Category Archives: Business

Akufo-Addo leaves for Equatorial Guinea to seal power deals

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Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to return on Wednesday

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is scheduled to leave Ghana on Monday for Equatorial Guinea.

The visit is at the invitation of Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, a statement from the presidency on Sunday said.

“The purpose of the visit is to deepen the cordial bilateral relations between the two countries,” the statement said, “and explore possible areas of co-operation.”

Last June, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the two countries’ ministries of energy in relation to the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Ghana.

The visit is to give further impetus to that MOU.

“It is anticipated that [Akufo-Addo] will sign a government-to-government heads of agreement with his Equatorial Guinean counterpart for the supply of LNG from Equatorial Guinea to Ghana, for a period of 5 years.

“The execution of this agreement is intended to augment domestic supply over the period, and improve further the power situation in the country, both for local consumers and industry.”

President Akufo-Addo is expected back on Wednesday.

He will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko and other government functionaries.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana

Mandatory towing levy scrapped

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Government has scrapped the mandatory towing levy promulgated in 2012 and scheduled to have been implemented last month.

The policy came under nationwide criticism particularly as regards its mandatory clause on motorists.

The Ministry of Transport, consequently, suspended implementation, announcing plans to widely engage stakeholders.

But in a statement issued on Sunday by the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the policy will not be implemented after “extensive consultations between the Minister of Transport and stakeholders in the transport sector”.

The statement said government will go back to the drawing board to consider parts of the law such as levying all owners and persons in charge of motor vehicles and trailers and limiting the role of government to only licensing and licensing and regulating service providers.

As per the Legislative Instrument 2180 passed in 2012 with a five-year maturation period, commercial and non-commercial vehicles were to pay between GH¢20 and GH¢200 as annual levy.

But the statement stressed that government is committed to the policy, that broken-down vehicles contribute largely to road accidents in Ghana.

“New modalities for dealing with the problem of broken down or disabled vehicles will be formulated and announced in due course.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana

Ghana Assoc. of Bankers saddened by collapse of UT, Capital banks

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The Ghana Association of Bankers says it is saddened by the collapse of two of its key members, UT Bank and Capital Bank.

The two banks are no more members of the Association as the Bank of Ghana has revoked their licenses after they were declared financially distressed.

They have subsequently been assumed by the GCB Bank.

Speaking for the first time on the issue, President of the Association Alhassan Andani says the association is not happy about the development.

“No organization will be happy, if it loses two of its members, and it’s hard for us,” he said.

“I think there are a lot of lessons to be learnt; while we watch the next development and the decisions of the Central Bank.”

He adds that the Association welcomes the decision by the Bank of Ghana to punish perpetrators whose actions led to the current state of the two banks

“It is the law that must take its full course. If the actions of some people led to this, then the law must take its course.”

By Grace Asare|3FM|3news.com|Ghana

Central Bank backed for blocking mgt accounts of UT, Capital banks

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The Central Bank did not breach any rules, says a former principal of the National Banking College

The Bank of Ghana did not breach any banking rules for blocking the accounts of top management members of UT Bank and Capital Banks, the former principal of the national Banking College has said.

Philip Buabeng added, however, that the move should have been done by GCB Bank, the bank tasked to take over the running of the two banks.

He was speaking in an interview on 3FM over media reports that the Bank of Ghana on Friday blocked the accounts of some top management members of UT Bank and Capital Bank in order to conduct investigations into their accounts.

Though the accounts were unblocked after 24 hours, critics say this was a breach of some banking regulations.

But Mr Buabeng says the Central Bank has the power to do so.

“The Bank of Ghana as the regulator has the power to do so,” he maintained.

“Because the two banks now belong to GCB Bank, it is only them that can freeze or block anybody’s account. It is part of the Purchasing and Assumption agreement”.

Meanwhile, the head of Banking Supervision at the Bank of Ghana, Raymond Amanfu, says the Central Bank will continue with investigations into the matter.

“We will still continue with investigation. We either do selective tendering or sole investigations. We will engage the appropriate agencies and the investigation will continue.”

SANCTIONS FOR DIRECTORS

The Central Bank has earlier indicated that it will punish perpetrators whose actions led to the collapse of the two banks.

This has been welcomed by major stakeholders including the bankers association and the institute of directors.

Some experts have also argued that the Central Bank should also be blamed for the current state of the banks, because it could not perform its regulatory role well.

By Grace Asare|3FM|3news.com|Ghana

‘UT Bank has no ownership in UT Life’ – Management

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Management of UT Life Insurance says the company has not been affected whatsoever by the recent takeover of UT Bank by GCB Bank.

The Bank of Ghana on Monday, August 14, 2017 revoked the licences of UT and Capital banks due to their insolvency, leading to a seamless takeover of the two banks by GCB Bank.

UT Bank which was trading on the Ghana stock exchange, had its listing status also suspended.

Provisional figures show the total liability of UT Bank stands at GHC850 million while its total assets have been pegged at GHC112 million.

International auditing firm, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, is reported to have been contracted to dispose of the assets of the bank and use the proceeds to first settle creditors of UT Bank and the surplus, if any, given to investors and shareholders.

There were fears the exercise would affect UT Life Insurance as many held the company was an asset of the collapsed UT Bank.

But management of UT Life issued a statement Friday to dissociate itself from UT Bank, stating that “UT Bank has no ownership in UT Life”.

The management explained that over 80 per cent of UT Life was acquired by Leapfrog Investment in December 2015 from UT Holdings.

“UT Life is strongly capitalized at GHC36 million which is over the minimum regulatory requirement of GHC15 million. Our capital ratio of over 300% as of June 2017 and reflects our financial stability, strength and liquidity,” it said in the statement.

It has thus asked its customers to remain calm, and that offices of the company remain open for business.

By P.D Wedam|3news.com|Ghana

Revoking licences of UT, Capital banks decisive – Nana Addo

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has applauded the Bank of Ghana for revoking the licences of UT and Capital banks, describing the action as of the regulator as decisive.

The Bank of Ghana [BoG] on Monday announced a takeover of the two commercial banks by GCB Bank, and said it would stop at nothing in ensuring that perpetrators are punished.

He said the manner with which the BoG acted demonstrates how responsive the regulator is, while assuring of the support of Ghanaians.

“The most recent measure in intervening decisively in the matters of UT Bank and Capital Bank demonstrates your preparedness to act in a manner worthy of a responsible central bank of praise worthy regulator. I am confident that you have the support of the nation,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo gave the commendation at the launch of the 60th anniversary of BoG in Accra Friday. Stakeholders in the banking sector attended the event.

It is on the theme “celebrating 60 years of central banking in Ghana, achievements, challenges and prospects”.

Launching the anniversary, he urged BoG to introduce stringent measures to sanitise the country’s banking sector by strategically addressing the challenges to inject confidence in the sector.

These he said includes lowering the cost of funds to ensure increased investments, weeding out unlicenced institutions to inject confidence in the financial sector and protecting the integrity of payment systems.

Akufo-Addo also wants “broadening and deepening access to banking to most of our rural population. The need to entrench reputation and credibility in the financial system is crucial.”

For the president, there is an urgent need to address the weaknesses in the banking sector, noting, “a weak banking system undermines growth.

“The current weaknesses in our banking sector need to be addressed forcefully to minimize any adverse financial consequences to unsuspecting savers and the spill over effects on the economy,” he advised.

Cooperation

The president suggested the need for cooperation between the bank and the government to be strengthened, stating, “to sustain macro –economic stability and rapid growth in a developing nation like ours, there must be partnership, a cooperation between the central bank and government.

Though he said BoG enjoys full autonomy, it “does not mean the bank’s monetary policy should be at variance with governments overall macro-economic policy”.

 By Grace Asare|3news.com|Ghana

MP demands accountability on revenue from road tolls

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Member of Parliament for Damango in the Northern Region, Mutawakilu Adam, is demanding accountability in the management of road tolls in the country.

He said it is incumbent on the Ministry of Roads and Highways as well as the Ghana Road Fund to account to Ghanaians the amount of revenue generated from the collection of tolls in Ghana and how they are expended.

“The Road Fund needs to come out clearly on how much they raised in a year, what they use the money for so that we will have insight about it, if not people will generalize everything” he stated on TV3’s New Day Friday.

His comment comes on the back of government announcement that it has abrogated 136 road contracts due to the failure of the contractors to begin construction work.

Mr. Adam said it is imperative for the Ministry of Roads and Highways to tell the people of Ghana what happens to the roads that have had its contracts cancelled.

“The Roads Ministry and Road Fund must come out to tell us what is next because if my road has been abrogated, my concern is, will another contractor come to work because road contract abrogation is not new to us” he said.

The MP added: “it is very important that as a nation, we evaluate the contracts to ensure that there is no judgement debt hanging on our necks”.

Contributing to the discussion, deputy chief executive of Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Eric Amoako Twum, justified the cancellation of those contracts saying that once a contract is signed and mobilization funds provided, the government has the right to abrogate it if the contractor does not begin construction.

“There is a certain amount of time; reasonable time for you to go to site and if that has happened and you have not moves to the site, then it must be abrogated” he stated.

By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|TV3|3news.com|Ghana

Ghana Publishing Company distressed; begs gov’t for recapitalisation

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The Ghana Publishing Company Limited is highly distressed and struggling to pay salaries of its staff, Managing Director of the company, David Asante Boateng, has revealed.

He told the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday that the company which prior to 2008 enjoyed exclusivity in the printing of some sensitive government documents including ballot papers, has lost the rights.

The company, he said, lacks the both technical expertise and state-of-the-art equipment required to make it competitive in the printing and publishing industry to attract jobs in order to be sustainable.

Currently the company is only engaged in the gazetting of public documents and legislative instruments passed by Parliament.

Beyond that Mr Asante Boateng revealed that most government agencies as well as Parliament also owe the company huge sums.

He said a law passed in 2007 that required the government to cede 20 per cent of public printing works to the company but that has not been well-implemented.

“If this particular law is practically activated, I believe we shall be overwhelmed with job and the organization will be turned around into a profit making institution,”, he assured.

In view of the current financial state of the company, Mr Asante Boateng, has appealed to the government to recapitalise the company to make it productive and self-sufficient.

He said the company is not under government subvention; hence the need for a recapitalisation to make it survive in today’s competitive market.

Asked by the Chairman of the committee James Klutse Avedzi, if under his leadership can repackage the company to be more viable, he said: “I believe strongly we have a team of competent management in place. The sector ministry is very much interested in the wellbeing and the overall re-establishment of the organization”.

Mr Asante Boateng expressed optimism of better days, if government recapitalises the company.

By Owoahene Omari Acheampong|Onua FM|3news.com

Mahama asks: Africa’s 830 million young people by 2050; Promise or peril?

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Last month, Spanish charity workers rescued 167 migrants arriving from Africa aboard a small boat. 2016 was the deadliest for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean, with at least 3800 deaths recorded. Most know the dangers they face on the route, yet still choose the possibility of death in overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels over the hopelessness of life in areas they reside.

Consider this. Every 24 hours, nearly 33,000 youth across Africa join the search for employment. About 60% will be joining the army of the unemployed.

A report from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees released this month claims that seven in ten of those heading for Europe are not refugees fleeing war or persecution, but economic migrants in search of better lives.

12 August 2017, is International Youth Day.

Africa’s youth population is growing rapidly and is expected to reach over 830 million by 2050. Whether this spells promise or peril depends on how the continent manages its “youth bulge”.

According to the World Bank, 40% of people who join rebel movements are motivated by lack of economic opportunity. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres noted, “The frustration generated in young people that have no hope in the future is a major source of insecurity in today’s world. And it is essential that when Governments plan their economic activities, when the international community develops forms of cooperation, they put youth employment, youth skills at the centre of all priorities…”

Some estimates indicate that more than half a million Africans migrated to European Union countries between 2013 and 2016, adding to the millions flowing in from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghnistan and parts of Asia.

Many of Africa’s young people remain trapped in poverty that is reflected in multiple dimensions, blighted by poor education, access to quality health care, malnutrition and lack of job opportunities.

For many young people–and especially girls– the lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services is depriving them of their rights and the ability to make decisions about their bodies and plan their families. This is adversely affecting their education and employment opportunities.

According to UNDP’s Africa Human Development Report for 2016, gender inequalities cost sub-Saharan Africa US$ 95 billion annually in lost revenue. Women’s empowerment and gender equality needs to be at the top of national development plans.

Between 10 and 12 million people join the African labour force each year, yet the continent creates only 3.7 million jobs annually. Without urgent and sustained, the spectre of a migration crisis looms that no wall, navy or coastguard can hope to stop.
“The future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe, but in a prosperous Africa”, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has said.

Africa’s population is expected to reach around 2.3 billion by 2050. The accompanying increase in its working age population creates a window of opportunity, which if properly harnessed, can translate into higher growth and yield a demographic dividend.

In the wake of the Second World War, the Marshall Plan helped to rebuild shattered European economies in the interests of growth and stability. We need a plan of similar ambition that places youth employment in Africa at the centre of development.

For example, one sector that Africa must prioritise is agribusiness, whose potential is almost limitless. Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa Region has said, “We cannot overstate the importance of agriculture to Africa’s determination to maintain and boost its high growth rates, create more jobs, significantly reduce poverty….”. The World Bank says African agriculture and agribusiness could be worth US $1 trillion by 2030.

Agriculture can help people overcome poor health and malnutrition. Given the importance of agriculture for the livelihoods of the rural poor, agricultural growth has the potential to greatly reduce poverty – a key contributor to poor health and undernutrition.

In the meantime, the aging demographic in many Western and Asian Tiger economies means increasing demand for skilled labour from regions with younger populations. It also means larger markets for economies seeking to benefit from the growth of a rapidly expanding African middle class. Consumer spending in Africa is projected to reach US $1.4 trillion in the next three years and business-to-business spending to reach $3.5 trillion in the next eight years.

Whether the future of Africa is promising or perilous will depend on how the continent and the international community moves from stated intent to urgent action and must give special priority to those SDGs that will give the continent a competitive edge through its youth.

The core SDGs of ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education all have particular resonance with the challenge of empowering youth and making them effective economic citizens.

As we mark International Youth Day, there is hope. Many young people in Africa are taking charge of their futures. There is a rising tide of entrepreneurship sweeping across Africa spanning technology, IT, innovation, small and medium enterprises. They are creating jobs for themselves and their communities.

The African Development Bank is working on creating 25 million jobs and equipping at least 50 million youth to realize their full economic potential by 2025.

The African Union established the theme for 2017 as “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth.” This will determine Africa’s enormous promise to realise its economic and social potential as well as reap a demographic dividend.

By John Dramani Mahama| Former President of Ghana|3news.com

Sanctioning UT, Capital banks officials will be in order – Institute of Directors

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The Institute Of Directors has welcomed the decision by the Bank of Ghana to sanction those behind the bankruptcy of UT and Capital banks leading to the eventual takeover of the two commercial banks by GCB bank.

Bank of Ghana on Monday announced a takeover of the two commercial banks by GCB Bank, and said it would stop at nothing in ensuring that perpetrators are punished.

“The last phase of the BoG’s action would involve a thorough investigation of operations of UT Bank and Capital Bank and appropriate action will be taken against shareholders, Directors, and key a Management personnel who are found to be culpable,” the BoG Governor, Dr. Ernest Addison said.

The decision has been welcomed by some stakeholders.

Speaking to 3FM BUSINESS, president of the Institute of Directors, Fredrick Ofosu Darko, though welcomed the move, saying “We welcome any move or decision that the central bank will agree on.

“By law directors are responsible for their actions, and they must be held accountable for it. They answer to their stakeholders and higher authorities and so if their actions have resulted in the collapse of the banks, then they should be held responsible,” he said.

Mr Ofosu Darko added: “now the advice is that directors should be more vigilant in whatever they do. They should know that all their actions have effects on others. I believe this should be a wake up call for all of us,” he said

He was speaking at the maiden edition of the Institutes’ bi-monthly business meeting, which brings together members of the Institute and other stakeholders to discuss issues of relevance.

The meeting was themed: Stimulating Public-Private Sector Dialogue: The Place of Key Stakeholders in Leadership and Corporate Governance in the Accelerated Socio Economic Development of Ghana”.

By Grace Asare|3news.com|Ghana