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Analysts push for long-term policies to arrest cedi depreciation

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Analysts push for long-term policies to arrest cedi depreciation

The cedi has depreciated by 11 percent between January last year and the same period this year. It is time for government to focus on policies that will encourage the production of goods that the country is capable of while adding value to exports as a sustainable means of reducing imports and strengthening the local currency, financial and economic analysts have said.

The cedi has currently crossed GH¢5 to a dollar compared to GH¢4.42 in the same period last year and GH¢4.27 in January 2017 – a situation many fear will get worse if long-term measures are not put in place.

This essentially means that the cedi has depreciated 10.6 percent against the US$ since January 2018.

Head of Finance Department at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. John Gatsi, told the B&FT that until managers of the economy focus on long-term policies that will reduce the import of products that can be easily produced in the country, the cedi’s woes will never cease.

“The Bank of Ghana report shows that rice importation has increased to US$300million, while sugar imports also increased to US$123million. We already have policies for reducing rice importation; we already have policies toward reducing sugar import in the form of the Komenda Sugar Factory. So, it means we are not implementing policies that should limit the demand of certain commodities.

“We also know that some agriculture produce is part of the items we import into this country. So, the question is: what is our agricultural policy achieving? What is it directed toward? It should be targetted toward sustainable food production and dealing with key imports that we have the ability to produce. But it seems we are not managing the agriculture sector as part of the policies to address depreciation of the currency,” he said.

He further debunked the idea that the local currency is suffering from external shocks, particularly the strength of the US economy – saying if the country focuses more on the things it has control over, the impact of external shocks will not be felt.

“Even though we may explain this with some factors such as performance of the US dollar, the point is that most countries trade with the US dollar but their currencies are not depreciating the way the cedi is. We need to deal with the factors that we have control over; and after we have done so, then we will see that international developments have minimal effects on our economy,” he said.

His view is also shared by an economics professor at the University of Ghana, Peter Quartey, who said the currency depreciation is a result of excess demand for foreign currency over-supply, which is caused mainly by the high level of importation.

“There is excess demand over supply for forex. And what is causing this is that our imports continue to be a challenge: we tend to import quite a lot.

“A sustainable way of managing the exchange rate is to export more value-added products, not raw materials. We have to add value to all things we export – like cocoa, gold etc., before they are exported,” he said in an interview with the B&FT.

He further urged the central bank to enforce its regulation on forex trading, as he argues all efforts to address the depreciation will be in vain if forex trading is not properly regulated.

“[In Ghana] you can walk to any corner and exchange money without any identification. In most countries you cannot do that; you need a passport or some identification to do that. But in our case, people walk in from neighbouring countries and come and load the dollars into suitcases and go.

“So, if we don’t address this problem, no matter how much Bank of Ghana pumps in, it will leak. I heard the Bank of Ghana has started it, but I want to see more effort,” he said.

Source: thebftonline.com

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Suame Municipality generates GH¢1.2 million as revenue

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Suame Municipality generates GH¢1.2 million as revenue

The Suame Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti Region raked in a total of GH¢1, 213, 040.54 as revenue for the year 2018.

This represented 85.42 per cent of the targeted revenue of GH¢1, 420, 112.19.

Dr John Osei Bobie Boahin, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), who disclosed this said for the first quarter of this year, the Assembly had collected an amount of GH¢625, 179.70 from the various revenue sources.

Addressing the first ordinary meeting of the Second Session of the Assembly at Suame, he indicated that the figure represented 25. 83 per cent of the targeted revenue of GH¢2, 420, 688. 77.

“If the trend proceeds as planned, the Assembly is likely to exceed its revenue target by the end of 2019,” the MCE noted, saying the authorities were determined to mobilize the needed revenue for development purposes.

For that reason, he said, the Assembly had engaged Messrs Heinz Integrated Systems, a private data and revenue collection firm to collect the needed data on all payable properties in the Municipality, using the latest data collection software for effective service delivery.

“As I speak, progress of work on the data collection exercise is at an advanced stage. The consultant is gradually meeting the deliverables within the framework of the project scope and specifications,” Dr. Osei Bobie Bohin noted.

The MCE stated that collection of the data would enable the Assembly to make appropriate projections and forecast regarding the revenue inflows.

On agriculture, he hinted that the Assembly was facilitating access of farmers and agro-processors to processing machines and equipment produced at Suame Magazine.

This is aimed at reducing the importation of agricultural machinery and equipment to mechanics at the Magazine in order to move Ghana beyond aid.

Source: ghananewsagency.org

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SSNIT engages government on GH¢1bn arrears

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SSNIT engages government on GH¢1bn arrears

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says it is confident of accessing claims due it from the government to aid its operations.

As at last year (2018), the outstanding claims that the government was expected to give to the pension management firm, was estimated at one billion cedis.

Some industry watchers have attributed the development to the constraint faced by SSNIT in meeting the needs of its contributors and undertake other investment ventures.

But the Director General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori Tenkorang maintains that there are discussions with the Finance Ministry to access the outstanding payments.

He was speaking at a media engagement on the Trust’s operations over the weekend.

“We are engaged with the Ministry of Finance to come up with a solution and that we have agreed would have to involve some kind of cash payments and bonds that are issue…The people in charge of the Trust’s investment portfolio have made a case that there is the need to invest in some fixed incomes and the best issuer of bonds when the yield is right in terms of credit is the government,” he explained.

Dr. Tenkorang added that their ability to redeem the money on time should facilitate the cash flow required for a portfolio of their magnitude.

“So if we get the arrears paid to us in some kind of financial instrument that is acceptable to us, I think it will be okay for us. I am confident that the short term cash flow issues will be resolve and we will get our bonds.”

Meanwhile SSNIT has denied allegations that it is cheating out contributors of their benefits based on the Scheme’s flawed computation system.

A committee of the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) identified gaps in SSNIT’s computation of pension benefits for its contributors.

The Committee reported that SSNIT misinterprets what constitutes annual salary, early retirement reduction factor and annuity factor on lump sum which ultimately affects the contributor.

Though SSNIT admits that there may indeed be a fundamental flaw with the legal regime on pensions, it maintains that the Scheme is not cheating.

“Both parties have acknowledged that and have embarked on a process to correct these and it will probably end up in some list of amendments that we would seek to be legislated so that it governs the way we do things,” Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori Tenkorang affirmed in an interview with Citi News.

Source: citibusinessnews.com

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Founder of Angel group ranked among top 100 influential company owners globally

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Founder of Angel group ranked among top 100 influential company owners globally

Founder of Angel group ranked among top 100 influential company owners globally

The President and Founder of the Angel Group of Companies, Dr. Kwaku Oteng has been ranked among the 100 most influential company owners worldwide.

At an event held at Institute of Directors, London by the Achievements Forum, the business mogul was celebrated among the top 100 influential company owners whose activities have affected their countries of origin positively.

Under the auspices of the Europe Business Assembly (EBA) Oxford, UK, Dr Kwaku Oteng was nominated for an award for his influence and contribution to Ghana and the world as a whole.

They were elated for his consistency in growing the Adonko brand within the shortest space of time with other nominees from countries like Canada, USA, UK, Malaysia, Nigeria, India, Philippines, Switzerland, Tanzania, Ivory Coast and China being recognized.

The Achievements Forum is a unique platform for international business and professional communication, sharing of the best practices in managing companies, institutions and cities, as well as promoting goods and services, and the opportunity for a comprehensive improvement of any business processes.

Achievements Forum’ has grown through a combination of international cooperation and positive commercial outcomes. Grounded in, and attracting high profile delegates from the real world of business, the function is a key driver in the development of practical commercial exchanges.

Top executives, business gurus, senior state officials, as well as educational management experts and academic professionals use the motivational opportunity to be present among the figures of their own stature.

Source: mynewsgh.com

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