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Agric Ministry, Statistical Service prepare trainers for agricultural census

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Statistical Service have begun a workshop to equip participants with requisite knowledge that will enable them to effectively train field personnel for a data collection exercise.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Agric in Cape Coast, Papa Kow Bartels, explained the exercise is expected to provide current information on the structure of agriculture in the country.

The data collection exercise is seen as vital to the rebasing of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product given that the last census of agriculture was conducted in 1985.

Papa Kow Bartels further explains that the statistics on agriculture will enable policymakers to allocate public resources effectively and to better identify, prepare, implement and evaluate developmental projects aimed at promoting the sector in the rural areas.

“We need to address environmental issues at the community level and provide relevant information for use by stakeholders including farmers themselves, researchers, students, international organizations and other organizations,” he said.

The data collection for the census is expected to be preceded by a listing exercise during which trained field personnel would visit all households and institutions to assign numbers to all structures and identify all households for the actual data exercise.

The Minister appealed to chiefs, religious and other opinion leaders, to assist in the publicity campaign for the census.

The Census of Agriculture is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

 

Source: myjoyonline

 

Simon Dornoo leads team to revive uniBank

A former Managing Director of the GCB Bank, Mr Simon Dornoo, is to lead a team of experts from accounting and auditing firm, KPMG to revive and stabilise uniBank Ghana Limited.

The revival is to help bring the bank, which was declared insolvent by the Bank of Ghana on March 20, “back to regulatory compliance.”

KPM, the official administrator of the troubled uniBank, said in a press statement that Mr Dornoo had been engaged as an executive representative to lead “the management team to stabilise and bring the bank back to regulatory compliance.”

He will act in that capacity over the next six months, within which he and the team will be expected to audit the operations of the bank and recommend a way forward for the central bank.

Mr Dornoo, an experienced banker with 25 years in service, resigned from GCB Bank in March 2016.

He then returned to KPMG, where he started his professional career in 1985, as a consultant to the Ghana unit of the multinational firm.

In his current position, he is expected to bring to bear his decades of professional expertise in banking and accounting to help establish the root cause of the bank’s predicaments and initiate measures to reverse its fortunes.

Beyond GCB, where he was MD for six years, Mr Dornoo has also worked with Barclays Bank Ghana and CAL Bank Limited.

uniBank, a wholly indigenous lender, was put under administration on March 20 with KPMG as the official administrators.

It was the anticlimax of two years of difficulties, culminating in capital adequacy ratio of negative 24.92 per cent compared to eh regulatory requirement of not less than 10 per cent, a reserve ratio of one per cent and a heavy exposure to BoG to the tune of GH¢2.2 billion.

In spite of being under administration, the bank’s branches are opened for business but under the guidance and management of the Simon Dornoo-led team from KPMG.

 

Source: myjoyonline

GNPC to borrow over $500m to finance controversial 2018 budget

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has indicated it will take a loan of more than $564.81 million to implement its activities for 2018.

In total, the Corporation requires $986.13 million for implementation of its programmes for the year.

The Corporation’s budget for 2018 was contained in a report by Parliament’s Mines and Energy Committee.

According to the report, GNPC expects $356.43 million revenue from the country’s oil fields – Jubilee, TEN, Sankofa-Gye-Nyame Fields – other sources such as Training and Technology as well as investments.

The funding gap will also be financed by $64.89 million brought forward from 2017.

The Corporation which is mandated to undertake the exploration, development, production and disposal of petroleum as part of its programs wants to revive the Prestea Sankofa Gold Limited as part of its activities this year.

According to the Corporation, it seeks to pump $24.78 million into the gold mining company to enable it to meet certain liabilities.

GNPC would in 2018 continue its effort at securing a permanent office and will be budgeting some $20 million towards that project. Also, it made a provision of $10 million to move its operational office to Sekondi-Takoradi.

For research and technology, the Corporation allocated $15 million for the RAT project to secure an electronic storage centre for its operations.

Further, GNPC has allocated $1.89 million to redevelop its Beach Road property into a facility to house staff who are on working visit to Takoradi to serve as transit quarters for staff on transfer.

To cater for both new and existing commitments, the Corporation has budgeted $28.95 million for the year.

Although GNPC has been told by parliament to focus on its core mandate and stop its support of some activities, their 2018 budget shows $2.5 million for sports and $1.5 million for Sports Legacy projects.

Reacting to the news, Co-chair of the Ghana Extractive Transparency Initiative, Dr Steve Manteaw, told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Newsnight programme that the budget is “pretty surprising”.

He said the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had concerns about GNPC’s expenditure while in opposition and it is time to walk the talk.

“In the 2016 NPP manifesto, it indicated clearly that one of the things it wants to do with GNPC is to restructure it to focus on its core mandate.

“I don’t think some of the huge monies that have been approved for construction of offices and other investments the Corporation is mentioning is one of the ways to restructure GNPC,” he added his disappointment.

To remedy the situation, he said, the over politicisation of GNPC which is a problem must cease.

Questioning some of those selected to head the company, he added, “I would want us to insulate the Corporation from political interferences in terms of its management team.”

“They will then get to a point where decisions will be taken on the basis of sound business practices.”

However, he said he is all for GNPC investing in ventures that its deems profitable and viable, to make money from it to fund some of its other projects.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Ghana’s debt hits GH¢142.5bn, reaches 69.8% of GDP

New figures released by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) after its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting show that Ghana’s public debt reached 142.5 billion cedis as at December 2017, representing 69.8 percent of GDP.

This is a reduction from the 73.3 percent recorded in December 2016.

The total debt stock in 2016 was at 122.6 billion cedis.

This means that the debt stock has almost hit the dreaded 70 percent of GDP, a point the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has constantly cautioned against.

The data shows that in September 2017, Ghana’s debt stood at 138.9 billion cedis representing 68.1%; the figure dropped to 137.6 billion cedis in October representing 67.4%.

But in November 2017, it went up to 139 billion cedis representing 68.1 percent.

The domestic component of debt as at December 2017 stood at 66.7 billion cedis, while the foreign debt stock was at 75.8 billion cedis.

Export Earnings

In the first two months of the year, export earnings by February 2018, reached 2.8 billion dollars.

Gold raked in a little over 1 billion dollars, while cocoa fetched cocoa 650 million dollars. Earnings from oil export also reached 664 million dollars.

On the import side, Ghana spent 2.2 billion on imports.

Banking Sector 

In the banking sector, Total Advances of banks saw a drop this year from 38.5 billion cedis in January to 35.8 billion cedis in February. Also, Banks Total Asset stood at 95.1 billion cedis, same as January this year.

By: Lawrence Segbefia/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

US$2.5b earned from cocoa is abysmally low – Dr. Akoto

The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has said, Ghana’s US$2.5billion annual earnings from cocoa commodity is abysmally low, even though the global market worth over US$100billion.

This, he said, calls for the need to increase domestic value-addition to enable the country, which is the second-largest global producer of cocoa, to maximise its gains from world cocoa trade.

Dr. Akoto told this to leaders in the cocoa industry from Ghana and its neighbour Cote d’Ivoire during a one-day Cocoa Investor Forum that brought together key players in the industry from both countries as well as some key global institutions.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire produce more than 60 percent of total global output of cocoa annually, with Ghana receiving at least US$2.5billion into its economy from the industry every year.

The cocoa industry provides about 1.6 million jobs across the value chain, but global price fluctuations create difficult situations for the two countries which have remained raw-beans exporters.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, last year, established joint cooperation on cocoa with the aim of seeking to influence the direction of global stakeholders’ decisions on the commodity; especially those which affect its pricing, as the two countries account for more than 60 percent of total global output annually.

Dr. Akoto explained that increased domestic consumption would spur increased cocoa processing locally and provide the opportunity to industrialise and diversify their economies, create jobs and generate revenues for social and economic development.

“The enhancement of cocoa farmers’ welfare requires an improvement in farm productivity, sustainable domestic and international prices, and a stronger producer organisation to ensure that the interest of farmers and producer countries are catered for while fostering a competitive domestic downstream sector,” he stated.

Dr. Akoto said increasing domestic value addition is long overdue, adding that expanding the downstream sector and increasing consumption of cocoa domestically are among the urgent steps that need to be taken.

He explained that improvements in the welfare of farmers across both countries will require improvement in farm produce, sustainable domestic and global prices, among others.

Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo urged the governments of Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire to take steps to influence world cocoa prices – just like members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) do regularly in the oil industry.

He said: “The two countries should certainly have influence on cocoa prices globally; we should have an OPEC-type set up in the cocoa industry”.

There should be a strategy that can control quantities on the market at a given time – because for every commodity in the world, when there is too much of the product on the market, the price falls; when there is scarcity, the price goes up,” he said.

“So, between Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire, we should strategise such that even the flow in the market is somehow controlled by us in some way. It is very difficult because of the economy. You need the money. So, we are always in a hurry to put the beans on the market; but sometimes by doing so we are hurting ourselves.

“Now, we are all talking about improving production. But the flipside is when cocoa production goes up the price falls, but you need to also improve the production. So, it is now up to us to strategise the release of this commodity on the market; we are in this boat together. We either float or sink,” he stated.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Unibank: BoG stepped in at the right time – Finance Minister

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says he fully supports Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) decision to take over the management of the indigenous private bank, Unibank.

The Central Bank last week appointed accounting firm KPMG to manage Unibank after it emerged that the bank was on the verge of collapsing and has breached many regulatory requirements.

The Finance Minister tells Joy Business any action that is aimed at strengthening the banking sector should be welcomed.

“The Bank of Ghana has stepped in at the right time to make sure that depositors’ monies are safe. And that is fundamental to any economy to strengthen it,” he said.

Unibank becomes the third indigenous bank to face the wrath of the regulator after Capital Bank and UT Bank went under in a shocking takeover announced by the BoG late last year.

The state-owned bank, Ghana Commercial Bank was announced as the new owners of UT and Capital Banks, a measure the central bank believed will save the banking industry from collapse.

Speaking to Joy Business, Ken Ofori-Atta said: “the Bank of Ghana will continue to show prudence and make sure that the banking system is strengthened.”

He adds, “for us as a government there is also the need to ensure that we have a strong indigenous banking sector and so we are thinking through ways to ensure that the representation in the banking landscape has strong Ghanaian representation.”

The Finance Minister also added that he supports moves to go after the directors of the defunct banks UT and Capital.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Ailing Microfinance firms owe 700,000 depositors GHȼ740m – BoG

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revealed that 37 percent of licensed Micro Finance Institutions that entered 2018 are distressed or have collapsed.

This has contributed to the GHȼ740.5 million which is owed to an estimated 705,396 depositors in distressed or folded up Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)  and Rural and Community Banks (RCBs) among others.

The BoG governor in a statement warned that the problems in the financial sector are not restricted to just banking, following the insolvency of uniBank and the 2017 collapse of UT Bank and Capital Bank.

According to the BoG, the distress in this sub-sector has been characterized by “severely impaired capital; inability to meet regulatory capital adequacy requirement; generally low asset quality; and liquidity crises.”

“These have culminated in threats to depositors’ funds thus eroding public confidence and undermining efforts to promote financial inclusion,” the statement added.

Using figures to highlight the precarious situation in the financial sector, the BoG said of the total number of 566 licensed Micro Finance Institutions in 2018, 211 are active but distressed or have folded up.

Also, out of the total number of 141 rural and community banks, 37 are active but distressed or folded up.

“In total, it is estimated that 272 out of the 707 institutions in the sub-sector, representing 38.5% are at risk.This indicates that approximately GHȼ740.5 million is owed to an estimated 705,396 depositors of the distressed or folded up MFIs and RCBs. In terms of significance, the deposits under distress form 8.81% and 52.49% of industry total deposits of RCBs and MFIs respectively.”

Sanitising Microfinance sub-sector 

Earlier in March, the BoG said it was to outline new reforms to sanitize Ghana’s microfinance industry.

The reforms are expected to among other things provide a comprehensive plan by the central bank to improve activities in the microfinance industry.

It also comes on the back of reports of customers losing their investments to some microfinance institutions when their operations have been suspended over inefficiencies.

In a publication, the BoG said there were 319 microfinance institutions.

A further breakdown showed that there were 40 money lending institutions, six  Financial NGOs as well as two hundred and seventy-three (273) microfinance institutions.

The central bank has said it will not issue any license this year for microfinance institutions.

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

 

Ekumfi juice factory progresses steadily; 650 acres of pineapple cultivated

The Ekumfi Pineapple Processing Factory, the first factory to be constructed under the government’s ‘One District One Factory’ project has cultivated 650 acres of pineapples.

That’s according to the lead project manager of the factory, Daniel Adjei Kwarteng.

The Ekumfi Fruit Processing Company factory when completed is expected to process pineapples for the local and international market.

The managers and contractors working on the project tell Joy News’ Richard that the cultivation of more acres for the pineapple is ongoing.

They say over 3000 acres of pineapples to have been earmarked for cultivation to ensure a continuous supply of the fruits all year round.

Ekumfi-factory-land

Even though Joy News did not see any physical structures mushrooming on the project site, a contractor, Anthony Tweneboah Koduah, says all ground works needed for the physical structure to take off have been completed and the actual building of the ‘physical structure’ of the factory is scheduled to start next week.

“I am done with my part. Mine was to put the place in shape for takeoff of the factory itself. I used approximately 32 days to put the place in shape,” he added.

General Manager of the company, Daniel Adjei Kwarteng, tells Joy News that all is set for the physical structure to be put on the land.

“The pre-fabricated steel has already been ordered. We will use a period of six months to put up the physical structure while we use two months for the installation of the equipment. So in about 8 months, the place would be set,” he explained.

The Project Manager gives the month of December as the month for the total completion of the factory.

“In December we should be gathering here to witness the processing plant working and producing the juices we’re waiting for. Mass production at the factory is expected to commence at this time,” he added.

On raw materials that would feed the factory, the manager intimated, the factory had received support from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority to grow five million pineapples while other key supports are coming from the Exim Bank and the office of the ‘One District One Factory’.

“From January up till now, we have grown 1.5 million pineapples. This covers about 650 acres of land here at Gomoa Oguaakrom and Gomoa Assin. This is different from the various out-grower schemes we have commissioned. They are also growing almost the same quantity we are cultivating.

“We are giving them the technical know-how to enable them to support the factory. Sustainability is at the core of our business and we will live up to that,” he explains.

The gestation period of pineapple is 12 months and by the time the physical factory is ready, the raw material base would also be ready, Daniel Adjei Kwarteng assured.

“We want to ensure a complete production cycle of the supply of pineapples,” he averred.

 

Source: myjoyonline

Stability of Ghana’s banking sector ‘undermined’ but outlook positive – BoG

The central bank has revealed a troubled financial sector in a statement Tuesday, citing “poor banking practices” as one of the many causes.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) reveals the takeover of the management Unibank announced Tuesday is among target actions to correct the situation.

“Poor banking practices, coupled with weak supervision and regulation by the Bank of Ghana has significantly undermined the stability of the banking and other non-bank financial institutions and we all know some of the consequences by now—revocation of licenses of two banks while other banks were placed under comprehensive capital restoration plans,” the central bank acknowledged.

The central bank Governor announced the take over of the management of the privately-owned Unibank by KPMG at a press conference in Accra, citing 10 reasons that point to severe challenges.

UNIBANK

Ernest Addison said the bank, adjudged  6th best performing company in Ghana at the Ghana Club 100 awards in 2017, provided inaccurate data during the central bank’s effort to resolve the problems last year.

Unibank is said to have “persistently suffered liquidity shortfalls and consistently breached its cash reserve requirement.”

Last year, Capital Bank and UT Bank suffered similar fates when the BoG announced state-owned Ghana Commercial Bank as the new owner of the two private banks.

The BoG explained at the time that the takeover of the two banks, which was preceded by the revocation of their licences, was due to severe impairment of their capital.

The central bank’s statement on Tuesday is titled “State of the financial sector in Ghana”, and trances to problems in the sector to a review conducted two years ago.

“A comprehensive Asset Quality Review (AQR) conducted by the Bank of Ghana in 2016 showed severe deterioration in asset quality in the banking sector. The AQR results also showed substantial provisioning shortfalls in a subset of banks (with a combined capital
needs of around 1.6% of GDP).

“These toxic balance sheets of banks contributed to a decline in credit to the private sector and higher lending rates and spreads, undermining the transmission of monetary policy rate to the economy through market rates. In addition, there was unusual forbearance by the Bank of Ghana, which resulted in the extension of significant amounts of Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to these ailing banks, some of which were uncollateralized with accompanying risks to both the Bank of Ghana, in terms resources to conduct monetary policy operations and reputation risks, and also to the banks themselves.

“This official liquidity injection, together with banks’ reluctance to extend new credit, further increased excess liquidity in the economy, which became extremely expensive for the Bank of Ghana to mop in order to support the disinflation process,” the BoG recounts.

The central bank, however, gave the assurance that a cleanup of the sector has started in earnest.

“While several important steps have been taken thus far, a lot remains to be done to restore safety, soundness and stability in the financial sector,” the statement assured.

The challenges in the sector notwithstanding, the central bank said the outlook for the financial sector is positive.

“In the months ahead, we will engage with stakeholders as we design specific measures to strengthen systems and processes that would improve the industry.

The BoG has set out the following measures as a means of restoring confidence in the financial system:

– Introduction of the Basel Regulatory Capital Requirement Directive;

– Review of guidelines, directives and regulations to the industry in line with the new Banks and Specialized Deposit-taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930);

– Roll-out of the Basel II/III supervisory framework, and ensure implementation of IFRS 9 by banks;

– Full implementation of the new minimum capital requirements for banks by end-December 2018 deadline. To this end, the BOG will issue guidelines to the industry on compliance with the capital increase directive of 2017 and strictly monitor compliance;

– Address specific risks from high NPLs, poor corporate governance and poor risk management systems. To this end, we will issue directives on corporate governance, risk management (including cyber and information security-related risks);

– Strictly enforce Fit and Proper Guidelines for Shareholders, Directors and Key Management Personnel of Banks and SDIs as well as other supervised Non-Bank Financial Institutions to ensure bad behaviour is not recycled within the financial sector;

– Strengthen the capacity and resources of the Banking and Supervision Department, undertake a comprehensive review and improvement of all supervisory processes, and ensure strong enforcement of prudential and conduct regulatory requirements;

– Strengthen overall financial stability risk assessments and establish adequate measures to promote stability of the financial system;

– Roll out implementation of the deposit insurance scheme established under the Ghana Deposit Protection Act, 2016 (Act 931),

– Introduce Banking Sector Cyber and Information Security Guidelines to protect consumers and create a safer environment for online and e-payments products in line with the government’s interoperability objective, and finally

– Improve collaboration with other regulatory bodies to prevent regulatory arbitrage;

 

Source: myjoyonline

Ship owners demand explanation on fumigation exercise at ports

Members of the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana are calling on the government to come clear on the modalities of the Cargo Fumigation Exercise.

This comes after various associations including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), and Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) kicked against the exercise, stating that, it will add to their cost of operations.

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) have also expressed their displeasure with the additional cost the exercise brings, while GUTA and GIFF have described the disinfection exercise as poorly planned.

In an interview with Citi Business News, Executive Council of the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, Adam Imoru Ayarna said government is yet to explain the modalities of the exercise to them.

“It’s not very clear how this whole disinfection exercise is going to be carried out,  what we know is that it involves import containers and export containers as well”.

He added, “So we need clarity from government and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to see where the responsibilities end, then we can know who is actually responsible for cost”.

Mr Ayarna was of the view that proper clarity of the exercise will inform the affected stakeholders on what decisions to take.

“In business cost, will always be recouped so every business might bear part of the cost but the other aspect is weather the cost really mine. If it’s not mine, then somebody will have to pay for it so I might recoup it,” he remarked.

“So if we understand the dynamics it will pretty much inform us and then we can be in a position to properly advice on either best practice or what we will want to do or not want to do,” he added.

Meanwhile, Responding to the concerns raised by the stakeholders, the Director of Public Health Division of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Badu Sarkodie welcomed calls for further stakeholder consultation on the cargo fumigation exercise.

This, he says will ensure the effective implementation of the exercise.

Speaking to Citi Business News, Dr. Badu Sarkodie said the Ghana Health Service is ready to ensure that the disinfection exercise comes off without any problems.

“The Ghana Health Service (GHS) is responsible for ensuring the technical relevance of the disinfection exercise, which we’ve well established. However it’s important for all the stakeholders to meet and discuss why this is being done and what stake each of them has in the implementation.”

“I agree perfectly that all stakeholders should get together. If by the final implementation stage there are gaps and shortfalls, during the discussions these things will come out. We can then discuss and agree on the best way forward for the country, ”he stated.

By: Anita Arthur and Bobbie Osei/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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