Monday, Jan 27

GSA calls for Assistance in Monitoring Importers and Manufacturers of Substandard Electrical Products

What transpired?

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has ordered retailers of electrical products to provide relevant information about importers and substandard product suppliers, helping to rid the market of unsafe electrical goods. The GSA discovered that over 90 percent were unsafe for use during the last mass testing of electrical cables, involving more than 200 different samples. The Authority, on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, engaged the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association (GEDA) to raise awareness about certification and labelling issues in an attempt to further rid the system of substandard cables and electrical products.

“We are currently dealing with a chain, right down to the tabletop seller to the wholesaler and to the importer. It’s a game of numbers when you are trying to curb this problem. So, you want to deal with the source, the companies that are importing in the thousands. Currently for a number of reasons we are not getting the information we want. The laws are designed to protect the consumer, so if the merchants keep refusing to give up the importers, we will be forced to come after them”.

On the other hand, the Ghana Electrical Dealers Association has blamed the prevalence of substandard electrical products on the market, especially for international traders who use the ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of People and Goods to import them, as well as the use of unapproved border routes. The Ghana Electrical Dealers Association's Public Relations Officer, Samuel Addo emphasised that “Many foreigners have flooded our markets with under-standard goods and lowered selling prices at the same level as us, and that has a negative impact on us”.

The public sensitisation workshop and deliberation, further encouraged the electrical dealers to share more of their issues and concerns as well as suggestions on how to ensure that only suitable items are imported and sold on the market. Among other concerns were the lack of effective enforcement of foreigners on the market selling illicit goods, discontent at the ports, lack of effective checks on licensed and unapproved border routes.

Will Ghana Standards Authority’s Caution yield any Result?

GSA’s Head of Business Development, George Anti, on his part, further cautioned that this year, the Authority will strengthen its efforts to ensure the safety of the Ghanaians. “What we mean this year is business. We are stepping up our activities, moving beyond electronics on other products and goods. Those who sell substandard goods on the markets, those who import and manufacture the same should be on alert, as the GSA will not relent on its mandate to protect Ghanaians and their businesses”.

 Source: Citi Business News

GCB Bank set to launch G-Money Service

What’s in the news?

GCB Bank will officially launch ‘G-Money’ which has been taunted as an industry-first mobile wallet service, on January 30th, 2020, as part of GCB Bank’s dedication to enhancing financial inclusion in its strategic objectives. This is the result of the Bank’s receipt of the Bank of Ghana’s approval on 25 November 2019 for the production of electronic value backed by equivalent cash to serve customers. In addition to giving customers the freedom to carry out transactions regardless of their mobile network operator, G-Money will also create an enabling environment for the ongoing processes of digitisation in Ghana’s economy.

Clarifying the importance of the mobile wallet service to national development, ahead of the official launch, the Managing Director of GCB Bank, Ray Sowah stated that “Under Target 9 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 9), which focuses on business, innovation and technology, the Bank aims to bridge the digital divide that is crucial to ensuring equitable access to information and financial services. Taking advantage of GCB’s rich banking experience gained over many years, we will offer financial services tailored to our diverse customers’ specific needs”, he stressed.

Is GCB Bank Being Innovative?

G-Money, the first of its kind to be run by any bank in Ghana, will allow individuals and businesses to make use of their mobile phones or Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) to store money in the form of electronic money or transaction value.

The service rating Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) would allow both bank and non-bank customers to send and receive money locally and internationally. Customers will also be able to save on their G-Money accounts and borrow money. For ease of transaction, the account can also be connected to any GCB Bank account. G-Money’s launch is part of GCB Bank’s drive to increase its loyal customers’ number of digital services. It is also expected that the service will further accelerate the government-initiated interoperability programme of Ghana.

G-Money also provides other programmes such as the payment of telecommunications network fees and payment of utility bills. The service is accessible by registering at any branch of GCB Bank or at selected GCB agent points. All existing mobile money services users, agents, and merchants may still register to use the G-Money service.

Source: Citi Business News

ADB Takes Delivery of GH¢127 Million GAT Recapitalisation Fund

What happened?


The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has completed a private placement consisting of shares issued to selected investors to help recapitalise some GH¢127 million into its operations.
A notice on the deal indicates that the amount represents about eighteen percent of the newly issued share capital. The arrangement was made with the assistance of the Ghana Amalgamated Trust, GAT, formed by the Government of Ghana to support some five well-run indigenous banks in meeting the Bank of Ghana’s new minimum capital requirement of GH¢400 million.


What will be the effects on ADB?


By virtue of this move, the share capital issued with ADB is projected to rise to an estimated GH¢700 million. The overall number of shares is also expected to exceed 300.7 million shares. ADB further maintains that the realised amount will be primarily used in financing the core lending activities of the bank to the agricultural sector and to support the Ghanaian economy as a whole.


Source: Citi Business News

Nana Addo calls for Renewal of intra-Africa Trade

What happened?

President Nana Akufo-Addo has called on African nations to as a matter of urgency commit more resources and zeal as they trade among themselves, arguing that low level of intra-African trade will not build a sound foundation for the continent’s prosperity. The President made this appeal when he opened the 2020 Ghana Investment and Opportunities Summit in London.

More than 500 businessmen from the UK and Ghana, as well as Ghanaians in the Diaspora, attended the conference. The two-day event focused on: Entry to the Common African Market through Ghana Technology, Digitisation and Industrialisation. This came to light at the just ended UK-Africa Summit.

The President noted that contemporary international business challenges needed more robust business deals between African states in the areas of technology, digitisation, and industry in order to enhance their competitiveness and also ensure future generations’ well-being. “Let’s think differently now, and put ourselves for serious business, instead of depending all the time on exporting raw materials, “he added. Nana Akufo-Addo said Ghana responded positively to that challenge, adding that the key economic indicators for the country are pointing in the right direction. He told the summit that, “We are accelerating the structural transformation of the economy and also educating the youth with a strong sense of entrepreneurship for nation-building”.

What will be the effects on the Youth?

Nana Akufo-Addo stated that it is important to prepare the youth for private business skills, despite the prediction that by 2050 Africa would have the largest number of young people. The UK Minister for Investment at the Department of International Trade, Mr. Graham Stuart, earlier described Ghana as a remarkable economic success story in Africa, adding that the country’s critical infrastructure projects are a solid foundation for further development. After Brexit, he said the UK is set to open a new chapter of more lucrative trade links with Ghana.

Source: Ghana Web

Gov't to Compensate Nigeria-Benin Border Frustrated Traders

Government is weighing the option of putting in place a compensation package for Ghanaian traders whose goods were locked up at the Nigeria-Benin border after Nigerian land borders were closed last year.

Flashback 

It can be recalled that Nigerian authorities shut down the border in September 2019 to check for the smuggling of cheap goods and arms into Nigeria. Scores of Ghanaian traders were left stranded and disappointed as they could not get their goods across, leading to losses. Meanwhile, Mr. Charles Owiredu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, announced at a special ECOWAS event in Bekwai that government would take a look at the damages. “Government is conscious of what has happened and have our people at heart that was why when we first met traders at the border, we gave them some pocket money to depend on” he mentioned.


Could this be a political gimmick or a possible fulfilled promise?


Mr. Owiredu further confirmed that government is taking the necessary measures to provide relief for the affected traders. Majority of affected traders have lost so much of their investments. It has been reported that during the time, Adonko Bitters lost nearly $2million in a month. The leaders of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has welcome the planned intervention by government saying it is good news for its affected members.

Source: Joy Business News

Gold Fields Makes it into Bloomberg 2020 Gender Equality Ranking

What transpired?

Globally, Gold Fields Limited (Gold Fields) is one of only 325 firms in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) 2020. For the second successive year, Gold Fields has been included in the GEI, which monitors the success of public companies dedicated to promoting gender equality through policy development, inclusion, and accountability.

The index measures gender equality across pillars which comprises equal pay and gender pay parity; female leadership and talent pipeline, sexual harassment legislation, inclusive culture; visibility for women and transparency as well as outcomes.

Rosh Bardien, EVP People and Organisational Effectiveness at Gold Fields commented that “working in five countries with nine mines and one project, diversity is central to our success. We have focused on creating a truly inclusive workplace through the launch of a diversity and inclusion strategy for the Group over the past 18 months”.

What is the implication on Gold Fields Limited?

Being part of the GEI for the second year shows that we are on the right track. “20% of Gold Fields workers are women across its global workforce (2018:19%), and 20% of female management positions (2018:18%).

By reporting gender-related indicators using the GEI system, the organizations covered by the 2020 GEI offered a comprehensive look at their engagement in gender equality in the workplace and the societies in which they operate. Gold Fields has been included in the index for scoring at or above a global threshold set by Bloomberg this year to reflect a high level of disclosure and overall performance across the pillars of the framework. The GEI survey businesses across 50 different industry sectors in 42 countries and regions, with the goal of empowering companies to disclose company data and practices as an important first step in promoting gender equality globally.

Source: Business & Financial Times

Committee to Investigate Cedi Depreciation Inaugurated.

What happened?

In an interview with The Vaultz Magazine published on Wednesday, 24 April 2019, Prof Kwesi Botchwey emphasized the need to have a stable exchange rate. He argued that Ghana has “an exchange rate problem”, elucidating that “between December 2018 and February 2019, the exchange lost about 13% of its value against the dollar, compared to a modest appreciation in the same two-month period in 2018.’’ Just recently, The Finance Ministry inaugurated a committee to look into the causes of the depreciation of the cedi and propose solutions to the problem. The committee will work to complement the efforts of the Bank of Ghana in curtailing the usual poor performance of the cedi against other major foreign currencies.

Alluding to Prof Botchwey’s interview, he stated two problems he had identified. “I see two problems”, Prof Botchwey said. “One is that the public’s perception of the magnitude and causes of the problem is in part a function of the narrative from some policymakers that suggests that the stability of the cedi is just a function of the sheer brilliance and competence of economic managers and that, by sheer dint of such competence the cedi can be somehow immunized from the vagaries of the market.”

The other problem, he noted, is that the public discourse on exchange rate issues is so ridden with partisanship, arrogance and even insults that a principled discussion becomes impossible”.

In retrospect, why has the government delayed in establishing this committee and what could be the possible effects of the delay?

The establishment of the committee, named the FX Developments Committee, is a fulfillment of a promise made by the ministry last year to constitute a bi-partisan committee to look into the problem and help address it. “The formation of this committee is not to infringe on the independence of the central bank in its foreign exchange operations.’’ The Deputy Minister of Finance elucidated that the committee will also review the current forex regime, identify the inherent constraints in the system and offer workable alternatives by way of policies and programmes which potentially would reduce FX risks in the economy. “The committee is also to critically look at the role of automation and digitization as a critical enabler of FX reforms,” he stated.

Source: The Vaultz Mag

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