Parliament yesterday debated the principles of the amended Master Facility Agreement (MFA) for the $3billion Chinese Loan during its second consideration on the floor of parliament while the second reading of the Ghana Investment Promotion Bill was also done after the motion had been moved by the Minister of Trade and Industries, Haruna Iddrisu.
The $3billion loan facility between the Government of Ghana and the Chinese Development Bank was approved by parliament in August, 2011 but the executive arm withdrew it after the minority in parliament raised concerns about the Master Facility Agreement, the Five Party Agreement as well as accounts agreement, pointing out some âseriousâ deficiencies in those agreements.
The Government of Ghana entered into the loan agreement with the China Development Bank Corporation for the $3billion to undertake various infrastructural projects in the country.
As part of the requirements, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) entered into an âOfftake Agreementâ with UNIPEC Asia Company Ltd for the sale and purchase of the Jubilee crude oil with part of the proceeds to be paid into a special account at the Bank of Ghana for the purpose of servicing the debt
As a result of that, a Five Party Agreement was entered into among the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, GNPC and UNIPEC Asia Company Ltd but some provisions in the original agreements provided serious operational challenges to the Ministry of Finance.
Some provisions also conflicted with provisions in the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (Act 815).
These serious challenges therefore stalled the disbursement of funds required to finance critical projects like the Ghana Gas Project under the MFA.
Those amendments were made to re-activate the disbursements of the loan.
Presenting the select committee on financeâs report on the amended agreement, the chairman of the committee, James AvedziÂ Klutse and MP for Ketu North said the amendments were aimed at minimizing government of Ghanaâs obligations with regard to the amount of money to be transferred into the Collection Account with each lifting of oil and to eliminate conflict between the Agreement and the Petroleum Revenue Management Act.
He said the amendment was to define a specific amount of 70 percent of the commercial invoice value of each crude oil lifting by UNIPEC into the Collection Account.
The committee chairman said the China Development Bank disbursed $192 million in 2012 for the financing of the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Project while the government paid a commitment fee of $3, 012,909 on the undrawn balance, upfront fee of $7.5 million, interest of $596,753 and a contribution of $34 million.
A ranking member of the finance committee and MP for Old Tafo, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei asked the majority not play politics with serious financial agreements that have lasting repercussions on the future of the country, stressing that despite the genuine concerns raised by the minority in parliament in relations to the content of the agreement, the majority went ahead to approve it.
He said the minority has now been vindicated adding that these deficiencies and improper scrutiny of the loan agreement burdened Ghanaians with a huge cost.
With the loan agreement going forth and back and consultants working on the agreements again, it has cost the nation over $60 million, he said.
The MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah said it was professionally bad for Attorney-General and the attorneys to arrange such an agreement for the people of Ghana, suggesting that lawyers at the Attorney-Generalâs Department should be given proper training to avoid such lapses in negotiating for loan agreements.
On the Ghana Investment Promotion Bill, the Trade and Industries Minister said the bill is to place Ghanaians at the heart of investing in the country.
He said the new bill will give Ghanaians greater advantage in investment areas like production of exercise books and stationery, importation and internal distribution of finished pharmaceutical products, manufacture of generic pharmaceutical products, manufacture of sanitary paper products, manufacture of furniture and wood products, provision of services including mining, oil and gas and production of packaging materials.
âThe bill also seeks to correct the abuse of the system by foreign investors who have strayed into sectors reserved exclusively for Ghanaians particularly the retail and trading sectors,â he said, stressing that the government has increased the minimum capital required by foreigners to engage in retail trade from $300,000 to $1 million.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
The UNâs agency named Ghana among 38 countries worldwide that have met the target set for achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 ahead of the 2015 deadline. The target is to halve the proportion of hungry people.
It additionally named Ghana among 18 countries that have achieved the more stringent World Food Summit (WFS) goal,Â having reducedÂ by half the absolute number of undernourished people between 1990-92 and 2010-2012.
JosĂ© Graziano da Silva, Director-General of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), in a newly released statement said: âThese countries are leading the way to a better future. They are proof that with strong political will, coordination and cooperation, it is possible to achieve rapid and lasting reductions in hunger.â
He urged all countries to increase momentum and aim for the complete eradication of hunger in line with the Zero Hunger Challenge launched in 2012 by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
âGlobally, hunger has declined over the past decade, but 870 million people are still undernourished, and millions of others suffer the consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including child stunting.â
âWe need to keep up our efforts until everyone can live healthy, productive lives,â he added.
He said globally food insecurity presently is largely a problem of access to the resources or services needed by families to produce, purchase, or otherwise obtain enough nutritious food.
Graziano da Silva said agriculture plays a pivotal role in providing access to food, adding that more than 70 percent of the poor live in rural areas and most of them depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood.
He stressed the need to improve agriculture to deal with the situation.
By Cephas Larbi
MoneyGram has provided boreholes to three communities in the Upper West, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions in line with its objective of helping to extend portable drinking water to deprived communities nationwide.
The company provided the boreholes at separate times to the people of Asuboi in the Ashanti Region, students at the Wa School for the Blind in the Upper West Region and inhabitants of Abokobi in the Greater Accra Region.
It constructed efficient mechanised boreholes and provided a poly tank to serve as a source of water supply for the people.
MoneyGram intervened following media reports that the inhabitants were facing water challenges.
The success of the Abokobi project, as well as the other projects, has been well accepted by all stakeholders, especially the beneficiary communities since MoneyGram intervened at the right moment.
MoneyGram is promising to invest more in the water and sanitation sector in the deprived communities.
MoneyGram, an international money transfer company, has been operating in the country for over 10 years.
It has invested substantial amount of money in some deprived communities nationwide in a bid to help cushion the lives of the people.
In a related development, MoneyGram has ended a joint seminar for its agents in Ghana and Nigeria as part of efforts to sensitize them on security, anti-fraud and other compliances.
About 100 operators of MoneyGram services were trained by experienced resource persons.
Senior staff and unionised workers of Taysec Construction Limited have indicated that they are embarking on a sit-down strike to press home their demand for serenity in the company and also the expeditious resolution of a recent standoff.
According to the workers, the companyâs foreign and Ghanaian shareholders have been embroiled in litigations in recent times.
They stated that the development is likely to deny workers Â their service entitlements.
In a press release issued jointly by the senior staff and unionised workers in Accra, they noted that it is their right (as per Act 651, Part III 9& 10 of the Labour Act 2003) to work in a safe and stable environment.
The workers from Taysec Construction Limited, Taysec Homes Limited and Taysec Facilities Management Limited said in the last few months they have witnessed the struggle for control of the company by the two British shareholders, namely Messrs Geoffrey Michael Fisher and Liam Francis McVeigh, Managing and Operations Directors respectively, on one hand, and Asuama Yeboa Abebrese, the Ghanaian shareholder and Financial Director on the other.
They said on 4th September, 2012, the three shareholders, Messrs Fisher, McVeigh and Abebrese signed a board resolution commencing separation proceedings and relinquishing the issued shares of Messrs Fisher and McVeigh to Abebrese.
The resolution went on to request the appointment of an independent valuer to value the companies.
International accounting firm KPMG was appointed to value the company shares and they subsequently submitted a valuation report.
At another shareholdersâ meeting on Thursday, 30th May, 2013, all three shareholders agreed to adopt the median value stipulated in the valuation report in the presence of their lawyers at the offices of Fugar and Co., who acted as mediators in the matter.
At the meeting, they said it was agreed that Mr Abebrese should formally make an offer for the shares of Messrs Fisher and McVeigh.
On 31st May, 2013, Mr. Abebrese, in fulfilment of the resolution, communicated his offer to buy out Messrs Fisher and McVeigh while also he acquired the shares of Messrs Fisher and McVeigh in all the companies as per the terms of the offer.
It is our understanding that by virtue of the acquisition, Mr Abebrese becomes 100 per cent shareholder of Taysec Homes and Taysec Facilities Management and 95 per cent shareholder in Taysec Construction Limited.
All the above dealings and meetings between the shareholders were mediated by Fugar and Co., Legal practitioners who are also solicitors for the companies.
Messrs Fisher and McVeigh, upon receiving the offer letter and acquisition of share notice on 31st May, 2013, wrote a notice purporting to dismiss Mr Abebrese as an employee of Taysec and caused the notice to be placed on the front door of the head office on the night of 3rd June, 2013.
âAlthough we acknowledge that we are not shareholders of the above companies it goes without saying that it is our dedication, sweat and hard work that built this company and made it one of the most reputable firms in the country.
âThe current impasse has now degenerated into mudslinging, untrue allegations and use of security personnel to create a hostile environment in the full glare of members of staff,â they emphasised.
By Samuel Boadi
MTN Ghana says it has spent $1.6 billion to improve its network and enhance communication.
It has also invested in 4,600 kilometers of fibre optic cable across the length and breadth of the country in addition to constructing three ultra-modern switch sites at Kaase in Kumasi and other places.
James Basintale, MTN General Manager for the Northern Sector, said these interventions are geared towards enhancing MTNâs network in the country.
He made the disclosure on Wednesday when the Muslim leadership in the Ashanti region honoured MTN for helping Muslims in the area.
Mr. Basintale noted that his outfit has also built 10 ICT centers across the country to promote ICT learning in all the regions of the country.
The Muslims, led by Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, Sheikh Abdul Mumum Harun, read a citation highlighting MTNâs good works for Muslims over the years.
They later presented a plaque to MTN and Ashcell, authorized distributors of MTN products in Ashanti region for their support to Muslims.
Sheikh Mumun Harun enumerated the significant role that MTN and Ashcell have played to enhance the lives and activities of Muslims in the area.
Ustaz Burhanu Deen Baba of the Ashanti Regional Chief Imamâs office appealed to MTN to establish an ICT center for Muslims in the region to enhance the learning of ICT.
Jerry Otchi, Corporate Services Executive, Ashcell, was happy Muslims in the area had acknowledged and appreciated their good works, promising his outfitâs readiness to offer more help to Muslims.
Â From I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi
Government says it wants to plug all financial leakages caused by multinationals, who deliberately rebrand to evade taxes after five years of operation in Ghana.
Measures would be put in place to secure financial leakages in the oil and gas sector and by large the general extractive industry.
President John Mahama, who made this known during the plenary session of the G8 Summit in Lancaster, London in the United Kingdom (UK) on the theme: âTrade, Tax and Transparencyâ said, âIn Ghana, government has a vibrant media, strong civil society organizations, and is also a signatory to the Extractive Industries, Transparency Initiative (EITI) that will ensure that money accrued from the industry would be properly accounted.â
The President said apart from that government has also set up an accountability measure to ensure that the Ministry of Finance every year comes out with a report to Parliament to explain to all Ghanaians how much was generated from the sector and how it was utilized.
Ghana, Guinea, Tanzania and Senegal were invited by Prime Minister David Cameron to attend this yearâs summit on account of the good governance, democracy and adequate measures to ensure transparency in the extractive industry.
President Mahama said Ghanaâs transparency was evidenced by the fact that all financial reports were published for public consumption while budgets were presented to highlight achievements and failures.
He promised to leverage the rate of transparency that serves as an impetus and springboard for government to perform better in subsequent years.
According to him, the practice whereby companies were given tax holidays was injurious to the state coffers.
President Mahama called for the deregulation of investments in energy, agriculture and roads to speed up infrastructural development of the country.
He said Ghanaâs deregulated investments in the telecommunication industry have yielded adequate benefits in the spread of technology.
He gave the assurance that liberalization in other sectors could yield similar benefits in various African countries.
President Mahama called on other African leaders to open up their economies to intra-African trade to harness the comparative advantage of various countries and promote the movement of goods and services on the continent.
Stanbic Bank Ghana has closed a $9 million loan agreement with Subah Info Solutions to acquire a licence to run Ghanaâs Consolidated International Gateway Project Management (CIGPM).
The role was previously performed by Global Voice Group (GVG), a Seychelles registered company.
The deal will enable Subah Info Solutions, an ICT infrastructure company and member of the Jospong Group of Companies, to also acquire Global Voice Groupâs interest in the CIGPM.
Commenting on the agreement, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Subah Info Solutions, Dr. Joseph Siaw Adjepong said: âImproving ICT services in the country is a key factor in Ghanaâs total development. Subah is committed to implementing all measures to ensure that there is no fraud in international telephony. Consumers should not be shortchanged and this deal with Stanbic Bank helps greatly to achieve Subahâs objectives.â
The CIPGM serves as a consolidated telephone clearing house where all in-bound international calls are monitored to prevent fraud in the operations of the international gateway system.
Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Ghana, Alhassan Andani, said Stanbic Bank is committed to supporting state and corporate institutions in their quest to develop the infrastructure base of the country.
âAs a member of Africaâs largest bank with 150 years experience operating on the continent, we are truly committed to partnering institutions to check revenue leakage in our country. Creating wealth is a shared responsibility of the State and Corporate Ghana. That is why Stanbic Bank Ghana is excited to be involved in this initiative,â he said.
Stanbic Bank has supported a number of activities of the local conglomerate over the years and these have led to the provision of jobs, raised incomes and increased taxes for the state.
Stanbic Bank Ghana, a member of the Standard Bank Group, started operations in Ghana on 30th December 1999.
Â A business desk report
Jaguar Land Rover sub-Sahara Africa (JLRSSA) has opened its first official combined dealership in Accra.
The facility will provide Ghana with full Jaguar and Land Rover representation.
Ghana is the latest African market to benefit from official Jaguar Land Rover presence and will meet global standards for the premium brands.
Alliance Motors Ghana is the appointed custodian of JLRâs Ghana presence, a subsidiary of Tata Africa Holdings (Ghana) Limited.
Alliance Motors Ghana has now completed the takeover of the facilities of the former franchisee to support Jaguar Land Rover customers in the servicing of vehicles.
âGhana is an important sub-Saharan market for Jaguar Land Rover. We have recently released our full-year results and the SSA region saw a 14 percent growth year on year. Ghana played an important role for the SSA region in helping to achieve these outstanding results,â said Nigel Clarke, Operations Director of JLR SSA.
âThe investment by Alliance Motors is significant and a sure sign of their commitment to delivering the Jaguar and Land Rover experience to the Ghanaian customers.â
The Ghana facility will provide full support for Jaguar and Land Rover customers in Ghana.
âWe welcome Alliance Motors Ghana to the Jaguar Land Rover team and will provide them with every support needed to make our Ghana operation a success,â said Kevin Flynn, Managing Director of JLR SA & SSA.
âThey are already close to our broader parent company and we are confident of their abilities and experience to deliver impeccable service to Jaguar and Land Rover customers in Ghana.â
Alliance Motors Ghana has ambitious plans in the Ghana motor industry.
âBeing entrusted with the Jaguar and Land Rover name plates for Ghana is an honour and a challenge that our team is eager to conquer,â said Sudeep Ray, Director of Alliance Motors Ghana.
âWe are creating new employment opportunities for Ghanaians and critically the technical transfer of world-class skills and knowledge is an investment in our country as much as in our business, it will extend to and impact many Ghanaians.â
Jaguar Land Rover sales were 30 percent up last year to 357,773 vehicles.
The company has ambitious plans for sustainability and growth and will invest around ÂŁ2.75 billion in products and facilities in the financial year to March 2014.
A business desk report
The Ghana Investments Promotion Centre (CIPC) on Friday launched the 13th edition of the Ghana Club 100 Awards in Accra to elicit rankings on how corporate organizations performed in the country in 2012.
This yearâs awards, to be organized under the theme, âPromoting Good Corporate Governance and Innovative Entrepreneurship,â will take place on 20th September, 2013.
Mawuena Trebarh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GIPC, in a speech, said the emphasis on corporate governance is directed by her outfitâs understanding that the presence of strong governance standards provides better access to capital and aids economic growth.
âAs Ghana continues to be positioned as Africaâs Golden Gateway for investors across the globe, the private sector operators will be encouraged to embrace internationally-accepted practices and good corporate governance.â
She also said properly designed rules of governance should focus on implementing the values of fairness, transparency, accountability and responsibility to both shareholders and stakeholders and added that companies that would obtain the awards should serve as role models for the private sector and provide a forum for corporate Ghana to interact with Government at a high level.
The GC Club 100, an annual compilation of the top hundred companies in Ghana, serves as a benchmark to corporate excellence.
The centre also used the occasion to showcase features of its new website.
Some of the new features include a dedicated GC 100 section.
On one of the pages, a link to the website of any of the GC 100 listed companies can be found and this is to ensure closer identity and relationship between companies.
It would provide online form submission and technology transfer registration, as well as renewal of registration certificates by prospective investors through the click of a button.
Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State Responsible for Private Sector Development, was the guest of honour.
By Samuel Boadi
Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Plc, the leading Information Technology (IT) company in Nigeria with presence in Africa, won the âICT Solutions Provider of the Yearâ Award at the just-ended Beacon of ICT (BoICT) Awards organized by Communications Week of Nigeria.
The annual Beacon of ICT (BoICT) awards was instituted in 2008 by Nigeria Communications Week to celebrate and reward best practices and outstanding contributions towards the growth and development of ICT in Nigeria.
The organizers noted that the award was designed primarily to recognize public and private organizations, as well as individuals for their creativity and excellence in the application of ICT solutions to provide efficient and high-quality services to Nigerians.
Receiving the award, Dayo Abegunde, Associate Vice President CWG said: âCWG is committed to enabling businesses in Nigeria and Africa with the use of technologies that solve business problems.
âThat is the reason we partner with notable Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMâs) for their best in class products and deliver them in the best manner to our customers in the countries where we have physical and virtual presence.â
He added that âwe are deeply honoured to be recognized and appreciated for our contribution in using ICT to improve the economy.â
According to him, the programme will motivate stakeholders to be effectively involved in projects that will ensure technology growth in the country.
It would be recalled that CWG won this award for three years as a result of quality and excellence.
Â A business desk report