Category Archives: Business

GCNet

GCNet adjudged Most Dependable Partner

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GCNet

The Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) has been acknowledged by the Tema Sector of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as the Most Dependable Partner in 2016.

A citation accompanying the award announced at the 2016 End of Year Award ceremony by the Tema Sector commended GCNet for its invaluable partnership to strengthening capacity of the Sector to improve revenue collection and enhance trade in the country.

The Tema Sector Commander, Confidence Nyadzi, noted that GCNet’s services and support for the entire Customs Division and especially the Tema Sector have translated into trade facilitation and enhanced revenue mobilisation.

“Apart from being a key service provider in Customs operation, you also distinguished yourself as an invaluable partner in many ways. Your prompt responses to operational challenges and prompt solutions such as the new warehousing and COR modules in the GCMS among others is highly commendable,” Mr. Nyadzi observed.

The citation further read: “Your training programmes for officers and free access to your facilities when we need venue for meetings among others are well appreciated”.

Commenting on the award, General Manager of GCNet Alwin Hoegerle commended the Tema Sector of the Customs Division of GRA for the recognition and noted that GCNet had accepted the challenge thrown and would remain fully committed to improving its service delivery and enable the Customs Division exceed its target in the coming years.

“We are in the process of rolling out GCMS III which is an upgrade of the current GCMS II. This demonstrates the continuous heavy investments GCNet makes in renewing and improving our applications and platforms, which ensures alignment with the latest developments in the world of information technology, that is, cloud computing, mobile applications and improved security that will enhance the user friendliness of our e-solutions to deepen trade activities and enhance revenue collection needed for accelerated economic development in the country,” Mr. Hoegerle hinted.

He also reiterated GCNet’s resolve to continuously support GRA with services in data warehousing and data analytics in its risk management processes as well as the Ministries of Trade and Finance and Ministries Department & Agencies (MDAs) in their efforts to promote trade facilitation, transparency in revenue mobilization while positioning Ghana as the Trade hub and preferred investment destination in the sub region.

A Deputy Manager of Transit Operations of GCNet, Nicholas Ofei, received the award on behalf of GCNet.

The ceremony was also to honour staff, key partners and stakeholders of the Tema Sector of the Customs Division of GRA.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

Ken Ofori Atta

Removing taxes won’t impact negatively on our finances – Ofori-Atta

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Ken Ofori AttaFinance minister-designate, Kenneth Nana Yaw Ofori Atta, says the government’s decision to scrap some taxes would not have negative effect on the country’s finances but bolster the growth of the economy.

At his vetting Friday, Mr Ofori-Atta said the move must not be seen as though Ghana would lose a lot of income, stating “I don’t look at it as how much we are going to lose because I really look at it as stimulus”.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the December 7, 2016 election promised to review a lot of taxes and scrap some of them which he described as “nuisance tax” with the view to cushioning businesses to create more employment.

Many analysts have criticized the move which they argued, have the potential to impact negatively on the finances of the country and ultimately affect developmental projects.

But Mr Ofori-Atta argued that ensuring that the economy grows from the current three per cent to about five per cent will generate about a billion dollar for the country.

Mr Ofori-Atta further observed there are a lot of leakages in the finances of the country, noting “those type of leakages could amount to one to five percent of the GDP. Five per cent of GDP let say, will be about 2 billion dollars  and that’s 8billion cedis”.

For him, stopping those leakages and with a five per cent of economic growth will bring a lot of resources to the public purse.

Making reference to an Auditor General’s report, he said the said report at some point did indicate a leakage of over six billion cedis, indicating that such amount is something that can be used properly if the economy is better managed.

“We are currently spending over 2 billion dollars in paying interest alone and at the same time increasing our primary balance which is negative,” he stated.

He added: “When you begin to relieve yourself of all these, that’s incredible amount of money we can save. So this is where the hope is for me…There is a lot of space to be able to do that”.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

Yaw Osafo Marfo vetting

Ghana’s economy is fundamentally strong but…Osafo Maafo explains

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Yaw Osafo Marfo vetting

Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo

Ghana’s economy is fundamentally strong, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo Minister-designate has said, but noted that it will only take a disciplined regime to create an economy that can be described as booming.

Answering questions at Parliament’s Appointment Committee on Friday, Mr. Osafo-Maafo indicated that the lack of discipline by the previous Mahama-led government exposed what he calls an economy  that was “not in best of shape”.

Nonetheless, the Senior Minister-designate assured the nation that the Akufo-Addo-led government has what it takes to turn the economy around, the more reason why the New Patriotic Party was voted into power.

“It is doable”, he declared with a flare of confidence in his demeanour.

“The economy is fundamentally strong, so if we discipline ourselves, we will be able to get out of the woods,” he emphasized.

Borrow

While in opposition, the New Patriotic Party criticized the government for borrowing excessively. But Mr. Osafo-Maafo told the committee the NPP government would also borrow to execute some development projects, however, the loans would be contracted with better terms.

“We will certainly borrow but under different arrangements…we will borrow to refinance to change your whole debt profile that is what we will be seeking to do.”

Early on, Mr. Osafo Maafo asserted that the NPP is bent on creating a business friendly environment, a departure from the current environment that he described as “complicated” which causes “hindrance to businesses”.

By Isaac Essel |3news.com|Ghana

Wa Goil

Wa Goil station given 1-week ultimatum or face shutdown

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Wa Goil

The Upper West Regional Fire Service has threatened to close down a Goil Gas Station in Wa if management fails to adhere to fire safety measures within a week.

The defects at the Station came to light during a training programme organized for fuel station managers and pump attendants to prevent and manage fire disasters.

The Fire Precautions Regulations 2003 mandates the Service to ensure that property owners or occupants manage the various risks on their premises through regular training and fire prevention practices.

It is against this background that it organized the training workshop.

A demonstration was done at some selected stations.

But at the Goil Gas Station in Wa, management had everything working except to connect a water pumping machine to the tank in case of an emergency.

This called for an immediate attention but when officers of the Service asked the manager to open water for the trainees, there was hesitation.

The Regional Service Commander, ACOP James Emmanuel Quao, has therefore given the Station Manager a one-week ultimatum to fix the pump, which was faulty.

Failure to do so will result in a closedown of the station.

He added that they will continue to sensitize the people until the right thing is done.

Manager of the Gas Station Abdulai Issahaque also explained that the station has been out of operations for sometime now and when they resumed the machine was kaput.

He promised to meet the deadline given by the Fire Service officers.

By Yakubu Abdul-Gafur|3news.com|Ghana

Nana Akufo-Addo is sworn in as president

IMF programme would be reviewed – Osafo Maafo insists

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Yaw Osafo-Maafo

File photo: Yaw Osafo-Maafo

The Senior Minister-designate, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo has maintained that the New Patriotic Party government would not think twice in reviewing the Extended Credit Facility arrangement between the government of Ghana and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The country is in the final year of the programme but Mr. Maafo said the components of the agreement are not friendly to the policies of the government as contained in the manifesto of the NPP.

The three-year facility was signed under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress government, where the country is expected to benefit US$918 million when it was approved on April 3, 2015.

On September 28, 2016 the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund completed the third review of Ghana’s economic performance, enabling the disbursement of about US$116.2 million, bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to about US$464.6 million.

But Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo indicated that the IMF has been communicated to about government’s intention to review the credit facility.

He was responding to a question from the Member of Parliament from Lawra, Anthony Karbo, when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Friday.

The manifesto of the NPP “needs fiscal space”, he pointed out but the IMF programme, as its stands currently “squeezes” the space.

The Senior Minister-designate also assessed that most of the targets set by the IMF under the programme were “missed” by the previous government, making it more prudent to review the facility.

He noted for instance, government’s deficit under the programme should not be more than 5%, but figures from the Bank of Ghana that he is privy to suggested that the government is hovering around 8%. “That is enough for the IMF itself to review the programme,” he pointed out.

The government, he reiterated, would be guided by “two angles” in seeking a review: targets under the credit facility and NPP government’s own need to factor the party’s manifesto.

Friendly environment

Mr. Osafo Maafo asserted that the NPP’s manifesto is bent on creating a business friendly environment, inferring that the current environment is “complicated” causing “hindrance to businesses”.

He cited multiple sales of lands, for instance, as “embarrassing” blot on the country’s drive to make the business friendly.

He recalled how many businesses that had planned to relocate to Ghana during the Ivorian crisis had to resettle somewhere due to the rent advance: the minimum in Ghana is two years which is not legal but enforcement has been problematic.

“This is some of the small, small things we will look at to make business environment friendly,” he acknowledged.

By Isaac Essel | 3news.com | Ghana

sampson-ahi

Appointments Committee warns nominees over tax returns

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sampson-ahi

Sampson Ahi

The Appointments Committee of Parliament is taking the issue of tax returns seriously, and so ministerial nominees who are found to have defaulted in filing same risk being disqualified, Sampson Ahi, a member of the committee, has said.

“The constitution has stipulated that you should be a Ghanaian before you can become a Member of Parliament and for that matter a Minister of State. Similarly, you are a citizen of Ghana but have defaulted in paying tax or you have failed to honour your tax obligation to the state, if you are found, we will not approve your nomination” he told B&FT in an interview at Parliament house.

It is the responsibility of every citizen and tax payer to file his or her income tax returns every year, the MP for Bodi in the Western Region said, adding that people in leadership positions must be a good example.

Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution, under declaration of Assets and Liabilities, states that: “A person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by, or liabilities owed by him, whether directly or indirectly.

Under the newly passed Revenue Administration Bill,2016, there is a penalty for failing to file tax return; section 73(1) stipulates that: “A person who fails to file a tax return as required by a tax law is liable to pay a penalty of five hundred currency points and a further penalty of ten currency points for each day that the failure continues.”

In fact, nominees are asked detailed questions about any current or recent audits. Regardless of whether a nominee is under audit, committees that require submission of tax returns will not act on a nomination until those returns have been provided and reviewed.

The Committee requires nominees to submit tax returns for the most recent years, and if any concerns are identified in those returns, the committee may require the nominee to provide returns covering the later years.

The Appointments Committee of Parliament will, this Friday, January 20th 2017, begin vetting ministerial nominees appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Osafo Maafo, Senior Minister nominee, will be the first to appear before the committee, which is also popularly referred to as the Vetting Committee, followed by Kan Dapaah, who is expected to head the Security Ministry.

Finance Minister-nominee, Ken Ofori-Atta, as well as nominee for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, will all take their turns on the first day. The committee will further sit on Saturday, January 21, 2017, to vet Attorney-General & Justice Minister-nominee, Gloria Akuffo, and Interior Minister-nominee Ambrose Dery.

On Monday, 23rd January, 2017, the Committee will vet Local Government & Rural Development Minister nominee Hajia Alima Mahama, Trade and Industry nominee, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, nominee for Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, and nominee for Energy Boakye Agyarko.

Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister nominee for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, nominee for Education and Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, nominee for Health, will appear before the Appointments committee on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

Other nominees, out of the 36 announced by President Akufo-Addo, will be vetted on later dates.

Source: B&FT |Ghana

Solar

Regent Univ. to spearhead solar energy as Ghana discovers key raw material

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SolarThe Regent University College of Science and Technology, is to lead Ghana’s crusade for the commercial production of solar energy following the discovery of silicon in the Western Region.

Silicon is the raw material for the production of solar panels, conductors, micro processors and micro controllers among other conductive electronic components.

The initiative is in partnership with a Canadian University, Saint Mary’s University of Science and Mathematics, will also see the college establish the first ever 230,000 e-learning technology centre for African universities.

Renewable energy has become a global choice following the increasingly unreliable fortunes associated with hydro power generation.

Ghana recently suffered power crisis for about three years raising concerns over why the country is unable to tap into the wide range of abundant renewable energy sources.

References were made to the potential of solar, wind, nuclear, carbon and coal among others but varied interpretations and considerations continue to keep the policy makers at bay.

The Regent University College of Science and Technology says no obstacle is too huge to surmount.

A Canada-based Ghanaian computer science engineer and software manufacturer, Anthony Kwame Adiabah, believes there is no reason for Ghana to continue to lack energy despite abundant renewable energy sources.

Mr Adiabah who was recently appointed  a Lecturer at the Regent University wondered how Canada with its limited  sunshine of eight months, is able to develop and depend on solar energy whereas Ghana is unable to do same.

He said there have been a discovery of silicon, in the country which until recently, was being shipped away by Chinese contractors.

He maintained in spite of the different interpretation given to the cost of solar energy, the country is in the best position to explore and depend on it for a long term socio-economic gains.

He said the micron rich soil discovery in the country would make commercial solar energy production less cost intensive, noting the potential is huge to the extent that the rest of the continent can feed on.

Chairman of Regent University, Professor Nicholas Nana Nsawah-Nuamah urged educational policymakers to ensure that practical base education becomes the option.

On the issue of the solar energy project, he said the college is ready.

By Peter Adattor|TV3|3news.com|Ghana

Kumasi Asantehemaa3

Asantehemaa Burial: Kumasi goes dead as regards business

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Kumasi Asantehemaa

The usual vehicular and human congestion within the central business district of Kumasi was absent on Thursday as shops closed in honour of the final burial rites of the late Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.

All banks in the metropolis were shut in line with the directive from the Asanteman Council.

Most commercial vehicles failed to work on Thursday to join commuters in paying their last respect to the mother of the Asantehene, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, who is being laid to rest.

The vibrant Kumasi Central Market, which has never seen a complete holiday, was locked to ensure no trader gets access to do business.

Kumasi Asantehemaa1

Kumasi Asantehemaa2

The caretaker of the facility, Kwadwo Amabila, expressed shock at the level of compliance by the traders not to open shops.

Food vendors and other basic service providers were also nowhere to be found in the busiest part of Kumasi.

Kumasi Asantehemaa3

The quietude is expected to deepen in the evening when Kumasi goes to bed early as the late queenmother makes her final journey from Bantama to Breman to be laid to rest.

Business activities are expected to bounce back on Friday.

By Ibrahim Abubakar|3news.com|Ghana

StanChart_ Fidelity Bank

Banks shutdown in Kumasi for Asantehemaa’s burial today

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StanChart_ Fidelity BankSome banks in Kumasi have shutdown for businesses today, January 19 as the late Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Serwaa Kobi Ampem II, is finally laid to rest at Breman.

At least two banks, Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited and Fidelity Bank,  served notice Wednesday to their customers that they will not operate all their branches in Kumasi on Thursday due to the burial of the late Asantehemaa.

“…In line with the funeral rites of the late Queen mother of Asanteman, our branches in Kumasi will not be opened on Thursday 19.01.17,” a notice from Standard Chartered Wednesday read.

Fidelity Bank also issued similar notice to its customers, stating “Our Kumasi branches will be closed on Thursday, 19th Jan. 17 as directed by the Asanteman Council. We re-open on Fri 20th Jan 17. Thank you”.

Already, the Ghana Education Service has directed all schools within the Kumasi metropolis to close down on Thursday due to the burial ceremony that is set to take over the city.

The decision, contained in a statement, forms is part of measures put in place to ensure smooth funeral rites of the late Asantehemaa.

The 111-year-old Asantehemaa who reigned for 39 years, died on November 11, 2016. She was the 14 queenmother of the Asante Kingdom since 1695 after the late Nana Ama SerwaaNyarko II who reigned from 1945 to 1977.

Funeral rites for the late Asantehemaa started on Monday, January 16 at the Manhyia Palace, the seat of the Asante Kingdom, where she has been laid in state for mourners across the world to pay their last respect.

Residents have since Monday been warned not to step out between the hours of 6:00pm and 3:00am until after January 20 when the curtain will be drawn on the funeral rites.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

Stephen Opuni

Cocoa workers kick against investigations into Dr Opuni’s tenure

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Stephen OpuniThe Cocoa Industry Workers Union  has rejected calls for investigations into the tenure of office of former chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Opuni.

At a news conference in Accra Wednesday, the Union strongly supported Dr. Opuni for what it said has been the transformation of the cocoa industry to meet growing demands during his tenure.

According to the union, Dr. Stephen Opuni facilitated increases in sale of cocoa beans on the international market, adding the cocoa syndicated loans secured under Dr. Opuni’s administration improved the operations of COCOBOD.

READ: Dr Opuni sacked from COCOBOD

It thus expressed worry about media reportage accusing Dr. Opuni and some management members of corrupt practices.

Chairman of the Union, Hassan Iddris, described the allegations as untrue and pledged the Union’s support for Dr. Opuni.

The Union also rejected claims of intimidation of some members of staff of COCOBOD by the former chief executive who exited office on January 13, 2017.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) Solomon Kotei, who has been very critical of the Dr. Opuni’s administration says he would not reject any offer to serve as the chief executive of COCOBOD.

READ: Solomon Kotei relishes COCOBOD CEO position

Mr Kotei claims the workers Unions would prefer someone who has risen through the ranks in the industry to be the next chief executive

But the Chairman of the Cocoa Industry Workers Union, Hassan Iddris, has threatened to resign if Mr Kotei is appointed the chief executive despite the Union’s pledge to work with anyone appointed to head COCOBOD.

Desmond Frimpong|3FM 92.7|3news.com|Ghana