The President of the Chamber of Agribusiness, Mr Anthony Morrison, has argued about the need for a regulatory body to supervise activities of the agriculture sector as it is with other sectors of the economy.
Morrison believes the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has become too huge to take on all the country’s growing agricultural demands for which reason such a framework was needed if the country was serious about putting agriculture and agribusiness back on the map of performing sectors.
GDP from agriculture in Ghana increased to GHS 7790.18 million in 2016 from GHS 7567 million in 2015. It averaged GHS 6541.21 million from 2006 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of GHS 7790.18 million in 2016 and a record low of GHS 5322 million in 2007
Morrison made the call in an interview with the Goldstreet Business on the challenges and prospects of the agriculture sector.
“Can’t we have the agriculture authority that regulates trade and standard, so that the Ministry would just focus on policies for the sector? If we want to put Ghana’s agriculture and agribusiness back on the map, we need to come up with a regulator.”
The Agriculture Chamber President referenced the arrangement at the Ministry Of Energy having the National Petroleum Authority, Petroleum Commission, as well as the Energy Commission as regulators.
He also advised on the need to start taking stock of all agriculture lands which he thinks must be part of the remit of the regulatory authority.
Morrison expressed worry that notwithstanding vast expanses of arable land with access to large resources of freshwater, such as Lake Volta, there is no farmer with 100,000 hectares on a stretch, a very common situation in other countries where farmers own about 200,000 hectares of agriculture lands.
In spite of the immense opportunities in the sector, investors are faced with about 27 constraints that are problematic and likely to prevent successful private investments.
A World Bank diagnostic report last year revealed that transformational foreign direct investments (FDI) in the country’s agribusiness sector are yet to materialize.
The situation in the sector exists despite the opportunities, together with a vibrant local entrepreneurial class of actors involved in commercial agriculture and the distribution of food products.
The existence of a regulator may help enhance FDI flow into the sector.
By Joshua W. Amlanu
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) says the American government has no immediate plans to cut aid and financial support to Ghana.
OPIC’s Executive Vice President, David Bohigian, explaining to the Goldstreet Business in Accra, said, America will continue to increase assistance to Ghana in every way possible but it is likely that more investments would be considered rather than offering direct aid.
“The Whitehouse is open to increasing business and investment opportunities in Africa, particularly in Ghana, because of the relative political stability here. Our belief in Africa, has led to the increase in OPIC’s investment significantly from US$1 billion US$7 billion in Africa within the last seven years,” he disclosed.
Bohigian was speaking in connection with Rendeavour’s association with the Appolonia City Development Project, an investment made by Frank Mosier, a US investor and Chairman of Rendeavour, owners of the Appolonia City Project.
“We have offered US$60 million to the Ghana Home Loans Bank to support affordable housing in Ghana through the same project that re-echoes the US government’s commitment to increase investment in infrastructure in this country,” he said.
OPIC, a self-sustaining US government agency, works to help American businesses invest in emerging markets. OPIC provides with the tools to manage the risks associated with foreign direct investment, fosters economic development in emerging market countries and advances U.S foreign policy and national security priorities.
The Corporation helps American businesses to gain footholds in new markets while contributing to jobs and growth opportunities in America and abroad.
It has provided US$209 million in loans and political risk insurance to Togo through ContourGlobal to build 100MW ‘tri-fuel’ power plant, US$250 million to the Belstar Development to supply medical equipment to Ghanaian hospitals, and has invested over US$3million in the Senegalese agricultural sector as well as the US$2million Cataract Development Impact Loan to the Africa Eye Foundation in Cameroun.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has denied allegations of increment in the prices of petroleum products by four percent.
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC) last week, raised concerns with the latest increase in fuel prices despite NPA’s assurance that prices would remain fairly stable for the month of January.
In a statement, COPEC said its checks had revealed that there has been a four percent increase in fuel prices at some pumps.
“Fuel prices that used to trade at GHS4.49 per litre for both petrol and diesel have seen an increase of GHS4.67, a difference of about GHp18 or 4.008 percent increase,” COPEC noted.
The Chamber appealed to government to consider a decrease in the current price build up as it believes the increases will continue for a very long time if nothing is done about the pricing template.
The Chamber said the increases were probably motivated by the earlier threat from the GPRTU on its intended transport fare increase and explained the situation could put enormous pressure on the consuming and commuting public.
However NPA’s CEO, Mr. Hassan Tampuli, addressing the media at the maiden petroleum sector CEOs forum in Accra, denied the claim and said only one oil marketing company out of more than 100 increased the price of its products in the last pricing window.
He explained that increment was within the approved indices in the pricing window
But COPEC was worried that the NPA is reneging on its directive to OMCs and LPG marketing companies to use revised prices in the Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy Act to control recent price increases in their petroleum products.
At the end of 2017, the NPA announced that prices of petrol and LPG would remain stable at the pumps from January 1, 2018.
NPA added that it has activated the Price Stabilization and Recovery Levy to prevent the potential increase in the price of petroleum products.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe
Starting this month, China’s new policy will likely send more of the advanced world’s recyclable materials to their landfills, it is anticipated; but yet a lot more could find its way to the ‘dumping grounds’ of Africa.
While this definitely will pose a tremendous challenge to African countries, a majority of which is already overwhelmed by its own wastes, it could present an opportunity.
Chinese officials, in July, told the World Trade Organization that they will limit the entry of “foreign waste” by banning two dozen types of materials that often contain “dirty wastes or even hazardous wastes.”
The ban includes restrictions on a wide range of plastic.
The announcement has obviously thrown recycling programmes across the Western World into turmoil and their recycling firms are scrambling to find new buyers for the scrap they collect from households.
That is where Africa will be challenged.
It is one of the world’s worst kept secrets that the advanced world – especially the West – has succeeded, through dubious programmes including, under the guise of helping Africa close the digital gap, for instance, to dump their obsolete electronic devices (most of which require elaborate processes in recycling) on unsuspecting African countries.
In Ghana, as in most other African countries, yet a lot more of such wastes come in through commercial activities where traders, also under the pretext of importing fairly good and affordable second-hand goods, bring in all sorts of refuse (fridges, clothing, mattresses, toiletries, run-down vehicles etc.)
It’s no mere coincidence that Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Accra, is reputed to be the most polluted spot on planet Earth (air, land and water) by land size. Scrap dealers, scavenging across the city and assembling these computers and other electronic gadgets that become useless within a couple of years of their arrival in the country, use the crudest of recycling methods known to mankind to salvage useful metal parts from these devices, making the whole environment toxic – not to mention the direct health hazards posed to these scavengers
The assertion that it is a deliberate effort to dump hazardous waste in Africa, by some unscrupulous commercial entities in the advanced world, is borne out by this singular Ghanaian experience.
Ghana’s ban on the importation of used-fridges, in January 2013 – ostensibly to conserve electric power, but also out of concerns of environmental pollution – was blatantly challenged by one of the UK’s largest recycling companies, Environcom.
Flouting rules designed to protect the country's environment against harmful chemicals, Environcom, in August 2013, sent a shipment of about 37 containers of almost 4,000 second-hand fridges to Ghana, months after the ban came into force.
Tellingly, that company fought hard to justify its actions, despite confirming it was aware of the ban, not to mention the obvious fact that Ghana had no recycling facility to manage such waste.
There is no denying the ban will have serious repercussions on West’s recyclers and recycling programmes, and much as many observers see China’s decision as a golden opportunity for those recyclers to do more and better recycling at home, this business opportunity, to them, also include dumping much of their unrecycled waste in Africa, despite the continent’s lack of facilities and expertise to recycle such wastes.
The Environcom saga is a case in point.
China’s decision and its timing, not to any longer be the recycler of the world’s waste, should be instructive to Ghana, particularly, and Africa at large.
The decision to be an importer of other people’s wastes should be a deliberate decision which sees the policy as a means to an end and not an end in itself; that is, we have the ability to transform the wastes into other usable products and not necessarily be eternally condemned to be the direct end-users of other people’s discarded stuff.
That is to say, we must not be coerced into taking any waste – electronic or plastic (whether through questionable donor sponsored programmes or through the commercial activities of unscrupulous Ghanaian traders) – that we lack the capacity to recycle into useful products that we can either export or use ourselves.
Nowadays, when a Chinese belch creates a contagion around the globe, one should not be too surprised to see a spike in all manner of schemes purporting to support the establishment of modern recycling facilities in the country.
These will be mostly dubious in character, if not simply fraudulent.
In the Environcom case, an email exchange between the company and Ghanaian authorities shows the company threatened to withdraw plans to invest in a recycling plant in the country if it was not allowed to import parts from second-hand fridges.
To avoid being a victim of imminent situations like this, following the Chinese action, Ghana needs to make every effort to support its local recyclers, who have demonstrated the potential, to acquire the capacity to recycle locally generated wastes. And at the risk of courting controversy, a specific case can be made for Zoom Lion despite all its alleged woes. Mention must also be made of the likes of Jekora Ventures and numerous other waste managers creating spaces for themselves in the waste management arena across the country.
This may be the wake-up call that stirs Ghana into action to create modern waste management enterprises with enough capacity that enables the country to cherry-pick what ‘other people’s wastes’ they can effectively recycle with minimal downside effects to the environment , thus preventing the country from being the perpetual waste dump site that it has become.
Ghana’s authorities should manage their concerns very well and make the best of this somewhat hidden opportunity. The country may eventually even become strong enough to effectively ban all sorts of waste including obsolete electronic devices, overaged, run-down vehicles and worn-out clothing that we still import.
By Emmanuel Kwablah
A total of 185 household units expected to house some 1,216 project affected person have been constructed under the Bui Power Authority (BPA) Resettlement and Community Support Programme.
Seven communities, including Game and Wildlife Officers, benefited as part of the compensation package, for the Project Affected People (PAPs) of the Bui Hydroelectric Project.
To formalize the allocation of lands and housing units, the BPA has presented land and housing documentation to the various heads of households resettled at the BPA Resettlement Townships in the Banda and Bole Districts of the Brong Ahafo and Northern regions respectively.
As part of the Resettlement & Community Support Programme was the construction of new resettlement townships comprising houses containing kitchen, bath and living room with communal facilities such as a community centre, nursery, a place of worship, boreholes and KVIPs.
The programme also paid out compensation for loss of economic trees at Land Valuation Division rates, as well as one-off resettlement grant of GHS100 to each member of the affected communities, including babies to aged people, to mitigate the incidental costs and inconvenience of relocation.
Each household also received an allowance GHS50 in the form of a Farm Grant to aid in preparing new farms lands acquired for them by BPA as part of their resettlement.
BPA has committed to the payment of a Temporary Income Support of GHS100 per month to each household for one year. This is to support resettled families adjust to their environment and re-establish their income generating activities.
The implementation of the Resettlement Programme was done in three parts with Phase A comprising the relocation of four communities living at the construction site which included Agbegikuro, Lucene, Dam Site Village and Brewohodi.
Phase B saw the relocation of three communities living in the area to be inundated which included Bui, Bator Akanyakrom and Dokokyina, while Phase C addressed the relocation of officers of the Game and Wildlife Division living at an old and dilapidated Bui Camp.
The Executive Chairman of Krif Ghana, Reverend Kennedy Okosun, has urged business entities to pay attention to their customer experience in order to thrive.
This, he added, would retain and grow customer loyalty by delivering on-target solutions to satisfy expectations of clients.
Addressing the media at a press soiree to outdoor the company’s latest Customer Feedback System device in Accra, Rev Okosun said factors such as information and communication technology and social media had played a critical role in collapsing markets separated by geography into one single theatre of marketplace.
These factors, he explained, had pushed enterprises to make critical choices which would enable them to stick close to their customers.
“Companies are no longer in the position to guarantee that they can continue to exclusively serve their defined customers in the foreseeable future,” he said.
The device, he explained, is destined to revolutionize the customer satisfaction assessment architecture of any user entity when deployed.
“The device is ideal for teller performance measurement, showcasing customer focus orientation and guaranteeing confidentiality and objectivity in data gathering. It also serves as an important source for the provision of Human Resource statistics.
“KRIF Ghana will provide an example to buttress the position that the Ghanaian- Hungarian partnership is a workable proposition by officially launching this customer feedback system manufactured in Hungary,” he stressed.
The feedback system, as explained by the company, is a Microsoft-based device which comes with an innovative design, ease of installation and dependability and can be tailored to dovetail into the peculiarities of any client.
The device is noted to have a user-friendly touch screen, tablet-based terminals and optional peripherals such as webcam, keyboard, WIFI, and motion sensors.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is seeking to enhance the collaboration between Ghanaian and Nigerian industries to create a common market for some 200 million people in the two countries.
This, the Association wishes to do by impressing upon government to vigorously enforce the New Common External Tarrif regime by the ECOWAS.
The regime is to ensure that customs procedures at borders within the ECOWAS region are transparent, readily followed and delays decreased.
The regime has made duties on goods and services moderate to enhance trade.
There is currently a zero percent charge on essential social goods, five percent on goods of primary necessity, raw materials and specific inputs, 10 percent on intermediate goods and 20 percent on final consumption goods.
In his swearing in address, new president of AGI, Dr. Yaw Gyamfi says non-Africans will benefit more from the regions resources if countries fail to collaborate effectively.
He noted that “the present slow pace of co-operation is hurting all economies in West African countries, and we need to work together. The whole region is likely to continue to lose jobs to the tigers of Asia unless we learn to work together.”
He added that “our porous borders and our people move freely among the countries in search of opportunities. We intend to work with Manufacturer Associations, especially in Nigeria to encourage our governments to coordinate industrial policies in the ECOWAS Region.”
The Association has also assured government of its full support for the implementation of the ‘One District One Factory’ Policy (1D1F).
The new president Dr, Yaw Gyamfi who is the Chief Executive Officer of Danpong Group of Companies, takes over from Mr. James Asare who served as president of the Association from 20014 to 2017.
Also speaking at the Swearing Ceremony, Dr. Gyamfi thanked past executives and promised to work together to achieve greater heights.
By Nana Oye Ankrah
A philanthropist, Madam Dorothea Sackey, has supported children of the Universal Wonderful Street Academy with assorted items.
The items include drinks and other consumables, meant to inspire the children to learn and to effectively undertake their academic responsibilities.
Encouraging the children, Madam Sackey asked them to endeavor to consider their development in the academy as a great privilege.
“It is rare for an individual to commit so much resources to the development of several children by nurturing them to become responsible adults in the future and it was the reason why I came to add my contribution to what is already going on here,” she averred.
The Universal Wonderful Street Academy, trains more than 100, underprivileged children in Jamestown and its environs with free tuition, free meals and medical care as well as the provision of free school uniform to pupils in the area.
Louis Yeboah Womder-Doe, Director of the Academy, told the Goldstreet Business that the academy, over the past six years, has invested resources into educating children in the area in order to prepare them for the future.
“We teach arithmetic, English language, social studies, and African drumming and dancing while encouraging some of the children to develop their personal interest such as tailoring, sowing and painting,” he said.
Louis indicated that though the academy support children academically, it gives preference to children of school going age between the ages of six years to 17 years.
“Through our efforts, we have sponsored several children to seek further education in the Junior High School and the Senior High School respectively,” he said.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe
With statistics indicating that 15 million girls of primary school age - half of them in sub-Saharan Africa will never enter a classroom, leading African energy conglomerate, Sahara Group, is providing an empowerment platform that would give wings to the aspirations of the African girl child.
Tagged “Empowering the African Girl Child”, the project is being implemented under Sahara’s Grooming Film Entrepreneurs initiative which seeks to promote economic empowerment through the arts.
Sahara Foundation in collaboration with Zuriel Oduwole, young film maker and advocate for girl child education and gender equality will host a film making session for 90 African girls in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire from January 8 – 17, 2018, to give the beneficiaries a head start towards pursuing a career in the creative arts.
According to Bethel Obioma, Head, Corporate Communications, Sahara Group, the project is expected to drive the advocacy message for girls’ rights, highlight key issues affecting girls across the three African countries and equip 90 girls with the foundational skills required to become film makers.
“We plan to identify and empower girls who have shown a talent for film making and/or production. Our hope is that the initiative would inspire and replicate Zuriel’s success amongst other girls her age in Africa. Above all, Sahara Group is particularly passionate about the fact that the project would give traction to ongoing conversations and interventions geared towards the pursuit of Gender Equality and Quality Education, being Goals 4 and 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
Speaking on her partnership with Sahara, Oduwole said she was hopeful that the success of the project would encourage more corporations around the world to create partnerships with small groups to empower more girls across the globe.
“I like the fact that Sahara Group sees some value in what I am doing with Girls’ Education across the world, and just like the African proverb, if you want to go fast, go alone, and if you want to go far, go together. I think I have gone very fast in the last 5 years, since I started my project at age 10.
Sahara has shown they are serious about Girls Education, so it’s easy for me to create a partnership, so we can do more together, for Girls Education in Africa, and also around the world,” said the teen-age film maker who at the age of 12 had her self- produced movie screened in a commercial cinema.
Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Manager, Sahara Foundation, said the film making workshop would run for two days in each of the three countries. “The participants will be expected to execute a joint docu-film project featuring human angle stories of children across Africa - using their countries as case studies – to highlight challenges, opportunities and aspirations of the girl child in Nigeria, Ghana or Cote D’Ivoire.”
Ojurongbe explained that 90 girls (30 from each country) between age 13 to 19 have been identified across the three African countries as beneficiaries based on their interests in film making.
“The physical workshop training will be accompanied by several on-line and classroom based mentorship/follow-up sessions for six months to track and sustain the progress of the beneficiaries.
At Sahara, we are hopeful that the platform would amplify the cause of empowering the girl child across the continent though the voices of the beneficiaries and millions of other girls that would be inspired to reach for their dreams,” he added.
New measures being instituted by management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, (SNNIT) will significantly boost confidence in the scheme, The National Pensions Regulatory Authority, (NPRA), has said.
Among other measures, state-run SSNIT’s Board and Management are developing clear investment guidelines to aid them in expending funds.
The company last year was involved in a huge scandal arising from US$72 million being spent on anOperational Business Suite (OBS) project in a bid to digitize the Trust.
The company has also been cited for engaging in some bad investments.
These and other issues caused raised eyebrows on the modalities of SSNIT’s operations and how contributors’ funds are managed.
The Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) which is looking into the matter is yet to conclude its investigations.
Speaking to Goldstreet Business, Chief Executive Officer of the National Pensions Regulatory Authority, Hayford Atta Krufi, however said even before EOCO concludes its investigations, SSNIT is taking steps to regain confidence from the public.
“There have been some experiences in the past which have made people not be comfortable with pensions; not to believe in it or to invest while they are working. There have been issues but SSNIT is really sitting up, they are coming up with clear investment guidelines, very clear calculations and are taking part in all the sensitization work,” he opined.
Krufi explained further that “as a regulator, it is our responsibility to ensure that people’s money are safe at the end of their working life. It is important for us to allow transparency in the system. The issue is subject of investigation and it could lead to prosecution.”
The NPRA is therefore enhancing its sensitization and education programmes to improve on financial literacy.
“Fifteen percent of the economy is formal whereas the remaining 85 percent is informal and without regular monthly income but they also need some savings when they retire. This is what has shrunk the penetration of pension. People want to live for today. If you look at our pension laws it’s only the formal economy that pays pension,” Krufi noted.
Meanwhile deductions for the Cocoa farmers’ pensions’ scheme will start in October this year after it has been launched in June.
The NPRA has also transferred a three billion cedis temporary pensions fund with the Bank of Ghana to a 15 year security.
The move, the authority says is to give government the fiscal space to operate.
By Nana Oye Ankrah