Business – Obuoba Fm Agye Bebia!!! Mon, 27 Jul 2020 09:14:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Reduction in ‘Talk tax’ to take effect in September 2020 – Akufo-Addo Mon, 27 Jul 2020 09:14:40 +0000 The government says the implementation of the new rate for the Communication Service Tax also known as talk tax is to begin effective September 2020.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during the presentation of the 2020 mid-year budget review announced that the talk tax has been reduced from 9 percent to 5 percent.

“In the short term, we will reduce the CST from 9% to 5% to reduce the cost of communication services to the consumer as more and more people work remotely and utilize online services. We will count on the Telcos to match this reduction in the CST by reducing their tariffs. This is important for our youth, entrepreneurs, and the burgeoning FINTEC industry,” he said.

Addressing Ghanaians on Sunday, July 26, 2020, to reiterate plans taken by the government to cushion Ghanaians from the impact of COVID-19,  Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that the move will be rolled out in September.

“The Communication Service Tax has also been reduced from 9 per cent to 5 per cent, effective September 2020.”

Communication Service Tax and its journey so far

The Akufo-Addo government in 2019 increased the communication service tax from 6% to 9% over what it says was to create a viable technology ecosystem in the country.

Following the implementation of the CST, the Communications Ministry accused the mobile telecommunications companies of milking consumers over their upfront charging of the tax.

The Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful at the time also demanded that all unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers to be immediately rolled over upon the next recharge.

Others rather accused the Ministry of Communication of extortion in the directive to telcos to cease the instant deduction of the Communications Service Tax (CST).

The Telcos were subsequently directed to stop the upfront deduction of the tax.

The tax which was introduced in 2008 is charged on the use of communication services in the country including voice calls.

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Reduce transport fares now – COPEC to trotros, taxis Mon, 27 Jul 2020 08:58:38 +0000 The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC) has called on commercial drivers to immediately reduce transport fares due to the President’s decision to lift the restriction placed on commercial vehicles in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Akufo-Addo announced on Sunday that commercial buses and taxis are to load at full capacity.

In his 14th Covid-19 update to the nation, the President, however, noted that safety protocol must still be observed by passengers.

“In consultation with the Ministries of Transport and Aviation and the leadership of transport operators, Government has taken the decision to lift the restrictions in the transport sector, and allow for full capacity in our domestic airplanes, taxis, trotros and buses.”

In a statement, COPEC explained that the President’s directive means revenue which was being lost by the commercial drivers will be restored hence the need to reduce transport fares.

“What this directive means is that every revenue that until date has been losing per trip by the commercial transport operators before the announcement during the period and for which commuters have recently been forced to cough up additional 15-30% transport fare increases is now restored in favour of our commercial transport operators and thus the recent increases of between 15-30% must and should be reversed forthwith.”

COPEC added “We are, by this statement calling on some of our major stakeholders in the transport sector including the GPRTU, Concerned Drivers Association, Committed Drivers Association and the Ghana Road Transport Cordinating Council to immediately without fail, ensure that transport fares are reversed by close of day tommorow, not only to previous rates but a further 5% reduction possibly on the previous rates before these recent increases since fuel price variance as at this point remains positive by at least a further 12% from the pre covid-19 lockdown period.”

Below is the full statement by COPEC


The President of the Republic in his 14th Covid-19 address to the nation on Sunday has among other things issued new directives for the commercial transport operators to forthwith pick the normal number of passengers as before the lockdown and the accompanying social distancing restrictions.

What this directive means is that every revenue that until date has been losing per trip by the commercial transport operators before the announcement during the period and for which commuters have recently been forced to cough up additional 15-30% transport fare increases is now restored in favour of our commercial transport operators and thus the recent increases of between 15-30% must and should be reversed forthwith.

The Chamber takes cognisance of the fact that the period prior to the covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions had fuel prices trading at ghc5.650/litre but due to a global fall in demand and its attendant effects on pricing, fuel prices dropped by over 30% to below Ghc3.890/litre and has in recent times gone up marginally by a cumulative average of 16% to currently average 4.80/litre at the pumps.

The above thus renders any possible argument on the part of transport operators for stay of current transport fares at this point, citing the marginal fuel price increases as an excuse ostensibly to deny Ghanaian commuters the deserved reductions in transport fares moot since the fuel price variance before and after the lockdown period remains a distant 10%+ positive to the commercial transport operators at this point.

We are, by this statement calling on some of our major stakeholders in the transport sector including the GPRTU, Concerned Drivers Association, Committed Drivers Association and the Ghana Road Transport Cordinating Council to immediately without fail, ensure that transport fares are reversed by close of day tommorow, not only to previous rates but a further 5% reduction possibly on the previous rates before these recent increases since fuel price variance as at this point remains positive by at least a further 12% from the pre covid-19 lockdown period.


Duncan Amoah
Executive Secretary.

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Some banks were collapsed out of hatred, jealousy – Adom-Otchere Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:52:40 +0000 The host of Metro TV’s flagship current affairs programme, Good Evening Ghana, Paul Adom-Otchere, is claiming that the Bank of Ghana deliberately collapsed some indigenous banks.

According to him, the act was purely executed out of envy and hatred.

“It is motivated by jealousy. It is motivated by hatred. It is not motivated by law. No. It is motivated by a personal desire to see another Ghanaian who is succeeding fail and we have to change that in this country,” he passionately stated on his live TV show, Good Evening Ghana.

Mr. Adom-Othcere’s comment follows what he describes as a deliberate action targeting businesses belonging to competitors of the ruling class.

Justifying his proposition, with reference to similar actions involving the confiscation and subsequent collapse of Tata Brewery owned by Mr. Joshua Kwame Siaw, an industrialist and a philanthropist, under the leadership of then Head of State, Flt Lt Jerry Rawling during the revolution days, Mr Adom-Otchere, who is also a lawyer said: “Yes, we should not punish them because they are indigenous companies, grown to a certain level, so if the company does something wrong we should not punish them but does it mean we should not punish anybody? No! We certainly should not punish the company/companies that employ thousands”.

His rant is in reaction to similar assertions by Archbishop Duncan Williams, General Overseer of the Action Faith Chapel International, last year who contended that successive Ghanaian government have gone after local businesses in an attempt to bring them down in favour of foreign interests.

“We have to change that in the country. The new generation thirty (30) years and above listening to me. You must have a different mindset that this kind of evil will not be part of your story when you become a leader four, five years from now. this kind of story where Ghanaians go against themselves because of personal hatred for a man or a woman, they have to pull down his company and by the time they look around there is no single Ghanaian company,” he emphasized.

Mr Adom-Otchere in his commentary argued businesses were targeted because governments involved feared the owners are too strong to take them out of power.

“That was the reason as we have read in the books that the military junta at the time was worried that the confiscated businesses which were later left to collapse will become too strong to take the regime out… We are still doing it and that’s why the Archbishop is complaining,” he explained.
These suspicions are still rife and a large section of the public is keenly following Court proceedings on two separate cases involving former Finance Minister and Central Bank Governor, Dr Kwabena Duffuor and Business mogul, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom

Another respected journalist, Kwaku Baako Jnr has also condemned the collapse of the local banks in a recent media appearance.

“I have said it a couple of times that without the backing of science, meaning which is of evidential value, but rather you [BoG] took a sentimental action without any evidence”, Kweku Baako said on Accra-based Peace FM’s morning show Kokrokoo.
“I felt for the three banks: Nduom’s bank [GN Bank], Heritage Bank that belongs to that young man, Seidu Agongo (because of his extension into radio we met a couple of times in 2014 and 2015) and Dr Duffuor’s bank [uniBank]”, he said.

In reference to Mr Agongo, Kweku Baako said: “He is a young man and I appreciated him and I want to see a young man like him who does great things”, adding: “It was painful his bank went down”.

“The same with uniBank”, he said.

“I will tell [you] honestly; Dr Duffuor is a personal friend but the action taken against the banks was not right”, he added.

Kweku Baako is not the first to have spoken against the collapse of Heritage Bank, in particular.

In September 2019, the founder and CEO of the now-defunct UT Bank, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng, also described as unfair and unfortunate, the revocation of the licence of Heritage Bank, whose founder has always argued that the bank was collapsed despite its books being above board.

Asked directly by Accra-based TV3’s Paa Kwesi Asare in an interview on Business Focus: ‘Do you think, as many think, that some of the decisions to close down certain banks was politically motivated?’, Mr Amoabeng answered thus: “A few of them, specifically Heritage Bank”.

“I don’t understand the issue because the Chairman of the Board is Dr Kwesi Botchwey. I have a lot of respect for him when it comes to finance in this country and managing Boards and he will not, in my estimation, ever accept to be Chairman of a bank that is not right and dealing in all sorts of things.

“I can say that for him, so, I find it extremely odd that a bank – and it had not started doing business for it to have bad loans and all those things – and for you to say that the owner didn’t have what it takes or however they put it, I mean the owner doesn’t run the bank, he’s a Ghanaian, he’s got money, he’s appointed the right people to run the bank for him, so, what is the excuse.

“I find that extremely, extremely unfair”, Mr Amoabeng asserted, adding: “Maybe I don’t have all the facts, but from where I stand, I find it really unfortunate”.

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Mid-year budget review was ‘very empty’ – Ato Forson Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:47:36 +0000 The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, is not enthused with the mid-year budget review presented by the Minister of Finance on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Ato Forson said he expected the government a better breakdown of all expenses incurred with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Citi News, Ato Forson described the mid-year budget review as unacceptable. He insisted that the government said nothing that could satisfy the ordinary Ghanaian.

“I am disappointed as a Ghanaian and I am disappointed in the Akufo-Addo government. I say this because the mid-year review that was presented to us was very empty. There was nothing in it for the ordinary Ghanaian for us to be happy about. Rather, we are receiving some major shocks to the extent that we are hearing for the first time that government has spent or intends to spend GH¢11.1 billion on coronavirus expenditure alone without giving us breakdown of what the money has been used for.”

“This is sad and unacceptable. We thought the Minister would use this golden opportunity to provide us with some breakdown of what the money has been used for. Unfortunately, it is all Bible quotations and nothing in the budget,” he added.

Cassiel Ato Forson further accused the government of moving past delivering an “empty” budget review to making manifesto promises.

He remarked, “Clearly, from what we are seeing, this government must go. You cannot as a government come into office with a public debt amounting to about GH¢120 billion and increase it to GH¢280 billion with very little to show. Yet, you have had resources in excess of GH¢300 billion in your disposal and yet they could not tell us anything.”

“What surprises me is that the Minister responsible for finance has said that the President is coming to inaugurate a new program on the coronavirus alleviation. Apparently, if you are to look at paragraph 412 of his review, this program will actually start from 2021 to 2023. So clearly, this is not the time to announce this. It is a manifesto pledge,” he exclaimed.

Budget review

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presented the mid-year budget review to Parliament on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

The presentation highlighted the government’s plan on how the country is to recover from the shocks of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, Parliament approved the government’s request to withdraw an amount of GH¢1.2 billion from the contingency fund to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP).

Mr. Ofori-Atta made another request before the House for a supplementary budget of GH¢11. 8 billion to support government’s expenditure for the rest of the year 2020.

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Ofori-Atta presents mid-year budget review today Thu, 23 Jul 2020 09:46:57 +0000 Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta will appear before Parliament today, Thursday, July 23, to present the mid-year review of the 2020 financial policy of government.

Obviously, the policy presented on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Mr Ofori-Atta in the House has been thrown off-track as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

He is expected to seek a supplementary budget geared towards a quick economic recovery.

Experts have advocated the need to stay within expenditure as losses have already been incurred due to the pandemic.

Speaking on News 360 on Wednesday, the Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Professor Peter Quartey, said the country needs “to cut our coat according to our size” so that no unattainable targets will be set.

He said he does not expect the gross domestic product (GDP) target to go beyond 8 per cent.

The Finance Minister has been widely reported to outline some innovative measures in order to get the economy back on track after the turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

He is expected to announce stimulus packages for some key sectors of the economy.

This year’s mid-year review will take a different turn as not all 275 members of Parliament would be in the chamber to listen in.

Speaker Reverend Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has directed that as per strict adherence to safety protocols as a result of Covid-19, members will not sit close to each other.

They will also not sit according to their names, which means there will be no sides – Minority or Majority.

There will be an empty seat between members present with those who don’t get accommodated in the main chamber to be made to observe proceedings from the public gallery.

As a result of this, the public will not be allowed to witness the presentation from the House.

All including MPs who don’t get access to the main chamber or public gallery have been urged to monitor on tube.


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Let’s build consensus on new automotive industry policy – Akufo-Addo to dealers Wed, 22 Jul 2020 10:07:18 +0000 President Akufo-Addo has made a passionate appeal to the leadership and members of the Vehicle and Assets Dealers Union of Ghana (VADUG), to partner with government as it takes concrete steps to improve the automotive industry of the country.

The President made the appeal when he addressed a delegation of the Union at the Jubilee House when they paid a courtesy call on him at his invitation.

President Akufo-Addo in his address said that he received word of bickering amongst members of the Union and its affliates over some provisions of the new Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy (GAMDP) of Government. The President noted that it was for this reason, he decided to meet with them to find a common ground on the matter.

“I heard the wranglings that are taking place on your side and I thought it would be a good idea for us to meet for me to get a first-hand idea of what the issues were,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Ahead of the President’s suggestion to the Union, the General Secretary, of VADUG, Joshua Opoku-Agyemang, in a statement read on behalf of his fellow union members, noted that there is the need to introduce some amendments to the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Policy if the businesses of members of the union is to be sustained and also if jobs in the automotive industry value chain such as : clearing agents, tow vehicle owners and drivers, key programmers, straighteners, sprayers, spare parts dealers, mechanics, electricians, auto air-condition technicians, sales agents, security men, washers, among others are to be protected across the country.

*Proposed Amendments*

The Union, as industry stakeholders, requested that firstly, section 151 of ACT 891(2020) be amended to redefine salvaged vehicles. The Union noted that there are two categories in salvaged titled vehicles;
a.Non-Repairable/Junk Titled Vehicles: These are ones severely damaged and non-operable with no resale value other than its parts which are normally sold to licensed dismantlers and scrappers and,
b. Repairable, repossessed, re-buildable, recoverable and legally exportable vehicles.

“These vehicles are mainly sold to licensed dealers within the jurisdiction, exporters, rebuilders and other licensed automobile businesses across the globe with buyers from UAE, Europe , Africa , Middle East. But unfortunately, vehicles with the mentioned conditions above are all referred to as wrecked or destroyed and banned under the blanket term salvage as per the current passed Customs Bill, 2020, Act 891,” Opoku-Agyemang noted.

Additionally, the Union, according to its General Secretary, is also seeking to amend section 58 of the passed Act, to allow the importation of repairable, re-buildable, recoverable and legally exportable salvage vehicles.

“This is because those are the products VADUG and its affiliates deal in nationwide,” the VADUG General Secretary Opoku-Agyemang echoed.

*Vehicle Importation Age*

The Union further proposed that government should consider discouraging the importation of vehicles older than 15 years of age with increased import duties, instead of banning outrightly motor vehicles over 10 years of age.

“This is because some of these vehicles come in well maintained with good mileages. VADUG believes that with strict and well resourced regulatory bodies in place coupled with considerable good roads, these vehicles would be in the position to serve our targeted consumer market,” the VADUG General Secretary stated.

*Call for Agreement*

President Akufo-Addo in his remarks after the submissions of the Union said he does not think the matters that have been put forth by VADUG are so extreme from what government is trying to do such that, a middle ground cannot be found. He proposed that as early as Monday, the 27th of July 2020, officials from the Presidency together with the Trade Ministry will meet with the Union to find the way forward on their grievances.

“On the basis of what emerges from the dialogue, we can then approach the process of legislation,” President Akufo-Addo intimated.

*Lesson From COVID-19*

President Akufo-Addo, noted in his address that the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, has taught the world a lesson which is the need to take steps to be independent and self-sufficient.

“This pandemic has come. It has opened the eyes of the world to the fact that every country that wants to work well has to create a paradigm for itself of self-dependancy and self-sufficiency. It is key,” President Akufo-Addo said.

*Appeal to VADUG*

President Akufo-Addo indicated that like all other, sectors of the Ghanaian economy, VADUG, is going to have to adjust this thinking and business model to transform itself to be part of the home based localized automotive industry which is currently developing in the country.

“That was always a major objective to create a new paradigm where people like you, would fit in,” President Akufo-Addo stated.

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Mid-year review: Covid-19 funds won’t be accounted for – Fin. C’ttee Chair Wed, 22 Jul 2020 10:01:33 +0000 Chairman for the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah has rejected demands for Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to render accounts of all funds approved for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minority and Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper have asked for Mr. Ofori-Atta to account in detail the use the over 16 billion cedis granted to government to fill the fiscal gap created as a result of the pandemic has been put to.

They ground their demand in the Public Finance Management Act.

But speaking to the media, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah argued the demands of accountability are untenable.

According to the New Juaben South MP accountability of public funds rest with the Auditor General and not Parliament through a mid-year budget review.

But Kumbungu MP Ras Mubarak disagreed.

He holds the view that the Minister must at least account for withdrawals from the contingency fund as he promised during the approval.

Ras, alleged that the claim the Auditor General is the only person to audit the Covid-19 funds informed President Akufo Addo’s decision to sack Mr. Domelevo who has been asked to proceed on leave.

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38 FDA workers recover from coronavirus Mon, 13 Jul 2020 09:40:54 +0000 38 staff of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) have recovered from the novel coronavirus after 39 of them tested positive for the virus.

Although it is unclear at what point in time the FDA staff tested positive for the virus, the authority said the last person is currently responding to treatment.

This information was contained in a press statement issued by the FDA.

The authority indicated that a total of 450 staff at its head office, Tema office, KIA office and its laboratory were tested for the virus as part of measures to check the spread of the pandemic.

“As part of measures to combat the pandemic, the FDA organized mandatory testing for a total of 450 staff (Including the CEO and all top management) from its head office, Tema Office, KIA office and the Laboratory, out of which 39 tested positive.”

The statement indicated that all 39 staff who tested positive were asked to go into self-quarantine while those who had been in close contact with them were also asked to do same.

The FDA assured the general public of commitment to its mandate while ensuring the safety of its workers and customers.

“The general public is assured that despite this unfortunate development, the FDA shall continue to effectively execute its mandate as a regulatory agency to register and enforce the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of safe and quality products.”

“The FDA still holds fast to our motto which says that “Your wellbeing, our priority” and as such has from the very inception of this pandemic created an in-house COVID-19 committee tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of FDA staff as well as its clients nationwide, with respect to measures put in place for the prevention and protection against COVID-19,” the statement added.

Find the full details of the press release below:

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