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ISSER Proffers Dev't Plan
Date : 07-10-2014
Description : The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana has asked government to guarantee in the country's next development strategy a policy that will ensure that the benefit of economic growth is widely shared through better job opportunities and improved incomes. According to ISSER, which seems to be concerned about the lack of adequate jobs for graduates, the end of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda has paved the way for government to pursue an employment-centred economic growth strategy that will ensure meaningful employment expands along with production. The Institute said this, along with three other areas, must be the focus of government as the country mulls over a strategy that will induce prosperity among a growing population in an economy that relies largely on the export of gold, cocoa and, lately, oil. ?With respect to Ghana?s broader development, implementation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda ended in 2013. The next development strategy for Ghana from 2014 onward should focus on?policies of inclusive growth with the objective of ensuring sustainable economic growth and human development. ?These will entail heightened focus on the equitable participation of all: including women, the youth and persons with disabilities in the economic growth process. There is also need to tackle spatial inequality. ?Priority should be accorded physical infrastructural and human-quality development, rather than the continuing expansion of public institutions, in order to substantially increase absorption of the apparent oversupply of graduates from the various tertiary institutions,? it said. ISSER, which outlined these in the 23rd edition of its annual State of the Ghanaian Economy Report 2013, in Accra, noted the equal importance that government must place on ensuring sustainability in exploitation of the country?s natural resource endowment -- including agriculture, minerals, as well as oil and gas, supported by strategic investments in human capital, infrastructure and science and technology. Professor Felix Asante, who heads ISSER, remarked in a presentation that labour productivity in the public sector needs to rise and be commensurate with higher wages. The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda, which spanned 2010-2013, has been the main development strategy of government to accelerate economic growth with the view of creating more jobs, generating more incomes, and reduce poverty. The strategy revolved around ensuring and sustaining macroeconomic stability; enhanced competitiveness of the private sector; accelerating agricultural modernisation and natural resource management; infrastructure and human resource development; and human development, productivity and employment among others. It is however argued that the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda largely failed to meet its objectives due to significant challenges in the macro-economic front and increased joblessness among the youth. According to the State of the Ghanaian Economy Report, 2013, which is one of the highly demanded independent reports on the economy, efforts to increase the tax base and mobilise revenue to offset the huge wage bill arising from implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy fell short of expectation, as the objective to reduce the fiscal deficit to 5% of GDP was missed by a significant margin -- recording a deficit figure of 10.1% of GDP. Additionally, the objective of keeping inflation at a single digit was missed as the end of year inflation rate for 2013 was 13.5% compared to 8.6% in 2012. Professor Asante said while there is need to increase efforts to mobilise revenue through an expanded tax base, the main culprit in fiscal slippage is the huge expenditure of government, and asked government to watch its spending in order not to overburden the taxpayer. ?When we concentrate too much on revenue, there is the tendency to overtax businesses; and that?s not good for the economy,? he said. Source: thebftonline.com
 
Sunon Asogli to import Coal
Date : 28-09-2014
Description : Sunon Asogli to import South African coal Sunon Asogli is looking to tap into South Africa?s large coal deposits to fire its proposed coal power plant in Ghana. Officials of the company visited South Africa earlier this month to explore the possibility of importing coal, Said William Yan, Director of Commerce and Procurement. South Africa is said to produce in excess of 255 million tonnes of coal; around 77% of South Africa's energy needs are directly derived from coal, and 92% of coal consumed on the African continent is produced in South Africa. Sunon Asogli, backed by its parent company -- the Shenzhen Energy Group, plans to set up a 1,200megawatt coal-fired power plant in Ghana, the first phase of which is expected to produce 700megawatts of power.A special technical team from China is expected in the country next month to begin negotiations with the Volta River Authority for the joint venture coal plant, William Yan told the B&FT.
 
US$100m for Kpone power project
Date : 19-09-2014
Description : Indigenous bank, Fidelity Bank, is funding the installation of two gas-based thermal plants of the Volta River Authority (VRA) for power generation at a cost of US$100 million, VRA's Chief Executive Officer, Kirk Koffi, has said. The project, known as the Kpone Thermal Power Project (KTPP) sited at Kpone in the Tema Metropolis, will generate 220megawatts of thermal power to augment what is currently being generated. Kirk Koffi said the thermal plants, which were procured by government in 2008, had been lying idle till the Authority decided to install them to add more depth to the current installed capacity. Government procured these units some years back in 2007/2008, and they [the equipment] arrived in 2009. They have been lying idle for some time.VRA decided to source for funds from the commercial market to install those units. This is the first time that VRA has sourced funds from the commercial market to install those units because of the importance of additional generation to the system. We are dealing with Fidelity Bank to help us to raise the US$100 million needed to finish the project,? he said. Mr. Koffi, speaking to the B&FT said: ?What Fidelity did was come up with a bridge-financing arrangement, which we have been using so far. Because we thought the project was going to delay, they gave us the bridge finance. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year; however, commercial operations are expected to commence by February next year. Out of the country's total installed capacity of 2,846.5MW, the VRA generates about 75 percent of it from hydro and thermal sources. The mix includes VRA hydro, 47 percent; VRA thermal, 36 percent; VRA solar generation, 0.1 percent; IPP thermal generation 12 percent; and Bui hydro, 5 percent. The development comes at a time when the country is faced with serious power generation challenges -- due largely to abrupt disruption in the supply of gas via the West African Gas Pipeline from Nigeria as a result of labour unrest in Africa?s most populous country. Gas supply, which prior to the currently development had remained persistently erratic, is heavily relied upon to power the VRA?s thermal plants as well as Independent Power Producers (IPPs) plants. The 200MW Sunon -Asogli Power Plant, which also relies on gas from Nigeria, has had to shut down temporarily as a result. Current power demand at peak is about 1,850MW; however, the absence of gas has created a deficit of about 350 MW over the past few days. The situation is compounded by the fact that four continuous years of good in-flow into the Akosombo Lake -- as a result of favourable rainfall pattern -- has been followed by poor water in-flow into the lake this year. The water level for the past months has been about 4 feet above the minimum operating level of 240feet. The VRA has had to reduce hydro-generation as a measure to preserve the integrity of the dam. Mr. Koffi reckons that a base addition of about 300MW is needed next year to ensure some stability in power supply. The two gas turbines have been installed; commissioning will be starting very soon. We are expecting first power by the end of year and the second unit by early next year, possibly February. Commercial operation should begin by end of February. There are two gas turbines and each can give you an output of 110MW. According to the VRA, it intends to do a steam add-on to generate an additional 110MW. ?There are plans to get the necessary approval to do the steam add-ons with Alstom -- the original equipment manufacturer. During the period we are running the machine, they will be doing the steam-add ons,? said Mr. Koffi. Source: thebftonline.com
 
AGI ramps up pressure on government
Date : 16-09-2014
Description : The Vice President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ato Pamford, has assured businesses of the Association?s continued efforts to get government to provide the needed incentives for local businesses and ensure adequate production of ?Made in Ghana? goods. He said there is need to encourage consumption of locally produced goods as concerns about the country?s dependence on imported goods get the attention of policymakers following the recent fall in the cedi?s value. ?We have a duty to take this call seriously, especially in the wake of recent challenges regarding our currency. ??We (AGI) have always held the view that the only way to stabilise our currency, and for that matter the economy, is to ensure import substitution by producing more for our own consumption and cut down on the imports,?? he said. Mr. Pamford said this when the AGI held its first Industry and Technology (InduTech) fair 2014 in Takoradi on the theme ?Empowering existing and emerging industries for sustainable development?. Over 40 exhibitors, made up of entrepreneurs from trade, industry, garment, manufacturers, textiles, food and beverages, financial services, agribusinesses, plastics among others participated in the three-day fair. The fair aimed to create opportunities for local businesses and to also offer potential investors in the Western Region a common platform to form strategic partnerships for industrial development. Additionally, the event showcased local technology as well as locally produced goods and services in an effort to create a platform for linkages between industry and the appropriate technologies as interest in oil and gas wanes in the region. Speaking at the opening of the fair, Major Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, the Acting Minister of Trade and Industry, in an address stressed the need for manufacturers to be innovative. saying: ?We need to change the way we do things for us to be in business as well as sustain it?. He said the Youth Enterprise and Support (YES) initiative has been established for the Ghanaian youth to demonstrate their creativity and skills in the provision of goods and services. ??Government of Ghana and in particular, the Ministry of Trade and Industry will continue to support and work with the private sector through bodies such as AGI in their endeavour to support economic growth by producing internationally acceptable made-in Ghana goods,?? he said. Awulae Annor Adjaye, a representative from the Western Regional House of Chiefs, advised businesses to add value to commodities produced in the country as efforts are made to reduce imports. ??As industry, it is important to add more value to finished products and establish external relationships for marketing of products -- the quality of product and good customer relationships are important to improve, sustain and maintain business?? he added. Source: BFT
 
Banks Fear Defaults
Date : 24-08-2014
Description : Banks have stated that competition from mouth-watering Treasury bill rates is not the main reason for their apparent reluctance to lend to the private sector, debunking a generally- held perception.
 
Cassava Underutilised
Date : 10-08-2014
Description : Ghana is the 6th largest producer of cassava in the world in terms of value, and the commodity constitutes 22 percent of the country's agricultural GDP. Cassava is one of Ghana's main staple crops, which is consumed in all parts of the ten administrative regions -- having an annual production above 10 million metric tonnes over the last decade. However, available data shows that up to 34 percent of cassava produced in Ghana is lost along the value chain.