China hands over 300 satellite TV to Ghana
Mr Shi Ting Wang, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana on Friday handed over 300 satellite television to the government to be distributed to selected public area and households in the rural areas.
The presentation was in line with a project christened “300 village satellite TV project”, launched by the Ministry of Communications, in collaboration with StarTimes, a Chinese Multimedia company in September, 2018.
The project is aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all citizens especially the rural communities enjoy the full benefits of digitalization.
Mr George Andah, the Deputy Minister of Communication receiving the equipment in Accra said the ceremony signified the strengthening of the ties between Ghana and the People’s Republic of China.
Giving background about the project, Mr Andah said in 2015, China and 50 African countries and the African Union Commission convened in Johannesburg, South Africa for a Summit on China-Africa Cooperation to consolidate solidarity and cooperation among China and Africa.
At the Summit, the Chinese government indicated its willingness to implement 10 major China-Africa cooperation plans within 50 African countries, one of the plans was the provision of a grant for access to satellite TV for 10,000 African communities of which Ghana was a beneficiary.
The Deputy Minister said as part of the grant, 900 chosen public areas in the 300 communities have benefited from two sets of solar powered projection TV systems and one set of solar 32-inch digital TV.
Mr Andah stated that 660 Ghanaians have acquired technical training on how to install satellite dishes, while 400 Ambassadors have been locally selected and trained by Startimes to operate and maintain the equipment in these communities to ensure sustainability of the project.
However, 20 sets of satellite TV set-top boxes have been installed in 6000 houses in 300 communities to enable them have access to both local and international channels.
Mr Andah explained that timely access to information was necessary in the development of every facet of the society, adding that access to satellite TV was considered one of the most effective and efficient means of disseminating information, irrespective of the geographical locations of people.
He said the Ministry was implementing the Digital Ghana Age and ensuring that all the citizenry was part of the development journey of the country through access to information and participation in nation building.
Mr Andah said the Ministry would continue to explore creative and affordable means of making content accessible through technology and television, calling on all leaders of the beneficiary communities to ensure that equipment installed were placed under proper care.
The Chinese Ambassador said the project had so far provide more than 600 jobs to Ghanaians across the country and that China was committed to cooperating with Africa, including Ghana in a broader area of green development, poverty alleviation and cultural exchanges.
He said the 21st century was an era of ICT and that people all over the world have the right to enjoy the convenience brought about by the high rate of development of information technology, but due to limited degree of economic development, some still cannot catch up with the digital divide.
Mr Xue Jin, the Chief Executive Officer, Startimes said the project offered opportunity for China and Ghana to deepen its relationship and ensure that the African continent and the media development transitioned to the next level.
He explained that apart from the satellite TV provided to the communities, public areas in the community were given a bouquet of 20 channels for free and 20 households a 6-month offer to enjoy over 30 channels for free.
6 arrested by National Security over illegal gold business
Some six individuals have been arrested by National Security officers in Kumasi, Ashanti Region for allegedly engaging in the illegal gold business.
Operatives of the National Security, who had the necessary permits, made the arrests.
The suspects have been transferred to the National Security headquarters in Accra for further interrogation.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who is the Minister for Information confirmed the arrest at a news conference in Kumasi yesterday but did not give further details.
The Minister also talked about the security situation in the country and said the government was doing everything practicable to ensure that the country was safe.
He said the government had shown good faith by retooling the security agencies and recruiting more men and women to beef up the security of the state.
Matters of security, he said, were critical to national development and would, therefore, be tackled with all urgency.
Contractors going bankrupt; pay them – Nduom
The Chairman of Groupe Nduom, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, has said the delay by the government in paying local contractors, some of whom, he said, are customers or investors, has led to the lock-up of GHS2.2 billion from the Groupe’s Gold Coast Fund Management, alone.
“When we keep fighting for Ghanaian contractors to be paid, we are fighting for customers/investors to get their money. How much? GHS 2.2 billion is currently locked up in the process from Gold Coast Fund Management alone”, Dr Nduom wrote on social media Saturday, 10 August 2019.
Other Ghanaian financial institutions, he said, “Have funds locked up in infrastructure projects. The contractors are going bankrupt. The customers have it worse. They are suffering. When a contractor is not paid after three years of completing a job, the financial institution does not get paid. The customers who invested their monies with the financial institutions don’t get paid”.
“Who should fund infrastructure – roads, bridges, schools, etc. – in Ghana?”, the former presidential candidate asked, adding: “Gold Coast has been doing it for 15 years. Over 14 billion Ghana Cedis invested. Now with a portfolio of 2.2 billion Ghana Cedis”.
“It is the government that stopped giving advance payment to contractors and asked them to pre-finance projects. Gold Coast stepped in to support our indigenous Ghanaian contractors and has funded over 600 projects. This is a good thing the company has done.
“Our concern is to get the payment process going so contractors can complete projects, get them certified, get paid so they can pay back what they owe to Gold Coast so that Gold Coast can pay back money to its customers/investors.
“This is not Nduom’s money. It is not politics. It is pocket-level economics. The money is in Ghana with government agencies and in infrastructure projects”, he said.
Dr Nduom added: “This is not the only investment made by Gold Coast, which is why it paid back over 1 billion Ghana cedis in 2018 and has paid about GHS100 million this year”.
Recently, a coalition of local contractors threatened to lock all public schools and facilities they built if the government delayed further in paying them their funds.
CBOD petroleum price outlook: Refined products review and outlook
The international market prices of gasoline and gasoil averaged $648.98/mt and $584.73/mt respectively in the first pricing window of July (12th-26th July 2019), $5.70/mt lower than the previous window in the case of gasoline and $0.89/mt higher than the previous window for gasoil.
These prices (12th-26th July) were 29% and 7% higher than average prices observed in the beginning pricing window of the year. Average international market prices have been sporadic during the year, starting the first window of January at $504/mt for gasoline and $545.63/mt for gasoil.
Prices for gasoline and gasoil peaked in the first selling window of June at $749.68/mt and $639.88/mt respectively. This was 49% and 17% higher than the prices observed in the first window of January 2019.
International market prices are expected to drop between 1%-2% for both gasoline and gasoil in the second pricing window of July (27th July-11th August 2019). This is attributable to the ongoing trade war between USA and China which has slowed the growth in China’s demand.
The forward FX rate (FuFeX) used is the average of the quoted indicative forward forex rate from major oil financing banks adjusted by the covered-interest parity pricing model. The FuFex60 is computed as the average 60-day forward fx rate of selected major oil financing banks. The Fufex60 to be applied for the first selling window of August 2019 is Ghs5.60/USD.
The adoption of a FuFeX30 (30-day forward rate) instead of FuFeX60 can reduce pump prices by about 2%. It is therefore necessary that BDCs revise their trade credit tenor downwards to help reduce consumer prices at the pump.
The Ex-refinery Price Indicator (Xpi)
The Ex-ref price indicator (Xpi) is computed using the referenced international market prices as observed to be usually adopted by BDCs, factoring the CBOD economic breakeven benchmark premium for a given window and converted from USD/mt to Ghs/ltr using the FuFeX.
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