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Ghana Gas to get backup compressor by the end of year Ghana Gas to get backup compressor by the end of year

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghana Gas Company says it is ready to procure a backup compressor to avoid a shutdown of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant whenever there is mandatory maintenance work.

This, the company explains, is to ensure constant supply of gas in the country.
Currently, the processing plant which was set up in 2014, operates on one compressor; a situation that results in a shutdown of the plant whenever it is time for mandatory maintenance work. This has become a major challenge to authorities of Ghana Gas Company.

The plant was shut down on January 15 by the operators to allow for maintenance work to commence having been in operation for more than 8,000 hours since last year. The maintenance was to last 14 days.

However the engineers managed to use five days to complete the work, which is the second since lean gas production started.

The Chief Executive officer of Ghana Gas, Dr. George Sipa Yankey told journalists everything is set to procure an additional compressor to serve as a backup

“The drawings have been finalised and [we've] even started with the
procurement. By the end of this year, we would have procured the second compressor and that will enable us to work without stopping work every 4,000 hours operation of the plant.

It will take nine months to install the processor if it procured.

Meanwhile, Ghana Gas Company has intensified its internal and external security at the plant, its metering stations and the stretch of pipelines.

The move is to protect the nation’s gas infrastructure in view of the recent terrorist attack in Cote d’Ivoire and the revelation by National Security that Ghana is at risk of an attack.

On March 15, 2016, president john Dramani Mahama held an emergency meeting with the national Security Council to review the security situation in the country following the upsurge in terrorist activities in West Africa.

A statement released after the meeting advised the general public to be vigilant, cautious and curious and to report any unusual circumstance to the law enforcement agencies.

In line with these concerns, the Ghana gas company called on security heads in the western region to assess threat levels and map out strategies to enhance surveillance of the gas infrastructure.

Dr Sipa Yankey urged its community relations team and the security agencies in its operational area to adopt proactive measures to educate members on what to look out for as the country faces imminent threat.

Kumasi shoe factory dying Kumasi shoe factory dying

 

 

 

 

 

Revived some three years ago, the Kumasi Shoe Factory has had a mixture of good and bad luck during its operations.

Although the company was revived with the promise by the government to be the sole manufacturer of all the shoes for the Ghana Armed Forces and other security agencies in the country, this promise is yet to be fulfilled.
The company, with the capacity to produce over 700, 000 shoes and sandals annually and ability to employ more than 2,500 people, is still a pale shadow of its prospects.

A second 5-year Bond successfully issued A second 5-year Bond successfully issued

The Ministry of Finance has announced it has successfully issued a second 5-year Bond through the book-building approach on 3rd March 2016.

This is in accordance with the implementation of the new debt management strategy outlined in the 2016 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government.

There was a total of 76 bids tendered with a face value of GHC776.44 million, out of which GHC746.44 million was accepted.

This was contained in a press release from the Finance Ministry Tuesday.
Below is the statement:

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday 14th March 2016.

GHANA ISSUES 5-YEAR DOMESTIC BOND

In accordance with the implementation of the new debt management strategy outlined in the 2016 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government, the Republic of Ghana successfully, issued a second 5-year Bond through the book-building approach on 3rd March 2016.

2. A total of 76 bids were tendered with a face value of ¢776.44 million, out of which ¢746.44 million was accepted. Offshore investors took up 67% of the total allotted bids, with price ranging from 23.50% to 25.75%.

3. Pricing was in line with the initial price guidance range of 23.50% to
25.75%. The closing price of 24.75% was tight at the lower end of the expected price range.

4. Part of the amount accepted will be used to settle the 3-Year Fixed Bond of ¢416.00 million maturing 7th March 2016 and the remaining amount of ¢330.44 million allocated to meet Government’s refinancing and capital expenditure needs as captured in the 2016 Budget.

5. The issuance of this bond gives further impetus to Government’s Medium Term Debt Management Strategy, which among others focuses on minimising and/or replacing expensive shorter-dated instruments with longer dated issuance. It also provides a positive boost to the development of our domestic debt market.

6. The successful issuance of the bond evidenced by the generally high subscription and the favorable pricing is a reflection of the returning confidence in the Ghanaian economy and further confirms the bright medium-term prospects. END

Signed

ISSUED BY THE PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT

Electrification project: Gov’t beats chest for saving Ghana $9m Electrification project: Gov’t beats chest for saving Ghana $9m

Government says it rather saved Ghana an amount of $9 million in the controversial rural electrification project which was passed in Parliament, Monday.

The $92 million rural electrification project grabbed the headlines after it emerged that the Chinese contractors Hunan Construction and Engineering Group and its local agents Smarttys Production Ltd conspired to inflate the contract sum of the project.

The Minority in Parliament raised red flags over the inflated price and questioned why Smarttys should be engaged, even if as local consultants, given its history of over pricing in the bus branding saga.

MP for Manhyia South Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh explained to Joy News the contract sum was initially inflated by as much as $22.7 million.

He said it took an independent auditor, the Crown Agent which conducted the value for money audit to beat the figure down from $22.7 million to $9 million.
He also expressed shock over the involvement of Smartty’s in yet another price inflation scandal, with the dust on the over-priced bus branding scandal yet to settle.

But in a response, the deputy Power Minister John Jinapor told Joy News’ Evans Mensah government should rather be applauded for saving the country $9 million.

He explained government did nothing untoward in arriving at the contract sum.
“It is a normal system. I don’t see the fuss about it.

He explained that contractors under normal circumstances provide details of project they want to undertake and the cost involved.

However, after value for money audit, suggestions are made which in most cases reduces the cost of projects.

According to him, the Crown Agent after subjecting the rural electrification project to critical scrutiny suggested other options that would beat down the cost of the project and achieve efficiency.

He said rather than the critics looking at the issue as money padded or inflated, they should look at it as monies saved.

“$9 million is how much savings we made based on the costing that you applied in terms of looking at the scope and probably changing some of the scope,” he insisted.

He said the $9 million would be used for other things in the same project.

“We could even decide that we will use the $9 million to build a primary substation in order to strengthen the network.

When asked why it had to take the Crown Agents for that money to be saved, John Jinapor said it was part of the agreement that a value of money audit will be conducted after the contract had been signed and so both parties followed due process.

John Jinapor also challenged the minority to provide evidence that government signed the deal with Smarttys.

Economy relatively stable under IMF deal – Economists Economy relatively stable under IMF deal – Economists

Some economists have welcomed impacts on the economy of the US$918m IMF budgeted support, which they say has helped to stabilise the local currency and placed the economy on a recovery path.

Their comments contradict earlier remarks by some analysts who questioned benefits of the IMF deal to the economy.

In an interview with the B&FT, a senior economist at the University of Ghana, Dr. Ebo Turkson, opined that the IMF programme has restored a measure of fiscal discipline that has substantially contributed to stabilising the local currency.

“Apart from a few challenges we are going through in terms of increments in taxes and the like, the IMF deal is on-track. The World Bank, as at the last time they reviewed the standard performance, gave Ghana a plus — attributing it to the reform package the Fund has prescribed. In terms of cedi-stability, we can see some relative improvement over the past two months — and I am sure the reform package is part of the reason we are seeing this,” he said.

He further added that the extended facility programme, which began in April last year, has brought about control in government spending, saying: “we can also see government not overspending too much. As we speak, there is a freeze on public sector wages, there is a freeze on employment; and these are some of the expenses that increase government spending. Therefore, we can say the IMF deal is on track and so we can commend the government for that.”

Dr. Turkson further advised government to cut down unnecessary spending and avoid imposing high taxes on industry, in order to help the economy get back on a good footing.

Dr. Turkson’s view is backed by the CEO of the Institute of Chartered Economists Mr. Daniel Anim-Prempeh, who told the B&FT that assessing the programme’s success and its effects on the economy at this stage (barely two years) and drawing conclusion that it is not yielding any good result is premature — adding that the programme is showing some positives for the economy.

“I think it is also premature to conclude that the programme will not yield good results for the economy. However, I would like to say that the IMF programme has come with some difficulty in the form of scrapping utility subsidies that government used to provide for citizens; and even though we have not yet reached the expected stabilisation of the economy, we cannot deny the fact that the IMF deal has relatively stabilised the forex market. During the first quarter of this year we have had a fairly stable exchange rate, and this can be attributed to effects of the IMF programme,” he said.

Government last year reached a 3-year deal with the Washington-based lender for an economic assistance programme worth more than US$918million, with government required to meet certain conditionalities to access the facility — albeit in tranches. So far, the country has passed two separate programme reviews and received a total of US$230million from the Fund.

Cocoa farmers to receive 60 million seedlings Cocoa farmers to receive 60 million seedlings

Cocoa farmers in the country are to benefit from 60 million cocoa free hybrid cocoa seedlings as part of measures being put in place to shore up the country’s cocoa production with the view to enhancing their livelihood.

Farmers in the Ashanti Region will receive 10.2 million of the seedlings during this crop season, Ashanti Regional Director of Cocobod, Faustina Asamany, disclosed this to TV3 online at a consultative meeting by the Supreme Consultative Council of COCOBOD and chief cocoa farmers, in Kumasi.

Last year, COCOBOD distributed 50 million cocoa seedlings to farmers nationwide, out of which Ashanti region benefitted from 5.5 million seedlings.

But Mrs Asamany said the quantity was inadequate to reach most farmers. “The seedlings we gave to the farmers last year were woefully inadequate. Many farmers did not get seedlings to plant, so there was the need to increase the quantum of the seedlings,” she said

She said it is against this backdrop that Cocobod has this season doubled the distribution of high yielding, early maturing and disease-resistance seedlings to farmers in the region.

The Manager also indicated that under the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), free fertilizers would be distributed to farmers to increase yield and ease their financial burdens.
She, however, stated that farms infected with the cocoa swollen shoot virus do not qualify for the fertilizer package.

Meanwhile, some cocoa farmers have commended the government for the effort towards improving the livelihood of cocoa farmers and increasing production.

They however urged COCOBOD to solve some challenges in relations to distribution of fertilizer and scholarship for wards of cocoa farmers.
In a related development, the Supreme Consultative Council of Cocobod has met with leadership of cocoa farmers across the country to deliberate on measures to increase productivity.

The meeting was aimed at educating the farmers on their rights and responsibilities to enable them to get fair treatment from cocoa purchasing clerks.

It was also to brief the COCOBOD staff on the formation of the Cocoa Board Workers Union, a move to break away from the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), and the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU).

The Chairman of the Supreme Consultative Council of Cocobod, Alhaji Iddris Hassan attributed the country’s inability to meet its cocoa production targets partly to poor weather conditions.

“The government and management of COCOBOD cannot be blamed for the low yield of cocoa because the nation depended mostly on natural rainfall for farming purposes and any reverse in the rainfall pattern adversely affect the farming industry in general”.

Alhaji Iddrissu added that “fatigue of the cocoa trees” also played a role in the decline of cocoa production.

“The Cocoa Research Institute is trying to modify certain things by cutting down the fatigue cocoa trees and replanting to meet the ultimate intent.”

He was hopeful that, the country will meet its 2016 target of cocoa production by the close of year.

YEA to roll out 13 additional modules YEA to roll out 13 additional modules

The Youth and Employment Agency (YEA), is to roll out 13 additional modules to create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the country.

Youth in Community Health Workers, Coastal Sanitation, Agriculture, Afforestation, Electronic, Health, Prisons, Fire Service, Disabilities and teaching, among other components are the additional modules expected to be rolled out by the middle of the year.

Mr. Joseph Kwasi Holison, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of the YEA disclosed this at a ceremony to enroll 400 trainees into the Community Policing Assistant Module of the Agency in Sunyani.

The selected trainees were among 5,000 young people drawn from the 27 Municipal and District Assemblies in the Brong-Ahafo Region who applied for admission.

They would go through training at the Kumasi Police Depot and would support the Police in the various districts in crime fighting on completion.

Mr. Holison explained that the new YEA was expected to offer employment opportunities for more than 100,000 young people in the country.

He advised the beneficiaries to be disciplined and obedient to enable them go through the regimented training successfully to benefits society as they go out to serve.

Formerly known as the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Parliament recently passed the Youth Employment Agency Act to help reduce youth unemployment in the country.

Gov’t Agrees To Pay Labour Tier Two Pension Cash Gov’t Agrees To Pay Labour Tier Two Pension Cash

Government has agreed to allow the twelve labour unions who were demanding the payment of their tier two pension contributions, to run their registered schemes.

The unions in 2014 embarked on series of demonstrations to demand the payment of their tier two pension contributions into their registered schemes, but government rejected their demands citing some security concerns.

Government in the process sent the unions to court but the two parties later agreed on an out of court settlement. Confirming the agreement to Citi News, Public Relations Officer of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG), Edmund Acquaye, further explained that the court has validated the agreement between the parties.

“Government is going to allow the schemes to work. We are looking forward that we will inaugurate the board of trustees to each scheme which are in the pipeline. We believe that labour is prepared; CLOGSAG in itself is also prepared to meet those timelines and to comply with the terms of the agreement.

So that is what we are looking forward from government on their part to comply.” “After the terms of agreement were put on paper, we went to the court for the court to adapt it as a working document and that has been done,” he added.

Food prices soar by 50% Food prices soar by 50%

Prices of most basic foodstuffs have shot up drastically over the last one year. The prices of some of the foodstuffs have risen as much as 50% from January 2015 to date.
A market survey con­ducted by The Finder at major markets in Accra re­vealed significant hikes in prices of foodstuffs such as vegetables, tubers, cereals, and canned and frozen foods.
At the Agbogbloshie market, this paper gathered that a sack of maize, which used to sell at ₵140 as of January last year, now sells at ₵220 while an ‘olonka’ of gari sells at ₵6.50; it was sold at ₵3.50 a year ago.
The price of beans de­pends on the country of ori­gin. A cup of beans from Ghana, Nigeria and Togo now sells at ₵7, ₵12 and ₵8.50 respectively. Previously, the same item sold at ₵5, ₵10 and ₵6 respectively.
A medium tuber of yam (Puna) now sells at ₵5, as against ₵3 in January 2015.
For plantain, five fingers now sell for ₵5, com­pared to ₵3 this time last year.
Sugar, a common com­modity consumed in many homes, now sells at ₵1.60 per cup, as against ₵1.20 last year January.
At the Makola Market, cow feet, popularly called ‘Kotodwe,’ now sells be­tween ₵20 and ₵25 depending on the size, al­most double the ₵12 to ₵15 it was sold for in January 2015.
Another important food commodity, tomato now sells at ₵15 per small paint bucket, instead of ₵12 in January last year.
The price of a tin of milk jumped from ₵2 to ₵2.50 within the year while 1 litre of cooking oil, which was ₵7 last year January, is now selling at ₵8.50.
The price of a carton of frozen chicken thigh rose from ₵75 as of January 2015 to a current price of ₵110 while a carton of frozen chicken thigh (hard) increased from ₵95 to ₵120.
A medium size loaf of bread that was selling at ₵5 last year is now going for ₵7.
A carton of frozen fish has increased from ₵230 to ₵300 within the one year period while a pound of salted beef, which was selling at ₵12, now sells at ₵15.
The price, of one bar of Key Soap jumped’ from ₵3.80 in January last year to the current price of ₵6.
Some of the traders The Finder spoke to attributed the increases to the recent hikes in fuel prices and util­ity tariffs.
They were, however, of the view that customers would soon understand the adjustment as it is no fault of theirs.
Customers, on the other hand, are complaining about hard times, but re­main hopeful that the trend of frequent hikes would slow down to enable them survive.
January inflation rate rises sharply to 19%
The Public Utilities Reg­ulatory Commission in December announced a 59.2 per cent increase in electric­ity tariff while water went up to about 89 per cent. In January, fuel prices also went up by 27 per cent.
The monthly change rate for January 2016 was 4.6 per cent, compared to the December change of 1.1 per cent.
The food inflation, rate for January was 8.2 per cent, slightly up from the 8.0 per cent recorded in De­cember 2015.
On the other hand, the non-food inflation rate for January stood at 25.5 percent from 23.3 percent in December 2015.
“The non-food inflation rate (25.5%) is, more than three times higher than the food inflation rate (8.2%).”
The inflation rate for im­ported items was 18.7 per dent in January 2016, com­pared to 18.3 per cent in December, while that of lo­cally produced items was 19.1 per cent versus 17.5 per cent for the same, pe­riod.
The main “price drivers” for the non-food inflation rate were housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, contributing about 45.5 per cent, while trans­port added 30.8 per cent.
The “price drivers” for the food inflation rate were coffee, tea and cocoa, min­eral water, soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery, food prod­ucts and vegetables.
Two regions (Ashanti and Greater Accra) recorded inflation fates higher than the national av­erage of 19.0 per cent.
The greater Accra Re­gion recorded the highest year-on-year inflation, rate of 23.1 per cent while the Upper East Region recorded, the lowest of 14.1 per cent.

Hopeful future for oil industry – Minister Hopeful future for oil industry – Minister

With hitch-free development of more oil fields and the announcement of more discoveries, the future of oil in the country can only be good, the Energy and Petroleum Minister, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah has said, imploring Ghanaians to rally behind efforts at increased oil production, Read More

Stakeholders call for 6 months import permits Stakeholders call for 6 months import permits

Stakeholders in the clearance process at the ports have called on government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to extend the validity period of import permits for the importation of frozen foods into the country.

The stakeholders encapsulating the Ghana Shipper’s Authority, the Ship , Read More

Gov’t to have NO control over management of new airline Gov’t to have NO control over management of new airline

President John Mahama has assured Ghanaians that government will not interfere in the management of a new national airline as memories of Ghana’s ill-fated Ghana International Airlines hangs over the new project.

The President says enough measures have been put in place to ensure that the new national airline survives and yields results’ Read More

Mobile Phone Users To Use Common Codes From Today Mobile Phone Users To Use Common Codes From Today

All mobile phone users regardless of the network will use a common short code to check their credits, top up and assess call centres from today.

This follows the National Communications Authority’s (NCA) move to harmonize all short codes for general customer services across all networks.

The NCA however says the existing short codes for the various telecommunication networks will run concurrently with the new one until April 2015.

To recharge, subscribers will use 134. To check balance, subscribers will need to dial 124 and 100 for the call centre.

The others are 600 for number portability, 400 for verification of SIM, 108 for Voice Mail Deposit and 109 for Voice Mail Retrieval.

There have been complaints from users about the number of short codes they have deal with, prompting an investigation by the NCA, which eventually decided to introduce common codes.

More electricity next year; 2 new power barges being built More electricity next year; 2 new power barges being built

Two emergency power barges are being constructed by the government to generate 450 megawatts (MW) of power to stabilise energy supply in the country, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, has said.

The two power barges, each of which has 225 MW, are expected in the country by the end of the second quarter of 2015, Read More

Ghana losing forest cover to illegal mining Ghana losing forest cover to illegal mining

Ghana’s forest cover stands the risk of being decreased to considerable level in the next generation if illegal mining in forest reserves is not stemmed, the Forestry Commission, has warned.

The Commission said it is the responsibility of stakeholders to tackle the menace with zeal to sustain the eco-system and biodiversity, Read More

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