GUTA wants gov’t to scrap 2% special tax on imports

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has called on government to focus its attention on the exchange rate, import duties and the 2 per cent special tax on import as it prepares to present the 2019 budget.

GUTA is also lamenting the high interest rate, which makes it difficult for local businesses to grow and compete.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Attah, is expected to present the 2019 budget on behalf of government to Parliament on Thursday.

The association among other things is hoping that the statement will help address the challenges confronting local businesses.

National Secretary for GUTA, Mr Alfa Shaban, in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5FM said, the levies and taxes on duties amounted to about 52 per cent, which sometimes exceeded their capital; the major reason products were very expensive.

He posited that although our taxes and import duties are “very high’’ it does not commensurate with the services rendered. He said because the exchange rate is reviewed on weekly basis, it affects their capital for items imported.

”We also expect that the 2 per cent special tax on import be removed. GUTA is calling on the government to take a further look at the duties and taxes charged on products in the country, as these duties are harming our businesses.

Cost energy, port duties killing businesses – Industrialist

Industrialist, Professor Kofi Anokye, has said the cost of energy is killing businesses in Ghana.

He said, the establishment of businesses is solely dependent on energy and the basic form of energy we depend on in the country is electricity and fuel. And when the prices of these commodities go up, it affects everything we do,’’ he lamented.

The cost of energy in Ghana in his view is extremely expensive and has charged government to take a careful look at the sector.

Local businesses he lamented are unable to compete with foreign companies because of the cost of energy in the country.

He is also admonishing government to take a look at taxes because ‘’it is killing us’’.

Professor Anokye speaking on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, not just energy but the general cost of doing business, cost of duties at the ports, exchange rate, interest are also killing businesses.

He explained that there are some indicators that private businesses can manage whereas they are others they cannot control hence the need for government to roll out policies favourable enough to protect the private sector.

He was speaking on the expectation of the private sector ahead of the 2019 budget statement to be presented tomorrow [Thursday], before parliament by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta.

Professor Kofi Anokye stressed, ‘’I will admonish government to focus on taxes at the ports, cost of energy and import duties.’’

Mohinani Group wins 3 awards at Ghana Business Awards

The Mohinani Group has won three awards at the maiden Ghana Business Awards.

The Group’s Executive Director, Ashok Mohinani was honoured and recognised for “Excellence in Business Award of the Year” at the event which took place at Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra on Friday 26 October.

The award seeks to recognise and reward individuals and companies that excelled and contributed to sustainable development within their various sectors and Ghanaian Economy.

Commenting on the award, Mr. Mohinani said it was rewarding for the Group to be recognised for its outstanding achievements and contributions to business development and economic growth over the last 50 years in Ghana.

The 2nd Award which was picked up by the Group was “Group of Companies of the Year” in honour of their commitment & drive for innovation. The “Electronic Company of the Year” was awarded to Electromart, the retail arm of the group’s trading company – Somotex.

Mr. Mohinani noted that as a Group, they were committed to driving and championing innovation, industrial leadership and sustainable growth across all operating units in and outside Ghana.

“Our operations span across Africa, Europe and Asia and we will seek to relentlessly provide the best of services & products to satisfy our customer needs“.

Ashok Mohinani - Mohinani Group

Ashok Mohinani, Executive Director – Mohinani Group

The Group’s international expertise brings to bear the best global practices and in-depth understanding of the local environment which means that their brands thrive as sector leaders, bringing together the best of both worlds to their consumers.

“Mohinani Group prides itself in offering the best and most trusted brands both locally and internationally. Our local brands include Polytank, Electromart, Bruhm and Cougar while internationally we trade and represent some of the largest and most credible global brands such as LG, KFC, Protea by Marriott, Bajaj, Index, MRF and Boxer” he added.

Mr Mohinani was optimistic that the Group will continue to invest in technologies that improve the living standards of its consumers.

“We continue to offer warranty and guarantee, assuring shoppers and consumers of our commitment to providing high-quality products and services”.

The Group’s retail arm for consumer electronics continues to offer world-class after sales service support and enhanced shopping experience across all 20 Electromart retail shops. The global footprint for Electromart has seen tremendous growth with the introduction of the online shop, Consumer Finance payment option and Point Building Loyalty Card for free shopping any day and anytime.

Mr Mohinani said the awards were an indication that the Group was delivering exceptional, innovative and quality products and services that were meeting the needs of both the local and international markets.

“Our appreciation to the team, customers, partners and all stakeholders for their hard work, commitment and loyalty to Mohinani Group and all affiliates,” Mr Mohinani said.

Govt endorses Mobil-GOIL partnership

Government has approved Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) as minority local partner for Exxon Mobil’s deepwater offshore oilfield, Energy Minister Peter Amewu said yesterday.

Ghana is receiving “huge interest” from international and local oil companies after the government launched its first bidding rounds for offshore blocks last month, Mr Amewu told Reuters.

Exxon Mobil signed a deal with Ghana in January for exploration at the oilfield after direct negotiations without an open tender because of the nature of the field, where the depth ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 metres, the government said.

The U.S. oil major is lead operator with 80 per cent interest in the field, while Ghana National Petroleum Corporation holds 15 per cent. The deal required a local partner to own the remaining 5 per cent.

Exxon named GOIL as the partner about two weeks ago and the government has given the consent it needed at the ministerial level, Mr Amewu said.

The deal still requires parliamentary approval.

Last month the government launched its first bidding rounds to award six blocks this year and another three in 2019 through a mix of open tenders and direct negotiations.

“The interest that has been shown so far is huge and it is interesting to know that a number of international oil companies and national oil companies have all shown interest in our licensing round,” Mr Amewu said.

Ghana, which also exports cocoa and gold, produces around 200,000 barrels of oil per day from three fields.

GCB secures banking platform after suspicious electronic transactions

The GCB Bank Limited has successfully secured its banking platform against third-party access after some customers reported suspicious transactions in their accounts at the weekend.

The bank has, therefore, assured customers and the general public that their deposits and information are secure and protected against unauthorised transactions.

A source in management told Graphic Online on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, that: “There is no cause for alarm because the security measures are being tightened some more just to make sure that customers’ funds are secured.”

The assurance followed reports by some customers that they had noticed some suspicious transactions in their accounts.

Refunds

While confirming the reports, the source said the bank’s electronic platform was able to quickly detect the suspicious activity and consequently shut down to help minimise the impact.

Consequent to that, the source said the management of the GCB Bank had launched an investigation into the suspicious transactions to help establish the cause to inform further actions.

It added that the investigation included validating claims of customers for refund after authentication.

The source, therefore, asked customers affected to remain calm as the team was working to refund their funds.

New cards

Last week, GCB Bank commenced the instant issuance of ATM Readycash cards with enhanced security features.

The new cards are chip-based and will replace the mag-stripe cards that were being used.

The source said the rollout of the new cards was part of measures to protect customer information under a robust electronic banking system.

“This card is more secure and the replacement is to stem things like this from happening,” it said.

It explained that the replacement of the card took less than 10 minutes to complete and, thus, advised customers to endeavour to replace their cards to help benefit from the enhanced security features.

The replacement is being done in selected branches nationwide.

Prices of fuel drop marginally

Citi Business News checks at the pumps this morning show that the top three OMCs, Goil, Shell and Total Ghana are selling both Petrol and Diesel at GHC 5.15 pesewas across the country.

The reduction in prices comes after the major OMC’s all increased the price of petrol and diesel to GHC 5.21 pesewas per litre in the last pricing window.

The reduction is below the 2 to 4 percent decrease predicted by the Institute of Energy Security (IES).

Explaining the reasons behind their prediction, the IES said the fall in Brent crude prices, and finished products on the international market, as well as the cedi’s respectable gains against the dollar could lead to prices dropping at the pumps.

By this, the IES was optimistic the drop in the prices of fuel will bring some relief to Ghanaians at the pumps in the first pricing window in November.

Speaking to Citi Business News, Research Analyst at the IES, Mikdad Mohammed said they expect some OMCs to be influenced by the Price Deregulation policy to effect reductions beyond the projected margin.

“Unlike the previous window where we have had the depreciation of the cedi lead the increment, this particular window has had two major positive news. IES economic data show that we had an appreciation of around 2.4 percent from the cedi against the dollar,” he said.

“For Brent crude, we have had a reduction of about 5 percent and finished products have now come down too. When you take gas oil for example, it has come down by about 5 percent, gasoline has also come down to beyond 2 percent. It is the cumulative effect of all of these indices that IES foresee a reduction in prices from the current 5cedis, 21 pesewas to about 5cedis, 10 pesewas” he added.

Help us build prosperous Africa – Nana Addo to the Western world

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to set their sights higher and help build a prosperous Africa equal opportunity for all.

Addressing the 18th OECD International Forum on Africa, on Wednesday, 31st October 2018, in Paris, President Akufo-Addo noted that the time has come for the OECD and Africa to establish a relationship based on trade and investment co-operation.

This, the President explained is because, Africa is rich in many natural resources that could form the base for processing industries and allied downstream manufacturing industries, and also possesses half of the world’s uncultivated arable land which could yield enormous benefits in the provision of foodstuff, and diversified agro-based economic activities.

Also, he indicated Africa has a youthful and growing labour force, which when empowered, with access to education and skills training would constitute a very powerful tool for economic development in Africa and the world.

President Akufo-Addo added that with Africa’s population of some 1.2 billion, expected to increase to 2 billion people in 20 years, and as a result of industrialization and the structural transformation of African economies, this represents a huge market that exporters in OECD countries could compete for, with significant potential employment and income impacts in those countries.

“So, there are tremendous opportunities for shared prosperity for OECD and African countries in Africa’s rapid economic growth and transformation,” he added.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo has urged OECD countries to focus their support on growth-enhancing interventions, particularly infrastructure, and skills development.

With Africa’s infrastructure needs amounting to some $170 billion a year, with a financing gap of some $108 billion, the President explained that investments in areas of infrastructural development and skills training for Africa’s youth will help the continent leverage its natural and human resources for rapid inclusive growth and economic transformation. President Akufo-Addo also urged the OECD to simplify its processes, particularly for infrastructure projects, stating that processes for accessing funds, within member countries of the OECD, have become very cumbersome.

As a result of this cumbersome process, the President stated that African countries are beginning to turn to other sources, explaining that set against the slow and cumbersome OECD processes, and in light of Africa’s desire for rapid progress, these other sources are very attractive.

“A clear solution is to simplify and expedite the OECD processes while maintaining transparency. Currently, the processes for developing and financing infrastructural projects are developed by OECD institutions to reflect your concerns, with little inputs from African countries to reflect our concerns and aspirations,” he added.

Nana Akufo-Addo advocated the establishment of a joint Africa-OECD Technical Committee to design procedures for processing infrastructural projects in Africa, including for public-private projects (PPPs); procedures that take into consideration the concerns of both parties.

“My Government will like to initiate the discussion on constituting the joint Technical Committee in consultation with others, such as the African Union (AU) Commission, the OECD Development Centre, the ADB, the World Bank, the Compact with Africa (CWA), and the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) in Accra, which has been helping coordinate peer-learning among the CWA countries,” the President said.

He urged OECD countries to build strategic partnerships focused on Africa’s growth and transformation, indicating that this will be a win-win for African countries and members of the OECD.

“I am very encouraged by Germany’s CWA initiative, which should be strongly supported and emulated by all OECD countries. I am also equally encouraged by the recent enactment by the U.S. Congress of the “Better Utilization of Investment Leading to Development Act (the ‘BUILD Act’)”, which creates a strong and well-capitalized (US$60 billion) Development Finance Institution– the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC)–to help finance, and also crowd in private finance to help build prosperity in low- and middle-income countries,” he said.

The President noted that Africa welcomes and commends this new boldness and renewed ambition in the United States to support prosperity outside her shores, and, as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) puts it, “to build a self-reliant Africa”.

“We look forward to working closely with them. We urge other OECD countries to follow suit, and strengthen their existing efforts in this regard,” he added.

Taxify unveils new promotional campaign in Accra

Taxify has unveiled a campaign to give back to passengers across Accra when they use the transportation app.

The company announced last Monday that it would be giving away a free 4th ride to every user that takes up to 3 rides within a week. The campaign is part of Taxify’s broader efforts to promote its services and position itself as a city friendly transportation option

Taxify also said that this was part of its efforts to show support for the spirit of doggedness within the city of Accra. The City Manager for Taxify, Nonso Onwuzulike, was quoted in a statement as saying: “Accra is filled with strivers.

…People that never look back and never give up. We want to make mobility easier for these people and ensure that our value proposition remains that we are the best way to move across their cities. This promotion is our way of saying keep going forward in the direction of your hopes and dreams.”

The campaign—which is expected to last till December, this year, is already generating positive feedback from Taxify’s passengers.

Taxify is a leading European ride-hailing platform, connecting millions of passengers and drivers around the world to make travel easier, quicker and more reliable. Taxify’s efficient and tech-enabled business model benefits both drivers who have to pay a smaller commission as well as passengers who end up paying less for their ride.

Founded by Markus Villig, Taxify launched in 2013. It’s one of the fastest-growing ride-hailing platform in Europe and Africa with investors including Daimler, Didi Chuxing and Korelya Capital.

Taxify has more than 15 million users in over 25 countries globally. www.taxify.eu.

 

Story: Business DESK

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