Friday, October 30, 2009

Ghanaian Managers urged to value employees

Private and public managers of business organisations in the country have been urged to value their efficient employees and develop high level strategies that will ensure their retention, an international employment expert, Joyce Gioia-Hermen said in Accra.

This will in the long run drive the organisation’s profitability and sustain business operations.

She advised that employers should cultivate the habit of creating a conducive working environment where the employees will be happy, this will guarantee work balance and improve productivity.

Gioia-Hermen who is the Chief Executive Officer of Employer of Choice Incorporated, an international employment consultant think-tank based in United Stated of America made these sentiments at a media briefing in Accra, when she officially awarded the franchise of the ‘Employer of Choice’ for Ghana. The first to be introduced in Africa.

The concept seeks to encourage employers to create the right working environment and retain its efficient employees towards successful business operation and profit maximization.

The implementation of the programme in the country is also aimed at equipping Ghanaian public and private business leaders to with the necessary tools knowledge to employ and retain the best talent that will facilitate the prime objectives of the organisation.

“Employers of Choice, concept is currently practiced in the United States of America and is expected to be replicated in African countries.

Strategic Business Solutions and Networking, (STRABSNET) a Ghanaian based consultancy firm is spearheading the introduction of the concept in the country.

‘Employer of Choice’ in collaboration with STRABSNET will commence a comprehensive research expected to end in February next year which will map out strategies to be used for the Ghanaian corporate organisations and the labour market.

She explained the Employer of Choice Award would be granted to the public and private employers that demonstrate effective implementation of best practices in attracting, developing and retaining outstanding organisation.

The organisations that earn the right will be given the title ‘Employers of Choice’ award and will enjoy a higher level of performance ,greater workforce stability, and the level of continuity that assures preservation of the knowledge base, customer loyalty, employee satisfaction, stronger profits” she said.

Currently, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana and the Databank have applied to be part of the initial process leading to eventual award of the Employer of Choice.

The project she said would equip Ghanaian firms with the necessary tools and knowledge to employ and retain the best talent that would help in the achievement of their corporate goals.

Mr. George Smith-Graham, former Director of the STRABSNET said the firm will adopt a concept that will attract, optimize, and retain top talent, and will have the benefit of a substantial tactical advantage over their competitors.

“They will have the knowledge, experience, resilience, and power to respond quickly to the market-place ,delivering what customers want more efficiently and more effectively than competitors plagued by nagging employees’ turnover.

This strength will allow the companies to win more business and maintain high levels of customer service and loyalty and gain recognition out side the country.”

“In today’s sharply competitive world, this evolution means the will often get stronger at the expense of their competitors, which lead to greater market share and higher profits.

The Organisation tends to attract and retain the best employees, and these employees bring strong commitment to their work: they are more likely to be highly performing, self motivated, continuous learners who pay great attention to product and service quality and to customer care” he said.

Friday, October 23, 2009

British Airways introduces Boeing 777 Aircraft on Accra – London route

British Airways (BA) has announced the Boeing 777 aircraft on its Accra-London route, aimed at increasing passenger capacity and reducing air fares.

The new aircraft offers increased passenger capacity, with up to 50 percent more seats for both Club World (Business Class) and World Traveller (Economy Class) sections.

Mr. Paul Dhami, Country Commercial Manager (BA) at a media interaction said:

“We are very excited about the arrival of this aircraft and about what that means for various customers.

We have been here for over 70 years and more than ever before we are committed to giving our customers the best overall travel experience.”

He revealed that the aircraft has been built with additional seats per flight, which also offers other conveniences that BA customers will undoubtedly appreciate, like the fact that there will be more cabin crew and that will mean fewer passengers per cabin crew personnel and more washrooms which mean fewer passengers per washrooms on board.

“The comfort and convenience of our passengers is of paramount importance to us at British Airways.

The new Boeing 777 aircraft will allow us to further ensure that our passengers get the best possible experience with us,” Mr Dhami remarked.

uniCredit set to enhance businesses through conventional banking standardsy

uniCredit Ghana Limited has been officially launched with the objective of helping small businesses, savers and borrowers to increase financial resources through conventional banking standards to improve of life and wealth creation.

It is also to provide attractive financial services, such as deposit services and credit delivery to individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises that will otherwise be ignored by banks and other financial institutions.

uniCredit Ghana Limited formally Kantamanto Savings and loans Company Limited was licensed by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in 1995 to operate as a non-bank financial institution.

The ownership of the company changed in April 2005 and is currently owned by Star Assurance Company Limited, StarLife Assurance Company Limited, uniBank Ghana Limited, Integrated Properties Limited and Hoda Holdings Limited.

With approval from the BoG, the name of the company was changed from Kantamanto Savings and loans Company Limited to uniCredit Ghana Limited in March 2007.

Mr. Stephen Ameyaw, Managing Director of the company at the official ceremony in Accra indicated that uniCredit’s efforts at promoting savings mobilization have paid off, with increase in outstanding deposits, while the credit business has continued to improve.

The Company’s number of depositors increased from 7,250 in 2006 to 32,910 in 2008 and stood at 42,343 as at the end of September 2009.

Its outstanding deposits also increased from GH 0.9million in 2006 to GH 8.6million at the end of 2008 and increased further to GH 14.5 million at the end of September 2009.

Whilst, total loans granted increased from GH 1.2million in 2006 to GH13.7 million in 2008,and for the first nine month of 2009,the total loan granted amounted to GH 17.2 million.

Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, whose speech was read on his behalf, stated that government over the years has supported micro, small scale enterprises and the low-income group, through advancing credits under the micro finance scheme.

This objective, he said, was to assist the sector to have access to appropriate financial products and services which offers the opportunity, ability and confidence to make informed decisions about the financial solution, organize money effectively to expand business operations and employment base leading to wealth creation and reduction in poverty.

He reiterated government’s commitment to creating and maintaining an enabling environment for financial sector development aimed at stimulating growth and market demand for financial services to support accelerated poverty reduction.

Dr Duffuor urged that the financial institutions should aggressively put in place innovative and attractive packages and incentives aimed at mobilizing more domestic savings to facilitate credit to local entrepreneurs and the informal sector in general to expand their businesses.

“The non-bank financial institutions must focus much more on the unbanked sector of the economy to mobilize enough resources to support the financial needs which will facilitate the much needed growth and development for the country.” Dr Duffuor remarked.

Experts brainstorm on climatic change

Global environmental experts met in the Accra last week to deliberate on modalities to combat the problem of biodiversity and the effect on climatic change in West Africa.

The two-day meeting focused on creating awareness, promoting and improving capacity on related markets and payments for ecosystem.

The conference which was the first to be held in West Africa formed part of series of high level policy and technical meetings on carbon finance and was organized by The Katoomba Group, an international forestry conservation oriented, a non-governmental organization.

It is aimed at developing the legal, policy and institutional framework for forest carbon finance, involving about 40 senior government, private sector and civil society representatives.

The was also aimed at assisting participating countries including Ghana to present a coherent national position at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) discussions, which will reach a climax at the Copenhagen in December 2009, when the post-Kyoto regime, including a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism, will be negotiated.

Available records indicate that Ghana has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, – about 2% per annum. It has lost about 85% of its forest cover over the last 100 years.

The continuing erosion of forests in West Africa has been identified as putting pressure on the region’s biodiversity, which is home to more than a quarter of Africa’s mammals and 1,800 endemic species of plants.

Mr. Sachin Kapila, Group Biodiversity Advisor, Shell International Limited in a media interaction in Accra observed that the global market for carbon credits provides a new and significant economic opportunity for West African countries.

“It is a service which has the potential to alter the economics of deforestation by giving value to standing forests, and providing an economic incentive for planted trees by responding directly to market failure and providing a market-based incentive for better policies and governance.

It is pathetic to also note that only 17 per cent of the region’s forests are technically under some form of protection, while only three per cent of it is conserved for biodiversity purposes.”

Kapila complained about the alarming rate at which forests in West Africa are seriously depreciating, adding that in the past 15 years the region has lost 1.4 million hectares of primary forest to deforestation.

He therefore urged governments and policy makers to as a matter of urgency to move forward on the carbon finance agenda to combat the effect on climatic change and protect biodiversity.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fidelity Bank seeks GH¢ 18m to expand operations

Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited is seeking to raise a minimum of GH¢18 million through a combined rights issue and private placement to strengthen the Bank’s growth and expansion programme.

The Bank has declared its intention to roll-out the Fidelity Postbank, a venture with Ghana Post, and also upgrade its technology platform.

Fidelity’s Postbank venture anticipates increasing its branch network from the current 15 outlets to 125 nationwide within the next five years.

The purpose is also to support its strategic business development and help meet the new minimum capital requirements of GH¢25 million set by Central Bank so as to position itself to access opportunities in the country’s emerging oil and gas sector.

The private placement, which closes on November 27, 2009, offers 6,000,000 ordinary shares to the Bank’s existing shareholders at GH¢3.00 a share, while all unallocated rights issue shares will be offered at a price of GH¢3.30 per share.

It is expected that a minimum of 1,000,000 ordinary shares will be allocated under the private placement based on indications from existing shareholders who may not take up their rights under the rights issue.

Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Seth Tekpeh who launched the issue in Accra on behalf of the Vice –President, John Dramani Mahama, said government is committed to supporting up-and-coming financial institutions to grow and attain a capacity with a network of branches that will enable them to transact business with the public sector on a large scale.

He recounted the banks social corporate responsibilities demonstrates how corporate bodies in the country can contribute to the development of Ghana.

The Chief Executive of Fidelity’s Bank, Mr. Edward Effah, speaking with B&FT anticipates a high level shareholder turn up from both existing shareholders and prospective investors in the light of the banks’ strong fundamentals, growth prospect and general patronage of its activities.
The Bank is committed to investing in the needs, desires and financial ambitions of its customers, he said.

Commenting on the Bank’s expansion drive, which is underpinned by the Postbank venture, he said: “It is expected to help the Bank achieve significant scale and access to a nationwide client base within a relatively short period.

“Postbank distinguishes Fidelity Bank’s retail strategy from the rest of the industry with a clear channel through which the Bank can upscale the delivery of its products and services to the mass market.”

The bank will also use its first class technology platform to further improve the efficiency of the money transfer business, he emphasised.

Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited was issued with a universal banking licence in June 2006 after operating as a Discount House from 1998

The Bank is owned by Ghanaian and foreign individuals and institutional investors, including the Agricultural Development Bank and Social Security and National Insurance Trust with 12 other shareholders.

GCB opens 153rd outlets, consolidates its leadership position

Ghana Commercial Bank (GBC) has inaugurated its Nima outlet, a suburb of Accra as its 153rd branch in the country.

The branch opening was in fulfillment of the bank's retail banking transformation strategy which was also in line with its policy of bringing banking to the level of the individual.

It will also consolidate the Bank’s position as the lead and largest Bank in the country providing retail and consumer banking services for customers and non customers.

The Deputy Managing Director of GCB in charge of operations, Mr. Samuel Sarpong, who opened the branch said: “that the area is full of business activities carried on by small and medium scale enterprises, as well as, other corporate giants. For that reason, management saw it expedient to choose the location to add to the Bank's existing network in order that people could transact business in a convenient way with the bank.”

He explained that the Bank has repositioned itself to assuage the hyper-competition in the banking industry, adding that it was committed to ensuring the highest quality banking services for customers.

Mr. Sarpong observed that the competition in the banking sector requires high quality staff to enable the bank attract the needed customers.

“The bank has established a Customer Service Unit, to develop a programme for the bank’s operations to improve, especially on its service quality including standards.

We will soon be launching the GCB Customer Promise. This programme will inform customers about our service quality standards and provide opportunity for customers to provide regular feedback.”

The Nima branch, a strategic location will offer all the services including GCB Express Money Transfer, Kudi Nkosuo, Personal Loans, Staff Loans, Packages for all Small and Medium Enterprises, GCB Fast International Money Transfer, GCB MoneyGram Remittances, Link2Home for Non-Resident Ghanaians, Commernet Plus (Internet Banking), Royal Banking and Trade Services, GCB Mastercard, and ReadyCash (ATM) services.

Commercial Bank Limited, since its birth in 1953, has provided banking products and services for corporate, small and medium scale enterprises and retail customers in the country.

Its latest financial reports showed a net profit of GHC 37.59 million for 2008, as against 2007 figure of GHC 32.87 million. Profit after tax for 2008 stood at GHC 47.71 million. Pre-tax profits was at GHC 49.7 million as against the 2007 figure of GHC 46.96 million.

The Bank achieved an appreciable growth in shareholder equity. Earnings per share for 2008 was GHC 0.142 compared to GHC 0.124 in the previous year with a recommended a dividend of GHC 0.06 per share representing a pay-out ratio of 42% to shareholders.

First Accra Pork Festival slated for Dec

The first Accra Pork Festival and Sales Bonanza would be held in Accra from December 11 to 13, 2009 to educate the public that pigs reared in Ghana were safe for human consumption.

It is being organised by the Ghana Writers and Newspapers Society (GWANSO), a media and public advocacy organisation in conjunction with pig farmers, Animal Production Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) with sponsorship from SOTREC Meat and Groceries Limited and Mark Jones Meat Products.

is under the theme "Pork is Safe to Eat" and would be held at the Afua Sutherland Children's Park.

Mr Hector Wulff, Event Director and member of GWANSO, said that the organisers realised the negative publicity that had plagued the piggery and pork industry due to unfair media coverage of the recent outbreak of the H1N1 2009 flu (swine flu).

He said the unfair media coverage had led to sever economic hardship on farmers, meat processors and vendors hence their decision to consult stakeholders in the industry to find ways to boost consumer confidence and enthusiasm."

Through our consultations it was realised that a pork festival could serve as an appropriate platform to promote this suffering industry," he said.

Wulff said as social responsibility, part of the proceeds to be accrued would be channeled into a National Youth Piggery Project, a private initiative to create jobs for the youth and the Safe Haven Drug Rehabilitation Centre.

Dr Bashiru Boi Kikimoto, Head of Bacteriology Unit, Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory, Accra Veterinary Laboratory, said the festival was important because it would help to educate the public that H1N1 2009 was not solely associated with pigs.

He said most of the pigs reared in Ghana were kept in hygienic conditions and unlike the past, when the meat was full of fat, the current breed were almost a lean meat and healthy for human consumption.

Dr Kikimoto pledged the commitment of Veterinary Service to assist farmers in the event of any future outbreak of the pandemic. Nii Nikoe Ashalley I, Kaneshie Mantse, appealed to the media to research and evaluate issues before reporting on them. "

The harm has been done already but we need to educate the public that pork is safe for eating," he added.

Nii Ashalley appealed to Government to assist pig farmers with technical training and credit facilities to boost the industry.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Globacom’s US$250m submarine cable excites telecom market

Globacom’s Group Executive Director, Mr. Paddy Adenuga, has said that the country’s telecommunication sector is expected to experience exciting times with completion of the US$250 million Glo-1 Submarine fibre-optic cable connectivity, which will link Ghana to the rest of the world.

The 9,800 kilometre submarine cable, which runs from the United Kingdom through Mauritania, Morocco and 16 West African countries with dedicated extension to United States, was anchored at its landing station at Osu-Beach in Accra.

The completion of the fibre-optic cable facility is expected to make Internet access more reliable and also increase the transaction time in Internet connection from the current 120 gigabytes per second to 640 gigabytes per second.

Mr. Adenuga, who briefed the media in Accra at the landing site, said “The Glo-1 submarine cable will deliver transmission capacity that will radically change Ghana and Africa’s economic landscape by providing unprecedented high speed Internet services and make telecom services much faster, more reliable and cheaper for consumers.

“The landing is expected to mark the beginning of cheap bandwidth, which in itself will translate into many possibilities in the information and communications sector of the Ghanaian economy.”`

He further explained the system will position the country as the third nation, after Nigeria and Benin, to have the undersea fibre-optic cable, which will ease the difficulties and reduce the costs of switching traffic between African countries - without the need to go through Europe.

“It will provide broadband capacity to expand Internet access in the sub-Saharan region, which currently stands at less than five percent.

“Glo-1's current and ultimate capacity is enough to cater to the required broadband capacity of the country and the rest of the continent for at least the next 15 to 20 years.”

He noted that the landing of Glo-1 in Ghana will also boost preparation for the nationwide launch of Glo-Mobile Ghana.

Mr. Adenuga, who is the son of the telecom mogul, Mike Adenuga, anticipated that the landing of the Glo-1 submarine cable will push tariffs for international bandwidth to fall below 20 percent of the current market rate - with a much improved services such as easy downloading of information and effective international voice-servicing.

The Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, said landing of the cable marks a milestone in the country’s telecommunications ability to offer improved delivery of communications infrastructure and data services.

He said, in line with the government’s commitment to increase broadband uptake and penetration in the country, the ministry has given policy directives to the National Communication Authority (NCA) to promote investment in telecommunication facilities, including fibre-optic-based network transmission and submarine cable landing services.

“The landing of the Glo-1 submarine cable in Ghana along the West coast of Africa is a positive manifestation of an environment that is open, competitive and conducive for fruitful investment as made by Glo-Mobile Ghana Limited,” he said.

Mr. lddrisu lauded Globacom’s initiative for taking advantage of the healthy investment climate in the country to invest in information and communication technology infrastructure, which will facilitate the expansion of market opportunities for broadband service providers and thereby help reduce transaction cost.

Trinidad and Tobago explores oil and gas sector

A thirteen-member delegation from the Trinidad and Tobago was in the country to explore investment opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

The seven-day visit discussed issues including oil and gas policy formulation, local content strategy, development of the gas sector, and private sector development among other areas. It was also meant to deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Deputy Energy Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, at a meeting with the delegation in Accra announced government’s preparedness to follow Trinidad and Tobago’s model of managing the oil and gas sector to minimise its associated problems.

He said government will collaborate more with that country to find out how best to implement the model, which primarily aims at channelling revenue from oil resources into the provision of social amenities and development of infrastructure.

“If the exploration should become a curse and not a benefit, then it should remain under the sea. The country will use oil as a platform to develop its health education, and the entire nation.

“Government will promote the model which allows local firms to actively participate in the oil industry as well as maximise the benefits of oil by exploring the use of by-products,” he said.

Mrs Victoria Mendez Charles, the Consular of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago who led the delegation, said the team has rich experience in the energy industry and is ready to partner Ghana in exploring the areas covered to the benefit of the two countries.

The visit was to share the experiences and challenges encountered during the past 50 years to help Ghana create the necessary environment that will ensure that the oil becomes a blessing rather than curse.

She advised government to ensure proper use of the oil revenue to uplift the citizenry’s standard of living, especially in the socio-economic development of the nation.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean, with a population of over 1.3 million. It has large reserves of oil and gas, the exploitation of which dominates its economy.

The two-island state enjoys a per capita income of over 14,000 dollars and exports of its natural gas to the United States market.

Shell’s ‘Helix and Rimula’ lubricants unveiled

Two new vehicular lubricants, ‘new Shell Helix and Rimula’ range of products, aimed at enhancing motor engine performance and protection, have been launched in Accra.

The ‘new Shell Helix’ offers high potency in cleaning car engines and also improves car performance and protects engine, which gives greater reliability, whilst Shell Rimula - targetted at heavy-duty diesel engines - provide protection which removes dirt and keeps engine clean.

Both products provide superior protection that can help customers by reducing maintenance costs due to lower wear. They also increase maintenance intervals, which reduces operating costs and maximises equipment uptime - prolonging equipment life-time.

Fuel retailing giant Shell Ghana Limited, which controls the lion’s-share of the market, estimated at 60,000 barrels daily, believes in effective and efficient management and control of fuel expenses and vehicular maintenance by owners, motorists and businesses in the country.

Mrs. Benedicta Naana Hagan, Business to Consumer Manager for Ghana and Togo, unveiling the products explained that Shell is the market leader in lubricants supply - globally selling more products in 2008 than its competitors in the market.

This is a position that Shell has sustained in the last three years and a clear strategy to sustain the leadership position has been adopted.

“Our aim is to be the technical partner of choice for key original equipment manufacturers, and global customers, and to be seen as the technology leader in the industry.

“Shell is also investing heavily in research and development to ensure that it delivers differentiated technology, which adds value to customers.”
She revealed that each year Shell invests over US$1.3billion in technology, the highest of any international oil company.

“In 2008, Shell lubricants increased technology spending by 20 percent year-on-year, in recognition of the vital role that technology will play in serving customers and maintaining its leadership position.

“The result of Shell’s dedication to research and development is breakthroughs with proven customer benefits,” Mrs Hagan stated.

The new Shell Helix and Rimula range of products is expected to bring a new dawn for better handling control and easy handling and pouring.

It also offers greater focus on clarity and easy products-selection with improved differentiation from competition, she said.