Friday, January 28, 2011

Chrysler 300C reinforces prestige and comfort

The all new luxurious 2.7 liter Chrysler 300C is classically designed as a master piece for successful elite and personalities to reinforce their prestige and comfort.

It has being designed with creative versatile interior style and has become a synonym for excellence.

The Chrysler 300C specifically manufactured stands out on any road with its wide stance and stand-tall architecture.

Manufactured with modern technology that enhances it to effect smooth take-off and response to acceleration with high performance is being sold for $39,950.

PHC Motors the authorized dealers of Chrysler luxurious brands of vehicles in the country says, the it is specifically made targeting the comfort of successful individuals in the society including the chief executive officers, senior public officials, successful entrepreneurs, and business owners depicting a symbol of prestigious life style, Norman Dunkerley, Divisional Manager-Luxury Brand ,PHC Motors Limited told B&FT in Accra in an interview during a day’s test drive to experience the unique attribute of the vehicle.

Anthony Torsu, Deputy Sales Manger, outlining the vehicles unique safety systems said: “No one wants to test a vehicle’s impact resistance, but Chrysler 300c is ready, if it occurs, with Unibody safety cage construction with front crumple zones built into the stiff body cage to absorb impact energy.

He indicated that the advance multistage front air bags deployed in staged amounts, depending on impact severity, while available front seat-mounted side air bags with supplemental front and rear side-curtain air bags offer additional side-impact protection to front and rear outboard occupants.

Rain-Sensing Wipers, he explained is a Standard on all 300C models, they are activated via an infrared sensor located on the inside of the windshield just below the rearview mirror. When rain falls, it adjusts wiper intervals speed based on the speed of the vehicle and severity of the rain.

Chrysler 300C’s unique attribute

Electronic Stability Programme

If a panic braking situation is detected, this programme helps almost instantaneously. The standard Electronic Stability Programme with brake assist and all-speed traction control can correct the vehicle’s course by automatically applying the brake and or reducing engine torque. Brake assist will apply maximum pressure to the brake booster, and all speed traction control helps provide directional stability.

Front and Rear Park Assist System

For driving with confidence in nearly all conditions,300C models are equipped with state-of the –art technologies that helped you keep control day or night, on the highway or in the city, even when parking. The standard Front and Rear Park Assist System uses sound waves to detect nearby obstacles, allowing you to monitor what is behind your vehicle with audio alerts to capture your attention.

The 6.5-inch touch-screen provides entertainment, information, and communication, all through an MW/FM/CD/DVD stereo system. A 30GB hard drive lets you store photos, playlists, and songs ,as well as rip, stash, organize, and shuffle up to 6,700 digital music files from your CDs, integrated USB port, or exterior input jack.

The touch-screen allows you to easily change radio stations and play digital audio files. Or, step up to uconnect gps, which includes all the same great features, and adds the convenience of full-mapping navigation with traffic updates using the Traffic Message Channel. The system also features voice recognition in six languages: Dutch, English, Frenceh, German, Itallian and Spanish.

Rear seat DVD. This state-of-the-art entertainment option is available as video Entertainment System with inputs for audio and video, sure to delight passengers on short or long trips. The DVD player has a 7-inch Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), remote control and two wireless, multichannel headphones.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

This system can detect a vehicle directly in front, so it can then adjust the speed of your vehicle as traffic flow changes. It automatically adjusts cruise control speed so that you are always moving with traffic at a set distance. And in certain situations, it even warns the driver to apply the brakes. ACC uses Light Detection and Ranging to detect other vehicles as far as 100 meters away.

Interior Accent

Tortoisesshell-style accents on the door pulls, steering wheel and console set a sophisticated tone. An eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat and eight way power adjustable front seat with available leather trim, adjustable pedals that raise the comfort bar, along with automatic dual zone temperature control.

This finely appointed interior includes steering wheel-mounted audio controls that allow you to search channels safely, and move on to your standard Boston Acoustic audio system with a 276-watt digital amplifier and available six-disc CD changer with MP3 capability.

Heated rear seats. Rear passengers never have to take a backseat when it comes to comfort, availing themselves of more –than ample leg room and the convenience of a fold-down armrest with cup holders.

MP3 auxiliary jack. The AM/FM radio also allows you to play your favorite external devices with an MP3 jack.

LED-illuminated cup holders. The blue-green glow of LED-illuminated front cup holders helps you easily locate your beverages when driving at night.LED lighting also illuminates the front and rear map pockets.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PZ Cussons re-launches Duck soap

PZ Cussons has re-launched its Duck soap, targetted at deepening its market share in the laundry market.

The soap has been produced with properties that give more lather and last longer; it also brightens colours wash after wash and has long-lasting fragrance, whilst it is gentle on clothes and hands.

The product has been positioned as a family bar-soap, and has over the years built an image as a trusted brand in the washing-soap category of the Ghanaian market.
Duck soap was introduced into the Ghanaian laundry soap market in 1997 and had grown to become a major player, currently holding a substantial share of the market in the mini-segment.

Mr. Jim Judson, Managing Director of PZ Cussons Ghana, said the new identity of the Duck brand was aimed at re-introducing the product to consumers and to enable them identify and accept it.

“PZ Cussons constantly meets the consistency in producing quality products, hence we are driven by this vision to come up with a proposition that will not only appeal but also connect the brand with our consumers. PZ Cussons is in the country for the long-haul and will help encourage better personal and home-care practices, as well as help build a better relationship with the public,” he said.

Shirley Acquaah-Harrison, Marketing Manager, Home Care, at the re-launching of the Duck Soap in Accra explained that: “When you refresh your brand and you position your brand rightly, it affects your market shares in a positive way.

If someone gets tired of something, there is no motivation; but once you refresh, you bring the brand alive again in the minds of consumers - so definitely, it will affect your market share.”

She said: “PZ Cussons now see it as imperative to re-introduce the product to meet the consistency in producing quality products.

“The re-launch is being done in selected markets in Accra and three other marketing centres in Kumasi, Takoradi and Sunyani in order to meet the expected results of the new communication and also make the product accessible to retailers and consumers,” Acquaah-Harrison stated.

PZ Cussons Ghana Limited is the manufacturer of home, health-care and disinfectant products.

Among its flagship products is includes Camel antiseptic, launched in 1992 - aimed at providing consumers with the reassurance of maximum protection from germs. It currently occupies more than 55 percent market share.

PZ Cussons Ghana Limited is one of the early Companies that were first listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) at its inception in the early 1990’s.

The Company, which started operations in the then-Gold Coast in the 1930’s, began as a trading concern that imported goods from Europe for distribution and sale in the Gold Coast and West Africa as a whole.

Computer Warehouse Group attains Oracle status

Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), a leading Pan-African ICT solutions company, has attained the prestigious status of Platinum Partner of Oracle Corporation.

With this elevation, CWG has been placed in a preferred position to provide even more enhanced solutions to its growing customer base - not only in Nigeria but also in Ghana, Uganda and other African countries.

Oracle is currently regarded as the world’s number-one database organisation, possessing a robust technology to manage the growing transactions of business organisations.

Following the attainment of Platinum status, Austin Okere, Group Chief Executive Officer of CWG, said: “With its Platinum status, CWG is now one of the top-two Oracle partners within the region, with a high priority placement on the Oracle Solutions Catalog.

We are extremely excited by this most recent accolade, which is a further indication of the integrity and reputation of the CWG brand and serves to reinforce CWG’s commitment to its customers through value-adding solutions and optimisation of business efficiency.

“For CWG’s Hardware and Infrastructure division, CWL Systems and its software division ExpertEdge Software, this new Oracle status gives them a competitive edge over other solution providers in the region.

“CWG’s customers can be assured of more improved solutions that will enhance efficiencies in their businesses.”

CWG has invested tremendously in Oracle technology in the Africa market. As a result, through its highly professional team and cutting-edge technology, CWG has enhanced businesses across the West African region, enabling them to increase their productivity and business output.

With the current Platinum status conferred by Oracle, CWG has been given an opportunity to participate at Oracle’s Advisory board level - where challenges of customers within the region are brought to the fore and hence resolved promptly.

As a Platinum partner, CWG now has access to market development funds which will enable it organise road-shows on new product offerings from Oracle, as well as offer support for more products whilst presenting appropriate solutions to its customers.

Early in 2010, Oracle made one of the largest purchases recorded in the global Information technology industry when it acquired another software giant, Sun Microsystems. It is important to note that CWG was a partner at the highest level of Sun Microsystems.

Oracle provides the world's most complete, open, and integrated business software and hardware systems to more than 370,000 customers globally - including all the Fortune 100 organisations in more than 145 countries.

This combination of Oracle and Sun means that customers can benefit from fully integrated systems - the entire stack, from applications to disk which are faster, more reliable, and at lower cost.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lack of access to finance hinders businesses

Mr. Wilson Atta Krofah, President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has indicated that lack of access to support small business growth is a problem in the country.

“There should be easy access to money and with less cost to boost business development, especially SMEs.

“The major problem in the country’s business sector is access to quick financing to grow businesses.”

Mr. Krofah said this at the 556th monthly meeting of the Accra Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ARCCI), which was aimed at educating members on how to improve their businesses.

He said the continued lack of access to medium- and long-term-financing hinders the growth of businesses in the country.

The problem has become a major setback, impeding growth of small businesses, he noted.

Mr. Nathaniel Tetteh Larkpleku, Credit Analyst SG-SSB, making a presentation appealed to members to access the products of the bank saying: “we have a considerable interest of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at heart."

He explained that the bank has introduced the Boafo Business Overdraft, BBO, business loan and business overdraft facilities that are quick and offer an easy way for small businesses to access unsecured short-term credit.

“The product is designed basically for business operators with flexible terms to support their business operation.

“Boafo Business Overdraft can be accessed by traders, exporters and importers, educational institutions, suppliers and other SMEs with regular cash inflows,” he said.

Mr. Seth Adjei Baah, Vice President of the Chamber, said the Chamber is developing business strategies to ensure that members explore the possibility of growing their business.

He called on members to be active and take a keen interest in the activities of the Chamber, to enable them benefit from its programmes and activities.

GRA boss on exchange of tax information

Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner-General of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has said the Exchange of Information (EOI) for tax purposes has become a key building block for economic development in Africa.

It will facilitate sound, effective tax systems which will promote accountability and lead to a positive impact on the quality of governance. It will as well decrease long-term aid-dependency in Africa.

EOI was developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Forum Working Group on effective exchange of Information to promote international cooperation on tax matters through exchange of information.

The agreement grew out of the work undertaken by the OECD and represents the standard of effective exchange of information needed to address harmful tax practices.

The group consisted of representatives from OECD member-countries as well as delegates from Aruba, Bermuda, Bahrain, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Isle of Man, Malta, Mauritius, the Netherlands Antilles, the Seychelles and San Marino.

About 95 countries have committed to help arrest the problem of tax-evasion by multinational companies.

Mr. Blankson made this known in Accra at a workshop organised by the GRA on EOI for taxation to create awareness on the global trend of information exchange in international taxation.

“EOI has been a key article in most taxation conventions over the years, due to the recent financial scandal that have had a negative impact on global revenue generation.

"Since the beginning of 2008, international tax evasion and the implementation of standards of transparency and exchange of information have been very high on the political agenda of most countries,” he explained.

Mr. Blankson indicated that the OECD has restructured its global forum on transparency and EOI to eliminate bank secrecy and tax fraud globally.

“As part of the restructuring, a model Tax Information Exchange Agreement document was adopted by the OECD, which the United Nation (UN) has also accepted.

He revealed that Ghana has been invited to join the Global Forum on Transparency and EOI due to its potential for major economic growth with the production of oil and establishment of financial centres.

Major Daniel Ablorh-Quarcoo (Rtd), Commissioner, Domestic Revenue Division, GRA, urged participants to equip themselves with modern international tax practices to ensure transparency and avoid tax fraud and evasion.

“The era of secrecy is over, and tax fraud and evasion have no place in today’s world,” he remarked.

Delta Airlines to fly to Monrovia

Delta Air Lines is to officially launch its Accra –Monrovia operations, effective next month.

The new service will provide additional transport links between Ghana and Liberia, helping to facilitate business and commerce in both countries.

The service will operate twice weekly, using Boeing 767-300 aircraft equipped with 34 Business Elite seats and 181 seats in Economy.

Mr. Bobby Bryan, Commercial Manager, East and West Africa, at a media interaction in Accra said: “The new Delta service launching on February 2 will provide increased choice of intra-Africa services for our Ghanaian customers, complementing our existing services to the United States,” commented Bobby Bryan, Delta's Sales Manager for West and East Africa.

Delta currently operates a three-times-weekly service between Accra and Atlanta, and a four-times-weekly schedule between Accra and New York.

These flights provide over 200 convenient onward connections to destinations in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Delta has served Ghana since December 2006, during which time more than 325,000 passengers have flown with the airline between Ghana and the United States.

Currently, it operates five weekly nonstop flights between Accra–New York and three weekly nonstop flights between Accra–Atlanta and more than 3,000 seats between Accra and the United States each week.

Delta - leading U.S. airline to Africa with service to seven destinations across the continent, serves more than 160 million customers each year with an industry leading global network.

It is investing more than US$2billion through 2013 in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground.

Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer services to 357 destinations in 67 countries on six continents.

Friday, January 21, 2011

$13m facility for Skill Dev. Fund

Denmark is supporting the Council for Technical & Vocational Education Training (COTVET) with $13 million as seed capital for the Skill Development Fund (SDF).

The amount meant for conducting research would also be used in policy coordination, as well as reform issues arising out of the operation of the Fund.

Lars Joker, Representative of Danish Embassy in Accra said: “The SDF can be seen as an important and strategic point of convergence for the shared vision of the two countries in promoting and creating sustainable job opportunities for the youth.”

These were made known in Accra at the inauguration of nine-member SDF Committee tasked to utilize the fund in an appropriate manner for skills and technology service providers as well as industry especially small and micro-scale industries to improve productivities and enhance employability of graduate from the beneficiary institutions.

It is a flagship concept leading the way towards a culture of nourishing new ideas, of generating and sharing knowledge and of fostering entrepreneurship in the youth.
Ms. Sherry Hanni Ayitey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology said government is looking to ensure that technology is supporting the country’s transition from the informal to the formal economy.

“Thus the emphasis on small and micro scale industry is of importance and must be the back-bone of the Fund.”

She said the institution of the SDF is to be sustained through a joint effort from both government as well as industry through a framework in the public-private partnership mode.

“This is the platform where innovation and knowledge development are put together as a key driver for economic growth, helping to ensure competitiveness and jobs and to lead the country to become an attractive place to work, live and study.

“The institution of the SDF Committee is one of the crucial steps for implementing the SDF.The financing channel is to provide efficient and knowledge instruments for strengthening the competency base labour force and technology driven society,” Ms. Ayitey.

She urged for a transparent and efficient procedure for the assessing of the fund, adding, “the swift maturation of the selected proposals into fully operational and functional programmes by the SDF Committee will be of essence over the coming months. The SDF should strive for timely delivery, simplicity of procedures, and of a results oriented outlook.”

She urged stakeholders including government, private sector, development partners and skills and technology service providers to come and support the sustainability of the SDF thereby ensuring the availability of the Funds at all times.

Mr. Patrick Agboma, Country Programme Officer, African Development Bank said all stakeholders need to ensure a sustainable financing of the technical and vocational education and training system in the country in order to actualize the government vision of prosperity for all under the private sector development strategy as well as support the creation of 500,000 new jobs by 2015.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Guidelines for mining firms CSR underway

The Minerals Commission is leading development of a national framework to define parameters for mining companies on guidelines to carry out corporate social responsibility programmes in the country.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies and practices can enable the mining industry to increase its impact on poverty alleviation and development in the country, in a cost-effective and practical manner.

Mr. Benjamin Aryee, Chief Executive Officer, Minerals Commission, disclosed to B&FT in Accra that the guidelines when fully adopted will standardise the corporate social responsibility programmes of the sector and in the future will be formally legislated.

“CSR is largely voluntary all over the world including Ghana, although it is not legislated, coming out with guidelines to direct mining companies on their social responsibility programmes.

“This will make mining companies operating in the country more responsible to the society, as well as contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the country,” Mr. Aryee said.

In recent years, concerns about the sustainability and social responsibility of businesses have become an increasingly high profile issue in many countries and industries, including Ghana, and more so in the mining industry.

For mining, one outcome of the CSR agenda is the increasing need for individual companies to justify their existence and document their performance through the disclosure of social and environmental information.

The country’s minerals sector has been estimated to hold vast untapped potential, with the value increasing from US$0.64billion in 2009 to US$1.68billion in 2014.

Ghana, containing the second-largest area of gold deposits in the African region after South Africa, derives the bulk of its external revenue from gold mining which accounts for over 90 percent of the nation’s total mineral exports. Apart from gold, the country also produces significant quantities of bauxite and diamonds.

The country is also counted among the top-five nations across the globe for its manganese ore production and is home to some of the biggest names from the global extractive industry: Gold Fields, Newmont Ghana and South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ms. Joyce Aryee, in a recent interview said there is need for government to mainstream mining as a catalyst for development through pragmatic policies and programmes that integrate the mining sector into the local economy.

She noted that mining companies in Ghana had contributed significantly to the country's development by their very existence in the rural communities, saying that the sector had social multiplier effects in the areas of education, electricity, potable water, health, information communication technology, banking and infrastructural development.

Mineral revenue for the first quarter of 2010 stood at US$809.89million - up from US$640.15million for the same period in 2009, figures from the Ghana Chamber of Mines has disclosed.

The sector injected a total of US$2.9billion into the country’s economy in 2009, representing an increase of 27 percent from the 2008 figure of US$2.3billion - with gold revenue increasing by 28 percent from US$2.2 billion in 2008 to US$ 2.9billion in 2009.

PZ Cussons, Medical Association sign MOU

PZ Cussons Ghana Limited and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) have signed a two-year agreement aimed at promoting hygiene and cleanliness, thereby preventing epidemics throughout the country.

The two institutions will collaborate to instil good personal hygiene such as hand-washing, kitchen-cleaning and personal hygiene among other practices. The health promotion will be done through campaigns in schools, engagement with women groups and various associations.

Camel, a leading antiseptic brand with more than 55 percent market share, will be used as the main ingredient for the campaign, said Mr. Jim Judson, Managing Director of PZ Ghana Limited at the signing ceremony in Accra.

He explained that the collaboration is targetted at encouraging the Ghanaian public to embrace hygiene whilst educating the nation to remain healthy all the time.

“PZ Cussons is in the country for the long-haul and will help encourage better personal and homecare practices, as well as help build a better relationship with the public,” he said.

Mr. Judson urged Ghanaians to use antiseptics in washing, cleaning and bathing since it is the most efficient way to get rid of germs and eradicate endemic diseases.

Dr. Emmanuel Adom Winful, President of the GMA who welcomed the partnership, explained that the agreement forms part of the GMA's objectives in the social responsibility of educating people on health matters and the need to take medical issues critically.

PZ Cussons Ghana Limited is the manufacturer of home, healthcare and disinfectant products.

Among its flagship products is included Camel antiseptic, which was launched in 1992 and quickly became a success on the Ghanaian market by guaranteeing best protection from germs in homes.

It contains anti-micro bacterial agents like terpineol, pine oil and dichlorometa-xylenol, which helps to protect against germs that can cause skin infections.

It currently occupies more than 55 percent market share, and was produced to provide consumers with the reassurance that can only come from a truly ‘antiseptic’ cleaner with maximum protection from germs. The brand is leading one in the PZ Cussons portfolio, satisfying millions of Ghanaians each year.

Stanbic Investment Fund

Stanbic Bank Ghana’s open-ended unit trust fund to be primarily invested in fixed income securities has been tailored to investors seeking to maximise short-term income and seek long-term sustainable income and capital appreciation, Mr. Emmanuel A. Asiedu, Head of Stanbic Investment Management Services (SIMS) has said.

The Fund, dubbed “Stanbic Income Fund”, is a diversified fixed income unit trust under the management of SIMS and is directed at investors seeking to build up a diversified but liquid investment portfolio with minimum amounts under the professional management of qualified investment advisors.

The principal objective of the Fund is to optimise investors’ total returns comprising interest income as well as capital appreciation on assets held. The Fund will seek to maximise short-term income and seek long-term sustainable income and capital appreciation by investing in listed and unlisted fixed income securities in any organised market locally and internationally.

The Fund Manager will be responsible for determining the eligibility of assets to be held and will be expected to fully comply with the investment policy guidelines approved by the Trustees of the Fund.

Mr. Asiedu explained that the Fund sought to maximise short-term income, as well as long-term sustainable returns and capital appreciation.

“The Fund will focus on investment in fixed income securities, including bonds, notes, Treasury bills, commercial paper, placement with financial institutions listed and unlisted, and issued by governmental, quasi-governmental and corporate issuers across Africa.

“Common, or preferred shares, including convertible preferred shares, debentures convertible into common or preferred shares, share purchase warrants or rights, equity interests in trusts and joint ventures are also investment options available to the fund,” he said.

Dr. Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Chamber of Mines who launched the Fund, said investing in products such as the SIF would no doubt generate the wealth needed for development.

Benefits of the Fund

Investing in the units of the Fund potentially offers several benefits. Many investors, particularly individuals, lack the information or capability to invest in a number of different securities; particularly when some of those securities are issued in different countries.

This could significantly change the characteristics of the investment portfolio in terms of risk diversification, liquidity and earnings. It also may not be permissible for such investors to invest directly in the capital markets of certain countries. The Fund offers investors the possibility of obtaining capital appreciation through a portfolio comprising securities of international issuers while still maintaining a strong concentration of portfolio assets in the country.

In managing such a portfolio, the Manager will provide the Fund and its shareholders with professional analyses of investment opportunities, the use of professional investment management techniques, and the opportunity to participate in other high-yielding markets.

Unlike some of the existing intermediary vehicles, such as investment companies that are limited to investment in a single country, the Fund has the ability to diversify investment risk among the capital markets of a number of countries - subject to the limitation that at least 80% of the total assets of the Fund must be invested in fixed-income instruments. The allocation of the Fund’s assets above this amount will be determined by the Manager.

Investment in other Investment Companies and Venture Capital Funds

The Fund may invest in other investment companies whose investment objectives and policies are consistent with those of the Fund. If the Fund acquires units in investment companies or venture capital funds, shareholders would bear their proportionate share of expenses in the fund (including management and advisory fees) and, indirectly, the expenses of such investment companies’ venture capital funds.

Investment Discretion
Investments of the Fund will be undertaken at the discretion of the Fund Manager acting in accordance with the Fund’s stated objectives, policies and restrictions as approved by the Trustees. Within these limits, the Fund Manager will be responsible for all decisions as to investment strategies, amounts and timing of the investments to be undertaken by the Fund.

Investment Strategies

The Fund’s investment management philosophy is based upon the premise that preservation of capital and the generation of income is the key priority. It will therefore seek to add value to clients’ portfolios through the use of modern investment disciplines and the development of appropriate benchmarks and reporting mechanisms.

The manager seeks to achieve the fundamental objective of the Fund by establishing criteria for the level of risk that the Fund wishes to accept whilst establishing performance benchmarks.

The investment process will begin with fundamental research and market analysis to identify the impact of expected macro-economic trends on the value of each portfolio.

This “top-down” approach will be combined with rigorous analysis of the asset classes available, as well as the individual securities to be selected. Due consideration will be given to issues such as the liquidity of the instruments, credit risk, historical and projected financial performance, price and trading history, and relative value analysis. Often, this will involve discussions with the management of issuers to gain insight into their businesses.

For fixed income investments, the Fund will evaluate the trade-offs between the various maturities available and determine the extent to which the pricing and liquidity of these securities adequately compensates investors for longer-term exposure.

As a result of this evaluation process, the Fund will at all times have a “universe” of potential investment avenues that will be updated on a regular basis and to which the Fund will be allocated. Investment decisions will be implemented primarily through banks and brokers, with whom the Fund will negotiate significant price concessions to keep transaction costs to a minimum.

The strategies of the Fund will be periodically reviewed and modified as market conditions warrant and as the Fund Manager deems such modifications to be in the best interest of the Fund. Holding periods for the Fund’s trading and investment positions will be principally dependent upon their anticipated short- to long-term income and capital appreciation potentials and the market conditions that may prevail over time.

Investment Policies

Under normal market conditions, at least 80% of the Fund’s total assets will be invested in fixed income of corporate and governmental issuers in Ghana or other regulated markets. A maximum of 20% of the fund will be invested in equities on any organised African exchange. The Manager may employ short-term tactical deviations from this policy asset mix of up to 20% of the Fund’s total assets.

This investment objective is a fundamental policy of the Fund and may not be changed without the authorisation of shareholders. The Fund will invest in securities of issuers in emerging markets that permit foreign investment and offer market accessibility and sub-custodial arrangements either inside or outside of such countries that satisfy the investment requirements of the Fund. In spite of the Fund’s objectives, the portfolio might change in the light of shifting market conditions.

The Fund believes that the quickening pace of political, social and economic change in emerging markets creates that potential for rapid economic growth which may be reflected in the prices of securities of issuers.

The Manager also believes that growth may result from government policies directed toward market-oriented economic reform. In addition, certain emerging market countries have been introducing deregulatory reforms to encourage the development of their securities markets, and in varying degrees to permit foreign investment. Nevertheless, investments in these countries are subject to international risks.

The Fund may invest in unrated or high-yield securities issued by corporate entities including debt securities, preferred stocks and convertible securities if they are considered by the Manager to be of high quality. The Fund may also invest in debt securities issued by governments (“Sovereign debt securities”), their provinces, municipal agencies and instruments (governmental entities), or by international or regional organisations that promote economic reconstruction or development in Africa.

Fund Manager
Stanbic Investment Management Services Limited, (“the Manager”) will act as the Manager of the Trust and provide it with management and investment advisory services. The Manager is owned and controlled by Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited (SBG) a Ghana-licenced Universal bank and a subsidiary of the Standard Bank Group, the largest bank in Africa with presence in 18 African countries and over 21 worldwide headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Standard Bank Group is the largest asset manager in Africa, with over US$60billion under management. Leveraging on the group’s network and experience allows SIMS to tap into a world-class technological platform and gives it access to several frontier markets at low cost.

Being an open-ended Trust, units of the Trust will be created, offered and redeemed on a continuing basis throughout the life of the Trust. The Trust will thus issue new units when investors put in money and redeem units when investors withdraw money. The price at which units will be offered and redeemed will be determined by the Net Asset Value of the Trust.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ghana's gov’t surpasses end-year inflation target

Government of Ghana has achieved and surpassed its 2010 end- year inflation target, with the figure coming in at 8.58 percent and 0.22 percentage points better than the target of 8.8percent.

The December figure is also 0.50 percentage points lower than that of November 2010 and the lowest recorded in 18 years.

The decline was mainly driven by the non-food group of the consumer basket, which recorded a figure of 11.22 percent, higher than the food group which registered a figure of 4.50 percent, Mr. Ebow Duncan, Head of Economic and Industrial Statistics of the

Ghana Statistical Service, said at a media briefing in Accra.

Analysts are of the view that on average the economy has been resilient, being able to withstand shocks - especially during the year under review.

But mounting price pressures could end the disinflationary trend in January, said the government and economic analysts .

"The chances of inflation going up in January are 80 to 90 percent," said Mr Duncan citing a government’s hike of retail fuel prices by 30 percent with its pass-through effect on transport charges and other prices early this month.

Critics warned the fuel hike will hurt ordinary Ghanaians and small business by rippling through the transport and manufacturing sectors, but analysts said the move could boost investor confidence by showing that government is willing to make tough choices to tame its budget deficits.

The Committee for Joint Action (CJA), a political pressure group on Wednesday condemned government for the increase in prices of petroleum products.

It said “Government is using the same tired excuses of rise in crude prices on the world market, the need to remove government subsidies, recovering the TOR debt and the increase in the profit margins of fuel distributors in the country.”

Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor welcomed the drop in inflation rate , the lowest ever under any government in the nation’s recent economic history.

“The steady decline in the inflation rate is attributed principally to the continued monetary restraint, prudent fiscal management by the government, good agricultural policies (causing good food harvest) and stable commodity prices,” Dr Duffuor explains in statement issued in Accra.

He dismissed claims from some quarters that the drop in the inflation rate is attributed to lack of spending on the part of the government, adding that the Mills administration has met all its financial obligations and has even moved to clear a substantial part of the huge arrears to contractors left behind by the previous government.

The Finance Minister said that “the drop in the rate of inflation to 8.5 per cent bears testimony to the stability of the economy which the government has been pursuing since January 2009. Now that the economy has stabilized, fiscal year 2011 and the medium term will see a strong stimulation of growth and job creation.”

“We’ll pursue a broad based and job-creation economic growth agenda to remove Ghanaians out of poverty,” Dr Duffuor added.

Inflation reached 18.1% in December 2008 as a result of excessive spending by the previous government.

This led to a build-up of strong inflationary pressures in the economy, which caused the inflation rate to continue to rise in the first half of 2009, reaching an all time high of 20.7% in June.

The inflation was also fuelled by the weakened domestic currency, which lost more than 30% of its value against the dollar between July 2008 and June 2009.

Since June 2009, however, the inflation rate has been on a steady decline, reaching 16% in December 2009. By June 2010, the inflation rate had dropped to 9.5% and subsequently to 8.5 per cent in December, 2010.

"The 8.58 percent outturn is historically low and was achieved on the back of fiscal consolidation, as well as fairly stable food prices and exchange rates," said Sampson Akligoh at Databank Financial Services in an interview with Reuters.

"This should support stable interest rates for at least the first quarter of 2011 even as developments in the economy point to a build-up of inflationary pressures."

The central bank's Monetary Policy Committee last month held the prime interest rate steady at 13.5 percent, after shaving off five percentage points since late 2009.
The next Bank of Ghana Monetary Policy Committee meeting is expected in February.

Government’s key target this year is to grow the economy by 12.3 percent including oil from the targeted 6.5 percent last year, while bringing inflation down further to a single digit of 8.5 percent by end-December 2011.

Inflation rates in the regions for December ranged from 5.97 per cent in the Volta Region to 13.05 per cent in the Greater Accra Region. Six regions - Volta, Western, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Central and Eastern - recorded inflation rates below the national rate of 8.58 per cent.

Mon-Tran’s $2m office complex inaugurated

Mon-Tran Limited has officially inaugurated its $2 million office complex in Accra.

The inauguration of the office complex is aimed at positioning the company to contribute to the country’s oil find and also partner with key world class-brands to venture into international assignments.

Mon-Tran is a wholly-owned Ghanaian registered outsourcing company which started operations in April 2002.

Mr. Kwasi Amissah-Arthur, Governor of Bank of Ghana at the ceremony said: “The dedication of the modern office complex is a positive indication of a vibrant business environment over the years and that the success of Mon-Tran must serve as a business module for other corporate entities to emulate.”

Tony Yaw Minkah, Chief Executive, Mon-Tran Limited indicated that the company has reviewed and refined its business strategy as part of the its commitment to build the business, strengthen client relations and deliver improved results.

“We have a clear strategy for 2011 and the future. As a result of our large geographic footprint, diversity of service offerings and unique technical skills, we are now invited to participate in much larger and challenging assignments because business confidence has improved.

“We have continued to maintain capacity to be able to respond immediately to market opportunities. This growth platform presents us with opportunities for continuing sustainable earning, opportunities for our people and value to our future clients, he said.

Mr. Minkah revealed that the company intends to increase its products range and provide an end-to-end ATM service to the Banks by close of this year. It also plans to open offices in all the region by the end of 2011 and eventually go Pan –African.

“Since we use the police to provide escort for our operations, we have plans to go into partnership with them by way of providing logistics for their operations to help improve their efficiency.

“After seven years of operation, Mon-Tran is not only the largest outsourcing company in the country but also the most diversified in terms of products it offers, ” Mr. Minkah remarked.

Universal Motors unveils first VW pick-up

Universal Motors Limited, the authorised distributor of Volkswagen vehicles in the country, has unveiled its new Amarok, the first Volkswagen pick-up.

The Amarok, which means “the wolf”, comes with strength, robustness, endurance, superiority and the highest maximum payload.

It unites work and leisure like other pick-ups, and a choice of three different drive concepts makes it the ideal companion for almost any assignment.

Gianni Gallinaro, Volkswagen’s Commercial and Sales Manager for Africa, making a presentation at the ceremony in Accra said: “The vehicle has “extremely low fuel consumption, largest load area and broadest loading width.”

He said: “With so many optimum values, the Amarok is also a leader in terms of efficiency with fuel consumption of just 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres.”

“The 2.8 trailer load capacity at a 12 percent incline and at a 100 percent incline is an indication of its robustness. The four lashing eyes on the largest load area in its category ensure that everything stays in place.

“The permanent all-wheel drive with differentials offers maximum comfort and driving dynamics as well as exceptional cross-country mobility to ensure optimal traction on even the toughest terrain; the power distributed to the wheels is variable.

“The shiftable all-wheel drive with gear reduction has been developed for difficult roads off the beaten track.”

The Amarok with its low load platform height of 780 mm makes loading and unloading even easier. At the extremely sturdy tailboard can be used as a practical extension.

“No matter which drive concept you decide on, your vehicle will always have outstanding payload and trailer load capacities as well as the broadest load area in its category - making loading easier than ever before,” Mr. Gallinaro remarked.

Eberhard Schanze, German Ambassador to Ghana, described the vehicle as stylish and robust in design and said that it is a major deviation from the traditional pick-ups.

“The Amarok can transport large quantities - and handle almost anything. Thanks to its extremely robust ladder frame, the Amarok is ideally equipped to handle tough assignments,” he said.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New mining policy in the offing

A new mining policy to guide government in its management of the mining and minerals sector will be ready in 2012.

The policy document, soon to be presented to Cabinet for adoption, is currently at its draft stage and when fully operational will define the usage of the country’s mineral resources for national development.

The policy was initiated in 1999 and went through various stakeholder consultations and independent review in 2001, now reaching its current final draft stage.

Mr. Benjamin Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Mineral Commission - lead promoters of the policy - disclosed to B&FT that it is expected to provide a framework of principles and policies which will ensure that the country’s mineral endowment is managed on a sustainable economically, socially and environmentally accepted standards.

The policy seeks to provide a standard framework for implementation of the various mineral laws in the country.

Outlining the core objectives of the policy at a stakeholder workshop in Accra, he explained that the policy intends to diversify the country’s export base and thereby increase foreign exchange earnings.

It will as well optimise tax revenue generation to support development, generate skilled employment and develop local capacity for the mineral industry, and create demand for local goods and services.

The policy contributes to infrastructure development, produces raw materials for local usage, contributes to the transformation of mining - especially rural communities - serve as catalyst for wider investment in the economy, and collaborate in the harmonisation of mineral policy in ECOWAS and in Africa.

Mr. Aryee said: “In order to achieve these objectives, government recognises that there is a need to establish a clear, comprehensive and forward-looking national policy that will govern regulation and development of the mining sector.

“Government also recognises that the national mining policy must provide for the establishment of an enabling environment for investors, which is based upon modern regulatory arrangements and sufficient attractive terms.

“Whilst seeking to encourage investment, there is also a need to ensure that mineral operations are conducted responsibly. Government considers that neglect of the environment and harm to local communities as a result of mining operations is not acceptable.

“The intention is therefore that the country secures the full economic and social benefits that mining development promises, in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” Mr. Aryee stated.

Alhaji Collins Dauda, former sector Minister, indicated that the mining sector has attracted a lot of investments due to the liberal economic policies government is pursuing - and that in order to secure the gains, there is need to initiate further policies to guide the sector.