The Citizen Watch, one of the leading think tank groups in the country has reservedly kicked against the privatization of the various business advisory centres and calling for its reversal as a matter of urgency.
This, according to the Citizen Watch, forfeits the purpose of their establishment and it would be very prudent if the Ministry of Trade reconsider this decision.
In press statement issued in Accra and signed by Francis Mensah, the Convener of the Citizen Watch said the decision was not well thought through with regard to its implications, adding that it would serve in the interest of everyone if it is reserved.
The statement explained that the various advisory centers are a public place where anyone can go and seek business assistance, but the moment its privatized people would pick and chose who to serve and those with influence would be the ones in the lead.
“Privatizing it means you are denying the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) what their responsibilities are. You can form a partnership with them as a consultant but not take out the role of the government, since the government uses that channel as conduit to meet the private sector” the statement said.
“The government institutions must work with the support of the private and not the other way round. If government machineries are not working and you give it to the private sector, what’s would be the end point, especially when this is the link between the government and the private sector. Government operations are very critical to private sector development. There is suppose to be check between the private sector and the government, so when you give it to the private sector who would play the check role now. There wouldn’t be any social commitment”, the statement said
There are unconfirmed reports that the various advisory boards are likely to be hand over to EMPRETEC –a company which the Minister of Trade and industries Hon Alan Kyeremateng was a founding member.
The Ministry of Trade and Industries (MoTI) as part of a new policy directive is to privatize the operations of various Business Advisory Centers (BACs)/ Business Resource Centers (BRCs) built by Government of Ghana through the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) and other partners under the auspices of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).
The Government had secured an undisclosed amount of loan for the construction and upgrading of about 70 BACs. Currently, 67 centers are being constructed to a standard fit for purpose Business Resource Centers (BRCs) in a number of MMDAs in Ghana.
The BACs/BRCs are simply office buildings that one can visit at the district level to obtain any information about SMEs and SMEs development. These buildings contain offices, showrooms and conference halls for the operations of all the NBSSI district agencies. In other words, BACs/BRCs are deemed to be the NBSSI district offices. The BRCs, therefore, are one-stop-shop for business development services at the districts.
The whole idea behind the construction of the BRCs under the auspices of NBSSI was to enable the agency to provide business incubation activities, business counselling and consulting as well as other technical business training for entrepreneurs at the grassroots levels across MMDAs in the country.
The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) is a statutory government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industries (MoTI) which was established by an Act of parliament (Act 434 1981). The principal mandate of the agency was to amongst others facilitate the implementation of business development services for Ghanaians in a way that could help promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development and growth so as to contribute significantly to reducing unemployment and support the country’s economic growth.
Source: Elikem Agbenyegah
No more expiry of voice, data bundles – Telcos ordered
No more expiry of voice, data bundles – Telcos ordered
The Ministry of Communications has directed telcos to roll over all unused data and voice bundles purchased by customers.
This will mean unused data and credit will not expire.
“All unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers do not expire and must be rolled over with the next recharge,” the Ministry said in the statement that also directed teclos to cease the instant deduction of the Communications Service Tax (CST).
The Ministry assured that Mobile Network Operators will be subjected to “strict compliance with exiting Quality of Service (QoS) standard to ensure value for the subscribers’ money in accordance with their licence obligations.”
The directive came in a letter written to the National Communications Authority and was copied the Chief Executive Officers of MTN and Vodafone as well as the two Deputy Ministers of Communication.
The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said this was part of measures to”minimise the negative impact of deduction of the CST.”
Currently, only AirtelTigo offers data bundles that do not expire.
Wa Community Co-operative scoops GHC130K profit in 6 months
The Wa Community Co-operative Credit Union (WACCU) made a net surplus of ¢130,426.12 between June 2018 and December 2018, immediate ex-Board Chairman of the Union, Naa Bawa Seidu, has said.
The amount was more than twice the total budgeted surplus of ¢155,833.92 for the period.
Mr Seidu said this while addressing large crowd of members of WACCU during its 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Wa on Saturday for the financial year to render accounts to contributors.
The AGM was also to elect new executives including Board members, and Supervisory Committee members to oversee activities of the Union for the next four years.
Within the period, the Union made a total income of ¢1,883,545.04 which fell short of its target income of ¢2,180,423.59.
But Mr Seidu added that ¢274,510.97 loan loss provision was made to “cater for our deteriorating portfolio quality and for risk growth”.
He assured union members that their leadership would not relent in their efforts to explore available viable means including effectual loan recovery mechanisms and legal processes to recover overdue loans.
The management of WACCU, according to him, was pursuing ten loan cases in court while 26 others had been handed over to Purple Holdings Debt Recovery services to recoup monies due the Union, without resorting to the court.
“These court actions, though expensive to the Union in money and time, are meant to send a strong signal that the Union will never renege to use the legitimate processes to defend the rights of its members and secure the Union’s resources,” Mr Seidu said.
The newly elected Board Chairman of WACCU, John K. Seidu, pledged that the new board would work to ensure progressive and sustainable growth of the co-operative Union in both membership and financial bases.
He said they would do a feasibility assessment to map out districts and areas to extend their services and ensure its easy access by WACCU members for their mutual benefits.
As at December 2018, the Wa Community Co-operative Credit Union had 12,208 members with 10,747 fully paid up members, comprising 4,767 females, 5,939 males 1,502 groups and organisations.
Africa’s three richest men have more wealth than the poorest 650m people across the continent
Three African billionaires today have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent, reveals a new Oxfam report today.
The report, called “A Tale of Two Continents”, is launched as African political and business leaders gather this week for the World Economic Forum Africa meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. It shows how rising and extreme inequality across Africa is undermining efforts to fight poverty.
A Tale of Two Continents reveals that while the richest Africans fortunes are increasing, extreme poverty is rising in the continent. The report also looks at how unsustainable levels of debt and a rigged international tax system are depriving African governments of billions of dollars in lost revenue each year – money that could otherwise be invested in education, healthcare and social protection.
The continent is rapidly becoming the epicentre of global extreme poverty. While the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day has plummeted in Asia, this number is rising in Africa. The World Bank estimates that 87% of the world’s extreme poor will be in Africa by 2030, if current trends continue.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said:
“Africa is ready to rise – but only once it’s leaders have the courage to back a more human economy that works for the many and not a few super-rich men. They can achieve this by investing in inequality-busting, universal and quality public services like health and education and by developing truly progressive tax systems. These are particularly powerful for women and girls living in poverty. They can also back a transformation towards decent and dignified work that protects the rights of workers, especially in the age of the African Free Trade Area and the new digital era.”
The report features a first-ever ranking of African nations on their commitment to tackling inequality. The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, developed by Oxfam and Development Finance International, ranks countries on their policies on social spending, tax, and labour rights – three areas the organizations say are critical to reducing inequality. South Africa and Namibia take first and second place respectively, with their strong social spending and a progressive tax system. Nigeria meanwhile has an unenviable distinction of being at the bottom of the Africa ranking, as well as the global ranking for two years running.
The report shows that:
3 African billionaires now have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent
The most unequal country in the region, Swaziland, is home to one billionaire, Nathan Kirsh, who is estimated to have $4.9bn. If he worked in one of the restaurants that his wholesale company supplies on a worker’s minimum wage, it would take him 5.7 million years to earn his current level of wealth
The combined wealth of the 5 richest Nigerians is more than enough to end poverty in Nigeria. Nigeria’s girl population makes up 60% of the more than 10 million children who do not go to school.
75% of the wealth of African multi-millionaires and billionaires is held offshore, as result the continent is losing $14billion annually in uncollected tax revenue.
Dangerous and unsustainable levels of debt are hurting social spending. In 2018, Angola spent 57% of government revenue on debt repayments while public spending was cut by 19% between 2016 and 2018. Similar trends are present in Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon and Mozambique
African women and girls are also most likely to be poor. They also stand to lose the most when public services like healthcare and education are underfunded. In Kenya, a boy from a rich family has a one-in-three chance of continuing his studies beyond secondary school. However, a girl from a poor family has a 1-in-250 chance of doing so. Women and girls also bear the brunt of failing healthcare systems, clocking in hours of unpaid care work looking after sick relatives. In Malawi, women spend seven times the amount of time on unpaid care work than men.
Ms Byanyima said:
“African political and business leaders face a clear choice. They can stay on the path of increasingly extreme inequality, where poverty continues to rise while wealth in the hands of a tiny elite and foreign companies’ spirals. Or they can choose another way: towards a more prosperous and equal Africa that invests in and respects the dignity of all its people.”
Source: Oxfam International
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