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Old February 29th, 2012, 11:32 PM   #181
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Diamond production turns a new face

Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), a state owned organisation that deals in the manufacturing and sale of gold jewellery and in the export of gold and diamond has commissioned its diamond cutting and polishing plant.

The US$ 480,000 facility will enable the company to polish diamonds from its raw form that will bring out the beauty of the highest quality with equally good financial returns.

The Board Chairman of PMMC, Mr. Kwabena Kyereh when speaking to the press said, they undertake this project because diamonds have been mined and exported in its raw form since colonial times and the inception of the company.

He explained, “We see it as an opportunity to provide a linkage with other diamond producing countries in the sub-region with the view of making Ghana the focal point of the diamond industry in the region”
The installed cutting and polishing plant is expected to have a start-up capacity of 1,750 carats of rough diamonds.

In his speech on the technical aspect of the plant, Mr. Seth Klaye said “the output from our diamond mining sector has enabled counties like India, Israel and Belgium to create thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for their respective countries’ economies.”

He explained that countries that are involved in the cutting and polishing industry, 99% of them do for instance Israel, Belgium and Mauritius not have the raw materials but the industry generates billion of dollars in income yearly to support their various economies.

According to Mr. Klaye this is a seed being sown, and if the country position itself well as far as adding value to rough diamond is concern, Ghana can become the polishing hob of the West Africa sub-region in the process create thousands of quality jobs with a multiplier effect and generating millions of dollars to support the economy.


“The facility has the capacity to employ forty and this can be expanded to create thousands of jobs if our plan to position Ghana as the cutting and polishing hob of the sub-region becomes a reality,” he said.
The art of cutting and polishing of rough diamonds is a process that brings out the beauty and sparkle out of the otherwise dull piece of rock or stone that ordinary people will pass by without noticing.
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Old February 29th, 2012, 11:33 PM   #182
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Kosmos increases stake in Jubilee

Kosmos Energy says that it has exercised a right under the existing Joint Operating Agreement to acquire the participating interest of Sabre Oil & Gas Holdings Limited in the Deepwater Tano Block, offshore Ghana.



The purchase price is estimated to be approximately US$365million, with up to an additional US$45million contingent upon achieving certain performance milestones, said a company statement issued in Accra.

Following closing of the acquisition, Kosmos’ interest in the Deepwater Tano Block will increase from 18 percent to 22.05 percent. Kosmos’ interest in the Jubilee Field will increase from 24.1 percent to 25.8 percent.

Brian F. Maxted, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to grow our interest in what we believe are some of the most valuable assets in West Africa at a compelling price.

“This transaction adds existing production at Jubilee, enhances our stake in the next oil development offshore Ghana, and increases our exposure to the significant Deepwater Tano exploration programme in 2012.

“We have great belief and confidence in the quality, value, and upside of our discoveries, and the further potential of the Tano basin petroleum system.”

Closing of the transaction should occur in the second quarter of 2012, subject to a definitive transaction agreement, customary closing conditions and necessary government approvals.

The Company anticipates funding the purchase price through a combination of cash on hand and borrowings. The effective date of the acquisition is January 1, 2012.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 02:57 AM   #183
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Diamond production turns a new face

Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), a state owned organisation that deals in the manufacturing and sale of gold jewellery and in the export of gold and diamond has commissioned its diamond cutting and polishing plant.

The US$ 480,000 facility will enable the company to polish diamonds from its raw form that will bring out the beauty of the highest quality with equally good financial returns.

The Board Chairman of PMMC, Mr. Kwabena Kyereh when speaking to the press said, they undertake this project because diamonds have been mined and exported in its raw form since colonial times and the inception of the company

He explained, “We see it as an opportunity to provide a linkage with other diamond producing countries in the sub-region with the view of making Ghana the focal point of the diamond industry in the region”
The installed cutting and polishing plant is expected to have a start-up capacity of 1,750 carats of rough diamonds.

In his speech on the technical aspect of the plant, Mr. Seth Klaye said “the output from our diamond mining sector has enabled counties like India, Israel and Belgium to create thousands of jobs and generated millions of dollars of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for their respective countries’ economies.”

He explained that countries that are involved in the cutting and polishing industry, 99% of them do for instance Israel, Belgium and Mauritius not have the raw materials but the industry generates billion of dollars in income yearly to support their various economies.

According to Mr. Klaye this is a seed being sown, and if the country position itself well as far as adding value to rough diamond is concern, Ghana can become the polishing hob of the West Africa sub-region in the process create thousands of quality jobs with a multiplier effect and generating millions of dollars to support the economy.

“The facility has the capacity to employ forty and this can be expanded to create thousands of jobs if our plan to position Ghana as the cutting and polishing hob of the sub-region becomes a reality,” he said.
The art of cutting and polishing of rough diamonds is a process that brings out the beauty and sparkle out of the otherwise dull piece of rock or stone that ordinary people will pass by without noticing.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 03:01 AM   #184
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Produce Buying Company lambasts Cocoa Board

The Produce Buying Company (PBC) has accused the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) of deliberately disrupting its operations through undue delays at the Tema and Takoradi ports.

“When we move cocoa to the port, COCOBOD should arrange and offload it from our vehicles and pay us," Kojo Atta Krah, Managing Director of PBC recently disclosed in Accra.

"We should be paid within a maximum of a week after delivery of cocoa to the port but you won’t believe that in the past weeks, it has taken some of our vehicles over five weeks to be offloaded.”

“At a certain time, PBC had about a 1,000 trucks at the port. The money which we took as loans for our operation, was locked for weeks and we have been complaining all the time to COCOBOD to ensure that this problem is solved but it persists every year.”

According to Mr Atta Krah, the situation posed the biggest challenge to his outfit in addition to other issues.

He said every year government, through COCOBOD, sources for loans offshore for cocoa purchases but “due to challenges in the industry, we do not get the full complement of these resources.”

Despite the foregoing, the company was able to pay a total amount of GH¢7.565 million as corporate tax to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in 2011.

The company also paid GH¢2 million as dividend to government as a shareholder, bringing its total contributions to the national treasury in the year to almost GH¢10 million.

PBC recorded a gross profit of GH¢134.803 million in 2011 as against the previous year’s figure of GH¢76.229 million despite an increase in cocoa operations by 109.5 percent for the year under review from GH¢553.059 million to GH¢1.159 billion as a result of an increase in producer price.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:36 AM   #185
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Parliament approves off-taker agreement under China loan deal

The ruling NDC lawmakers of Ghana have voted massively to pass the controversial off-taker agreement between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the UNIPEC Asia Company Limited, paving way for the construction of a massive gas infrastructure expected to speed-up the Jubilee natural gas in the Western region.

The House also approved a loan deal worth US$150 million to finance the ICT-enhanced Surveillance and Monitoring Facilities for the Oil and Gas Enclave Project under the Master Facility Agreement (MFA) between the Government of Ghana and the China Development Bank Corporation (CDBC).

Today's approval came days after lawmakers approved a loan deal worth US$850 million to help Ghana to finance the construction of the proposed massive gas plant that will harvest natural gas from oilfields in the deep waters of the Western Region for domestic and industrial use.
The off-taker agreement, which is under the Master Facility Agreement between Ghana and the China Development Bank Corporation, was passed by a voice vote during today's sitting. Whereas ruling National Democratic Congress MPs shouted in support of the agreement, minority MPs abstained.

New Patriotic Party MPs had earlier called for withdrawal of the agreement for a more thorough scrutiny, arguing that the terms of the deal, which among other things require the GNPC to supply 13,000 barrels of jubilee oil per day until the loan amount is fully paid using the nation's crude, could seriously harm Ghana's economic interests in diverse ways.

The NPP MPs also accused the Mills government of seeking to enter into an agreement they argued breached key provisions in the Petroleum Revenue Management Law passed by Parliament last year.

They cited a provision in the agreement, which states that the tenure of the deal is 15 1/2 (fifteen-and-half) years, instead of the 10-year ceiling imposed by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act to back their stance.

But, majority MPs stood firmly behind the deal, insisting that the agreement holds the key to push Ghana into the much trumpeted industrial age promised by the Mills government.

It will be recalled that the government of Ghana entered into a Master Facility Agreement with the China Development Bank Corporation for an amount of $3,000,000,000.00 to finance various infrastructural projects in the country.

Parliament approved the agreement on August 26, 2011. The agreement was subsequently signed by the parties on December 16, 2011 and an Addendum to the Master Facility Agreement also approved on February 21, 2011.

"The MFA requires that the government of Ghana enters into separate subsidiary agreements with CDB in respect of each project to be implemented under the 3 billion dollar facility," a report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Mines and Energy said.

"Further, Parliament in giving approval for the MFA, directed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to present each subsidiary agreement to the House for approval
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Old March 6th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #186
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Irrigating Accra Plains begins June

The canalisation of the Accra Plains is likely to take-off in earnest in June pending parliamentary approval, Dr. Ben Vas Nyamadi, Chief Executive of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), has disclosed.

He told B&FT in an interview that the contractor will move to site as soon as the three shortlisted contractors are presented to parliament for selective tendering, in line with the country’s procurement laws.

The intended canalisation of the Accra Plains, which has been identified as a potential bread-basket, follows the pre-feasibility study carried out by STUDI of Tunisia in 2008 for 150,000 hectares gross area, out of a projected 200,000 hectares originally.

Dr. Nyamadi said 50,000 hectares was deemed not suitable for canalisation because the soil samples were not conducive for cultivation, or because of human settlement within the catchment area. He however stated that the US$1.4million provided by the Kuwaiti Fund was used before the review study, which includes the 5,000 hectares for a detailed feasibility study and design of the Plains.

The entire duration of the canalisation process is expected to take four years, Dr. Nyamadi said. However, the Studi feasibility was for a mechanism known as the pump scheme of irrigation for the open canal system which was completed in 2010.

But the authority decided that the pump system would be more expensive, because the water has to be lifted and the machines used in lifting have to be periodically maintained. Consequently, the Authority contracted NTC International Consultants from Japan through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which funded the project, to conduct pre-feasibility studies; and they identified 11,000 hectares of land that can be irrigated through the gravity pump scheme.


The canalisation of the Plains, Dr. Nyamadi explained, will be carried out in two phases. US$100million has been earmarked from the Chinese Development Bank loan of US$3billion, and the contract terms insist that 60 percent of the workforce must be Chinese while the remaining 40 percent will go to Ghanaian artisans.

Dr. Nyamadi said the plains will be used to cultivate rice and engage in agri-business. He said the plains will be given out on a private-public partnership basis, with the irrigated lands leased to interested private companies and individuals. He also mentioned the possibility of making some of the water available for communities within the Accra-Tema catchment area.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #187
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Ghana International Bank releases impressive results

Ghana International Bank, the only Ghanaian Bank based in the City of London, has released its 2011 performance results.

At its Annual General Meeting held in Accra yesterday, the Chairman Mr. Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, confirmed that the Bank achieved a forecast-beating full-year profit before tax of GBP12.3m in 2011, an increase of 14% over the 2010 figure of GBP10.8m.

This is the highest profit ever achieved in the history of the bank. Operating efficiency also recorded a marked improvement, with cost to income ratio reducing from 39% in 2010 to 37% in 2011.

Total assets increased by 13% to GBP736m from GBP601m. Mr Amissah-Arthur said the outlook for the bank remains encouraging, and commended the management and staff for their high level of professionalism which has culminated in the achievement of such an impressive result in one of the most competitive markets in the world.

Mr Amissah-Arthur added that Ghana International Bank’s return on equity of 15% is in the top-tier for Banks operating out of London and is a commendable achievement. He further said the result achieved in 2011 is a vindication of the shareholders’ decision to increase the bank’s capital by an additional injection of £50m via a rights issue.

Commenting on the result, the Managing Director and CEO Mr. J. R. Mensah explained that the record performance was due mainly to innovation, quality of service, development of new revenue streams and asset diversification strategy which has over the last six years seen the bank establish its footprint across Africa through syndicated risk-based lending and correspondent banking operations.

He added that the roll-out of the bank’s MasterCard Debit card product has also been a massive success and led to an exponential growth in its Retail banking and remittances business. As a follow-up, the bank will be rolling-out mobile banking products for the benefit of its customers this year.

He paid tribute to the valued and loyal customers who have made the achievement possible.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 11:06 PM   #188
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Nokia Launches Asha Phones. Opens Care Centre

World’s leading mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia has officially launched its Asha phones onto the Ghanaian market.
The company outdoored the Nokia Asha 201 and Nokia Asha 303 at a colourful event in Accra.Nokia Asha phones are affordable messaging devices produced with full QWERTY keypad for quick and easy text input.

The General Manager in charge of Sales for Nokia, Chris Brown, said consumers can now send text messages, emails and chat with their friends with the added speed advantage of the QWERTY keypad.He added that “they can also view their friends status updates and tweet right there on their home screen and download thousands of free applications from the proprietary Nokia store.”

On his part, Nokia’s Operator Account Manager, Kolawole Osinowo said, “Asha means hope and we see the next generation as one that is bound to be connected beyond calls and text messaging. Thus today, we are launching an ambition and not devices.’’This, according to him, led leading operator, MTN to partner with Nokia to provide free one-month internet access to Nokia faithful in Ghana who purchase the device.He further stated that Nokia Asha is consistent with the company’s tradition of churning out devices that suit consumer needs.

“We are making phones that give users a great experience and in Asha 201 and 303, we are giving young people devices that are trendy and packed with lots of exciting applications,” Mr. Osinowo.

He further explained that besides QWERTY Pad, Asha 201 and 303 also give users access to the Nokia store, where thousands of applications can be downloaded and the internet access is free for one month, thanks to MTN
Nokia Asha 201 comes with fully integrated social networks to make consumers stay connected to friends and networks via Nimbuzz, Facebook chats and more.It also has high performance loudspeakers to enable consumers share favourite music with friends and support for up to 32G with a microSD memory card.

The Nokia Asha 303 comes with all tools on the homescreen, which means consumers can view their friend’s updates and tweet right there. It also comes with touch screen capabilities to enable consumers navigate their phone as well as play games on the sleek touch screen.

Nokia Asha 303 has the Nokia browser that gives consumers faster and more cost effective web-browsing experience.The Nokia browser compresses consumer data by up to 90 per cent that allows consumers to spend less money and time surfing the internet via data.In a related development, the company opened a care centre at Asylum Down Roundabout in Accra.
This brings the number of Nokia Care Centres in Accra to three.

Commissioning the facility, the Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Djanmah Vanderpuye said “it is also refreshing to observe that the Care Centre would also help detect fake Nokia phones which are mainly imported elsewhere around the globe.”He commended Nokia for the initiative, which he said will go a long way to help curb the activities of traders of counterfeit Nokia phones on the market.

The Head of Care Nokia West Africa, Silvin Sinan said the objective of the Care Centre is to ensure that Nokia users are continuously connected.He noted that Nokia phones with warranty will be repaired free of charge and announced that his outfit will open care centres in Kumasi and Takoradi by the end of 2012.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 11:08 PM   #189
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Southern Fried Chicken Rebrands

Southern Fried Chicken (SFC) Restaurant has outdoored new cooking techniques to improve its operations in Ghana.Andrew Withers, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Southern Fried Chicken, addressing the media, said with the introduction of the new techniques, Ghanaians would enjoy nutritious local and continental meal.

SFC Restaurant, he noted, provides local dishes that are prepared in a hygienic environment by seasoned chefs and professional kitchen staff. The UK-based CEO said, “The lip-licking flavour of every single piece of SFC comes courtesy of extensive refinement of both the products and processes. Succulent pieces of fresh chicken are marinated to give flavour right through to the bone. They are then coated in breading made from the finest ingredients mixed with a unique blend of herbs, spices and exclusive lemon pepper. They are then pressure-fried to perfection.”

The launch of the new cooking techniques was done simultaneously with the re-branding of the restaurant to ensure that Ghanaians enjoy excellent services in healthy surroundings.Commenting on the quick service restaurant industry in the UK, he said it has grown at a more rapid rate than any other sectors and was currently worth around £3.5 million. Major high street retailers have concentrated on the development of three individual products – namely hamburgers, pizza and chicken.

“Now, for the first time, SFC combines all of these top selling items into a single restaurant concept which is perfectly positioned to deliver exactly what the customer wants – convenience, quality, value, etc.” In an interview after the ceremony, Mr. Withers reiterated that SFC uniquely uses local rice, vegetables, poultry and cholesterol-free oil to reduce fat intake.

He stated that globally SFC has about 800 branches and ten branches in Ghana, noting that staff of SFC are trained to be elegant and hospitable in the discharge of their duties
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Old March 7th, 2012, 11:09 PM   #190
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Samsung Rewards Customers

Samsung mobile and electronics has given a total of US$250,000 in prizes to its customers who participated in the company’s promotion during the AFCON tournament held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Seventy-six customers won Samsung Galaxy SII and Y phones, and the ultimate winner was rewarded with a 64-inch Plasma TV. Marketing Manager of Samsung, Richard Nunekpeku, said the promotion was part of the company’s sponsorship of the 2012 AFCON.

“As part of the sponsorship of the tournament we decided to run this promotion to reward our loyal customers and football lovers in general, and also to drive consumer participation in the tournament.” He added that all that customers had to do was purchase any Samsung product from any certified shop. They will be given a coupon to enter the weekly draw or can win an instant prize.

“We have given out 800 mobile phones, 500 DVD players, 1000s of ‘T’ Shirts and replica jerseys as instant prizes to customers upon purchase of any product from any accredited shop,” he said. Mr. Nunekpeku added that this is not the only promotion Samsung is running for the year, so all consumers should watch out for the bigger and better ones in coming months.

The last weekly draw held at the Accra Mall saw 19 customers walk away with their prizes which included six Galaxy SII, 12 Galaxy Y phones and a 64-inch Plasma TV. David Bazango of Abeka Lapaz, a civil servant who took home the ultimate prize, said: “I am surprised and happy at the same time.”

He explained that before winning the prize he said he never believed in promotions that are organised by companies and institutions. “But I now believe them for real, and also seize this opportunity to tell everyone that these promotions are true only if they are coming from the accredited source like Samsung,” he said.

He purchased a split air-conditioner from one of the official shops and was given a coupon to enter the draw.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 11:12 PM   #191
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Kotoka International Airport to handle 5.2 million passengers by 2013

Kotoka International Airport (KIA) will undergo expansion that will increase its capacity to handle 5.2 million passengers by next year 2013, a feasibility report prepared by US-based LPA group for the Ghana Airports Company has projected, (an increase of approximately 400 per cent on 2010 figures) and 49,325 tonnes of freight (up from 46,480 in 2010) during the same period.

The expansion works are estimated to cost about $405 million it says.
A global engineering group and airport systems integrator Cavotec which claims it has won an order to supply advanced ground support equipment for the KIA.

According to Cavotec, it won the order worth several million euros for the manufacture, supply and integration of a complete fuel hydrant system at the country’s main airport in conjunction with PW Ghana.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 11:31 PM   #192
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Ghana pledges firm cocoa price for its farmers

Ghana has no plans to cut the price at which it buys cocoa from its farmers in the coming 2012/13 season despite the dive in the world market price of cocoa over the past year, the industry regulator of the world's number two grower said on Thursday.

Cocoa futures are trading at just under $2,300 a tonne, about a third down on this time last year when the political conflict in top grower Ivory Coast triggered fears of tight supplies that have since been proven unfounded.

Regulator Cocobod is the sole buyer for the country's cocoa at a fixed rate of 3,280 cedis ($1,930), which at current exchange rates is almost double the price achieved by Ivorian farmers in some regions - a differential which has prompted sustained smuggling of Ivorian cocoa into Ghana.

"There are no plans, nor proposals to reduce the producer price now or at the start of the upcoming season - it'd be difficult to justify that sort of decision and I don't see it happening," said Cocobod spokesman Noah Amenyah.

"The number one objective is to make cocoa farming attractive to our people, including the youth - it's a reward system for them as stakeholders in our drive to significantly improve production," Amenyah
At least 500,000 farmers' families are dependent on cocoa in Ghana. President John Atta Mills is seeking a second term in what is expected to be a tight election race in December.

Ghana has a producer price review committee, comprising representatives of farmers, buyers, Cocobod and the government. They meet ahead of every crop year to recommend the buying price to government, generally around October.

Amenyah said there were safety valves built into the pricing mechanism such as a stabilisation fund used to cushion the effects of price changes on world markets.

Cocoa export profit windfalls are lodged in the fund when market prices are high. This serves as a buffer and provide resources to the government for the payment of producer prices during periods of price falls.

Ivory Coast is seeking to create a similar stabilisation mechanism to guarantee its farmers a minimum price.

But for now its farmgate prices remain highly volatile and exporters and analysts forecast anything up to 145,000 tonnes could be smuggled out of the country in the season to end-April, with most of it bound for Ghana.

Ghana produced a record more than one million tonnes of cocoa last year. Analysts and traders have estimated up to a fifth of that was smuggled in from Ivory Coast, but Cocobod disputes those figures and says the bumper crop was the result of improved farming techniques and favourable weather
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Old March 10th, 2012, 12:24 AM   #193
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MTN predicts data explosion and benefits for Ghana

MTN Ghana CEO, Michael Ikpoki has predicted an explosion in data consumption beginning from this year, and resultant significant economic returns for the country as a whole.

Other industry players made similar predictions in part earlier this year, and Michael Ikpoki told Adom News that was a clear sign that industry players know what’s up, and are preparing not only to get the fair share of the boom, but also to use data to trigger economic growth.

He said in the market like Ghana, where there is 80% mobile penetration and huge amount of multi-simming, the voice aspect of the business starts to slow and that reduces voice revenue for operators so the obvious alternative is data.

“But it is important to point out that data is not just an alternative source of revenue for telcos because it has very important economic implications for the country,” he said.

Mr. Ikpoki explained that Ghana was at an interesting phase of economic growth in terms of investments into the country, and the growth of different industries, which would increase the demand for data.

He noted, for instance, that telecoms has become a tool, not just for voice service but also for supporting the growth of other key industries like mining, oil and gas and other strategic sectors of the economy.

Indeed, the Ghana Statistical Service reported in 2010 that the service sector was the biggest driver of economic growth and the telecom sector alone was the biggest driver of the service sector itself.

Mr. Ikpoki said the expected growth in data consumption has, to a large extent, started with the large-scale industries, but would gradually trickle down to the small and medium scale enterprises because those enterprises would need data consuming systems in order to participate fully in, and maximize their benefits from the expected economic growth.

He said it was therefore very strategic for MTN, for instance, to have landed the 14,500KM WACS (West African Communications System) submarine fibre cable in Ghana at such a time as this.

“We would be deploying the 5.2 terabit WACS to augment the capacity of our three switch/data centres to improve the data quality and experience of our customers, particularly those in the high uptake areas,” he said.

MTN invested some $90 million into the $650 million WACS, which stretches from South Africa to Europe – terminating in London, with landing stations in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Congo, and 11 other countries along the Western and Southern coasts of Africa.

The WACS cable along the caost of Africa, and like others such as Glo One and Main One, is expected to raise the level of internet and broadband availability in Africa, boost Africa’s efforts at bridging the digital divide, and also reinforce Africa’s position as a major player in the digital age.

But some African telecom operators and regulators recently expressed concern over how much fibre capacity would be consumed in Africa, given the high level of illiteracy and the rampant power fluctuations on the continent.

Mr. Ikpoki, however, said last year MTN launched MTN Business, and the focus was to develop customized solutions for both SMEs and large-scale businesses to help them have more efficient practices and grow their businesses better, adding that data would be key in that regard.

“We will develop websites for small businesses (because) research has shown we can help them in that direction - we have a product that helps small business to subscribe to those services, and we have a huge data centre with the capacity to support such set ups,” he said.

He said MTN was currently on a listening campaign, to know from the various businesses what their specific needs are so MTN could customize solutions to meet their needs and ensure that they participated fully in the data boom.

At the individual level, MTN has just recently launched the Vehicle Tracking Service, where users would acquire a SIM-based tracking device from MTN through which they could track the location of their vehicle when they are away from the vehicle; when someone tampers with; and even trace it when it is stolen.

Mr. Ikpoki said the launch of MTN data bundles last year, and the celebration of Internet Festival (I-FEST) month in September last year among other things, were just the beginnings of MTN’s focus on data, and the company made significant inroads towards establishing itself as a data brand.

“Currently we have the best 3G coverage – fastest on the market (comparable to Expresso’s CLIQ) three high capacity data centres and we are preparing to go live with our WACS fibre cable in April/May this year to stamp our position as market leaders in data service as well,” he said.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 12:28 AM   #194
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Ghana gold output to rebound in 2012 - Chamber

Ghana's full-year gold production declined by a few percentage points last year but is expected to rise in 2012, the head of its Chamber of Mines said on Friday.

Ghana is Africa's second largest gold producer after South Africa and produced 2.97 million ounces of gold in 2010. Output was originally seen rising in 2011 but in the end shrunk as a number of firms focused on longer-term maintenance and expansion projects rather than maximising existing production.

"Gold output in 2011 came down 2-3 percent compared to the year before," Ghana Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Tony Aubynn told Reuters, adding details were yet to be finalised.

He said the decline could have been deeper but for the fact that Australian miner Adamus Resources poured its first gold in January last year.

"Two more mines are expected to come on stream this year and we also anticipate that Adamus will be ramping up production during the year - so we are going to see production go up this year," Aubynn forecast.

In the first half of 2011, the country produced 1,497,023 ounces, up three percent on the same period of 2010, with revenues jumping 31 percent to $2.2 billion on the back of higher gold prices
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Old March 13th, 2012, 10:38 PM   #195
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Ghana pledges firm cocoa price for its farmers

Ghana has no plans to cut the price at which it buys cocoa from its farmers in the coming 2012/13 season despite the dive in the world market price of cocoa over the past year, the industry regulator of the world's number two grower said on Thursday.

Cocoa futures are trading at just under $2,300 a tonne, about a third down on this time last year when the political conflict in top grower Ivory Coast triggered fears of tight supplies that have since been proven unfounded.

Regulator Cocobod is the sole buyer for the country's cocoa at a fixed rate of 3,280 cedis, which at current exchange rates is almost double the price achieved by Ivorian farmers in some regions - a differential which has prompted sustained smuggling of Ivorian cocoa into Ghana.

"There are no plans, nor proposals to reduce the producer price now or at the start of the upcoming season - it'd be difficult to justify that sort of decision and I don't see it happening," said Cocobod spokesman Noah Amenyah.

"The number one objective is to make cocoa farming attractive to our people, including the youth - it's a reward system for them as stakeholders in our drive to significantly improve production," Amenyah said.

At least 500,000 farmers' families are dependent on cocoa in Ghana.
Ghana has a producer price review committee, comprising representatives of farmers, buyers, Cocobod and the government. They meet ahead of every crop year to recommend the buying price to government, generally around October.

Amenyah said there were safety valves built into the pricing mechanism such as a stabilisation fund used to cushion the effects of price changes on world markets.

Cocoa export profit windfalls are lodged in the fund when market prices are high. This serves as a buffer and provide resources to the government for the payment of producer prices during periods of price falls.

Ivory Coast is seeking to create a similar stabilisation mechanism to guarantee its farmers a minimum price.

But for now its farmgate prices remain highly volatile and exporters and analysts forecast anything up to 145,000 tonnes could be smuggled out of the country in the season to end-April, with most of it bound for Ghana.

Ghana produced a record more than one million tonnes of cocoa last year. Analysts and traders have estimated up to a fifth of that was smuggled in from Ivory Coast, but Cocobod disputes those figures and says the bumper crop was the result of improved farming techniques and favourable weather
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Old March 13th, 2012, 10:43 PM   #196
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Ghana sharply raises cocoa output forecast

Ghana cocoa regulator Cocobod raised its main crop output forecast to 870,000 tonnes from 770,000 tonnes and now expects the full season to be "in the same region" as last year's record 1 million tonne harvest, an official said on Tuesday.

The sharp upward revision is due to improved rainfall in the world's No. 2 cocoa grower, Cocobod Deputy Chief Executive in Charge of Agronomy and Quality Control Yaw Adu-Ampomah indicates.
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Old March 15th, 2012, 12:29 AM   #197
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Mining companies proceeds with production despite uncertainties

Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines, has said some mining companies were proceeding with their production in spite of the uncertainties and the business risks associated with the industry.

Government in the 2012 Budget announced an increase in corporate tax on mining companies to 35 per cent from 25 per cent and a 10 per cent windfall tax on mining profits to be introduced.

The Government recently set up a team to review and re-negotiate stability agreements it had entered into with some mining companies to ensure that the country derived maximum benefits from its resources

“Most companies are willing to expand their operations which will invariably bring value to the mining industry. This would bring value to the country,” Dr Aubynn said during a presentation to a German Business Delegation to Ghana.

He said while a couple of companies in the mining industry were in distress in spite of the relatively high gold price, most companies had been able to play down the global down turn very well and the Chamber expected this to continue.

Dr Aubynn said the emphasis on fiscal receipts directly from the industry did not reflect on the total benefits of mining to the economy.

The country, he said, should adopt a policy to identify and develop all downstream and upstream activities linked to the mining industry for which the country had a competitive advantage to create value multipliers.

Dr Aubynn said based on data gathered by Supply Managers, it could well be possible to increase mining sector spending on Ghanaian manufactured products in the long term by 66 per cent from around $120 million per annum to $200 million dollars.

“The multiplier effect of this growth on the Ghana economy would be many times the current increase in direct expenditure,” he said.

In this direction, he said, a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed between the Chamber, Minerals Commission and IFC to define the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties in the development of a National Local Content Programme.

He said the mining sector would continue to play its lead role as a major export earner and contributor to the country’s balance of payment, accounting for nearly half of the country’s gross export revenue.
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Old March 15th, 2012, 12:31 AM   #198
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Perseus blames tax 'disease' for profit drop

PERSEUS Mining has blamed the spread to West Africa of the Canberra "disease" of increased taxation of the resources industry for a 10-15 per cent fall in its market value since November.

The company is increasing gold production at its Edikan mine in Ghana, where corporate taxation of the mining industry has risen in stages from the standard 25 per cent corporate rate to 35 per cent.

Speaking at an investor briefing in Melbourne yesterday, Perseus managing director Mark Calderwood said the "disease that started in Canberra is spreading" to West Africa.

His pointed reference to the Gillard government's proposed mining tax on iron ore and coal came as other West African nations seek to increase the government take from the resources sector. Mr Calderwood suggesting the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had been encouraging the moves.

Mr Calderwood said the start date for the windfall tax in Ghana was still unknown, but it had "clearly been frustrating for investors".
One aspect of the mining scene in West Africa that did not give him concern was security of tenure -- one of the exceptions being Guinea, where both Rio Tinto and BHP have projects.

Perseus was trading at $3.30 a share in November. Yesterday, it closed at $2.52 -- a value loss since November of 23 per cent, indicating more factors at play than the West African tax grab.

Analysts said the market could be waiting for confirmation that Edikan was hitting its targets as it worked up to forecast gold production of 225,000 ounces this year and as much as 290,000 ounces next year.

Perseus is also planning to become a gold producer in the Ivory Coast from the high-grade Sissingue deposit.

The development of Sissingue would establish Perseus as a 450,000-500,000 ounce a year producer, one of the biggest on the ASX. That growth has made it a perennial favourite to be taken over by one of the other big gold producers that also have operations in Ghana-Ivory Coast.

Mr Calderwood said any takeover bid would have to be friendly. "It has all been quiet" on that front since Canada's Kinross Gold revealed its 2010 Red Back Mining acquisition was a dud.

"The big boys are scared senseless about another Kinross," Mr Calderwood said. Perseus itself is looking to add another project to follow on from Sissingue. The new project could come from its own exploration efforts or through joint ventures
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Old March 15th, 2012, 12:33 AM   #199
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Ghana’s inflation rate slows to 8.6% in February 2012

The rate of Ghana’s inflation slowed down marginally to 8.6 per cent in February from 8.7 per cent in January 2012, helped by lower average food inflation, the Ghana Statistical Service said on Wednesday.

“Even though the food component accounted for 4.3 per cent inflation, individual items have high inflation rates. All in all we have some stability,” Dr Philomena Nyarko, Acting Government Statistician, said at the press conference.

Food inflation rate slipped to 4.3 per cent in February compared to non-food inflation rate of 11.2 per cent, which is more than two and half times the food inflation rate.

The food and non-alcoholic beverages group has been recording single digit inflation rate since January 2011 while the non-food inflation has remained stable between 11.1 per cent and 12.4 per cent since February.

Movements in inflation rates within the last 12 months were relatively stable. The highest inflation rate recorded in February 2011 was 9.2 per cent and the lowest 8.4 per cent in September last year.

Dr Nyarko said with current trends, it would be difficult to tell what the outlook for inflation over the next few months.

The monthly change for February 2012 was 1.5 per cent compared to 2.2 per cent in January.

Six groups in the non-food component recorded double-digit year-on-year inflation rates with transport and miscellaneous goods and services registering relatively high rates of 17 per cent and 16.2 per cent respectively. Recreation and culture, clothing and footwear, furnishings and household equipment registered rates between 12.2 per cent and 14.1 per cent.

Inflation rate in the regions ranged from 5.3 per cent in Upper East and Upper West regions to 13.2 per cent in Central Region.

Central, Western and Ashanti regions recorded inflation rates above the national rate of 8.6 per cent.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 12:08 AM   #200
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BOST to construct petroleum terminal at Atwereboanda

The Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) Company Limited is to construct a petroleum terminal at Atwereboanda in the Ahanta West District in the Western Region.

The 200-million dollar facility that would store Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and other petroleum products, would be built with part of Chinese loan facility.

Three hundred acres of land has been acquired for the project that is expected to take off before the end of the year, and it would take about 24 months to complete.

Dr. Yaw Akoto, Managing Director of BOST announced this during a courtesy call on Mr. Joseph Dofoyenah, Ahanta West District Chief Executive, at Agona-Nkwanta.

He said the terminal would receive LPG from the proposed Ghana Gas Facility at Atuabo for transportation to BOST branches in the country.

Dr. Akoto also paid a courtesy call on Nana Kwesi Aboagye VII, Chief of Pumpunie at Atwereboanda and visited the project site, accompanied by the DCE and officials of BOST.

Mr Dofoyenah said the terminal would be constructed with state of the art equipment and would be a “Flagship” for the Western Region.

He said the company was negotiating with the Lands Commission on the terms of payment of the land, which is estimated at 4 million Ghana Cedis.**
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