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.
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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