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Old March 27th, 2012, 09:59 AM   #101
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e-Zwich Money Transfers Grow more than 100 percent in 2011

Money transfer transactions through the e-zwich payment system saw a significant growth in 2011, going up by over 147 percent compared over the same period in 2010.

Over 60.6 million Ghana cedis worth of funds were transferred last year compared to 24.5 million Ghana cedis in the previous year.

In terms of volume, some 225,253 money transfer transactions took place last year compared to 100,500 in the previous year.

In its first year of operation, only 600, 000 Ghana cedis worth of money was transferred through the e-zwich, moving up to three million Ghana cedis in 2009.

According to the management of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), traders, and parents whose wards were in second and third cycle institution in particular had embraced the e-zwich for internal money transfers because of the convenience associated with its use.

While other internal money transfers are specific to banks, the e-zwich allows money to be transferred and received from any bank.

Additionally, it is possible to transfer money from the e-zwich ATMs.

These features, officials say had led to the continuous growth in e-zwich money transfers.

Mr Archie Hesse, General Manager in charge of Project and Business Development, GhIPSS, said in an interview that figures from this year suggested that more and more people were resorting to the e-zwich for money transfers.

He said GhIPSS will continue to work hard to ensure high patronage of the service throughout the country.**
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Old March 27th, 2012, 10:01 AM   #102
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British Airways downplays threat to its market share

British Airways has downplayed threats to its market share from other airlines that are currently plying the Accra-UK route.

The British carrier, until now had monopoly on the Accra-London route.

The past few years have seen the entry of some airlines on the route which was dominated by British Airways.

There are others who are also offering connecting flights to London at competitive fares.

But the new country commercial manager for British airways James Wooldridge told Joy Business they still have a strong hold on the Ghanaian market because of its premium services.

Meanwhile, British Airways said calls by government officials for reduction in airfares might be difficult.

According to the Commercial manager for British carrier rising airport taxes in Ghana and UK, as well as crude oil prices will make it difficult to reduce airfares.

A passenger travelling from Accra to London on an economy class, might pay about 500 dollars as taxes in addition the an original ticket price of 400 dollars
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Old March 28th, 2012, 01:43 AM   #103
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Barclays Introduces Risk Management Product

Barclays Bank Ghana is offering comprehensive risk management products to its clientele to manage the price risk they may encounter in their line operation.

The risk management product, plain vanilla derivatives, is the standard version of a financial instrument that is specially designed to alter the components of a traditional financial instrument, resulting in a more complex security. At a seminar to introduce the product to some selected clientele of the bank, an international expert, Dr Mabouba Diagne, who is a Director and Co-head of Barclays Product Control Group at Absa Capital, highlighted the importance of the product to companies.

The Barclays risk management product, which would be launched before the end of this year, is to help corporate organisations manage the price risk inherent in their foreign currency, interest rate and commodity prices.

Dr Mabouba said interest rate and foreign could be volatile and that a floating rate allows the borrower to take advantage of falling interest rate but leaves the borrower exposed to rising rate which could severally affect the cost of debt.

However, the risk associated with the interest and foreign exchange rates could be hedged to reduce the risk of adverse price movements.

“The objective is not to make money but to reduce risk,” he said. And this would require clearly defining hedging policy, combined with knowledge of the underlying risks.

On benefits for managing such risk, he said, companies would be able to stabilize their earnings, secure minimum operating margin and increase the probability of meeting high priority capital expenditure.

Benjamin Debrah, Managing Director of Barclays Ghana, said financial markets since 2007 have been volatile due to the sub-prime mortgage induced crisis and the recent debt crisis in Europe. “…The negative effects of these price movements can be significant and can be the difference between a firm making sizeable profits and even a loss.”

He hinted that the Risk management products represent an important set of products that the Barclays franchise offers to its clients in other parts of the world.

The Barclays MD said last year, Barclays offered some of the risk management product to the government of Ghana for its oil hedging programme.

Mr Deberah noted that the product enabled the government to successfully manage the price risks in its crude oil import and export bill.

“This played an extremely important role in the macroeconomic stability that the country enjoyed last year.”

Barclays, he said, aims to be the best bank in the country with a view to offering its clients a diverse bouquet of products.

“We have been in Ghana for 95 years. We have always been here and have always offered our clients the best. We value your business and promise to build trusted partnership.”
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Old March 28th, 2012, 01:49 AM   #104
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EXIM Bank Boosts Investments

DESPITE investing over US$500 million in the energy and transport sectors of Ghana’s economy, EXIM Bank is preparing to invest more money into other sectors.

This comes in the wake of the signing of a Bilateral Investment Treaty between Ghana and the US recently during President John Mills’s trip to the US at the invitation of President Barrack Obama.

The move is to help improve trade between the two nations under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), by which the US would engage Ghana in areas such as mining, energy and communications.

Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the United States Export-Import (Exim) Bank, said the bank was bent on creating a lot more jobs in Ghana, adding that the financing of the Akosombo Dam’s construction in the 1960s was done by Exim Bank.

A number of agreements have been signed between Ghana and the US towards the development of a number of sectors of Ghana’s economy.

President Mills reiterated his administration’s resolve to create jobs and opportunities for all, adding that the collaboration between government and Exim Bank would help facilitate such aims and objectives easily.

Ron Kirk, a US Trade Representative, said the US knew Ghana to be a gateway to the continent, for which reason the current US administration had drawn a special partnership project to help achieve such a goal.

Mr Kirk commended Ghana’s pursuit of democratic governance, good economic management, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
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Old March 30th, 2012, 10:25 PM   #105
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UT meets BoG's recaptalization requirement

UT Bank has confirmed that it has met Bank of Ghana’s 60 million Cedi recapitalization requirement.

This was contained in a statement released by the bank yesterday. This follows a subscription agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which will see the corporation invest up to 22 million Cedi into the bank.

UT not now joins the elite group comprising Ghana Commercial bank and Agric Development Bank (ADB).

The Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank in the statement said, ““IFC is the world's largest development institution focused on the private sector, and its investment constitutes a welcome affirmation of the commercial success of the "UT Way," as well as the positive social and developmental impact UT has made in Ghana”.

Mr Amoabeng added that IFC’s investment will help spur the development of Ghana's SME and mid-market companies and prepare the Bank for future growth opportunities in the economy”.

IFC, focuses exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. In 2011 it supported some Ghanaian banks including Ecobank Ghana with over $2 million dollars.

Following UT Bank’s track record of supporting SMEs, it is likely that attracted the IFC to support the bank with the 22 million cedis.

According to the agreement IFC’s investment into UT Bank will be done through a private placement of new common equity shares.

IFC will also extend an Advisory Services program to strengthen UT Bank’s risk management and corporate governance practices.
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Old March 30th, 2012, 10:26 PM   #106
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Re-Capitalisation Grips Financial Markets

Ghana's financial market is undergoing some dramatic capital increases following the country’s entry into the league of oil producers and the attainment of a lower middle income status.

This has pushed regulators of the financial sector to compel industry players to up their capital base to conform to Ghana’s desired status as the financial hub of the sub region.

But just when the insurance companies had come out of a bout of recapitalisation, some local banks are trotting to the wire while the brokerage firms have just been hit with a recapitalisation drive.

The directive by the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) for all the 23 licensed investment banks or brokerage firms to raise their capital base from the current GH¢100,000 to a million Ghana Cedis by 2013 has attracted mixed and swift reactions.

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) too had based on a 2006 legislation, directed every life insurance company in Ghana and every general insurance to have a minimum of US$1 million in core capital, a stipulation which all the 42 licenced insurance companies in Ghana had complied with.

The NIC had earlier raised the minimum capital for general insurance firms that wish to engage in underwriting policies in the oil and gas industry to recapitalise further to a minimum of US$5 million.

The banking sector too is going through some transformation in phases, which the Bank of Ghana hopes all banks especially the local ones to recaptalise to the tune of GH¢60 million by the end of 2012.

In all these cases the players in the markets had not taken lightly to these new rates of re-capitalisation. However, officials of the GSE say the re-capitalisation of the brokerage firms is not reversible.

The General Manager of the Ghana Stock Exchange, Mrs Elizabeth Mate-Kole told the Graphic Business in an interview that the re-capitalisation of licensed investment banks was meant to make the brokerage firms stronger and be able to take on big businesses as the economy get set to thread on wheels of oil.

“Yes, we are in discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the brokerage firms to increase their capital base from GH¢100,000 to one million by December 2013”, she confirmed.

But the directive is yet to be endorsed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is the regulator of the industry.

Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission Mr Adu Anane Antwi says the regulator require more information from the GSE before approving the capital raise.

“We will for instance want to know from the Ghana Stock Exchange whether they have consulted widely from the market and industry stakeholders before approval”, Mr Anane Antwi said.

Head of the Research Division of Databank, Nii Ampa-Sowa is hopeful that a higher capitalisation will bring greater success on the GSE.

“This will enable us do a proprietary trading,” he said. This means that brokerage firms will be able to buy stocks to keep in their books.

But a senior broker at FirstBanc Financial Services, brokerage and investment firm in Accra, Mr Edem Akpenyo, however disagrees. He suggests that the increase in the stated capital should be a gradual process.

According to Mr Akpenyo, going slow and soft should have been the best approach. “It should from the current GH¢ 100, 000 to say, GH¢300,000 or GH¢500,000 and not higher lump sum at a go”, he said.

He cautioned that the GSE should not adopt a one size fits all policy towards the brokerage firms adding that the timeline is “too short” but conceded that the increase in the stated capital will bring a lot of activities on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

For the banking sector, the on-going recapitalisation exercise were set out in two phases, which aimed to dramatically improve the core capital of the industry from a previous minimum per bank of just GH¢10 million to GH¢60 million (US$40 million).

The first phase required that all majority locally-owned banks achieve a minimum core capital of GH¢25 million (US$16.6 million) by the end of 2010 and that all majority foreign-owned banks raise theirs to GH¢60 million (US$40 million) by that time.

However, the other 10 foreign-controlled banks and the 14 majority Ghanaian-owned ones have all met their respective stipulated new capital targets.

December, this year, comes the hard part when more than 12 Ghanaian-controlled banks will have to raise their own capital base to GH¢60 million, to complete the second phase of the recapitalisation exercise and bring them at par with their foreign counterparts.

The National Insurance Commission insisted that any general insurance firm that wishes to engage in underwriting policies in the oil and gas industry, had to recapitalise further to a minimum of US$5 million in core capital by 2010.

While this means that the new minimum capital is not altogether compulsory – any general insurer could choose not to recapitalise, and not underwrite oil and gas industry risks, but none of them were willing to let the obvious opportunities in that newly emergent industry pass them by.

Indeed, it is instructive that all of Ghana’s general insurers have signed up to be part of the newly formed consortium to underwrite oil and gas sector risk, which tend to be so big that Ghana’s insurers must necessarily pool their resources together to handle them.

Already, under the consortium, all of Ghana’s general insurers have jointly underwritten the insurance of the Floating Production and Storage (FPSO Kwame Nkrumah), which was acquired for commercial production of oil from the Jubilee oilfield off Cape Three Points in the Western Region, which has an insured value of close to US$900 million.
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Old April 1st, 2012, 02:54 PM   #107
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Toyota Ghana outdoors 2012 Toyota Avensis

Toyota Ghana Company Limited on Friday released a new Toyota Avensis onto the Ghanaian market to ensure the safety and comfort of customers.

The 2012 Toyota Avensis, which has received a five-star rating under the latest Euro NCAP rating scheme comes with a dynamic and unique presence with outstanding performance of responsive driving feeling created by the innovation.

The new Avensis has been designed with an improved aero-dynamics to reduce co-efficient of drag and efficient fuel consumption for improved performance.

It has radiator grille with continuous flow to the headlamp to express a wide feel and an assertive lower grille to ensure aero-dynamic, cooling and pedestrian protection performance.

The 2012 Avensis, has an expanded width of 60mm for wider space and a three dimensional unified door trim and instrumental panel design.

There has been a change with the fuel and speed metres of the 2012 Avensis to enhance appearance, and an introduction of multi-information display on the metres for easy access to information such as days of the week, outside temperature, current and average fuel consumption, rear seatbelt reminder and average speed.

Other feature of the vehicle include 2.0 petrol litre, four speed automatic, audio control in the steering wheel, Bluetooth, radio CD player with six speakers, wireless door lock with answer back, side impact beams on all doors, multi-reflector headlamps, and automatic light control.

Launching the vehicle in Accra, Mr Takohiko Takabayashi, Managing Director of Toyota Ghana said, introduction of the 2012 Avensis was motivated by the current rapid changes in the technological advancement which had resulted in customers always looking out for new inventions.

He said the new Avensis had been lifted to a level aimed to achieve smooth ride and comfort to outclass competitors in the global market.

Mr Takabayashi said Toyota was committed to offer customers with world-class products and services.

“We have principle philosophy of customer first and a policy of KAIZEN, meaning continuous improvement. Through these, we are always ensuring to provide our customers with high level satisfaction,” he said.
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Old April 1st, 2012, 02:56 PM   #108
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NCA Challenges Tigo

THE NATIONAL Communications Authority (NCA) has challenged Millicom Ghana Limited, operators of Tigo network, for publishing a report contrary to what the former has carried as regards network rankings.

In its 2011 report, Tigo maintained that it was still the second leading operator in Ghana despite an earlier report by the NCA that Vodafone Ghana was the second leading network.

According to the regulator (NCA), it was the only authority mandated to report on the telecoms industry in the country. Per its 2011 report therefore, Vodafone finished the year as second leading operator with 4.2 million subscribers, representing 20.2 percent market share while Tigo came third with 3.9 million subscribers, representing 18.53 percent of the market share.

NCA also noted in its full year subscriber base report that the total mobile penetration for year ending 2011 was 21.2 million.

However, according to Tigo’s annual report published on myjoyonline.com, it closed the year with 3.5million subscribers, and not 3.9 million, which represented 21.3 percent of the market share.

Tigo’s report also stated that mobile penetration in Ghana was 16.53 million as opposed to the 21.2 million stated by the NCA.

Per Tigo’s report, its 3.5 million subscriber base was 21.3 percent of 16.53 million subscribers, which made it the second largest among five operators in Ghana.

A source at NCA, in an interview with this paper, said Tigo could not claim to be the second leading operator because the NCA received monthly reports from the telecom operators in Ghana. Based on these reports, the regulator is able to determine the number of subscribers that each operator has.

The source, who spoke on behalf of NCA, stated that “the authority’s report, among other things, includes the number of active subscribers and the number of churned out registered subscribers.”

The source noted that MTN, the leading operator in the country, had over 10.2 million subscribers, which was a well documented fact; therefore Tigo’s claim of a total subscriber base of 16.53 million was shocking.

According to the report, “Millicom reports to NCA subscribers up to 90 days of activity, according to NCA policy, but internally, we report to headquarters up to 60 days of no activity.”

Explaining the foregoing, a highly placed official at Tigo explained that figures in Tigo’s annual report were based on how many Tigo subscribers were active within the last 60 days up to December 31, 2011, adding that, that was different from how many subscribers were active within the last 90 days.

The official further explained that “within 60 days, every subscriber from any other network that makes a call or sends an SMS to a Tigo number, even for once, is captured as an active subscriber for that network. And when we put those figures plus our own subscribers together, we determine the mobile penetration,” the official said. This, according to the NCA official, was not practicable, as an operator could not determine the number of active calls or number of SMS from another operator.
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Old April 1st, 2012, 02:57 PM   #109
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Commodity Exchange Ready By December

The long-awaited commodity and exchange as well as a regulated warehouse receipt system to ensure price stability and ready market for producers in agribusiness in the country would be realized by the end of this year, officials have disclosed.

The system, expected to provide sustainable and affordable finance to farmers who would use their commodities as collateral, has been touted for some time now.

Speaking at the opening of a two-week training for stakeholders involved in the setting up of the Ghana Commodity Exchange, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hanna Tetteh stated that some of the advantages of the warehouse receipt system are assurance of quality and quantity because of the proper system of storage and ascertaining the value.

She said the Exchange Commodity which is receiving funding from the UNDP under its Trade Initiative Project, would serve as an additional mechanism to support the agro industry.

“It would bring small holder farmers to the main stream sector and give them an incentive for doing so and therefore translate to significant changes in their lives.”

She said it would also serve as an incentive for the multinational companies and other large scale producers to source local raw materials “as they would be assured of quality”.

Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative agreed that even though the establishment of a commodities and exchanges may not be the panacea for all the weaknesses of the agricultural sector “they have the potential to improve the functioning of agricultural markets…”

“We look forward to working with the Ministry of Trade and other partners to ensure the Ghana Commodities Exchange is established and operational by the end of 2012. We eagerly await the start of the first trading on the floor of the Commodity Exchange to enable the Ghanaian farmers obtain fair and predictable pricing for their produce.”

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange is the most successful in Africa, and it is assisting Ghana to establish an exchange modeled after that of the former.

Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange who is leading a team to train stakeholders in Ghana, said Africa with its untapped potential arable land cannot afford not to embrace this innovative instrument to manage and ensure food security on the continent.

The idea of establishing commodity exchanges, she said, “is resonating across the continent and we have been visited by 18 countries so far and have signed memoranda of understanding with about three of them.”

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, which was established in 2006, is now trading 580,000 tonnes of commodities valued at $1.2 billion.

The exchange in Ethiopia, which trades coffee, sesame seeds and maize, has 350 members of which 12 per cent are small farmers and records $20million daily from clearing activities which is in excess of 10 times the average of $2 million trading value of the Ghana Stock Exchange.
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 10:37 PM   #110
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UBA joins top 10 banks

The United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Limited, (UBA) has joined the top-ten banks in the country in terms of profitability, Mr. Oliver Alawuba, Managing Director of the bank, has said.

The company’s annual report and financial statements for 2011 show it recorded a profit before tax of GH¢30.2million, against GH¢13.9million in 2010. This represents an increase of 143% over the previous year.

Profit for the year after tax also increased from GH¢9.2million in 2010 to GH¢22.4million. Deposit volume increased to GH¢404.6million from a previous GH¢311.2million.

A decrease in interest income margins last year presented an opportunity for the bank to go into fees and commissions. About 57% of the bank’s income during the 2011 financial year came from fees and commissions, a trend which would continue, according to Mr. Alawuba.

The bank’s improved risk analysis and prudent measures contributed in reducing its nonperforming loans (NPLs) from 19% in 2010 to 7.91% during the 2011 financial year.

“We have been able to reduce the bank’s NPLs through our collective effort, and I can say that by the end of the year it will be reduced further to about 5%,” Mr. Alawuba told the B&FT in an exclusive interview.

Commenting on the expectations for the banking industry this year, Mr. Alawuba said: “The operational environment will be different from what pertained last year, because this is an election year. The inflation rate is going down and the margins are coming down as well. These are the realities of 2012.

“In these realities, harsh as it may look, we should be able to use our skills to find a way of doing our business. We will remain focused, and improve our operations and customer service. UBA is also strong in electronic banking, and this will help us serve our customers better and attract new ones.”

He indicated that the bank will support the agricultural sector as part of its measures to diversify its loan distribution for 2012 to include commodities, public-sector business and telecommunications.

The move will see the bank finance commodities such as cocoa, by providing financial assistance to Licenced Buying Companies (LBC) engaged in the purchase of the cash crop as well as farmer associations. The bank further hopes to extend its assistance to shea butter and cotton cultivation.

“Fortunately for Ghana, it has a well-established mechanism that is bankable for cocoa. We want to enter that value chain. The cocoa business is well-structured and makes it easier for banks to get into the sector. We will support the LBCs and that will also translate into support for farmers.”

Explaining the rationale for the bank’s decision to go into public finance, Mr. Alawuba said: “For Africa to develop there must be that uniformity of purpose between the private sector and the government in terms of infrastructure development. Most African countries are not doing very well in that regard. The problem is that in time past government did not understand the private sector and vice versa. But it is important that banks assess and help finance some of these critical projects.”

Mr. Alawuba explained that local banks can address the issue of capacity by forming alliances among themselves, and even with foreign banks, to be able to bring in funds to finance some critical public-sector projects.

“UBA has a lot of capacity that it can leverage on, given the number of countries it operates in, to provide some of the critical infrastructure that is needed in the country. UBA has no problem of capacity; the UBA group can support us to undertake big-ticket transactions here in Ghana.”

UBA Ghana Limited is a subsidiary of United Bank for Africa Plc, which is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions offering services to more than 7 million customers across 750 branches and over 2,000 ATMs in 19 African countries.

UBA Ghana has a footprint of 26 fully-networked branches and 40 Visa-enabled ATMs spread across Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi and Aflao.**
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 10:38 PM   #111
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Cost savings boost Barclays’ profits

Barclays Bank Ghana has reported a 40% jump in 2011 after-tax earnings on the back of lower impairment costs and a fall in operational expenses. The bank’s after-tax profit went up to GH¢83million from GH¢59.2million the year before, Managing Director Benjamin Dabrah said last week.

He said loan-impairment charges were down to GH¢6million from GH¢20.8million in 2010, and operational costs dropped marginally to GH¢105.8million from GH¢114.6million.

“We believe we are back for good to the top-end of the banking industry where Barclays belongs,” Mr. Dabrah said.

A top-five lender by assets, Barclays saw an overdrive in impairment losses to GH¢60.9 million in 2009, which contributed to a loss after tax of GH¢18 million. But a swift recovery began in 2010, with loan losses dropping to GH¢20.8million and earnings after tax rising to GH¢59.2million.

The upturn was also helped by measures such as a slowdown in branch expansion, which curbed the rapid rise in operational costs, with more focus on delivering high-quality and more efficient services.

Last year, Barclays removed charges on ATM transactions and requests for statements, and broadened the reach of its Internet banking and SMS alert services.

“We had to go back to the basics and focus on the customer and doing things properly, ensuring that we price right and keep our key stakeholders such as staff and customers happy,” Mr. Dabrah said.

The bank’s balance sheet added GH¢300million to GH¢1.9billion in 2011, he said, with much of the growth attributable to an expansion in credit to the real sector of the economy.

“Our loans and advances to customers in the private sector grew by 35%, and goes contrary to claims that banks are not lending.” He said the outlook for 2012 is positive, with first quarter results showing the momentum from the previous year has been sustained
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 10:42 PM   #112
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Ghana cocoa purchases up 3.5 pct so far

Cocoa purchases declared to Ghana's sector body Cocobod reached 717,171 tonnes by March 22 since the start of the 2011/2012 season last October, Cocobod sources said on Monday amid fears of a production shortfall.

The figures, which covered the first 23 weeks of the main crop, were up 3.5 percent the same period last year.

Total purchases for the week ended March 22 were 1,494 tonnes as the harvest begins to tail-off before its expected rebound at the end of April, the sources said.

Ghana, the world no.2 cocoa producer after Ivory Coast, hopes to buy some 950,000 tonnes in the season ending September, up from an original forecast of 850,000-900,000 tonnes.

But key industry players, including farmers have expressed fears that Cocobod might not meet the revised target due to uneven weather conditions likely to stunt pod development.

"We are having uneven rains now and they are not enough to match the long dryness that came before - it is not likely that Ghana will meet this year's target," Lawrence Adu, a prominent cocoa farmer in the Eastern region told Reuters over the phone.

Adu said any late rains would boost the 2012/13 harvest rather than be of help to the current one.

A major cocoa buyer feared the expected rebound of the current crop at the end of April might be weak, adding that it would be difficult for Cocobod to meet the target.

"It's going to be very tight and we dont think they will be able to make it," the buyer, whose company buys cocoa mainly from the top growing Western and Ashanti regions, told Reuters.

Deputy chief executive Kwabena Asante Poku said Cocobod was still working towards the revised target.

"We are doing the best we can... we are working towards it," he told Reuters, adding the current tailing off of the main crop was normal. "We are hoping it will come up again by the end of April, so we are keeping our fingers crossed."
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:16 AM   #113
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IFC acquires 22% stake in UT Bank

The International Financial Corporation (IFC) now controls 22 percent shares in UT Bank following a $15 million investment into the bank last week.

The investment catapulted UT Bank to meet Bank of Ghana’s 60 million cedi recapitalisation requirement.

The IFC on Tuesday, made an additional capital injection of $15 million bringing its total investment in UT Bank to $30 million.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Mr. Prince Kofi Amoabeng, IFC’s 22 percent stake in UT Bank is a positive development.

“This is good for us because IFC has got worldwide expertise and we need a member on board to share that expertise with us. And other bit is the technical advice that they can offer UT,” Mr. Amoabeng said.

“The additional $15 million investment will among other things help increase access to medium term capital for Small to Medium Enterprises and also provide the bank access to a global network of banks that will help UT Bank finance cross-border trade transactions of local companies.”

IFC’s Vice President in charge of Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Western Europe, Therry Tanoh said his outfit is committed to partnering UT Bank for the long haul.

“Ultimately, we want institutions like UT to grow so that at some point, they can do without institutions like IFC in accessing long term resources,” he said.

He was speaking to journalists when the two parties signed documents covering the additional $15 million investment.

The additional capital includes US$5 million Senior Loan while US$10 million is a Trade Finance Guarantee Facility to UT Bank, Ghana’s leading SME bank.

The Senior Loan and Trade Finance Facility are in addition to an IFC Advisory Services Program and a combined US$15 million equity investment in UT Bank agreed to by IFC and the Africa Capitalization Fund Ltd (AFC), which is managed by the IFC Asset Management Company
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #114
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GRIDCo and Societe-Generale sign 82.2 million Euro Agreement for the Energy Sector

Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and Societe Generale on Wednesday signed two loan agreements, totalling 82.2 million Euros for financing developments in the energy sector.

A total of 48.1 million Euros will be used to finance the Tumu-Han-Wa transmission project to enhance reliability of power supply in the Northern sector of the country and the remaining 34.1 million Euros will be used for the financing of the Substations Reliability Enhancement Project under which 21 substations would see an uplift.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Energy Minister Dr Joe Oteng Adjei, said the agreement was an indication of government's commitment to ease the constraints within the power sector and help attain the generation capacity of 5,000 mega watts by 2015.

He said the financing arrangement was part of government's initiative to ensure reliable operation of the transmission network and replace old equipment, which were unable to cope with the demand as the economy expanded.

Dr Adjei said, the Tumu-Han-Wa project would create a loop that would enable supply of reliable power to the north saying “we are doing all these to ensure that the bottlenecks and the continuous key constraints within the generation, transmission and distribution systems are removed”.

Mr Seth Terkper, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the agreements were part of three major initiatives announced by government in the 2012 Budget to enhance infrastructural development and ensure sustainable power to meet the developmental needs of the country.

Mr Gilbert Hie, Country Manager for Societe General and Managing Director of SG-SSB, said the bank was delighted in supporting Ghana’s energy sector and assisting government to generate the targeted 5,000 megawatts.

“It is our desire to partner the Government in the socio-economic development of the country and strengthen the cordial business relations that presently exist between SG, SG-SSB and the Government in future,” he said.

Mr Charles Darku, CEO of GRIDCo, said the company had already begun work to improve the transmission system and funding from the bank would speed up the implementation and attainment of goals of replacing old equipment.**
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:22 AM   #115
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Ghana Stock Exchange, Venture Capital sign MoU for listing SMEs

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and Venture Capital Trust Fund on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the listing of small and medium scale enterprises on the Exchange.

Mr Kofi Yamoah, Managing Director of GSE and Mr Daniel Duku, CEO of VCTF signed the MoU that would enable the two institutions collaborate with other stakeholders to develop alternative market for SMEs.

The MoU would ensure that they jointly lead the SMEs listing project, coordinate with other stakeholders, facilitate the underwriting and provide upfront funding for SMEs desirous to list and hold public fora and education for SMEs and the public.

“The MoU is about Ghana. There are many SMEs and with the right growth strategy can help accelerate the pace of development,” Mr Yamoah said at the signing ceremony.

Mr Duku said the relationship with the Exchange in the alternative SMEs market would provide good exit strategies for venture capital finance companies and SME investors.

“We are coming on board as great partners in the Alternative SMEs market,” he said, adding that the company was putting into the revolving fund $500,000 to support the scheme.

He said the Exchange is setting up a revolving fund to pay for the listing expenses such as underwriting and legal fees of the companies adding that an agreement to that effect has been signed with Accra-based Fidelity Capital Partners to pool resources for the fund and discussions are on-going with the African Development Bank and other development partners to contribute to the fund.

Mr Ekow Afedzie, Deputy Managing Director of GSE, said the Exchange would contribute to the fund and was working to get other institutions to do the same.

He said the revolving fund when operational would provide resources to have listing expenses paid ahead of actual public floatation.

He said the GSE plans to launch in the second half of the year an alternative stock market with focus on SMEs, which might want to raise capital but are unable to meet the stringent requirements of the bourse.

Mr Afedzie said this plan is part of efforts by the GSE to encourage listings and improve liquidity on the bourse while giving SMEs the opportunity to raise capital from the bourse.

Details of the proposed Ghana Alternative Market are with the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:24 AM   #116
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Ghana develops new strategy on use of LPG after completion of first gas plant in 2013

More Ghanaians are to be encour*aged to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) when the gas processing plant comes on stream in 2013.

In that regard, the Ministry of Energy has formulated a strategy to vigorously promote the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in domestic and public institutions.

The aim, according to Sec*tor Minister, Dr Joe Oteng* Adjei, was to increase the use of LPG in domestic and public institutions from the current level of 12 per cent to 50 per cent.

The initiative is expected to commence in 2013 when the Gas Processing Plant to process natural gas from the Jubilee Field becomes opera*tional.

In 1989, the government embarked on an LPG promo*tional programme, which was aimed at reducing wood fuel consumption.

The initiative resulted in an increase in LPG fuel consump*tion trom 5,267 tonnes in 1989 to 32,000 tonnes in 1996 and 178,400 by the end of 2010.

The energy minister made these remarks in Accra in a speech delivered on his behalf by one of his deputies, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, at a consulta*tive meeting on Sustainable Energy for all Accelerated Framework (SEAAF).

The SEAAF is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General that seeks to ensure, among other interventions, universal access to electricity, clean fuels and devices for cooking and mechanical power; improve*ments in energy efficiency, and increases in the production and use of renewable energy.

The consultative meeting was aimed at developing a Ghana Country Action Plan for the achievement of SEAAF by 2015.

Describing the SEAAF as a laudable initiative, Dr Oteng* Adjei said it would comple*ment the efforts of developing countries to ensure universal access to energy for their citi*zens.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #117
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Remove ex-refinery levy – Court of Appeal

High Court order which had directed it in November 2011 to remove levies im*posed on petroleum products, the court, in a unanimous decision, held that the NPA failed to convince it to stay the lower court’s order.

The court, presided over by Mrs Jus*tice Henrietta Abban, with Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah and Mr Justice E. K. Ayebi as panel members, also held that the NPA’s application for stay was devoid of merit.

It also awarded costs of GH¢500 against the NPA in favour of Develop*ment Data, a non-governmental organi*sation (NGO) which had contested the legality of the levy at the High Court.

A date is yet to be fixed for the hear*ing of the substantive appeal, which is praying the court. to dismiss, in its en*tirety, the lower court’s decision which directed the NPA to remove ex-refinery levies imposed on petroleum products.

The High Court, in November 2011, ruled as illegal the ex-refinery levy which had been part of the petroleum price build-up.

It, accordingly, ordered the NPA to scrap the levy and also refund all amounts accrued from the collection of the illegal levy to be paid into the Con*solidated Fund.

It further directed the NPA to publish the total amount collected from the ille*gal imposition and pay it into the Con*solidated Fund. .

Dissatisfied with the lower court’s de*cision, the NPA filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal and filed an application for stay of execution ofthe lower court’s order, pending the outcome of the sub*stantive appeal.

However, the Court of Appeal, after carefully perusing documents filed by parties in the matter, upheld the decision by the High Court in that illegal price margins disguised as “ex-refinery differ*ential” should be knocked off the fuel pnces.

The High Court had, in January 2012, refused an application to stay execution of its earlier order.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 09:33 AM   #118
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ADB crosses first hurdle to listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange

Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has crossed the first hurdle towards listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange by June this year.

Sources say the Finance Ministry has given its approval to kick start the process of converting the bank from a state institution to a private entity.

The bank could join the likes of Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Cocoa Processing Company and Ghana Oil - three former state-owned entities that have listed on the local bourse.

State power generator, the Volta River Authority (VRA) is also working on a similar move.

Meanwhile, Agricultural Development Bank has attributed its sterling performance for last year to some prudent management strategies.
The bank, for the second successive time, saw a huge leap in its profits.

Its Revenue After Tax went up by 300 percent to 51.1 million Ghana Cedis. Loans advanced to agricultural sector went up by 42 per cent to 142 million Ghana Cedis.
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Old April 6th, 2012, 03:01 AM   #119
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Olam Ghana to investment more in cotton production

Olam Ghana, a cotton producing company operating in the Upper West Region, is expected to cultivate 30,000 hectares of cotton during this year’s cropping seasons as against 10,000 hectares it did last year.

The company engaged 8,000 farmers in the cotton production chain last year and it is expected to involve 25,000 farmers this coming farming season.

Mr. Mritunjay Das, Business Head in-charge of cotton production, said this at the first Olam Ghana Farmers Day celebration at Tumu.

Cotton farmers from the nine districts in the region attended the Day which was organised to award the farmers for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the company.

Mr. Das said the company invested $10 million in cotton production in the 2011 cropping season and would increase it to $35 million this year to engage more farmers in the communities to cultivate cotton.

The company produced 8,000 tonnes of cotton as against 10,000 tonnes it projected for the year, realizing a shortfall of 2,000 tonnes due to erratic rain fall pattern that characterized season.

Mr. Das said the company intended to increase the acreage to 100,000 hectares within the next four years when all farmers in the region are involved in cotton production.

“It is the intention of Olam to grow farmers and their income levels at the shortest possible time in the region”, Mr. Das said.

He said the company would make tractors, insecticides, fertilizers and other farm inputs available and deliver them to farmers at the appropriate periods to enhance production.

Dr. S. Bhatkulikar, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, said composite manure would be developed to help farmers replenish less fertile cotton fields.

Dr. Bhatkulikar said plans were advanced to provide some assistance to children of cotton farmers.

The company also intends to encourage farmers to uproot cotton stocks and sell them to the company to generate at least 50 megawatts of electricity to run the ginnery.

Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton, Paramount Chief of the Tumu Traditional Area, appealed to farmers to take cotton production seriously since it has the potential of improving their livelihoods.

He urged them to use the money they realised from cotton to take good care of their children’s education and the health needs of their families and avoid drinking alcohol with the money.

Kuoro Kuri Buktie Limann, Paramount Chief of the Gwollu Traditional Area, commended Olam Ghana for establishing factories in the country to add value to agro products.

He appealed to the company to consider establishing a shea butter extracting factory and an additional ginnery in the Sissala area.

He advised the farmers to avoid selling cotton to companies that do not support them to the disadvantage of Olam Ghana.

Mr. Issaka Giaka, Sissala East District Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said chemical poisoning was a huge risk among farmers in the region and asked Olam Ghana to be more concerned about that.

“Let us not be more concerned about the yields that we got but the occupational health hazards among farmers and the degradation of the environment should be of a worry for all”, he said.

The farmers comprising 45 groups from four zones in the region were awarded with motorbikes, cash and farm inputs among others.

Olam Ghana said it cost it 150,000 Ghana cedis to organise the Day.**
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Old April 6th, 2012, 03:02 AM   #120
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CCC in Ghana to sign agreement on Aboabze Thermal Plant

All is set for the signing of an agreement between Ghana and Canada, for Canada to support the expansion of the Aboadze Thermal Plant in Takoradi.

President John Evans Atta Mills, who held discussions on the Plant with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) last November in Canada, has consequently welcomed executives of the Corporation to Ghana, commending the enormous Canadian assistance to Ghana’s development.

The CCC is the main investment grouping in Canada, and the executives led by Mr Marc Whittington, are in the country to sign an agreement with the Government of Ghana to support the expansion of the Aboadze Thermal Plant.

The agreement is the second pact to be signed after the first expansion project which had the capacity to generate an additional 132 mega watts comes almost to a completion.

The second expansion project is also expected to generate 132 mega watts to boost the plant’s capacity.

Welcoming the delegation at the Osu Castle in Accra, President Mills expressed appreciation to the group for the continuous support for Ghana, stressing that the Government values its partnership with the CCC.

President Mills said he was impressed about the high interest of Canadian investors in Ghana, and assured them of a congenial business atmosphere.

“Ghana values the contribution from Canada in support of the growth of our economy,” he said, adding that the Government was committed to the partnership.

Mr. Whittingham, for his part, lauded the progress of the Ghanaian economy, indicating that the Corporation acknowledges the huge business potential in Ghana.

He said CCC is supporting the second expansion plan for the thermal plant due to its importance to the economy.

According to Mr Whittingham, the CCC recognised electricity production as a critical instrument to economic development, and that there was a need to support that sector to create jobs.**
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