Business in Ghana

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Archive for September, 2014

A Corruption of Perchers. Critical News, 28th September 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 28, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My story of the week. The IGP was looking for one Richard Frimpong Dardo for an alleged deal he made to host money. Apparently they had been looking for a while but never suspected that he could be the man behind Vicky Hammah.

Then luckily for them, Frimpong did the unthinkable and one morning refused a mounting request from Vicky. It precipitated a fight of sorts and Vicky sashayed to the police station to report domestic abuse.

Now I don’t believe the details of the story by a stretch of the imagination, because both Vicky and Frimpong said out of the ordinary things, but it is such a creative piece of work I can’t but admire the backlash for Frimpong. Vicky was on the path to the one million she so desires, and Frimpong’s perching on her back provided close to a quarter of the solution.

Oh Vicky, Frimpong, why did you fight about “sᴐri kᴐ pra”? Something all humans look forward to? Many a child has been brought to the world when the morning breeze is cool, birds are chirping and the air is fresh with newly released oxygen from trees and shrubs; when the earthy smell rises to meet every hiss and moan. Why?

I don’t know what the IGP’s other interests are in the case, but me I would just love to hear in detail, the backend of this case. Vicky, let’s me and you have a chat. Just holla! Read the rest of this entry »

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God Bless Our Homeland. Critical News, 21st September 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 21, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Before I get into anything meaty, let me just note that Kirk Koffi at the helm of the Volta River Authority does not have a clue what we expect from him. Last week I regurgitated a story where he said “dumsor” would be over within two weeks, putting the date by the end of this month. This week, we are going through the worst “dumsor” in a long time.

The Electricity Company cannot even give us a schedule of when power would be on or off, a pretty dismal state of affairs, which can only be described with a four-letter word.

I have no faith in what they are saying, I don’t believe any more that those tasked with solving our strategically important needs can do so. Water is intermittent, power is irrational and floods are predictably consistent with any volume of rain.

So Kirk, we don’t need you to come and lie like a politician. Tell us the truth and nothing but. Leave the false promises and permanent postponing of solutions to those who have acquired that specialist skill and give us a small ray of hope that at least our technocrats have some clue.

So. Today is Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday and designated Founder’s Day by the NDC Mills Government. I am by no means an Nkrumahist so the day is a good opportunity to read some history and reinforce my belief that Kwame rolled back any gains he bequeathed to Ghana when he turned on our constitution and created a constitutional dictatorship, which he built for his own purpose and self-propagation. And for the record, it should be a Founders Day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Qatar National Bank increases stake in African lender Ecobank

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 18, 2014

By William Wallis in London (Financial Times)

Qatar National Bank has become the dominant shareholder in pan­African lender Ecobank Transnational after increasing its stake to 23.5 per cent in a sign of growing Gulf appetite for African assets.

The Gulf’s largest lender said in a statement it had raised its stake in Ecobank after spending $283m to buy an additional 11 per cent share in the lender on Monday.

The Qatari bank earlier this month bought a 12.5 per cent stake in the bank worth about $220m from Nigeria’s Asset Management Corporation, the vehicle set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria to absorb non­performing loans in the wake of a 2009 banking crash.

Some Ecobank shareholders were unnerved by the Qatari buying spree, which they fear could dilute the bank’s African character while putting other large shareholders whose capital is restricted in a disadvantageous position.

South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation, PIC, was hitherto the bank’s leading shareholder but its capital is restricted by a 20 percent cap. QNB’s unexpected acquisitions could disrupt the plans of South Africa’s Nedbank, which has had a strategic partnership with Ecobank since 2008 and has options this year to convert debt of $285m and buy equity also capped at 20 per cent. Read the rest of this entry »

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IMF Mission Starts Discussions with Ghanaian Authorities on Possible Program

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 18, 2014

Press Release No. 14/424

September 16, 2014

At the request of the Ghanaian authorities, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will visit Accra on September 16–25 to conduct discussions on a possible IMF-supported program. On August 8, IMF Management received a formal request from the Ghanaian authorities to initiate discussions on an IMF-supported program. Discussions will continue during the coming weeks, including at the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF in Washington DC in October.

The IMF mission, led by Mr. Joël Toujas-Bernaté, will meet with government officials, private sector, and the donor community.

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Cry, My Beloved GFA. Critical News, 14th September 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 15, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

The “dumsor” will be over by the end of this month, September. And that is because it was not promised by the President. Kirk Koffi, head of VRA says it will be over and you have to believe him.

Just five months ago he was convinced it would not be over until sometime in 2016, but now things have changed considerably and he is more promise-filled. Follow his comments in April this year from this link, http://www.dailyguideghana.com/energy-crisis-to-continue-until-2016/, and his latest predictions on the future of energy supply from this one, http://ghanavibes.com/load-shedding-dumsor-dumsor-end-month/.

Now if we don’t know anything, we know that no single person in any authority in this country has ever been able to stop “dumsor”. This triple-headed VRA-supplier, GRIDCO-transmitter and ECG-distributor has evaded all logic for decades. It does not even pay attention to the exhortations of JDM who has many times over “instructed” “dumsor” to recede.

Maybe we are now at the tipping point of topping the triple medusas of energy? Of delivering yet impossible promises, this time devoid of politics? Kirk Koffi says so, Ghana waits to see.

So you have not been following the recant of the issues around the Black Stars in Brazil? Shame on you. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spending Like There is a Tomorrow

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 9, 2014

By Sri Mulyani Indrawati

In June, Kenya set a new African record.  At $ 2 billion, the country’s sovereign bond debut was four times oversubscribed. Only one month later, Senegal broke this high. Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire have been similarly successful in what some call an African bond bonanza.

Interest rates in traditional markets are so low that investors are going after sub-Saharan debt for its high return rates averaging between 5.5 and 7.5 percent. But they are also attracted by the continent’s promising growth rates, its economic stability, rising exports, and growing private investment.

This is a good thing.

To sustain growth and fight poverty, Africa needs to ramp up investment, particularly to generate more electricity given that 600 million Africans have no access to power. The infrastructure investment gap, estimated to be around $75 billion per year, can be narrowed by, among other measures, raising debt. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nigeria nurtures its once-unloved cocoa industry as prices flourish

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 8, 2014

College graduate Omatayo Adeniyi stands in a humid tropical forest of southwest Nigeria and explains why he chose cocoa farming over a white collar job in the city.

“There is money in the ground. The future is bright. I hope to make one tonne of cocoa by next year,” he says from his farm in Ondo State.

Such optimism has for decades been rare among Nigeria’s cocoa farmers: Many abandoned their fields and moved to cities in search of alternative work after commodity prices collapsed in the mid-1980s and the country’s booming oil industry siphoned investment away from agriculture.

But years of focus on oil revenues has left Nigeria with a lack of industrial diversity and made it over-dependent on energy, which uses a lot of costly equipment but employs few people. So while the economy has been growing at an average of 7 percent for the past five years, it has failed to create jobs for many of Nigeria’s 170 million people.

High unemployment and poverty levels have prompted the government to look again at cocoa with the aim of getting more people to grow a product for which prices have been rising. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Charge of Free Filth. Critical News, 7th August 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 7, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Our President joined his close buddy. They must be really close because he can’t find enough reason to sack Dr. Oko Vanderpuye even after he has supervised enough filth in the city to cause a mini cholera epidemic.

The alarming story, some say it was simply for publicity, was very widely made known and put me on edge throughout the week.

Why would a supervisor of wanton filth and environmental carelessness, be made a hero by his supervisor, the person who appointed him to clean up Accra and ensure that we live in a city where we can go outside and make some noise about how we have lived up to the millennium challenges of the 21st century, be retained after all this while?

Read the story from this link, http://www.citifmonline.com/2014/09/01/president-mahama-joins-odododiodoo-to-clean-up/ but make no mistake, our President went into the trenches to dig out the gutter as a demonstration of his competence to clean drains at ghc680/day. It works out at ghc85/hour based on a 25 working day month and 8 hours a day of continuous labor.

You can engage day labourers in Accra for between ghc30 to 40 cedis a day. Read the rest of this entry »

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IMANI Alert: Can the Tema Oil Refinery deliver today? A possible way out

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 7, 2014

The energy sector is undoubtedly the most essential sector if Ghana is to come out of its current economic atrophy.  President Mahama underscored this fact when he declared that the Atuabo Gas project in his view, is the game changer in Ghana’s energy mix and an attempt to resurrect the near moribund economy.  That the second Millennium Challenge Compact is dedicated to energy attests to the vision.

One essential player in the energy picture of this sector is the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).  TOR was established by Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah with financial and technical support from Italian investors. TOR’s mandate at the onset was refining crude oil for Ghana and her neighbouring countries. TOR’s core business has over the years been broadened to include procurement, storage, refinery and distribution of crude oil. However many observers have argued that the ambitions of TOR whilst in keeping with a growing economy such as Ghana’s was not strategically anchored in a future vision for running it as a serious profitable business, hence its current near defunct and financially broke natural order.

We have seen successive governments design strategies some of which have involved large financial investments and bailouts of the institution-the result of which is the current recovery levy which became a public debate with various analyses emerging on how the country could generate value from such an economic venture. Such debates and discussions that did not bring closure to the TOR debacle, have resulted in the establishment of institutions such as Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BOST), Bulk Distribution Companies and Oil Marketing Companies with various responsibilities and duties being assigned to each of these institutions to ensure that the procurement, refinery, storage and distribution of petroleum products within the supply chain are comprehensive to prevent frequent shortages. Recent developments have prompted further discussions of the revival of TOR and how to make it an efficient economic entity. However the following factors must be considered prior to undertaking such investment. Read the rest of this entry »

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FEEDBACK: NIGERIA Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Posted by Business in Ghana on September 6, 2014

Interactive discussion with the Nigerian Diaspora – September 2nd 2014

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Honorable Minister of Finance of Nigeria spent 2 hours interacting with approx. 150 senior members of Nigeria’s Diaspora in NY on the evening of 2nd September. This was followed by similar events across the USA over the week.

As many of you will know, the Minister of Finance is a very energetic, passionate, and candid advocate for a better and less corrupt Nigeria. Her book “Reforming the Unreformable” provides a frank insight to the turnaround that she has been able to administer over the past decade  – http://www.amazon.com/Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala/e/B008BK3314

A presentation was followed by one hour of Q & A (which could have easily extended to 2 hours). We have requested the [powerpoint] presentation, which we would be happy to share at your request.

A few of the key takeways/ discussion points; (apologies if any errors with specific data-points) Read the rest of this entry »

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