Business and Financial Times’ Richard Annerquaye Abbey was on Friday crowned the Economic and Financial Journalist of the Year at the 5th Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) Business Journalism Awards.
Mr. Abbey, in addition to picking up the ultimate award, also scooped two other awards – Best in Tourism as well as Best in Natural Resources – to cap a fine calendar year, having picked up the Best in ICT award at the 4th IFEL Awards held earlier in January.
For coming up top among his peers, Mr. Abbey, a Senior Business Journalist and Online Editor of the B&FT Group, will undertake an all-expenses-paid trip to the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings come next year April, courtesy the World Bank.
Speaking after being crowned Overall Best Journalist for 2018, Mr. Abbey stated that absence of the Right to Information Law inhibits the work of journalist who need access to information to enhance the quality of their reportage.
According to him, his winning story – which focused on the management of petroleum revenue, ran into several brick walls as some of the relevant institutions mandated by the Public Revenue Management Act (PRMA Act 815) did not want to provide the necessary information regarding the performance of their respective functions.
“Clearly, if we had the Right to Information Act, it would be easy to navigate some of these hurdles and afford journalists access to vital information that improves on the quality of their work,” he said.
Sulemanu Koney, who was Special Guest of Honour at the event – held on the theme ‘Toward Better Management of Natural Resources for Inclusive Growth and Development’ – said: “Accountability requires that we demand from our leaders the right to know the ways our resources are utilised, and to make relevant inputs into the areas which matter to us”.
According to Mr. Koney, CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, without the requisite legal framework on accountability in the management of mineral resources, the country will continue to sigh in frustration at the state of host communities across the country.
“Host communities and those in close proximity to mineral resources must directly benefit from the resources, hence they deserve the right to know how financial resources meant for their welfare are used.
“Without a clearly stated accountability framework, it will be nearly impossible to sanction people who misapply or misappropriate mineral revenues – and in effect perpetuate the cycle of neglect and disregard for mining communities,” the Chamber of Mines CEO stated.
Other award-winners were Kofi Ahovi, a freelance journalist won the Best in Agribusiness. He took away a plaque, citation and a Samsung Galaxy A7 phone.
Masahudu Ankilu of the Africa Eye Report won the Best in Development category and also took away a plaque, citation and a Samsung Galaxy A7 phone.
Mr. Suleiman Mustapha, of Graphic Business, also picked up two separate awards – Best in Finance and Best in Local Economy. Mr. Mustapha took home an LED TV, a plaque and a citation and a Samsung Galaxy A7 phone.
Special awards were also presented to some organisations and individuals for their various support to IFEJ over the years.
Awards were presented to the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the Business and Financial Times, Voltic Mineral Water Limited, Melcom Group of Companies and GCB Bank Limited.
Prof. John Gatsi, Chairman of the Awards Jury, said 41 total entries were received for all nine categories, but only seven categories qualified for awards.