Prime News Ghana

2020 in review; the big stories in Business

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
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The business and financial sector recorded some big developments within the year 2020, most of these developments were up for discussion on both traditional and social media.

Below are some of the big issues discussed in the business and financial sector.

1. ‘No trade bullying under AfCFTA’ - Nigeria warned

Former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Carlos Ahenkorah has criticised Nigeria’s “bullying attitude” that led to the closure of its land borders from August last year to December this year and has indicated that such incidents will not be condoned under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) regime.

2. Ghana wants out of money laundering ‘grey list’ as new law passed

Parliament has enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Bill 2020 to strengthen Ghana’s anti-money laundering legal framework and help the country exit the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

3. 2,802 investors receive bailout package - SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has revealed that 2,802 clients of defunct fund management companies have received full or partial payment of their investments under the government’s bailout package for the industry.

4. GSS launches Ghana’s first compendium on environment statistics

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has launched Ghana’s first Compendium on Environment Statistics (ES), adopting the UN Framework for the development of environment statistics (FDES, 2013).

5. Restructure of macroeconomic framework to restore growth - BoG

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison has stated that the restructuring of the government’s macroeconomic framework is essential in restoring the economy to a growth path in the post-COVID-19 era.

6. Ghana in technical recession after latest economic contraction – Economist

Economist with Databank, Courage Martey says Ghana has entered into a technical recession following a contraction of the economy for a second straight quarter in 2020.

7. Ghana rice listed on Commodity Exchange

The Ghana Commodity Exchange on Monday added rice contracts [Ghana rice] to the number of commodities traded on the electronic trading platform following the approval by the Security and Exchange Commission.

8. GNPC sold US$5.2 billion of oil since 2011 and April 2020 - Report

The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) sold 73 cargos of oil, made up of 71.1 million barrels valued at US$5.2 billion, between 2011 and April 2020, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) has said in a new report.

9. AfDB says new strategy will address debt distress risks in Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will from next year roll out a five-year strategic economic governance plan for the continent, the Director of Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research at the bank, Dr. Morsy Hanan, has said.

10. Moody’s sees further loan quality decline among Ghanaian banks

Credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service is projecting a reversal of the improving trend in Ghanaian banks’ financial metrics, with loan quality to be hit hardest, resulting from the impact of the coronavirus-induced economic disruption.

11. Cocoa Barometer 2020 demands system change to end poverty within cocoa sector

A new report released by the Cocoa Barometer analysing trends within the cocoa sector has highlighted the need for government and industry stakeholders as well as farmers and civil society organisations, to outline policies to end deforestation and human rights abuses within the cocoa supply chain.

12. GCB Bank denies GH¢52.5bn transfer allegation

GCB Bank Limited has denied allegations that the bank made unauthorised transfers totalling GH¢52.5 billion to unidentified sources.

13. Digitizing the payment of tax will help Ghana- Ken Ashigbey

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ken Ashigbey, says the government’s agenda to digitize the economy will make it easier for payment of taxes, especially by the country’s informal sector.

14. Ivory Coast, Ghana withdraw from Cocoa Merchants Association of America

Ivory Coast and Ghana have served notice that they have withdrawn from the Cocoa Merchants Association of America.

15. Ivory Coast, Ghana to cancel cocoa sustainability schemes run by Hershey

Ivory Coast and Ghana are cancelling all cocoa sustainability schemes that U.S.-based Hershey runs in their countries, accusing the chocolate maker of trying to avoid paying a cocoa premium aimed at combating farmer poverty.

16. US$15bn pledged for Ghana’s petroleum hub

The Ministry of Energy has shortlisted three bids for Ghana’s petroleum hub project, with one of the investors pledging up to US$15bn to fund the storage component of the ambitious programme.

17. Registrar-General to strike out businesses with old records

Businesses that have yet to update their records on the e-register database could have their names struck out for not conforming to the standards required under the new Companies Act, the Registrar-General, Mrs Jemima Oware, has cautioned.

18. Ghanaians will soon pay less for electricity - VRA

The Volta River Authority, VRA says they will be investing heavily in technology next year to improve power efficiency.

19. BoG reveals what is pushing Ghana's debt stock to unsustainable levels

The Bank of Ghana has disclosed what is pushing Ghana's debt stock to unsustainable levels.

20. Terkper disputes claims of frail legacy

Former Finance Minister Seth Terkper says claims by the governing New Patriotic Party that it inherited a troubled economy are not factual, but that the facts show the opposition National Democratic Congress to be better managers of the economy.

21. Ghana’s debt stock hits GHS273.8bn

Ghana’s total public debt stock has risen by GHS54.8 billion in the first nine months of this year, hitting GHS273.8 billion as at the end of September 2020.

22. Dumsor: IPPs creating unnecessary tension– Deputy Minister

Government has accused the umbrella body of Independent Power Producers, the Chamber of Independent Power Producers Distributors and Bulk Consumers of exhibiting traits of a pressure group.

23. Gov't approves partial payment to customers of Blackshield, others

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC says the government has approved a partial payment of up to GHS50,000 to customers of defunct fund management companies including Blackshield.

24. Tax exemptions hit $901m in 2 years — Study

Parliament between January 2018 and February 2020 granted tax waivers amounting to $901 million to corporate institutions.

25. MTN Ghana seeks approval to buy back over 1m shares

MTN Ghana will host shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Thursday, December 3, 2020, to seek shareholders approval to buy back some one million-plus shares for which applicants could not complete the transactions owing to ID issues.

26. Ghana Airports Company to fine airlines $3,500 per passenger for flouting Covid-19 directives

Ghana Airports Company has issued a revised Covid-19 guideline for the Kotoka International Airport, KIA.

27. Agyapa faces uncertain path to London

The prospects of Agyapa Royalties, the company set up by government to leverage the country’s future gold royalties for half a billion dollars on the London Stock Exchange, are uncertain as pressure mounts on government to abandon the planned initial public offering (IPO).

28. Ghana to experience 'dumsor' as IPPs intend to withdraw their services

Ghana is likely to experience dumsor as the Chamber of Independent Power Producers, Distributors and Bulk Consumers has served notice of its intent to withdraw services to the Ghana Grid Company, GRIDCo.

29. Ghana bans importation of poultry products from UK, other countries

Ghana through their Ministry of Food and Agriculture has banned the importation of poultry products from Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

30. Institute of Directors Ghana to outdoor National Corporate Governance Code

The Institute of Directors Ghana will soon outdoor a National Corporate Governance Code that will lead to good corporate governance culture and avert potential corporate failures.

31. Covid-19: Ghana Industries demand tax cut, incentives for businesses

The Association of Ghana Industries, AGI is calling for a tax cut and incentives for businesses in the country.

32. Kofi Adomakoh takes over as GCB Bank MD

The Board of GCB Bank has announced the appointment of John Kofi Adomakoh as the new Managing Director (MD) of the Bank effective 9th November 2020.

33. Kofi Amoabeng reveals what led to the collapse of UT Bank

The Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of defunct UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, says the high level of non-performing loans contributed significantly towards the bank's collapse.

34. Workers of TOR give gov't one-week ultimatum to dissolve board

Workers of the Tema Oil Refinery, TOR has given the government one-week ultimatum to dissolve the board of the company.

35. SEC warns public against activities of PBAY Limited

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has warned the public against the activities of PBAY Limited.

36. Gov't settles its debt to ECG

Government has settled its debt to the Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG.

37. Gov’t cuts 2021 deficit target to 8.3% of GDP

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta says government will scale down the earlier projected 2021 fiscal deficit from 9.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 8.3 percent of GDP.

38. Osafo Maafo’s appeal against Domelevo upheld in $1 million Kroll case

An Accra High Court has upheld an appeal filed by Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, and four other officials from the Ministry of Finance against the Auditor-General’s $1 million disallowances and surcharge in respect of the contract to Kroll and Associates.

39. Ken Ofori Atta to request GHS27.4bn for 2021 1st quarter expenditure

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, is set to request for GHS27. 4 billion for 2021 1st quarter expenditure.

40. IMF responds to Ghana's HIPC classification

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has denied classifying Ghana as a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) based on data on its website.

41. Ghana heads for biggest fiscal deficit in history

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting that Ghana’s fiscal deficit will reach 16.4 percent of GDP this year, the largest in the country’s history.

42. MTN threatens legal action against actress Salma Mumin

MTN Ghana has threatened to take legal action against actress, Salma Mumin over Mobile Money fraud allegations.

43. Corrupt public officers could face 25-years in jail under new law

Public officers who are found guilty of corruption under the amended Criminal Offences law could face up to 25 years in jail.

44. MTN withdraws application seeking Supreme Court review of market share regulation ruling

Scancom Plc, operators of MTN Ghana Limited have withdrawn their legal action against the industry regulator, the National Communications Authority, NCA.

45. SEC announces new capital requirement for market operators

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has announced new capital requirements for operators in its market.

46. Agyapa deal: Martin Amidu blames Dep Finance Minister for noncompletion of corruption risk assessment

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu has blamed the Deputy Finance Minister, Charles Adu Boahene for the noncompletion of Agyapa Royalties deal corruption risk assessment.

47. National Pensions Regulatory Authority to increase retirement age

National Pensions Regulatory Authority says they are considering proposals to increase the retirement age from the current 60years.

48. Non-payment of salaries, unfair termination of employment contracts top cases filed at National Labour Commission

The National Labour Commission, NLC has revealed that non-payment of salaries and unfair termination of employment contracts have dominated cases filed with the commission.

49. Bulldog reacts to Exim Bank's alleged payment to Shatta Wale

Shatta Wale's manager, Bulldog has reacted to an alleged payment by the Exim Bank to Shatta Wale for an ambassadorial role.

50. Nigeria threatens retaliation of closure of foreign shops in Ghana

Nigeria has threatened retaliation of closure of shops of its citizens in Ghana.