Business in Ghana

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Posts Tagged ‘IMF’

Dompe Chronicles. Critical News, 10th April 2016

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 11, 2016

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

My two dogs are fighting. They are direct siblings from the same stock, not much difference between the two and are well matched in size, speed, performance and guile. The fighting has been going for some weeks now and it has intensified as they grow bigger and bolder, jockeying for which will become the alpha male. Nothing I do and no matter what punishment, they will find a place and something to fight over.

I expected this would happen, but my approach was to rear them together as playmates, from the same litter and eliminate any animosity because they would hunt together, bark together and seek out trespassers together.

I am not so naïve to think they will never fight over something and of course the inevitable mating season as they mature is bound to create havoc, but for a short while. That day has not even come yet.

So the fighting started over some pieces of chicken bones. The usually quiet one, fed up with being bullied, rallied against the other only to find that he had been retreating for no good reason. He could match the slightly bigger in strength and speed and even won the first fight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Confused Numerology. Critical News, 26th July 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on July 27, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

For those of us who chose to ignore Finance Minister Seth Terkper’s mid-term budget review, we probably missed a lot in the art of numerology. I am an accountant by profession. I am actually a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, UK, I have been that for quite some time. I don’t do any more auditing work, a little beef I have with looking at numbers after people have raided the bank accounts and diverted all the cash they can lay their hands on.

And especially in Ghana, a source of immense frustration for me and right-thinking Ghanaians.

But back to numerology. I couldn’t listen to the full delivery in Parliament, so I chose to read the script in detail after the fact. I have to say one thing about the Ministry of Finance, they release electronic versions of all the speeches and fiscal reports in a timely fashion, allowing us analysts to do some back checking and interpretation. Just wish that the numbers were true and fair.

I have spent quite some time with the Controller and Accountant General’s reporting and was on the verge of pointing out the inconsistencies in the numbers and monthly aggregations when the junior doctors blew the lid on the late salary payments going back eleven months.

How on earthly Ghana does anyone survive if they don’t get a paycheck for eleven months? And how in the name of Mahama does anybody find a place for their head on a pillow, knowing that a future leader and bread winner of a family is being discouraged from thinking that a good training as a doctor with its full prestige and as close to God as you can get as a human, is not a worthy profession at the end of the month.

I won’t let my daughter run around with a man who cannot put a cheque on the table at the end of a month? Who born dog, that I should rear a child and cultivate her only for a loser with no future prospects and who would make her pay the bills and look after his self-acquired existence through her effort. Read the rest of this entry »

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We Got Our Prostitute Back. Critical News, 17th May 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on May 21, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Why would anyone call you a prostitute because you are fed up with a persistent never-going-away erratic power supply? So you are tired and fed up with living conditions in the country, you decide enough is enough and call for a demonstration with your followers and that makes you a prostitute?

An apology is not even acceptable in the wake of the after-thought.

Why would anyone call you a “cannibal” because you disagree with the way energy supply is handled? What goes through a mind when you conceive the idea that you can skin your mother alive and use her skin to drum your success to the world?

What kind of an insulting mind should one have before you say things like this? Those are the words of children playing in the yard and teasing each other to see who can come up with the most diabolical description of gruesome to shock and awe friends and end up laughing at each other, especially at the loser, who must now concede and turn away from the most glib-mouthed child on the playground.

When you hear the acting chief executive of the National Youth Authority say this and even believes he is so sharp-tongued that he posts it on his face book page, you have to wonder the kind of leader he is trying to be. But Halidu Haruna and Ras Mubarak said this, and later did a radio circuit giving apologies of sorts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Truth and Honesty. Critical News, 26th April 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 26, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Last week the IMF released the program it has crafted between them and Ghana to bring policy credibility to Government’s Home Grown solutions. The only sound bite the media heard was the paragraph that spoke about job losses and freezing wages as a means to frontload the fiscal adjustments to achieve policy objectives.

I read it all with a huge smidgen of doubt.

Ghanaians know as we do, that this government is not going to do any of what it has signed to. The IMF knows that what it has written in the program notes to justify the figures to support our efforts is not true. And honestly, neither this government nor the IMF appreciates what problems we want solved in this economy.

If I may offer three steps, which if done will solve our issues immediately. First-first, fix the “dumsor”; find enough money to pay VRA, ECG, GRIDCO and other service providers what they are owed. No business runs on empty cash tanks. Second, fix the “dumsor”; find enough money to buy emergency power plants, because IT IS AN EMERGENCY! Then finally, fix the “dumsor”; provide enough incentives to make alternative energy solutions immediately attractive to domestic users. Then the “dumsor” will be gone and we will listen to other things.

This trinity points to one thing. Fix the “dumsor”. Read the rest of this entry »

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All Dead Have Died. Critical News, 19th April 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 20, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

NPP Presidential aspirant Nana Addo was on radio during the week. He chose Kwabena Duffuor’s Starr Fm, with Bola Ray as his significant other interviewing half to bare his soul a bit and also attempt some demystification of what happened in 2012, the election, the petition, and the eventual verdict, which some of us are still digesting.

I don’t believe the NDC won any election in 2012. Even with the bloated register and the padded numbers in the Volta Region, you can’t win an election on performance like we had. I stand firm that the Ghanaian voter has a bit more sophistication than what we see from the pink sheets and eventual results.

Until we do what Nigeria has done and go totally clean register and fully biometric, the results will never be acceptable. It is not impossible to mimic Nigeria; our politicians don’t want to do it in Ghana.

But if you missed the interview and write-ups in print, sorry. It carried in the Government media as well and I have to say I am beginning to see persons with spine reporting truth rather than propaganda. That public press seat cannot be easy, especially when your sector minister particularly skews stories to incredulity.

Nana Addo says he could have done more to explain “all die be die”. Well, with elections dearly departed, verdicts buried and goats now dead, it is a bit too late and Ghanaians are paying the price. Read the rest of this entry »

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Abongo Financial Management. Critical News, 12th April 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 12, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

Don’t do as I did last Wednesday. Mad persons were greeting me on the sidewalk of Accra, because they identified me as a possible compatriot.

I am walking from one end of circle to the South Industrial area. Traffic is jammed and I am late to a meeting. Going in the opposite direction from Bus Stop heading towards New Times junction, I was in a taxi and were it not that the conversation was interesting because the driver saw himself an Occupier and recognized, my alter ego would have me on time at the meeting.

Basking in the glory of hearing an “ordinary” Ghanaian loading praises on Occupy Ghana, I had to make an emergency drop off to catch an Okada, because the supposed professionals manning the construction of the Nkrumah Circle overhead, had not allowed for the pedestrian overflow and we have ended up endangering the lives of the walking Ghanaian every time you use a footpath in the middle of the road.

So now I am on the back of an Okada, chasing time on a rainy day in Accra, heading to one of the worst roads in the city where fake repairers modify and doctor engine parts just to get facades of success. Of course the Okada is going against oncoming vehicles and I am as nervous as I could be since I stopped riding motorbikes forty something years ago.

As if to fibrillate my heart from the sedative of the taxi, my immediate lord of my few years of life – which I have dedicated to fixing some governance issues in Ghana – is taking risks my sixty-year-old heart is not finding easy to manage.

Now we are going through unfathomable trenches of water, mud laden and opaque to the point of fear of falling off the bike. I fake my destination and get off the Okada, only to hear the young rider ask if I am Sydney. But yes! How does he know me? His English is laden with good diction and I am impressed enough to ask how? Read the rest of this entry »

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The State of My Nation. Critical News, 1st March 2015

Posted by Business in Ghana on March 1, 2015

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

I get rather melancholy every March. It is Heritage Month and I seek for many answers to the myriad thoughts and consults I have pondered since the beginning of the year. Following on the heels of a New Year resolution and many problems of financing Xmas and New Year, I kind of get an upbeat feeling just thinking about how much I can achieve before the year comes to an end.

But already February has ended and I am wondering what I did these past two months?

So I play my two most inspirational heritage songs and plan for the best. Painful that my friend and bosom creative confidant, Amandzeba Nat Brew has detached somewhat and left a vacuum in my artistic offering, I still search for some inspiration from his wonderfully crafted “Wogbe”, a song that has inspired many a historical moment.

Then I latch on to Osibisa’s “Woyaya” and remember how we gave Kutu Acheampong such a hard time as students, belting out the chorus with thrilling meaning, confident that one day “we will get there; heaven knows how we will get there; we know we will”.

Now we have a “Yam” and we are deprived of basic light and water, not to mention the environmental filth we have to live with and a dithering, directionless government whose president says to be cynical is a bad show of allegiance.

Well, for another year in so many, I am looking at the state of my nation and I see it rather differently from what I heard on Thursday from the President. Read the rest of this entry »

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IMF Might Need Some Answers. GNPC, GNGC, ENI and Due Dilligence

Posted by Business in Ghana on December 14, 2014

By Sydney Casely-Hayford

The news that Ghana’s Parliament approved the deal on the oil and gas project with ENI of Italy could raise important questions related to the Country’s program with the IMF.

There are implications for the budget, even as the price of crude continues to dip below the numbers used to estimate oil revenues to fund the Budget and other sectors, especially social safety nets might be compromised.

Whether subsuming GNGC into GNPC will affect the share of carried and participated interest of GNPC in its contract with ENI and whether there will be an impact on public and publicly guaranteed external debt is a big question.

Parliament already did the unthinkable and passed the $8billion contract with ENI speedily as it does when under pressure from Government to shore immediate cash demands.

The IMF program is struggling to finality, principally on a few key issues. One, the total value of Government debt is still open to debate and whether the composite debt must include liabilities of certain key parastatals such as VRA, GNPC and TOR must still be of concern. As also the debt of key Municipalities and Metropolitan Assemblies.

Two, the projected revenues are a problem with periodic budgets consistently below target and the payroll envelope is still threatening to engulf revenues.

As Parliament ducked the minority call for a stay in loan approval pending the $700million facility in court re: GNPC, the decision begged the question whether anyone had taken a closer look at ENI on the world scope. Read the rest of this entry »

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An Ebola Prayer. Critical News, 19th October 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 19, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

And true to prediction, the past week was crazier than the week before. Before we could even get to grips with all the unraveling from the Brazil 2014 Commission of enquiry, whether the players have revolted or just simply see no reason to break off their talented occupations to attend lame-duck sessions after the money has been divvied and chopped off their backs, the incompetent triple inventors of dumsor (VRA, GRIDCO and ECG) hit us with a new load shedding program. One day off, one day on.

The energy problems are far from over. We can’t privatise Akosombo, but we can do something about ECG and GRIDCO. Yet this Government continues to deliberate on what it knows is the best solution for solving the crisis.

Instead of focusing on the proper solutions, we hear preposterous ideas such as a solar farm to generate 2,000MW of energy, offshore energy barges made in Turkey and this last one the construction of a 1,000 MW sea wave power production project in Ada in the Greater Accra Region.

We are considering sea wave technology, said to have been produced in Sweden and for the first time such technology will be deployed in Ghana.

The Rance Tidal Power Station located in Brittany, France (where the technical partners for the Ghana project are from) is just 240 MW in capacity and it is the first in the world.

South Korea’s Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station with an installed capacity of 254MW is currently the single biggest tidal energy installation in the world.

A professional friend in the sector wonders how and what special factors will give Ghana a 1,000 MW of tidal energy and thereby become a quadruple of the largest in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Out of HIPC, into HIPC, Out of HIPC. Critical News, 12th October 2014

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 12, 2014

Sydney Casely-Hayford, sydney@bizghana.com

What a crazy week. And next week threatens to be even better. Is this good crazy or strange crazy? Can crazy get better or does it just mesmerize because we don’t understand the implications of future crazy?

A Deputy Director of Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF, Sanjeev Gupta countered a Government statistic and declared us HIPC in one single response to a questioner and for a few brief days until the IMF chickened out and did some damage control we were back to HIPC, with a debt to GDP ratio pitched at 71%. Government had calculated its figure at 55%.

Now the program sensitive bureaucrats at the IMF have placed the figure at 56% and rephrased Gupta’s glib remark as their estimate for the end of 2015. Read the detail from here. (http://www.citifmonline.com/2014/10/11/imf-exonerates-govt-over-debt-to-gdp-controversy/)

This controversy has mega spine implications for the people at the IMF. Without providing numbers to show how he arrived at his 71% ratio, which I will try and justify or refute later in this article, I kind of accepted the figure, based on available statistics and the state of events in the country.

I do however think it is time to get clear reference points when we place these numbers in the public domain, especially when they can be alarming and even cataclysmic.

But as an aside, I wonder if Gupta will be sent to another division. Read the rest of this entry »

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