Business News of 2014-01-30

Pentecostal Council calls for caution in endorsing GM foods

The leadership of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council has cautioned national leaders to thread cautiously at any attempts to endorse Genetically Modified (GM) foods.

It said any decision of that nature must be put on hold now while the international debate on the controversial issue was still ongoing.

Critical questions

The council said Ghanaians must participate in the debate and ask critical questions about who stood to benefit from the introduction of the GM foods and seeds, and at what cost to individuals and the nation.

A statement dated January 24, 2014, issued by the council in Accra, said they had noted the arguments on both sides of the debate and opined that there were serious questions to be asked.

The council asked, for instance, about who would be at the receiving end of the final decision respected in that debate.

It also posed the big question; “Why do we need the GM seeds and food in our system?”

It again asked: “Can we improve our current system of farming such as to increase productivity without recourse to genetic engineering of the seeds, and what happens to our local farmers and the existing seeds and methods of farming if we endorse GM foods?”

Besides, the council wanted to know whether or not the scientific information and advice we received on GM food were independent enough, and why the voice of local research scientists was not being heard on the issue.”

Improving farming practices

As all await the outcome of the debate, the council urged the government to put in place a pragmatic approach to improve the current methods of farming, including irrigation, storage facilities, as well as the marketing of farm produce.

Local produce

“There must also be a deliberate attempt to promote the patronage of local produce which would bring economic and social benefits to farmers and the nation.

“For example, the government can consider a policy that would enable all state-assisted senior high schools and the school feeding programme to use the produce of our local farmers,” it suggested.

Security

Touching on other important national issues, the statement noted the good work of the Police Service and its leader, the Inspector General of Police (IPA), as well as the government, in promoting the security of the people.

“We are witnessing a clear and visible presence of the police in some of our cities and, particularly, on the streets.

“This move by the IGP is most commendable as it reduces crime, road accidents and indiscipline by motorists and pedestrians,” the statement said, and expressed the hope that the arrangement would be extended to other parts of the country, especially on the highways.

We would also like to commend the government for the appointment of the first woman as director of the Ghana Prisons Service. It is hoped that she would bring her “motherly spirit” to bear on the administration of the service and transformation of the inmates.

Environmental pollution

Another critical issue the statement touched on was the pollution of the environment, in which case the council was concerned about the water bodies that continued to be attacked by human activities.

“Similarly, we are alarmed at the rate at which farmlands are being acquired by mining companies, as well as the destruction caused by galamsey operators,” it said.

In that respect, the council stressed the need for all Ghanaians and recognised bodies, including private companies, district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies, chiefs, churches and other religious bodies to assist the central government in addressing the critical issues of sanitation and drainage in the towns and cities, as well as the pollution of water bodies, particularly in the mining areas of the country.

Mushrooming of churches

Touching on the proliferation of independent churches with associated challenges of charlatans who exploit vulnerable people in society, the council said “These activities do not only undermine the integrity of the Gospel of Christ but also has the potential of making people become disillusioned with Christianity and religion as a whole.”

It, therefore, suggested the formation of “religious self-regulatory bodies” that would evaluate and give advice on the activities of independent pastors and churches.

The council appealed to the media to be more circumspect in the programmes they put on air for public consumption, particularly on the TV and radio stations.

Bribery and corruption

On the fight against bribery and corruption, the council challenged the Christian community to lead the way and also encourage the government to strengthen the existing institutions that dealt with the destructive menace to enable them to perform creditably.

The council said curriculum for civic, cultural, religious and moral education for our schools must be reviewed with the view to inculcating community values and ethical principles in children before they graduate and take private and public offices in the nation.

On that score, it stressed the need for the nation to encourage and celebrate local people who took the initiative and the risk to establish businesses in this country.

Source: graphic.com
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