Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 31/10/23

> Cal Bank posts GHS 170m in net profit for Q3 2023 but assets value dip to GHS 10.2bn

Cal Bank, within the third quarter of 2023, showcased a positive performance, reporting a net profit of GH¢170.3 million. This marks a notable increase of GH¢22 million compared to the previous year’s net profit of GH¢148.3 million. The figures show the bank’s resilience in the current economic landscape. The uptick in net profit was chiefly fueled by the growth in operating income, which edged up from GH¢596 million in Q3 2022 to GH¢601 million in Q3 2023.

Credit: Ghana News Online

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> Government beats GHS 2.2bn auction target; rakes in GHS 2.5b

The Government of Ghana witnessed strong demand for its short-term debt instruments, with the recent issuance of the 91-day, 182-day, and 364-day Treasury Bills being oversubscribed by GH¢270 million. The Finance Ministry raised a total of GH¢2.508 billion from primary dealers, exceeding its target of GH¢2.238 billion.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 29/09/23

> Ghana’s Public Debt increases marginally

Ghana’s public debt as at June 2023 was GH¢575.5 billion representing 71.9 percent of the national Gross Domestic Debt. The new increment is a marginal rise of GH¢6.3 billion as compared to the GH¢569.2 billion public debt recorded in April 2023. The September 2023 Bank of Ghana Summary of Economic and Financial Data reveals that, the country’s public debt has increased by GH¢27.7 billion since January 2023.

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> Cedi remains stable to US Dollar

The Ghana cedi has remained relatively stable to the US dollar since depreciating by about 20.6% on the interbank forex market in January 2023. Data available from the Bank of Ghana suggests that the local currency has lost about 22.5% to the American greenback as of September 2023. This is compared with 3.5% during the same period in 2022. The cedi came under severe pressure in January 2023 but has since slowdown in deprecation.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 31/05/23

> T-Bills auction: Government to borrow ¢2.08bn this week

The Government of Ghana will borrow GH¢2.08 billion this week on the treasury market. This will be done across the 91-day and 182-day bills to refinance GH¢1.98bn maturing bills. The amount to be raised is lower than the about GH¢3.4 billion target the previous week. Given the relatively smaller target size combined with improving liquidity in the market, analysts believe that the government will likely exceed its target. In last week’s T-bills auction, the government missed its target for the third consecutive week, as investors pushed through bids worth GH¢3.18 billion, below the target by 7.21%.

Credit: The Ghana Report

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> Pressure mounts on Cedi as it loses 9% in value to the Dollar

Pressure on the Ghana cedi continues to surge after some sterling performance two weeks ago, making it the world’s top-performing currency during the period. The local currency lost about 9% in value last week to the US dollar in the retail market to reverse the previous week’s gains. It traded at an average of GH¢11.50 to the American greenback in the retail market, whilst it went for about GH¢10.97 on the interbank market. It is expected that the forex market rates will stabilise around the current levels until the mid-year budget review.

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> Ambiguity over IMF-funded BoP support worrying – IEA

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has raised concerns over what it calls some vagueness associated with the financing and implementation of balance of payment (BoP) support Ghana will receive under the current programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IEA says the government and the fund seem not to be on the same page as regards where the funds will go to. The group’s Director of Research Dr. John Kwakye says while government communication throughout the negotiations has always maintained that the IMF programme was exclusively for BoP support, the Fund has hinted the programme could offer budgetary funding.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 12/05/23

> China and Paris Club okay Ghana’s request for IMF support

China and the Paris Club have okayed Ghana’s request for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) support, an official statement said. The creditor committee for Ghana formed by countries with eligible claims on Ghana has been formally established on 12 May 2023. A statement said “ the creditor committee examined the macroeconomic and financial situation of Ghana, including its long-term debt sustainability, and its formal request for a debt treatment under the “Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI” endorsed under the Saudi G20 Presidency in November 2020, which was also endorsed by the Paris Club.”

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> Number of self-employed persons enrolled in SSNIT pension scheme doubles

The number of self-employed persons enrolled in the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension scheme has doubled in the past nine months. This follows the rollout of a Self-Employment Enrolment Drive to provide pensions and related benefits to self-employed workers. It is in line with the Trust’s mandate to extend pension coverage to all workers, especially the self-employed.

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> Banking sector remains resilient despite economic challenges – Bo

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has confirmed that the banking sector remains solvent and resilient, providing the necessary support for economic growth despite the recent economic challenges. The BOG says that the sector is equally well-positioned to lend funds to businesses. At the launch of the ‘Absa SME loan at 10%’, second deputy-Governor of the BoG, Elsie Addo Awadzi, stated that the banking sector is able to withstand economic challenges caused by the pandemic and recent macroeconomic difficulties, thanks to the recapitalisation and clean-up exercise which occurred before the pandemic.

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> Formalising agriculture sector crucial to ending child labour – Stakeholders

Stakeholder groups say that the largely informal nature of the agriculture sector, which is a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) creates a huge bottleneck to tackling child labour and other issues pertaining to decent work. The stakeholders identified absence of formal wage structure in the primary value chain, ineffective policing of farming activities due to logistical constraints and the lack of interest in the sector to ensure compliance with decent work goals as contributors to child labour issues.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 10/05/23

> Gov’t to borrow GHS 3.33 bn from treasury market to refinance maturities; settle pension bond coupon payments

The Government of Ghana will borrow GH¢3.33 billion from the treasury market on Friday 12 May, 2023, to partly refinance maturities worth GH¢2.31 billion. Sources say that part of the GH¢3.33 billion will be used to settle coupon payments of the pension bondholders. The amount which will be the biggest so far this year will be issued via the 91-day, 182-day and 364-day Treasury bills. Analysts perceive investors bidding higher yields on liquidity squeeze, as inflation data for April 2023 is expected to be released on Wednesday, 10 May, 2023. But the $750 million loans approved by the Parliament of Ghana last week may help slow down the rise in money market yields.

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> Cedi to end 2023 at GH¢12.40 to $1 – Fitch Solutions

The Ghana cedi is expected to end 2023 at GH¢12.40 to one US dollar, Fitch Solutions has predicted. This means the rate of depreciation will be far lower than the 38% recorded last year. The research and market information firm’s argument is based on the premise that Ghana will secure an International Monetary Fund-support programme by May 2023 that will go a long way to cushion the cedi against foreign exchange pressures. It added that “while short-term exchange rate volatility will persist, we believe that the cedi will stabilise once a formal creditors’ committee is formed and the IMF executive board approves Ghana’s programme”. The cedi has so far depreciated by about 14% to the US dollar in the retail market, selling at about GH¢12. However, it has lost about 21% in value to the American greenback on the interbank forex market, going for about GH¢10.95.

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> Banks, fintechs can play significant role in meeting customers’ needs – UMB Bank CEO

TChief Executive Officer of UMB Bank, Nana Dwemoh Benneh, has said that good cooperation between banks and fintechs is essential for assuring client satisfaction in a secure and effective manner. He claims that because of this partnership, fintechs can rely on banks to supply the infrastructure necessary to maintain the security of the goods and services that clients use. Nana Dwemoh Benneh praised the role of fintechs in creating a resilient financial system during an interview with GhanaWeb Business on the sidelines of B&FT’s 2023 Money Summit held on May 9. Regarding current initiatives to integrate artificial intelligence into the banking industry, the CEO of UMB Bank remarked that the new technology will help bankers detect customers’ demands faster. The Summit which was themed; ‘Africa’s robust financial sector: The catalyst for sustainable economic growth’ brought together forward-thinking experts in the financial sector to discuss how to navigate the next wave of Fintech and the future of building a robust financial sector.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 08/05/23

> Domestic cocoa production surpasses Ivory Coast

Ghana has surpassed Ivory Coast in cocoa production over the half year 2022/23 crop season, according to the latest Cocoa Market Report by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). As of 31 March 2023, cumulative arrivals of cocoa beans in Ivory Coast were lagging behind previous season levels, while the volume of graded and sealed cocoa beans purchased in Ghana since the start of the 2022/23 season was reported at 566,846 tonnes, representing an 18 percent increase from the previous year.

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> Ghana losses $300 million worth of gas lost to flaring – PIAC report

Ghana lost $300m worth of natural gas in the upstream petroleum sector through flaring. That’s according to the 2022 Annual Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) Report on Management and Use of Petroleum Revenue. The volume of gas flared in 2022, 25.3 billion cubic feet (bcf), increased by 19.3 per cent compared to a volume of 21.2 bcf recorded in 2021. In the report titled ‘The state of the energy and extractive sectors of Ghana: Critical reforms required for sustainable economic recovery,’ the Civil Society Organisation observed that the gas was flared at a time when domestic consumption of processed gas, known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), was growing exponentially, leading to increased imports.

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> World Health Organization Says COVID-19 Is No Longer a Global Emergency

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that COVID-19 is no longer a “global health emergency”. This announcement comes after three years since the virus was first declared as a pandemic. That was in January 2020. In a statement, the WHO said “the virus’ death rate had dropped from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 on 24 April,” the BBC reported. The head of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at least 7 million people died in the pandemic.

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> West Africa Deal Summit

Impact Investing Ghana (IIGh) and Nigeria National Advisory Board for Impact Investing (Nigeria NABII) together with impact investing taskforces in Burkina Faso and Senegal have announced the 1st West Africa Deal Summit and 2nd Ghana Impact Summit slated for 16th and 17th May 2023, at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra-Ghana and virtually.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 05/05/23

> Investor demand for T-bills exceeds target by GH¢12.39bn

Investors demand for short-term papers in the primary market continues to exceed targets, recording an oversubscription of GH¢12.39billion on the back of limited investment options and attractive yields on the Treasury bills. Bills tendered by investors totaled GH¢47.3billion, approximately an average of 33 percent higher than the target of GH¢34.91billion. This has led to the rejection of marginal bids and sale of GH¢44.19billion across the 91-day, 182-day and 364-day tenors. The continuous excess uptake is expected to help the Treasury build buffers, with about GH¢30.55billion being used to refinance matured debt during the period – indicating a maturity cover of 1.55x. Fresh issuances totaling GH¢12.28billion were made.

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> SEC assures defunct Gold Coast Fund Management customers of payment of locked-up funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has assured the aggrieved customers of the defunct Gold Coast Fund Management that their petition to get their locked up funds paid will be relayed to the appropriate quarters. This comes after a three-day picketing at the premises of the commission. Receiving the petition on behalf of the Director General of SEC, the Head of Communications and External Affairs, Dr. Godwin Ansah, said his outfit will expedite processes in ensuring the customers are paid on time. “We cannot agree with the numbers by their representatives, but we were very clear in terms of what we have done so far”. “Over 73, 000 claims have actually been paid with about GH¢1.3 billion”, he added.

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> Commercial taxi drivers to be hooked onto electronic system soon – Bawumia

Commercial taxi drivers operating in the Greater Accra Region will soon be hooked onto a digital system similar to the electronic platforms being operated by Uber and Bolt. This will enable the public to seek their services at any location in the region. Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia announced this on Wednesday at the opening of the 46th Session of the General Council Meeting of the Church of Pentecost at the Pentecost Convention Centre, Gomoa-Fetteh, in the Central Region. The Vice-President Bawumia said that the piloting of the electronic taxis in Greater Accra was a practical solution to a practical problem.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 03/05/23

> 15 out of 21 banks recorded losses in 2021 – 2022 Audited Financial Statement

15 out of 21 banks that have released their 2022 Audited Financial Statement registered losses last year. This record loss is as a result of a difficult economic environment that triggered the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme or debt restructuring, impacting negatively on the operations of the financial institutions.

According to their 2022 Summary Financial Statements, most of the banks’ assets were impaired due to reduced coupon rates and the extension of the maturity period from five to 15 years, among others. Consolidated Bank was the biggest casualty, recording about GH¢2 billion loss in 2022. Indeed, the report shows that local banks were the biggest losers. But the financial intermediaries have recovered swiftly in quarter one of 2023, recording some good profits. In 2022, the six banks that recorded profit (PBT) included GT Bank (¢191m), Société Générale (GH¢172m), FBN Nigeria (GH¢102m) and UBA (GH¢91m).

Credit: The Ghanaian Standard

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> EIU Predicts: Cedi to Depreciate 30% to Dollar in 2023

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is predicting a 30% depreciation of the cedi to the dollar in 2023. This is however lower than the about 44% depreciation of the local currency in 2022. Disclosing this in its 2023 Country Report on Ghana, the UK based firm said that it expects the cedi to depreciate significantly this year. “We now expect the currency to weaken to GH¢12.46:US$1 at the end 2023 (from GH¢10.95:US$1 as at mid-April).” It said. The EIU further said that the cedi depreciation will be driven by increased demand for hard currency due to high import prices, inflation, capital flight, rising profit repatriation by Ghanaian-based multinationals and weak investor sentiment in the face of the ongoing debt crisis.

Credit: African Eye Report

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> How to Retire Early: A Guide to Financial Independence

Have you wondered how you could make extra money and achieve Financial Independence? Explore the concept of achieving this and the steps you can take to reach this goal. Whether you’re just starting on your financial journey or looking to take it to the next level, this video will provide valuable insights and actionable tips to help you achieve financial freedom.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 29/03/23

> T-Bills Auction: Government To Borrow ¢1.34bn This Week

The Government of Ghana will borrow GH¢1.34 billion on the Treasury market this Friday March 31, 2023. This will be done through the issuance of the 91-day and 182-day Treasury bills. However, the expected amount is far less than the GH¢3.206 billion target last week The uptake will be used to refinance maturing bills worth GH¢1.28bn. The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of Ghana increased the policy rate by 150 basis points to 29.50% to reinforce the pace of disinflation. Additionally, the MPC reset domestic currency deposits’ cash reserve ratio to 14.00%, from 12.00%. Analysts believe investors will price the policy rate rise into their bids at the next T-bill auction, increasing the yields.

Credit: The Ghana Report

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> Exports hit US$2.8bn in first 2 months of 2023

The Bank of Ghana has said despite the mixed performance in the prices of Ghana’s major commodities, the trade balance improved in the first two months of 2023 mainly on the back of higher export volumes. “In the first two months, total exports expanded by 11.2 per cent year-on-year to US$2.8 billion, driven mainly by higher gold, cocoa, and other export receipts”, Governor Ernest Addison said in a statement at the central bank’s recent Monetary Policy Committee meeting. The value of gold exports amounted to US$1.1 billion, representing an increase of 35.8 per cent, driven mainly by a 38.5 per cent increase in export volumes to 619,373 ounces, Dr Addison said. Cocoa beans and product exports increased by 15.5 per cent and 3.3 per cent to US$387.6 million and US$159.3 million, respectively, mainly on the back of higher production volumes, the BoG noted. The bank said earnings from ‘other’ exports, including non-traditional exports, were estimated at US$538.2 million, representing a 10.8 per cent year-on-year growth.

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> MoMo transactions hit GH¢264.1billion – Report

There has been a 72.6% growth in Mobile Money (MoMo) transactions year-on-year. According to the March 2022 Summary of Economic and Financial Data by the Bank of Ghana , the total value of mobile money transactions in the first two months of 2023 hit GH¢264.1 billion. It noted that despite the implementation of the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy), the industry has witnessed an upsurge. Compared to MoMo transactions last year, [GH¢153 billion], there has been significant growth in the first two months of 2023. In a report issued, the Bank of Ghana said, “mobile money transaction in January 2023 was estimated at GH¢130.1 billion, compared with GH¢76.2 billion during the same period in 2022.” The introduction of the E-Levy, according to the government forms part of measures to help improve its domestic revenue mobilisation.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 28/03/23

> BoG increases policy rate to 29.5%

The Bank of Ghana has increased its policy rate by 150 basis points to 29.5% to help check the high inflation and any downside risks to the economy. This means the cost of credit will continue to remain high, affecting household spending and private sector growth. Average lending rates shot up marginally to 36.64% in February 2023, from 35.58% recorded in December 2022. This is equivalent to 3.02% interest rate on loans per month. Announcing the development few minutes ago, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, said the ease in price pressures abroad will likely impact positively on Ghana’s domestic inflation profile going forward.

Credit: Ghanaian Times

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> US$1.7 billion debt relief: We will help you – China to Government of Ghana

China’s Finance Minister, Liu Kun, says his country has confidence in the management of the Ghanaian economy, and that his country would help Ghana seek debt servicing relief. At a meeting in Beijing with Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, last week, Mr. Kun said the Chinese authorities “have confidence in Ghana’s economic management and its long term economic viability.” Mr. Kun said he wanted to ensure that Ghana’s external debt treatment request was considered expeditiously and was thus accompanied to the meeting with Mr. Ofori-Atta by a high-level delegation including Mr. Wu Fuli, Chairman of China Exim-Bank. Minister Kun said “we know that these are short-term challenges which we as responsible creditors, remain committed to resolving”. “The long-standing and prosperous relationship between Ghana and China imposes on us a responsibility to help,” the Chinese Finance Minister added.

Credit: Ghana Web

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> T-bills undersubscribed for first time this year, government gets GH¢2.44 billion

For the first time in four weeks, government Treasury bills sale was undersubscribed by 23.83% to the tune of GH¢2.44 billion. This means demand for the short-term securities dipped, following four consecutive weeks of soaring investor interest. This could be attributed to the significant fall in interest rates despite the investors largely banks having limited opportunity to invest in the financial market. Some analysts believe the investors have shifted their attention to the Bank of Ghana bills which is offering a rate of 28%. According to data from the Bank of Ghana, the government secured about GH¢1.41 billion from the 91-day bill, whilst about GH¢553 million and GH¢468 million were gotten from the 182-day and one-year T-bills. Meanwhile, interest rates remained same despite a significant fall in the past three weeks. The yield on the 91-day went for 18.87%, from the previous week’s 18.52%. The yield on the 6-months bill was however estimated at 21.43% compared with 21.27% a week ago.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 24/03/23

> MIIF, GSE to launch first domestic gold-backed ETF by Q3

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF). This MoU was signed with the view to establish a practical framework for the development of stronger business relations between the two parties and set forth the procedures to create an asset class and promote the trade in minerals securities on any of the GSE’s market. As part of the collaboration, MIIF is expected to recommend all mining companies in which it has equity investments for listing on the GSE. Furthermore, MIIF will develop a sustainable mining program for small-scale miners that will provide feedstock to certified gold for an Exchange Traded Fund.

Credit: B&FT Online

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> Vodafone Cash, Mobile Money Ltd partner to enable merchant interoperability

Vodafone Ghana Mobile Financial Services Limited (Vodafone Cash) and MobileMoney Limited (MML) have enabled interoperability services that allow MTN Mobile Money and Vodafone Cash customers to pay at each other’s merchant point of sale. This is a major milestone in creating an enabling environment in furtherance of the financial inclusion agenda of both entities and the Government of Ghana. The service went live on March 1, 2023, and is available to all Vodafone Cash and MTN Mobile Money customers. Customers of both networks can now make direct payments for goods and services at any MTN Mobile Money or Vodafone Cash enabled merchant point across the country. Commenting on this development, Shaibu Haruna, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of MML indicated that “this important first step is in line with the MTN Group Ambition of developing the largest financial services platform in Africa.

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> Fitch Upgrades Ghana’s Long-Term Local-Currency IDR to ‘CCC’

The International Monetary Fund support for Ghana will likely depend on the government’s ability to show a path towards bringing the present value of debt to 55% of Gross Domestic Product, international ratings agency, Fitch Ratings, has disclosed that. This will be over the forecast horizon on the basis of the IMF/World Bank debt sustainability analysis and the ability of official bilateral creditors to provide financing assurances in the context of the Common Framework external debt restructuring that the Ghana government has requested. In its comment after upgrading Ghana’s Long-Term (LT) Local-Currency (LC) Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘CCC’ from ‘RD’, Fitch said it does not expect the provision of financing assurances, which will pave the way for an IMF Board approval of the ECF arrangement and for a new debt sustainability analysis to be published, before end of the second quarter of 2023.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 23/03/23

> Fitch Upgrades Ghana’s Long-Term Local-Currency IDR to ‘CCC’

International Ratings firm, Fitch has upgraded Ghana’s Long-Term (LT) Local-Currency (LC) Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘CCC’ from ‘RD’ (Restrictive Default) In addition to this development, Fitch said ratings on local-currency bonds issued domestically under the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme that have not matured yet, have also been upgraded to ‘CCC’ from ‘D’. A statement released on its website however reaffirmed Ghana’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency (FC) IDR at ‘RD’, representing Restrictive Default. “Fitch typically does not assign Outlooks to sovereigns with a rating of ‘CCC+’ or below,” the firm explained. It further continued, “The issue ratings on local-currency notes issued domestically that had a maturity date of 6 February 2023 and for which the remaining due principal payments were made on 13 March 2023 have been withdrawn given the expiry of these notes.” Fitch added that the recent upgrade of Ghana’s Long-Term LC-denominated debt comes after the completion Domestic Debt Exchange Programme on February 21, 2023.

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> Producer Price Inflation falls to 50.8% in February 2023

The Producer Price Inflation, which measures the average change over time in the prices received by domestic producers to produce their goods and services, fell to 50.8% in February 2023, from 52.6% in January 2023. This is in line with the Consumer Price Inflation which also took a nose dive in February 2023 to 52.8% The month-on-month change in the PPI between January 2023 and February 2023 was 7.0%. According to figures from the Ghana Statistical Service, the producer price inflation in the Industry less (minus) Construction sector decreased to 57.9% in February 2023, from 58.8% in January 2023. Also, the rate in the construction sector increased to 21.1% in February 2023 from 20.4% in January 2023. In the Services sector, the rate increased from 10.6% in January 2023 to 13.4% in February 2023. The Transportation and Storage (67.6%), Accommodation and Food Service Activities (66.5%), Mining and Quarrying (61.2%), Electricity and Gas (57.4%), and Manufacturing (55.7%) recorded rates above the national average.

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> EIU revises global growth forecast for 2023 to 2%

UK based The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has revised its global growth forecast for 2023 to 2%, from 1.9%. This upward revision, it said, reflects an improvement to the US growth outlook, which it now forecast at 0.7% for 2023 (up from 0.3% previously). “EIU expects global economic growth to slow sharply in 2023, reflecting persistent headwinds stemming from the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine, as well as high inflation and rising interest rates”, it stated in its latest Global Economic Outlook 2023. It also projected that the Chinese economy will grow by 5.7% in 2023. The recovery, it said, will be consumer-led as the exit from the country’s zero-covid policy unleashes pent-up demand for goods and services (including outbound tourism).

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 22/03/23

> Government targets GH¢3.21 billion from T-bills auction this week

The Government of Ghana will raise about GH¢3.21 billion in Treasury bills this Friday, March 24, 2023. This will be done via the 91-day, 182-day and 364-day bills. The amount raised will partly be used to refinance GH¢1.88 billion worth of maturing T-bills. Despite the large offer size, analysts believe the prevailing liquidity conditions will enable the government to reach its target. Additionally, yields will continue to fall as investor demand remains firm. The government raised GH¢3.88bn in last week’s T-bill auction. The uptake exceeded the auction target by 39.79%. Yields on the 91-day and 182-day retreated to 18.53% (-147 basis points week-on-week) and 21.27% (-158 basis points week-on-week).

Credit: Ghana Web

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> Trading of government bonds falls by 21.09% to ¢119.05m

Volume traded on the new Government of Ghana bonds fell by 21.09% week-on-week to GH¢119.05 million last week. This follows the completion of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme. According to the weekly market update, trading activity on GoG bonds dipped last week as aggregate volume traded retreated 21.09% week-on-week to GH¢119.05 million. The new bonds did not get much traction as they constituted 34% of market turnover. The front end of the yield curve compressed by 90 basis points, with only the 2027 – 2030 maturities traded for the new bonds on the market. Analysts believe the new bonds will continue to trade around par levels this week, with little activity expected on the market.

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> Safety, integrity of payment ecosystem remain priorities – BoG

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has said it is committed to preserving the safety and integrity of the payment and financial ecosystem in the face of the ongoing economic crisis. Head of Fintech and Innovation at the central bank, Kwame Oppong, said the BoG has put in place a number measures to safeguard the burgeoning payments space against possible shocks, so as to consolidate the gains made so far. He added that the bank is constantly exploring innovations to maintain soundness of the financial sector, particularly in technology-driven financial solutions.

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> Energy Ministry releases 2000 pre-paid meters for Kejetia market

Energy Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh has assured Kejetia market traders who have been protesting for a separate pre-paid meter system for each shop that their demands will soon be met. The Manhyia South MP gave the assurance when he visited the burnt portion of the Kejetia market extension lane on Monday, March 20, 2023. Addressing the traders, he disclosed that 2000 pre-paid meters have arrived in Kumasi for ECG to begin installation soon. Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh who was in the company of Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, First Lady Samiratu Bawumia, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, Interior Minister Ambrose Dery and Mr. Fred Oware paid a visit to Kejetia fire victims to empathize with them.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 17/03/23

> Fuel Prices Fall By 7% Per Litre At Pumps

Some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have started reducing prices of petroleum products at the pumps from today, March 16, 2023. A leading OMC, GOIL is selling a litre of petrol for GH¢12.95 and diesel for GH¢13.49. TotalEnergies has also cut prices of petroleum products at the pumps, selling a litre of petrol at GH¢12.95 and diesel for GH¢13.49 litre. Shell is also selling a litre of diesel for ¢13.49 and petrol for GH¢12.95 per litre. Another OMC, Petrosol is selling a litre of petrol at GH¢12.97, whereas diesel is going for GH¢13. 37 per litre. Based on the adjustments, diesel has fallen by 2.29% per litre, whilst petrol has gone down by about 6.56%. The reduction is in line with the two weeks review of prices of petroleum products Some industry players have attributed the reduction to the stability of the cedi and a fall in the price of the commodity on the world market.

Credit: Ghana Report

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> Ghana ranks 1st with Africa’s highest outstanding loans to IMF

Ghana is the most indebted African country to the International Monetary Fund though the country’s debt to the Fund was unchanged at $1.70bn in January 2023. According to the Fund’s Quarterly Finances ending January 31, 2023, Ghana’s outstanding loans to the International Monetary Fund stood at 1.278 billion Special Drawing Rights (SDR 1.278 billion) at the end of January 2023, equivalent to $1.708 billion. This is out of Africa’s total loans outstanding of SDR 16.15 billion to the Bretton Wood institution as of January 31, 2023. The country has, however, so far repaid SDR 53 million, equivalent to $75.7 million to the IMF. Ghana’s loan exposure to the Bretton Woods institution is classified as concessional lending. Concessional loan comes with a low-interest financing. Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya were ranked 2nd and 3 in Africa with the largest outstanding loans of SDR 1.142 billion and SDR 1.015 respectively to the Fund as of January 2023. They have also received a disbursement of SDR 304 million and SDR 239 to boost their balance of payments.

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> Volkswagen takes over the responsibility of vehicle assembly in Ghana

Volkswagen has opened a new vehicle assembly facility in Accra, Ghana , reaffirming its commitment to the development of the automotive industry in Ghana, Fresh Angle International scooped from a syndicated report. The report sent earlier today, Thursday March 16, to This Newspaper , noted that with the move, Volkswagen also took over the new vehicle assembly responsibility from its licensed importer in Ghana, Universal Motors Limited (UML). UML was awarded the assembly contract when Volkswagen officially established Volkswagen Ghana, a 100% Volkswagen subsidiary, in August 2020. UML assembled models such as Tiguan, Teramont, Passat, Polo, Amarok and T-Cross on behalf of Volkswagen using Semi-Knocked Down (SKD) assembly kits imported from South Africa.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 14/03/23

> T-bills auction: Interest rates fall to 19%; government gets ¢4.20bn

Interest rates fell significantly within just a week, following the government’s decision to reject bids with higher yields. According to the latest auction by the Bank of Ghana, the 91-day yield fell once again to 19.99% from 24.16% last week. From a high of 35% a week ago, interest rates on the short term securities have dipped significantly on the yield curve. Whilst the 91-day bill yield has fallen by 16%, that of the 182-day bill has plunged by about 13%, going for 22.84%. The 364-day bill has also dropped by about 9% to 26.82% on Friday March 10, 2023. The significant fall of the yield of the T-bills means government will further save interest costs. Last week, government saved about GH¢220 million from the reduction in T-bills yields. Analysts and market watchers expect the rates to come down in the coming weeks.

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> GRA to complete E-VAT implementation in December 2024

An Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Value Added Tax (VAT) Administration with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Philip Acquah, has remarked that migration of businesses onto the Electronic Valued Added Tax (E-VAT) system is scheduled to end in December 2024. The pilot phase, which started with 50 taxpayers across different sectors, was completed in October 2022. The government has begun Phase One of the implementation process with 600 taxpayers in the same industries/sectors and is scheduled to end in June 2023. Phase two of the E-VAT implementation is projected to begin in December 2023. Mr. Acquah disclosed this during a Quarterly Tax Dialogue Seminar Series on the implication of the E-VAT on businesses in Ghana, hosted by the UK- Ghana Chamber of Commerce in partnership with PwC Ghana.

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> Ring The Bell For Gender Equality

Ghana Stock Exchange hosted a ‘Ring The Bell’ ceremony and panel event as part of the World Federation of Exchanges’ nod to Women’s Month. Guest Speakers Ruka Sanusi – Ghana Climate Innovation Centre, Amma Gyampo – ScaleUp Africa and Dzifa Amegashie – CAL Bank delivered a lively and interactive session – sharing insights with young women in Tech and experienced professional leaders from several listed companies. “Corporate Leaders and Boards must dedicate budget lines to Gender focused initiatives and Women-Led support organisations – improving digital skills, connectivity, services etc. The cost of mobile hardware must also be looked to close the Digital Divide. When Women are doing well with Health, Education, Nutrition and their Livelihoods, everyone does well. It’s good for Business.”

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 13/03/23

> Standard Bank may re-capitalise Ghana subsidiary… makes $81m provision for Ghana bond losses

Africa’s biggest lender by assets, Standard Bank is ready to re-capitalise its Ghanaian unit after making provisions to cover more than half of its holdings in the nation’s debt. “It may become necessary for us to inject capital in that business and we will, at the appropriate time,” Chief Executive Officer, Sim Tshabalala said in an interview Thursday. Banks in Ghana are staring at losses after President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government restructured GH¢83 billion(US$6.8 billion) of local debt as part of a move to finalize a US$3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Standard Bank on Thursday joined FirstRand Ltd. in accounting for the impairment. Standard Bank said it had set aside 1.5 billion rand ($81 million) to cover potential losses arising from the West African nation’s loan-restructuring program. The bank said its total holdings of both domestic and onshore dollar-denominated bonds is about 2.6 billion rand.

Credit: Ghanaian Times

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> Silicon Valley Bank: Regulators take over as failure raises fears

US regulators have shut down Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and taken control of its customer deposits in the largest failure of a US bank since 2008. The moves came as the firm, a key tech lender, was scrambling to raise money to plug a loss from the sale of assets affected by higher interest rates. Its troubles prompted a rush of customer withdrawals and sparked fears about the state of the banking sector. Officials said they acted to “protect insured depositors”. Silicon Valley Bank faced “inadequate liquidity and insolvency”, banking regulators in California, where the firm has its headquarters, said as they announced the takeover . The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which typically protects deposits up to $250,000, said it had taken charge of the roughly $175bn (£145bn) in deposits held at the bank, the 16th largest in the US. Bank offices would reopen and clients with insured deposits would have access to funds “no later than Monday morning”, it said, adding that money raised from selling the bank’s assets would go to uninsured depositors.

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> African Development Bank predicts stable GDP growth for African economies

African economies remain resilient with a stable outlook in 2023-2024 despite the tightening global financial conditions, the African Development Bank has projected in a new report. The report, Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) 2023, estimates Africa’s average GDP to stabilise at 4 percent in the next two years, up from 3.8 percent in 2022. Presenting the report on 17th February on the sidelines of the 36th African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, African Development Bank Chief Economist and Vice President Kevin Urama said that the continent could benefit from high demand for its commodities as countries seek alternatives for food and energy in response to disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 02/03/23

> Ghana’s Eurobonds extend declines as debt restructuring hits snag

Ghana’s Eurobonds extended declines on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, after the country missed a self-imposed deadline to restructure its bilateral debt and S&P Global Ratings warned bondholders that they could face larger losses than anticipated. The nation’s 2032 dollar securities dropped 0.5% to 36.8 cents to the dollar by 8:18 a.m. in London, bringing their decline this week to 1.7%. Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta wanted to reach a restructuring agreement with bilateral creditors by the end of February 2023 to help qualify for a US$3 billion International Monetary Fund programme. So far, Ghana has only partially completed the domestic-debt part of the exchange programme. Meanwhile, S&P said Ghana may have to ask external creditors to write off as much as 50% of the debt it owes them — far higher than the 30% the government initially considered.

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> Domestic Debt Exchange: BoG reiterates position of closely monitoring banks to prevent insolvency

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has reiterated that it is closely monitoring some developments among banks due to the Domestic Debt Exchange which is increasing liquidity pressures. This is to help reduce any pressure on their balance sheet and consequently avert the probability of insolvency. Speaking on behalf of the Governor at the Induction Ceremony of the Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors, Head of Resolution Office, Elliot Amoako, said macro prudential risk assessment of the banking sector indicates an emergence of spill over from the current economic challenges on the banking industry. He, however, appealed to the insolvency practitioners to support the regulator in making the financial sector stable.

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> Labadi Beach Hotel presents ¢10m dividend to SSNIT

Ghana’s premier 5-Star Hotel, Labadi Beach Hotel has presented a dividend of GH¢10 million for the year 2021 to its sole shareholder, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT). This achievement is unprecedented in the history of the company. Since its inception in 1991, the hotel has led Ghana’s hospitality industry, providing exceptional services to its cherished guests, and thus contributing immensely to the tourism sector and by extension the economy of Ghana. Commenting on the spectacular achievement by the hotel, Professor Douglas Boateng, Interim Board Chairman said “we owe this achievement to the staff of Labadi Beach Hotel. Despite all the challenges, they were able to deliver customer driven service quality, enabling both local and international clients to patronize the hotel”.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 28/02/23

> Ghana’s debt-to-GDP to decline to about 58% by 2026 based on 30% haircut on external debt – S&P

Ghana’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio (excluding guaranteed debt) would decline to about 58% of GDP by 2026, rating agency, S&P Global has predicted. This is from about 80% of GDP at year-end 2022, based on an exchange rate of GH¢10.15 to $1 versus current spot exchange rates of about GH¢12.86. However, this is based under a scenario of a 30% haircut on external debt and assuming that the dollar value of Ghanaian GDP over the next three years remains close to last year’s figure of $67 billion — calculated at average exchange rates. This, it said, assumes cumulative fiscal consolidation of the underlying budget (excluding interest payments) of about 3 percentage points of GDP between year-end 2022 and year-end 2026, amid a solid recovery of GDP growth to above 5% starting 2024.

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> GSE to introduce Commercial Paper and Private Capital Markets

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) will soon introduce two new debt markets – the Commercial Paper Market and Private Capital Market. This will enable listed companies to raise short-term funds to meet their financing needs. The move by the GSE is aimed at improving liquidity on the market. David Tetteh, a Consultant at the GSE, said there is the need to introduce these markets since Ghanaians better appreciate them. Due to this, the GSE is developing market products that are similar to loans to cater for the needs of Ghanaian investors and businesses. Mr. Tetteh said the Commercial Paper Market and Private Capital Market are similar to loans, and will allow companies to raise short-term funds to meet their financing needs.

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> T-bills auction: Government gets ¢5.06bn; sale oversubscribed by 75%

Government Treasury bills sale were oversubscribed by 75% to the tune of GH¢5.06 billion. According to the auction result published by the Bank of Ghana, participation of the 91-day T-bill was almost to the tune of GH¢3 billion. Indeed, the 91-day and the 364-day bills recorded immense investor participation. Whilst the 3-months received bids of about GH¢2.93 billion, that of the one-year bill got bids worth about GH¢1.46 billion. All the bids were, however, accepted by the government. For the 182-day bill, all the bids of about GH¢665 million were accepted. Meanwhile, interest rates retreated further for the third week running. Whilst the yield on the 91-day T-bill went down marginally by 0.12% to 35.54%, the six months bill also fell by 0.16% to 35.84%. The interest rate on the 364-day bill also stood at 34.12%.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 22/02/23

> Telecel Group completes agreement to acquire majority shares in Vodafone Ghana

Vodafone Group Plc has completed the transfer of its 70% majority shares in Vodafone Ghana (Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited – GTCL), to the Telecel Group after successfully obtaining all the necessary regulatory approvals, including the agreement of the Government of Ghana, as a minority shareholder. This is the most recent major change for the Ghanaian telecommunications company since 2008 when Vodafone Group Plc purchased a controlling interest in GTCL and established Vodafone Ghana. Telecel is an Africa-focused telecommunication company, with a brand founded in 1986, operating primarily in Africa and converging telecommunication with fintech, e-commerce, and tech startups. The completion of the agreement to acquire Vodafone Ghana by Telecel Group presents an opportunity for further innovation and continued delivery of unparalleled services to Ghanaians.

Credit: Pulse.com.gh

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> Bolt to invest over €500 Million in Africa

Bolt, the leading mobility app in Africa has announced plans to invest €500 million in its operations on the continent over the next two years. The funds will be used to expand Bolt services in Africa and create opportunities for over 300,000 new drivers and couriers to join the platform in 2023. Having launched in South Africa in 2016, Bolt now operates ride-hailing and delivery services in six further countries – Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Tunisia – with over 47 million customers and 900,000 drivers on the platform. Bolt Business, Bolt’s corporate travel arm, has also been introduced in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya, offering local businesses safe and affordable ways for their employees to travel. Bolt has also announced that it has surpassed 1 billion rides in Africa in just seven years and expects the number of drivers on the platform to hit over 1 million in the next six months.

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> NCA slapped with GH¢20,000 cost over appeal

A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Senyo Dzamefe has dismissed an appeal filed by National Communications Authority (NCA) over a GH¢20,000 damages awarded against it by the High Court. On July 22, 2021, the High Court in Accra (General Jurisdiction) presided over by Justice Rebecca Sittie in an Application filed by private Legal practitioner Francis Kwarteng Arthur ordered Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited and Scancom (MTN Ghana Limited) and all network service providers not to release subscribers Mobile Money details to government. The court in its judgement also awarded a cost of GH¢20,000 each against Kelni GVG and NCA and a further GH¢10,000 against Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited in favour of the plaintiff. Unhappy with the damages aspect of the judgement, the NCA initiated an appeal to challenge the cost slapped by the High Court.

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> The Government Announces the Final Principal Amounts of New Bonds

The finance ministry has announced the final principal amounts of new bonds in the settlement of the domestic debt exchange programme (DDEP). The statement which detailed the new bonds and their corresponding ISINs noted that the new bonds will be credited to the holder’s securities account at the Central Securities Depository (CSD) from which their Eligible Bonds were tendered. A statement issued by the Finance Ministry said: “In anticipation of the settlement of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) on 21St February 2023, the Government announces the aggregate principal amount of each series of New Bonds, which amounts, together with the corresponding ISINs, are set forth in Appendix A attached hereto and organized by the category of holders set forth in the Amended and Restated Exchange Memorandum dated as of 3rd February 2023 (the “Exchange Memorandum”).” The government announced the successful completion of the debt exchange programme after it stated that more than 85% of the participation target had been achieved.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 21/02/23

> The Government Announces Successful Results of its Domestic Debt Exchange with Approximately 85% Participation Rate and A New Settlement Date

The Government of Ghana has secured GH¢2.759 billion from treasury bills in its latest auction on February 17, 2023. Treasury bills were over-subscribed by GH¢1.051 billion. According to the auction results from the Central Bank, the government secured GH¢2.32 billion from the 91-day bill and GH¢435.19 million from the 182-day bill. The 365-day bill did not have any subscriptions. The target for the auction was GH¢1.7 billion. However, even though the subscriptions surpassed the target, it was lower than the GH¢3.35 billion secured by the government in last week’s auction. The interest rates however hovered around 35.8%.

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> Inflation to peak in Q1, end year at 19.5%

Headline inflation is expected to see a downward slide in the coming months, according to projections by several market watchers. The rate is expected to peak this quarter; however, market watchers are predicting a bullish forecast that 2023 could end with a consumer inflation rate of 19.5 percent versus the 54.1 percent recorded at the close of 2022. Consumer inflation decelerated marginally to 53.6 percent on a year-on-year basis in January, from a more than 20-year peak in December 2022 – marking the first time since May 2021 that inflation dipped, according to official figures from Ghana Statistical Services (GSS). The recent drop, according to GSS, was driven largely by a fall in non-food inflation which dropped to 47.9 percent; with food and non-alcoholic beverages being the major contributors to overall inflation, while food inflation in January, mostly from imported sources, rose slightly to 61 percent.

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> Gold for oil: Second consignment of 40,000 metric tonnes arrives

Another 40,000 metric tonnes of oil has arrived in Ghana through the gold-for-oil programme. It was delivered on Sunday, 19 February 2023, at the Tema Port. The first consignment of 41,000 metric tonnes arrived in late December last year. Last week, the Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), Mr Edwin Provencal, announced that the price of fuel is expected to fall by GH¢1 in the coming days as Ghana prepares to take delivery of four more oil consignments through the gold-for-oil programme. Mr Provencal told Accra-based Asaase Radio on Monday, 13 February 2023, in an interview that BOST is working with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to increase these consignments.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 14/02/23

> Finance Minister to appear before Parliament on Thursday over DDEPr

The Government of Ghana is seeking Indian investment in its oil and gas sector, William Owuraku Ghana’s Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, is scheduled to brief Parliament on the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme on Thursday, February 16. Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, said this when he presented the Business Statement of the House for the week ending Friday, February 17. He said the leadership had engaged the Minister pursuant to the Speaker’s directive to the Business Committee to invite him to make a policy brief on the Debt Exchange Programme on Tuesday, February 14. However, Mr Afenyo-Markin said the Minister indicated that he had committed to an earlier engagement on behalf of the Government on the said Tuesday. He had accordingly agreed to attend upon the House for the policy brief on Thursday, February 16.

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> T-bills auction: government secures ¢3.37bn but at higher interest rates

The Government of Ghana secured GH¢3.37 billion from the sale of Treasury bills, about 22.45% oversubscription. According to the latest auction of the short-term instruments by the Bank of Ghana, GH¢2.086 billion was mobilised from the 91-day T-bill. However, the government accepted GH¢2.075 billion of the bills tendered. Also, GH¢876.6 million was obtained from the 364-day bill, out of which government accepted GH¢875.68 million. For the 182-day T-bill, the government accepted GH¢398.65 million from a total bid of GH¢415.55 million. The data shows that investors are taking advantage of the high yield which will hurt the government in the future. Government is offering this rate because presently the treasury market is its only source of borrowing, hence the need to entice the market participants. However, interest rates remained high, raising concern about the servicing of the debt instruments in six months or one year to come. The interest rates are still hovering around 35%.

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> Ghana’s oil production to grow slightly to 145,390bpd in 2024 – Report

Ghana’s oil production will grow slightly in the near term, with crude oil and other liquids production increasing from 142,440 barrels per day in 2022 to 145,390, Fitch Solutions has disclosed This projection follows recent investments by Tullow Oil. Here is more. It said the investments to propel this moderate growth consists of a multi-year drilling campaign at the Jubilee and Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) fields which currently account for approximately 80% of Ghana’s upstream output. In 2022, Tullow’s investments included four new wells. However, in 2023, Tullow, plans on introducing 6 wells which will come online by the third quarter. These investments, Fitch Solutions, believe will enable Ghana’s oil industry to reverse natural declines and moderately boost short-term production with production at the Jubilee field expected to exceed 100,000 barrels per day in 2024.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 13/02/23

> Government Seeks Indian Investment in Oil and Gas Sector

The Government of Ghana is seeking Indian investment in its oil and gas sector, William Owuraku Aidoo, Deputy Energy Minister, said on Wednesday. Ghana has asked India to consider the exploration of three blocks in the western basin and to build refineries as the African nation aims to construct a petroleum hub, Aidoo said. “There are some opportunities in Ghana especially in the oil and gas front. We have some oil blocks available and we came here hoping to attract Indian investments,” Aidoo told Reuters after a meeting with Indian oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri at India Energy Week. He said Ghana will award exploration licences through direct negotiations if Indian companies are interested. Ghana wants India to consider three blocks in the western basin, he said. Apart from offering exploration opportunities, Ghana is also seeking Indian support to build refineries of about 300,000 barrels per day.

Credit: The Ghana Report

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> Ghana Airlines to start operations in 2023 – Transport Minister

The Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah has announced that Ghana Airlines will start operations this year (2023). The airline will operate as the country’s national carrier, following the decision to award Ashanti Airlines, and its operational and financial partner, Zotus Group, a tender to commence business. “The time has come to return Ghana to the aviation map,” Mr. Asiamah said in a statement issued by Zotus Group. Mr. Asiamah added that “learning from past experiences and following best practices within the aviation industry, it is best to collaborate with the private sector.” The Ashanti Group was shortlisted among other bidders, through a competitive process. The initiative subsequently received cabinet approval for the strategic partnership on February 24, 2022. Ghana Airlines will be funded by the Zotus Group and will commence operations with flights to several domestic and regional routes, including services on global and European routes.

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> Engen and Vivo Energy to combine to create a Pan-African Energy Champion

Engen and Vivo Energy have announced a combination of their respective African businesses to create one of Africa’s largest energy distribution companies. The combined group will have over 3,900 service stations and more than two billion litres of storage capacity across 27 African countries. Engen is the clear market leader in South Africa and has around 1,300 service stations across seven African countries. Vivo Energy is a major pan-African retailer and distributor of fuels and lubricants to retail and commercial customers, with over 2,600 service stations across 23 African countries, using the Engen and Shell brands. PETRONAS will sell its 74% shareholding in Engen to Vivo Energy at completion. The Phembani Group, PETRONAS’ long-standing partner in Africa and Engen’s B-BBEE shareholder, is continuing its strong association with Engen and will remain invested as a 21% shareholder in the South African business. The transaction will further benefit employees of Engen through a newly implemented 5% employee share ownership programme, resulting in Engen South Africa being 26% owned by previously disadvantaged parties.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 09/02/23

> Akufo-Addo appoints K.T. Hammond as new trade minister

President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has made new ministerial appointments to his government. Kobina Tahiru Hammond has been appointed Minister of Trade and Industry while Dr. Stephen Amoah will serve as Deputy Trade Minister. Bryan Acheampong will now head the Ministry of Food and Agriculture while Osei Bonsu Amoah who been named as Minister of State at the Ministry of Local Government. Mohammed Amin Adam has also been appointed as Minister of State at the Finance Ministry. Former SIGA Director-General, Stephen Asamoah Boateng will now serve as Chieftaincy Minister while Herbert Krapah has been appointed as Deputy Energy Minister by the president.

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> Rice import bill hits GH¢6.8 billion

Ghanaians spent over GH¢6.8billion (equivalent to US$560 million at current market rates) importing rice, last year. While total rice consumption stood at 1.4 million metric tonnes in 2022, imports valued at US$560 million accounted for 800,000 metric tonnes (mt) of the consumption figure, with domestic production catering for the remaining demand – according to data from IDH Sustainable Trade, a foundation headquartered in The Netherlands. Similarly, according to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, between 2010 and 2020 the country’s rice imports hit a staggering US$8billion. This, in addition to imports of other food items that can be produced locally, has been a major source of concern for stakeholders.

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> NPA to drag 43 indebted OMCs to court by February 22

The National Petroleum Authority has warned some 43 Oil Marketing Companies that are indebted to Primary Distribution Margin Fund to pay up by February 22, 2023, or face legal action. According to the NPA, “the Authority shall publish the names of the Directors and Shareholders of the defaulting OMCs who fail to settle their debt within the said period as well as take any legal action without further recourse to them.” The OMCs include Apex Petroleum Ghana Ltd, Black Rock Energy Ltd, Petra Energy Ltd, Rich Oil Company Ltd, and Santol Energy Ltd. The statement from the Corporate Affairs Directorate of the NPA said the 43 Companies would also face all regulatory laws.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 08/02/23

> DDEP: Govt provides administrative window to bondholders after deadline

The Government of Ghana has announced an administrative window for bondholders to complete processes for tendering their bonds. A statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and signed by the Sector Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, said the window ends at 4pm on Friday February 10, 2023. According to the statement, the extension of the window is as a result of technical challenges experienced by some bondholders as they tried to complete the online tender process. It is believed that a sudden rush by bondholders to sign up close to the deadline placed a strain on the IT infrastructure. The statement explained that the timetable of the exchange remains unaffected except for the announcement date which is now Monday February 13. Accordingly, the settlement of exchange remains the scheduled date of Tuesday February 14, 2023.

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> Ghana Gas to build second processing plant; 1.5k jobs assured

The Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) has signed a project agreement for the construction of a second Gas Processing Plant (Train 2) during a ceremony held at the Gas House Forecourt in Accra. The Gas Processing Plant will have a capacity of 150 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) and can be expanded to 300 MMscfd to process incremental gas from the Jubilee and TEN fields. The project will create 1,500 direct and indirect jobs for people in the company’s operational areas. Speaking at the ceremony, Board Chairman of GNGC, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, stated that the project will improve the operations of GNGC and support government’s industrialization agenda.

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> Govt To Raise GH¢2.76Bn In T-Bills

The government will raise GH¢2.76 billion on Friday, February 10, 2023, to refinance Treasury bill maturities worth GH¢2.53 billion. This will be issued via the 91-day, 182-day and and 364-day bills. With such a large size on offer, the yields are expected to continue the upward trajectory, but marginally. Following the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme, which has triggered the suspension of the issuance of bonds, the short term securities market remain the only source of borrowing for the government. Consequently, investors have no option than to invest in the treasury market for gains. Last week, the government mobilised GH¢1.95 billion from the treasury market as it accepted all bids tendered.

Credit: The Custodian GH Online

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 06/02/23

> $1 now exchanges for ¢12.50 as cedi continues to appreciate against US dollar

The Ghana cedi continued its marginal improvement against the US dollar on February 3, 2023, selling at GH¢12.50. This is about 3.1% gain to the American ‘greenback’ since the beginning of this week (January 30, 2022). Between February 2, 2023 and February 3, 2023, the cedi gained about 10 pesewas in value to the world’s powerful currency. Some market operators have described the cedi’s performance against the dollar in particular as surprising since the country’s reserves have fallen significantly to about 2.0 months of import cover, whilst its Net Foreign Asset is also negative. However, the significant progress made by the government on the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) could be the rationale behind the cedi’s recent performance. This is assuring investors that the government is committed to bringing the country’s debt to a sustainable level, and subsequently building a robust fiscal economy.

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> Government to securitize $3.3 billion in Central Bank loans

Ghana plans to convert an estimated GH¢40 billion ($3.3 billion) of loans owed to the Bank of Ghana into bonds, making the Central Bank the single largest holder of domestic government securities and exposing it to the ongoing debt restructuring process. According to people familiar with the matter, the bonds will be issued by the finance ministry and will also cover the interest owed to the Bank of Ghana . There are no details on a timeline for the securitization, but the government is seeking to conclude the restructuring of its public debt this quarter with a view to securing International Monetary Fund (IMF) board approval by the end of March. The securitized central bank loan will be added to the list of domestic debt under restructuring, according to the sources. The new bonds would bring the central bank into Ghana’s ongoing debt restructuring process, under which the government is asking investors to swap out GH¢137.3 billion ($11.2 billion) worth of local government securities into new notes with less attractive terms. The voluntary exchange has a February 7 deadline.

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> Ghana Gas signs US$700m deal for second gas processing plant

The Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) on Friday signed a Project Implementation Agreement with its joint venture partners to construct a second Gas Processing Plant (GPP Train 2) at an estimated cost of US$700 million. The gas plant would be sited at Atuabo in the Ellembele District of the Western Region and is expected to be completed within 24 months. It would generate 1,500 direct and indirect jobs within the Atuabo power enclave. At the signing ceremony in Accra, Dr Benjamin K. D. Asante, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNGC, initialed for the Ghana Gas while Dr Hilton John Mitchell, a representative of the Consortium, comprising the Integrated Logistics Bureau Limited, Jonmoore International, Phoenix Park Limited and African Finance Corporation, signed for the rest of the partners.

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 30/01/23

> Ghana’s debt stock hits GH¢575bn; debt to GDP ratio now 93.5%

Ghana’s public debt stock stood at GH¢575.7 billion at the end of November 2022, about 93.5% of Gross Domestic Product, the Bank of Ghana’s January 2023 Summary of Economic and Financial Data has disclosed The debt stock increased by GH¢108.3 billion between September and November 2021, indicating that the country’s debt was unsustainable. This triggered a debt restructuring in which the Domestic Debt Exchange is expected to end on January 31, 2023. According to the data from the Central Bank, the external component of the total public debt shot up to $29.2 billion (GH¢382.7 billion) in November 2022, equivalent to 62.1% of GDP. This was from $28.4 billion (GH¢271.7 billion) in September 2022 and $28.3 billion in December 2021. From the figures, the about 37% depreciation of the cedi to the dollar in 2022 was the main cause of the significant jump in the cedi component of the external debt.

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>MF Presses Ghana to Stop Borrowing From Its Central Bank

Bloomberg reported that the International Monetary Fund is pushing Ghana’s cash-strapped government to stop borrowing from its central bank, according to people familiar with the matter. The IMF wants the two entities to sign a commitment to zero-financing, said the people who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The accord is a condition Ghana is required to meet in order to secure final approval for a $3 billion IMF bailout, one of the people said. According to the report, an IMF spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Also, spokespeople for the Ghanaian finance ministry and the central bank didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Credit: Bloomberg

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>Ghana’s balance of payments deficit worsens to $3.64 billion

Ghana’s balance of payments further deteriorated to a deficit of $3.64 billion in December from a $3.4 billion deficit the previous quarter, central bank data published on Saturday. The West African nation is facing an economic crisis that saw consumer inflation rise to 54.1% last month. The cedi currency has depreciated around 50% annually, and interest payments on government debt have swelled to between 70% and 100% of GDP. Recent balance of payments woes have been largely driven by a sharp reversal in capital flows, with Ghana’s capital account deficit having worsened to $2.18 billion in December from $1.64 billion in September. At the same time last year, Ghana had a capital account surplus of more than $3.3 billion.

Credit: Reuters

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>MB launches two new Life Insurance products with SIC Life

Two leaders in Ghanaian financial services, Universal Merchant Bank and SIC Life Limited launched two new life insurance solutions, namely the UMB Education Plan and the UMB Funeral plan. This was done in a short but colorful ceremony in the Bank’s boardroom in Accra. The solutions are being marketed to the public as UMB Bancassurance are, underwritten by SIC Life. Bancassurance is an arrangement between a bank and an insurance company allowing the insurance company to sell its products through the Bank’s distribution and service channels. The UMB Educational Plan ensures that the account value at maturity is substantial enough to meet educational expenses of the assured or that of their children.

Credit: Ghana Web

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 26/01/23

> Ghana Begins Receiving Payments for Reducing Carbon Emissions in Forest Landscapes

Ghana has become the second country in Africa after Mozambique to receive payments from a World Bank trust fund for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, commonly known as REDD+. The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) paid Ghana $4,862,280 for reducing 972,456 tons of carbon emissions for the first monitoring period under the program (June to December 2019). “This payment is the first of four under the country’s Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the World Bank to demonstrate potential for leveraging results based payments for carbon credits,” said Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. “Subject to showing results from actions taken to reduce deforestation, Ghana is eligible to receive up to $50 million for 10 million tons of CO2 emissions reduced by the end of 2024.”

Credit: Modern Diplomacy

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>Ministry of Trade and Industry launches SME high growth scheme

The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, is implementing the SME High Growth Programme under the World Bank-funded Ghana Economic Transformation Project (GETP) for Small and Medium-size enterprises to boost the sector.  The programme is also part of the government’s initiative to promote private enterprise as a vehicle for sustainable job creation and economic growth. The SME High-Growth is a Challenge Fund under the GETP, aimed at providing productivity and competitiveness-enhancing support to small and medium-sized enterprises in targeted non-resource-based sectors.

Credit: Ghana Business News

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>Government to raise ¢1.28bn in T-bills to refinance maturities worth ¢1.07bns

The Government of Ghana will raise GH¢1.28 billion to refinance Treasury bill maturities worth GH¢1.07 billion in the upcoming T-bill auction on Friday January 28, 2022. This is coming after the government missed its treasury bills target by 20%, as a result of the uncertainty over the Domestic Debt Exchange (DDE) programme which has been resolved to some extent due to the agreement between the banks and the government. The government will mobilise the funds from the issuance of the 91-day, 182-day and 364-day T-bills. Last week, the government saw an under-subscription in the T-bill auction as investor demand dropped. The Treasury accepted all the bills to the tune of GH¢1.93 billion bids tendered.

Credit: The Ghana Report

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 18/01/23

> Ghana Airlines to start operations in 2023 – Transport Minister

The Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah has announced that Ghana Airlines will start operations this year (2023). The airline will operate as the country’s national carrier, following the decision to award Ashanti Airlines, and its operational and financial partner, Zotus Group, a tender to commence business. “The time has come to return Ghana to the aviation map,” Mr. Asiamah said in a statement issued by Zotus Group. Mr. Asiamah added that “learning from past experiences and following best practices within the aviation industry, it is best to collaborate with the private sector.” The Ashanti Group was shortlisted among other bidders, through a competitive process. The initiative subsequently received cabinet approval for the strategic partnership on February 24, 2022. Ghana Airlines will be funded by the Zotus Group and will commence operations with flights to several domestic and regional routes, including services on global and European routes.

Credit: My Joy Online

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>Depreciation of local currency, a result of pressure on economy – Governor

Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Monday said, several factors account for the depreciation of the local currency. He, therefore, attributed the depreciation of the local currency to the day-to-day pressures on the economy. Although the cedi appreciated against the dollar during the last two months of 2022, it is currently depreciating further against the dollar. The cedi which appreciated GH¢8 to a dollar around December 2022 is currently selling GH¢13 to a dollar. Dr Addison explained when he appeared at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament that the cedi depreciation reflected the movement daily. He said: “If there is additional demand for the cedis the currency will be restricted. The Central Bank cannot fix the exchange rate, it depends on what transactions have taken place…like payments to contractors.” “Typically, that kind of payment can move the exchange rate because some of them immediately convert into foreign exchange. So, the exchange reflects a lot of day-to-day pressures in the economy,” he said.

Credit: Ghana Business News

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>First consignment of Gold for oil can last 10-15 days

The first consignment of petroleum products delivered under the Government’s Gold for Oil Policy can serve consumers between 10 to 15 days, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) has said. The Company confirmed to the Ghana News Agency that it has taken delivery of about 41,000 metric tonnes of the petroleum products, valued at about $43 million at the Tema Port. Mr Marlick Adjei, Head of Communications, BOST, told the GNA that the Company was in the process of completing the necessary protocols to begin discharging the products into its tanks for onward sale to Bulk Distributing Companies (BDCs). The Government announced the Gold for Oil Policy in November last year as an innovative measure to exchange gold for petroleum products instead of US Dollars. The Government said the move was intended to reduce the demand for dollars for the importation of petroleum products and by extension reduce the rate of depreciation of the Cedi.

Credit: Business Ghana

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 17/01/23

> PURC increases electricity and water tariffs effective February 1

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission has announced that effective February 1, 2023, electricity and water tariffs by 29.96% and 8.3% respectively. PURC noted that this has become necessary due to the current inflation rate and also the depreciation of the cedi. According to the commission, four key factors were considered in the determination of the rate for the first quarter of 2023. “These were the GhanaCedi/US dollar exchange rate, inflation, generation mix, and the weighted average cost of natural gas,” a release on January 16 detailed.

Credit: My Joy Online

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>Debt Exchange Programme deadline extended to Jan 31

Government has extended the deadline for the expiration of the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) to January 31, 2023. This would be the third extension since the programme was launched on December 5, 2022. In a tweet sighted by GhanaWeb Business, the Ministry of Finance noted that the extension was due to pending further stakeholder engagements with institutional and individual investors who were recently invited to join the debt exchange programme. “Building consensus is key to a successful economic recovery for Ghana,” a tweet from the Finance Minister’s office said. As part of efforts to secure an IMF bailout and address the country’s unsustainable debt situation, government launched the DDEP inviting bondholders to voluntarily exchange approximately GH¢137 billion domestic notes and bonds of the Republic including ESLA and Daakye for a package of the Republic including ESLA and Daakye for a package of new bonds.

Credit: Graphic Online

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>NCA approves 70% share sale of Vodafone to Telecel Group

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has granted provisional approval for the sale of Vodafone Ghana to Telecel Group. According to the NCA, it granted a conditional approval after examining a revised agreement presented by the parties. “The NCA is pleased to announce that pursuant to the evaluation of the revised proposal from the Telecel Group, it has granted approval for the transfer of the 70% majority shares in Ghana Telecommunications Company Limited (Vodafone Ghana) held by Vodafone International Holdings B.V. to Telecel Group subject to concessions made by the Seller and representations made by the Buyer to the NCA” a statement from the NCA said. It would be recalled that in January 2022, the NCA received an application from Vodafone Ghana for the transfer of 70% of its majority shares held by Vodafone to Telecel.
Credit: B & FT Online

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>MTN Plans to Dispute $773 Million Ghana Tax Bill if Talks Fail

MTN Group Ltd, Africa’s largest wireless carrier has responded to claims it under-declared its revenue in Ghana for the period between 2014 and 2018. Responding to a $773 million back-tax bill including penalties and interest charges from the Ghana Revenue Authority, The Tech Giant, in a statement, said: “MTN Ghana believes that the taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment and has resolved to vigorously defend MTN Ghana’s position on the assessment,” the company said. “MTN Ghana believes that the taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment and has resolved to vigorously defend MTN Ghana’s position on the assessment. The Ghana Revenue Authority used a third-party consultant as well as a new methodology, the company said. “MTN Ghana strongly disputes the accuracy and basis of the assessment, including the methodology used in conducting the audit. MTN Group and MTN Ghana will continue to engage with the relevant authorities on this matter and MTN remains resolute that MTN Ghana is a tax compliant corporate citizen,” the company said.”

Credit: Bloomberg

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 16/01/23

> GRA hits MTN Ghana with US$773m bill for 2014 – 2018 back taxes

Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is demanding an amount of US$773 million from MTN Ghana, the local subsidiary of the MTN Group, the South African mobile telecom giant. According to a press release, the amount is in lieu of back taxes over a five-year period spanning 2014 to 2018. It includes the unpaid tax sum along with penalties and interest charges, the MTN Group said on Friday (January 13). The Ghana Revenue Authority issued MTN Ghana with the bill after auditing it for the years 2014 to 2018 and inferring that the company under declared its revenue by about 30% during the period, MTN said in a statement.

Credit: Ghana Web

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> NPC To Commence Drilling In Voltaian Basin Between Q4 Of 2023 And Q1 Of 2024

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has started efforts to start drilling for oil in the Voltaian basin. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Corporation, Mr Opoku-Ahweneeh Danquah has revealed. According to him, these moves being taken are under the Reconnaissance license. Speaking at the 2023 Ghana Oil and Gas Roadshow at the Cavendish Conference Centre, 22 Duchess Mews, London W1G 9DT, Mr Danquah said the drilling will start in the last quarter of the year. According to him, geophysical, geological and geochemical techniques are being applied in this venture. GNPC is currently exploring the hydrocarbon prospectivity of Ghana’s onshore sedimentary basin (Voltaian basin) under a Reconnaissance license through a mix of geophysical, geological and geochemical techniques and is looking to crown our efforts by drilling a well in Q4 2023.

Credit: The Report Ghana

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>Exemption from Debt Exchange Programme not an option…Finance Ministry tells insurers

The hopes of members of the Ghana Insurance Association of being excluded from the Debt Exchange Programme will not materialise. This is because the Finance Ministry in a letter to the Association signed by the Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta categorically says an exemption is not an option for the group. The Association in December last year wrote to the Ministry demanding an exemption from the Programme. According to its president, Seth Kobla Aklasi, 40 percent of its total assets for the Quarter 3 of 2022 were invested in Government of Ghana Securities hence any attempt to give its members a “haircut” will worsen the situation. However, the Finance Ministry in responding to the group, explained that based on feedback from industry players, it has made some significant adjustments to the programme and will not exempt insurers.

Credit: Ghanaian Times

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 13/01/23

> NPA revokes licenses of 30 OMCs for non-compliance

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has revoked the licenses of 30 Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) for non-compliance with the rules and regulations of the Authority on the acquisition and maintenance of the licenses. The affected companies are Abagurugu Oil Company Limited; Apex Petroleum Ghana Limited; Avos Oil Company Limited; Best Petroleum Limited; Bisvel Petroleum Services; Capstone Oil Limited; Deep Petroleum Limited; Deliman & Company Ltd.; Glee Oil Limited, and Golden Petroleum Limited. Others are Green Petroleum Limited; Hak Oil Company Limited; Havilah Oil Ghana Limited; Hossana Oil Company Limited; Jas Petroleum Limited; Lilygold Energy Resources Limited; M3 Global Company Limited; Maiga & Hhm Company Limited; Mba Global Petroleum Limited, and Peta Energy Limited. The rest are Petro Afrique Ghana Limited; Precious Energy Ghana Limited; Q8 Oil (Gh.) Company Limited; Rigworld Petroleum Services Limited; Royal Roses Oil Company Limited; Titan Petroleum Limited; Union Oil Ghana Limited; Universal Oil Company Limited; Warren Oil Company Limited, and Zoe Petroleum Limited.

Credit: Graphic Online

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> Government, Organised Labour agree on 30 percent salary increment

Organised Labour and Government have agreed on a 30 percent increment of the Single Spine Base Pay for the 2023 Financial Year. The Controller and Accountant General has hereby been directed to effect this starting from the January 2023 payroll. Just two days ago, a meeting between the two parties ended inconclusively for the seventh time. Organized Labour was demanding a 60% increment in base pay on the single spine salary structure but government was holding out that the demand was not feasible. Organized Labour explained that percentage demanded is largely due to harsh economic conditions.

Credit: Ghana Web

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>Debt exchange: Government to pay 2% cash fee to bondholders

The Finance Ministry has stated that bondholders will receive a 2% compensation cash fee. According to the Ministry, this is to make up for the extension of maturities after it announced the debt exchange programme. In an Amendments to the Invitation to Exchange to bondholders, the government said there are 12 new bonds in the Amended Exchange, instead of four, with a new coupon rate structure. “Given that holders of Eligible 2023 Bonds are being asked to extend the maturities of what are now effectively short-term instruments, investors will receive a cash tender fee of 2% of the outstanding amount of such 2023 Bonds tendered and accepted, to compensate for the maturity extension,” it explained in the Amendments to the Invitation to Exchange.

Credit: Ghana Web

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 11/01/23

> OMCs have overpriced fuel for first pricing window of January – COPEC

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has stated that oil marketing companies have overpriced fuel for the first pricing window of January 2023. Detailing its projections and predictions for the first window, COPEC stated that fuel petrol should be sold at GH¢10.59 and diesel at GH¢12.84. COPEC, therefore, calls for deepened investigations into the pricing regime used by OMCs as it noted that its projections were based on the dollar rate. Chamber Of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC).

COPEC’s Predictions: (Window 1 of Dec. 23)

Petrol: 10.59

Diesel: 12.84

Mean Val: 11.72

Pump Prices of Some SELECTED OMCs

(As on 10 Jan. 2023)

Petrol: 12.40 (17.11%)

Diesel: 14.60 (13.69%)

Mean: 13.50 (15.23%)

COPEC’s Predictions were based on the Dollar rate of $1=GHS10.295, as put across by NPA. By the above, the OMCs have overpriced their Petrol and Diesel products within the window.

Credit: Ghana Web

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> 2023 Global Economic Prospects by World Bank

The global economy is projected to grow by 1.7% in 2023 and 2.7% in 2024, according to the World Bank’s January 2023 Global Economic Prospects report. The report said the sharp downturn in growth is expected to be widespread, with forecasts in 2023 revised down for 95% of advanced economies and nearly 70% of emerging market and developing economies. Over the next two years, per-capita income growth in emerging market and developing economies is projected to average 2.8%—a full percentage point lower than the 2010-2019 average. In Sub-Saharan Africa—which accounts for about 60% of the world’s extreme poor—growth in per capita income over 2023-24 is expected to average just 1.2%, a rate that could cause poverty rates to rise, not fall.

Credit: World Bank

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>Gold Fields sells 26k ounces of gold to BoG

Gold Fields Ghana has sold 26,000 ounces of gold to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in December 2022, following a gold purchasing agreement with the central bank. Payment for the gold was made in the local currency, the cedi. “Our Tarkwa and Damang mines sold 19,000 and 7,000 ounces of gold, respectively, to the Bank of Ghana at the prevailing market price,” said Joshua Mortoti, Executive Vice President and Head of Gold Fields West Africa. “Through the Chamber of Mines, we engaged the government and agreed to the gold purchasing programme in November, which enabled the central bank to acquire the gold.”

Credit: B & FT Online

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 06/01/23

> BoG authorizes 9 entities to undertake FX broker transactions

The Bank of Ghana has granted authorization to some nine forex exchange (FX) broker institutions for the transaction of local and international FX on the forex market. In a statement issued by the Central Bank and sighted by GhanaWeb Business, it explained that the development comes after the institutions have been granted approval per Section 3.13.1 of the Ghana Interbank FX Market Conduct rules. It added that they are to operate on the Ghana Interbank FX market effective January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023. The entities listed are; Black Star Brokerage; CSL Capital; Fenics MD; ICAP African Brokers Limited; Obsidian Acherner; Regulus; Sarpong Capital; Savvy Securities and Terika Financial Services Limited. The BoG further mentioned that it reserves the right to delist any authorized FX broker for non-performance or non-compliance with the FX Act and the Interbank FX Market Conduct rules.

Credit: Ghana Web

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> BoG to hold 2023 first MPC meeting later in January 2023

The Bank of Ghana has announced that it will hold its first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting for 2023 from Tuesday, January 24, to Friday, January 27 to review developments in the economy. The meeting, which will be the 110 is expected to heavily discuss Ghana’s high inflation rate which stands at 50.3 percent, the highest in 27 years. Also, the committee will use the meeting to decide whether to hike the policy rate, maintain it, or reduce it. “The meetings will conclude with a press conference on Monday, January 30, 2023 to announce the decision of the Committee”, a short statement from the BoG said.

Credit: My Joy Online

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>Reduce LPG prices now to reflect latest pricing window…COPEC tells marketers

The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) Ghana is demanding a significant reduction in the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), after prices of some petroleum products fell in the recent pricing window. The Chamber’s call is coming at a time prices of diesel and petrol went down by about 8% on January 1, 2023. However, prices of LPG remained unchanged. The LPG Marketers Association of Ghana has blamed the situation on high taxes But speaking to Joy Business, Executive Secretary of COPEC, Duncan Amoah said there is no justification for LPG prices to remain unchanged. “LPG should have seen the highest decline in terms of price per kilogram which should be around 20% in the past windows. We don’t think there is enough justification at this point that they are not going to reduce the price of LPG at this point”.

Credit: Ghanaian Times

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 14/12/22

> IMF Reaches Staff-Level Agreement on a $3 billion, three years Extended Credit Facility with Ghana

The International Monetary Fund and the Government of Ghana have reached a staff-level agreement on economic policies and reforms to be supported by a new three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) of about US$3 billion. A statement released on the Fund’s website said the IMF Mission Chief for Ghana led by Stéphane Roudet noted that, “I am pleased to announce that the IMF team reached staff-level agreement with the Ghanaian authorities on a three-year program supported by an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) in the amount of SDR 2.242 billion or about US$3 billion.” “The economic program aims to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while laying the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth.” The statement also noted that the staff-level agreement is subject to IMF Management and Executive Board approval and receipt of the necessary financing assurances by Ghana’s partners and creditors.

Credit: IMF

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> Fuel prices to fall significantly from December 16, 2022

Prices of petroleum products are expected to fall significantly beginning this Friday, December 16, 2022, the Institute of Energy Security (IES) has projected. According to IES, the expected price drops would be significant due to the 6.60% appreciation of the cedi against the US dollar. It said the new prices will fall to about GH¢13 and GH¢16 per litre for petrol and diesel, whilst Liquefied Petroleum Gas will go for about GH¢12 per kilogram. Even before that, some Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have begun reducing prices of petroleum products at the pumps.

Credit: My Joy Online

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> Court accepts Ato Essien’s GH¢90m repayment terms

An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour has accepted the GH¢90 million repayment terms on Ato Essien’s case under Section 35 of the court’s act. This comes after Justice Baffour rejected the GH¢90 million settlement deal between Ato Essien and state prosecutors last week. Founder of now-defunct Capital bank, William Ato Essien, pleaded guilty to charges of misappropriation of depositors’ funds and other counts of stealing, abetment to stealing, conspiracy to steal, money laundering, among others. According to the Deputy Attorney General, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, investigations conducted by the state showed that some GH¢65 million and GH¢35 million were used by another company; Capital African Group to acquire shares in Capital Bank, and this amount was paid through Ecobank.

Credit: Citi Newsroom

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 13/12/22

> Finance Minstry, BoG, IMF to announce Staff-Level Agreement today – Reports

The Ministry of Finance announced on Monday (December 12) that it was going to hold a joint press conference together with the Bank of Ghana and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The release stated the date of the conference as Tuesday, 13th December 2022 with the venue being the Ministry of Finance at 10 am. Even though very little else was disclosed about the issue to be discussed, GhanaWeb sources have hinted that the three parties are set to announce a concrete outcome from months of negotiations as government seeks a bailout. Our sources say the Visiting IMF team is expected to announce having reached a Staff-Level Agreement with the Ghana Government for a FUND program. The sources, stressed that as at yesterday, there remained some critical issues that needed to be “ironed out” before today’s formal announcement. The Stephane Roudet-led IMF team has been in town since December 1, with the main mission of following up on engagements with Government on its COVID-19 Economic Recovery Program.

Credit: Ghana Web

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> USAID launches $35.9m grant to support agriculture market systems in Ghana

The United States Agency for International Development (USIAD) has launched a $35.9 million grant package to support Ghana’s agriculture systems to ensure food security and improve the livelihood of about 200,000 individuals. The five-year project would provide the needed finance and input to increase production of maize, shea, bambara beans, soybeans, cowpea, groundnuts, tomatoes, pepper, onion, mango and moringa, and their value addition. Known as the Ghana Market Systems and Resilience (MSR) Activity, the project would benefit smallholder farmers, particularly, women and youth, as well as out-growers, buyers, processors and exporters.

Credit: Ghana Business News

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> Fitch warns of more rating downgrades of African banks; Ghana’s Debt Exchange to affect domestic, regional banks

International rating agency, Fitch, is warning of more rating downgrades of African banks in 2023 with Ghana’s debt restructuring expected to affect both domestic and regional banks. According to its 2023 Outlook report, sovereign debt distress is the major risk to African banks’ financial profile. “We are most concerned about potential sovereign defaults with many African governments facing very high and increasing debt servicing burdens exacerbated by rising interest rates, US dollar strength and unfavourable external funding conditions. The Ghana debt restructuring will affect domestic as well as regional banks”. It explained that African banks’ credit drivers will be undermined by both global and domestic shocks in 2023.

Credit: My Joy Online

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 12/12/22

> Finance Ministry ‘celebrates’ cedi gains against dollar in Bloomberg report

Ghana’s currency took the title of the world’s best performer against the dollar this week amid optimism the debt-distressed country is moving closer to unlocking an International Monetary Fund bailout. “The currency was the cheapest in Africa, more than 30% undervalued versus its 25-year history last week, so some rebound after the huge fall recently isn’t that surprising,” said Charles Robertson, the global chief economist at Renaissance Capital Ltd. in London. “Also we have the IMF in town, which should pave the way for dollar support.” The gains came even as the African nation put its local-currency sovereign bonds in what Fitch Ratings described as a “default-like process,” and the holders of its dollar bonds braced for capital losses. The restructuring is needed to put Ghana’s debt on a sustainable path and secure a $3 billion IMF loan.

Credit: Ghana Web

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> PURC Ghana ranked 4th in Africa Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI) 2022

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), ranked fourth in the 2022 Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI) for Africa. This was made known when the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank (WB) on the Global Electricity Regulatory Index (GERI), launched the ERI report virtually on Thursday, December 8, 2022. Forty-three (43) countries in Africa with forty-four regulatory institutions, participated in the assessment process, which was based on well-developed electricity regulatory frameworks, the capacity to exercise the necessary regulatory oversight and authority on the regulated entities, and the ability to achieve measurable outcomes.

Credit: My Joy Online

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> US supports Ghana’s negotiations with the IMF

The United States of America (USA) is urging the government of Ghana to step up its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We support Ghana’s application for an economic bailout with the IMF. The United States (US) ambassador to Ghana, Madam Virginia Palmer, said the US government is in support of Ghana’s decision to seek a bailout from the IMF. The US ambassador gave a thump up for the country’s decision to seek an economic bailout from the IMF in an interview on Accra-based Joy FM on Saturday, December 10, 2022. According to her, as a member of the board of the IMF, she will support the government’s efforts in securing a deal with the IMF. She urged the government to step up its negotiations with the IMF.

Credit: Ghana Web

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 23/11/22

> BoG revokes license of credit reference bureau, HudsonPrice

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revoked the credit the license of a credit reference bureau firm, HudsonPrice Data Solutions over persistent non-compliance with the requirements of the Credit Reporting Act 2007. The Bank of Ghana has therefore instructed financial sector players to desist from submitting data on the credit history of their clients to HudsonPrice Data Solution effective November 21, 2022. In a letter to banks, Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions and Non-Bank Financial Institutions, the BoG asked all subscribers of HudsonPrice Service to engage the services of other credit bureaus to remain compliant with Act 726 not later than December 10, 2022. With the revocation of Hudson Price’s license, the country now has two credit reference bureaus licensed by the Bank of Ghana namely XDS Data and Dun and Bradstreet. The BoG however noted that commercial banks must take note of the directive and comply accordingly.

Credit: Ghana Web

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> Lonely Planet named Ghana as top destination for connecting in 2023

Renowned International Guidebook company, Lonely Planet, has named Ghana as one of the best places to visit and connect in 2023 in its 18th annual Best in Travel list The 2023 edition of the list follows a slightly different format than it has been in the past years. Drawing on expert local perspectives from the heart of each destination, the Best in Travel report features cities, countries and regions to aid travellers in planning their next trip. The research is split up into five sections — Eat, Journey, Unwind, Connect and Learn — with each place chosen for its topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow factor, and ongoing commitment to sustainability, community and diversity. Ghana made the list as one of the best countries to visit and connect with in the world. In a statement published by Lonely Planet, indicated that the ‘Year of Return,’ one of government initiatives launched in 2019, contributed to Ghana’s appearance on the list.

Credit: Business Ghana

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>Court places injunction on Empire Cement’s operations over potential health threats

Empire Cement Ghana Limited situated within the McCarthy Hills enclave has been ordered to stop production after an Accra High Court placed an injunction on its operations. This came at the back of a press conference held by the McCarthy Hills Residents Association as they noted that the company was operating without the required permits from the appropriate authorities including the Environmental Protection Agency. They also bemoaned the health risks that the situation of the factory posed to residents in the area. However, the company denied the allegations. But according to a citinewsroom report, the court presided by Justice Boampong held that Empire Cement Ghana Limited had no permit from the Environmental Protection Agency to operate and ordered it to stop operations.

Credit: Ghana Web

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 22/11/22

> European Union injects €2.5m into Ghana’s agricultural sectorn

The European Union (EU), has injected EU€2.5 million into Ghana’s agricultural sector to help increase farmers’ access to credit facilities to finance their agricultural production and businesses in the agricultural value chain within the next six years. The fund would be managed by the Sinapi Aba Savings & Loans (SASL), a non-banking financial institution providing loans and savings products to individuals and Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with a focus on rural areas and women. Mrs Paulina Rozycka, the Head of the Infrastructure and Sustainable Development of the EU Delegation to Ghana, launched the initiative in Wa during a brief ceremony to hand over motorbikes to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).

Credit: Ghana Business News

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> Puma Energy extends solar installation offer to industrial and commercial customers

Puma Energy has announced that from 2023 it will offer its commercial and industrial customers the chance to install solar on their sites. The news comes after the Puma’s fourteen solar projects at its retail stations and terminals in Ghana proved to be a huge success. The fourteen Puma Energy sites in Ghana demonstrate that the concept of solar installation works and Puma will now invest US$33 million to offer solar solutions to its commercial and industrial customers in Ghana and across Africa. In July 2022, Puma Energy’s ESG strategy set out plans to install solar generation at 200 sites across its global network by the end of 2022. The fourteen sites in Ghana contribute to the target. These projects benefit from Ghana’s high solar energy potential and have a total capacity of 447kWp and associated battery storage of 227 kWh.

Credit: Business Ghana

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>Government achieves T-bills target after weeks of undersubscription

The Government of Ghana has achieved its target for the weekly Treasury bill auction after 5 weeks of consecutive under-subscription. Interest rates are nearing 36% as inflation continues to soar to stand at 40.4% as of October 2022. The results showed that the GH¢1.381 billion bids were accepted from the 91-day treasury bill and GH¢274.99 was accepted from the 182-day bill. Interest rates stood at 35.1% and 35.9% for the 91 and 182-day treasury respectively. The target for the auction was $1.1168 billion. Despite the soaring interest rates, the returns on treasury bills still remain negative due to the increasing rate of inflation and the depreciation of the cedi.

Credit: Ghana Web

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 17/11/22

> New minimum wage is ₵14.88 effective January 1, 2023

The National Tripartite Committee in line with Section 113 (1) (a) of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651) has reviewed the National Daily Minimum Wage (NDMW) to GH₵14.88 pesewas. The new minimum wage will take effect from January 1, 2023. The Committee concluded on this new wage after a meeting held on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. The Tripartite Committee said in arriving at this new wage, it took into account the current economic challenges, cost of living, sustainability of businesses and desirability of attaining a higher level of employment, as well as the need for rapid restoration of macroeconomic stability. “An increase in the NDMW by 10% over the 2022 NDMW which translates into a new NDMW of GH₵14.88; and a Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) of 15% over the 2023 NDMW,” the Committee said in a communique issued on Wednesday.

Credit: My Joy Online

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> Producer Price Inflation shoots up by 19.3% to 65.2% in October 2022

The Producer Price Inflation (PPI) rate for October 2022 inched up to 65.2%, a 19.3 percentage points increase relative to the rate recorded in September 2022 (45.9%). According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the month-on-month change in the PPI between September and October 2022 was 15.4%. Excluding the construction sector, the PPI increased to 75.6% in October 2022, from 54.5% in September 2022. The rate in the construction sector declined from 25.1% in September 2022 to 23.0% in October 2022. In the Services sector, the rate increased from 5.6% in September 2022 to 10.0% in October 2022. Mining and quarrying (86.4%), manufacturing (73.1%), transport and storage (71.4%) recorded the highest rates, while Information and Communication activity recorded the lowest rate of 1.4% in October 2022.

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>Ken Ofori-Atta to respond to minority’s grounds for censure of Friday

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is to appear on Friday, November 18, before Parliament’s Ad-Hoc Committee in Accra to respond to a motion of Vote of Censure against him for poor management of the economy. The Minority had brought the motion, admitted by Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, for which he set up a seven-member committee to investigate the motion. Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi Asokwa, and Co-chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee, at a sitting the first sitting on Monday, said the matter had elements of criminality, political and civil responsibilities. He said the committee had decided that there must be evidential basis for the allegations that were being made.

Credit: Ghana News Agency

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 14/11/22

> Government misses T-bills target marginally, but interest rates surger

The Government of Ghana missed its Treasury bills auction target for the fourth week running, but liquidity improved comparatively to the past two weeks. The government secured GH¢1.23 billion against a target of GH¢1.316 billion, about 6% under-subscription. Though the government missed the target marginally, it was seeking to raise GH¢1.124 billion across the 91-day to 364-day bills to refinance the T-bill maturities of GH¢1.003 billion. All the bids were however accepted. Chunk of the bids came from the 91-day treasury bills, as GH¢1.073 billion were tendered in. The 182-day treasury bills also received bids worth GH¢141.41 million. According to data from the Bank of Ghana, the interest rate on the 182-day T-bill hit 34.85%, from 34.2% the previous week. That of the 91-day bill also surged by 0.70% to 33.34%. The one-year bill sold at a rate of 34.85%, from 33.35% the prior week.

Credit: My Joy Online

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> Venture Capital signs ¢35m investment agreement with 2 fund managers to support SMEs

Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) has reached an agreement with two fund managers, Mirepa Investment Advisors and Wangara Green Ventures, to disburse some GH¢35 million to more viable Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. The support, known as Startup Catalyst Fund, puts the total capital deployment towards SME financing to GH¢60 million in two months. Speaking to Joy Business, Chief Executive of Venture Capital Trust Fund, Yaw Owusu-Brempong said the initiative seeks to boost local production as part of measures to control the cedi’s rate of depreciation.

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> Prudential appoints new Chief Executive Officer for Africa

Prudential has today announced the appointment of Emmanuel Mokobi Aryee as the new Chief Executive Officer for Africa to oversee the operations of Prudential in its eight African markets. The appointment seeks to centralise Prudential’s operations in Africa as well as strengthen and grow the business in markets where it currently operates Commenting on the appointment, Solmaz Altin, the Prudential Managing Director, Strategic Business Group, said he was pleased on Mokobi’s new role, noting that it will take effect on 1 January 2023 based at the Africa regional hub in Nairobi.

Credit: B&FT Online

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Business News – Ghana and Beyond – 07/11/22

> Government secures 12.8 million Euros to modernize TVET -President

The Government has secured €12.8 million from Austria to modernize 10 Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions in Ghana, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said. Planet One of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has also expended an estimated €392 million in infrastructure development in the National Vocational Training Institutes (NVTIs) to boost the TVET sector. President Akufo-Addo said this in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, at a grand durbar in Sunyani to climax the 55th Anniversary celebration of the Sunyani Technical University on Saturday.

Credit: Ghana News Agency

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> GFA inks three-years sponsorship deal with Uber

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) on Friday inked a three-year sponsorship deal with Uber as the official e-hailing partner. Per the deal, Uber as obliged would design services for football fans who travel far and near to watch the domestic leagues and national team matches in the Greater Accra Region, Kumasi, Cape Coast, Tamale, Takoradi and Sunyani. This is to drive football sustainability within the period of the relationship and to give football fans a special service including dedicated pick up and drop off area, promo codes, very affordable discounted rates and deliver to fans an incredible experience on match days.

Credit: Ghana News Agency

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> Defunct Beige Bank CEO accused of stealing ¢2.1bn; faces 44 charges

The former Chief Executive Officer of defunct Beige Bank, Michael Nyinaku has been accused of stealing over GH¢2.1 billion that belonged to the customers of the bank. The Charge Sheet filed in the Court by the Attorney General and seen by Joy Business said the acts were discovered following investigations into the bank after its licensed was revoked and placed under receivership by the Bank of Ghana. The writ said between 2017 and 2018, the accused person caused the transfer of 10,071 fixed deposit accounts held with Beige Bank in which various customers placed a total of GH¢448,636,210.21 to Beige Capital Asset Management Limited (BCAM) without the knowledge and consent of the customers. He is facing 44 charges of stealing, fraudulent breach of trust and money laundering.

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