The Chamber of Mines is seeking to significantly improve Ghana’s take from its mining sector.
Despite having mined gold for over a century, the country – a major global exporter – only exports the precious mineral in its raw state, thereby, losing out on the opportunity to make extra revenue from refining.
For every 100 kilograms of gold refined, one gets seven kilograms of silver and other minerals such as Uranium which can be sold for extra income.
The Chamber of Mines and the Ghana Standards Authority have, therefore, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure that the right standards are adhered to in the mining sector.
The move is to, among other things; ensure that mining inputs especially local inputs are running in line with world class standards and practices.
There are currently six standards for gold, which include that for refined gold, ultrafine gold, and purified gold. But that for other minerals such as bauxite and silver, as well as for other mining inputs are yet to be developed.
Although the country acquired refinery plants in November last year, the second in Africa after South Africa, it is yet to start operations.
Signing the MOU, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Standards Authority, Professor Alexander Nii Otoo Dodoo said the move will enable the two entities to collaborate to ensure the required standards are adhered to in the sector.
“We believe very strongly that the mining sector can contribute to jobs. We believe very firmly that a well regularized and standardized mining sector can lead to prosperity in this country. Businesses thrive in an atmosphere of trust and so the whole point of standardization is to build trust. We are setting the standard to have what we call trade stability.”
He added further that “to the international community this is going to serve notice that Ghana is open for higher level of business in the gold industry. We have already started the process to begin the hallmark of precious minerals so that as you buy the mineral that has been certified by the Ghana Standards Authority, that adds a huge value.
Professor Dodoo believes the mining sector, which is the highest tax payer, will yield revenue much more than it is already yielding, if it meets world class standards.
“It’s about market and business and confidence. And that is why we want to have a formal relationship. We now have the capacity, which is the modern plants that were inaugurated. We will also get business of purification from other countries in Africa and that will generate revenue.”
Professor Dodoo also announced that the country will have a museum for precious minerals in the next few months.
On his part, CEO of the Chamber of Mines, Suleimana Koney said the MOU will enable them to put high premium on the mining sector.
“For us at the chamber of mines, we are very committed to creating value for our country. To improve local content you have to make sure that the inputs, which go into the industry, are first class.
By Nana Oye Ankrah
The CEO of the Chief Executives Network Ghana Limited, Ernest De-Graft Egyir, has proposed a comprehensive strategic plan that, he believes, will instil resilience and productivity in the small and medium scale enterprises (SME) sector of the Ghanaian economy.
The main objectives of the Master Plan are to, among others, improve SME competitiveness and growth, foster high growth potential and upgrade human capital, skills and job opportunities by addressing skill mismatch.
The Plan is also expected to improve design and value addition through research and innovation aimed at increasing market access as well as exports.
Addressing the maiden edition of the Ghana SME CEO Summit, in Accra, on the theme “Scaling-Up SMEs for Inclusive Growth” Egyir described the Master Plan as a “game changer as it will enable the SME sector to make a quantum leap and become a backbone to the economy.”
Small and medium businesses dominate the Ghanaian economy, accounting for some 80 percent of operational businesses, contributing over 60 percent to GDP and remain the largest employer in the country, according to experts.
The sector is however constrained in making the expected contribution to poverty reduction as it has failed to be inclusive due to the lack of scaling up.
But Egyir is positive tackling five broad areas including; infrastructure, regulation, capacity finance and business linkages coupled with a targeted investment in high-growth sectors will put Ghana on the “trajectory towards booming, yet inclusive economic development”.
The CEO though appreciative of the setting up of a Ministry of Business Development, questioned the capacity of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to discharge the responsibility of promoting and developing SMEs when the sector needed the fullest attention from the policy direction.
“Perhaps a new Ministry for SMEs will be our business transformation Messiah,” he suggested.
He said the SME sector is the “Economic fly-wheel of Ghana” and asked that the wheel begins to turn with government and CEO entrepreneurs as drivers.
The Ghana SME CEO Summit and Expo brought together CEOs and entrepreneurs to learn, share insight and unearth viable ways of working in the face of global trends.
Participants were expected to take away lessons on key management and business development insights; enhanced understanding of the drivers of contemporary business growth; unearth new strategic partnership and alliances through high level networking; best practices from peers as well as broker B2B deals for increased value creation for their respective companies.
By Godfred Tawiah Gogo
Vodafone’s digital education platform - Instant Schools - has reached 1.8 million hits since it was launched a year ago. The online portal, which is part of a strategic approach by the company to promote digital inclusion, is currently creating a revolution across the country.
With a full endorsement from the Ghana Education Service, Instant Schools, responds directly to the perennial problem of lack of teaching materials, textbooks, past examination questions and assessment information in many schools across the country.
The initiative is delivering a wide range of basic to advanced learning materials online and gives unlimited access to everyone, from the city to the remote villages.
The Vodafone Ghana Foundation has introduced the platform to over 40 schools in five regions currently; and other schools in the remaining regions are also in line to benefit. It has a zero-rated unique feature, which means all Vodafone users can access it free of charge on the Vodafone Ghana website.
Commenting, on this, Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda Cuba, said:
“This is a landmark achievement and goes to show the power of education as a tool for change.
We are determined to contribute to enhancing the learning experience for students – to give them a smile on their faces - by making learning a memorable experience. We want to be at the forefront of the educational transformation for the present and future generations. It is a commitment we hold dear to our strategy.”
The Instant Schools platform was launched in November last year as part of a commitment by Vodafone to leave none behind as it strives to entrench its position as the most innovative and creative telecommunications company in Ghana.
Ebenezer Senior High School, one of Ghana’s oldest secondary schools will today launch her official website to serve as a rallying point for all past students and the various year groups.
According to the organisers – Foundation of Generational Thinkers, FOGET and Zotlax Technologies, the school in her 76th year does not have an official website making it difficult to coordinate past students and sponsors to launch development programmes in the school.
Continuing, Mr. Prosper Afetsi of FOGET said as past students he and his colleagues from the year group felt the present situation whereby various year groups have their own websites does not augur well for coordinating affairs.
‘Based on that conviction some of us in collaboration with the school administration decided to build and launch an official website which will serve as the authentic voice of the school.
‘For Ebenezer Secondary School not to have an official website does not speak well of us so some of us have decided to right this gross oversight’ he added.
According to him, the official launch of the website will be followed by a lecture on the theme: ‘Leaving worthy legacies’ which forms part of FOGET’s life empowerment seminar’s it has been organizing in many secondary schools across the country and is meant to encourage and motivate the students to higher heights.
‘Through these events we want the school to occupy its proper place when first class educational institutions in Ghana are being mentioned
The events for the day begin at 1am on the school’s campus at Dansoman, Accra.
The Central Bank has underscored the critical role of financial intermediation, especially for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to the overall development of the private sector and broad-based growth of the economy.
First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari has, therefore, expressed the financial sector regulator’s commitment to promoting further financial sector reforms aimed at deepening the financial system and removing deficiencies that inhibit access to SME credit.
But the Deputy Governor emphasised the Bank’s resolve to apply the compliance rules even as it encourages financial players to broaden their lending base to support SMEs.
“While it is important for banks to embrace SME financing, the risks associated with the sector must not be overlooked. The Bank of Ghana will continue to ensure strict compliance with risk management systems and structures, and control measures within the banking and other non-bank financial institutions (NBFI).”
Dr Opoku Afari was addressing the 1ST Ghana SME CEO Summit on “Balancing Growth and Regulatory Compliance; Policies, Challenges, Solutions and Opportunities in Accra.
The SME sector has been touted as one with the potential to turn around the Ghanaian economy and create much needed jobs while enhancing inclusion growth.
The sector has, however, had access to finance as a major challenge to its growth with some financial operators shying away from the sector alluding to their high risk nature.
The situation has seen some positive turn as most banks, in recognition of the SME sector as a major growth pillar, have established SME-focused units to provide tailor-made financial products aimed at addressing the peculiar needs of the industry.
Dr Opoku-Afari assured of the Central Bank’s support to the commercial banks through the maintenance of a stable and sound economic environment to undertake effective financial intermediation for accelerated growth.
He touted the relative stability and the positive direction of the economic indicators resulting in the lowering of the policy rate from 450 basis points to 21 per cent with lending rates also dropping by 150 basis points resulting in business and consumer confidence in the economy.
The Deputy Governor said the increment in the minimum capital requirement for commercial banks from GHS120m to GHS400m to be met by end of December 2018 is part of comprehensive measures taken to ensure the realisation of solid and strong banks, capable of supporting government’s transformation agenda.
He rallied support for the digitization and formalization of the economy which he believes will, among others, improve access to credit by SMEs by helping financial institutions to better assess and price risks in the delivery of credit.
By Godfred Tawiah Gogo
Following the inauguration of a 15 member inter - ministerial committee to oversee the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by President Nana Akufo - Addo, the 2017 Impact Africa Summit: Ghana on SDGs scheduled for November 30 will bring together key stakeholders in the development agenda of the country to further discuss and share knowledge on the implementation of the goals in Ghana.
The second edition of the summit which would be hosted at the Tang Palace Hotel in Accra will among others explore the subject of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to be used as a source of financing the SDGs.
The SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals adopted by world leaders in September 2015 are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The goals provide a powerful aspiration for improving all countries by laying out where we collectively need to go and how to get there with its ambitious set of 17 goals and related targets to address the most important economic, social, environmental and governance challenges of our time.
Implementation of the SDGs.
The realization of the SDGs requires a coherent, well - coordinated, all-inclusive participatory approach and an effective localization and implementation prompting President Nana Akufo - Addo to set up an inter ministerial committee chaired by Prof. George Gyan - Baffour , Minister of Planning to oversee the implementation in Ghana.
Financing the SDGs.
One major question at the centre of global efforts to achieve the SDGs is how countries can finance the implementation of the goals. Financing the SDGs seem to be a complex task. Given the financing gaps in implementing the SDGs, much more involvement from the private sector is required.
Based on the above, the Impact Africa Summit: Ghana on SDGs will spearhead discussions on how foreign investments can be channeled as a source to finance the SDGs.
Developing countries and emerging economies have come increasingly to see FDIs as a source of economic development and modernization, income growth and employment. Given the appropriate host-country policies, FDIs can significantly contribute to higher economic growth, which is the most potent tool for alleviating poverty in developing countries.
A high level panel with inputs from the participants at the summit would discuss and propose strategic means for partnerships with foreign entities and the developed economies on how foreign investments can be channeled as major source to drive the development agenda of the country with the SDGs in perspective.
The panel would focus their discussion on establishing a link between FDIs and the SDGs, identifying priority sectors and opportunities for foreign investments and also propose measures to be put in place to create an enabling environment for investors.
The outcome of the deliberations would be presented to the Inter Ministerial Committee on the SDGs and the country’s development partners for policy consideration.
Impact Africa Summit: Ghana on SDGs
The Impact Africa Summit has become Ghana’s biggest platform for deliberations and discussions on the country's commitment to achieving the SDGs and also celebrate illustrious sons of the land contributing to the socio-economic development agenda of the country.
The summit thus brings together government officials, diplomats, academia, heads of local and foreign businesses, professionals from various fields, civil society, media and youth groups for this purpose.
IPPG and UNDP.
The summit is an initiative of the International Perspective for Policy & Governance (IPPG), a foreign affairs policy think tank, in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the lead UN development agency in the implementation of the SDGs.
A Fire and Explosion Prevention Team from the Tema Oil Refinery has embarked on a massive education campaign on the dangers of handling naked fire around the refinery. The team focused their attention on food vendors who sell food at a place popularly referred to as the ‘Bush Canteen’, located very close to the refinery. Drivers of Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVs) popularly referred to as ‘Tankers’ who park their trucks overnight around the refinery were also targeted and asked to evict the refinery frontage due to some unsafe acts they indulge in.
The Public Affairs Manager of TOR, Dr. Kingsley Antwi-Boasiako explained that in the wake of the recent gas explosions that have rocked some parts of Accra, the Management of the refinery thought it wise to take some proactive measures to avert the possibility of any fire or explosion in and around the refinery. In line with this, the refinery set up a ‘TOR Fire and Explosion Prevention Team’ with the goal of identifying potential sources of fire and explosion in and around the refinery, and taking measures to prevent this from happening. The team is made up of representatives drawn from the Safety, Maintenance, and Production, Public Affairs, estate, Security and Environment departments in the refinery.
The Safety Manager at TOR, Mr. John Kwamena Montford cautioned the vendors against the use of naked fire and other potential ignition sources due to the proximity of their location to the refinery. He enlightened the traders that products such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) are difficult to detect when they leak, and can easily cause fire outbreak when it comes into contact with an ignition source. He advised the vendors to cook from their homes and convey the food to the ‘bush canteen’ to sell.
The Safety Manager said the fire and explosion prevention team would keep a close eye on the activities of the vendors to counter any breach of this directive, and subsequently asked the food vendors to form an association to regulate their activities to ensure that no one goes against this directive. He said although the bush canteen does not belong to TOR, the refinery would engage the owners of the place and agitate for their removal should anyone be going against the directive.
Meanwhile, drivers of Bulk Road Vehicles (BRVS) who park in front of the refinery have been asked to vacate the area and find elsewhere to park since some activities they indulge in have the potential to cause fire outbreak. The team had observed that some BRV drivers have been cooking what is known in the local parlance as ‘ataya’, a substance that is believed to energize them and also prevent them from sleeping. The drivers were informed that the frontage of the refinery has pipelines that carry highly inflammable products, and such an activity could result in a fire outbreak with serious consequences. The team said they were collaborating with the National Tanker Drivers Union in getting the BRV drivers evicted from the refinery frontage
Adhering to standards in Fairtrade brings efficient management and cost reduction, enhances product quality and improves access to available markets, a deputy trade minister, Carlos Ahenkorah has said.
He indicated, government acknowledges the immense support being provided by Fairtrade to Ghanaian producers, which has enabled farmers to see agriculture as a viable business.
Ahenkorah, addressing dignitaries at the biennial Fairtrade West Africa regional convention in Accra, explained that government is currently developing a framework to bring together agencies and the business community to engage at the highest level of policy formulation.
“If Ghana and Ivory Coast had taking advantage of Fairtrade and value addition to cocoa processing, the two countries, would have been deriving US$140 billion annually from chocolates and confectioneries, instead of the US$5 billion return for the two, each year,” Ahenkorah explained.
He noted that, while private standards like Fairtrade certification may require some stiff compliance, substantial capital and skills, such standards allow producers of crops such as cocoa, cashew, pineapple and coffee, among others, to have direct access to huge supermarket chains which may lead to increase in export earnings.
“The number of private standards, Fairtrade being one of them, and their effect on trade has risen progressively under the collective forces of globalization, policy liberalisation, changing consumer preferences and progress in information technology,” Ahenkorah said.
He disclosed that government would develop and implement the national export strategy aimed at competitiveness.
Nana Gyamera Kukuom, Union President of Kukuom Cocoa Cooperative in the Brong Ahafo Region, noted that, the membership of Fairtrade, has given the cooperative the opportunity to enhance production, improved labour conditions and producer networks, through partnerships.
“Our various communities have benefited from the premium development that Fairtrade brings to our communities and more famers desire to join the association,” he disclosed.
Edward Akapire, Head of Region - West African Network, Fairtrade Africa, noted that though more farmers and producers in Ghana, are embracing the idea to become members of the Fairtrade association, producers in Ivory Coast have shown more commitment to the association’s membership.
“Almost 65 percent of cocoa producers in Ivory Coast are members of the association compared to Ghana which stands lower,” he said.
Fairtrade is a global movement which addressees the injustices of conventional trade by supporting smallholder farmers and workers to secure better terms of trade.
Fairtrade Africa currently comprises over 410 Fairtrade certified producer organisations.
All producers are certified against international Fairtrade standards producing traditional export commodities such as coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, cut flowers, bananas, pineapples, mango and non-traditional commodities including shea butter, rooibos tea, vegetables and fresh and dry fruits.
Fairtrade brings better pricing, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe
Government is to implement the Ghana Business Regulatory Reform Programme from 2018 to 2020, Mr Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry has announced.
Addressing participants at the Ghana SME CEO’s Summit in Accra, Mr Kyerematen said the Programme would include a comprehensive roadmap for reforms to reduce the time and cost of compliance with business regulators and improve Ghana’s performance in the Doing Business rankings to one of the best in Africa by 2020.
It will also consist of a Centralised Public Consultation Portal to enable government institutions transparently receive inputs and comments on their policies and regulations from a diverse range of stakeholders, including Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) owners, business executives, professionals, consumers, workers and the public.
He noted that it would also provide an Electronic Registry of Business Regulations consisting of an inventory of all business-related Acts, legislative instruments and administrative notices and directives.
Mr Kyerematen said as part of these processes, a more permanent institutional mechanism would be established for regular dialogue between government and the private sector; adding that “this will begin with a Presidential Business Summit during the first quarter of 2018.
He said to become competitive in the global and domestic market, Ghanaian SMEs should be able to offer high quality products and should also provide excellent customer services.
Mr De-Graft Egyir said Ghana with an SME economy, a sector that constitute over 80 per cent of operational businesses; contributing to over 60 per cent to gross domestic products and being the largest employer of labour force, needed attention ought to be given from policy direction.
He advocated for the creation of new Ministry for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to bring about business transformation in the country.
“I also humbly propose a 10-year SME Master Plan, that will trigger major paradigm and structural sifts towards an entrepreneurial economy,” he stated.
He said such a Master Plan would address the main constraints of SMEs and put forward a comprehensive strategic plan that would instil resilience and productivity to the sector.
Mr Charles Larbi-Odam, CEO, Deloitte Ghana, said scaling up a business was strategic and multifaceted.
“Thinking should go around capitalisation, business continuation, technology, efficiency and effectiveness of operations, staffing and technology, having in mind possible changes in government policy direction. With the right thinking going into these ingredients, businesses can survive the test of time as they grow,” he said.
The Minister of Planning, Professor Gyan Baffour has called on the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) to train government officials on the use of the 2015 Social Accountability Matrix (SAM).
Speaking at the launch of the 2015 Ghana SAM, the Minister indicated that, “there is the need to go back to ministries to show them how to use this matrix for analysis.”
SAM captures all market transactions and transfers that take place in a country between productive activities, factors of production, domestic institutions and the rest of the world during a given period.
“The dataset, by itself, doesn’t tell me what a ministry has to do in order to grow the level of employment,” he noted.
“It doesn’t tell me what to do to grow the economy at a particular rate, so after presenting the matrix to each ministry, they should train the people as to how to use statistical tools to really analyse the matrix,” he added.
It also forms the basis of multi-sectoral economy wide models that are used to support policy analysis.
The 2015 Ghana SAM includes detailed information on 55 production sectors, 56 commodities, and 13 factors of production, income and expenditures of rural and urban households by quintile, the government budget, and the balance of payments.
The 2015 SAM reveals the main characteristics of the structure of the economy and serves as an input data for policy analysis modules to analyse and propose economic policy recommendations.
The first Ghana SAM was constructed in the year 1993 as part of the efforts of the GSS to implement the 1993 system of the national accounts.
Accordingly the exercise also involved the development of a 1993 Supply and Use Table (SUT), which provided the statistical bases for the 1993 SAM
The second SAM was constructed for the year 2004 from a corresponding 2004 SUT.
The 2015 SAM was constructed as an update of the 2004 SAM.
This came about from a joint collaboration between GSS, ISSER and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
By Joshua W. Amlanu