Producer Price Inflation rises to 15.6 per cent in January

Accra,- The Producer Price Inflation rate rises to 15.6 per cent in January year on year, up from 14.7 per cent in December 2021, the Ghana Statistical Service has announced.

The rate represents a 0.9 percentage point increase in producer inflation relative to the rate recorded in December.

The monthly change was 4 per cent.

“This literally means that on a year-on-year basis between January 2021 and January 2022 prices of goods and services went up by 15.6 per cent” said Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, Government Statistician at a press briefing.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) measures the average change over time in the selling prices of goods and services as received by domestic producers with reference to September 2006 as the base period.

At the sub sector level on the year-on-year basis, Prof Annim said the Producer Price Inflation for the manufacturing sector was 22.9 per cent for January 2022 and “this was distantly followed by the mining and quarry sub sector with 2.2 per cent and the utility sub-sector recording 0.3 per cent.”

He indicated that two out of 16 major groups in manufacturing recorded inflation rates above the sector average of 22.9% in January 2022.

These included manufacture of coke, refined petroleum products and nuclear fuel with 35 per cent and manufacture of food products and beverages with 30.4 per cent.

The manufacture of motor vehicles, trailer and semi-trailer recorded a negative 2.9 per cent inflation rate.

He also explained that the producer inflation rate in the petroleum subsector dropped continuously to 35.0 percent in January 2022.

“It was 4.4 percent in January 2021. The rate increased continuously to pick at 31.0 percent in March 2021 but declined to 23.9 percent in June 2021. The rate increased continuously to record 58.4 percent in November 2021, subsequently,” he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

WILDAF Ghana trains TVET industry players in labour rights

Accra, Feb.17,GNA – Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) Ghana has partnered the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) to train twenty-five women in labour rights.

The women who benefited from the WILDAF/WUSC’s Innovation in Non-Traditional Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST) Project, were selected from institutions in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The project aims to reduce gender specific barriers for women’s participation in economic growth, equality and non-discrimination to enhance access to decent work for women inclusion in high-growth and non-traditional sectors.

Madam Diana Ndego, representative of WUSC, said, WUSC Ghana INVEST Programme’s Rationale for Labour Rights Education was

designed to promote equal rights and decent work opportunities for young women.

The INVEST Project is a five year project (2020-2025) funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by WUSC.

Madam Ndego said, the INVEST Programme’s Rationale for Labour Rights Education was designed to promote equal rights and decent work opportunities for young women by using an Inclusive Market Systems (IMS) approach, institutions and the labour market system of high-growth sectors to achieve transformative change that would be sustainable and scalable.

She said INVEST had collaborated with WILDAF as the legal aid and a leading women’s rights and law organisation in Ghana to train industry associations, TVET training providers and CSOs on gender, human and labour rights approaches for integrating labour and gender equality rights in the service.

The training outcomes include scaling up the low levels of knowledge on women’s labour rights among responsibility-holders, employers, industry partners, training providers and rights-holders and related legal rights for women in the workplace.

She added that INVEST would enhance the access to decent work for marginalised young women (rights holders) in high-growth, non-traditional sectors and support Ghana’s human rights commitment to address labour rights.

WUSC Ghana had directly targeted 5000 urban poor young women between the ages of 18-35 in the three largest urban areas in Ghana; Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.

The project will test and scale up innovative, sustainable models to improve the enabling environment, reduce gender-specific barriers to women’s economic participation, and enhance access to decent work for marginalised women in high-growth and non-traditional sectors, she added.

She said WUSC Ghana INVEST Programme’s rationale for Labour Rights Education would address the issue of women labour rights infringements which were perpetuated due to lack of awareness of their rights or an inability to enforce them, contributing to the creation of a negative workplace experiences for women such as sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Upper East MoFA advocates organic dry season vegetable farming

Bolgatanga, Feb. 17- GNA- The Upper East Regional Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA ), Mr Francis Ennor, says the directorate is planning to promote the use of organic fertiliser to enable tomato farmers to cultivate vegetables during the dry season.

Mr Ennor said organic fertiliser, which was safer and more available, would be promoted in the dry season for vegetable farming to improve production.

He was responding to journalists’ questions on challenges farmers faced in accessing chemical fertiliser and its effects on vegetable production during a field tour with the Regional Minister to tomato farms at the Zaare Operational Area near the Vea Dam in the Bolgatanga Municipality.

He said last year, many farmers did not go into tomato production because of the challenges of accessing chemical fertiliser and indicated that this year, 92 farmers were enlisted for tomato farming and taken through various agronomic practices adopted to enhance production.

At a two-hectare tomato farm of Mr Osman Azeko , a farmer, whose tomatoes were being harvested for the Southern Markets, Mr Ennor said because of the farmer’s zeal and interest, input dealers were contacted, and arrangements made for him to buy enough to prepare for the dry season tomato production.

Mr Azeko’s farm, also a demonstration farm, where various agronomic practices were used, the sizes of the tomatoes were different, some bigger than others, depending on the type of method used to grow them.

The Regional Director thanked the Municipal Director of Agriculture, Madam Lantana Osman for the hard work and the farmer, Mr Osman Azeko, who had committed himself to sustain his tomato production despite previous marketing challenges that discouraged other farmers from farming tomatoes.

Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, who had shown interest over the years in promoting the tomatoes business in the region, was impressed with the work of the farmers.

He told the farmers to follow the new agronomic practices diligently to harvest good tomatoes to attract the local market and put a stop to tomatoes imports from Burkina Faso.

He called on MoFA to organise a farmer exposure trip to Burkina Faso to allow the farmers to pick up some practices to help improve their farms.

The Regional Minister and the team also visited some pepper and garden egg farms.

Source: Ghana News Agency

COVID-19: More than 14,000 businesses still permanently closed

Accra – A total of 14,162 small to large size businesses in the country out of 30,654 are still permanently closed due to the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 15,174 have fully reopened through support from family relations and the hope that business will pick up soon.

About 1,318 businesses though reopened have not been able to operate at full capacity.

These were the findings from the third wave COVID-19 Business Tracker by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the findings, Mr Francis Bright Mensah, Project Coordinator for the COVID-19 Business Tracker, said most of the businesses that had reopened did so through funds received from family and friends.

Others reopened with the hope that there would be a turnaround in economic activities.

He said it was the desire of the businesses for the Government to put in place policies for them to have access to loans with low interest, cash transfer as well as access to new credit.

Commenting on the development, Dr Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Ghana (UG), said the COVID-19 remained a challenge to many businesses despite the country’s efforts to manage the impact.

She said the findings meant: “A lot more people have lost their jobs when COVID hit and still have not been able to get back onto the labour market, and it tells on the level of unemployment that was published in the recent census report.”

The 2021 GSS Population and Housing Census found that the labour force [economically active persons 15 years and older] of 11,541,355 had 1,551,118 unemployed, with 9,990,237, employed.

Dr Baffour said the economy was still racing behind the impact of the COVID-19 and urged the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) to identity the peculiar challenges facing SMEs and provide them with the necessary support.

She said: “The support may not necessarily be finance,it could be in the form of business support services…”

On the part of the businesses struggling to reopen, she said the business environment had become dynamic, therefore, “businesses ought to innovate and take advantage of opportunities that the pandemic brought.”

Other findings from the business tracker showed that there had been a considerable decline in the rate of hours worked, wages, and leave without pay over the three data collection periods in 2020-2021.

Meanwhile, the use of mobile money (MoMo) among firms for sales was on the ascendency.

The GSS noted that: “Data compared to Waves I and II, revealed almost seven out of 10 firms are now using mobile money to do business, with MoMo usage increasing from 35.7 percent and 53.4 percent (Waves I and II respectively), to 69.6 percent (Wave III).”

It also observed that more businesses were adopting the use of internet for sales.

That, Ms Angela Lusigi, the UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, said required that the country reimagined the development in the digital age, noting that it was encouraging seeing more firms embracing digitalisation as a default to improve business.

She said: “UNDP remains committed to supporting Government’s digital agenda and recovery efforts to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Mr Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leon, said: “The improvement recorded over the periods is remarkable, but we also need to pay attention to the policy supports required by the firms.”

Source: Ghana News Agency

SSNIT encourages contributors to update their beneficiary list

Tema- The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has encouraged everybody enrolled in the scheme to regularly update their beneficiary list to prevent any misunderstandings in case of death.

Ms. Emefa Agonyo, SSNIT Public Affairs Officer, spoke of the situation where some people still have their deceased parents on their beneficiary list.

“Some people still have their deceased parents’ on their form as their beneficiaries while others have other people other than their spouses or children.”

Speaking at a forum organized by the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency, she said this was unhelpful and tended to create problems when the contributor passed on.

Ms Agonyo said it would sometimes end up in the court, the spouse and children would show up only to be told that their auntie or uncle or dead grandparents were the legitimate beneficiaries on the registration form.

She explained that where a contributor did not update their beneficiary list before passing on the position of the law is that only the children less than 18 years must be given the benefit.

She added that where the deceased had children outside marriage, and an investigation established this fact, SSNIT will pay 60 percent of the benefit package to those children under the age of 18 years.

Mr. Francis Ameyibor, the Tema Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency, underlined the need to up the education to help contributors to have a better understanding of why it was important to update their records.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Dualisation of Accra–Kumasi road begins next month

Accra- As part of efforts by the Government to dualise the Accra–Kumasi road, construction works on four major by-passes will begin from March or latest first week of April.

A section of the Accra–Kumasi highway

A section of the Accra–Kumasi highway

Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko, Chairman, Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, said the Government had successfully awarded eight separate contracts to local fully resourced contractors to construct the four by-passes on the Apedwa–Kumasi road.

He said the Government had committed Two Billion Ghana Cedis for the construction of the four by-passes to ease the traffic on the Accra to Kumasi road as part of its plans to dualise major highways in the country.

The Chairman stated this during a press briefing in Accra on the dualisation of the nation’s roads that the Government intended to do, especially on major highways.

He said the first by-pass on the Accra–Kumasi road would take place at Osino, about 11.6km, which would be constructed by two big local companies – First Car Limited and Josmo Construction Ltd.

He noted that the second by-pass would take place at Anyinam, about 6.1km, which would be done by Nark Fememond and Hadrick Limited, adding that the third one was the Ngleshie by-pass, 10.5km long, which would also be constructed by Resource Access Limited and Memphis Metropolitan Construction Ltd.

Mr Nyarko said the last one would be a by-pass at Konongo, which was 13.5km, which would be done by Kofi Job Company Ltd and Joshob Construction Ltd.

“The Government has taken this decision as a result of the numerous accidents on our roads, especially the Accra-Kumasi road and the traffic congestion that goes on that route and has decided to use these four by-passes to dualise that road to easy access for commuters on the road,” he said.

He said the project was a major intervention by the Government, saying, “The Government made the promise and the Government is delivering that promise”.

“It is going to cost the Ghanaian tax payer two billion Ghana Cedis for this project to go on; these are going to be dual carriages, that would easy transportation challenges.”

Mr Nyarko said “like President John Agyekum Kufuor did at Nkwawkaw by-pass to make easy access, so that there wouldn’t be much more traffic.”

“Currently, you know where the traffic builds up on the Accra-Kumasi road and the engineers have looked at it carefully and they have decided that we need to have these four by-passes,” he said.

He reiterated that this shows how committed the Akufo-Addo Government was in addressing the nation’s road issues.

“President Kufuor started the dualisation from Nsawam, all the way to Suhum, we completed the first part of it – the first lane, the second lane that they started to a certain point, they couldn’t finish it; eight years later, the NDC (National Democratic Congress) abandoned that stretch, they couldn’t do it.”

He said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during his tenure decided to continue the other lane to Apadwa junction; saying that Ghanaians were all witnesses to the work that had gone on.

He said in addition, the Government had decided to do these four major by-passes and that if these by-passes were completed, Ghanaians all know the economic benefits that would enure to the country.

Mr Nyarko said recently, the Government had already secured a facility to dualise the Tema Motorway (Roundabout to Aflao Road) and that 17km of it had been awarded, which was being executed by a British Company, BMH.

He said the Government was looking for another facility for construction works beyond the 17km of the Tema Motorway (Roundabout) – Aflao Road.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Vodafone introduces Red Cloud to improve, secure the digital operations of businesses

Vodafone Business has introduced ‘Red Cloud’, a cloud-based service meant to improve and safeguard digital operations, to IT Managers at the Vodafone Technology Forum, held in the Ashanti Region.

Vodafone Red Cloud is an advanced and affordable technology that offers businesses a more flexible, scalable, and cost-efficient IT infrastructure to help them achieve their business goals of keeping their data safe and applications performing at their best.

Speaking at the event, the Director of Vodafone Business, Tawa Bolarin, said SMEs can effectively improve their services without worrying about the cost of running data centers or an IT environment.

“At Vodafone Business, we support the growth of businesses by providing solutions that help organizations run efficiently, enabling them to focus on their core purpose without having to worry about their technology needs. We do this by working closely with you, IT Managers, and Chief Information Officers.”
She explained that Red Cloud is locally-hosted in a highly secured IT environment, with stringent security policies.

“From a latency perspective, you don’t have any issues because all your information is stored locally in the country. From a regulatory perspective, it’s an advantage because, for some industries, the regulator doesn’t allow you to store data outside of the country. We address that problem for you by having our technology experts sit down with you to understand your needs and to customize our platform to your business needs,” she added.

Tawa further said businesses can now focus on their core objectives and purpose while they entrust this aspect of their operations with Vodafone.

“Any business today can focus purely on what it is designed for, its core purpose, and that core purpose is to serve its customers with its products and services to generate value, increase customers, increase revenue, and most importantly, reduce costs. Digitalization is the only way businesses can achieve these goals by automating with the right tools and resources that allow you to serve your customers better and to grow beyond your local boundaries,” she said.

According to Tawa, Vodafone’s Technology Forum is one of the platforms the four-time Enterprise Business Provider of the Year uses to connect with customers to understand how to support their businesses and provide them with the right technology solutions for them to grow and succeed in various industries.

Source: Ghana Web

Engaging priority clients to invest with a purpose

Standard Chartered Bank Ghana PLC has engaged a cross-section of priority clients on how to protect their investment and grow their wealth. This initiative forms part of efforts by the Bank to protect and meet the needs of clients in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Investment advisors explained the need for clients to make good investment decisions.

Alternatively, the priority clients were advised to invest in the government of Ghana local bonds or Standard Chartered managed Mutual Funds to make more money. Clients were made to understand that they were eroding the value of their cash if left idle in their account as the advantages of investing are enormous. The engagement session was also to introduce the clients to investment opportunities to help them make the right decisions.

Dr. Setor Quashigah, Head Affluent and Wealth Management, said in her welcome address, “For over the 125 years, Standard Chartered has put the needs of clients first. We will not expose clients to unnecessary risk. The real cost of investment is the decision not to invest”, she added.

At Standard Chartered, our advisory capabilities are unmatched with our ability to offer clients access to the Ghana Eurobond market and provide them with a vast array of other securities. The clients also have the advantage to unlock extra funds using their investments as collateral to request a secured overdraft facility at competitive rates. Clients have access to the Bank’s Digi Advisory Services and can do all their investments themselves on the SC Mobile App.

The icing on the cake for the priority clients was the presentation on Bancassurance. The juicy insurance packages Standard Chartered from insurance partners, Prudential Life and Enterprise Life, namely Legacy Life Plan and Future Plus Plan to mention a few will secure the lives of families of the clients should be unfortunate happen. The priority clients were assured of prompt payment of insurance claims, some within five days.

Clients who participated in the Member Get Member Campaign were rewarded with gift vouchers. This is to encourage customers to recommend Standard Chartered products to friends and family.

Source: Ghana Web