Latest News

30

May

Ghana registers strong GDP growth

Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2014 stood at 5.1 per cent as compared to government’s projected 4.6 per cent in the same period.
The industrial sector recorded the highest growth of 8.1 percent followed by the agricultural sector hitting 4.4 per cent, while the services sector recorded a growth rate of 3.5 per cent. The GDP growth rate for the third quarter of 2014 was 1.4 per cent quarter-to-quarter, seasonally adjusted, Baah Wadieh, the government’s deputy statistician, said at a media briefing on Wednesday. The key findings of the performance of activities in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the same period included financial and insurance activities, information and communication, fishing, public administration and mining and quarrying. “The most notable performance of the quarter on quarter seasonally adjusted growth rates are financial and insurance activities and information and communication,” he said. The government statistician also announced that the year-on-year inflation rate, which was 17 per cent in December, was unchanged from the November. Food inflation in December 2014 rose 6.8 per cent, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from 6.6 per cent in November 2014. “The year-on-year non-food inflation rate is more than three and half times higher than the food inflation rate,” Wadieh said. The main drivers for the non-food inflation rate were housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which dropped by 35.2 per cent and transport, which was, however, up by 30.8 per cent. The price drivers for the food inflation rate were coffee, tea and cocoa, mineral water, soft drinks, fruits and vegetable juices, among others. The inflation for imported items was more than one and half times higher than the inflation rate for locally produced items. The Northern Region recorded the highest regional rate of 19.0 per cent while the Upper West Region recorded the lowest of 13.6 per cent. Four regions, Northern, Eastern, Central and Greater Accra recorded inflation rates above the national average of 17 per cent. Source: Theafricareport.com

29

Aug

Ghana To Attract $4bn From America

Recently, Ghana signed a Power Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), making it the current largest American Government‐funded transaction of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.The Ghana Power Compact facilitates the investment of up to $498.2 million for the transformation of Ghana’s power sector while also stimulating private investments.

Eventually, the deal is expected to raise more than $4 billion from American and global energy firms. Key among the objectives of this compact is the reformation of laws and regulations required for the revolution of the sector, the provision of a robust framework for private investments and the establishment of a more competitive process for the acquisition of power from independent producers.

“MCC’s Ghana Power Compact takes a system‐wide approach to transforming Ghana’s energy sector,” Dana Hyde, MCC’s CEO said regarding the deal. “The compact invests in projects focused on distribution to make the country’s power utility financially viable and capable of attracting private investment while it also funds initiatives supporting greater energy efficiency and cleaner renewable energy.”

The MCC will provide initial funding of about $308.2 million in order to set the country’s main distribution company on the trajectory to sustainability and then provide an additional $190 million in funding if the country is able to meet a set of reform‐oriented targets listed as part of the compact. Ghana is expected to invest up to $37.4 million of its own funds in the initiative which will also address challenges in the generation, transmission and distribution of energy within the country.

President John Mahama believes the new deal will enable the realization of the “Energy for All” initiative. “This new compact with the MCC demonstrates the growing cooperation between Ghana and the USA. It will benefit millions of our people and contribute immensely to the achievement of my ‘Energy for All’ objective.

The Power Africa Initiative was launched by President Barack Obama last year with the aim of doubling access to electric power on the African continent.

21

Aug

Roads Ministry to Focus on International Corridor Development

The Ministry of Roads and Highways will focus on priority areas to develop the international road corridors to enhance trade opportunities for the country. The road sector minister, Hon. InusahFuseini disclosed this when he took his turn at the ‘meet the press’ series at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Communications.

Hon. Inusah said apart from the Western and Northern corridors which had not yet seen much development as there were on-going works on the Central, Eastern, and Coastal corridors. In the ensuing years the sector would focus on efficiently managing projects on those corridors to ensure that deliverables were realised early to support trade and economic activities, he added.

The Roads Minster also disclosed that the sector had been collaborating with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the development of the ECOWAS and the Trans-African Highways which included Ghana’s coastal and central corridors.

Hon. InusahFuseini reaffirmed Government’s commitment to improve the road infrastructure deficit in the country since road transportation would remain one of the strategic sectors of Ghana’s economy. He said it formed an important part of the social safety net, facilitating the distribution of wealth through trade and employment opportunities in both urban and rural communities. It was for that reason investment in road infrastructure and services was very critical.

He added that Ghana’s ability to achieve her target for growth and poverty reduction largely depends on an efficient, reliable and safe road infrastructure system which was adequate and affordable.

21

Aug

Process for the establishment of a national airline begins

Accra, Aug 21, GNA – Ghana would soon boost of its own airline as the Ministry of Transport has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PWC Ghana and the World Bank for the commencement of the Technical Advisory Services.

The Technical Advisory Services would involve the undertaking of various business studies, development of plans, financial and economic models, provision of advice and the management of a procurement process including the preparation of bidding documents, evaluation and negotiations for the engagement of a Private Sector Partner.

The Technical Advisory Services which had been sponsored by the World Bank would also involve the preparation of bidding documents, evaluation and negotiations for the engagement of a Private Sector Partner with proven expertise in the airline business to partner Government to establish and run the national airline would be undertaken by PWC Ghana.

Speaking at the signing of the MOU on Wednesday, Mrs DzifaAttivor, Minister of Transport, said the establishment of a new airline for Ghana would bring back Ghana’s pride in the aviation sector and also establish a reliable home-based national airline to provide regional, sub-regional and inter-continental air transport services.

“It is also in line with the Ministry’s policy of making the Kotoka International Airport an aviation hub within the West African sub-region and also compete with other carriers operating in the country and could force fares down to the benefit of the travelling Ghanaian public,” she said. She said the Transaction Advisors were expected to work closely with the Ministry of Transport as well as the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the project is brought to a financial closure in an efficient and timely manner to achieve the desired objectives.

Mrs Attivor said the project was in tune with Government’s decision to embrace the Public Private Partnership (PPP) option as an alternative financing arrangement that would ensure adequate investment in the provision and maintenance of various infrastructure and services in the country.

She intimated that in the transport sector, there were enormous pressures from the citizenry, civil society organisations and the entire population for an improved delivery of infrastructure and services in all modes of transportations including the establishment of an airline.

“Following the development of a PPP policy framework by Government therefore, the Ministry of Transport has for the past few months been working closely with the Public Investment Division (PID) of the Ministry of Finance on a number of projects in the transport sector which have been proposed to be financed through PPPs.

“Two key projects among these are the Boankra Inland Port and the Eastern Railway Line Project and the Establishment of a National Airline,” she added.

Mr DjibrillaIssa, Lead Specialist for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, World Bank, noted that although Ghana had been able to reduce its poverty level, it still had issue to address as far as its infrastructure was concerned adding that PPP would be one of the best options to address it. He pledged the World Bank’s readiness to help Ghana develop projects which would be beneficial to the socio-economic development of the country.

Mr Felix Addo, Country Senior Partner, PWC Ghana, said an MOU has been signed with the Ministry of Transport for the Boankra Inland Port and the Eastern Railway Line.

He said pwc (Ghana) would ensure that lessons learnt in the past concerning the concerning the collapse the previous airline would be brought to bear in the establishment of the new one.

20

Aug

Weston Oil And Gas Fund Launched

The Weston Oil and Gas Fund (WOGFund) has been launched to assist companies and other agencies involved in the oil and gas business.

WOGFund is the first mutual fund of Weston Capital, a limited liability company incorporated in Ghana. Speaking at the launch in Accra, today, the CEO of Weston Capital, Mr Rex Kontor, said WOGFund was a publicly-incorporated Ghanaian company that would invest primarily in a diversified portfolio of debt instruments and equities of companies operating in the Oil and Gas sector.

Mr Kontor said the Fund was initially offering 500,000 shares and had Weston Capital as its manager with Zenith bank as its custodian.He said the fund was opened to the general public and institutional investors with a minimum subscription of 200 shares, adding that individuals with a minimum of 50 Cedis could make an initial investment in the Fund and consequently in the Oil and Gas sector.

On the objectives, Mr Kontor said, the fund would support the drive for local participation in the Oil and Gas industry by helping build the financial capacity of local companies operating in the sector.In addition, he said, the Fund would encourage and assist Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs), Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and other businesses to issue corporate bonds.On support for the upstream industry, Mr Kontor said, that Blackstone Group and Warburg Pincus had initially invested US $300 million in Kosmos in 2014 to help it explore for Oil in Ghana.

In his remarks, the Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission, Mr AduAnaneAntwi, disclosed that 35 investing schemes had been licensed and were currently operating in Ghana.He said WOGFund would offer investors an additional fund for management and would focus on investing into majority companies involved in Oil and Gas. “Ghana is now an Oil and Gas producing country and it should reflect on the stock exchange market,” Mr AnaneAntwi noted.He said the challenge to investor education was funding and that the introduction of WOGFund onto the market marked the birth of specialty fund.

06

Aug

Ghana’s Mineral Sector Holds Potentials For Investors

The Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Dr. Tony Aubynnhasreiterated that the country’s mineral sector still holds potential for investors who want to venture into mining.

He said the sector is abound with lesser known minerals which have not been fully explored and exploited such as kaolin, solar salt, clay, marble, mica, limestone, iron ore, zinc among others. He further hinted that, recent air borne geophysical findings in Ghana have indicated the occurrence of some additional minerals including; copper, barite, phosphate, uranium, lead, chromites and columbite.

Dr. Aubynn (second right) with Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak (third right)

Dr. Aubynn said this when the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak visited the Minerals Commission on an investment mission to Ghana. Dr. Aubynn assured his guest that Ghana is safe haven for investment and that, the mining sector has clear guidelines and laws that regulates the industry to ensure sustainable exploitation of the country’s minerals in line with international best practices. Mr. Barak said he is interested in investing in Ghana’s minerals sector due to the opportunities and potentials available as well as the country’s democratic credentials.

He thanked the Minerals Commission for giving him an insight into the minerals sector and was hopeful that at the end his tour, a business decision would be made for him to invest in Ghana. The former Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Ehud Barak is visiting the country for the first time and is already excited about the country’s investment prospects.

01

Aug

Tema Harbour to undergo massive rehabilitation

The Tema Port is to undergo the biggest-ever expansion at an estimated cost of $1 billion, President John DramaniMahama has announced. The project, to be undertaken by the government with private sector participation, will, among other things, tremendously increase the capacity of access routes and cargo handling spaces.

Inaugurating new handling equipment for the Meridian Port Services (MPS) at the Tema Port yesterday, the President said the expansion would position the Tema Port to compete for the best port in Africa. He consequently challenged MPS, which is West Africa’s biggest cargo handling company, to partner the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to bring the project into fruition in the shortest possible time.

Equipment

Equipment inaugurated at the ceremony included nine cranes and a four-megawatt electricity-generating plant. They are expected to enhance the operations of the company by improving efficiency in terminal handling and easing congestion at the port. President Mahama said when the Tema Port was established 52 years ago, the volume of cargo it could handle was less than 100,000 TEUs, but currently it could handle about 1 million TEUs. TEU is the standard unit for describing a ship’s cargo-carrying capacity. “That is a phenomenal increase but that increase has occurred in a situation in which the port has not expanded proportionately to accommodate the cargo,” he added. That was the reason why the government intended to go for a major expansion to make Tema the best in Africa, the President stated.

Details of port expansion

Giving details, President Mahama said the government intended to link the port with an efficient rail and road transport network. “In this regard, government is planning to build a new interchange at the Tema Roundabout to reduce the traffic to and from the port,” he said. The Accra-Tema Motorway is also to be expanded from four lanes to six lanes. With regard to rail transport, President Mahama said rehabilitation of the Western rail line from Takoradi to Kumasi would start in the very near future to help move some of the containers to Takoradi to serve the middle and northern belts of the country. “We also have a transaction advisor handling procurement of the Eastern railway line to link the Boankra inland port which has been standing as a white elephant for many years,” President Mahama said.

He further indicated that an 80-km rail line was being designed to link Tema to Akosombo, which on completion would direct cargo from Tema to the Buipe Inland port to serve the three regions of the north, as well as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

Competition

President Mahama said the country’s ports were competing with others in West Africa, and shippers would naturally prefer the port that had the quickest turnaround time and best efficiency in handling cargo.

The Chairman of the Board of MPS, AlhajiAsuma Banda, said Ghanaians and other nationals doing business in Ghana recognised the importance of the Tema Port and that was why everything had to be done to enhance activities at the port. He said MPS would continue to be a leader in port handling in West Africa and even beyond.

The Chief Executive Officer of MPS, Mr Mohammed Samara, said inadequate and underdeveloped infrastructure at the ports could hamper business development in the country. He said it was for that reason that MPS had systematically invested heavily in infrastructure to meet the needs of its clients..


Source: Daily Graphic

21

Jul

General Electric to produce 1000MW power

American multinational conglomerate, General Electric (GE) is to build a 1000-megawatt (MW) thermal power plant in Ghana.
The plant, which will be pow­ered by gas, will take five years to complete. However, the first phase of the project is expected to be completed by September 2016 and will add 360MW power to the national grid.

Ghana presently has installed generation capacity of about 2,412 megawatts and dependable genera­tion capacity of 2,125 MW. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GE Ghana, Mr Leslie Nelson was quoted as saying that GE will on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 sign a Memorandum of Under­standing (MoU) with the Ministry of Energy to commence the proj­ect.

This was contained in a release copied to The Finder. He said the GE initiative, known as ‘Ghana 1000′, would con­tribute significantly to addressing the power needs of the country. He explained that the Ghana 1000 initiative is a pure Independ­ent Power Producer (IPP) initia­tive, requiring no direct financial contribution from the Government of Ghana.

Mr Nelson said government’s role is essentially to create the en­abling environment and a regula­tory framework that would help the project sponsors to add power to the national grid quickly. He disclosed that GE would also inaugurate a new office in Accra located at Stanbic Heights (Airport City). The new office, according to the CEO, represents the company’s commitment to growing its busi­ness in Ghana.
Source: Myjoyonline.com

17

Jul

Parliament Approves Atuabo Free Port Project

Parliament yesterday ratified a commercial agreement between the government of Ghana, Lonrho Ports Ghana Limited and Atuabo free Port Company Limited for the facilitation of the Ghana Oil and Gas Free Port Project.

The project which would be situated at Atuabo in the Western Region is expected to be fully operational in 2016 to meet the logistics and support requirements of Ghana’s Oil and Gas industry and the wider Gulf of Guinea region.

It involves the construction of a harbour protected by a rock breakwater to the west and a rock groyne to the east, a dredged approach channel, a turning circle, berth pockets and quays. The project would deliver an airstrip and a helipad to facilitate aircraft and helicopter transportation, as well as other infrastructure like power generation, boreholes, accommodation, offices, a naval base, hydrocarbon fuel storage area and roads.

Other components includes service facilities to be located in the port along the quays to provide support services to the off-shore oil and gas industry, including rig repair, waste treatment and management, fabrication and supply facilities.

Chairman of the Finance Committee, James Avedzi, who moved the motion for the adoption of the report of the joint committee of finance and transport said, under the terms and conditions of the agreement the project would be a private sector joint venture with government, referred to as “the developer ” totally funded by the private sector with government guarantee.

Highlights of the Concession Agreement he said includes an exclusive right granted Lonrho to operate the Freeport, with tax exemption, for 25 years, with further rights for another 25-year extension; provision of 2000 acres of land by the Government of Ghana at the project site, which is strategically located opposite the Jubilee Fields; provision of security, immigration and custom by government; tax free zone for companies operating in the part and for materials imported or in transit; and the development of the only Petroleum and Hyrdocarbons Logistics Port in the Western Region.

He said “45 percent of the project shall be wholly Ghanaian owned with a 35 percent of initial capital contribution being made by Ghanaian institutions such as SSNIT,GPHA,GNPC,VRA, SIC, to acquire equity in Atuabo free Port Limited. “

He said the government of Ghana shall also be given a” 10 percent stake of the initial share capital of the developer at a per value zero premium. “

“The remaining 55 percent of the equity will be held by international investors and will include Lonrho Ltd, Africa Finance Corporation and China Habour Engineering Company (CHEC), he added. He said the committee observed that the project is expected to have significant impact on the economy of the Western Region while at the national level, and has the potential to attract more foreign investment into the country.

“It is expected that during the period of construction, there will be a significant amount of materials purchased from within Ghana, apart from the project enhancing business experience, skills training and job opportunities,” he said.

Energy Minister, Emmanuel Kofi Buah, in a contribution argued that though the country has two ports at Takoradi and Tema, these facilities were not built with the oil in mind, and that those supporting offshore operations currently have to struggle for space in the port.

The yet-to-be-built Atuabo Free Port, with all the services incorporated in the design, will turn Ghana into an oil and gas hub within the West African sub-region, he stressed.

The minister explained that as Ghana develops and joins the community of oil producing nations, it would be vital to have facilities such as a dedicated port for oil and gas operations, from storage, fabrications, and maintenance work, all at one location.

Mr KwabenaOwusu-Aduomi, ranking member of committee on Roads and Transport, in contribution described the project as a controversial obey as it spans from the capacity of Lonrho to build such a port in view of the status of Lonrho free Port in equatorial Guinea being used a reference port.

He touched on the severe environmental impact the port would have on coastal settlements along the coast and expressed concerns over the absolute and sole right granted Atuabo Free Port.

He argued that the Takoradi Port, after the House approved of a loan of £194 m has position itself in supporting the hydro-carbon industry and is currently restructuring and expanding its existing facilities to continue to support its traditional role.

“The committee visited the Takoradi Port and we are impressed about the expansion works to support oil and gas,” he said, adding that, revenue generated accounts for about 60 percent of the ports entire revenue.

11

Jul

Government Is Committed In Offering Support To Indigenous Ghanaian Companies-Minister

The Minister for Trade and Industry, HarunaIddrisu has stated that government in 2014 gave over ₵100million as support to Ghanaian Pharmaceutical companies to help expand their capacities.

The minister said this when he had a meeting with the leadership of poultry farmers across the country at the ministry in Accra.

He observed that government is committed in offering support to indigenous Ghanaian poultry companies in the country following petitions received from individuals and groups.

According to him government spent ₵350 million to import rice, and ¢322million to import poultry products from outside even though the country has the capacity to produce enough to feed the nation. According to him government, as part of efforts to encourage the youth especially females to go into poultry farming, would dedicate about ₵1.5 million of that financial package to support the females. He added that this initiative would address government’s commitment of reducing import and increasing export of poultry product and other domestic products, adding that government was aware of what the industry could contribute to the economy.

He called on the poultry farmers to demonstrate their domestic capacity to produce to address the poultry deficit when given the opportunity.

09

Jul

Accra tops African cities -with highest growth potential

According to the 2014 MasterCard African Cities Growth Index, Accra, the capital city of Ghana, has the highest potential for inclusive growth in Africa. This is the second consecutive year that Accra has emerged the best city in the index, beating Tunis, Tunisia, Casablanca, Morocco and Lagos, Nigeria, among others.

The MasterCard African Cities Growth Index (ACGI) maps the future success of Africa from the perspective of inclusive versus exclusive urbanization.

Professor George Angelopulo, co-author of ACGI said, Accra is not Africa’s most populous or richest in terms of per capita Gross Domestic Product, but has made progress towards inclusive urbanization. He said although Ghana faces macroeconomic challenges, the country has held four successful elections following a peaceful transition of power in 2000.‘The findings of the ACGI therefore affirm the importance of advancing and protecting individual freedom and rights to ensure ongoing economic development,’ Prof.Angelopulo said.

Dr. YuwaHerick-Wong, Chief Economist at the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth said, ‘Inclusive growth occurs when the benefits of an expanding economy are widely shared with the population. ‘We believe that inclusive urbanization is a prerequisite for inclusive growth, and so the ACGI is a lens through which African cities can be assessed as future investment destinations.’ Joseph Chognuru, Director, Financial Sector Division of the Ministry of Finance, who received the award on behalf of the Ghana government, said the findings show that the country has a brighter future and ‘we have to work towards that.’ He admitted that the country was facing some economic challenges, which needed urgent attention.

However, he said government was working hard to improve the country’s economy. ‘The road to success is not smooth. There will be challenges but we will surely make headway. The ranking urges us on to continue to work hard and to make very bold policies,’ Chognuru said.

09

Jul

Bank of Ghana revises measures to streamline operations in the Foreign

Pursuant to its mandate under the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723), the Bank of Ghana (BoG), on February 4, 2014, issued three notices on the operations of Foreign Exchange Accounts (FEA) and Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA); Repatriation of Export Proceeds; and Additional Operating Procedures for Forex Bureaux in Ghana.

These measures, introduced by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to promote transparency and to streamline operations in the foreign exchange markets, have, however, been revised, Dr Benjamin Amoah, Head, Financial Stability Department, BoG, announced in Accra on Friday.

The revision, Dr Amoah said, followed an analysis of the available data on developments in the cedi/dollar exchange rate, foreign currency deposits as well as remittances and consultations with stakeholders including identifiable groups and individuals. He was addressing a news conference to share with the media, the preliminary findings, following a review done by the Bank on the measures, and actions to be taken to ensure that the original objectives of the measures were achieved, while minimizing any adverse consequences.

Dr Amoah said analysis of the measures indicated that since the introduction of the measures, there was a decline in inflows in February which was, however, reversed in March 2014 in line with observed seasonal patterns.

He said the analysis revealed that developments in the GHS/USD exchange rates had shown that the pace of depreciation had slowed, while monthly depreciation declined steadily from a peak of 7.8 percent in January, to 2.7 percent in May 2014.

According to Dr Amoah, the analysis further showed that certain aspects of the new measures were constraining the businesses of exporters and importers, hence the need to streamline these aspects in order to plug the leakages and enhance the supply of foreign exchange to the markets.

To that effect, he said, the 60-day mandatory repatriation of export proceeds had been reversed and aligned to the terms agreed between trading parties.

For example, he said, where the sales contract stipulated that the exporter would be paid within seven (7) days, the funds should be repatriated within the same period and that if the contract was for 120 days, the funds should be repatriated within that period.

He said the 5-day mandatory conversion of export receipts into Ghana cedis had been reversed and that exporters could now retain up to 60 per cent of their export receipts in their FEAs, and the remaining 40 per cent converted at market rates within 15 working days. He explained that with the allowance of 60 per cent retention to exporters, the margin account would no longer be required for such exporters, adding that importers could continue to use the margin account (operated by the banks on their behalf) to build up foreign exchange to be used exclusively for the purpose for which it was opened.

Dr Amoah said exporters of goods and services could receive payment in foreign currency from non-residents, meaning that hotels and educational institutions, among others, could also receive payment from non-residents in foreign currency.

The service providers, he said, were required to lodge these proceeds in their FEAs, adding that these receipts were also subject to the retention and conversion arrangements.

He said without prejudice to the limit of US $10,000 withdrawal per travel, and the $10,000 annual transfer without documentation, over-the-counter cash withdrawals from FCA and FEA would be permitted up to a limit of US$1,000 or its equivalent per transaction in foreign currency.

He announced that the threshold for transfers abroad without initially submitting documentation had been increased from $25,000 to $50,000 and that where documentation in respect of a transfer remained outstanding, any subsequent import transaction by the importer, irrespective of value, could only be made on prior provision of documentation required for the current import transaction.

Dr Amoah said under the revised measures, foreign currency loans could be granted by resident banks for international trade-related transactions and that to minimize disruption to contracts already entered into by banks and their clients, all undrawn balances on foreign currency facilities could now be drawn in the original currency.

Furthermore, he said, to assist importers who purchased goods from multiple sources abroad, the Bank of Ghana, in collaboration with banks, would encourage the use of non-cash instruments (plastic cards) by traders; increase the limits on cards beyond $10,000 (but not exceeding $50,000) to meet their legitimate needs— which should be supported on return by relevant documentation; encourage the use of currencies of Ghana’s major trading partners, such as the Chinese Yuan, which was already available, instead of the US dollar as the sole settlement currency.

Dr Amoah made it clear that even though foreign exchange was freely transferable to meet legitimate external payment obligations, the Ghana cedi remained the sole legal tender in Ghana and, therefore, pricing, advertising, invoicing, receiving, and making payments for goods and services should be done in Ghana cedis, unless otherwise authorized by the Bank of Ghana.

He added that special cases for the energy sector, mining and other support services would be considered on case-by-case basis as was done before and that BoG would issue a notice reflecting these revisions.

He said any existing measure that was not mentioned in the forthcoming notice would remain in force.

Dr Amoah said BoG, in collaboration with the relevant authorities, would take additional measures aimed at plugging foreign exchange leakages and improving supply of foreign exchange into the markets.These additional measures, he said, included recommendations to government to review existing agreements and direct all mining, and oil & gas companies to open and operate retention accounts with BoG or resident banks— all of which new retention agreements should require retention accounts to be opened and operated with domestic banks— adding that BoG would guarantee the availability of foreign exchange, deposited with it, to the account holders within 24 hours of request.

BoG, Dr Amoah said, would also recommend the streamlining of management and technical service fees under LI.1547 (1992) paid to multinationals.

He said the Bank of Ghana would engage the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Freeze Zones Board, Minerals Commission, Ministry of Energy and Mines and other stakeholders in this regard.

In addition, he said BoG would also recommend the lodgement of foreign exchange proceeds of government agencies, such as Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and project funds from donors, with the Bank of Ghana, instead of keeping them with off-shore banks.

He said BoG would engage the Ghana Chamber of Commerce to use the Certificate of Origin issued by the Chamber to monitor repatriation of export proceeds and initiate steps towards networking banks and forex bureaux to capture all foreign exchange flows and to eliminate any abuses.

Dr Amoah said BoG had observed that some banks were misinterpreting and misapplying some of the measures taken by the Bank. For example, he said transfers of funds from abroad that were not generated from activities that took place in Ghana, such as transfers to embassies, other diplomatic missions, individuals and businesses, were to go into FCAs and were, therefore, not subject to the conversion and retention arrangements.

He said such funds, which were, at times, converted on arrival— a clear misapplication of the measure—were to be held in foreign exchange and utilized at the discretion of the recipients.

He noted, however, that this could be contrasted with transfers to make payment for a service—e.g. legal, consultancy, transportation, or financial—rendered by residents (Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians) which transfers, he said, should go into FEAs because they were export receipts and were, therefore, subject to existing conversion and retention arrangements.

Dr Amoah gave the assurance that the BoG would continue to monitor the implementation of the measures and take further actions if necessary.

26

Jun

Ghana’s first quarter GDP hits 6.7%

Ghana’s Gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of this year grew by 6.7 percent. The GDP measures the country’s monetary value of the goods and services produced in the country over a period. The latest development announced by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) on Wednesday means that the value of goods and services produced in Ghana in the first quarter of this year grew by

6.7percent compared to the first quarter of last year. This however revealed a decline in growth as GDP had increased by about 9 percent from first quarter of 2012 to first quarter of 2013.

The total value of Ghana’s goods and services is at GHS 25.73 billion, which includes revenue from oil.This figure however indicates a drop from about GHS 25.82 billion recorded in the last quarter of 2013.

Non-oil GDP for the first quarter however was GHS 23.03 billion also recording a decline from GHS 23.96 billion recorded in the last quarter of 2013.

Services sector continued to be the largest contributor making up about 51.2 percent of GDP. This sector however recorded the lowest growth rate of 4.6 percent.

The Agricultural sector which contributes about 14.9 percent to GDP in the first quarter of this year recorded the highest year-on-year growth rate of about 12.7 percent.

The main contributors to this year’s first quarter GDP were Livestock Production which expanded by about 25.7 percent, fishing activities which grew up about 20 percent, and the Financial and Insurance sectors which grew by about 20 percent compared to the same period in 2013. The others were Community, social and personal activities which was up by 10.7 percent and Information and communication increased by 10.3 percent.

However manufacturing declined by about 19 percent.

Deputy Government statistician, BaahWadieh explained that “we have realized that for some time in manufacturing for example, we have been experiencing a lot of power and water problems, competition from outside with cheaper goods, and some major industries closing down.”

According to him the decline in public administration by about 8 percent was because “they are mainly funded by government through the budget and they have not received enough funding compared to the first quarter of 2013 and so their activities are virtually minimal.”

The GDP for the first quarter however grew by 2.6 percent compared to the last quarter of 2013. The key drivers for this quarter-on-quarter growth were Forestry which increased by 19 percent, Fishing activities expanding by 14.1 percent, mining and quarrying activities increasing by 8.4percent and Livestock production which grew by 4.5 percent.

Some other industries however declined. Public administration’s GDP declined by 7.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Real estate also declined by 5.1 percent, Manufacturing by 0.1percent and Financial and Insurance activities which declined by 3.9 percent.
Source: Citi

05

May

General Electric to produce 1000MW power

American multinational conglomerate, General Electric (GE) is to build a 1000-megawatt (MW) thermal power plant in Ghana.

The plant, which will be pow­ered by gas, will take five years to complete. However, the first phase of the project is expected to be completed by September 2016 and will add 360MW power to the national grid.

Ghana presently has installed generation capacity of about 2,412 megawatts and dependable genera­tion capacity of 2,125 MW. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GE Ghana, Mr Leslie Nelson was quoted as saying that GE will on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 sign a Memorandum of Under­standing (MoU) with the Ministry of Energy to commence the proj­ect.

This was contained in a release copied to The Finder. He said the GE initiative, known as ‘Ghana 1000′, would con­tribute significantly to addressing the power needs of the country. He explained that the Ghana 1000 initiative is a pure Independ­ent Power Producer (IPP) initia­tive, requiring no direct financial contribution from the Government of Ghana.

Mr Nelson said government’s role is essentially to create the en­abling environment and a regula­tory framework that would help the project sponsors to add power to the national grid quickly. He disclosed that GE would also inaugurate a new office in Accra located at Stanbic Heights (Airport City). The new office, according to the CEO, represents the company’s commitment to growing its busi­ness in Ghana.

22

Mar

Tema Harbour to undergo massive rehabilitation

The Tema Port is to undergo the biggest-ever expansion at an estimated cost of $1 billion, President John DramaniMahama has announced. The project, to be undertaken by the government with private sector participation, will, among other things, tremendously increase the capacity of access routes and cargo handling spaces. Inaugurating new handling equipment for the Meridian Port Services (MPS) at the Tema Port yesterday, the President said the expansion would position the Tema Port to compete for the best port in Africa. He consequently challenged MPS, which is West Africa’s biggest cargo handling company, to partner the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to bring the project into fruition in the shortest possible time.

Equipment

Equipment inaugurated at the ceremony included nine cranes and a four-megawatt electricity-generating plant. They are expected to enhance the operations of the company by improving efficiency in terminal handling and easing congestion at the port. President Mahama said when the Tema Port was established 52 years ago, the volume of cargo it could handle was less than 100,000 TEUs, but currently it could handle about 1 million TEUs. TEU is the standard unit for describing a ship’s cargo-carrying capacity. “That is a phenomenal increase but that increase has occurred in a situation in which the port has not expanded proportionately to accommodate the cargo,” he added. That was the reason why the government intended to go for a major expansion to make Tema the best in Africa, the President stated.

Details of port expansion

Giving details, President Mahama said the government intended to link the port with an efficient rail and road transport network. “In this regard, government is planning to build a new interchange at the Tema Roundabout to reduce the traffic to and from the port,” he said. The Accra-Tema Motorway is also to be expanded from four lanes to six lanes. With regard to rail transport, President Mahama said rehabilitation of the Western rail line from Takoradi to Kumasi would start in the very near future to help move some of the containers to Takoradi to serve the middle and northern belts of the country. “We also have a transaction advisor handling procurement of the Eastern railway line to link the Boankra inland port which has been standing as a white elephant for many years,” President Mahama said. He further indicated that an 80-km rail line was being designed to link Tema to Akosombo, which on completion would direct cargo from Tema to the Buipe Inland port to serve the three regions of the north, as well as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

Competition

President Mahama said the country’s ports were competing with others in West Africa, and shippers would naturally prefer the port that had the quickest turnaround time and best efficiency in handling cargo.

The Chairman of the Board of MPS, AlhajiAsuma Banda, said Ghanaians and other nationals doing business in Ghana recognised the importance of the Tema Port and that was why everything had to be done to enhance activities at the port. He said MPS would continue to be a leader in port handling in West Africa and even beyond.

The Chief Executive Officer of MPS, Mr Mohammed Samara, said inadequate and underdeveloped infrastructure at the ports could hamper business development in the country. He said it was for that reason that MPS had systematically invested heavily in infrastructure to meet the needs of its clients.

© Copyrights DIRECT ACCESS GHANA 2014 Reserved.