The Northern Development Authority (NDA) is finalising a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement to undertake cultivation of grass for export to earn substantial revenue, Dr Abdel-Majeed Haroun, Chief Executive Officer of NDA has announced.
He said “I have quite a few partners, who have expressed interest. Once we clear the PPP arrangements or the land arrangements, they will come and then each of them will be a nucleus and they will help out-growers to cultivate the grass.
He mentioned stylosanthes, centrosema and guinea grass as the types of grasses to be cultivated under the initiative, which sought to put the vast lands in the northern part of the country into production to create jobs and improve incomes of farmers.
Dr Haroun announced this when making a presentation on “Development Opportunities and Challenges in Northern Ghana” at an inception workshop held in Tamale as part of the Resilience Against Climate Change (REACH) – Social Transformation Research (STR) project.
The project, being implemented in the northern part of the country from 2019 to 2025, will undertake STR and policy advocacy on migration, youth and social transformation to achieve more inclusive and sustainable economic growth policy and programming in the country.
REACH-STR is a European Union (EU) funded project, which is being implemented by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in partnership with University for Development Studies, University of Ghana – Centre for Migration Studies, and Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dr Haroun said “generally, the grasses that are natural to Ghana are also natural to animals” hence the initiative to cultivate grasses in commercial quantities to sell to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore that did not have the land to grow grass.
The global hay/forage trade in 2018 was worth almost 40 billion dollars as the grasses were bought to feed cattle for their meat and milk.
The NDA, therefore, targets to capture at least 1000th of the global hay/forage trade so that it can make at least 40 million dollars annually just by growing and selling grass.
Dr Haroun said “Let us turn what seems to be a disadvantage to us such as spraying to kill the grass by rather cultivating the grass to sell and make money because there are areas in the world where they cannot grow grass; Saudi Arabia, Singapore”.
He responded to the issue of rampant bush burning, which could be a major setback to the initiative saying “when somebody has a value in something, they will not burn it” adding “We can do controlled bush fires by canaling the grass fields”.
Mr Mohammed Tiyumtaba Shaibu, Principal Technologist at CSIR – Animal Research Institute (ARI) lauded the initiative saying CSIR-ARI did some research work on forage, which showed that it was a viable venture to grow grass for animals.
Mr Shaibu called for collaboration between CSIR-ARI and NDA to undertake the initiative to ensure success.
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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