AGM: Join Duayaw Nkwanta GODCCOS for a better future – Monsignor Boahen Kyeremeh

The Goaso Diocesan Catholic Cooperative Society (GODCCOS) at Duayaw Nkwanta in the Ahafo Region has held its second Annual General Meeting with a call on persons within its catchment areas to join the society.

Monsignor Anthony Boahen Kyeremeh, Union Board Chairman, who represented the Goaso Diocese Catholic Bishop, Most Rev. Peter Atuahene, made the call in his address at the meeting attended by shareholders.

He disclosed that GODCCOS was the only financial institution in the country to have paid dividends to its shareholders, within five years of operation.

‘We are credible, and second to none, so have confidence in us, and join us today, for a better future,’ he appealed.

Mr. Augustine Effah Apraku, Board Chairman of the Society urged the staff to treat members and customers with utmost respect and politeness, in order to retain and increase its customer base.

He commended the General Manager, Mr. Joseph Yebuah Adumuah and his charges, for a good start, and urged them to keep up the spirit.

Mr. Osaah
ene Amankwah, Ahafo Regional Director of Cooperatives, appealed to members and prospective ones, to buy more shares, to ensure the growth, viability, and sustainability of the society.

He indicated that Duayaw Nkwanta GODCCOS performed favourably within approved standards, during the year under review.

Membership grew from 211, to 276, posting a growth rate of 23.55 per cent.

The society’s Liquid Funds stood at GHc41,917, hitting 1.6 per cent out of a two per cent maximum required on GHc53,427.46; while Liquid Investments recorded GHc1,403,876.35, representing a whopping 52.6 per cent, against the expected minimum ratio of 18 per cent on GHc480,847.18.

Net Loans to members was GHc1,159,729.65c, from the standardized GHc1,869,961.25, representing 43.4, and a maximum 70 per cents, respectively.

Shareholders received 10 per cent of individual total share value.

The GODCCOS is a non-bank financial institution in the Goaso Catholic Diocese of the Ahafo Region, open to the public.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ho Municipality to develop coconut industry

Mr Divine Bosson, Ho Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), has said the city should take advantage of the government’s coconut revitalisation project to create a niche industry for the regional capital.

Government’s coconut chain rejuvenation project aims to distribute successes with the tropical key fruit across the country, and the MCE who was addressing Members of the Assembly at its first general meeting, said the Municipality’s share of 30,000 seedlings under the project should kickstart the development of a major enclave for the crop.

He said the industrial city already held prospects for the crop with a handful of commercial processors and a fast growing appetite for the fruit a superfood.

The MCE, therefore, said when taken full advantage of, the project could cause a physical transformation of the industrial landscape in a matter of years.

‘When we succeed in taking advantage of this project, soon you will see coconut oil and other products lining up for sale in our streets like we see in other places
,’ Mr. Bosson said, promising the needed assistance from the Assembly to individuals and communities that would want to participate in the tree crop project.

The MCE spoke of other bold initiatives to develop the Assembly, including, opening up of roads, and constructing needed facilities such as in sports, security and sanitation.

A new Assembly building for more convenient working environment has been completed and awaiting commissioning.

‘I will continue to take bold new initiatives to benefit the Assembly,’ he told the meeting.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Indian investors engage stakeholders in Ellembelle on carbon solutions to agriculture

Some investors from Erda Illumine Low Carbon Solutions Company in India have engaged stakeholders in two communities in the Ellembelle District on sustainable agricultural practices and climate change resilience mechanisms.

The engagement, held at Kikam and Kamgbunli communities, was attended by stakeholders from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ellembelle District Assembly, Ghana Education Service, traditional rulers, community leaders, farmers, and the media.

It was a collaboration between the Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) and the Erda Illumine Low Carbon Solutions Company.

Climate change has become a global threat to agricultural practices and human existences which required concerted efforts to mitigate carbon from the Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Mr Wepia Awal Addo Adugwala, President of the PFAG, speaking at the opening of the event said the Indian investors were in the district to study the environment and climatic conditions and how best they could assist farmers to find n
ature-based solutions to agriculture.

He mentioned some of the interventions as the use of bio-digesters to produce biogas to fertilize the farms, carbon sequestration, agroecology, afforestation, filtration of polluted rivers and build a dam for irrigation of a rice farm at Kamgbunli as well as an organic tomato farming, among others.

Mr Adugwala assured the investors of their readiness to cooperate with them to ensure a major boost in agricultural productivity in the district.

Mr Gagagdeep Arya, Director at the Erda Illumine Low Carbon Solutions Company, who was flanked by his Programme Associates, Messrs. Kishan Karanaken and Chewdhuny Nasmul Haque, expressed profound gratitude to the PFAG for the maiden invitation to Ghana to help streamline agricultural practices in the quest for food security.

He said negotiations with the EPA had been completed in Accra and asked the communities to pool their resources together to undertake the project which would involve training, education, skills development, an
d direct employment.

The team which had visited a rice farm at Kamgbunli, where a dam was under construction along the River Fia, said they would embark upon filtration of the polluted river from the source for irrigation purposes.

The team also visited the Uthman Bin Affan Islamic Senior High School at Kamgbunli where they assured the school of assisting them in tree planting exercise with economic and other trees.

Source: Ghana News Agency

‘Dumsor’ timetable not necessary – ECG Deputy MD

The Deputy Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Ing. Kwadwo Obeng, has rejected the idea of releasing a load-shedding schedule.

He believes that a timetable would be unreliable due to the unpredictable faults and repair work on the national grid.

This decision comes after an announcement by the ECG and GRIDCo on June 13, 2024, regarding a three-week power outage due to a gas supply shortage from Nigeria.

Many business owners, such as barbers and tailors, have requested the ECG to provide a load-shedding timetable to help them prepare for the upcoming weeks.

However, during a forum focused on addressing power sector issues, Ing. Obeng argued that a fixed timetable would be inaccurate due to potential unforeseen faults and necessary maintenance work.

‘We’re collaborating with local manufacturers, we’re collaborating with companies that have plants hereā€¦there’s more certainty in the amount that needs to be shed, then the utilities can also plan, then we’re definite.

‘We know there w
ill be a three-week [challenge], do we even know the quantum, we don’t know the quantum. Without the quantum, how do you even prepare the schedule? There are several factors, having known the quantum, you need to know the duration, there’s an off-peak period, peak period,’ he explained.

Source: Ghana Web

FSRP targets irrigation scheme for rice, tomato and others

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s Food System Resilience Programme (MoFA-FSRP) will place critical focus on irrigation scheme rehabilitation as a key component of the programme.

FSRP Project Coordinator, Osei Owusu Agyeman, told BandFT that the FSRP will modernise irrigation schemes across the country as part of requirements in rice, maize, soya and tomato.

He said an irrigation policy of the programme is in line with a climate-smart agriculture demands of the FSRP, in which year-round farming is critical.

‘We have advertised consultancy for an irrigation policy scheme and implementation on a five-year strategic plan for the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority. This will revolutionise the FSRP’s work. Obviously, we cannot embark on all-year round farming without irrigation,’ Mr Agyeman said.

He admitted that land ownership remains a big challenge to agriculture activities, stating: ‘landownership is not defined and this poses problems for farmers’.

‘The programme will identify rightful owners of
lands through negotiations, even before we make investments into any of the components.’

The programme, Mr Agyeman disclosed, also includes components for rehabilitation and investment into agriculture laboratories.

The FSRP is a value chain investment, wherein a rice farmer is supported by the programme through landownership, preparation, seed production, processing and marketing among others.

In the case of poultry, a module which has already started, the scheme will feed into the PFJ 2.0 targetted poultry self-sufficiency output of 400,000 metric tonnes per year by 2028.

The West Africa Food System Resilience Programme (FSRP) is a World Bank funded programme promoted by ECOWAS for participating countries. It is to strengthen food system risk management, improve sustainability of the agricultural productive base and harmonise agricultural markets in the West African sub-region.

Participating countries include Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sierra Leone, Togo and Chad. In Ghana, FSRP is being implemen
ted by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, focusing on the intensified production, marketing and consumption of wholesome rice, maize, broiler poultry, soyabeans (for the poultry) and tomatoes.

Source: Ghana Web

Be deliberate about financing renewable energy, sustainability-focused projects – KPMG Ghana to banks

Kenneth Agyei-Duah, a manager in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Services at KPMG Ghana, has urged banks and other financial institutions to be intentional about financing projects that consider environmental, social, and governance factors.

Speaking during the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce and KPMG Ghana Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) webinar series on ‘Financing the Sustainable Future,’ Mr. Agyei-Duah remarked that, ‘If we are to finance a sustainable future, a lot depends on the actions of financial institutions, and it requires a significant effort.’

According to him, the Government of Ghana, Bank of Ghana, Ghana Stock Exchange, and the Securities and Exchange Commission have provided clear guidelines and regulations to guide financial institutions and other businesses on sustainable financing in Ghana.

‘Therefore, with the support of the regulators, it is now essential for our banks to take deliberate actions towards financing projects within the renewable energy space,’ he rema

Mr. Agyei-Duah highlighted some of the strategies banks could adopt, such as enhancing CSR initiatives by funding environmental programs that promote sustainable living, supporting research and innovation, and collaborating with governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

‘It is crucial that collaboration exists between financial institutions, government, and NGOs so that we can implement various initiatives. This will greatly improve Ghana’s ESG ratings and build trust with lenders.’

Financing the Sustainable Future

Sustainable Financing encompasses any financial activity aimed at promoting investments that will help enhance the environment, social, and governance structures within which we operate.

Sustainable Finance differs from traditional financing by focusing on balancing profits with purpose. For example, while traditional financing investments are assessed based on financial performance indicators like revenue growth, profitability, and return on investment, sustainable financin
g investments are evaluated based on both financial performance and ESG factors.

The Drivers and Barriers of Sustainable Finance

Investments in ESG projects are projected to reach USD 53 trillion by 2025. According to KPMG Ghana, this increase in sustainable finance is driven by businesses’ focus on renewable energy and other sustainable business practices, as well as the growing belief that traditional business models may not be sustainable or competitive, among other factors.

However, certain obstacles exist that hinder Sustainable Financing, particularly in Ghana. These include a lack of domestic green investors, limited risk assessment capabilities, restricted access to green finance facilities, and limited risk assessment capabilities of banks.

Kenneth Agyei-Duah believes that it is up to accounting and finance professionals to address, embrace, and lead ESG integration and reporting, or risk falling behind.

He urged businesses to continue learning and stay informed about emerging ESG standards, reg
ulations, and directives; ensure top management support; ensure sustainability strategies are appropriate; create sustainability roadmaps; ensure the availability of quality data; and be open to seeking expert opinions to support the ESG journey.

He also encouraged financial institutions to promote Green bonds and sustainable investment funding, educate customers and investors, and enhance transparency through impact reporting.

The webinar, moderated by Osei-Asenso Antwi, a Senior Manager in KPMG Ghana’s GRC and ESG line of service, also covered a wide range of related topics such as the impact of climate risk, factors affecting ESG ratings, and sustainable finance options.

Source: Ghana Web

IEA pushes for stricter 3% budget deficit ceiling

Amid the growing conversation about stringent rules to anchor fiscal policy, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is proposing, among other things, a three percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) cap on the budget deficit.

If realised, it would be consistent with the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) ceiling for member-states. It would also be a tighter rule than the four percent set by ECOWAS and a marked improvement on the five percent stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).

‘We would recommend the more stringent WAMZ ceiling of 3 percent for Ghana, which has a greater chance of delivering debt sustainability than the current 5 percent in the FRA,’ the IEA’s Director of Research, Dr. John Kwakye, said in a statement.

The five percent rule, introduced in 2018 within the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA), was heralded as a step in the right direction.

However, its usefulness was short-lived as the then Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, invoked the ‘Escape Clause Mechanism’ due to the excep
tional circumstance of COVID-19 – resulting in parliament suspending the Act. This culminated in a deficit of over 15 percent in 2020 and central bank financing of approximately GHS40billion in 2022.

Additionally, public debt should be capped at 60 percent of GDP to maintain debt sustainability. Any breach of these ceilings should require parliamentary approval and a clear timeline for rectification.

To ensure these rules are adhered to, the public policy think-tank proposes establishment of an independent Fiscal Council. This Council would be appointed by the Public Services Commission and approved by parliament to ensure independence from the Executive branch. Comprising experts in economics, public finance and statistics, the Council would have its budget directly appropriated by parliament – charged to the Consolidated Fund. Its primary functions would include analysing government budgets, providing independent budget forecasts, assessing budgetary outcomes and risks, monitoring budget implementation an
d ensuring compliance with fiscal rules.

Furthermore, the IEA suggests integrating the Fiscal Rules, Fiscal Council and PFMA into a cohesive framework. Parliament should rigorously enforce its Appropriations Acts to ensure adherence to the Fiscal Rules. The framework should also include clear sanctions for breaches of its provisions, thus promoting accountability and transparency.

‘Based on international best practices, instituting Fiscal Rules and a Fiscal Council would be the best way to anchor fiscal policy and macroeconomic stability internally and permanently, thereby helping position Ghana beyond IMF bailouts,’ the IEA Director said.

Dr. Kwakye stressed the need for these reforms, citing Ghana’s history of recurring fiscal deficits and dependence on IMF bailouts. He stated that the prevailing fiscal practices have led to inefficiencies and often fostered corrupt practices. The proposed fiscal rules and independent Fiscal Council would provide the necessary oversight and analytical rigor to ensure fis
cal responsibility.

Dr. Kwakye emphasised that lack of a strong analytical framework and effective monitoring mechanisms has allowed fiscal policy to be formulated on an ad-hoc basis.

He noted that an independent Fiscal Council, modelled after successful examples like the US Congressional Budget Office and UK Office for Budget Responsibility, could provide the oversight needed to prevent fiscal irresponsibility.

Source: Ghana Web

GN Savings and Loans was insolvent prior to license revocation – BoG

The Bank of Ghana has reiterated that the decision to revoke the operating license of GN Savings and Loans is justified within the law and its mandate.

The central bank explains that revoking the financial institution’s license was necessary as it remained insolvent even after a reasonable period during which it engaged with the BoG in hopes that its shareholders would recapitalize it to return to solvency.

In August 2019, the Bank of Ghana revoked the licenses of twenty-three (23) insolvent savings and loans companies and finance house companies.

These actions were taken in accordance with Section 123 (1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930), which mandates the BoG to revoke the license of a Bank or Specialised Deposit-Taking Institution (SDI) if it is determined to be insolvent.

The Central Bank also appointed a Receiver for the specified institutions in accordance with Section 123 (2) of Act 930.

Below are the BoG’s reasons for the revocation of the operating li
cense of GN Savings and Loans:

GN Savings and Loans Company Limited was originally incorporated as First National Savings and Loans (FNSL) Company Limited and licensed as a Savings and Loans Company on 8th May 2006. It was subsequently issued with a universal banking license by the Bank of Ghana on 4th September 2014 and was renamed GN Bank Limited.

On 4th January 2019, the Bank of Ghana approved a request to reclassify GN Bank from a universal bank to a Savings and Loans company following its inability to meet new required minimum paid-up capital of GHS 400 million by 31st December 2018.

The reclassification was to among other things enable the institution to downsize its operations and also inject additional capital to resolve the acute liquidity challenges it was confronted with. The Bank of Ghana subsequently appointed an Advisor to GN to assist in the reclassification process.

In spite of the above, the institution has been unable to resolve its liquidity crisis and has also not been able to meet the
majority of the conditions the Bank of Ghana imposed on the institution following its reclassification as a savings and loans company.

The financial condition of the institution has also deteriorated since the reclassification with both negative capital adequacy ratio and negative net worth.

The Bank of Ghana has reached the conclusion that GN is currently insolvent under section 123 (4) of the Banks and SDIs Act, 2016 (Act 930), being in breach of its key prudential regulatory requirements. Its Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is currently -61%, in breach of the minimum required of 13%.

It is also facing a severe liquidity crisis with numerous complaints received by the Financial Stability Department of the Bank of Ghana from aggrieved customers who have been unable to access their deposits with the institution for the last several months. What is more, it has consistently failed to meet the minimum cash reserve requirement of 10% of its total deposits, since the end of the first quarter of 2019.

GN’s shareh
olders have failed to restore the bank to the required regulatory capital and liquidity levels in spite of long-standing promises that new capital was expected from foreign investors. While GN has indicated that government owes it a total amount of GHS942.98 million of which GHS102.73 million represented Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs), the Bank of Ghana’s assessment is that IPCs totaling GHS30.33 million only have been confirmed by the Ministry of Finance as at 6th August 2019 as owed to contractors that may be indebted to affiliates of GN.

The Bank of Ghana’s supervisory assessment showed that even when the total outstanding IPCs amount of GHS30.33 million was considered, it still did not address GN’s capital deficit of -GHS683.66 million. It must be noted that GN’s insolvency problems are largely attributable to overdraft and other facilities it extended to its related parties who are other companies in the Groupe Ndoum network of businesses, under circumstances that violated relevant prudential norms
. Of particular interest are the funds totalling GHS761.55 million that GN Bank as it then was, placed with its sister companies Ghana Growth Fund (Gold Coast Advisors) and Gold Coast Fund Management Limited (now Blackshield Capital Management), both licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Some of these funds were used by the two related parties to pay their customers whose investments with them had matured, while some were also used to fund road and other contractors, who claim to have worked on Government projects. It is important to note that the IPCs claimed by GN are not supported by transactions that were entered into directly by GN and such contractors or Government and its entities.

They reflect transactions entered into by Ghana Growth Fund or Gold Coast Fund Management with these contractors using funds taken from GN under circumstances that violated prudential norms.

The failure of the two related parties to pay back these funds to GN affected GN’s capital position, leading eventually
to its insolvency and acute liquidity challenges.

In addition to GN’s insolvency and liquidity challenges, the Bank of Ghana has found other key regulatory violations such as the following:

The institution’s adjusted Net worth of negative GHS30.70 million as at end May 2019 indicates that its paid up capital is impaired in violation of Section 28(1) Act 930.

The institution’s adjusted capital adequacy ratio of negative 61.20% as at end May 2019 is in violation of Section 29(2) of Act 930.

Contrary to section 64 (2) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930), the institution’s exposure to its related party has consistently been above the regulatory limit of 25% of net own funds (NOF). Exposures to other affiliates companies were mainly payments made by the bank on behalf of such affiliates.

The structure of GN’s balance sheet clearly shows that the bank mobilizes deposits for its related companies. The inability of these related companies to honour their obligation to
GN has resulted in serious liquidity challenges and contributed to their insolvency as all related party exposures are non-performing.

The institution’s high non-performing loans (NPL) was mainly attributed to these related party exposures, which were never paid, thereby putting the deposits of its customer at risk.

A recent Bank of Ghana investigation conducted at GN revealed that a significant amount (USD62,255,516.93, GBP718,528.59 and EUR4,200) of depositors’ funds held with GN had been transferred to International Business Solutions (another company owned by Groupe Nduom and which is based in the U.S.A) without any documentation to support such transfers in breach of section 19 of the Foreign Exchange Act 2006, Act 723, Section IV of Bank of Ghana Notice No. BG/GOV/SEC/2007/4, and subsequent Bank of Ghana Notices issued in August 2014 prohibiting such practices.

The company is yet to publish its 2018 audited accounts contrary to section 90 (2) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions
Act, 2016 (Act 930).

Furthermore, the company did not keep accounting records in a manner that gives an accurate and reliable account of the transactions of the company, and did not therefore show a true and fair view of its operations.

GN has suspended operations in seventy (70) of its branches including the Head office branch at Asylum Down and Castle Road branch, and temporarily suspended its entire management team without the approval of the Bank of Ghana contrary to section 25 (2) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930), mainly as a result of its insolvency and liquidity challenges.

Source: Ghana Web