Tuesday, Aug 03

Ghana Link's ICUMS Facilitates Increase In Revenue Mobilization

Ghana Link Network Services Ltd (GLNS) is Ghanaian owned company incorporated in 2001 and initially went into the business of Destination Inspection in 2003. From that point GLNS continued to expand on its product lines around cross border trade and continue to evolve.

Icums_Ship3x.png

In the most recent time, GLNS in partnership with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority spearheaded the implementation of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) under the framework of the UNIPASS solution, an end-to-end trade facilitation, cargo inventory management, security protection and Revenue enhancement solution.

ICUMS was born out of a strategic partnership between GLNS and CUPIA to provide an end-to-end clearance and trade facilitation solutions to Ghana Government. In order for a country to facilitate trade, maximize and ultimately optimize revenue collection as well as ensure safety and security at the borders, it needs a comprehensive and modern trade facilitation solution to manage these functions effectively and efficiently.

On a global scale, the Korea Customs Management System (UNIPASS) provides a holistic solution that ensures a paperless working environment, revenue assurance and safety and security. It is based on high achievements of the UNIPASS that ICUMS was born out of the system. The technology has been built to suit the need of Ghana and hence change in name from UNI-PASS to the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).

The Korea UNI-PASS is internationally recognized for protection of intellectual property (IPR) and this is critical for Ghana, especially as the government through the Ministry of Trade leads a new age of industrialization by working hard to set up factories in all the districts in Ghana, known as the One District One Factory 1D1F.

The UNI-PASS is a modern and world-class technology, acknowledged by international bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the World Bank, and World Economic Forum (WEF), which is used to facilitate trade, ensure supply chain security and increase revenue. In the same regard, ICUMS also offers importers and exporters an integrated system of filing all documents and allow businesses to provide information regarding consignment simultaneously to each agency concerned for swift response in trade facilitation.

Through the clearance management system in the ICUMS, all customs businesses are currently conducted in a paperless environment with real time cargo tracking through the cargo management system (CMS) and is able to collect bills of lading from shipping lines and agents as well as airway bills from the airlines. Consignments can be tracked by authorized person with various tracking numbers and options. It is important to point out that ICUMS provides all stakeholders the ability to access relevant information as well as able to check the status of the cargo at each stage of the cargo clearance chain.

By way of information, the ICUMS was first deployed from the start of March 2020 at selected customs land frontiers. The next phase of deployment was at Takoradi Port from April 1, 2020. Kotoka International Airport (KIA) also went live from April at the close of the month of April, 2020.

The subsequent phase of deployment before going live nationwide was done in May 2020, for downstream petroleum operations. The final phase of the deployment at Tema Port and the rest of the country on June 1, 2020. The deployment of the ICUMS has covered all customs regimes and processes for sea, air, land import, export and transit-related transactions.

IMG 20210629 WA0035

In terms of capacity building, we have trained over 2,000 internal stakeholders, made up of customs officers, internal auditors and post-clearance audit staff, as well as some 5,500 external stakeholders including Freight Forwarders.

The aim of the ICUMS is to continue to build strong partnership with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as well as other stakeholder to organize cross –border trade information and appropriately make it available to all users for the purpose of revenue collection enhancement, protection of National Security, as well as facilitation of genuine trade.

The ICUMS solution is made up of 5 main components: Customs Business, Integrated Risk Management, Single Window, IT Management, and Customs Administration. Each component has various sub-systems that when put all together provides a fully functional e- Customs system which is compatible to Customs business environment worldwide that enable the sharing of information and removal of the need for actors to submit the same information to several entities.

Other Unique Features

IMG 20210629 WA0036

The ICUMS platform has a set of features that accentuate its acceptance and implementation over other systems. First, ICUMS has a stand-by human resource management module that facilitates identification of officers who worked on a given cargo and the time during which the work was carried out and completed. Second, tracing missing cargoes or goods under the novel ICUMS platform is very simple. It’s also built to effectively identify the importation of unsafe and fake goods leading to effective preventive measures.

Also because of the revenue-focused nature of ICUMS, it has a valuation data warehouse, which is a pre-requisite for proper valuation and revenue collection.

Finally, ICUMS has an exclusive tracking device for all cargoes which helps to identify each cargo using a unique reference number.

Revenue Mobilization

According the GRA revenue mobilization trend, before the ICUMS, monthly average Customs Revenue collection was around GH¢800 - GH¢900 million. However, the Commissioner- General of GRA in an interview with the Eye on Port looking at the one year of the CUMS going live country-wide said indeed the system has helped them to collect more revenue than was realized before then. This assertion he says is corroborated by the mobilization of between GH¢1.3 billion to GH¢1.4 billion per month as revenue since the implementation of the new system.

At the time of implementation, proponents of the ICUMS platform argue, if in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the GRA was able to rake-in that amount of revenue, then the country stands to benefit a great deal from its full implementation in post-COVID period.

Benefits of the ICUMS

Notwithstanding, the economic benefits of the port clearance system in the immediate-, medium- and the long-term are expected not only to be phenomenal but help the government to raise the needed revenues to help in its developmental agenda. This also means the much talked about leakages within the port revenue value chain would largely see drastic reduction if not closure.
This is because the ICUMS has an end-to-end system which does not allow operators to tamper with figures on it. The digital architecture of the ICUMS platform which was deployed by GLNS allows it to fit into the government’s digitization agenda and paperless system proposals.

ICUMS provides for swift customs clearance, and to facilitate trade at the country’s ports and borders by cutting cost, reduce the time for goods clearance for all stakeholders. Before ICUMS, valuation and classification as well as risk management and payment were all carried out by different entities which created room for revenue leakages and undue delays in the cargo clearance process at the ports. Under the new the ICUMS platform, the foregoing processes are completed through a single window.

To quote Dr. Ebenezer Ashley, Chartered Economist/Financial Consultant, “Indeed, the novel system is intended to present comprehensive and easy-to-use digital customs system to the Ghanaian market, without compromising international standards. It is perceived by many analysts as the long-awaited “Messiah” of Ghana’s leaking revenue basket.”

ICUMS is the only technology in the area of trade facilitation, security/safety and revenue mobilization developed by a customs agency aimed at solving customs and trade-related issues. Hence, it is a tailor-made technology. Also, it is important to note that, there is nowhere in the world that a government will allow for such a system to be deployed without piloting it. Indeed, we acknowledge that implementing a national single window system will not happen without initial challenges.

However, what is important is that while these challenges emerge, the rate at which one resolves them is what is important, and Ghana Link and its partners have been very swift to resolve all the challenges that have been raised with the system.

Conclusion

To conclude, ICUMS provides the required tools that makes cross border trading activities faster, simpler, more effective and efficient. ICUMS seeks to offer an ideal trade management solution that provide a distinct positive impact on the day-to-day operations of ports by proving the users with complete and timely information, important notifications as well as accurate analysis of data.

Timely exchange of accurate and proper information with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders ensures benefits for all stakeholders and the country as a whole. In the simplest form, ICUMS solution organizes cross border trade information and make the information promptly and easily available to all authorized users and stakeholders.

Aircraft3x

Born of the UNIPASS technology, it is used by many countries around the world and is fully operational in countries like Ecuador, Nepal, Mongolia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Dominican Republic and Uzbekistan.

In Africa, Tanzania and Cameroun have adopted the UNI-PASS. It is operational in Tanzania, but yet to be fully deployed in Cameroun. In Tanzania, the introduction of UNI-PASS (called TANCIS) in 2012 led to revenue increase of $390 million in 2013, $495 million in 2014, and $651 million in 2015.

Universal Motors Ltd. Debuts Ghana’S Automotive Assembling Industry

Universal Motors Ltd. Debuts Ghana’S Automotive Assembling Industry

While the prospects of venturing into a wholly new environment can be a bit intimidating especially for an automobile company which is straddled with the arduous task of breaking grounds in a country like Ghana with its defined economic activities, Universal Motors Ltd. has for over fifteen years remained steadfast, committed, innovative and candid in its dealings with the Ghanaian citizenry.  Standing tall above opposition and defiantly robust in the face of towering competition has been the signature of the brand and not being fazed and undaunted by any entrenched competition has been the incredible story of Universal Motors Ltd.

Subhi Accad 1MD of Universal Motors Ltd., Mr. Subhi Accad

The Managing Director of Universal Motors Ltd., Mr. Subhi Accad, benignly revealed that, although the journey hasn’t been easy as the pervading competition “does not only come from the other authorized importers for the other manufacturers, but also, there was no consideration for the protection for local authorized importers”.

Taking cognizance of the protection of local importers, he maintains, the laxity inherent in the importation of cars into the country without proper regulations, where importers are at liberty to bring in their choice of cars without proper law or control at the customs, it is a concern. This, Mr. Accad further revealed, has been a constant bane to the company; although a glimmer of hope looms with government’s intervention.

speaking_head.png

“There’s no proper control in terms of whether the car is suitable to be driven, suitable for Ghana or the tropics. And gray importers or parallel importers, as we call them, bring in brand new cars with zero kilometers from countries who hold them as long-term stocks. And they bring them into the country at a cheaper price because they have been in stock for a very long time, specifically, the cars from the Middle East and some from the United States. So, those have been the main issues that we have been facing. Now, though, the solutions to these problems have started to arrive with the creation of government’s Automotive Policy”.

 

The ‘People’s Car’ Commitment to Clients

Strategically, Volkswagen has worked its way to the hearts of the people by living up to its pseudonym of being the ‘People’s Car’. For the automobile giant, what ingratiates them to clients goes beyond just affordability and quality to sublimely catering to the overall wellbeing of its clients and the environment.

“First of all, when we talk of the ‘People’s car’, it’s not just about the affordable price. But mostly, we do so also because of the safety features that it has on it. ‘People’s car’, first of all means, to protect the lives of the people, the health of the people, and as we move on, to adapt to the environment by building on the product so as to improve our environment. Definitely, we’re looking at many ways to keep the clientele loyal.”

In keeping the clients loyal to the end, the provision of “very high-quality car in comparison to its competitors, and to look at the issue of servicing” remains paramount. “For example, for most of the models that we’re offering, the servicing is done every 10,000km, with an inspection at 5000km where only partial payment is required, if at all”.

 Aggression-Induced Marketing in COVID

Automotive companies and manufacturers have learned hard lessons about their businesses in the face of this pandemic. Although there are commonalities in how firms responded, not all responses have been equal, and some have certainly been more effective than others. 

Despite being hit hard by the pandemic; Mr. Accad opines it has been “like any other manufacturer”. For instance, “we were ready to launch the assembled cars in March, however, the arrival of COVID-19 stalled activities until August when it was finally launched. All the investment and the SKD that arrived in the country had been sitting, waiting, ready to be assembled in the country. However, that delay, coupled with the economic situation related to the pandemic would definitely affect sales. But, we managed to do some sales due to the aggressive marketing and because of the thankful support of the Ghanaian clientele and the Ghanaian residents who want to support the locally assembled cars”.

Amiable Ghanaian Environment for Volkswagen

A conducive environment to productively operate is the pulsating need for any company to effectively thrive and rake in the needed profit and this is a lucky streak for Universal Motors Ltd. as it has palpably enjoyed such from the government of Ghana, particularly the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“What is important in the Ghanaian market is that, the Ghanaian government has worked extraordinarily hard in collaboration with the ‘Triple A’ team of Africa and in collaboration with all the automotive manufacturers to implement an auto policy”.  The automotive policy in the words of Mr. Accad is considered one of the best auto policies in all of the African continent and having undergone careful studies, it has been properly organized, engineered and run mostly by the Ministry of Trade and Industry under Honorable Alan Kyeremanten, with all his team in a very professional way; in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport, Ghana Standard Authorities, where they have started implementing homologation for the new cars that are being brought into Ghana”.

According to him, after the draft was finalized, it went a couple of times through parliament and cabinet for approval and then later on was passed by parliament.

“Coupled with the involvement of the authorities in Ghana, supported by the cabinet and the Parliament, in addition to all the support they had from the manufacturers and the professionals in the auto industry, have earmarked Ghana as the best country to implement the auto policy and hopefully, to be in a better position than other countries to implement the manufacturing.”

Also, aside the geographical position of Ghana, the blessing of being an English-speaking country flanked by Francophone countries and as well having the best democracies supported by a very good judicial system, “gives it a proper advantage against the rest. Definitely, Ghana under the umbrella of President Nana Akufo-Addo and the commitment of honorable Alan Kyeremanten to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) can, in the future, help us to expand the regional trade”.

Versatility in Car Models

Polo Hatchback

Versatility speaks louder than the banality of business and as such the various models assembled at Universal Motors Ltd. includes the Polo hatchback, and the Tiguan which comes in two engines; the 1.4L and 2.0L. The 1.4L comes in trendline and the 2.0L, which is a four-motion automatic, comes in four grades: Trendline, Comfortline, Highline, and then the Highline premium. Among Volkswagen’s line is also the Passat which comes in three grades with one engine, 2.5L automatic. “Followed by that, we have the Teramont which comes in three grades. Then we have the Amarok; the manual transmission comes in two grades, that’s Trendline and the Comfortline, and the Highline comes in automatic transmission”.

VW Tiguan

Futuristically, Volkswagen is also hoping to implement in the first quarter of 2021 more models on stream which will be launched progressively. “We would have the All-space which is a longer Tiguan model. It comes in five seats with a much bigger boot space or with seven seats as well. So that would be launched early next year. At the same time, we are in discussions with Volkswagen head office, with Volkswagen South Africa, together with Universal Motors and we want to see how best we can implement entry models for saloon cars to suit our market so that we can have continuity in the supply of entry models for the cars”.

 Bridging Price Gap

Passat

Luxury has always come at a steep price but the auto brand offers the Polo Hatchback, a manual transmission which comes at a very competitive price along with the Tiguan with competitive prices client don’t have to break a leg with its three years warranty respite. With this, Mr. Accad insists the prices of the cars have been “reduced considerably in comparison to the new ones of the past. When you want to compare that to the cars that are being brought in by the parallel importers or the gray importers from Dubai, from Oman, or from Saudi Arabia, or from the USA, Europe and all those countries, you’ll realize that those unauthorized importers don’t have a warranty on their vehicles”. Car parts like the engine and gearbox “are the major costly parts of the vehicle which falls under warranty” and as a result, it is important for clients to “think before deciding whether to buy a car from the gray or parallel importers” and if anything happens to the car, “whether it is from a very good brand, or a less quality brand, unforeseen issues can arise no matter the brand”.

According to Mr. Accad, any mistake or any challenge that may emerge with the car, without the warranty becomes egregious to the customer, as any means of salvaging it is “reduced now because of the implementation of the automated clearance at the ports of entry where people have to adapt to the proper model numbers for clearing the cars”. All hope isn’t lost for customers as government on its part via the auto policy is “planning and are still working to see the best way by which they can implement financing for the end users at a preferable interest rate”. For that to happen, it has to go through “banks and financial institutions as this is their job and our job is to sell the cars and maintain them through after-sales”.

The Competitive Edge

Being a leader comes with hard work and when it comes to keeping a competitive advantage, Volkswagen is prepared to go the extra mile. However, in rising above other assembly plants coming into the country, Mr. Accad admitted to the many issues that “we have to look at”. That notwithstanding, he reveals that their swift response to the announcement of the automotive industry initiative in Ghana by liaising with “Volkswagen immediately” makes them the first to “be responsive to that initiative of the government”.

“They had signed the MoU in the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Vice President, H.E Mahamudu Bawumia between the former CEO of Volkswagen South Africa, Mr. Thomas Schafer, and Honorable Alan Kyeremanten. So, we have the advantage by being the first one to start the assembly and at this stage, all the cars we’re assembling have gone through homologation and approval”.

While conceding to the open space for competition, he opines that they are expecting part of the auto policy which will ensure used cars coming in into the country; however, government’s desire is the entry of “only good used cars” and “not the used cars which are damaged or the used cars that have been flooded, and definitely, they have to go through the homologation”.

Undoubtedly there will be competition, but the focus of Volkswagen is to “support and promote the used car industry by encouraging the used car dealers”. Instead of going to elsewhere to buy cars which may not be suitable for Ghana in terms of “everything related to the requirements for the cars to be used here, they should instead use the locally manufactured cars or the authorized imported cars by the manufacturers where those cars are made for our market, they’re built for our roads”. Mr. Accad indicates that, this will make the auto policy “a win-win situation for the assemblers, for the authorized importers as well as the used-car dealers”.

Collaborations with Local Importers

Local importers can definitely heave a sigh of relief as the Universal Motors Ltd. MD has shown magnanimity by statingthey would still play a major role in the used car vehicle market”. He, however, expressed worry that some of the cars imported “are made for right hand driving countries and they’re transformed into left-hand drive which is not safe at all on our roads”. Volkswagen is hopeful of a collaboration with car dealers in a few years where “the used car dealers can play a role by buying used cars that are assembled here”. A move Mr. Accad believes will curb the issue of stolen cars penetrating the country as some “have no history at all. So at least we’d know that those used cars here have got the history behind them, from the time it was imported; if it is fully built car or through the authorized manufacturers or if they have been assembled here and they would enjoy the same advantages that the authorized assemblers have as well. So, it’s a mutual advantage”.

Volkswagen’s Future for Automotive Industry in Ghana

Having mid-to-long term plans are the guiding principles for any organization to transition from one phase to the other and Volkswagen setting up its office here as Universal Motors Ltd., and with the subsequent appointment of Universal Motors Limited as the licensed manufacturer, spearheaded the first phase of its plans. Premised on this, Mr. Accad maintains that based on the thorough and proper implementation of the auto policy, they would go into the second phase where they would transition from “SKD (Semi Knocked- Down) eventually to enhanced SKD or MKD (Medium Knocked- Down)”. Also, considering the ambitions of other spare parts manufacturers, Volkswagen anticipates a situation where there will be equal opportunities for “spare parts manufacturers to come into the country and start local manufacturing for spare parts”.

speaking_head.png

“That would boost the industry here as well to have more local content and that opens the door for the CKD (Complete Knocked- Down). But of course, we have to understand one thing which is very important. The normal SKD normally depends on the volume of the cars. So, maybe the SKD can be used from 5,000 up to 10,000 cars. Anything above that, we can go into enhanced SKD. But then, it has to go through a very high-volume requirement. And then, when we go to the CKD, we have to take into consideration that there would be more limited line of models assembled here and under the CKD, SKD can continue or the FBU (Fully Built Unit) can continue. So, the idea is to grow with Ghana and to move forward with Ghana as we grow and with that growth, the idea is to invite many stakeholders in the car industry, whether they become dealers or very well-trained workshops to participate in the business”.  

Teramont

SunPower Innovations– 5years of providing reliable and affordable Energy for Africans

SunPower Innovations– 5years of providing reliable and affordable Energy for Africans

The insatiable and sometimes vaulting ambitions of man takes him beyond the shores of life and waves of challenges to a defined threshold of redefining the scope of business and purpose. Sometimes, it is the reflexive prod of tapping into the inexhaustible trappings of nature to satisfy the permanent utility demands of mankind.

SunPower Innovations has navigated the plains of the renewable energy industry for five years and has, consequently, risen above the ashes like the phoenix in a relatively novel market space like Ghana. For the CEO of SunPower Innovations, Mr. Ernest Amissah, it has been an admixture of challenges and bliss, as he recounts his journey by saying, “It’s been challenging, it’s been gut wrenching and it has also been very exciting.”

Traversing through challenges

Challenges, for most businesses, are the pathfinders to success; and for SunPower Innovations, the skepticism of people as well as the costly nature of this new technology have been a major challenge to the growth of the business.

"

“I say it’s challenging because it’s a very capital intensive industry and also it’s new. So, it’s rather sad that in Africa things get here late. For instance, when they introduce a new car in America or Europe, they will drive it till it gets old then somebody will bring it to Africa for us to drive. It’s the same with solar. Renewable energy is a new technology so, before it comes down– before we can comprehend its details– it’ll take time. That’s what makes it challenging.”

"

 

Mr. Ernest E. Amissah CEO page 001Also, he made mention of another area which was equally challenging: finance, "where the banks don’t understand it and major off-takers like business owners also don’t understand it. You know, they can’t speak the language; and like anything new that is viable, you see that there are ‘fly-by-night companies’ that will show up and say they do solar, they do this, but the challenge is they can’t do it well so they mess up the market. That’s what has made it challenging.”

 

Lessons learned after five years

Lessons form part of the growth of any individual and for SunPower Innovations, one word stands tall and encapsulates its five years’ experience: Tenacity. “I mean, tenacity is one word for everything because it has patience, it has guts, grits, you name it; so that’s what I’ve learned. In Ghana, you have to be tenacious or you won’t survive.”

Truth– the guarantee for selling our products

One of the implicit ingredients in SunPower Innovations' recipe for success and survival in the bustling Ghanaian economy, according to Mr. Amissah, has always been the truth serum coursing through the vein of his company.             

                  "

“I have a Lebanese friend and he’s very successful and I was talking to him one day about my challenges: how I’m trying to sell my systems out there and I’m not breaking through -This was about two and a half years ago and he said: ‘Do you know what I do? I just speak the truth.’ He said ‘in Ghana, all you have to do is to speak the truth and you’ll be overwhelmed how much business you get’. So I took that advice. What we do is, when you give us a project, we don’t cut corners; we do it well. We try to beat your expectations and that’s it. And so, a lot of what we do is by word of mouth. We don’t have billboards in town, we don’t do radio ads but word of mouth. Just speaking the truth, as in doing the right thing.”

"

The Context between Solar Power and hydroelectric or thermal alternatives

Without contention, the sun’s replete and largely inexhaustible prospect is susceptible to low visibility, especially as a profit-garnering venture, except for the shrewd and hawkeyed businessman. By comparison, Mr. Amissah highly recommends solar power to its hydroelectric and thermal alternatives.

In his words, “hydro has been with us for a long time, and you know the capex in developing hydro is high, in terms of capital expenditure. Thermal power also has its high maintenance cost like hydro, but unlike the former, it uses fossil fuel to generate electricity and this subsequently causes pollution. The problem of global warming is largely attributed to such pollutions due to its low overall efficiency. So thermal is not sustainable; it pollutes the earth. It’s very expensive to maintain it, as in, to keep fuel going to the plants; regular routine maintenance of the plant too is very expensive. Hydro, too is expensive for a middle income country like us.”

To him, we can’t build another dam like Akosombo; it’s very expensive. Then thermal, it’s very expensive to keep buying crude or get gas to fire the plants up. But what about renewable energy? Initially it was very expensive, now it’s rather cheaper than these two resources. It’s free energy from God- the sun’s energy; it’s insatiable. You just have to tweak it up and do it well then it becomes very sustainable for you. So, I think, solar is the way to go.”

 dowCEO of SunPower Innovations, Mr. Ernest Amissah

Riding against the tide of the pandemic

The pandemic has cast a long shadow on businesses globally. But, in spite of the sad tales of companies folding up, losing ground and eventually succumbing to the grim of the pandemic, the tale of SunPower Innovations recounted by the founder is one of the sun breaking through dark clouds.

"

“I think we’ve been blessed because, we are kind of like a utility company, even though there’s a pandemic we still need energy to cook, to build whatever for the hospitals. So, that emergency bit about energy delivery is what’s keeping us afloat. But it’s still affecting us; we had to let some few people go; cash flow is low.”

"

Ironically, along with the baggage which the pandemic darkened the door of the world with, it sharply revealed an ignored pitfall within the business fraternity, sectors and organizations globally. Indeed, the story holds true also in the renewable energy industry.

"

“I think globally; this pandemic has highlighted what energy sources is bankable or is sustainable enough to withstand any challenges like what corona has brought to the world. I read a lot from different platforms and most countries out there are actually championing solar energy because of the effect of the corona. So, if you have a thermal plant at, for example, Aboadze and you have 1000 workers there and one gets corona; can you imagine? Let’s say the instrumentation office, somebody got corona there and then you know how it spreads, then all of a sudden 20 people in the instrumentation department alone are gone, and these are high level technical fields; how do you replace them? That plant now has to be shut down. What about solar? So now, the world has created a real case scenario that: look, it’s solar.”

"

Renewable energy isn’t the preserve for Ghana’s economy, and to the SunPower innovator, even skeptics like the American

President has had a much stronger affinity with the possibilities trapped in the sun.

“So, even now in America where Trump was saying that solar energy sucks… I think there’s a big project that was signed this year even within this pandemic period for 400megawatts or so somewhere in the US, so it’s here to stay.”

Mr. Amissah insists, “in the next five years or ten years, nobody is going to build and try to drag a gridline in there. No government will pay for power lines to be taken to a village somewhere that doesn’t have grid. So, solar is cheaper, it’s sustainable, it’s climate friendly; so it’s here to stay".

 Mid-term plans for SunPower Innovations

So long as the earth rotates on its axis and goes full circle, the pandemic certainly won’t stop diehard business folks from dreaming, working harder and expanding their businesses to accommodate new plans. And SunPower's midterm plans hover on the fringes of incorporating as many Ghanaians as possible into the solar energy drive. 

 

“We’ve realized that people doing solar in Africa, not only Ghana but in Africa, are the middle class or upper echelon– wealthy people. They are the ones who are able to afford like a good hybrid system of solar. So, what we want to do is, we want to make it affordable to the lower income population. Thus, we are launching an initiative that we call ‘Tokanea’ and we think, it is where we can reach out to the masses. So, somebody in Tamale, somebody at Nzulezu can come and buy one panel or two panels just to power their room, power their very small application systems... it’s affordable and it’s also really available to the market… and we think it’s also going to help us leapfrog into other countries.”

 

Multiplicity of purpose

Diversification for most companies is indicative of growth and progress, laced with creative propensity and with that, Mr. Amissah isn’t quite ready to rest on his oars yet as his next brainchild thrives on sustainability.

“A lot of what I do is based on sustainability. We are trying to launch an app-based delivery company called ‘FABRAHA’. It’s on-demand delivery just like Uber. For instance, you want flowers, cake or you’ve bought some slippers online; you just go on the app, then you put in your address and then pay for it. Someone will then deliver it and you can track how long it takes and all that. We are about to launch that God willing this year before Christmas.

“Then, I also do sustainable housing. Right now, we are doing sustainable housing for students, as in hostels and it’s purely green– powered by solar, the water supply is not tapped into Ghana water… we do wells and we have a filtration system, we do rain harvesting. The first project is coming up at Takoradi Technical University and we’re doing it simultaneously with Cape Coast Technical University.”

Regulation on the Energy sector

Clearly, the economic climate of a country incontrovertibly influences the blossoming inclinations of companies. Where there are constricting regulations, plans of these entities are furtively curtailed overnight. SunPower Innovations is quite aware of these regulations, but boldly calls for a more collaborative effort from government.

 

“At the moment the renewable energy space has a lot of regulatory issues. It’s like you’re competing with ECG and for me I don’t know why ECG feels threatened. If I were ECG, I will start revamping my strategy to go renewable. Meaning, I’ll partner smaller companies that are coming up in the renewable energy space rather than think that they’re a threat. Like I said, five, ten years down the line, who will come to you? And you can force the horse to the riverside but you can’t force it to drink. Government can’t say that buy ECG by force. You can choose not to buy ECG. People have generators in their homes and they run their generators. So, why don’t you (ECG) partner us? The main issue with renewable energy on the big scale or utility scale is the fact that, we have regulatory restrictions.”

 

Admittedly, SunPower doesn’t operate in a vacuum but regulated by the instituted regulatory body being the Energy Commission, and in the spirit of cohesiveness in making the system work for the universal good of all and sundry, Mr. Amissah made some salient suggestions by stating that, “at the moment there’s something we call net metering, where you can do solar and you sell it to ECG, and you also take power from ECG; so, at the end of the month ECG gives you a meter that can net-off 'how much did you give me, how much did I also give you? This is the balance; you owe me or I owe you'. That system was introduced in Ghana, I think in West Africa, we did well in introducing that system; unfortunately, we’ve suspended it. I think it’s canceled because of threats that everybody will do it and who will buy the power from ECG?

 "

“We have very expensive power to pay the IPPs. Who’s going to pay that money? But, ECG can tell everybody to do solar. After all, the law says that energy-mix and renewable is supposed to be 10 percent, and we’ve not even hit 2 percent; so what’s the fear? If you’ve gotten to 7 percent and you are scared that you’ll exceed the 10 percent quota, then you can say ok, let’s shut down some projects… So, these are the issues we have but anyway, I listened to Jack Ma…, he was on a panel in a forum and he said even if the regulations are not there, keep doing what you have to do and eventually time will catch up.”

 

SunPower Innovations, a lodestar in renewable energy

There is a myth that we must lower our standard of living in order to avoid the effects of climate change but the reality is that alternative solutions do not sacrifice comfort. Essentially, the benefits which accounts for renewable energy bounces off its rays on the wall of insatiability, but the encyclopedic and incisive thoughts on the benefits of renewable energy espoused by Mr. Amissah were unraveling.

"

“Just think about all the savings the government will have so that monies can be channeled into other areas: education, infrastructure– the savings we can have. Think about the jobs that we can create if we have a very robust renewable energy sector. Within four and half to five years, we are directly about 70 workers and indirectly about 120 workers. So, think about it and we are just one entity. Think about the ripple effect if it’s a supported industry and it’s booming.

"

“It will reduce unemployment; it will save the world.  In Ghana or in Africa, most people don’t talk about climate change, but climate change is real, all over the world. For the first time in Ghana, look at the weather, …and so we, genuinely, have to think about climate change.”

Executive Chairman of First Sky Group named...

Executive Chairman of First Sky Group named...

For the many, not the few, this is the story of First Sky Group, an indigenous business conglomerate that has operations in construction, hospitality, insurance, banking, commodities and manufacturing. As has become a tradition of the company, its 17th anniversary was celebrated in beautiful fashion.

At the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), First Sky Group’s strong staff across all subsidiaries, with families, friends and well-wishers gathered to worship, praise and appreciate the works of the Lord in their personal and corporate lives and ask for more protection and guidance as they prepare for another year.

With an apt theme: ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’, the ceremony was graced with the presence of some of the nation’s most exalted men of God including: Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, Presiding Archbishop and General Overseer of the Action Chapel International ministry, Rev. Dr. Paul Frimpong Manso, Chairman of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, and Apostle Prof. Kwadwo Opoku Onyinah, former Chairman of the Church of Pentecost. 

Also in attendance was Dr. Archibald Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, current and past Members of Parliament (MPs), judges of the Ghana Supreme, Appeal and High courts, business leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and other notable personalities.

For First Sky Group, an indigenous conglomerate that has made great strides across the various sectors of the economy while sustaining 17 years of growth and expansion, the least they can do is to appreciate God with all of its human might and company’s resources.

Humble beginnings to the top

With a strong Christian foundation and faith in God, First Sky Group, which takes great pride in humble beginnings with First Sky Construction, has over the past 17 years expanded and now boasts of First Sky Commodities, Volta Serene Hotel, Serene Insurance, First Sky Bitumen Processing, Frerol Rural Bank, with others to follow in the coming years.

God has never forsaken the visioner, Eric Kutortse and his team, from their humble beginnings in the early 2000s. With Eric’s initial ‘office’ in his hand bag full of ideas, and strategizing to achieve his dream for his family, team, community and the nation, God has been gracious and today, Eric has seen his dream materialize and soar to become a leading business empire in Ghana and extending to neighboring African countries.

His rise to greatness is reflected in the theme of this year's thanksgiving convocation "Great is Thy Faithfulness", the popular Christian hymn written by Thomas Chrisholm and music supported by William Runyan, underscoring God's faithfulness in his life. It remains a fact that whatever one does in true faith will lead to greatness.

Today, First Sky Group is a big name in international trade delivering high quality services including roads construction to boost Ghana's infrastructure development.

The group currently employs over 2,000 highly motivated workforces with varied skills and expertise, delivering value for money services to the Ghanaian economy with Mr. Eric Seddy Kukortse as the Executive Chairman/Founder.

Mr. Eric Seddy Kutortse is a devoted Christian who is not only a deacon at the Trinity Assemblies of God Church in Tema but also a lay preacher. He is also the Board Chairman of the Evangelism Explosion-Ghana, a worldwide organization that aims at spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ across nations.

The Group’s Executive Chairman, Eric Seddy Kutortse, in his opening remarks at the August gathering recounted how merciful and kind the Lord had been to the group in 2019. He said the group enjoyed the Lord’s protection and grace in 2019, for which reason He deserved to be praised.

“Our God is good, all the time and all the time, our God is good,”

he expressed with great joy.

To him and First Sky Group, it comes with great joy to declare the faithfulness of God, who has kept His promises of provision, protection, peace, security and His presence with them over the period since inception.

“We are rejoicing today because we have a father in heaven who is faithful and cares about the affairs of his children,” he revealed.

Humble beginnings to the top

With a strong Christian foundation and faith in God, First Sky Group, which takes great pride in humble beginnings with First Sky Construction, has over the past 17 years expanded and now boasts of First Sky Commodities, Volta Serene Hotel, Serene Insurance, First Sky Bitumen Processing, Frerol Rural Bank, with others to follow in the coming years.

God has never forsaken the visioner, Eric Kutortse and his team, from their humble beginnings in the early 2000s. With Eric’s initial ‘office’ in his hand bag full of ideas, and strategizing to achieve his dream for his family, team, community and the nation, God has been gracious and today, Eric has seen his dream materialize and soar to become a leading business empire in Ghana and extending to neighboring African countries.

His rise to greatness is reflected in the theme of this year's thanksgiving convocation "Great is Thy Faithfulness", the popular Christian hymn written by Thomas Chrisholm and music supported by William Runyan, underscoring God's faithfulness in his life. It remains a fact that whatever one does in true faith will lead to greatness.

Today, First Sky Group is a big name in international trade delivering high quality services including roads construction to boost Ghana's infrastructure development.

The group currently employs over 2,000 highly motivated workforces with varied skills and expertise, delivering value for money services to the Ghanaian economy with Mr. Eric Seddy Kukortse as the Executive Chairman/Founder.

Mr. Eric Seddy Kutortse is a devoted Christian who is not only a deacon at the Trinity Assemblies of God Church in Tema but also a lay preacher. He is also the Board Chairman of the Evangelism Explosion-Ghana, a worldwide organization that aims at spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ across nations.

Recounting God’s mercies and blessings over the years

chuuurc

The ever-smiling Eric added that God had exhibited to them that no matter the circumstances they found themselves in at any point in time, He would never leave them nor forsake them. “We have experienced this as a group, year in, year out and we are very grateful to our Lord.”

First Sky, he said, continues to thank the Almighty for His faithfulness because God has prospered the company and its workers in many ways. He assured all gathered that

“First Sky will continue to work hard and keep its integrity as a model Christian company committed to excellence and timely delivery of contracts and promises.”

He further declared “As the Lord leads us, we will continue by His grace to do our charitable works of supporting the needy and poor in our society. We will continue to render our CSR services to the nation and humanity as a whole.

Our humble contribution towards the kingdom’s business will continue as we hear from the Lord.” He is serving Ghana and the church and I am grateful to god for raising such an apostle”

Indeed, the hard-working Ghanaian entrepreneur is not only desirous of creating employment opportunities for Ghanaians, but committed to touching the lives of hundreds of people with life-threatening medical conditions, especially kidney problems, with a lifeline. To him, he has soared in life not only by dint of hard work but with the help of the unseen hands of the Supreme Being, God Almighty.

Those who knew him over the past three decades will attest to the fact that hard work, humility, prayers and honesty are not only his traits but the core values of his company. He expressed his deepest gratitude to all who gathered with him and his team to thank the Lord and ask for prayers for First Sky Group and other Christian businesses so that God would continue to shower favor onto these businesses.

Eric Seddy Kutortse Earns an “Apostle of Business”

WhatsApp Image 2020 07 16 at 6.14.08 PMExecutive Chairman, Eric Seddy Kutortse giving a speech 

Through the years, First Sky Group’s Executive Chairman, Eric Seddy Kutortse, who was named an Apostle of Business by the former Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Prof. Kwadwo Opoku Onyinah, has consistently supported the work of God and it is no surprise that when he calls upon men of God to grace his annual thanksgiving ceremonies, they do not hesitate but show up and bestow blessings on him and his workers.

Apostle Prof. Kwadwo Opoku Onyina noted that for the work that Mr. Kutortse has done and continues to do for the Christian community, including building churches, which has helped to address the issue of church services being held under trees, as well as providing means of transportation for evangelism, has earned him the enviable title of “Apostle of Business”.

“He is serving Ghana and the church and I am grateful to God for raising such an Apostle,” he continued.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’, he delved deeper and cut out a sub theme that is more actionable; ‘Sing a Song of God’s Faithfulness’. To him, “all of the things we do in this world, they will be left behind but one thing that you will take with you is singing” quoting “from the book of Exodus, through Lamentations to Revelations, whether in success or challenges, followers of God always sing to his faithfulness.”

“In Exodus 15, the people with Moses based their worship on three things: first, the activities of God. They were worshiping God because of what God has done. So thanksgiving is an act of worship. Secondly, they worshiped God for who He is, His attributes, characteristics and nature. Thirdly, they worshiped Him for what He was going to do, which is faith. Because God has led you to one thing, you believe that he will lead you to another,” he further exhorted.

“Dreams do come to pass”

achhArchbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams

Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams, in his remarks, urged other business leaders to emulate the works of Mr. Kutortse, whose consistent support to the Assemblies of God Church and the body of Christ in general has earned him praises and uncountable blessings.

“Dreams do come to pass and we can tell through your (Eric’s) example that if you dream and dare to believe God, your dream would come to pass. Eric is an inspiration to the business community and all of us,” the Archbishop stated.

He added that through a new initiative he introduced recently, Temple Builders, many Christian business leaders are building churches for God.

“If you are a businessman or woman, I encourage you to build churches before you die. Eric has inspired the business community’s commitment to Christianity and we pray for more of Eric’s kind,” he opined.

He blessed Eric and his team to have more than they can handle because First Sky Group, under Eric’s leadership has contributed to the growth of churches and Christianity in Ghana and beyond.

“May the Lord multiply you, make you fruitful and increase you. If you give something and stand for the gospel and for the cause of Christ, you will never lose anything,” he said.

In his closing remarks, the Archbishop requested that participants at the Thanksgiving ceremony should pray for the peace of Ghana as the country approaches election season, as well as its neighbouring countries and the sub region as many of them would be conducting elections in this year 2020.

First Sky Group countless CSR Projects– Unparalleled

WhatsApp Image 2020 07 17 at 2.03.26 PMInvited guests at the event

First Sky Group has been involved in numerous corporate social responsibility projects in the country dating back to the 2000s when the company began its operations. The company understands and appreciates the need to support the communities in which it operates, the people and the country as a whole.

Notably, in 2011, the company donated a brand new Land Cruiser Prado and a pick-up truck to the Assemblies of God Church, Ghana, to facilitate its rural activities and a 15-sets of musical instruments were as well delivered to various churches across the country.

The company, moreover, in the same year built a 50-seater well-equipped Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centre for the Awate Schools in the North Dayi District of the Volta Region.

Besides, in March 2016, the group handed over 60 church buildings with a seating capacity of 450 to 650 to the Assemblies of God Church with 30 chapels each in the Eastern and Volta regions. The motive behind this CSR move was to alleviate the inconveniences of churches that held meetings under trees and in classrooms. A brand new Toyota pick-up was also presented to the Assemblies of God church to facilitate evangelism.

The Group has over the years embarked on a number of corporate social responsibility initiatives. Among the initiatives are the payment of all hospital debts of patients at the Renal Dialysis Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in 2016 which amounted GH¢620,000 and a donation of GH¢2million as an endowment fund for the treatment of all patients on dialysis at the Unit.

WhatsApp Image 2020 07 17 at 2.17.21 PMCross-section of some guests at the event

At the 15th Anniversary Thanksgiving service which was held on 14th January 2018, the group donated an amount of GH¢1million towards the National Cathedral project as well as 4000 bags of cement, 500 cubic of chippings, and 50 tonnes of iron rods.

The Group also in 2019 donated an amount of GH¢1million to the National Road Safety Commission in the fight against road accidents.

In this year 2020, the Group has pledged its continuous commitment to its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as part of its 17th anniversary ceremony. The group has outlined a number of projects it seeks to embark upon including plans to partner the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in establishing Ghana’s first ever kidney transplant centre.

The announcement comes on the back of a successful collaboration between the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the First Sky Group which led to four persons undergoing kidney transplants at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in 2019.

Speaking to the media, after the thanksgiving service, CEO of First Sky Construction, Ernest Nii Okai Hammond, said “we will continue to do as we have been led to do and we believe the provision will be made for it; we’ve spent close to GH¢12 million at the Renal Unit and that is basically giving treatment to 350 patients at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital who are on free dialysis twice a week.”

Announcing the Group’s corporate social responsibility projects for the year 2020, he said the Kidney Transplant Centre, which he believes should be ready by May 2020, shall have the capacity to serve Ghana and the whole of West Africa. He said the Group shall partner the Hospital again this year for additional two transplants which will lead to the establishment of the Transplant Centre.

According to Mr. Hammond, the Group shall also continue to support the National Road Safety Commission, with a donation of an ambulance in support of saving lives in the event of road accident.

He said the Group shall continue its donations towards kingdom business by constructing five new churches this year to eliminate churches under trees.

Through the generosity of First Sky, many students have been offered full scholarships at various levels of education. For instance, a full scholarship scheme is being run by the group for some underprivileged students annually at the Kpando Senior High School, the Group Executive Chairman’s almamater.

Stallion Motors Ghana Ltd Debuts the 2020 Changan CS95 AND CS55 Models in Ghana 

Changan Automobile (Group) Co, is a Chinese automobile manufacturer and state-owned enterprise headquartered in Chongqing, China that boasts of industrial history spanning 157 years. Recognised as one of the leading Chinese auto brands, it has also gained prominence and immense popularity worldwide, in addition to offering value across various automotive segments. 

It operates in joint ventures with Ford (Changan Ford), Groupe PSA (Changan PSA), Mazda (Changan Mazda) and Suzuki (Changan Suzuki) which respectively produce Ford, DS Automobiles, Mazda and Suzuki branded passenger cars for the Chinese market. It also has a joint venture with Jiangling Motor Corporation Group (JMCG) and Aiways, which produces SUVs sold under the Landwind marque.

On Thursday, 28th November, 2019, Stallion Motors Ghana Ltd. in collaboration with the global auto maker, Changan Automobile corporation, launched in Ghana, the all-new models CS55 and CS95 at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra.

Other models displayed at the launch included Alsvin & Eado in saloon segment and CS15, CS35, CS75 among its SUV range for customers to experience Changan’s wide model range. 

Stallion is a household name in Ghana. It is undoubtedly one of the strongest players in the automotive industry by virtue of its vast distribution network. The exclusive national partnership with Changan in Ghana brings the best in class products and services to the Ghanaian consumer. These popular vehicles are best engineered for the road severity in Ghana. 

Present at the gathering were dignitaries from the Chinese embassy and the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Shi Ting Wang. The unveiling of the two-wheel-drive – CS55 and the four-wheel-drive – CS95 gushed out a breath-taking and mind-blowing effect as expressed by His excellency, Mr. Shi Ting Wang. He mentioned that last year, bilateral trade between China and Ghana registered 7.3 billion USD, making Ghana the 7th largest trading partner of China in Africa. Ghanaian consumers have a strong demand for Chinese products such as textiles and electrical home appliances. As Ghana’s economy is on a surge, the demand for automobiles is growing bigger, and Changan is wise to seize this opportunity by partnering with Stallion Group.

Mr. Mahesh Mahtani, the Country Director for Stallion, reiterated that the launch of the new models from Changan adds to the range and shows the company’s commitment towards bringing feature-packed, best in class quality at affordable range to the Ghanaian customers. The company has sales and service outlets in Accra in 3 locations located at Graphic road, Tema motorway & Spintex and outside Accra at Kumasi, Cape Coast & Tamale. It has invested in a state-of-the-art central auto parts and service center at Accra to support the distribution of genuine parts across the nation for the upkeep of these vehicles. The service facilities offer preventive maintenance, mechanical and electrical repairs to body shop and paint booth and are periodically trained by Changan to ensure the best service delivery.

Mr. Vinnie, Vice Director for the Middle East and Africa region from Changan International Corporation stated that Ghana is a very important market for Changan’s global business. The new range of vehicles namely CS55 and CS95, mid and high-end SUV are equipped with new-generation platforms, contemporary design and will offer best-in-class efficiency, performance, and comfort.  These vehicles will further augment the brand ethos of “Lasting Safety”. As the leading Chinese car producer, our target is to be one of the top 10 global car brands by the year 2025 with more than 6 million units for annual sales.

With 61 years of experience in building and selling passenger vehicles, Changan is an early leader in the auto industry. Each day, more than 8,500 consumers buy a new Changan worldwide and is increasingly becoming one of the most trustworthy brands in the West African market. The products go through multiple harsh durability and reliability tests, every year.  Extensive ‘extreme heat tests’ by road testing are done for each line of Changan products in regions with very challenging conditions, such as dusty environment, hot weather, corrosion, etc. to technically adapt the product into local driving conditions. Changan was awarded the ‘High Quality and Safety Control Enterprises of the Year’ 2017. 

Other dignitaries present at the launch were Mr. Alexander Kyei representing the Hon. Alan Kyeremateng from the Ministry of Trade & Industry and many Changan loyal customers from banks, corporate & government institutions; their faith in the brand and positive feedback are testimonials to strong brand advocacy. They shared their positive experience with the brand, service and long-lasting relations. The testimony and the continued trust by the customers encourage the brand to add more products to the portfolio and offer innovative and comprehensive solutions to the Ghanaian customers.

 

The new models are the best for roads in Ghana

Mr. Mahesh Mahtani assured the Ghanaian market that the luxury, the brand offers surpasses many of its competitors in all segments of vehicles.

Changan CS55

Changan CS55 is designed and developed by Changan's European Design team, and its shape draws inspiration from Obsidian (Volcanic Glass). It is equipped with a 1.5L Petrol turbocharged engine with115 KW/225 NM Torque and 6-speed automatic transmission. 

With an engine capacity of 1.5 LT, The CS55 boasts of features such as automatic parking assistance that makes it park with ease. The parking is fully automatic, and one does not even need to touch the steering wheel, as it can be monitored on the panel in the centre console. The Car also has new non-firework airbags that have millisecond response time. A smart safety belt is included to provide all-around protection, and Bosch airbag contributes to the overall passenger safety. As if that is all, the CS55 also comes with Pre-warning Assistant Braking. The new Bosch MRR evo14 CS55 can identify front collision risks and triggers a warning before accidents occur. It also has a safe distance reminder, FCW, collision mitigation and other functions that makes the car outclass its peers. The CS55 boasts of the following specs, among several others: 18 inch Alloy Wheels with tyre size 225/55 R18, ABS,EBO,ESC,HHC,EPB, C-NCAP 5 Stars, Driver airbag, Front passenger  front-airbag  (standard), Side airbag of front row, Side air curtain of first and second rows (each one left and right), Reminding  system for without working of safety belt ( driver), Reminding  system for without working of safety belt ( front passenger), 3-point force limiting safety belt of second row, Child safety lock, Central lock, Remote key control, Escape unlocking  function in the back door, Auto lock during driving (reserved), Engine electric antitheft and lock-up system, remote four doors lock open/close, remote trunk open/close, smart remote control key, keyless entry, keyless start reversing camera-dynamic line auxiliary, light-front blind spot detection, rear reversing radar, cruise control, TPMS, 4.2 inch LCD screen, leather steering wheel, entertainment control key, Bluetooth (phone call) control key, cruise control key, electronic steering lock, 4-way adjustable steering column and energy-absorbing steering column.

 

Changan CS95

Changan CS95 is a work of art that integrates a Butterfly front face design philosophy into extraordinary functions. CS95 is equipped with the Blue Core 2.0L turbo GDI direct-injection supercharged engine– which is the best in class. It's joined with the globally advanced Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission and the latest BorgWarner NexTrac intelligent all-wheel-drive system.

The all-new CS95 is equipped with the Blue Core 2.0 L turbo GDI direct-injection supercharged engine and boasts of an intelligent interconnected system that offers several online services, such as navigation, intelligent assistant Xiao An, entertainment, safety, and remote car-control. The powerful SUV also has an in-built lane departure warning feature (The latest Bosch MPC2 Plus camera) that alerts the driver, should the vehicle drift from the lane. In the event of a collision, side airbags and side air curtains absorb much of the energy of the crash, thereby reducing the impact on the driver. The SUV boasts of a simple aesthetic design and the following specs, among others: 64 LitresFuel tank capacity,  seats 7, AWD (All-wheel Drive) engine type, 2.0 LT Turbo Intellectual Elite engine capacity, 6AT transmission, 171 Max.rated power kW/ps), 365    Max.net torque(N·m),  19 inch Alloy Wheels with Tyre size 245/55/R19, spare tire, min. Ground Clearance-Unloaded(190 mm), driver & passenger-side airbag, side airbag for Front & Second row(each one left and right), side air curtain(each one left and right), Tire, Pressure Measurement System TPMS (direct mode), engine electric anti-theft system, engine electric antitheft and lock-up system, central control lock of in-car, control lock of remote central, warning of releasing parking brake, child safety lock, child seat fixtures ISO-FIX), door open/closed alarm reminder (five doors display independent), smart and remote key, vehicle searching function, remote trunk unlock, remote trunk open/close, keyless entry (front doors, back door), keyless start (push-button mode), anti-skid brake system(ABS)+Electric brake force and Distribution(EBD)

Stallion Motors Ghana Ltd 

Stallion Group having operated for 45 years has grown from its modest start in West Africa into a fledgling multi-business conglomerate, one of the largest in West Africa. Today Stallion has a multinational presence in 18 countries involved in commodities, agri-business, food, industries, automobiles, and services. The group represents an impressive array of global automobile brands on an exclusive basis in countries like Nigeria & Ghana. It is no surprise this powerful bond it has formed with the automobile titan Changan.  

The group is largely credited for opening exciting frontiers of motoring to its customers and providing them with first-hand experience of world-class automobiles as enjoyed by the developed countries.

The success of Stallion stems from its untiring pursuit for automotive excellence. The company's strategy has been to stay close to the customers, understand their needs and exceed their expectations. Stallion operates through a string of showrooms and after-sales centres spread all across Nigeria, Ghana and the Republic of Benin giving a geographical reach envied by its competitors.

Stallion's successes can be attributed to; 

  • Excellent distribution network with strategic location enabling nationwide presence
  • Competitive pricing.
  • Excellent nationwide after-sales service, a definite pre-requisite and selling advantage for the image and reputation of the Stallion Group.
  • The group's overall reputation in the market, stemming from the success of its other business lines.

The prerequisite of every satisfied customer is timely after-sales support that he receives in terms of service and repairs. The company operates an extensive network of workshops that are equipped with all modern state of the art facilities to serve the ever-growing list of satisfied customers. The workshops are located at various locations, giving the advantage of proximity to the customers.

 

Why Choose Changan?

Changan is regarded to be one of the "Big Four" Chinese automakers (along with SAIC Motor, FAW Group, and Dongfeng Motor Corporation). It manufactured 3million units in 2016 which saw the company rank fourth among China's automakers by production volume. It is also China's second most popular car brand, with 1.4 million Changan cars sold in 2016. Acknowledged as a giant company in the automobile industry, Changan thrives on the following strong elements:

Quality: Changan Automobile's Product Test and Verification System: CA-TVS. With more than 4 million kilometres in test mileage, each new model is to undergo 4,500 tests in 15 areas including environment, strength, safety, etc. Changan is committed to making sure its products can provide a safe and enjoyable ride to every customer.

Innovation: Changan is remarkably taking the lead in Research & Development capabilities. According to an assessment made by the NDFC (National Development Reform Commission, the state-owned acknowledged technical centre) in China, Changan scored 93.6, ranking third of the automotive industry and its R&D capability taking the first position of the industry continuously for ten years. The company had applied for a total of 10,311 patents including 2, 918 patents of invention as of 2018.

Intelligence: Products by Changan comprise Intelligent R&D which are supported by intelligent driving, intelligent networking, and intelligent interaction. Changan Automobile is planning to build intelligent vehicle platforms through different stages.

Design: Changan has earned twenty design awards at home and abroad, leading fashion trends and integrating style, energy, and dynamics into your perfect life.

Sustainable Development: Changan is capable of manufacturing new energy vehicles and has launched 16 new energy models. In 2017, Changan sold more than 61,000 units of new energy vehicles with a 180.9% year-on-year growth.

Key National Awards

Having gained both international and local recognition, Changan is also known for winning these key prestigious awards

State Key Laboratory of Automotive Noise Vibration and Safety Technology.

The State Key Laboratory of Vehicle NVH and Safety Technology– The Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China (2015)


Standardized Good Behaviour Enterprise.

A Company of Good Conduct on Standardization– Chongqing Municipal Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau (2015)




Hybrid Passenger Car National Local Joint Engineering Laboratory.

National & Local Joint Engineering Laboratory for Hybrid Passenger Vehicle– The National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China (2013)

 

In conclusion, the brand manager of Stallion Motors Ghana Ltd. Mr. Manish Daryanani reinstated that Changan offers excellent value for money in terms of iconic design, comfort, pricing, intelligent safety features & prompt after-sales service. Changan comes with a standard 5-year warranty or 100,000 km on all model range and is here to stay.  Changan– Drives the world for a better tomorrow. 

Victor Yaw Asante to “Provide Strategic Leadership” to FBNBank Ghana Ltd in the bid to becoming “the clear leader and Ghana’s bank of first choice”

Victor Yaw Asante to “Provide Strategic Leadership” to FBNBank Ghana Ltd in the bid to becoming “the clear leader and Ghana’s bank of first choice”

Victor joins FBN Bank Ghana Ltd. team as the first Ghanaian to be appointed as the Managing Director. He brings to this leadership position a rich banking experience spanning over 20 years. Prior to his appointment, the new MD was the Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking with oversight responsibility for Commercial Banking Business at First National Bank Ghana, a subsidiary of the First Rand Group of South Africa.

His work experience also extends to Standard Chartered Bank Group where he served in various capacities as the bank’s Managing Director and Head of Corporate and Institutional Clients at its Botswana subsidiary, and as Managing Director and Regional Head of Transaction Banking, based in Ghana with additional responsibilities over other West African countries including Cameroun, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Victor’s wealth of expertise can also be traced back to his days with Merchant Bank (now Universal Merchant Bank) and Unilever Ghana, all of which gave him practical know-how with strategic knowledge in the banking and business landscape in general.

Consenting to his new assignment to lead FBN Bank Ghana Ltd., Victor averred “I am humbled by the confidence reposed in me to head FBN Bank Ghana at a time when the organization has recapitalized its Ghana business and rolled out its digital banking strategy, which aims to leverage new and evolving technologies to facilitate access to everyday financial services for consumers and businesses alike.”

He further disclosed, with regard to his appointment that, “My utmost priority is to endear the brand to our stakeholders in the Ghanaian market and use all available means to make the brand a mark of excellence by meeting the needs of our valued customers, to the extent that FBN Bank becomes the preferred bank.”

Commenting on the appointment of the new FBN Bank Ghana MD, Mr. Victor Asante, the Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited & Subsidiaries, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan said “Victor’s demonstration of excellent technical skills, knowledge, experience and his leadership capabilities contributed in no small measure to his appointment.’’ He was convinced that Victor Asante was very well placed to provide strategic leadership that the bank needed to continue on its trajectory of becoming the clear leader and Ghana’s bank of first choice.

FBN Bank Ghana Limited (FBN Bank) is a subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and currently has 21 footprints in Ghana with over 400 staff and also renders universal banking services to individuals and businesses.

At FBN Bank Ghana, ‘Customer First’

ttrdrtdtr

Customers are key to the growth of every bank and as such the more satisfied a customer is, the happier he or she becomes. Consequently, more referrals lead to more business which result in greater profit for the bank. Even though banks, like any organization, are driven by profit, when the customer is satisfied and happy, the bank sees not just growth in the financial bottom line but gives the bank leverage to be seen in the eyes of the public as an institution worthy to be associated with. This is why banks work hard to ensure customers are satisfied and happy.

But at FBN Bank Ghana, the objective of making the customer happy has been taken a notch higher. Even as banks go about their everyday life trying to satisfy their customers, FBN Bank Ghana has launched a corporate advertising campaign tailored to drive the message of putting the customer at the heart of its business.

At the launch of the ‘Customer First’ campaign, Mr. Victor Yaw Asante, FBNBank Ghana’s Managing Director communicated the bank’s commitment to being “exclusively customer-centric. We go to great lengths to put the needs of our customers at the heart of our business and also set the gold standard of customer experience and excellence in financial services solutions”.

With the ‘Customer First’ value proposition, the bank further establishes itself as a lifelong partner to its customers, providing relevant solutions to all their banking needs as their lives continue to evolve.

Mr. Asante further stated that the bank’s financial knowledge and practices leads the market in ensuring a better understanding of customers to strive for better ways of delivering first-class service and experience to them.

FBN Bank Ghana to “leverage technology for Effective Growth”

fdrsdre

The advent of technology has disrupted many businesses including the banking industry. Considering the enormous benefits that technology offers to the industry, Mr. Asante recognizes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future of banking and therefore, believe that the earlier industry players adopted and utilized it in their service delivery, the better it would be for the future of the industry in general and their businesses in particular.

Acknowledging that greater percentage of Ghanaians that are gradually embracing the use of technological tools to access banking services, he underscores the importance of tapping into this new drive by banks to harness growth potential of the banking industry.

Mr. Asante, seeking to show that technology is truly the future of growth in banking, emphasized the need for players in the sector to effectively leverage on modern technology, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI), to drive growth and financial inclusion.

He further revealed that by the year 2020, 85% of all customer interaction in the banking industry would be handled without human contact. He highlights the importance of technology in service delivery stressing that “AI, chatbots and automated, self-service technologies would free up call center employees from routine tier-1 support requests so they can focus on more complex tasks.”

One of the benefits of AI, he mentions, is “in preemptively resolving customer service issues before they arise.” According to the FBN Bank MD, this could significantly lower customer service abandonment rates.

With the banking sector constantly evolving and competition growing, customer satisfaction is at the core of banks’ operations especially for bigger banks. “Large banks have a huge customer satisfaction burden, so they naturally look toward technologies that enable them accelerate and increase connectivity with customers,” he posited.

Backing Customer-centric Approach with a Promotion

Since the introduction of the corporate advertising campaign tailored to drive the message of putting the customer at the heart of its business, the bank has unveiled a savings promotion that puts the customer comes first in what it does.

Mr. Asante asserted that he is of the conviction that a strong savings culture is key to securing the collective future of the bank and its stakeholders and therefore, happy to provide a platform that helps its customers to save. “This is why we are happy to reward our customers who save with us,” he said.

He noted that the bank is acutely aware of the recent history of the country’s financial system and the effect it has had on people’s behaviors towards savings in particular and banking in general. While he acknowledges that the Bank of Ghana has worked tirelessly to clean up the nation’s financial system, players are also aware that this has come at a price, the price of some mistrust for financial institutions.

To him, the system has begun the journey to rebuild trust and a savings promotion is one such way of getting customers to come on board. The past two years have seen the number of banks reduce from 36 to 24 now, while increasing the minimum capital from GH¢120 million to GH¢400 million, he added.

“The commitment of FBN Bank Ghana Limited to this country, this economy and our cherished customers is manifested in the little fuss our shareholder made in recapitalizing us to meet the required minimum capital. We remained confident in the nation Ghana and its citizens. FBN Bank Ghana is one of the well capitalized banks in the country at the moment, and this means our ability to support our customers and play a significant part in the destiny of this country is very high,” he emphasized.

He added that FBN Bank Ghana emerges from an enviably rich heritage and banking tradition, which has shaped its business to become the clear leader of several markets in Africa and beyond. The parent bank, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, boasts of an enduring business tradition that spans over 125 years, which has been enriched by the time-tested values of trust and excellence, backed by the latest technology and a diversity of well-trained staff. The Parent bank is the oldest bank in the West African sub region. The bank’s footprints are visible across the world in DR Congo, Ghana, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, London, Paris as well as a representative office in Beijing, China. “As some of you may know, FBN Bank has been in Ghana for 23 years, starting in 1996 as International Commercial Bank (ICB), which was rebranded to FBN Bank Ghana after a change in shareholding in 2013.  

“We therefore have a fantastic heritage of excellence in banking including a lengthy presence in Ghana that underpins our understanding of the needs of our customers and will shape our actions as we move to the next chapter of our history,” Victor opined.

FBNBank believes in finding a better way everyday to make its customers’ banking experience better. It is the reason why the bank will continue to create; it is the reason why the bank will continue to provide clients with products and platforms that make the customers bank easier; it is the reason why the bank is passionate about the partnerships it forges with its customers.   

FBNBank Ghana is therefore calling on Ghanaians and businesses to take full advantage of its distinctive values and rich heritage which has made its brand a leading African brand and one of the most credible financial institutions on the globe.

“We ask you to save with FBNBank Ghana and the bank promises to reward you for saving with it. The bank wants to refocus its customers and customers to be on the need to return to a culture of saving for the future. FBNBank Ghana is hopeful that the culture of saving will stay with all of us long after the promotion has ended. For it is when we save that we create wealth and protect our future.

Image E

 

 

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has announced the creation of the COVID-19 Response Facility to support member states in the Fight to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

This is the latest emergency response support taken by the bank to address the health crisis faced in the region.

&nbs...

Social