Category Archives: Business

Barclays profits more than doubled

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Barclays says its profits more than doubled in the first three months of the year, boosted by better performance across the board.

Pre-tax profit for the first quarter was £1.682bn, up from £793m for the same period last year.

Chief executive Jes Staley said it had been “another quarter of strong progress towards the completion of the restructuring of Barclays”.

He said there was good reason to feel optimistic about the firm’s prospects.

The figure was better than analysts had predicted and comes despite a one-off goodwill impairment charge of £884m on the bank’s stake in Barclays Africa Group, which it intends to sell in the next two to three years.

“On Africa, we await approval for the separation arrangements already agreed with local management, following which we will be able to make further progress towards regulatory deconsolidation,” Mr Staley said.

In early trading, Barclays’ shares were down 3.5%.

‘Legacy issues’

Mr Staley said Barclays planned to hire about 2,000 new staff in the UK in the next three years, focused on technology.

He told Bloomberg the bank wanted to bring technology development back in house and reduce reliance on external contractors.

He also said it would increase the number of staff based in the EU, following the UK’s Brexit vote.

In its statement, Barclays said that “certain legal proceedings and investigations relating to legacy issues” were still outstanding.

In particular, it said the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) intended to make a decision shortly about “matters relating to our capital raisings in 2008”.

This refers to a long-running SFO investigation into a cash injection received by Barclays from Qatari investors at the height of the financial crisis.

Source: BBC

Chinese gov’t to offer grant for Ghana’s alternative livelihood prog. for illegal miners

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Galamsey is threatening the country’s water bodies and environment

The Chinese government is willing to give Ghana a grant to fund its intended multilateral mining integrated project, which seeks to sanitise the small scale mining sector.

An initial amount of about 10 million dollars is needed to be able to roll out the programme, and according to the Project Coordinator, Dr. Isaac Karikari, the Chinese government has indicated its readiness offer government a grant for the programme.

The multilateral mining integrated project will be a holistic approach to combat illegal mining and will pivot around the application of technology and enforcement of the law as well as supervision.

It is an alternative livelihood programme for illegal miners, popularly referred to as galamsey, whose activities have polluted water bodies, depleted vast forest covers and destroyed farmlands among other natural resources across the country.

Currently, government has initiated steps to clamp down on illegal mining.

The five-year project which is yet to be approved by cabinet, was top on the issues discussed during a meeting held by departmental heads of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources at Aburi in the Eastern Region.

Coordinator of the project, Dr Karikari admitted it would be difficult to be executed but was confident it would be the best way to sanitise the sector.

Meanwhile, following a meeting with the Ivorian delegation, few days ago, a Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio, says a team has been set up from both countries to ascertain the extent at which illegal mining is destroying water bodies in Ivory Coast.

By kwabena Adu- Gyamfi|TV3|Ghana

Customs Port officials deny report on $30m ‘missing cocaine’

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File photo

Officials at the Tema Port have denied any knowledge of a container carrying bags of cocaine .

This follows revelations that 500 kilograms of cocaine worth about 30 million dollars had disappeared from the port.

Media reports indicated that 10 bags of cocaine, hidden in a consignment of rice had vanished from the ports under mysterious circumstances.

According to the reports, a ship alleged to be carrying some containers with cocaine on board arrived at the Tema Port in  December 2016 but the suspected cocaine vanished before February 23, 2017 when all stakeholders conducted compulsory tests on the container.

There were reports that k9 dogs which are specially trained to detect cocaine confirmed traces of cocaine in the said container, while UK’s operation west bridge also conducted sampling by the use of itemisers which also confirmed traces of cocaine.

It was also revealed that for over two months, the importer did not show up to clear the rice.

Sources say NACOB officials fixed the 25 of February to undertake compulsory scanning of the container and inform all stakeholders.

However, NACOB sources said intelligence later indicated that one of the containers had been moved to the Golden Jubilee terminal.

When the container was subsequently opened, it was realised that10 bags, each weighing 50kgs were missing from the consignment.

But the Manager in charge of the Tema Fishing Harbour, Joana Adda, however says they are unaware of any such substance in the container.

For now, officials of NACOB have declined comments saying they are awaiting for directives from the Attorney General’s department.

Meanwhile the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), at the Tema Port, is also dismissing claims that 500 kilogrammes of cocaine worth about $30 million dollars is missing at the Tema Port.

They claimed thorough investigations conducted by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), and the Ministry of Interior have revealed that no container with cocaine had been detained at the Port.

Confidence Nyadzi,  the sector commander of CEPS at the Tema Port told TV3 “Customs has no role in this matter, to the extent that we have not been informed, we have no knowledge of anything like that.”

Source: 3news.com | Ghana

30 million-dollar cocaine disappears from Tema Port

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Ten bags of suspected cocaine, each weighing 50kgs (500kgs in all) hidden in a consignment of rice with an estimated street value of about $30 million has vanished from the Tema Port under mysterious circumstances, The Finder Newspaper has reported

Surprisingly officers under whose watch this happened are still at post at the Tema Port.

According to Finder’s sources, a ship carrying some containers with cocaine onboard arrived in Tema Pot in December 2016 but the suspected cocaine vanished before February 23 2017 when all stakeholders conducted compulsory tests on the container.

It is learnt that K9 Dogs which are specially trained to detect cocaine confirmed traces of cocaine in the said container while UK’s Operation West Bridge also conducted sampling by the use of itemisers which also confirmed traces of cocaine.

The Finder further learnt that separate investigations conducted on the suspected missing cocaine by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and Customs have been submitted to the Interior Minister and the Attorney General’s offices.

Five containers for scanning

The Investigations indicated that when the ship arrived, the identification of containers selected for sampling were:

FSCU-7559200
IRNU-2610834
CCLU-3224764
TRHU-1653800
TRLU-8778855

All these were 20-footer containers and each contained 550 bags of white long grain rice according to the bill of lading.

According to the sources, the containers were kept at Depot Surveillance.

UNODC/Suriname provided intelligence

On October 24, 2016, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with Suriname authorities alerted the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) of a ship from Suriname in South America carrying the said cocaine in Tema Port in Ghana.

NACOB Boss alerted Tema Port Narcotics Analyst

Sources familiar with the matter told the Finder that on the said day, NACOB head office, informed Felicia Wuaku, a Narcotics Analyst who is the head of the Joint Port Control Unit (JPCU) at Tema Port and all stakeholders were informed accordingly.

Tema Port Narcotics Analyst informs other stakeholders

Sources at NACOB said on December 7 2016, Felicia Wuaku wrote letters to other stakeholders but Customs received their letters on December 8 2016.

According to the investigations, for over two months, the importer did not show up to clear the rice.
As a result, the Finder learnt that NACOB, in the first week of February, fixed February 25, 2017 to undertake compulsory scanning of the container and inform all stakeholders.

However, NACOB sources said on February 22, 2017, intelligence indicated that one of the containers with identification number TRHU-1653800 was moved to Golden Jubilee Terminal without the knowledge of NACOB.

Subsequently, NACOB quickly called all stakeholders on February 23, 2017 for compulsory examination of the container which was believed to contain the cocaine.

Agencies present at scanning

Agencies present during the opening of the container for testing are: NACOB, K9 Unit (Special Dogs Academy), UK’s Operation WestBridge Officials, Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, National Security, US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).

A Joint Port Control Unit was represented by Felicia Wuaku, Francis Worlanyo Kpegah and Henry Asarfo Brain.

When the container was opened, it was realised that 10 bags, each weighing 50kgs were missing from the consignment – in other words, 500kgs suspected to be the pure cocaine had been removed by persons yet to be identified.

K9 Dogs, itemisers confirmed traces of pure cocaine.

However, when sampling was conducted on the rice, K9 Security Dogs and sampling by the use of itemisers of Operation West Bridge team both confirmed traces of pure cocaine.

Questions for JPCU

According to the Finder’s investigations, questions are being asked as to why the head of JPCU, Felicia Wuaku, instead of detailing a surveillance team to keep the containers in sight 24hours, left that duty to GPHA Head of Security while a two-member NACOB Surveillance Team only visited Depot 10 intermittently to ensure that the containers were there.

NACOB blames Customs

NACOB sources said their investigations revealed that GPHA and Customs officials moved the container to Golden Jubilee Terminal on request from the importer to have the rice tested without informing NACOB.

Customs debunks allegation

However, Confidence Nyadzie, Tema Sector Commander of Customs, described the accusations levelled against Customs as baseless.

Response of Operations West Bridge

When contacted, the UK High Commission on behalf of Operation West Bridge sent this email response: “The UK Government represented by the British High Commission has a long and fruitful relation with Ghanaian law enforcement agencies. We are unable to comment on specific cases.”

Information on Importer

On the bill of lading, Joro Farms and Agricultural Processing Limited, located at Kaneshie in Accra is named as the importer of the rice from Caribbean Grain Industry in Suriname.

The Finder contacted the importer who declined to give his name but denied knowledge of cocaine hidden in his consignment of rice but admitted that NACOB had been questioned over the said missing cocaine.

A case of rip off

However, sources in the intelligence community told the Finder that the cocaine could be a case of rip off which in drug law enforcement means smart drug lords outsmarting importers and exporters by putting drugs in consignments but removing them before examination in circumstances where the importer or exporter has no knowledge.

The work of a cabal in Tema Port

The sources also added that it could be a case of a cabal at Tema Port which took advantage of loopholes in security arrangements by JPCU or possibly some JPCU members could have been involved in the smuggling of the cocaine out of the Port.

Ghana loses $340m annually through illicit financial flows

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The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) has revealed that, Ghana loses 340 dollars annually, due to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

Illicit financial flows are illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another.  According to the Global Financial Integrity, illicit flows include when the funds are illegally earned, transferred, and/or utilized.

In Ghana’s case, the inability of revenue collection agencies to judiciously mobilize funds, has resulted in both local and foreign companies evading taxes.

Speaking to 3FM BUSINESS at a forum to discuss illicit financing and its effects on countries, coordinator of ISODEC, Dr. Steve Manteaw lamented that the nation is losing a lot due to this act.

“Ghana loses 340  million dollars annually and this is quiet substantial. We lose all these monies and we go about borrowing, when we can pluck the holes and get these monies out of illicit financial flows”, he stated

ISODEC has advocated for strict monitoring of the revenue collection agencies as well as the country’s legislations, in order to apprehend the perpetrators

“There are exploitation of leakages in our revenue generation agencies, and these leakages must be blocked. Our policies and laws must be reinforced to close the gaps, that way, we can make a lot”, he added.

The forum was dubbed combating illicit financial flows to foster sustainable development goals-taking stoke and strengthening responses.

By Grace Asare/3FM/3news

President Akufo-Addo cuts sod for 400mw bridge power project

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The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has cut the sod for the commencement of construction of the 400-MegaWatt Bridge Power project, the world’s largest LPG-fired power plant.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, at Tema, on Thursday, 27th April, 2017, President Akufo-Addo noted that the $1 billion project is consistent with his government’s vision of making Ghana self-sufficient in electricity for industrial and domestic use, and to drive the country’s socio-economic development.

This project, the President revealed, would be one of several initiatives that will be introduced along the power supply value chain in order to achieve a cost effective, efficient and sustainable energy sector.

With Ghana not having fared well in negotiations with private power producers in recent years, especially as such agreements were negotiated during emergency periods and times of power shortages, President Akufo-Addo noted that the government he leads, nonetheless, is a natural cheerleader for the private sector, but will do so within the framework of protecting the public purse.

“For us laypersons, our interest in these agreements rests largely on cost, reliability and flexibility. I am glad to learn the plant will be able to operate on LPG, natural gas, and diesel, and this flexibility will allow the plant to continue producing power in times of disruption in the supply of any one of the fuel types.

I am also glad to note that the project has been specifically designed to switch to Ghana’s own natural gas, once available. This should help advance our strategy to leverage natural gas as a long-term source of fuel, central to the operation of the power sector,” he said.

Having announced an ambitious plan to develop and transform the structure of the Ghanaian economy, the President stated that he was looking forward to working with Early Power Limited to help his government fulfill its vision of creating a modern, efficient, diversified, and financially sustainable energy economy.

“I intend to grow this economy industrially, and that can be achieved when we have adequate, cost effective and sustainable power supply. The programmes this government has lined up to undertake, such as the ‘One District, One Factory’, and the ‘One Village One Dam’ projects, will all require significant amounts of electricity.

The power produced in this country must be cost effective, efficient and sustainable. I am informed that the technology of this Early Power project is one of the most efficient types in the world, and we are happy you chose it for Ghana,” he said.

As stated in the State of the Nation Address, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government has commenced actions that will improve transparency in tariff setting, adding that “we aim to introduce very soon a new tariff policy that will reclassify consumer categories in order to protect lifeline and strategic industrial consumers.”

The President assured the private producers of this project that Ghana will be a great place to do business under his watch, indicating further that the sector ministers will work with the private producers to address any challenges that may arise during the implementation of the project.

“It is my expectation that they will be able to address these challenges satisfactorily, for they are all very competent in their domain, but, if, indeed, it becomes necessary, which I hope it will not, to go higher up the chain of authority, I want you to know that my doors will always be open. I do, on the other hand, insist that, on your part, you play according to the rules and regulations of the sector and the country as a whole,” he added.

Whilst pledging to make electricity available under his administration, President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to make sure that electricity is used efficiently.

“Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Switch off fans when not needed. Iron your clothes in bulk. These are just a few, simple actions we can all take. Not only will you be saving money for yourself, but these habits are acts of citizenship and common humanity. For the industrial customers, I urge you to use energy efficient machinery and equipment at your facilities. These human attitudes prove that, even when you have power, you care enough to save what you do not need so others, too, may have,” he added.

About Brige Power
Bridge Power is a 400 Megawatt (MW) greenfield power and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import, storage, and transportation infrastructure project that will be located in Tema near the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). The project will be capable of being fueled by LPG, natural gas, and diesel.

Stage 1 will use five GE TM2500+ gas turbines and one purpose-built GE steam turbine in a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) configuration that will collectively generate 200 MW of power. Stage 2 will add another 200 MW through four GE LM6000 gas turbines and one purpose-built GE steam turbine, again in a CCGT configuration. Together, this will amount to over 17 percent of Ghana’s reliable generation capacity.

Bridge Power is being developed by the Early Power Limited (EPL) consortium, made up of Endeavor Energy, a leading independent power development and generation company focused on Africa; Sage, a leading independent Ghanaian energy trading firm; and GE (General Electric), the world’s premier digital industrial company.

Source: 3news.com | Ghana

Non-performing loans increased to GH¢6.4bn

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Non-performing loans (NPL) increased to GH¢6.4 billion in February 2017 from GH¢4.7 billion in February 2016, according to the latest Banking Sector Report.

According to the report, the increase in the stock of NPLs, with no commensurate increase in gross advances, led to a higher NPL ratio of 17.7 per cent in February 2017, compared with 15.6 per cent in the same period last year.

The deterioration in asset quality according to the Central Bank s was largely attributed to the Asset Quality Review of bank loans in 2016 which led to the downgrade of some existing loans by banks.

The February 2017 NPL ratio of 17.7 per cent however, signaled an improvement over the January 2017 NPL ratio of 18.0 per cent.

The high non-performing loans were driven mainly by Commerce & Finance (39.7 percent), Services (13.6 percent) and the Electricity, Gas & Water (10.1 percent) sectors. Together, these three sectors represented 63.4 per cent of the total NPLs of the banking sector.

However, the share of investments in total assets increased to 29.2 per cent in February 2017 from 23.3 per cent in February 2016, while the share of cash and short term funds rose to 25.4 from 24.7 per cent over the same comparative periods.

Grace Asare/3FM/3news.com

Bolga meat factory to be revamped to create jobs

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Mavis Hawa Koomson is the Minister for Special Development Initiatives at the Office

The minister for Special Development Initiatives, Hawa Koomson has assured Ghanaians of revamping the Bolgatanga meat factory in the Upper East region which has been abandoned since 1995.

The factory, she says, will create employment and alleviate poverty in the region. The Bolgatanga meat factory will be revamped soon to create employment and alleviate poverty in the upper East region.

Madam Koomson who is on a 7days tour to the SADA zone said, the factory is best positioned for the realization of the one district, one factory agenda of the NPP led administration.

The factory was built in 1961, started operations in 1965 but folded up in 1995 owing to managerial lapses.

However, the minister for special development initiatives, Hawa Koomson has identified the factory to be a key economic venture in transforming local and national economies.

Sited in the northern region, the minister noted, per the location of the factory, raw materials are available to feed the factory and ready market also available.

The factory is one of those captured under the SADA master plan as an industrial park and is looking for investors to realize the industrialization and mechanization dream for the SADA zone.

The minister shares the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority’s dream and said they will work together to bring investors to revamp the factory.

By 3news.com|Ghana
Twitter: @newsontv3

Two small-scale mining firms appeal for license to go medium- or large-scale

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The mining firms want to up employment of Gbane youth

Yenyeya Small Scale Mining Group and Porbotaaba Small Scale Mining Group operating underground mining in Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region are calling on the Minerals Commission and, by extension, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to grant them medium- or large-scale mining licenses in order to expand their operations.

Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, a subsidiary of China Gold Resources Group Company, is providing technical support services to the two companies with huge investment in the area of machinery, technology and technical expertise.

The Gbane community is the heart of gold mine in the Region with a lot of mining activities.

Adjunct activities bring more income to residents far and near. Small scale miners, illegal miners and technical support service companies are all engaged in mining in the area.

3news.com’s team was sent to Level 5 deep down earth

In recent times, there has been a lot of issues between small scale miners and a Chinese company providing technical service support to two small-scale mining companies on the legalities of their operations.

www.3news.com visited the site of Shaanxi Mining Company to ascertain the kind of mining they engage in.

The visit was to find out if mining in that town is different from the illegal mining activities going on in other parts of the country and in Gbane.

On arrival at the yard of the company, 3news.com found heavy mining equipment and gold production facilities.

These facilities process gold from the ore stage to the final extraction of the natural resource.

All workers at the Company were in protective wears and all working areas have warning signs to protect workers and visitors from disasters.

The kind of mining 3news.com’s team witnessed is a deep underground mining where the extraction of the ore is done with advanced technology that does not have negative impact.

Due to the activities underground, water is drawn from the rocks and then transported upstream for the process of the gold.

Here, no water body is compromised or trees destroyed to pave way for mining.

The team together with the Underground Mine Engineer went underground in one of the five shafts of the Company.

The shaft the team entered has seven levels and were sent to Level Five, which is 220 meters deep in earth.

The mine is well aerated at the lower levels

At this level, the team met miners numbering about 50 with their protective wears working at different work schedules.

There was enough ventilation underground with the help of an underground air condition system.

CCTVs and other technical equipment were installed for easy mining and regulations.

After the tour underground, the Public Relations Officer of the Shaanxi Mining Company, Maxwell Woomah, said the Company has employed 552 workers who are residents of Gbane community, where the mining is going on and has undertaken a lot of social responsibilities in the area of health, education, bridge construction and community philanthropy.

He said the company is currently sponsoring nine brilliant but needy SHS students from the Talensi District.

On the issue of environmental degradation, Mr Woomah said the Company has effective environmental policies that are recovering already mined lands since operations started nine years ago.

A lot of trees have been planted to replace felled ones.

He said safety is a priority for the Company and every working area has warning signs and workers have been trained on safety management.

The Managing Director of the Yenyeya Small Scale Mining Group, Charles Ndanbon, said due to success chalked over the years in mining, they are appealing to the Minerals Commission to grant them a medium- or large-scale mining license because they have the capacity to operate as such.

He said with the medium- or large-scale mining, about 1,500 of unemployed youth will be employed and more gold will be mined to increase Ghana’s export and import receipt.

The Underground Mine Engineer, Thomas Tii Yenzaanya, explained that safety and environmental procedures are adhered to in the Company.

The Production Manager, Zhao Guang Sheng, through his interpreter said the company has acquired every working documents to support these two small-scale mining companies and that they as Chinese partners are not involved in direct small-scale mining but will wish if they grant the two small-scale mining companies a permit to go medium- or large-scale mining.

By Rabiu Tanko Mohammed|3news.com|Ghana

Embrace Ghana Internet Exchange – Businesses urged

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The Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA) has urged all domestic corporate businesses and academic institutions to embrace the Ghana Internet eXchange (GIX) by connecting their traffic to it since it will beat down cost and increase the value of data consumption.

GISPA noted that currently only 25 per cent of local traffic is exchanged in Ghana and called on the National Communications Authority (NCA) to ensure that it is mandatory for all the telcos to direct about 90 per cent of local traffic through the GIX.

Speaking to 3FM 92.7, President of Ghana Internet eXchange Association (GIX) Ernest Brown said “currently some traffic goes through GIX; some also go directly to Europe. But we need to get to a stage where we bring all of them completely to connect and interchange data on the eXchange”.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Peering Road Show for GISPA in Accra.

He said businesses and academia must make good use of GIX since it not only has the potential but also the capacity to ensure value for speed and lower cost, compared to running their traffic through Europe.

Mr Brown explained that institutions such as banks, academia and several other businesses hitherto have had to route their internet traffic to Europe and back before terminating.

“But the advent of GIX allows local Internet service providers and network operators to easily exchange traffic within Ghana, while improving connectivity and services for their customers.”

The GIX, which is an Internet exchange point, serves internet traffic in Ghana and allows local Internet service providers and network operators to easily exchange traffic within Ghana, while improving connectivity and services for their customers.

“It is the availability of the eXchange, where applications such as Google cash sits that has for instance, made the use of Youtube videos much easier and faster as they are now cashed locally,” Mr Brown noted.

He said so far only University of Ghana, Legon, is connected to the eXchange, adding that though most of the telcos are hooked onto the eXchange, “not all of them are connected. They all need to be encouraged to bring their traffic through the GIX, it will provide them with faster and lower spending and their data will be conserved locally. It will also bring down prices for users”.

The GIX home page states: “The GIX is run and operated by the Ghana Internet eXchange Association (GIXA), an independent non-profit corporation established by the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA) and other stakeholders

The structure of the GIXA (GIX) is such that non-members of GISPA can also connect to the exchange. Hence it is open to all carriers (operators) who may want to exchange traffic locally.

Deputy Minister of Communications George Andah was upbeat about government’s plan to ensure growth of the GIX and said they will ensure that there is growth and increased access that will also beat down prices for end users.

By Gideon Sackitey|3FM|3news.com|Ghana