African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN) signs MOU with University of Kigali

The promotion of good corporate governance practices has come to the fore very strongly over the past two decades. From the Enron scandal to Big Four auditing firms being fined heavily in South Africa, the need for improved corporate governance practices in Africa and beyond has never been more pressing.

To lead the promotion and spread of good corporate governance in Rwanda, the University of Kigali has signed an MOU with the ACGN to promote mutual institutional interests.

The African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN) and the University of Kigali signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote mutual institutional interest consistent with their mandates, policies, and resources.

The MoU between the two institutions establishes an understanding and a cooperative working relationship to promote research in fields of common interest, development of curricula and exchange of materials and documents.

The institutions will work together to promote collaboration in organizing workshops, training and conferences, and collaboration in consultancy services.

Also, short professional courses will be rolled out with the development of new market-driven and technology-centered professional programs.

The signing ceremony, had Professor Robert Ebo Hinson, Interim Vice-Chancellor, and Dr. Michael Sanja, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Institutional Development Research and Innovation (IDRI), signing on behalf of the University of Kigali.

Mr. Rockson Kwesi Dogbegah, Chair, ACGN, and Reverend Mrs. Angela Carmen, Acting Board Secretary, signed for the ACGN.

The five-year MOU may be renewed for such consecutive periods as agreed by the University of Kigali and ACGN.

The Centre for Economic Governance and Leadership will be the Lead Unit on behalf of the University of Kigali.

Both institutions pledged a commitment to work together to promote a mutually beneficial relation expressly provided under the MOU.

Source: Ghana Web

AU Chairperson expresses concern about re-emergence of coups

Tema– Senegalese President, Macky Sall, who has been elected as the new African Union (AU) Chairperson, by the Heads of State and Government of the AU, has expressed concern about the re-emergence of coup d’etats in the continent.

He described the seizure of political power by soldiers in some of the member countries as a major attack on democracy and institutional stability in the continent.

This was at the 35th Ordinary Session of the AU held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

President Sall takes over from President Felix- Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who has served out his one-year term.

An AU document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema on Monday said the election was witnessed by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat; the Deputy Chairperson of Commission, Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa; representatives of the United Nations (UN) and the Regional Economic Commission.

President Sall said “as our Union celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, we can be proud of the progress made under major initiatives. At the same time, our challenges remain numerous and pressing”.

He mentioned some the challenges as peace and security, the fight against terrorism, environmental protection, health, and economic and social development.

He underlined his commitment “to work together with all member countries in the exercise of our mandate”.

Outgoing President Tshisekedi wished the new AU Chairperson a successful Chairmanship and thanked the Heads of States of Member States for their support during his tenure.

He highlighted some of the achievements under his chairmanship and these included economic empowerment of women and the youth, the enhancement of democracy, and good governance.

“Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: Strengthening Agro-Food Systems, Health and Social Protection Systems for the Acceleration of Human, Social and Economic Development” was the theme chosen for the session.

Source: Ghana News Agency

E-Levy: NDC’s “Yentua Demo” underway in Accra

Accra,– Hundreds of people, mainly members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other political and social groupings under the Coalition of Concerned Ghanaians (CCG) Thursday poured onto the streets of Accra in protest of government’s proposed 1.

5 per cent levy on electronic transactions.

The protest, dubbed “Yentua” is to demonstrate disapproval to the tax policy, which is before Parliament.

The demonstrators, made up of Okada Riders Association, Market Women Groups, Kayayo Association, Concerned Students Association, among others, gathered at the Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Accra, around 0700 hours, clad in red for the street protest, which started at 1000 hours.

Leaders of the Coalition asserted that the proposed levy would add to the “existing hardships” Ghanaians were facing and called on government to explore other alternatives to generate revenue and cut down on its “extravagant” expenditure.

Mr Edem Agbana, Deputy National Youth Organiser of the NDC, said: “Government do not need to tax already suffering Ghanaians to generate revenue.”

“They should rather cut down on their extravagant expenditure, which is having a heavy toll on the State’s coffers and not to exploit Ghanaians through E-levy,” he added.

Mr Samuel George Nartey, Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram Constituency, said the Minority in Parliament would continue to resist the passing of the levy.

He said the Government should consider seeking external support from the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Joshua Anum Abio, a member of the Fishermen Association, said Government should drop the levy not to burden the “suffering” public.

He also asked the Government to subsidise the price of premix fuel to aid the fishing industry.

The 1.75 per cent E-levy has generated controversy since it was announced in the 2022 Budget and has sharply divided Parliament, with the Minority vowing to vote against its passage into law.

The Government has, however, announced its intention to reduce the proposed 1.75 percent to 1.5 percent and re-present it before Parliament.

The levy is to allow the Government to generate revenue from electronic transactions, including mobile money.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has explained that the E-levy is a “deep request” from the President to create jobs, build more infrastructure to improve the general well-being of Ghanaians.

He said the current situation where only a percentage of Ghanaians paid taxes was not favourable to realising the rapid socio-economic aspirations of the country.

“The E-levy will make all Ghanaians responsible in paying taxes and reinforce their moral rights to demand for more social amenities and development,” he said at a Town Hall Meeting on the Levy, at Takoradi, last week.

The E-levy, he emphasised, would help boost education delivery, strengthen internal security, health care services, as well as other government flagship programmes, especially the “YouStart”programme.

Less than 10 percent of Ghana’s 30.8 million population pay direct taxes.

“Only 2,364,348 are bearing the burden of the entire population as taxpayers as of August 2021,” the Finance Minister noted in his Budget Statement to Parliament on November 17, 2021.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Intensify education on role of NPA– Wa-Naa

Wa-– The overlord of the Waala Traditional Area, Naa Fuseinin Pelpou, has stated that some Ghanaians had little or no knowledge about the role of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) to national development.

“Some people do not know how the NPA work affects their lives, and they see its work of interest to only intellectuals. Unfortunately, the intellectuals mostly engage in partisan politics in discussing the work and achievements of the NPA, thereby clouding the issues and getting the ordinary man in the streets to lose interest in otherwise very important government machinery”, he said.

Naa Pelpou, therefore, urged the NPA to intensify education on its roles and activities to enable Ghanaians to appreciate its work better.

The Wa-Naa made this statement during a courtesy call on him at his palace by Dr Mustapha Hamid, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority on Wednesday.

He assured the Authority of their readiness to co-operate and support to enable the NPA to serve Ghanaians better.

Naa Pelpou commended the government’s social interventions and pro-poor policies, which he said had impacted positively on the livelihoods of the people.

He was confident that but for the debilitating effects of COVID-19, the country would have attained a higher appreciable level of development.

He also praised the government for instituting measures to stem the pandemic and urged the people to continue to adhere strictly to the protocols, as that was the only way to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Naa Pelpuo, however, noted that despite the positive impacts of those interventions in the region and in the Wa Municipality, a lot more was still needed in the area of school furniture for some schools where pupils sit on all sorts of objects as seats to learn.

He said there were also inadequate mechanised boreholes for some communities in the area, which were still lacking portable and appealed to government and other benevolent organisations to come and support them.

Naa Pelpou appealed to the government to make available a generator to the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs to provide electricity when the supply from the national grid was interrupted during meetings.

Dr Abdul Mustapha Hamid said as part of his tour, he was to visit petroleum depots, filling stations and all other petroleum product facilities in the region to ensure that consumers were served with correct and high-quality products at the same price everywhere in the country.

The NPA was also to ensure that petroleum products were available everywhere in the country.

On the high cost of petroleum products, he said it was a phenomenon on the world market, as petroleum producing countries create scarcity to ensure that prices go up.

He said the government was determined to ensure Ghanaians do not suffer financially as a result of price hikes.

Earlier during a courtesy on Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister expressed regret at the frequent smuggling of petroleum products from the region to neighbouring countries.

He also spoke about the adulteration of petroleum products in the region and appealed to the NPA to intensify its monitoring roles to help address the menace.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Meeting to decide transport fares postponed over bereavement of GPRTU Chairman

Accra,- A planned engagement between the Government and commercial transport operators over proposed increment in transport fares on Thursday has been cancelled.

The meeting, scheduled for Thursday, February 10, 2022, has been postponed to Monday, February 14, 2022, due to the death of a relative of the Chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Mr Godfred Abulbire, General Secretary, GPRTU, told the Ghana News Agency.

Nana Nimako Bresiamah, Chairman, GPRTU, was supposed to lead the GPRTU leadership in the discussions with the Government, Mr Abulbire said.

The executive members of the Coalition of Private Transport Operators met Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport on Monday, February 07, 2022 but the meeting ended inclusively.

Negotiation over a proposal by the transport operators to increase transport fares by 30 per cent was consequently deferred to Thursday, February 10, to allow for further consultations with relevant stakeholders.

Mr Abulbire said the GPRTU on Thursday morning duly notified the Transport Minister about their inability to appear at the meeting and asked for it to be rescheduled to Monday.

“We informed the Minister earlier but unfortunately some of the Executives who did not know that the meeting had been cancelled came from Kumasi only to be told that it had been postponed to Monday,” he said.

The Coalition of Private Transport Operators consists of Ghana Private Road and Transport Union (GPRTU), Association of Tipper Truck Drivers, Harbor Transport Owners, Ghana National Cargo Transport Association, Ghana Committed Drivers Association, Concerned Drivers Association, Digital Drivers, Commercial motorbike riders, popularly referred to as Okada, and the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, among others.

The transport operators have proposed a 30 per cent increment in transport fares, citing hikes in fuel prices, spare parts and other variables as basis for the proposal.

The Coalition said a market survey it conducted recently showed that the prices of the variables that affected its operations, including spare parts and lubricants had shot up by at least 35 per cent over the period.

They said the continuous hikes in fuel prices had taken a toll on their businesses, hence the need for an upward adjustment in transport fares.

They initially appealed to the Government to scrap some taxes on petroleum products to cushion the burden on consumers and enable them sustain their businesses.

The Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy (PRSL), which had been suspended from November 2021, to the end of January 2022, was reintroduced this month, February.

Fuel prices have gone up by at least 50 pesewas per litre at the pumps since February 01, 2022.

Petrol and diesel are currently being sold at an average GH₵ 7.3 and GH₵ 7.4 per litre respectively.

The hike has been blamed on rising cost of Brent crude on the international market, with some analysts projecting that fuel prices could hit GH₵8.0 per litre by March this year if the situation on the world market progressed.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ACGN calls on African governments to enhance corporate governance ecosystems

Accra, Jan. 10, GNA – The African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN) has called on governments in Africa to enhance the corporate governance ecosystem by supporting the establishment of governance regulatory frameworks and supervisory institutions.

The ACGN said there was a need for the establishment of a sound legislative framework to ensure adequate enforcement of laws through effective monitoring mechanisms.

The promotion and implementation of good corporate governance frameworks, the ACGN said, was instrumental in achieving investor confidence for the development of the continent.

Mr Rockson Kwesi Dogbegah, Board Chairman, African Corporate Governance Network, who made the remarks remotely during a stakeholder workshop and formation of the Institute of Directors – Liberia, said there was urgent need for governments to create more attractive and conducive environments for investments and businesses to thrive.

The hybrid stakeholders conference, held in-person in Monrovia, Liberia and via webinar, was organised by the ACGN in collaboration with Africabio’s Executive Round Table and Women on Boards Network, Liberia (WOBNL).

The objective of establishing an Institute of Directors in Liberia includes among others, the development of national capacity in good corporate governance, professional directors’ training in corporate governance, championing advocacy, promoting ethical behaviours and creating the opportunity for networking locally and internationally.

Mr Dogbegah said Africa faced the immediate challenge of how to reverse the persistent and increasing poverty and unemployment levels, enhance productivity, improve quality infrastructure and favourable environments for investments and thriving businesses.

He noted that there was a global consensus that the implementation of the highest standard of corporate governance was crucial and critical to economic and sustainable development and social transformation of the continent.

Accordingly, he said, as part of its strategic interventions, the ACGN was embarking on the activities in collaboration with stakeholders to enhance good corporate governance outcomes in Africa, including the establishment of corporate governance institutions throughout the continent and the standardisation of corporate governance training across Africa.

Mr Dogbegah, also the President of the Institute of Directors Ghana (IoD-Ghana), observed that the introduction and implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presented opportunities and challenges, which could generate wealth and employment for the continent’s youthful population.

Also, he said, the responsibility of building thriving and successful businesses rested with boards and directors who were required to build an ecosystem of diverse leaders while solving the continent’s real problems through robust and sustainable corporate governance frameworks.

He asserted that the African continent continued to experience corporate governance breaches, which resulted in the inability to create wealth sustainably.

The ACGN Board Chairman said African countries were at various levels of maturity regarding the adoption and implementation of corporate governance codes and principles.

Therefore, he said: “Good governance is neither a stagnant board goal that countries should strive to attain nor a one-sided framework that can simply be copied and pasted, but to continuously adopt changing environments and implement measures that promote good governance practices.”

Mr Jolue Aloysius Tarlue, Jr., Executive Governor, Central Bank of Liberia, who spoke at the event in Monrovia, Liberia, said greater accountability, transparency and responsibilities of directors and senior management were vital tools in corporate governance practices needed for the growth of African businesses. 

He said the failures of corporate bodies over the years, had necessitated the institution of best corporate governance practices, adding that it was paramount to apply those tenets of corporate governance to safeguard economies of unscrupulous individual managers and institutions whose actions had caused significant financial and economic losses in most countries. 

The Liberian Central Bank Governor said sound corporate governance, culture and behaviour was indispensable and an added inherent necessity for strong private and public sector institutions and by extension strong and vibrant economies.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Rice yield in UER drops due to shortage of fertiliser

Bolgatanga,- Rice yield in the Upper East Region in the 2021 cropping season dropped by 2,521 metric tonnes due to a shortage of fertiliser.

The scarcity of fertiliser at the beginning and peak of the farming season forced most farmers to apply inadequate quantities of fertiliser to rice plants coupled with the impact of climate change affected production.

Mr Joshua Diedong, Regional Crops Officer, who recounted the issues that affected production last year, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga said the floods also had a toll on most rice plants.

“The pattern of rain affected the production cycles of rice where there were times of drought and times of flooding which carried rice away from the fields and submerged other fields”, he added.

He said though there was consistent support from government, in the form of seed, to farmers for agricultural production in the region, with needed extension activities, the volumes in production for rice in 2021 reduced because of the fertiliser shortage.

According to him, the region received and distributed the 13,000(45 KG/bag) bags of rice seed to farmers across the region in the cropping season compared with 8,000 bags of seeds in 2020 whilst in 2019, a total of 6000 bags were distributed.

Urea fertiliser which helps in seed formation was also scarce across the region, affecting production volumes which reduced to 127,261 metric tonnes as against 129,782 metric tonnes in 2020.

The Urea fertiliser supply for rice production in 2020 was a total of 495,429 bags while in 2021 only 46,400 bags were received and distributed to farmers, thereby accounting for the shortfall in production volumes.

Mr Diedong indicated that the area put under cultivation in 2019 was 42,000 hectares with a total yield of 2.97m/t per hectare, in 2020, the area cultivated was over 43,239 hectares with yields of 3.0 m/t while in 2021, 43,000 hectares were cultivated with yields per hectare at 2.95m/t.

To address the challenges, the crop officer advocated for an increased collaboration between Government and agricultural development partner organisations to invest in rice valley development to help commercial rice farmers to increase production.

According to him there were more than 15 major rice valleys in the Builsa South District and when adequately developed and put to use, could change the fortunes of the region.

He noted that performance of rice production hinged on adequate mechanisation services, and therefore called for planters, combine harvesters and mini machines for timely harvest of rice from fields.

For strategies in the 2022 cropping season, the crop Officer said the Agriculture department would increase sensitisation on the use of organic fertiliser and encourage farmers to adopt it as an alternative to improve and support rice production.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sege MP inspects ongoing clinic project at Ada Senior Technical

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Sege, Mr Christian Corletey Otuteye, has inspected progress of work on a clinic he is constructing for the Ada Senior High Technical School (ASTECH) in the Greater Accra Region.

Addressing teachers and students after the inspection, Mr Otuteye said the health of the teachers and students was paramount, hence the need to fund the construction of the clinic for the school.

“I have taken this initiative to build the clinic so that both students and teachers will no longer go out of the school premises for basic medical attention,” he said.

The MP noted that though it was a minor project a lot of resources would be committed for its successful completion and lauded the effort of the contractor in ensuring that work was progressing steadily.

He donated 20 pieces of streetlights to improve on the school’s lighting system, saying: “I have delivered the promise I made to you at your speech and prize giving day to provide you with streetlights and that is what you have seen today”.

Mr Otuteye pledged to provide 100 bags of cement to support the construction of a fence-wall around the school to protect its lands from intruders.

He urged the students and teachers to be vigilant and report anyone found destroying school property to the authorities.

He advised the students to strive for academic excellence by taking their studies seriously.

Source: Ghana News Agency