had caused a deficit of between 20 and 30 percent in areas where farming was organised by the Department of Rural Development "and up to 90 percent in other areas".

He told his listeners that "our survival depends on our ability to adapt to a new and difficult environment which might turn out to be a permanent one". SENEGAL

New Chief of General Staff

The new Chief of General Staff of the Army, Brigadier Joseph de Souza Tavarez has been officially installed at Dial Diop barracks in Dakar. The ceremony was pre- sided over by Armed Forces Minister, Medoune Fall.

The appointment constitutes an important step forward in the development of the armed forces. General Tavarez da Souza was born on June 17, 1930 at Ziguinchor. He joined the French Army on December 12, 1949 and was commissioned Junior Officer on January 1, 1955. From 1957 to 1959 he attended the Frejus officers' college for overseas students in France; he became an officer on October 1, 1959.'

General Taverez da Souza was promoted to the rank of colonel on January 1, 1978. He is also a graduate of several higher military institutions including the Paris senior military school. GUINEA

Co-operation with the USSR

Maj. Alhouseyni Fofana, Member of the Military Committee for National Redress and Minister of Agriculture has held a working session with a Soviet delegation at the Nation's Palace. This working session centred on a draft agreement on a multi- dimensional project which will be implemented in Guinea by the Soviet Union.

Petre Ivanovich Konakov, head of a department of the State Committee for Foreign Economic relations and head of the Soviet delegation, said that the various sectors covered by the draft agreement are: a mechanised agricultural centre, national and regional seed selection centres, a main- tenance garage for agricultural equipment and vehicles, as well as some agricultural units. The draft agreement also provides for the rehabilitation of the Obeka mining installations and the dredging of the Kimekoni river, electric power generation and the rehabilitation of the Kumbaya concrete production unit. To finance those projects the Soviet Union will give Guinea 95m roubles which is worth 120m dollars, of which 25m dollars is to be repaid in local currency.

The head of the Soviet delegation also expressed his country's desire to build two office buildings in Conakry, one for the staff of the Soviet Embassy's economic section and the other for the Department of Agriculture and Water and Forest Resources and the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.

Capt Mohamed Lamine Sakho, the there. Minister of Industry and member of the military committee, on September 12 met the charge d'affaires of the Soviet Embassy in Guinea. The discussions concerned the various projects being undertaken in Guinea with Soviet co-operation, especially the Nzerekore sawmill and the one at Mamou and the establishment of a fish canning industry. CAMEROON

Biya cautions against rumours

Head of State, Paul Biya, has announced the near completion of the re-organisation of the army, government services and diplomatic missions to enable the country to develop in an atmosphere of restored harmony and security.

In an address to the nation he said he could not successfully implement the new deal policy all alone. He therefore called for the support of all Cameroon citizens irrespective of their personal views, training, ethnic origins or religion, to be part and parcel of the Cameroon nation and share the same rights and obligations.

The students also wanted political fugitives to be tried in absentia and their personal properties confiscated, if found guilty.

He continued, "a great people can only survive and thrive by respecting legitimate authority and facing the truth squarely. Many of you still do not distinguish truth from rumour. However, rumour is not truth. Truth is lofty and rumour is base. From unknown origins, rumour is spread by careless and malicious persons pretend- ing to be more important than they really are.”

The Head of State called on Cameroonians not to pay any attention to rumours circulating in the country. He advised them to think, analyse, listen to the radio and read the papers and not use anyone who lacks moral authority and credibility as their source of information. BURKINA

Sankara in Cuba

President Thomas Sankara has arrived in Cuba for a four-day visit which would mark a new stage in the friendly relations between the two countries. According to Burkina Faso's Ambassador to Cuba, Boureima Compaore, Cuba had already set up a joint commission and signed five agreements.

Cuban aid for airport rehabilitation

Rehabilitation work is to be carried out by a Cuban mission on the airport at Burkina Faso's second largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso This will enable all types of commercial aircraft (DC-8, DC-10, Boeing-747) to land NIGERIA

Reverse trend in trial of politicians

Students of the University of Benin have urged the Buhari administration to reverse the current trends in the trial of political office holders in the defunct Shagari's government.

The students would want Alhaji Shehu Shagari and his aides at the Federal level to appear before the special military tribunals on the recovery of public properties without further delay.

In a statement jointly signed by Mr Turner Ogboru and Mr Kola Thomas, chairman and public relations officer of the university's student caretaker committee respectively, the students called on the Federal Military Government to re-appraise its policy on the trial of former political office holders in a way that Alhaji Shagari, Dr Alex Ekwwueme, ministers, chairmen and members of board of directors of parastatals at the federal level would soon take their turns at the appropriate tribunals.

On the international plane, the students said they were embarrassed by a report in the national daily newspaper that both the British and United States government were monitoring the present regime's handling of the fate of those who ruined the Nigerian economy.

Traditional rulers told not to fear

Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has said in Warri that traditional rulers in the country should have no fears because "no government can afford to remove the chieftaincy institutions".

Replying to an address at the palace of the e Olu of Warri, Maj-Gen. Buhari said: "I don't think the chieftaincy institution in this the adding that the society still recognised its leadership role. country has any The Head of State said that it would, there- fore, be out of place for the present military regime to interfere with the institution in any way.

In his address, the Olu of Warri had asked that the military administration consider the place of traditional rulers in examining the report of the committee set up to look into the affairs of local govern- ment councils in the country. Maj-Gen. Buhari said that the report would be studied closely and given due consideration because no government could afford to remove the chieftaincy institution.

The Head of State also visited Burutu and promised that the Federal Military Government would do everything possible to meet the people's aspirations and restore those projects which the people of Burutu the past administration. In their address, the people asked that the abandoned boat yard project be reactivated.

Raids on illegal immigrants

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Brig. Mohammed Magoro, has directed that raids on illegal immigrants be jointly carried out by the army, police, immigration personnel and state government officials. The Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a statement in Lagos that Brig. Magoro gave the order during an official visit to formations under the Ministry in Bendel. The Minister explained that joint raids would improve the performance of law en- forcement agents and would achieve the desired objectives of the Federal Military Government. The Minister, the statement added, enjoined immigration officials to do their best with the limited resources available to them.

The Assistant Director of Immigration in the state, Mr L.O. Edet, had earlier told the Minister that 3,383 residence permits were issued between January last year and August this year, while 1,779 visitors' passes were extended and 3,042 re-entry permits were issued. He said that during the same period, 4,989 re-entry visas were issued, 377 ECOWAS citizens were registered and 315 aliens repatriated while 35,319.72 naira was collected as visa fees.

Economic saboteurs to be shot

Head of State, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed in Aladja, Bendel, that economic saboteurs would be shot. "It is not an empty threat", he warned, while addressing senior members of staff of the Delta Steel Company, Aladja. "We do not believe in cold-blooded murder," he added, saying that whoever was suspected of sabotage would have to face the military tribunals after a thorough investigation had been carried out.

The Head of State referred to the fire which burnt part of the steel complex earlier this year and said that the military administration had to introduce legislation with heavy penalties because of its belief that the nation's resources should be used to satisfy the needs of its people.

Maj-Gen. Buhari said that this would not be possible if certain Nigerians, either by accident of birth or by some relationship, and armed with sufficient skills, felt they could kill the economy of the nation through sabotage. He recalled the recent dismissals and retirements at the Ajaokuta politics steel rolling mill and said that the Federal Government was still awaiting the outcome of the inquiry into the fire incident at Delta mill before taking the necessary action.

Temporary halt to overseas training

Chief of Army Staff, Maj-Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has announced in Ibadan a temporary stoppage of overseas training for military personnel. Maj-Gen. Babangida are based. told participants at the closing session of this year's Nigerian army intelligence corps seminar that the embargo was necessitated by the prevailing economic situation in the country.

He, however, explained that the policy would not affect those currently sponsored on such training programmes and that the embargo would be relaxed as soon as the economic situation improved.

The Chief of Army Staff noted that the increase in the number of courses in Nigerian military institutions had led to a gradual de-emphasis of training abroad. He stated that 657 officers were now under- going courses in both Nigerian and overseas institutions. Maj-Gen. Babangida disclosed that a site had been acquired and developed at Jaji for an "airborne school' while an army jetty and harbour had been completed in Calabar amphibious school.

Withdrawal from the OAU's Western Sahara committee

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs has announced Nigeria's withdrawal from the OAU implementation committee on the Western Sahara comprising the heads of state of Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

The statement had said the decision followed the inability of the committee to discharge the mandate entrusted to it by the OAU assembly of heads of state; "it further explained that the ineffectiveness of the committee might have been compounded by what looks like partiality

Early meeting with British Minister

Foreign Minister Ibrahim Gambari, in a personal message to the British Foreign Office has suggested an early meeting with Sir Geoffrey Howe, the British Foreign Secretary.

The invitation was conveyed by Alhaji Karfi, Acting Nigerian High Commissioner and follows a visit to Lagos three weeks ago by Sir Roger due Bonlay, a diplomat who was recalled from retirement to act as a personal envoy of Sir Geoffrey to Lagos.

Insulate census from politics

The Secretary to the Federal Military Government and Head of Service, Mr Gray Longe, has decried excessive politics associated with census in the country. He pointed out that it would be impossible to obtain adequate data on the size and characteristics of the country's population unless Nigeria regarded census as a purely statistical exercise aimed at obtaining information needed by the government to plan and execute their programmes and services rather than a political exercise on which the sharing of amenities and power

Mr Longe made the criticisms in an address read on his behalf at the opening of the national meeting on the Nigerian fertility surveys in Lagos.

Increase in hospital fees

Health care delivery in government health institutions in Kwara State is to cost more with effect from October 1, this year. General patients would from that date be required to pay N3 for simple drugs instead of N2 previously charged, while those hitherto paying N4 per prescription for expensive drugs are to pay N6.

Payment of foreign debts

The Nigerian news agency has reported the External Affairs Minister, Dr Ibrahim Gambari, as saying in Bonn on September 22 that his Government was determined to reach agreement on the rescheduling of Nigeria's external financial commitments. Nigeria wanted to restore its credit and credibility. He had called for greater understanding from the IMF.

talking drums 1984-10-01 Nigeria at 24 nothing to celebrate - Cameroon why the april coup failed