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Aug 22, 2018
The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has approved a proposal by Sahel Sahara Bank and Omni Bank to consolidate their operations into one entity to help meet the new minimum capital requirement of GH¢400 million. The approval was communicated to the two banks on August 14, paving the way for the board and management of Sahel Sahara Bank and Omni Bank to announce their merger deal later this month. Some sources told the paper that the boards of the two banks had been locked in meetings to finalise the plan and allow for actual integration of their respective operations to start. While Omni Bank is owned by Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong and his wife, Mrs Agyepong, Sahel Sahara Bank is owned by 13 Sahelian countries and has been operating in the country since March 2009. Reason for merger The consolidation of the two banks is to create a stronger bank that can meet the BoG’s new minimum capital demand of GH¢400 million by December this year. While the merger could lead to rationalisation, it is estimated that a successful consummation of the deal could create a larger bank with almost 1,000 employees on its payroll and 46 branches servicing customers in seven regions nationwide. The total assets of the new bank could also be in excess of GH¢1.3 billion, while stated capital would be around GH¢213 million – still below the central bank’s new minimum capital of GH¢400 million. While the Omni Bank’s stated capital was reported at GH¢141.6 million, that of the Sahel Sahara Bank closed the year at GH¢71.6 million. In spite of their differences in ownership, both the Sahel Sahara and Omni banks are relatively small, with their 2017 financial accounts showing that they have virtually the same balance sheets. This makes them a perfect match in a merger deal. What next? An investment banker and Chief Executive Officer of C-NERGY, Mr Michael Cobblah, said in an interview that the approval by the regulator set the stage for actual implementation of the merger proposal submitted to the central bank. Mr Cobblah, who led the team to integrate the defunct The Trust Bank (TTB) into Ecobank in 2011, said a reconstituted board, a defector managing director and name for the new bank were part of the things contained in the proposal that the BoG had approved. As a result, he said the new management would now set out to “harmonise the operations of the two banks such that customers of both sides could access services. “They will also rationalise their branches such that if both banks have branches in close proximity, they can decide which branch should go and which one should stay,” he added. Capital hunt Mr Cobblah added that a merger of that nature would require a minimum of six months to finalise. He, however, advised the two banks to fast-track the process to allow the new board and management to explore ways of raising the additional funds needed to recapitalise to GH¢400 million by December this year. It is understood that the new entity will consider applying for the government’s proposed financial support to solvent banks in need of capital to recapitalise. Meanwhile, a retired Deputy Governor of the BoG, Mr Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, has wondered why the BoG will approve a merger which will not resolve the recapitalisation hurdle. “Why will two banks merge and still not meet the minimum capital?” he asked in an earlier interview. “If they cannot meet, then they must as well go their separate ways because the idea is to make a stronger bank out of the two. But if you are going to merge and still not meet some key requirements, then there is absolutely no justification for a merger,” he said in the August 13 interview. A source, however, told the paper in confidence that the two sides had agreed to use a third party investor through preference shares to help increase the capital to the required amount before December this year. The plan for capital restoration was part of the strategies presented to the BoG, the source said. Past deals Since 2010, about six acquisitions have occurred in the banking sector, with the most recent being the takeover of the HFC Bank by the Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Before that the following acquisitions had taken place: Bank of Africa and Amalgamated Bank, Ecobank Ghana and TTB, Access Bank and Intercontinental Bank, First Bank of Nigeria and International Commercial Bank and Fortis and Merchant Bank, which gave birth to today’s Universal Merchant Bank (UMB). Source: Graphic Business
Aug 22, 2018
Ghana Golf Federation has launched The All African Challenge Trophy Championship at Achimota Golf Park yesterday [Wednesday]. This would be the first time Ghana will play host to the 14th edition of the ALL AFRICA CHALLENGE TROPHY CHAMPIONSHIP at the Achimota Golf Club. The all ladies Golf Championship which is held every two years will come off from August 26th to 31st, 2018. The Championship will continue with the Ghana ladies open from the 2nd to 4th September 2018 at the newly designed PGA rated Achimota Golf Club. Ghana won the bid to host the event at the last gathering in 2016 in Tunisia where Burkina Faso, Botswana, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Togo, Gabon, Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Morocco, Uganda, Cote d'Ivoire, Tunisia and Zambia participated. Mr.Mike Aggrey, who is the federation president speaking to Nhyiraba Kwabena Asirifi on Rainbow sports revealed that eighteen (18) countries will participate in the championship with three people from each country making a total of 54 ladies at this year championship. Mr Aggrey further indicated the aim of this championship is to get a strong following. ‘’Some people think golf is for the rich,famous and the old; but that is a negative perception.’’ The championship he explained was borne out from the world amatuer championship. He disclosed South Africa remains a threat to Ghana because they have won the championship before but team Ghana is prepared adequately for the championship, he assured. The federation president confidently said, the championship is a unique gathering of women from all walks of life which offers great opportunities for networking among others.’’ He added, ‘’the championship has promoted tourism in host countries and established strong ties among lady golfers in Africa. In May 1992 Ghana was invited together with 12 other African Countries to send a team to the 1st All Africa Challenge Trophy (AACT), which later became a biennial golf Championship. This prestigious golf tournament for ladies in Africa was held at the Chapman Golf Club in Harare, Zimbabwe. Because there was no Ladies Golf Union at that time, Achimota Golf Club Ladies Section decided to honour the invitation by sending a team. The team comprised late Mrs Letitia Omaboe as team captain, and three players namely Mrs Esther Amedzro, Ms. Rita Dzubey and Mrs Suzie Abaloo Kumassah. Since the 1st All Africa Challenge Trophy, Ghana has continued to participate in every edition of the ‘ALL AFRICA CHALLENGE TROPHY CHAMPIONSHIP’ to date. By: Isaac Mortey (Intern, Rainbow Radio)
Aug 22, 2018
Economist and Risk Analyst, Dr Francis Atsu has posited that, plans by government to prosecute persons who caused the collapse of some local banks in the country is only an exercise meant to deceive Ghanaians. Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the economist said, nothing positive would come out from the issue and all those who have caused the mess would go unpunished. The decision by government to inject GHc5.6 million into the consolidation of the collapsed banks should have been given a parliamentary approval, he opined. Dr Atsu said, the unilateral decision by government was not the best adding, the people representatives should have approved of it since they represent Ghanaians from all the 275 constituencies. Explaining why he said the investigations being conducted would amount to nothing, he asked, ‘’have you witnessed the prosecution and jailing of corrupt people in the country before? Information Minister designate, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has said that the government was fully committed to going full throttle to clean up the sector once and for all. Addressing a press conference yesterday [Wednesday], he said, “The challenges in the sector come in various forms — there are those who have their own challenges with the normal recoveries and there are those who literally went in to dip their hands into depositors’ money — and so for those who have been found culpable, sanctions will be brought to bear.'' “These objectives are being achieved simultaneously and it is being done in strict compliance with the legal and international best practices that are known to us,” he added. But the Economist in an interview asked Ghanaians to forget about a positive outcome because we are not ready to deal with corrupt people. ‘’The decision to prosecute people is a laudable one but I can confidently say it will amount to nothing. Nothing positive is going to come out of this. We are only interested in prosecuting ordinary people but scared to deal with corrupt politicians,’’ he added. ‘‘Some people see themselves as above the law and so they do things anyhow. If we do not allow the law to take its full course, then we are in for serious crisis.’’ Another economist, Jelili Jerry Afolabi is calling for an independent probe into the matter. He is also calling on government to appoint independent investigators like Transparency International to assist us so the offenders would not influence those who would be in charge of the probe. The government has already pumped GH¢7.9 billion into emergency liquidity support for the distressed banks and to protect depositors’ funds. This is in addition to the GH¢450 million used to capitalise the Consolidated Bank, the newly established entity that has absorbed the assets of the liquidated banks.
Aug 22, 2018
The Ministry of Inner and Zongo Development is currently undertaking 34 projects to improve Zongo communities, outgoing Minister, Boniface Abubakar Saddique has disclosed. He made the disclosure at the handing ceremony to the incoming minister, Dr Abdul Mustapha Hamid. The projects the former minister said include the construction of drainages, classrooms among others. Staff of the ministry were also introduced to the former Information Minister at the ceremony yesterday [Wednesday]. Mr Saddique said his ministry had implemented projects including the rehabilitation of schools, soccer pitches, drainage channels and water and sanitation facilities. He also disclosed that the ministry had also constructed Astroturf pitches at places such as Madina, Kibi, and Walewale which are between 75-95 per cent complete. He admonished staff of the ministry to cooperate with the new minister in order for him to discharge his duties and implement the policies to alleviate the poverty in Zongo communities. The new minister in his response said, ‘’I am impressed about the ministry had done over the years, this would serve as a challenge to me in the discharge of my duties.’’ Mustapha Abdul-Hamid has worked in various capacities as a Strategy Planning Manager and Client Service Manager with various Advertising and Marketing Companies such as the Media Majique and Research Systems and Ghana Advertising and Marketing Company. He also worked with and edited newspapers such as the defunct High Street Journal and the Daily Statesman. He was also the News Editor at Choice FM, a radio station based in Accra whose frequency was eventually sold to the Dr. Kwabena Duffuor media group and has now become Kasapa FM. Hamid is the former minister for information. Before his appointment as minister for information in March 2017, he was a Lecturer at the Department of Religion and Human Values of the University of Cape Coast.
Aug 22, 2018
The Ghana Association of Certified Registered Anaesthetists working at the Tamale Teaching Hospital have withdrawn their services following the attack on the hospital’s CEO, Dr Akobila. A statement issued to that effect explained that the attack has created a volatile and an unsafe working environment for its members at the hospital. They are therefore demanding the arrest and prosecution of the individuals who staged the attack. They are also demanding the restoration of calm and peaceful working environment. Signed by Mr Jacob M. Wumbei, National President and Mr Fredrick Kwame Kporxak added that, they want authorities to ‘’ensure safety and security of all CRAs in TTH.’’ Four persons suspected to be part of the group that attacked the Chief Executive Officer of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), Dr. David Zaawumya Akolbila on Monday were arrested by the police yesterday [Wednesday]. The four, said to be members of the Kandahar Boys, a Tamale-based vigilante group affiliated to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) were picked up from the base at Aboabo, a Tamale suburb on Wednesday afternoon. But they were later released due to lack of evidence. Dr Akolbila, has since been able to return to work after the Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, led members of the Northern Regional Security Committee (REGSEC) to the hospital on Tuesday to reopen the CEO’s office.
Aug 22, 2018
Newly trained teachers have issued a statement demanding exemption from the lincensure examination. The statement signed by Eric Tetteh among other things started that, "Universities and colleges of Education must ensure that the design and content of their pre-service programmes and their delivery allow student teachers to be successfully assessed against the standards by the end of their period of training." The National Teachers Council (NTC) of the Ministry of Education in 2017 announced that teachers will now have to pass a special examination before being granted the licence to teach. The move, according to the NTC, is to enforce discipline and eliminate non-performing teachers from the system, in accordance with the new Teachers Licencing Policy under the Education Act 778 (2008). The NTC is mandated by Education Act 2008 (ACT 778) Section 7 to license teachers in Ghana. The sole purpose of a licensing examination is to identify persons who meet the demands of the National Teachers Standards and possess the minimum knowledge, competencies and experience necessary to deliver effectively in the Ghanaian classroom. The Licensing Examination shall focus on major areas of professional values, practices and knowledge identified in the teaching standards enshrined in the PTPDM policy. Read Below the full statement WHY NEWLY TRAINED TEACHERS SHOULD BE EXEMPTED FROM THE LICENSURE EXAMINATION The absence of cohesion and pressure is the hallmark of the nations' administration. The Nation believes in rule of law and for that matter we believe any concern citizen will help rise red flag on this matter. Friends of the Media, licensure examination on newly trained teachers is clear indication that; Unemployment rate is going to shoot up, sabotage the education system, destroy education system, add newly trained teachers to NABCO, degrade educational institutions by rendering them useless, paying the price of the restored allowance if the NPP administration and other stakeholders do nothing about this. Because according to the National Teachers’ Standard for Ghana Guidelines, you realize that newly trained teachers were not captured. 1. These guidelines on teachers’ standard draws on consultancy commissioned by the National Teaching Council (NTC) with support from Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL) in Ghana to tertiary institutions. 2. These three domains and aspects indicate in clear terms what teachers should know, value and do, and intersect with one another to help a teacher competent enough to teach at the end of their four – year initial teachers training. As stated in page 11 3. Student teachers must be realistically and fairly assessed against the standards in accordance with what can be reasonably expected of teachers still learning to teach. 4. Universities and colleges of Education must ensure that the design and content of their pre-service programmes and their delivery allow student teachers to be successfully assessed against the standards by the end of their period of training. 5. Finally, they recognized that intensive professional development workshops will be required to prepare teacher educators to effectively prepare student teachers to deliver on the standards. MATTERS ARISING 1. No materials to learn for this examination. 2. No personnel to take us through NTC course. 3. Indexing 4. Did they consult trade unions as to whether newly trained teachers should also write this imposed examination? 5. According to Augustine Tawiah they were to register all teachers, start orientation in January. 6. During our orientation upon our admission, we were not told of this whole policy. 7. Thirty eight (38) external examinations from UCC is enough. Friends of media, we want to ask one simple question. The 9,000 teachers who have been given clearance to teach in this double track system, are they going to write license exams? If the answer is no, then are we newly trained teachers the target? Giving us license will not solve any problem in the education system. The main problem has to do with the fact that no Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs), Limited Classrooms, Poor Services of Conditions of Teachers, Desk, Chair, Computer Lab, Science Lab, White Maker Board. These are the things stakeholders should pay attention to. Then they can talk of Licensing Teachers. If after all these things teachers do not display the required competencies then they think of sanitizing the education system. Finally, let us not allow newly trained teachers to handle this issue. The government, stakeholders and trade unions should all come together since this is a national issue and it may go a long way to bring negative impact to our nation. We are counting on your usual cooperation Thank you ERIC TETTEH (0248218107/0559762085) (Greater Accra Representative)
Aug 22, 2018
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in collaboration with Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the BreatheLife Accra Project and the Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP) for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) to address short lived climate pollutants and arising health challenges associated with pollution. The BreatheLife Accra Project which is a World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) environment led initiative to reduce air pollution for health and climate benefits was launched today at the AMA’s City Hall. The Chief Executive Officer of AMA, Hon. Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah who launched the campaign said an assessment conducted to appreciate the primary source of pollution revealed that waste, transportation, household energy sources and industrial pollution were the main sources of emissions in Accra and therefore if well-coordinated plans were not developed and implemented, Accra’s sustainable development would be affected. He revealed that the project which would be piloted in four communities in two sub metropolitan areas including Jamestown and Agbogbloshie in Ashiedu Keteke ,Mamprobi and Chorkor in Ablekumah South would include community durbars, house to house sensitization on burning of waste, promotion of green space development and the improved awareness and training on the importance of switching to clean cooking stoves. “The areas identified for the pilots for the three pillars of this program are artificial parks in schools and communities, a focus on waste through waste segregation piloting in communities and schools and the health professionals’ sensitization in Jamestown, Agbogloshie, Mamprobi and Chokor are most appropriate,” he stressed. He further revealed that as part of actions his administration had taken to address the challenges identified, the AMA would launch a major greening and open space development project in the metropolis in the next couple of weeks. “Last year, we piloted a waste segregation program in basic schools in Osu Klottey sub metro and have introduced further waste segregation in all government second cycle institutions within the AMA, undertaken major decongestion within the central business district which led to the reduction in waste generation by 30% and improved traffic movement by close to 25%. I launched a waste management rapid response program which provided an avenue for citizens to report areas and spots of illegal waste dumping for rapid evacuation,” he added. Hon. Adjei Sowah indicated that the introduction of a national Air Quality Management Plan was apt to guide and provide a framework for everyone in targeting actions to improve the air quality in Accra. He added that the breathelife campaign was in sync with aspirations to improve the quality of life of city dwellers which would target some of the worst affected areas of poverty, pollution and increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases. Dr. John Pwamang, Acting Director of EPA, who presented the Air Quality Management Plan for GAMA stressed that for the EPA to achieve its key functions of prescribing standards and guidelines relating to all forms of environmental pollution including the discharge of waste and the control of toxic substances into the environment, it conducts air quality and vehicular emissions to monitor programs in various parts of the country with support from USAID, WHO, DANIDA, UN Environment, World Bank among others. “Currently, the EPA Ghana has 15 functional air quality monitoring stations and 10 low cost air sensors located in Accra. The monitoring stations are located along 10 major road routes, 2 residential areas and a commercial area of Accra,” he revealed. Dr. Pwamang indicated that the air quality data from EPA Ghana showed elevated levels of Particulate Matter (PM) that exceed WHO health guidelines in residential, commercial and industrial areas of the GAMA. “Ghana’s first AQMP focuses on GAMA because of current conditions as characterized by roughly 10 years of PM monitor readings, present an unacceptable health burden for the pollution of Accra and are not in line with international standards for air quality. Also the health burden of high PM concentrations estimated 400 deaths per year in 2014 has clear economic implications for GAMA that presents a direct social and economic cost for respiratory health treatments. Without action, economic growth could lead to higher emissions in the vehicle and industrial sectors which would worsen air quality over time,” he stressed. He further revealed that the AQMP was developed in collaboration with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in order to take advantage of USEPA’s significant and broad experience in air quality management.
Aug 22, 2018
Authorities at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has issued a statement to announce the change of traditional halls to mixed halls. The school in the statement said, the change is inline with the university’s policy of periodic review of residential accommodation for students. The statement signed by Registrar, Ben O. Andoh explained that, the school, ‘’… has decided that effective the 2018/2019 Academic year, all the six traditional halls of residence namely, Independence Hall, University Hall, Africa Hall, Republic Hall, Unity Hall and Queen Elisabeth II Hall would be designated as mixed halls.’’ The statement concluded by stating that, ‘’the university’s policy of expanding access to female students remain unchanged.’’ Few days ago, Alumni of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on Friday staged a demonstration in protest against decision by the school to turn the Katanga Hall which has been an all male hall into a mixed hall. The demonstration started from the Kwame Nkrumah circle and ended at the Education Ministry where they presented a petition to the Ministry of Education. the Alumni of Katanga and Unity Halls have opposed the decision, describing it as an attempt to promote a culture of silence at the school. The University Hall popularly known as Katanga was built to commemorate the attainment of University Status of the then Kumasi College of Technology and officially named “University Hall”. It was dedicated by Mr. Kwaku Boateng, the then Minister of Education, on January 19, 1963.
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