Thursday, April 26, 2018

Republic Bank launches officially

HFC Bank has officially rebranded as Republic Bank Ghana Limited to reflect the brand name of its parent company, Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL), and reinforces the corresponding alignment.
All its subsidiaries have also gone through the rebranding exercise and will now be known as Republic Investments Limited, Republic Boafo, Republic Brokerage, and Republic Securities respectively. 

The Managing Director of the Bank, Mr. Anthony Jordan, speaking at the official corporate launch in Accra said the new identity, Republic Bank, reflects the bank’s capabilities, innovation, energy and new-found aggression. 

“We aim to be a key player in the Corporate Banking sector and the preferred family bank in the retail circle. Republic Financial Holdings Limited has one of the best product and service offerings in the world, so part of our rebranding mandate is to enhance our product offering and introduce some of the features and benefits currently being enjoyed by customers in other Republic Bank territories, in Ghana.”  

He stated: “The rebranding is a strong signal that we are here to stay, and to ensure we enhance our effectiveness in every sphere of our banking operations. Banking is about forging relationships, and in this area without a doubt we are strong - and we intend to capitalise fully on that. 

“The relationships and superior customer service that we will improve upon even further will most definitely separate us from any competition.  This rebranding will reassure and boost our customers’ confidence in us that we are a global bank and able meet all their financial needs.”

Mr. Jordan added: “We want to be a key player in the country’s Oil and Gas sector by being the bank of choice for all the local content providers. We also want to be known in the retail space as your preferred family bank. A bank that cares for everyone regardless of where you are in your family life-cycle and has the right products and services for you - what we like to call ‘from the cradle to the golden years’.” 

He reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to making customer service the central focus of its operations.
“One of our primary focuses as a bank is Customer Service. We intend to strengthen our relationships and partnerships with our customers through a cogent analysis of their needs and ensuring we provide a range of quality products and services to meet those needs, as well have a robust and well-trained body of staff at the ready to meet those needs.

“I wish to assure all stakeholders that Republic Bank Ghana Ltd. has put all the necessary plans in place through a further rights issue to meet the new Bank of Ghana Minimum Capital Requirement of GH¢400million for commercial banks.”

The bank also unveilled its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, dubbed the ‘Power to Make a Difference’. 

The programme runs under four core pillars: the ‘Power to Care’, the ‘Power to Help’, the ‘Power to Learn’ and the ‘Power to Succeed’, and will be a major plank in the bank’s operations going forward.

“As we meet the needs of our employees, customers and shareholders in a responsible and caring manner, we are aware that we must leave this world a better place - and we achieve this by helping build successful and thriving communities in the territories we serve,” Mr. Jordan said.

To this end, he reiterated that this rebranding exercise marks the start of an exciting journey and assured Customers and the General Public that the bank is moving toward new horizons in Banking and in Social Investment as he unveiled the architectural plan for a new school block to be built for the people of Berase in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem (KEEA) Municipal Assembly of the Central Region.

Mr. Nigel Baptiste-President, Republic Bank Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL), said the rebranding is the culmination of a transition that started more than four years ago when HFC Bank became part of the RFHL Group. 

He indicated that Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited has already begun to make good on this promise with initiatives like last year’s Trade Facilitation Mission, which provides local and regional business leaders with networking opportunities and promises to bolster growth and competitiveness of both the bank and local business community. 

Mr. Baptiste also indicated that RFHL is committed to ensuring Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited complies with the Bank of Ghana’s GH¢400million Minimum Capital Requirement for commercial banks well ahead of the deadline. 

With the strength and expertise of the entire RFHL group behind them, it would appear that for the newly-minted Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited, the sky is the limit, he said.

The Group, which is headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, has subsidiaries in Grenada, Guyana, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Barbados and Suriname. The Bank is the most profitable bank in the English-speaking part of the Caribbean, with over 180 years of banking experience.

The bank is rated BBB by Standard and Poor’s and has over $68 billion in assets.

Second edition of Advance Pharmacy Initiative in Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University takes-off

College of Pharmacy at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), USA has collaborated with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)  to offer intenship training program for pharmacy student aimed at deepening bilateral relations of the two countries.
The initiative in its second edition will facilitate 26 pharmacy students and four professional workers to visit FAMU,Florida, USA for an enchange program this year.

The exchange program which has been described as an ambitious agenda for deepening bilateral relations between Ghana and Florida, USA, through health education for university students, will be targeted at allowing students and participants to acquaint themselves with current trends in global health care systems.

It will focus on disease epidemics, modern pharmaceutical practices, cultural exchanges and environmental issues, and will be aimed at improving the knowledge capacity of the students about health system to enable them give back to their country upon successful completion of the program.

The lead initiator of the program, FAMU’s  College of Pharmacy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the sister university in Ghana--KNUST to explore exchange program in the area of pharmacy education for students from both countries to study abroad, relating to academic and research affiliations.

Dr. Yussif Mijirah Dokurugu, DrPH, MPH, MA,  Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and faculty  Advisor of Student Association of Global Health College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at FAMU , who is currently in Ghana on Medical leave initiated the program last year with 13 KNUST students hopes to expand the program in collaboration with KNUST.

Explaining about the initiative in Accra, confirmed that it is an ambitious agenda being explored by the school, “one that the college is tackling through an academic and cultural exchanges to broaden the horizon of the next generation of health care practitioners.”

He anticipates that the selected students from both sides will be offered the chance to get a better understanding of the best practices and systems that are in place in both nations, and allow them to bring back new ideas.

Dr.  Dokurugu adding that “overseas study adventure provides students with distinct benefits as they develop responsibility, initiative and accountability.”

“I want them to learn as much as possible to be able to contribute positively to the health care delivery of every single person they may come across in their future practices back at home.”

He indicated that the engagement will explore various areas of collaboration including students exchange programs and partnership with other celebrated health experts in the United States of America,” he added.

“As the Institute of Public Health within the College continues to grow, this internship program will provide an opportunity for FAMU to add to a diverse workforce of individuals to be able to analyze public health issues both at home and abroad,” said Dr. Dokurugu.

The program, he said has been designed to give the students first-hand experience in global health issues. It will also provide them with a spring-board at competing for jobs in the field.

“This will position the participating students to be fully equipped for employment in their selected programs, governmental and nongovernmental agencies where a knowledge of international systems is pertinent to jobs, even in the USA,” he remarked. 

By:Georgina Ama Otoo

Friday, April 20, 2018

GSA to implement EasyPASS to check inferior imports

 The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has said it is confident it will by May 1, 2018 implement the EasyPASS programme - a voluntary trade facilitation scheme, aimed at ensuring that products imported into the Ghanaian market are of the required quality standards to protect public health and save the environment.

According to the GSA, Bureau Veritas has been appointed to carry out the verification process worldwide and deliver the EasyPASS certificate in conformity with the standards which will ensure that imported products are verified before they are brought in.

A statement signed by the GSA’s Board Chairman, Dr. Akwasi Achampong, and copied to the B&FT explained that the programme, which is voluntary, implies presentation of the EasyPASS Certificate for fast-track Customs clearance of imported goods - except products regulated by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) - from May 1, 2018. 

The GSA urged the business community to be duly informed that exporters and suppliers will have to contact Bureau Veritas in the country of export. The process involves conformity assessment based on the approved national standards.

Upon satisfactory verification, a certificate of conformity will be issued for the relevant shipment, which should facilitate Customs clearance at the port of destination. 

Speaking to B&FT, the GSA’s Director of Corporate Communications - Dr. Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, said all inferior products imported into the country will face rejection upon implementation of the programme.

He said the EasyPass is part of measures being taken to prevent substandard goods from entering the country.
“We want to rid the economy of substandard products, and this is the surest way of preventing substandard products from entering the country’s market.

“We encourage all importers to be part of it to ensure that Ghana becomes a safe place for doing business as far as consumer goods are concerned,” Dr. Amponsah-Bediako said.
He encouraged the business community to take advantage of the programme to facilitate clearing goods from the ports while saving lives.

He added: “The agent – Bureau Veritas – will be at all the major importing locations in the world, to examine and send us the report. They have equipment and sophisticated machines to examine these products. Upon arrival in Ghana, there will just be inspection of the certificate”.

A successful implementation of the EasyPass programme will boost Ghana’s confidence within the international business community.

It is also in accordance with adoption of the trade facilitation measures by the World Trade Organization agreement, which will go a long way to drastically reduce time in the clearance of goods from ports as well as attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Dr. Amponsah-Bediako indicated that there have been positive discussions among stakeholders and sector ministries for their support prior to the implementation.

“We have discussed this programme with the Presidency, sector ministers and all stakeholders, and they have fully agreed. We have the support from all of them. It’s a very good programme, except that with every new thing people find it difficult to comply,” he said.

Expert outlines extractive sector challenges

Poor extractive sector policy implementation, lack of adequate infrastructure, specialised skills and technology are some of the numerous challenges hindering resource-rich developing nations - including Ghana - from transforming their resource wealth into value addition projects, an Australian-based Mining Executive - Mr. Henry Antwi - has outlined.
“Developing countries including Ghana continue to face challenges in managing the exploitation of their resources by being unable to transform their resource wealth into value addition projects to promote sustained development and create jobs.”
Mr. Antwi, who is also a Technical and Commercial Advisor for a government-owned mining firm in Oman and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, said this at a lecture organised by the West African Institute of Mining, Mineral and Petroleum (WAIMM) in Accra that was well-attended by a number of dignitaries: including  Lawyer Sam Okudjeto, a member of the Council of State; Mrs. Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, Ghana’s Ambassador designate to Ethiopia; Mr. Sulemanu Koney, CEO of Ghana Chamber of Mines; and Mrs. Georgette Barnes, President of Accra Mining Network among others.
Speaking under the topic ‘Developing Resource Based Industrialisation to Drive Economic Growth in Ghana’, Mr. Antwi expressed the need to implement policies that are competitive on a global scale, fair and equitable to both government and citizens as adequate compensation for the development and extraction of the country’s mineral assets.
He indicated that the deduction of exploration expenses, minimisation of administrative bureaucracies and removal of political influences in the granting of mining licences are ways to encourage investment in the extractives industry.
“Although Ghana is ranked high based on its mineral potential, the nation is perceived to rank lower in terms of policies. This necessitates the need to implement policies that will attract investment into the country.”
Mr. Antwi proposed that the country’s high total taxes need to be compared with other resource-rich nations to enable it attract investors into the extractive sector. “We need to align our policies and mineral resources inventory information through benchmarking with other resource-rich countries with recognised statutory reporting codes such as JORC, N143-101 and SAMREC.”
He encouraged government officials, mining engineers, geoscientists, banking sector representatives, Mineral Commission executives and media representatives present at the lecture to play their part in channeling the nation’s vast expertise in mining to drive this initiative and influence policy changes.
He indicated the need to identify areas along the value chain with increased potential of value addition in the extractive sector to promote sustainable development and increase job-creation.
The chairman for the function, Dr. Peter Amponsah-Mensah-Executive Director of Pamicor, called for policy implementation Centres to reposition themselves to make the Ghana Minerals and Mining Policy launched in 2014 meaningful.
He proposed an immediate restructuring of the Minerals Commission and its affiliates to ensure diversification of the nation’s mineral production base, in order to promote more sustainable growth of the national economy.
Professor Kwaku Appiah Adu of the Vice-President’s office explained the development strategy of the integrated Bauxite and Aluminum Development Project, which is aimed at diversifying the mineral base to create more jobs and wealth for the country.