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Rainbow Radio - Items filtered by date: Thursday, 20 April 2017
The Ministry of Finance has issued a statement to rubbish the allegation by the Minority that, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta sold the ninety five percent of Ghana’s recent 2.25 billion dollar bond to friends and cronies. The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, claimed at a press conference on Tuesday that  a non-executive director on the board of investment firm, Franklin Templeton that purchased majority of the bonds is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group; a company closely aligned to the private interests of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. But the statement issued by the Public Affairs Department of the Ministry said: ‘’ The Ministry considers the statement as unfortunate especially as it was fronted by Cassiel Ato Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister, who knows very well the workings and processes for the issue of domestic bonds and as such, should not be making such baseless allegations.’’     Read the statement below: The attention of the Ministry of Finance has been drawn to a statement issued by the Minority in Parliament which seeks to cast negative aspersions on the GH9.7 billion ($2.25 billion) domestic bond issue of the government of Ghana. The Ministry considers the statement as unfortunate especially as it was fronted by Cassiel Ato Forson, a former Deputy Finance Minister, who knows very well the workings and processes for the issue of domestic bonds and as such, should not be making such baseless allegations. As such, the Ministry has no choice but to surmise that these allegations are maliciously designed to malign and negate the positive news and rave reviews this landmark transaction has garnered, both locally and internationally. 3. The Minority statement sets out three major claims which the Ministry will like to clear. (a) That the issuance was shrouded in secrecy to the extent that other investors were denied the opportunity to participate in the transaction. (b) The transaction was “cooked” to favor a particular investor (Franklin Templeton (FT)) just because a director of one of the funds FT manages, knows the Finance Minister; and (c) The transaction should have received Parliamentary approval because it technically should be considered to be a dollar-denominated sovereign bond issue due to the level of foreign investor participation and that, in the view of the Minority, it amounted to a private placement Response To the aforementioned claims, the Ministry responds as follows: The issuance was not shrouded in secrecy nor was it “cooked” for any particular investor.  The Bookrunners, (Barclays, Stanbic and SAS), on behalf of the Ministry of Finance have been mandated since 2015 to issue these domestic bonds on a regular basis as per the debt issuance calendar which Ministry of Finance (MoF) puts out every quarter. Also, the book runners announce and publish every impending bond issue to the market, the week of issue and provide price guidance to the market. This particular bond issue was no different and was done in conformity with the established process. It was announced by the Book Runners to the market on March 30, via email and same published on MoF and Bank of Ghana (BoG) websites with settlement on April 3. FT was not the only participant, there were over 25 other buyers including other foreign entities, who all brought in dollars to convert to cedis to buy the bonds. This bond issue, like all the others done prior could not have been designed to favour any single investor. The conventional processes for the issue of bonds using the book building approach were adhered to in this particular issuance. It is our understanding that the said investor engaged various market participants and other key institutions including the IMF before deciding to participate in the bonds. It is worth noting that local investors also participated. The said investor participated in the issuance in the manner they have always done since 2006 through their local Primary Dealer, Barclays Bank and their local custodians, Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic Bank. To have obtained preferential treatment, all the above-mentioned institutions would have had to conspire to do so, a situation which is unfathomable.  The investor in question, FT, has held Government of Ghana bonds of up to USD 2 Billion prior to this transaction. Indeed FT has been buying and investing in government bonds since 2006. This issuance, like all other domestic bonds issued under this bond program since 2015, did not require Parliamentary approval. Approval was given under the initial application to Parliament in the 2015 Budget Statement and Economic Policy document, to run such a bond issuance program. The Ministry of Finance has the mandate to fund the deficit as contained in the budget approved by Parliament through the issuance of debt instruments and to manage the countries debt stock Impact of this Transaction The issuance brought in significant amount of foreign currency, which was converted into cedis to purchase the bond, helping to strengthen the value of the Cedi and providing much-needed respite for the citizens of Ghana The transaction will also lengthen the maturity periods of government debts thereby reducing the short-term redemption and rollover pressures on government. The proceeds from the bond issue are to be used for liability management and for the re-profiling of our domestic debt stock by repaying more expensive short-term debt as it matures, as such, it shall not add to the total debt stock of the nation. This deal is a positive move in the current debt management strategy being pursued by the government and should be applauded. Conclusion The Ministry hereby informs the general public to disregard these allegations as they are unfounded and malicious and seek to undermine the credibility and integrity of your Government. (Signed) ISSUED BY THE PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT   MINISTRY OF FINANCE
Published in General News
The Volta Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa has described as unfortunate the renewed clashes between the Nkonyas and Alavanyos yesterday [Wednesday]. Two people are dead and several others injured following renewed clashes between Nkonyas and their age-old rivals, the Alavanyos. Commenting on the incident on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the regional minister said, ‘’it was so unfortunate that such an incident should occur again in the area because the last incident was in January where a life was lost in Alavanyo. And we made every effort to get to the communities to educate them on the importance of maintaining peace and order. And they were quiet cooperative and with  assistance from the regional police council.’’ He said, everything has been going on very well until 3 persons tapping palm wine were attacked, two killed and one currently hospitalized yesterday [Wednesday]. The minister told Rainbow Radio that, calm has been restored but ‘’there is seemingly tension we have to control…’’ He said, this is a case of murder and so we will have to investigate and bring the offenders to book. He appealed for calm among the two groups since law and order has been restored. Dr. Letsa stressed the need for residents to maintain peace since it will be impossible to develop the region with a divided front.   ‘’The government will commit all resources to find a lasting solution to this problem,’’ he assured.
Published in General News
President Akufo-Addo has given the hint that the Ahafo region will be created in 18 months. The president said, “the time for the creation of the Ahafo region is due. I promise you that within the next 18 months, the opportunity is going to be given for you to have the Ahafo region.”   The president gave the hint when he visited the Acherensua Senior High School in the Brong Ahafo Region, as part of his two-day tour of the region.   He also called on the chiefs and residents to continue supporting the New Patriotic Party (NPP) so it delivers on its campaign promises.   “The task ahead of us is an arduous one. We inherited a very bad economy. Nonetheless, and with God’s guidance, we are beginning to turn things around and we are confident that we will succeed. “This is why from September 2017, the Free SHS policy, which was a major campaign pledge, will commence, beginning from those who qualify for entry in the 2017/2018 academic year.’’ President Akufo-Addo assured authorities and students of the school that the Ministry of Education will address their concerns – the construction of a dormitory block and an ICT lab for the school.   “The rehabilitation of your science laboratory is one that is dear to my heart, and I will pay a lot of attention to. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics education is one we have to pay much attention to if we are to succeed in this country,” he said.
Published in General News
Chief Technical advisor at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Asante Krobea has reiterated that the flagship agricultural programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ launched by President Akufo-Addo yesterday [Wednesday] will not fail but inure to the benefits of every Ghanaian.   Speaking to Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said a total of 100,000 out of the 200, 000 farmers expected for the pilot have been selected.   He added, ‘’we are in the implementation stage now.’’   Mr. Asante indicated, it is our expectation that the remaining 100,000 would soon be registered for the project.   The programme, is expected to modernize agriculture, improve production, achieve food security and make Ghana more self-sufficient, whilst creating jobs for the youth.   Launching the programme yesterday, the president said, the policy “is anchored on the pillars that will transform Ghana’s agriculture; the provision of improved seeds, the supply of fertilizers, the provision of dedicated extension services and marketing strategy. The initiative is expected to increase the production of maize by 30%, rice by 49%, soybean by 25% and sorghum by 28% for current production levels.   Government he explained will roll out policies to help develop the sector.   This government is committed and will do all possible to modernize agriculture, improve production efficiency, achieve food security, and profitability for farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and so, it is not a misplaced priority to invest heavily in it. Investing heavily in agriculture will ensure food security and job creation, he stressed.   The Planting for Food and Jobs is expected to be rolled out in all 216 districts across the country, and will involve the supply of farm resources such as high yielding and improved seedlings to participating farmers.   The programme, according to the government, would also motivate farmers to grow staple foods such as maize, millet, and beans. Interested farmers are to be provided with free seedlings among other agricultural inputs and agro-chemicals such as fertilizer at reduced prices. It is expected to create 750,000 jobs especially the youth.       
Published in General News
The President of the Ghana Golf Association (GGA) Mike Aggrey has said the 2017 Youth Golf Championship would be a platform to select the best five (5) to form the national youth team.   He said just like the top golfer for the championship produced a representative for the country last year, they are optimistic that this year will not be an exception.   The event is scheduled to take place at Nsuta on April 22, 2017 and in answering why that location, Mr. Aggrey said,'' the choice of Nsuta was strategic and the youth tournament in the Western Region is well developed and ''we felt that we should take it to them so they can participate in their numbers.   He expressed strong optimism that another event could be organized because ‘’we have made preparations for another one which is likely to be staged in Accra.’’   He revealed, about 47 youth golfers with good handicap  are expected to participate in the one day 18 hole event. ‘’This is not just any 47 youth gofers as use to witness in Ashanti Hemaa’s Ecobank event but players with appreciable handicaps.  It is a handicap tournament and expected to be a keenly contested game and it must involves such caliber. The charismatic golf buff, who has youth golf development dear to his heart since he took over the presidency of the association also hinted that, his outfit will also organised flagship championships like head of state invitational in June, Ghana Masters open in July, Ghana open in September, Seniors open in November and Ghana Golf awards will be in first week in December 2017.   In throwing more light into first ever Ghana Masters open championship sated for July, he explained, everyone who won any tournament including monthly medals and a runner-up, is qualified to play the masters.
Published in Sports
Businessman Ibrahim Mahama was ordered by the Economic and Organised Crime (EOCO) to deposit his passport with the state investigative body. This came after he was invited by EOCO to answer questions over some dud cheques he issued to the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the Tema Port to clear some heavy duty equipment he had imported. Commenting on the development, a financial consultant, Mr. Korankye Antwi explained that, issuance of a dud cheque could be deliberate or an oversight. He said, such an action is a criminal offence and comes with sanctions including a 10 percent charge on the amount.   He noted, if it is indeed true that, the businessman issued a total of 44 dud cheques in 2016, then it raises a lot of serious questions and `quizzed why the GRA failed to take action. He stressed, it is a criminal offence to even issue one dud cheque and so if it is true that he [Ibrahim Mahama] issued 44 dud cheques in 2016, then the GRA must be questioned why they failed to act. Lawyer Maurice Ampaw, a private legal practitioner was also emphatic that, a criminal offence should not be covered up irrespective of the person involved. He said, Ibrahim Mahama should be charged for deceiving a public officer. According to him, this case should not be treated out of court. ‘’Nana Addo and the NPP should not treat Ibrahim Mahama with kid gloves. Ghanaians will punish them dearly if they fail to punish Ibrahim Mahama for issuing a dud cheque.’’ He further called on the NDC to allow due process to be followed in this case to ensure that, Ibrahim Mahama is punished. He also charged the judiciary to learn from the criticism pounced on them by the NDC following the case involving the Delta Force and deal with this case holistically. ‘’The law is no respecter of person. The NPP must deal with the case without fear or favour…The people are calling for accountability. The people are calling for corrupt officials to be punished. We should not go in for a settlement because this is a criminal offence. Crime has no political colour and the one who committed that crime, must be punished,’’ he added.    
Published in General News
A 5 year-old boy, Kwame Frimpong who lives with his parents at Prestea Mankessem in the Western Region attempted poisoning his 6 months old brother, Kingsford. Narrating the incident to Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Abrewa Nana an eyewitness said, the 5 year-old boy acted out jealousy. According to him, the parents used to pamper him until they gave birth to his junior brother. He said, ''the boy attempted poisoning his 6 month old brother but was caught in the act. He acted out of jealousy. The parents used to pamper him until they had their second child and so, he [Frimpong] became jealous and decided to poison his brother.'' The parents took him to the police station but were advised to seek psychiatric treatment but reports showed there was nothing wrong with the boy.   They were further asked to seek spiritual assistance and the pastor recommended that, they should continue pampering him like they used to do before delivering their second child.
Published in Regional
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Swedru constituency, Kennedy Osei Nyarko has slammed the Minority in Parliament for making unfounded allegation against the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. He also chastised the Minority for intensifying their propaganda in opposition barely a year after losing the 2016 general elections. The Minority in Parliament has alleged that, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta sold the ninety five percent of Ghana’s recent 2.25 billion dollar bond to friends and cronies. They have therefore called for a full scale investigation into the case since they believe it smells. The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, claimed at a press conference on Tuesday that  a non-executive director on the board of investment firm, Franklin Templeton that purchased majority of the bonds is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group; a company closely aligned to the private interests of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. But the MP on the Majority’s side speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the allegations are untrue and has called on the public to treat it with contempt. He said, the Minority members are bitter because the NPP has been able to do due diligence in issuing the bonds unlike the previous government who  exhibited incompetence in the discharge of their duties. He added, the company in question does not  belong to the Minister is not doing business with Ghana for the first time and has done similar transactions with the NDC. Government on Monday April 3, 2017, announced it was successful in the auction of a total of 2.25 billion dollars in four bonds.   The first two bonds, totaling 1.13 billion dollars, was issued at 15 and 7 years period with the same coupon of 19.75%. In addition, the Ministry of Finance raised the cedi equivalent of USD1.12 billion in 5 and 10 year bonds via a tap-in arrangement. 
Published in General News
Thursday, 20 April 2017 08:26

Ghanaian engineers take charge of Ghana Gas

Local engineers at the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) have finally taken over technical operations of the country’s premier natural gas processing plant at Atuabo in the Western Region.   Consequently, the company has dispensed with the services of expatriate engineers and Sinopec, a Chinese company, which had been in charge of operations of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant (GPP) since November 2014.   During a tour of the plant yesterday, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Gas, Dr Ben Asante, said the indigenisation of the company’s operations had saved it more than $2 million monthly or $24 million annually.   The money was used to pay for the monthly operations and management consultancy services rendered by Sinopec to Ghana Gas.    Takeover   The takeover of the technical operations of Ghana Gas followed a major decision by the management not to renew the contract for operations and management consultancy services of Sinopec after it expired recently.   Dr Asante said local engineers at the company had gained substantially from the experiences and knowledge of the work processes at the plant and exhibited their capacity to manage the technical operations of the company.   “That is why we’ve been running this plant over the past four weeks without the expatriates and without unusual challenge. In some jurisdictions, such as Trinidad and Tobago and even Nigeria, facilities such as these have been in the hands of expatriates for decades, but we have developed these skills within these few years after the inception of the company in 2011,” he said.   He said after the processing plant was commissioned into service, the management made a conscious effort to attract, train and retain Ghanaians to take over the running of the plant to give meaning to the indigenisation of the industry.   Ghanaian ownership   The acting CEO said the move to deploy Ghanaian expertise in the operations of the facility was to ensure a true Ghanaian ownership of the country’s first indigenous gas processing plant.   From the inception, he said, Ghanaians went through the commissioning process, comprising the integrated application of a set of engineering techniques and procedures to check, inspect and test every operational component of the project.   Dr Asante said from individual functions, such as instrument and equipment, up to complex amalgamations such as modules, sub-systems and systems, Ghanaians had the hands to deliver on promise.     Ghana Gas, he said, placed premium on safety and continued staff development to harness local talent, fully aware of the importance of energy sufficiency to the transformation of the national economy.   Reliability   He said the intermittent cuts in operation due to mandated, planned maintenance after every 4,000 hours of operation had been eliminated with the installation of a second overhead compressor.   The installation of the second compressor has ensured uninterrupted operation, such that when it is time to carry out planned maintenance, the plant switches to the standby compressor and carries on without notice of planned shutdown for planned maintenance.   Dr Asante commended the chiefs and the people of Nzemamaanle and the Western Region for the support they had given to him in his effort to enhance the operations of Ghana Gas. Source: Daily Graphic          
Published in Business
Two people believed to be Nkonyas are reported dead in renewed clashes between them and their age-old rivals, the Alavanyos.   It remains unclear what triggered the attack but police say gunshots were fired from the Alavanyo side. The Kpando Divisional Police Commander Superintendent Prosper Ahlijah in an interview with Accra based Joy Fm said:  “two people were shot dead and two injured at Nkonya Ahenkro around 7 to 8’Oclock in the evening. It was an attack from the Alavanyos”   Asked to confirm if the attack came from the Alavanyos, Supt. Ahlijah said: “The soldiers on the ground, they were monitoring events because the attack was coming from that direction.”
Published in Regional
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