World Vision’s ‘ENOUGH’ campaign to focus on improving food security for children – National Director


Madam Laura Del Valle, the National Director at World Vision Ghana (WVG), says their ‘ENOUGH’ campaign will focus on improving food security for vulnerable children in society.

The three-year ‘ENOUGH’ campaign was launched in Accra with $3.5 million committed to ending child hunger and malnutrition in Ghana.

Madam Laura believes that urgent steps must be taken to address the rising national stunting rate (18%), underweight children (12%), and the 237,000 people projected to be food insecure in the Upper East and West, as reported in the recent Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis.

‘The vision of the campaign is to build a world where every child enjoys enough nourishing food so they can thrive. The campaign will also contribute to making children visible and heard in hunger, nutrition, and food security-related policies at all levels.

‘We are poised to give more children better food security, nutrition, and resilience through prioritised services such as nutrition-appropriate food and ca
sh assistance,’ she said.

Madam Laura also noted that they hoped to reach more children through the school meal programmes by delivering nutritious food that is ethically, sustainably, and locally sourced.

‘With our proven track record, technical expertise, and dedicated staff, we believe we have ‘ENOUGH’ to end child hunger and malnutrition.

‘However, the workload of this campaign is enormous, and we can only overcome it if all hands are on deck. All key stakeholders represented here will drive this campaign; the government, donors, development partners, CSOs, NGOs, the media, children, development partners, and faith leaders,’ she said.

Mr Alexander Akwasi Acquah, Deputy Minister for Health, congratulated World Vision for the innovative ‘ENOUGH’ campaign and pledged the ministry’s support in their quest to end child hunger and malnutrition.

‘As a critical sector of the economy of Ghana, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with agencies and partners, seeks to improve the health status of all the pe
ople living in Ghana, thereby contributing to the government’s vision of achieving universal health coverage.

‘I am particularly happy to be associated with this campaign because it provides guidance to support parents, caregivers and service providers on how to give children the best start in life and promote dietary diversity through improving nutrition-sensitive agriculture among the target households,’ the Deputy Health Minister stated.

Source: Ghana News Agency

African Union Development Agency outdoors Guide for Country Impact Assessments


The African Union Development Agency with support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched a ‘Guide for Country Impact Assessments’ for Accelerated Industrial Development for Africa (AIDA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Guide offers assessments tools and indicators for national, regional and continental authorities to evaluate the impact and progress of the AIDA and AfCFTA in their respective countries and the region as a whole.

Madam Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency, at the launch, said the assessment guide would help countries and development partners to work from the same template in advancing trade, industry and economic integration on the continent.

Also, it supports countries to identify key areas for improvement, foster deeper economic integration, and align their industrial policies with continental objectives.

She said this would enable member countries develop policies and strategies in an
evidence-based assessment and needs, knowing where to prioritise specific policies and interventions in the AIDA/AfCFTA agenda.

Madam Bekele-Thomas said the guide served as a navigational aid for member states in steering high-level actions to counter risks, bolster readiness, and advocate policy reforms to unlock the potential of African trade and industrial growth.

‘For instance, findings from the guide could indicate that a particular industrial sector is poised for export growth under the AfCFTA, but that certain infrastructure improvements are required to competitively serve increased regional demand,’ she added.

Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, AfCFTA Secretariat, said the guide would be a tool to enable them to assess their progress in championing continental economic integration and development.

He stressed that the guide would help identify key markets and areas of Africa’s economy where countries could take advantage of addressing the continent’s industrial development challenges.

‘It is cle
ar that the AfCFTA is one of the tools of the African Union deployed to fight poverty, to push back the lack of progress amongst end-to-end countries and to ensure that we have a development blueprint as a continent,’ he added.

Mr. Toshiyuki Nakamura, Special Advisor to the President of JICA, said as Africa embarked on its trade and industrial transformation, it was imperative that it measured and evaluated its impact to ensure that it was on the right path. 

He urged policy makers to harness the power of data and analysis to drive positive change and create a more sustainable future for all Africans. 

‘Let us use this Guide as a tool to navigate our actions and inform our decisions, ensuring that AIDA and AfCFTA are implemented in a way that leads to inclusive and sustainable growth across the continent,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Akufo-Addo’s legacy is debt and excruciating pain for Ghanaians – NDC MP


Deputy Minority Leader of Parliament Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah recently criticized Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh for comparing President Akufo-Addo’s record to that of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

The Ellembelle MP emphasized Nkrumah’s unparalleled legacy, especially in the Ashanti Region, with projects like KNUST, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, and more.

He praised Nkrumah for elevating Ghana to a shining star in Africa and leading the country to independence. He also stated that after more than 60 years, today, over 30 percent of the power and energy in Ghana is because of the legacy of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

He highlighted Nkrumah’s continental impact, including being voted leader of the millennium and propelling African countries to independence.

In contrast, he pointed out President Akufo-Addo’s challenges, mentioning increased debt, hardship, and corruption. Buah’s comparison underscores the belief in Nkrumah’s exceptional achievements and the perceived shortcomings in Akufo-Addo’s administration.

‘The lega
cy of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is unmatched. Today, if we start talking about Kwame Nkrumah, we can talk about a region that, frankly, was not his stronghold and talk about the legacy he left there. Let’s talk about the Ashanti Region and what Osagyefo did.

“Kwame University of Science and Technology, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi Jute Factory, Kumasi Shoe Factory, Kumasi Central Market, Accra-Kumasi Highway, and many other things he did in the Ashanti Region. This is just one region I am talking about.

“If we talk about his monumental achievements in the country, after more than 60 years, today, over 30 percent of the power and energy in Ghana is because of the legacy and the vision of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

“Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s leadership was not limited to this country. He made Ghana the shining star of Africa. That is why he was voted the African of the Millennium because of his achievements and leadership role. How he propelled so many African countries to be independent.”

He
continued, “On the other hand, what is the record of Akufo-Addo? This is the president who has brought us into debt. This is the president who has brought us into hardship and excruciating pain, and the economic hardship has never been unmatched.

“This is the president, and under his leadership, we’ve seen corruption that is completely something we couldn’t ever imagine. This is a president who has divided this country. This is the president who has frankly bastardized every institution of this country,’ he said in a media interview.

Source: Ghana Web

NDC has solutions to rescue the country from the current economic crisis – Mahama


Former President John Dramani Mahama, the flagbearer of the NDC, has stated that the party has solutions to rescue the country from the ongoing economic crisis.

Speaking during a mini durbar as part of his visit to the Chiefs and Elders of La-Bawaleshie and Mempeasem in the Ayawaso West Constituency, Mahama urged the NPP government to concentrate on improving the economy instead of making empty promises.

‘The nation is currently in crisis, and the next NDC government is poised to transform the economy. Times have never been as hard as this; our nation is in crisis, and young people are sinking in unemployment. A recent report stated that 550,000 people in Ghana are living in poverty, and almost 2 million are not in proper employment. There are high unemployment rates.

‘That is why we want to bring the National Apprenticeship Program. It is important for the youth to acquire skills; if you want to travel, you need a skill to survive.

‘They are asking us to give them another turn in office while making excu
ses to rationalise why we need additional taxes. It is enough; Ghanaians are wide awake; the NPP cannot lie to Ghanaians again.

‘We need an experienced driver. If you have two buses, one with an experienced driver and one with an inexperienced driver, which one will you go for?’ he asked.

He also expressed concern over the government’s refusal to compensate victims of the Ayawaso shooting incident in 2019.

Source: Ghana Web

Proposed tax amendments for consideration in the 2024 mid-year budget review


In accordance with Article 179 (8) of the 1992 Constitution and as stated in Section 28 of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA), 2016 (Act 921), the Minister for Finance shall, not later than the 31st of July of each financial year, prepare and submit to Parliament a mid-year fiscal policy review.

The mid-year fiscal policy review shall include the following information: a brief overview of recent macroeconomic developments by the Government; an update of macroeconomic forecasts undertaken by the Government; an analysis of the total revenue, expenditure, and financing performance for a period up to the first six months of the financial year; a presentation of a revised budget outlook for the unexpired term of the financial year, and the implication of the revised budget outlook for the Medium-Term Fiscal and Expenditure Framework if necessary; and, where necessary, plans for submitting a proposed supplementary budget for approval by Parliament; and an overview of the implementation of the annual budget
and the budgets of covered entities.

This requirement affords the minister the opportunity to introduce or amend existing tax laws and fiscal policies, which require review for effective implementation. As a tax practitioner, I deemed it fit to pen out some provisions in our tax laws that I believe require some sort of amendment for effective tax administration.

This article is to raise some observations made in our tax laws that, in my opinion, will require some form of amendment to ensure effective tax administration without posing an arduous and laborious compliance burden on some taxpayers, which has the propensity of affecting the businesses of some taxpayers.

Brief history of taxation of foreign exchange gains and losses:

The erstwhile Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592) as amended, and its accompanied regulation, the Internal Revenue Regulations, 2001 (L.I. 1675), provided that only realised exchange losses and gains were to be considered in tax computations. It explained further that ‘a foreign c
urrency exchange gain or loss is realised when the liability under a contract in foreign currency is discharged or when the right to receive a foreign currency under a contract is satisfied by the actual receipt.’

Although this rule seems simple, it was difficult to follow because taxpayers were required to track every unrealized exchange difference encountered in previous years to ascertain when the liability was discharged, an asset was realised, and an actual benefit was received.

The promulgation of the Income Tax Act 2015 (Act 896) that repealed Act 592 also had rules on tax accounting for financial costs, which include financial losses and gains. The combined reading of sections 16, 25, 131, and 133 of Act 896 as amended gave the effect that financial gains and losses are to be ascertained in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) with a restriction on the quantum of financial loss deduction, which can be taken in any year of assessment, with guidance on how long any unrelieve
d losses can be carried forward.

Frankly speaking, these current rules were working perfectly for taxpayers, tax practitioners, and tax administrators until the passage of the Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 2023 (Act 1094). Section 4 of Act 1094 amended Section 25 of Act 896 by adding sub-sections 4 to 7 to Section 25.

Sections 25(6) and (7) sort to reintroduce some of the rules which existed under Act 592 by disallowing unrealised foreign exchange losses as a legitimate deduction and permanently disallowing a deduction of exchange loss arising from

transactions between resident persons. These new additional rules to be applied in addition to the existing rules are quite problematic, with some institutions being severely affected by the effects of sections 25(6) and (7). One can understand that these new additional rules were probably introduced due to the poor performance of the Ghanaian cedi in 2022 to help stem the depreciation of the cedi without recourse to its unintended effect on taxpayers.

Area of fo
cus for my analysis:

My analysis of some tax provisions that should see amendment will be centred on Section 25 of the Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) as amended, with emphasis on Sub-sections 6 and 7 as outlined below:

25(6) An unrealised foreign exchange loss shall not be allowed as a deduction.

25(7) A foreign exchange loss arising from a transaction between two resident persons shall not be allowed as a deduction.

Unrealized foreign exchange gains and losses:

In summary, foreign exchange gains or losses occur when a person holds assets or liabilities in foreign currencies and there are exchange rate movements between the underlying currency and the functional currency. Depending on the direction of the exchange rate movement, foreign exchange gains or losses will be created on those assets or liabilities. Such exchange gains or losses created could be either realised or unrealized.

The gains or losses are realised when the underlying assets or liabilities have been settled or redeemed before the end
of the reporting period. Unrealized gains or losses are the gains or losses on foreign currency-denominated transactions that have not been settled or realised as of the reporting date. This would mean that the underlying payment of the liability has not been made or received, or the underlying assets have not been realised prior to the close of the accounting period.

Section 25(6) of Act 896, as amended:

This section states that an unrealised foreign exchange loss shall not be allowed as a deduction. Although rules on the tax treatment of unrealized exchange losses and gains are issued hand in hand because income and cost arise on the same principles, it was bamboozling to see that sub-section 6 made no mention of any new rules on the treatment of unrealized foreign exchange gains. One may have opined that taxpayers can still rely on Section 25(1-5) to exclude unrealized gains from their income for assessment, but I beg to differ that such grounds will NOT hold for reasons that Section 8(3) of Act 896 prov
ides that ‘a specific deduction rule shall take precedence where more than one deduction rule applies’ and Section 25(1-5) are general rules on accounting for foreign currency and financial instruments, with Sub-section 6 of Section 25 being a specific rule on the treatment of unrealized foreign exchange loss with no mention of unrealized foreign exchange gain.

So, since nothing was mentioned about the treatment of unrealized foreign exchange gains, one cannot exclude them from its income for tax purposes.

Even though, in principle, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) may agree and, by extension, interpret Section 25(6), both unrealized foreign exchange gains should be excluded from the income of the taxpayer in the same way that the unrealized foreign exchange losses are also to be disallowed as a deduction. What is missing now is an amendment to Section 25(6) to affirm such a fair interpretation.

Section 25(7): Disallowance of foreign exchange loss arising from transactions between two resident persons. On
hindsight, this policy intervention is laudable as part of the measures policymakers came up with to deal with the depreciation of the cedi against other foreign currencies in the country, especially in 2022, when the cedi depreciation had gone haywire. But the unintended consequences of the policy on the operations of other legitimate businesses that deal a lot in foreign currencies with resident persons were not factored into the drafting of the amendment. The problem of complying with this

provision includes:

The definition of resident as used in the provision. Is it the English definition of resident or the tax definition as outlined in Section 101 of Act 896 as amended? Using the former definition will be easy to apply but using the latter will leave

more questions to be answered. As a taxman, I believe the later definition as outlined in Section 101 of Act 896 should apply since we are interpreting an income tax law.

Is the determination of the residency status supposed to be made at the time the tr
ansaction is being entered into or at the time the loss deduction has been made? We must remember that the residency of a person is determined per year

of assessment and not a one-off determination. One can be non-resident in the 2023 year of assessment and be resident in the 2024 year of assessment, and vice versa.

How do institutions like Banks and other financial institutions that transact with their huge customer base on transactions like loans, deposits, and other financial instruments involving foreign currency exchange comply with this?

law? This compliance requirement is too burdensome for such taxpayers and should have been excluded from this law.

Conclusion:

From the discussions espoused above, I conclude that the introduction of section 25(6) of Act 896 as amended in 2023 was needless since it has created more confusion and even seeks to stifle taxpayers more by denying them deduction of

unrealised foreign exchange losses, tax their unrealised foreign exchange gains, while Section 16 of Act 8
96 still limits the amount of deduction of financial cost they can take in a year of assessment. Although Section 25(7) is to prevent persons residing in Ghana from transacting among themselves in foreign currencies as a means of controlling the rapid depreciation of the Ghanaian cedi, for which this policy may achieve some success, not exempting some businesses like banks and some other financial institutions whose business is to transact with resident persons in foreign currencies is erroneous and ought to be remediated.

Recommendations:

Based on my assessment of the issues raised above, I recommend among the following for consideration:

The Finance Ministry and GRA must consider amending section 25 of Act 896 as amended by deleting Subsection 6 and maintaining the status-quo that existed before the passage of Act 1094 in 2023 or amending subsection 6 by including

the exclusion of unrealised foreign exchange gains from the income of taxpayers.

The Finance Ministry and GRA must consider amending Section
25 of Act 896 as amended by reviewing Sub-section 7 to exclude banks and other relevant financial institutions from Section 25(7) of Act 896 as amended.

Institutions like the Ghana Association of Banks (GAB) and the Ghana Association of Forex Bureaux (GAFORB) should petition the Minister for Finance for exemption from Section 25(7) of Act 896 as amended in this 2024 mid-year budget review.

Other tax practitioners should add their voice to the discourse to drive home our expectation of the necessary tax amendments we anticipate in the 2024 mid-year budget review.

Source: Ghana Web

GRNMA proposes cancellation of certificate, diploma nursing programmes


The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association (GRNMA) is making a strong case for the cancellation of certificate and diploma nursing programmes, advocating for all nursing education to be elevated to the degree level.

This significant shift aims to address the challenges in the country’s healthcare sector by ensuring a more qualified and professional nursing workforce.

Dr. David Tenkorang Twum, General Secretary of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, as reported by myjoyonline.com, has stressed the need for a more skilled nursing population, stating that the current system is “bizarre” with three different levels of entry into the nursing and midwifery profession.

He highlighted the dominance of auxiliary nurses, who make up almost 60% of the workforce, and stressed the need for degree-prepared nurses to become the majority.

‘We think that the majority must be degree-prepared,’ Tenkorang Twum stated, stressing the need for a more skilled nursing population.

‘We have to cancel ce
rtificate programmes, we have to cancel diploma programs, and train nurses and midwives at the degree level,’ he added.

Drawing comparisons with Nigeria, where a first degree is mandatory for registered nurses and midwives, Dr. David Tenkorang Twum argued that Ghana has the necessary resources and educational institutions to implement similar standards.

“We have the human resources and the schools so we can do that. The diploma and degree-trained nurses and midwives are professional nurses,” he noted.

The GRNMA’s recommendation to elevate nursing education to the degree level is a crucial step towards enhancing the quality of Ghana’s healthcare system.

By prioritizing degree-prepared nurses, Ghana can improve patient outcomes, reduce maternal mortality, and align with international standards.

The successful implementation of this proposal will require collaboration among stakeholders, but the potential benefits to the healthcare system and the nation as a whole make it a worthwhile endeavour.

Source: G
hana Web

Bonoman Institute solicits stakeholders inputs to set Bono Region for real development


A maiden stakeholder consultative meeting to design a workable approach to consciously tackle issues of real development in the Bono Region was held over the weekend in Sunyani.

The meeting to collect diverse views and opinions from participants to purposely draw an implementable plan and agenda towards the holistic development of the Bono Region was on the theme ‘Intentional Set-up of the Bono Region for Real Development.’

It was organized by the Bonomman Institute, an organization established to bring all the indigenous people of Bono together as well as spearhead and facilitate initiatives towards the holistic development of the region.

The event was attended by chiefs and queens, academics, clergy, the media, political figures, sports development personalities, and businessmen.

Kwaku Ansu Gyeabour, the founder and Executive Director of Affairs for the Institute, observed in his welcome address that culture, domestic tourism, agriculture, and sports were the economic backbone of the Bono Region.

In hi
s closing remarks, Nana Kusi Boadum, the Chief of Penkwase, advised parents and guardians to consciously introduce the Bono language to their children through their endeavors to foster the culture and identity of the Bono people.

The Chief emphasized that basic schools, churches, fun clubs, organizations, and associations should visit the domestic tourist sites in the region to support their contributions to societal and regional growth.

Source: Ghana Web

Watch as Otumfuo observes Awukudae at his residence in UK


Having arrived in the United Kingdom on July 13, 2024, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, celebrated the 5th Awukudae Festival in London on Wednesday, July 17, 2024.

Videos shared by Opemsuo Radio show the Asantehene sitting in state at his Henley residence, where he received subjects of Asanteman from across the UK who came to pay homage to the occupant of the Golden Stool.

In a short address, Otumfuo advised his subjects to eschew arrogance and embrace unity and humility as people who have traveled to live in a foreign land.

‘Allow transparency in all things for truth and peace to prevail. I abhor arrogance; humility is what I stand for,’ Otumfuo said.

Otumfuo is in the UK on the invitation of the British Museum. He is expected to deliver a lecture as part of his activities during the visit.

Source: Ghana Web