Today’s Business Headlines

‘Ghana must spend $1.5bn on infrastructure’

Finance Minister, Seth Tekper has indicated that Ghana needs to spend at least $1.5 billion annually to close the country’s infrastructure gap and bring it to the recommended level of a middle-income country.

In view of that, he said the country has developed a national Public Private Partnership (PPP) policy framework which has been piloted with key infrastructural projects.

“Projects like the Takoradi Port and Airport Expansion Projects, as well as various highway projects are being delivered through PPP.

He disclosed this in an address read on his behalf at the third in the series of the flagship Global PPP conference in Takoradi.

It was designed to provide comprehensive knowledge and skills development across the PPP value chain.

The three-day conference created the platform for practitioners of PPPs to engage with investors and countries that have successfully implemented the PPPs.

The three-day event was organized by C–Nergy Global Holdings, an investment advisory services firm in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance.

Dev’t plan must be slashed to 20yrs

Senior Economist of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) Dr. Christian Regobeth Ahortor has called on the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to reduce the much-talked-about 40-year development plan by half, in order to mitigate inevitable challenges the plan will go through.

In an interview with the B&FT, Dr. Ahortor enumerated some possible risks the plan is likely to suffer in the realms of the political, economic, environmental, technological and cultural — which will require significant changes in the plan in the future, and thereby posing a big threat to its sustainability.

“Political stability is one of the prerequisites for successful implementation of any long-term development plan. In a multi-party democracy like Ghana, political stability is just a necessary condition. The appropriate condition requires that all political parties must agree to the long-term plan. The plan’s implementation will be in jeopardy if one or more political parties that do not agree with the plan happen to form the ruling government.

2016 budget goes to parliament Nov. 17

The 2016 budget will be presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister Seth Terkper on November 17.

Parliament proposed the date to the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, Thursday.

For some economic analysts, one of the key areas to look forward to in the 2016 budget is government’s spending plan for next year’

That is whether there would be an expenditure increase to take care of election-related issues or there would be some significant cuts in line with the IMF programme aimed at fast-tracking measures already implemented to reduce the country’s rising public debt.

As at July this year, the public debt stood at 83 billion Ghana cedis, hence a sharp increase in the expenditure envelope might cause overruns again by the end of the year.

The development might lead to a potential tax hike to make up for the election-year overrun.

Osafo Marfo advocates cocoa deregulation

Former Finance Minister under the Kufuor administration Yaw Osafo Marfo is advocating a total deregulation of the cocoa sector in Ghana.

According to Yaw Osafo Marfo, private licensed buying companies must be allowed to export their products without going through the Ghana Cocoa Board.

Mr Osafo Marfo says Ghana’s cocoa sector will see tremendous growth if the private sector is allowed to maximize the opportunities in the external marketing of cocoa as pertains in Cote d’Ivoire.

He was speaking at the 2015 Ayisi and Associates Corporate Leadership Program, Business Colloquium on raising capital and corporate finance, the former minister said,” the problem with the cocoa sector is that the deregulation of the Ghana cocoa sector is incomplete, I tried to complete it but i didnt succeed.

“When it comes to the external marketing of cocoa, Ghana has refused to deregulate it, La Cote d’Ivoire it is deregulated. It means that you can be a local buying company, you be up to the level of you exporting. So you take a risk to benefit when the world market prices fluctuate”, he stressed.

MTN Nigeria future ‘uncertain’ amid $5.2bn fine

A decision by Nigerian authorities to impose a fine on MTN of more than 20% of its market value risks foreign investment in an economy struggling to cope with sliding oil prices, currency restrictions and no finance minister.

“The brazenness of Nigerian authorities to levy such a penalty is attracting attention,” Gareth Brickman, an Africa analyst at ETM Analytics NA LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said in an e-mailed note to clients . “Investor perceptions of Nigeria have been strained to say the least by policy makers’ management of the naira and the new administrations’ lack of progress on economic reform.”
Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator this week fined Johannesburg-based MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator, $5.2bn for failing to disconnect customers with unregistered SIM cards and having incomplete data, causing the shares to post their biggest three-day plunge in Johannesburg since 2008.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, where it had 62 million customers by September.

Traders complain about bad sales
A market survey conducted by GNA revealed that sales of commodities are not encouraging as compared to previous years.

At the Tema station market in Accra, the traders disclosed that goods are not being bought by consumers as a result of the economic hardship.

In an interview, Mr Kelvin Williams, a 43-year- old trader in second hand clothing said, his business is collapsing as a result of economic instability.

He explained that, duty placed on goods is huge hence the high prices of the clothing he sells.

He said, buyers do not pay the exact price for a dress when they make a purchase, while the hike in fuel price is also a part of the increased of prices on goods.

Mr Williams called on the government to reduce the duty on goods and fix the economy.

Nancy Frimpong, 39- year-old a yam seller and a mother of three said business has not been good since last year.

She said, a tuber of yam sells at GH? 5.00 but last year it was sold at three tubers for the same amount.

She said she makes GH? 150.00 in a day when business is good and GH? 80.00 in a day when market is bad.

Mr George Owusu, a shoe seller at the market said, he has been in the business for eight years however market has not been good since last year.

He disclosed that in a day, he doesn’t attract enough customers to make purchase because of the high prices of shoes.

MTN denies tax avoidance accusations

The MTN Group and the MTN Ghana have responded to recent accusations of shipping hundreds of millions of dollars out of poor African countries into tax havens while paying fewer taxes.

Investigations by a group of journalists across Africa revealed MTN Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda in particular, have been shipping part of their revenue before tax regularly to MTN Dubai supposedly to pay for management services and technology transfer.

But the moneys are often further shipped from Dubai to tax haven Mauritius (where MTN does not have a single staff) to avoid tax.

MTN Group and its operations in the respective countries did not deny shipping out moneys from poor countries but rationalized the shipment as legitimate payments for technology transfer and management fees, which were all agreed upon with the appropriate authorities in the respective countries.

Credit: BFT, Joy Online, Citi Online, Daily Guide

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Henry Cobblah

Henry Cobblah is a Tech Developer, Entrepreneur, and a Journalist. With over 15 Years of experience in the digital media industry, he writes for over 7 media agencies and shows up for TV and Radio discussions on Technology, Sports and Startup Discussions.

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