The National Media Commission (NMC) has commended the Management and staff of the Ghana News Agency for braving the odds to sustain the Agency’s news operations and credibility.
Acknowledging the challenges the Agency had faced, over the years, in funding its operations, Mr. George Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of the NMC, said it was commendable that the Management had worked with the staff to keep the wire service active and to even implement new ideas.
He was addressing a meeting of the NMC with the Board, chaired by Professor Olivia Kwapong, and Management, headed by Mr. Albert Kofi Owusu.
The meeting was to learn about the state of affairs at the Agency following the two-year stewardship of the Board and Management’s plan to transform the fortunes of the Agency.
“We understand that you are woefully underfunded and this is a big concern to us, therefore, being able to keep this Agency alive alone is worthy of commendation,” he said. “Despite these challenges, you have been able to initiate some laudable ideas to improve upon the quality of your content and also diversify it. More so, you have also been able to promote industrial harmony, which has not been the situation in the past.”
Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, Chairman of the NMC, also praised the Board for their selfless stewardship, saying that serving the Agency was akin to doing your national service.
Prof. Kwapong, who is ending her four-year service, praised her colleagues for their commitment to support the Agency to thrive.
Mr. Albert Kofi Owusu, the General Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), in his presentation, said when given the appropriate funding the Agency would excel at delivering specialised news content to multimedia subscribers both locally and internationally.
He said the Agency was determined to offer subscribers with high quality and comprehensive information on the economic, business, trade, tourism and industrial opportunities on Ghana to attract the requisite investments to ensure sustainable national development.
The Agency had to market Ghana’s peace dividend, which had attracted investments, such as Twitter setting up its regional office in Ghana, and major vehicle manufacturers, including Volkswagen and Toyota, establishing their assembly plants in the country, Mr. Owusu said.
Some international news agencies, including Reuters News Agency, Namibian News Agency and Bulgarian News Agency had expressed their interest to partner the Agency for news exchange.
The Agency also wanted to organise news-oriented events, such as the Ghana Sustainable Development Lecture series, which it was partnering the Nuclear Power Ghana to roll out.
The successful implementation of all of these initiatives, he said, required the capacity building of staff, the deployment of high-definition digital equipment, vehicles and the financing of reporters to undertake field work, especially in the rural areas.
The last time the Agency received vehicles for its operations was in 2007.
The low levels of government subvention for operations, with the erratic release of the approved funds, and no allocation for capital expenditure were not helping matters.
However, the management and staff were undaunted and making the best out of the little at hand, and with the support of some partner organisations.
Should the government approve the Agency’s request to retain its internally generated funds, Mr. Owusu said, the situation would be mitigated.