Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New tax ID to track businesses

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is designing new Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) to be issued to registered businesses and individuals to ensure effective linkage with the Registrar-General’s Department (RGD), electronically, for easy tracking of taxpayers.

This will ensure that the GRA has access to the database of the RGD to access the details of registered businesses in the country.

The introduction of the TIN forms part of reforms under the integration and modernisation of all the revenue agencies which started with the passage of the GRA Act 2009, Act 791.

“The process of forging the erstwhile revenue agencies and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board into one entity is on course,” Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner-General of GRA, said in Accra at a media conference to review GRA’s revenue performance, current status and challenges of the integration and modernisation process of the revenue agencies.

The forum was also to reveal expectations of revenue inflows for the last six months of the year.

Mr. Blankson, who was optimistic of attaining the revised revenue target figure of ¢7.5billion (from ¢7.2 billion), said GRA is seriously committed to ensuring that in the second half of the year -- and in years beyond -- revenue mobilisation achieves greater efficiency, productivity and effectiveness.

The Authority recorded a 12.1 percent jump in half-year revenue for 2011 to GH¢3.9 billion, compared with GH¢3.5 billion for the same period last year.

The breakdown of the collection is as follows: Domestic Taxes (Direct Tax) recorded GH¢1.622.33 million, recording an excess of GH ¢150.17 million (10.2 percent). Indirect taxes recorded GH¢672.79 million, also showing an excess of ¢48.2million -- representing 7.7 percent.
Customs collection including petroleum also recorded GH¢ ¢1,633.93 million, an excess of GH¢ 224.56 -- representing 15.9 percent.

“Management will focus on areas such as the collection of self-employed income tax, the warehousing regime, transit regime, temporary importation of vehicles and debt management to shore up revenue.

“In addition, there will be sustained tax education for all taxpayers to ensure voluntary compliance, effective implementation of enforcement and compliance measures, effective monitoring of permits and quick examination of submitted returns.”

He revealed that a rapid deployment force has been put in place and is currently undergoing training to ensure effective tracking and interception of smuggled goods.

On the integration of the revenue agencies, the Commissioner-General emphasised that the reform involved pooling together into a Tax Administration Act all the administrative provisions in the customs, Value Added Tax (VAT) and income tax laws, and re-crafting the residual provisions into a separate charging Act for income tax, VAT and customs.

In this direction, a separate Value Added Tax bill has been crafted, gazetted and submitted to Parliament while work is currently going on new VAT regulations as well the final draft of the Tax Administration Act.

Also, work on the Internal Revenue Act has begun and terms of reference developed for the customs law.

Mr. Blankson said a key element of the reform process is the integration of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) offices, comprising the erstwhile Value Added Tax Service and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to enhance taxpayer convenience and also enable the staff to discharge their duties under the DTRD more effectively.

“This involves merging offices by co-locating staff of these erstwhile Revenue Agencies, movement of files of taxpayers, training of staff to perform on their schedules etc,” he said, adding that the Commission has identified nine offices within the Accra-Tema metropolis to serve as pilot sites for integration of DTRD offices.

Mr Blankson said effective from the last quarter of 2011, the first pilot office on the Spintex road will be opened, while others at Adabraka, Tema, Agbogbloshie, among others will be opened towards the end of the year. The DTRD offices will also allow for the segmentation of taxpayers into large, medium and small.

Institutions with annual turnover of GH¢5 million and above as well as specialist industries, no matter the turnover, would be among the Large Taxpayers; with companies with turnover above GH¢90,000 but below GH¢5 million in the medium category, while the small taxpayers would include those with annual turnover of GH¢90,000 and below.

“It is the expectation of management that through effective and efficient supervision by managers, and with the co-operation of the media, the GRA will exceed the revenue target for 2011,” Mr. Blankson remarked.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

GIPC points finger at banks, others

The attitude of some banks that demand residence and work permits before opening bank accounts for foreign investors is a major bottleneck impeding the country’s investment promotion, Augustine Otoo, Director, Investor Service, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), has said.

He also faulted some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) -- Registrar General’s Department, Trade Ministry, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, and others -- whose demands and processes sometimes frustrate the Centre’s goal of investment facilitation.

“The Investor Service Division has noticed that due to the lack of clear understanding of the GIPC’s mandate and investment procedures, some sister-agencies tend to frustrate and make inappropriate demands of investors, thereby increasing the cost of doing business in the country.

“Investors get frustrated when opening accounts with some banks, which forms part of the business registration requirement. Dealing with banks becomes extremely difficult at times,” he said in Accra at the first inter-agency forum organised by GIPC, aimed at creating and adopting a common understanding of investment procedures.

He asked that banks freely accept companies that come to open accounts with them to ease the business registration process and facilitate the attraction of foreign direct investment.

“The GIPC, in facilitating investment promotion successfully in the country, relies on the efficient and effective performance and delivery of other sister-agencies to ensure investor satisfaction,” Mr. Otoo explained to B&FT in an interview.

He identified the lack of harmonised guidelines on various requirements by investment-related agencies as an obstacle to investment facilitation, and said the forum was to streamline inter-agency bottlenecks that lead to delays in the investment process.

However, an official from the Bank of Ghana in an interview with B&FT opined that such regulations are not meant to frustrate investors, but rather to keep a check on foreign investors and the quality of their investment inflows.

“It is an international regulation adopted to track money laundering operators.”
Banks are also required by regulation to collect a range of Know Your Customer (KYC) records from clients, and have to abide by the Central Bank’s anti-money laundering guidelines in foreign transactions.

Ghana at the moment is enjoying a lot of international attention and this is manifested in the World Banks’ ranking of the country as the fifth in sub-Saharan Africa -- and first in West Africa -- in its Ease of Doing Business 2011 report.

GIPC records show that the sum of the estimated cost of projects from FDI for the five- year period to 2010 amounted to US$ 12,845.78 million.

The estimates for the manufacturing sector accounted for 57.96 percent of the total estimated cost of all the 1505 projects in the period. This is followed by the building and construction sector (19.03 percent) and the the services sector, which registered 9.57 percent.

The first quarter of this year has witnessed continued high investment flows, with the total value of registered projects at GH 567.66 million. The Centre said jobs generated totalled 6,497.

The GIPC seminar brought together participants from various investment agencies, notably Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Trade and Finance, Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Immigration Service,

Ghana Free Zones Board, Ghana Export Promotion Council and Registrar General’s Department.
Others were Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, National Communications Authority, Ghana Standards Board, Food and Drugs Board, Association of Ghana Industries, Land Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Pharmacy Council, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.

GNCCI pushes for stronger ECOWAS trade

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) is pushing for a deeper collaboration to promote trade between neighbouring ECOWAS countries and the European Union.

The project involves the establishment of a platform for networking to improve cross-border economic ties between member companies of the national chambers of Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.

Mr. Emmanuel Doni –Kwame, acting Chief Executive Officer, GNCCI making a presentation at a two-day validation workshop on Enhancing the Capacity of Ghanaian Private sector in Accra said: “The GNCCI will continue to work with counterpart chambers in the sub-region to influence policy decisions and enforcement in the removal of barriers that hinder the smooth transit of goods.”

Mr. Doni-Kwame urged ECOWAS to facilitate discussions among the customs administrations to enable harmonisation and interconnectivity of systems and deployment of single customs administrative document to ensure that insurance bond guarantees are valid from warehouse to warehouse along the corridors.

“Businesses often complain of excessive barriers at the borders, which impede efforts at transporting goods within the sub-region,” he said.
The workshop among other objectives was to foster economic and trade ties among member states.

It was also to intensify the knowledge on the ECOWAS economic integration process whiles promoting the utilization of the country as transhipment centre for export and import trade to boost cross-border trade.

It also focused on identify the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of GNCCI and other related issues that impede GNCCI from achieving its objective of enhancing the performance of its member companies, to be committed to efforts to improve trade flows between Ghana and its neighbouring countries within the framework of ECOWAS regional integration process.

Participants discussed various challenges and business opportunities between Ghana and its neighbouring countries, in response to the collective drive of achieving the borderless ECOWAS.

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Elantra: Game Changer

The all-new Fifth-Generation Elantra is everything and more you would expect from Hyundai, the most talked about car today. Ekow Essabra-Mensah writes.

The fifth-generation Elantra is a sure-fire game-changer. Hyundai’s reputation for superior build quality and reliability add the crowning touch for this new leader in the compact class segment. The new modern design and an emphasis on high quality, while delivering improved fuel efficiency and performance are the strength of the new Elantra.

To be made and sold around the world, the new Elantra is a true global car with universal appeal. But because no two markets are ever exactly alike, certain key features have been tailored to the individual requirements of each market, especially the African automobile market.

The new Elantra launches into an intensely competitive environment which over the next four years will see leading rivals introduce not only face-lifted models but also full-model replacement.

The 2011 Hyundai Elantra is expected to be the Hyundai company's new best-selling model worldwide. The compact designs are quickly becoming extremely popular in the global market.

“In a world of lookalike sedans, Elantra’s elegant design put it in a class of its own. Fun to drive and easy to park, thanks to its compact dimensions and agile handling, it’s the perfects solution for getting around town.

“Equally impressive are the new silk smooth, fuel-efficient engines and six-speed transmissions,” Rockson Johnson, Country Head, Hyundai Motors and Investments Ghana Limited told B&FT after a media briefing in Accra to officially unveil the vehicle into the country’s automobile market.


Fuel efficiency

Good aerodynamics, an exact science as much as it is an art, yields sleek shapes that cheat the wind, resulting in reduced wind resistance, less wind noise and lower fuel consumption.

The new Elantra was subjected to hundreds of hours of aerodynamic testing and refinements in the wind tunnel.

The most typical feature of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra is its new 1.6L Gamma Gasoline Direct Injection engine aimed at improving fuel economy to best-in-class.

The engine is paired with six-speed automatic transmission and a front-wheel drive system. This is said to be 10 percent more fuel efficient in comparison to its rivals.

It's can be stated that the new Elantra meets Hyundai’s latest desires, featuring the best designing and performance in its edition.

Powerful, clean and most important of all, economical, that’s a lot because Hyundai is determined to become the world leader in fuel efficiency.

It also comes with six speed automatic transmission which is specifically developed for the compact car. And like Hyndai engines it is made in-house, which further proves Hyndai’s highly advanced engineering capabilities.

Suspension and steering components are anchored to a chassis of outstanding rigidity and strength, Permitting more precise tuning of the final ride and handling settings.

In all parameters of ride performance the new Elantra is measurably quieter, smoother and refined impressing even the toughest critics and setting a new benchmark in the compact segment.

The heating and ventilation system has been carefully engineered to ensure the uniform distribution of warm air-or cool, as desired- to every corner of the cabin. Plus, the user-friendly designed of the climate controls has eliminated guesswork in operating the system.

Hyundai’s new family of engines adopt a variety of advanced technologies which are designed to reduce fuel consumption and realize Hyundai’s declared goal of becoming the automotive industry leader in fuel efficiency.


The goal is uncompromising: To earn the title of the world’s safest compact sedan. The approach will always be uncompromising.

Don’t let Elantra’s compact size deceive because this car is really gig on safety. It comes with highly advanced safety features found only on top-end models such as Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).

Elantra also comes with a wide range of passive safety systems such as airbags and highly rigid steel body structure which help mitigate the after-effects of a collision.

And, in matters of safety, Hyundai takes the same uncompromising approach by equipping Elantra with six airbags and Electronic Stability Programme.

Elantra comes with six airbags: dual front airbags for the driver and passenger and dual front seat-mounted airbags and dual side curtain airbags which offer additional protection against


Elantra, a private oasis of comfort and relaxation comes equipped with every amenity and convenience to be expected of a leader.

Integrated system plays CDs, MP3 and other multimedia files, iPod, Aux & USB support, Steering wheel Audi Remote Control, Button Start & Stop, Dual Zone Auto Air Conditioning, Rain Sensor, Parking Guidance System, Driver Power Seats & Safety Power Window.

Design concept

Eye-catching, heart-stopping, head-turning:

The new Elantra with its distinctive sensibility makes a powerful design statement that gets immediate attention anywhere and everywhere. “Fluidic Sculpture” is Hyundai's new design philosophy which embodies a flowing and dynamic form execution. This philosophy embraces the harmony of human co-existence and the wisdom of sustainable growth from nature’s endless evolution to create a vision of progressive and passionate design.

Embracing “Fluidic Sculpture” design principles, Elantra artfully combines the interplay of wind with rigid surfaces to create the illusion of continuous motion.

Taking inspiration from the interplay of wind and natural forms, “Wind Craft” was selected as the keyword which best summarizes the aesthetic goals of the Elantra design team.

Interior design and styling

Never derivative but “Dynamic & Futuristic“ and exhibiting a complete mastery over form and materials, Elantra beckons with a warm and inviting ambiance.

With its windswept lines, it’s a design that is guaranteed to turn heads: Sleek, assertive and highly distinctive with plenty of emotional appeal.

Stylish, sleek curve, swept-back headlamps project a sporty and dynamic style.

Viewed from any angle, the new Elantra’s stance is athletic yet also graceful and agile thanks to skillfully executed design.

Displaying confident mastery over materials and form, the cabin space excludes an air of inviting comfort and luxurious exclusivity not commonly associated with cars in the segments.

Design elegance and originality born of complete confidence in setting the new standard for the industry.

From the basic layout to the execution of the details, the Elantra’s interior design reveals itself to roomy, comfortable and simply brilliant.

Though the package is small, it feels a lot bigger than it is: A real masterpiece in the art of “packaging”. When there’s 420 liters of luggage space on hand, then it’s clear that good design always multiplies your option.

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai Motor Group which has ranked as the world’s fifth-largest automaker since 2007 and includes more than two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates.

The all-new Elantra began life as the automaker’s first product in 1990 and has grown to become one of Hyundai Motor Company’s top-selling global models.

Hyundai Motor, which has six manufacturing bases outside of South Korea, sold approximately 3.6 million vehicles globally in 2010. Hyundai vehicles are sold in 186 countries through some 5,300 dealerships and showrooms.

New guidelines to create opportunities in mining

Government is considering a directive that would provide guidelines to ensure that mining companies offer local businesses opportunity to take part in the mining sector value chain, Mr. Mike Hammah, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has disclosed.

This will form part of a paradigm shift where there would be organised interventions in order to reap maximum benefits from the sector.

“Although mining companies were not compelled to do so, there was the need for them to show interest and consider proposals submitted by local entrepreneurs.

“One of the challenges facing the industry is the inability of government policy directives to be successful, thereby making it difficult for the private sector to be fully involved in the mining sector,” he said.

Mr. Hammah made this disclosure when the senior vice president of AngloGold Ashanti, Peter Anderton, paid a courtesy call on him at the ministries in Accra.

The country now boasts 16 operating mines, six projects at mine development stage and over 150 local and foreign companies with exploration licences, mainly in the domain of gold.

It is estimated that the large-scale mining companies have 27,000 direct employees made up of professionals like engineers, scientists, accountants and administrators, artisans like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, machine operators and drivers, and some unskilled labour.

The mining industry indirectly employs about 527,000 people.

Mr. Hammah observed that the mining sector plays an important role in growing the country’s economy, adding that there was a stable labour force committed to moving the industry forward.

“The ongoing review of the mining policy would define the responsibilities of mining companies to the communities in order to support their development,” he said.

He congratulated AngloGold Ashanti for upholding policy guidelines and its responsibilities to the development and maintenance of mining communities.

Mr. Anderton observed that the country has been strategically positioned to attract global investors, adding “Ghana’s mining professionals are considered as [having quality] expertise and can be located in all of AngloGold’s 22 operations worldwide.”

He indicated that AngloGold Ashanti has a lot of commitment towards the country’s socio- economic development.

AngloGold Ashanti currently employs more than 63,000 people worldwide, of which 9000 of them are Ghanaians with indirect employment figures standing at 54,000. This includes its employees at Iduapriem, Obuasi, Accra corporate offices and Tema/Takoradi,

On contribution to the health sector, a $3million malaria control programme, dubbed the Obuasi Malaria Control Programme, was inaugurated. The objective is to reduce the incidence of malaria in Obuasi by 50 percent in two years. AngloGold Ashanti has so far solely funded the project with $8.4 million spending, well in excess of $1million per year.

Nokia launches dual SIM phones

Nokia has officially unveiled three dual SIM handsets onto the telecom market.

The handsets, Nokia X1-01, C2-00 and C2-03, comes with a lot of new exciting features such as loud music speaker which can play for 36 hours continuously and designed with the youth in mind and an easy swap of SIM.

Other key features of both handsets are a different MP3 ringtone for each SIM, unique name and icon for each SIM, Micro SD which support up to 16GB for the X1-01 and 32GB for the C2-00, large phone book with up to 500 entries, speaking alarm clock and super long battery life.

On the other hand, the Nokia C2-03 model, which will be available in the country in few weeks also comes in a sleek touch screen slide cell phone with higher specifications than the first two. All phones come in about eight colours ranging from off white, silver, blue, red to black.

“Nokia has introduced all three phone models at the same time to enable users of the products save cost and also to lead innovation in the handset manufacturing industry.

“Nokia wants to always remain the leading brand,” Country Manager, Ludovic Falcuo, told the media at the official unveiling of the handsets in Accra.

“You will find that coming in late, that has been asked severally, is hinged on the fact that if you want to make a quality product, from a reputable organisation, we don’t just rush in and rush out; people have known Nokia as devices you could use for a long time,” he added.

Olumide Balogun, Product Manager of Nokia, West Africa, making a said: “Through the various specifications of the newly introduced phones, the Nokia C2-00 also has a five SIM card memory, which means the settings of five SIM cards are automatically stored on the phone and will thus automatically read whenever it is slotted into the phone, even after so many months.

The Nokia X1-01 and C2-00, are presently on the Ghanaian market at very competitive prices of GH¢ 65 and GH¢ 110 respectively, while the third, the Nokia C2-03 is expected to be made available in the next few weeks.

Commodities exchange to excite farmers

Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, says the establishment of a commodity exchange and development of a regulated warehouse receipt system, to create immense opportunities for the agricultural sector and ensure price-stability, will be ready by 2012.

The exchange, when fully operational, will raise the hopes of millions of farmers -- especially large-scale farmers -- and make their lives more meaningful.

It will provide for market transparency, efficient price discovery and standardisation; and the attendant improvement in quality standards will assist them to gain easy access to ready markets, both local and international.

“It is my hope that, by next year, the operations of the commodities exchange will commence to allow farmers receive appropriate prices for their produce. This will as well ensure that the agricultural sector becomes an exciting venture.

“Government will embark on a nationwide roadshow to source views from farmers, which will form the input for implementation of the exchange next year.

“Ideally, by 2012 the operation of the commodities exchange should take-off -- if we are able to complete the regulatory framework and the implementation of the strategies within the timelines set,” Ms. Tetteh disclosed.

B&FT has gathered that government has set up a special body made up of officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Food and Agriculture, Trade and Industry as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to design models that will be adopted into the country’s business environment.

SEC, the lead promoter of the commodities exchange and warehouse receipts system in the country, is mandated to develop the needed regulatory framework to facilitate establishment of the exchange once government accepts the recommendations.

Ms. Tetteh made this disclosure at a programme organised to officially launch the Agricultural Trade Fair (AGRIFA) 2011, held in Accra.

AGRIFA 2011, themed ‘Promoting local Agric Produce with Appropriate Technology: Key to Ghana’s Socio-conomic Development’, will be held at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre, La, between October 14 and 22 this year.

AGRIFA is an initiative designed by the Agricultural Trade and Investment Promotion Centre with the aim of promoting and marketing local agricultural produce for both the domestic and the international markets.

AGRIFA 2011 is being organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in collaboration with Agricultural Trade and Investment Promotion Centre, the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG), National Poultry Farmers Association, Coalition of Agricultural Media Organisations, Ghana, and other farmer-based organisations.

The 15-member national planning committee of AGRIFA 2011, chaired by Mr. Philip Abayori, President of NFFAWAG, has representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry as members.

The rest are Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Trade, Ghana Export Promotion Council, Association of Ghana Industries, Fisheries Commission, Ghana Trade Fair Company, Ghana Standards Board, Ghana Tourism Federation, and the Food and Drugs Board.

AGRIFA will be an annual event that will basically seek to bring together agricultural producers, service providers, manufactures and other stakeholders under one umbrella to share ideas, showcase agricultural produce, and also project local foods and learn improved modern and innovative methods of production.

AGRIFA 2011 will also provide a platform for conferences and seminars to highlight specific key areas of the agricultural sectors.

Notable among them are the Agricultural Finance & Insurance Seminar; Agricultural Mechanisation & Irrigation Seminar; Value Chain & Export Seminar; Fisheries, Aqua Culture & Livestock Seminar; and Post-Harvest Management Seminar.

AGRIFA 2011 intends to bring on board stakeholders from various institutions such as policymakers, dealers in agricultural machinery & irrigation equipment, agricultural producers and fishermen, farmer-based organisations (FBOs), buyers of agro-produce, financial institutions, exporters, investors, donors, leasing companies, ingredient suppliers, research institutions, dealers in post-harvest equipment, agricultural faculties (Universities), restaurant owners, dealers in processing & storage equipment, among others.

Vodafone wireless office facility introduced

Vodafone Business Solutions has introduced a wireless office facility for businesses, to enhance internet connectivity that will grow business in the country.

“The wireless office is perfect for small to medium organisations and allows users seamless connection to each other and the World Wide Web. It is a complete communication solution for companies that do not have access to an ADSL land line Internet connection.

“The device is designed for temporary or mobile offices which provide data connection, phone and FAX calls via a 3G network.

“SMEs can connect any analogue phone or FAX and about 30 computers on Wi-Fi,” said Derek Appiah, Director of Vodafone Business Solutions.

He made this known in Accra at a gathering of over 170 corporate IT experts from large and small to medium enterprise customers across the country to officially introduce the facility.

Appiah added: “Vodafone Business Solutions is dedicated to businesses delivering a range of innovative and integrated solutions tailored to their needs.

“Telecommunications has rapidly moved from voice to data and is now in the era of convergence of these technologies. Vodafone Business Solution is very well-positioned to provide our corporate clients with these solutions to enhance the growth of their businesses and guarantee them value for money.

“Our commitment is to simplify and modernise networks to expand the service capabilities, Vodafone wants to have a consistent service quality level.”

The programme offered Vodafone an opportunity to elaborate on their network transformation project, which has been positioned to meet the total business needs of businesses.

Participants were treated to a preview of the Video and Audio Conferencing facility that allows businessmen to have meetings with their colleagues across the country without having to leave their offices.

Also on display were Vodafone Smartphones with business applications, work-stations for dedicated internet services, and WiFi Hot Spots.

Friday, July 15, 2011

June inflation falls to 8.59 %

Current statistics on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by the Ghana Statistical Service show a continuing decline in inflation for June 2011, recording the fourth consecutive fall since February.

The rate for June 2011 stood at 8.59 percent, representing a further decline of 0.31 percentage points from the May figure of 8.90 percent.

The rate of inflation fell continuously over 19 months, from 20.74 percent in June 2009 to 8.58 percent in December 2010; but it rose subsequently to 9.1% in the first quarter of this year after a hike in retail fuel prices. Generally, it has remained relatively stable since June 2010, with rates ranging between 8.58 and 9.52 percent.

“The continuous fall in inflation is driven generally by food and non-alcoholic beverages group, while the non- food group inflation has remained stable since June 2010, between 11.22 and 12.44 percent,” said Government Statistician, Dr. Grace Bediako, at a media briefing in Accra to announce the figures.

In the food group, which has a weight of 44.91 percent, sub-groups with the highest inflation rates were Sugar, jam, honey, syrup, chocolate and confectionary (14.17%), Oil and fats (13.75%),Coffee, tea and cocoa (12.03%); and Fruit (11.92%). The average June food inflation rate was 2.78 percent.

On the other hand, the non-food group, with a weight of 55.09 percent, had a bigger influence on the rate of inflation. Transport prices, which registered 23.35%, remained the highest contributor to inflation in the non-food group.

Miscellaneous goods and services (17.39%) and Housing, water, electricity, gas and others (14.72%) recorded rates higher than the average June non-food inflation rate of 12.44 percent.
Dr. Bediako disclosed: “Single digit inflation is likely to be maintained till the end of the year if current conditions are maintained.

“For the period of the last 12 months or so, the rate has been changing within a band. We see that from June 2010 it was within 9 and 10 percent and it remained in that band for the whole twelve months, ranging between 8 and 10 percent.

“So there are changes, there are increases and slight declines and so on, but still within a two percent range.”

Greater Accra recorded the highest regional inflation of 12.48 percent with Volta region recording the lowest inflation of 4.65 percent. The Western and Central regions also recorded inflation rates above the national rates of 8.59 percent.

The outlook, as assessed by the Bank of Ghana (BoG), points to lowering inflationary risks, an indication that the real value of money will continue to rise, implying commercial banks should become more willing to reduce lending rates to improve private business growth.

The Bank of Ghana cut its prime interest rate by 50 basis points to 12.50 percent, reaffirming its view that annual inflation is on target to remain around nine percent by year-end.

Inflation Outlook

“Now it looks obvious that inflation will continue to slow into the third quarter and most likely close the quarter at 7 percent,” Sampson Akligoh, an economist at Databank Financial Services, said.

“Government’s plan to increase spending through a supplementary budget does not pose a fiscal threat, because of a six-month lag effect. That notwithstanding, a stable cedi will continue to support the disinflationary trend.”

After weakening as much as 5.7 percent against the dollar in the first five weeks of 2011, Ghana’s cedi has stabilised and is now only 2.2 percent down in the year, easing pressure on import costs.

Slowing inflation enabled the central bank to cut its key interest rate by 5 percentage points in the 12 months through July 2010. It resumed the rate reductions on May 13 and again on July 6, lowering the key rate to 12.5 percent.

“The Bank of Ghana will see this as a vindication of its earlier decision to cut rates,” Razia Khan, head of research at Standard Chartered Bank Plc, London, said.

Growth, deficit estimates revised

The economy is now expected to grow at 14.4% this year following higher-than-expected revenue inflows and projected higher spending, says Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.

The increased spending forecast will result in a fiscal deficit equivalent to 5.1% of GDP, up by a percentage point from the 4.1% projected last November.

The new real growth forecast beats the earlier 12.3%, and surpasses the International Monetary Fund’s estimate of 13.7%. In the first quarter of this year, the economy expanded by 23% year-on-year, boosted by oil, gold and cocoa production.

Announcing revisions to the government’s macroeconomic targets for this year, Dr. Duffuor said developments since the last quarter of 2010 call for changes in the assumptions underlying the 2011 fiscal budget.

Notable among these developments, he said, were the passage of the petroleum revenue-management legislation, “major inflows” from the World Bank, proceeds from the sale of shares in mining giant Anglogold, and a boost to tax collections.

Thanks to triple-digit oil prices and higher production from the Jubilee field, additional petroleum revenues of GH¢339.4 million is expected. The total oil-revenue estimate now expected is GH¢923.4 million, plus extra GH¢327.3 million that will be transferred to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) -- consistent with its interest in the Jubilee partnership.

Additional fiscal revenue and external grants of GH¢1.366 billion is expected, bringing the total to GH¢11.967 billion. More spending of GH¢1.459 billion is projected, raising the total amount to GH¢14.344 billion.

The government’s benchmark oil-price assumption has been reviewed to US$100 per barrel from US$70 per barrel initially, with average Jubilee daily output forecast raised to 84,737 barrels.

In line with the revisions, Duffuor asked Parliament yesterday to vote GH¢1.463 billion in additional spending for the rest of the year. Various job-creation and infrastructure- improvement initiatives will benefit from the new funding, he said.

“The aim of this supplementary estimate is to seek parliamentary approval to commit additional resources to fund additional expenditures resulting from the revisions made to the 2011 budget.”

The additional resources will be used to finance, among others, road construction and rehabilitation (GH¢40m); education infrastructure (GH¢40m); sanitation projects (GH¢15m); purchase of fire-fighting equipment (GH¢11.36m); the national youth employment programme (GH¢10m); and rural electrification (GH¢15m).

A new public-private initiative to improve skills and create jobs, the Local Enterprises and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP), will receive GH¢12m. It will involve training in information technology skills, and jobs in agro-processing and construction.

The Minister said a detailed strategy, involving cash payments and securitisation, has been worked out to settle fiscal arrears that continue to encumber effective expenditure planning.

By end-2010, total arrears were GH¢3.8 billion including state-owned enterprises’ indebtedness of GH¢1.77 billion. Nearly GH¢2 billion of this amount has so far being liquidated, leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢1.7 billion, he said.

He was upbeat about the outlook for inflation, and said the government expected end-year inflation to finish at 9%, with an average annual inflation forecast of 8.7%.

Source: B&FT

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

AMSCO equips telecoms officials

African Management Services Company (AMSCO) has held a safety training programme for officials in the telecoms industry, aimed at equipping officials for global competition through the reinforcement of human capital development.

The two-week training programme under the theme ‘Work Safe, Work Smart’, being organised with support from Services and Technologies for Africa (S&TA) and Eaton Towers, has certification from Latchways Fall Arrest System from South Africa.

The first batch of 25 technicians from five telecommunications companies in the country were given intensive theoretical and practical sessions focusing on critical modules of working at height and rescue procedures.

Major Rtd Owusu Adansi, Director for Special Programmes, National Communications Authority speaking at the opening ceremony in Accra, underscored the need for training on safety for workforces in the telecoms industry.

Mrs. Audrey Mensah, AMSCO, commended the participating companies for showing their commitment toward safety issues and industry regulations.

She encouraged participants to endeavour to optimally use the acquired skills and knowledge to avoid the occurrence of accidents at the workplace.

Ms. Theodora Acquah, the Senior Capacity Development Officer for the region, expressed AMSCO’s appreciation for the encouraging response received from the call to attend this training.

“Given AMSCO’s mandate to drive the development agenda in Africa through training and expertise transfer, AMSCO will keep carrying out high level need-analyses to target the right audiences and deliver the needed training, since this indeed is the blueprint needed by the various sectors on their journey to becoming recognised international players,” Ms. Acquah remarked.

Newmont pays US$29.8m as tax

Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), operators of the Ahafo and Akyem gold mines, have paid an amount of US$29.8million (GH¢45million) as corporate tax to the government at a brief ceremony in Accra.

This payment brings the total tax paid by NGGL to GH¢88 million (US$59million) and forms part of its financial obligations to the government in tax -- including corporate income tax, payroll tax, withholding taxes, royalties and national fiscal stabilisation levy.

The payments were made in accordance with the country’s tax laws and the provisions of NGGL’s Investment Agreement.

At the cheque-presenting ceremony, Edwin Allotey Acquaye, Tax Director, NGGL said: “Newmont is proud to be part of Ghana’s development and will continue to manage its operations responsibly, and thus significantly contribute to the national agenda.

Newmont will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders, particularly the government, to harness the resources in its operational areas for mutual benefit.

“It is a demonstration of Newmont’s commitment to ensure our sustainability in the operations of the country’s mining sector.”

He added: “In addition to direct financial benefits to the government, NGGL generates other economic benefits through payments of salaries to almost 5,000 Ghanaian employees and direct contractors, goods and services procurement, both local and national spending, which totalled $1.2billion through 2010, as well as community development programmes.

“NGGL is proud of its excellent compliance record with the country’s tax authorities and has a good working relationship with the Ghana Revenue Authority.”

Comfort Boohene Osafo, Acting Commissioner Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA, receiving the cheque on behalf of government, said: “We appreciate the immense contribution of Newmont as a corporate entity in the mining industry to taxes collected over the years since the company started its operations in the country.

The company contributed a total of GH¢44.56 million in corporate income tax collection, representing 25.85 percent of the Large Taxpayer Office’s collection of GH¢172.39 million.

She disclosed also that Newmont has contributed a total of GH¢445.11 million to the Large Tax Office’s collection from January to June, 2011, indicating enormous tax contributions to the government.

She thanked Newmont for its continuous support towards the developmental agenda of the country and urged other mining companies to emulate their good example.

GCNet returns value to Gov’t

Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) has presented a cheque for GH¢2million to government.

The amount represents the 2010 dividend payment due government through shareholding held by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in GCNet.

This brings the total dividend payment made to Government through the GRA’s shareholding to nearly GH¢20 million since 2010.

At the cheque-presenting ceremony in Accra, the Executive Chairman of GCNet, Mr. Nortey Omaboe, said that besides the GRA dividend, government also receives additional dividend payment through its shareholdings held by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority and the Ghana Commercial Bank in GCNet.

He indicated that the total dividend received by government for 2010 amounted to GH¢3.5million.

Mr. Omaboe outlined a number of measures that GCNet is undertaking as part of its service to support government’s revenue mobilisation.

These include the on-going automation of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA and introduction of the Customs Valuation Assurance Programme (VAP) last year.

He also observed that the VAP has been a resounding success and has contributed in no small measure in helping GRA (Customs Division) to meet its 2010 revenue targets and to be on course for its 2011 revenue targets.

Receiving the dividend on behalf of government, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffour, expressed appreciation for GCNet’s contribution toward government’s revenue mobilisation efforts.

“Revenue is critical for the good performance of the economy and the achievement of various macro-economic targets,” he said.

He urged GCNet to re-double its efforts at ensuring that it deploys systems which will help to realise government’s revenue targets, adding that GCNet must make concrete suggestions that help to plug all revenue loopholes.

GCNet was incorporated in November 2000 as a private-public partnership to develop and operate a customised electronic system for processing trade and customs documents.

Its shareholders include Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS); Ghana Shippers Council; Ecobank Ghana Limited; Ghana Commercial Bank; and Société General de Surveillance (SGS).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tullow sees record H1 revenues on Jubilee ramp up

Oil Explorer Tullow Oil said it expected to post record revenue of around $1.05 billion for the first half of 2011 as it ramps up output in Ghana and raised its guidance for full-year production.

The company said on Tuesday its key Jubilee oil field in Ghana was on track to reach production of 120,000 barrels per day of oil (bopd) in August, a month later than the guidance it gave in May.

A higher oil price environment combined with Jubilee production growing to around 80,000 bopd will help lift first-half revenues to record levels of $1.05 billion, said the company.

Tullow said it expected full-year production to come in between 90,000 bopd to 94,000 bopd, above the 86,000 to 92,000 level it forecast in January, boosted by acquisitions in Ghana and the Netherlands.

Shares in Tullow, which have fallen almost 5 percent in the last month, closed at 1,253 pence on Monday, valuing the company at 11.2 billion pounds.

IBM, UG sign collaboration agreement

The University of Ghana and IBM have signed an agreement to foster new entrepreneurial approaches to education and research and development (R&D) to support the adoption of new technologies such as cloud computing and business analytics.

As part of the agreement, the two parties will work together and share insights and experiences in areas of mutual interest, which will include the establishment and development of educational programmes and curricula to strengthen skills in information technology and improve access to education - especially in remote areas of the country.

IBM will also provide its technology experts to the university to assist with guest lectures and the roll-out of technical courses.

The agreement, which was signed in Accra at the University of Ghana by Dr. Mark Dean, Vice President and IBM Fellow and Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana, underscores IBM’s commitment to Ghana and the importance of information technology in the development of the country.

“By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, the University of Ghana has a real opportunity to develop in key areas such as education and R&D, which can play a key role in increasing Ghana's competitiveness in a global economy,” said Joe Mensah, Country General Manager, IBM Ghana.

“Ghana has a long history in mining and agriculture and has recently discovered oil and gas on its shores. IBM's Smart Solutions can enable Ghana's industries optimise their operations and ensure efficient extraction of these valuable resources,” Dr. Dean stated.

Since 2008, through its Corporate Service Corps programme, IBM has assigned five teams (47 employees) of employee-volunteers from more than 20 different countries on one-month assignments in Takoradi and Kumasi.

The teams of some of IBM’s top performers have worked on projects aimed at narrowing the digital divide between rural and urban areas and accelerating the adoption of Information and Communication Technology in the country.

Earlier this year IBM’s consultants worked on a pro bono basis with the Electricity Company of Ghana, the Tema Technical Institute and the SOS Children's Village. The projects were tailored to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the three institutions by utilising the latest technologies and business processes.

Global Collaboration

From August to October 2010, two students from Ashesi University participated in an IBM student project called “Smarter Global Collaboration.” The project involved establishing a virtual team of four university students from Ghana and Germany. The goal of the team was to identify key factors and process steps that influence the success of transnational collaboration in mature and growth markets.

Faculty Support
In late 2010, Ghana Telecom University College received an Open Collaborative Research(OCR) award. The financial award supports strategically important, highly-collaborative research projects between IBM and leading universities across a wide range of areas within computer science, engineering, mathematics and other disciplines where open collaboration can accelerate innovation.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ghana's Cabinet passes national aid policy

Cabinet is expected to fully pass the national aid policy document to harmonise and promote aid effectiveness, and to improve country ownership and leadership of aid management, Mary-Anne Addo, Director, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has disclosed.

The framework, expected to receive final passage by end-July this year, will become the nation’s short-term aid policy blue-print which will provide guidelines for attracting aid to support developmental agenda from 2011 to 2015.

The aid policy framework has 10 thematic areas, including policies and strategies which focus on country systems and coordination of aid management to ensure accountability and transparency in aid inflows.

“Global Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is US$120billion. We need a value for the money framework to make sure this is spent as effectively as possible.
“Aid effectiveness is about making aid make a difference; keep it simple, stick to the essentials -- ownership,” Ms Addo said.

Concerns have been raised by stakeholders, civil society organisations and policy analysts of the need for government to develop pragmatic strategies to wean itself from aid and concessionary loans and become self-dependent.

Ms. Addo, who is the Director, External Resource Mobilisation (Multilateral) Division at MoFEP, made this disclosure at a two-day capacity building seminar on Aid effectiveness for select financial journalists and information officers aimed at equipping them with practical understanding of the 2005 Paris Declaration (PD) and the 2008 Accra Agenda for Accra (AAA) on Aid Effectiveness at Akosombo in the Eastern Region.

It was also targetted at exposing participants to current trends in development cooperation, provide journalists with an overview of different donor aid modalities, and enlighten them on the use of country systems. The sessions will also provide a platform for participants to deliberate and contribute views for an upcoming High Level Forum (HLF- 4) in Busan, South Korea, in November this year.

Ms. Addo, presenting a paper on under the topic “The Aid Architecture Reform Agenda: The Journey from Monterey through Paris and Accra to Busan”, noted that development aid to partner countries did not fully achieve desired results due to how aid is delivered and managed.

She said several partner and donor countries, international and civil society organisations, meeting in Paris at the Second High-Level Forum (HLF-2) on Aid Effectiveness in 2005, committed themselves to reforming aid delivery and management to achieve greater effectiveness and results.

The stakeholders, she said, agreed on the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which included Partnership Commitments to strengthen ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results, and mutual accountability.

“Since aid effectiveness was about value for money, benchmarks are needed for donor and partner countries -- which were not clearly spelt out at that time. The PD and the AAA were therefore a step forward in ensuring greater aid effectiveness and results since they provide those benchmarks.

“Partner countries, since the Paris Declaration,” she noted, “have developed better understanding of aid effectiveness; but the development agenda is still threatened by over bureaucratisation.” She therefore called for political engagement and mutual trust on the part of both sides to achieve results.

Touching on fragmentation of donor assistance, Ms. Addo said the practice increases transaction cost and affects implementation of projects. According to the director, the practice would not be a problem if donors did not insist that partner countries adopt donor-country systems to deliver aid.

She called for a true partnership in which donors support the recipients while recognising and respecting their country systems.

Ms. Addo suggested the establishment of a common arrangement to simplify procedures, and in addition urged donors to share information among them to help manage results for mutual accountability.

Mrs. Stella Williams, External Resource Mobilisation Division, welcoming participants indicated that development cooperation is being shaped by the Paris Declaration and the AAA, which are focusing on achieving the MDGs.

She said the sheer scale and complexity of the modern global aid and development agenda makes the drive for aid and development effectiveness one of the most important global public service initiatives currently being undertaken.

“This process has not delivered all the expected results or included the concerns of all stakeholders, which is essential for national cohesion and stability. There is, however, the will to improve national ownership of projects and accountability.”

But she warned that they can only be realised if all stakeholders are conversant with the development cooperation agenda and application of the principles in the PD and the AAA.

“Journalists are key partners in developing understanding for all stakeholders by disseminating development effectiveness lessons, which can be shared across various partner countries.

“Discussions will increase development cooperation issues for the development agenda. There is an open forum for journalists to contribute their views towards the HLF-4,” she remarked.

Vodafone Welcomes New Date for Mobile Number Portability

Vodafone Ghana has welcomed the National Communications Authority’s news release on the July 7, 2011 new date for the introduction of Mobile Number Portability in Ghana.

Vodafone believes this is to ensure that the regulator will finalize all legal regimes regarding the implementation of MNP by the said date.

Carmen Bruce-Annan, Head of Corporate Communications at Vodafone says, ‘’Vodafone’s preparations for the launch are at an advanced stage and the company looks forward to welcoming new subscribers who will like to port their numbers to Vodafone’s network from July 07, 2011. Vodafone is also pleased that our competitors have decided to follow our lead in not charging Ghanaian subscribers to port to their networks.

As champions for MNP in Ghana, Vodafone firmly believes that making porting free to Ghanaian consumers will stimulate positive demand for number portability and encourage Ghanaian consumers to move their number to the network which best meets their needs, in terms of value, quality and innovation’’.

Vodafone has finalised the training of its staff to equip them with the requisite skills in readiness for the MNP launch.

The company therefore assures consumers, the opportunity to join and experience the Vodafone network and its amazing offers as there is no better time to join the Vodafone family than now.

HFC REIT hopeful of positive prospect

HFC Real Estate Investment Trust (HFC REIT) is hopeful that the country’s crude oil production will enhance the growth prospects of the real estate sector, and in turn presents significant growth opportunities for its future investment.

“The outlook for the HFC Real Estate Investment performance for 2011 is positive and is expected to achieve substantial growth in value and high yield for the year,” said Mr. Peter Larbi-Yeboa, General Manager of HFC Investment Services Limited, a subsidiary of HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited and managers of the Trust.

Mr. Larbi-Yeboa making a presentation at its Annual General Meeting in Accra disclosed that the HFC REIT recorded GH¢4,389,548 representing increase in net assets in 2010, as against GH¢3,312,946 in 2009.

“The value of funds increased from GH¢5.66 million to GH¢9.57 million, an increase of 70 per cent over the period under review.

“During the year under review, the fund fully completed and sold 16 units of two bedroom houses in Community 25’’ at Tema, which influenced the performance of the Fund to return a yield of 16 per cent during the year.” Mr. Larbi-Yeboa stated.

HFC Unit Trust also declared a net profit of GH¢2,791,687 for 2010, as against GH¢1,825,309 in 2009. The Fund size also increased from GH¢21.52 million in 2009 to GH¢26.93 million in 2010, representing a growth of 25.15 per cent.

He attributed the good performance to the significant reduction in market rates, additional investments and attraction of new clients who continued to express confident in the premier collective invest scheme.

“In addition, our prudent investment strategy also paid off due to the active realignment of the HFC Unit Trust Portfolio to obtain better returns on our investments. These developments all together contributed significantly to the growth of the fund value in 2010,’’ he said.

Mr Larbi-Yeboa said the period under review experienced a significant decline in the rates obtained on money market instruments due to declining inflation and reduced borrowing by government from the public.

That, he said, was necessary to reduce general borrowing rates to boost economic activity, and that had significantly influenced the fund, which was primarily a money market fund.

Mr Larbi-Yeboa explained that the Fund Manager had engaged an active rebalancing and realigning strategy of the portfolio to achieve good returns on the funds, and 2011 holds a lot of good prospects for the Ghanaian economy with the emerging oil and gas industry spurring growth in other sectors of the economy.

He pledged their commitment to continue diversifying the investments by increasing penetration in attractive investment alternatives.

Vodafone ‘Healthline’ launched

Vodafone Ghana’s Healthline project, aimed at empowering Ghanaians by educating them on common health issues and improving the dissemination of healthcare information, has been launched in Accra.

Healthline, a television broadcast show, also aims to improve the current health situation by bringing quality, affordable, credible and reliable information to the homes of all Ghanaians nationwide.

The move stems from fact that the doctor-to-patient ratio in Ghana is below the figure recommended by the World Health Organisation, implying that Ghanaians are not getting adequate health information and advice.

Minister of Health, Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, speaking at the ceremony urged other companies and corporate bodies to emulate Vodafone’s Healthline initiative to help promote quality, healthy lifestyles and educate the nation with profound health information.

“This novelty by Vodafone is a real indication of the company’s commitment to their Corporate Social Responsibility, and it is an initiative that will benefit a lot of Ghanaians,” he said.

Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana, Mr. Kyle Whitehill, said due to the various myths surrounding health issues, the company decided to come out with such an innovation to discard them and help Ghanaians tackle some of the challenging health-related issues.

He added that Vodafone, through Healthline, will not only use money to help people with various health issues, but also advise thousands of Ghanaians on how to stay healthy and avoid unhealthy behaviours.

“Vodafone Ghana has compiled research based on the call to entry in April 2011 to identify specific areas in which patients’ understanding of their medical condition is lacking. The content of Healthline is therefore based on the needs and interests of the Ghanaian public.

“The doctor-to-patient ratio in Ghana is below the figure recommended by the World Health Organisation, implying that Ghanaians are not getting adequate health information and advice.”

Head of Corporate Communications, Vodafone Ghana - Carmen Bruce-Annan, said: “Vodafone is passionate about health simply because health is one of the passions of Ghanaians. We also realised that people are not empowered when it comes to their health; they feel that it is the health professional that knows it all, yet there’s a lot we can do to help ourselves given the right information about treatment and preventative measures.

“Vodafone therefore wants to empower Ghanaians to take control of their health and lead healthier lives.”

Healthline is a TV show that has therefore been conceptualised and developed by a team at Vodafone.

The show will feature a panel of doctors which will address health questions sent in by members of the public. The panel features Dr. Bryite Asamoah, Dr Senyo Misroame, and Dr. Araba Laing.

The doctors will treat many topics including hepatitis, pregnancy, cancer, heart and cardiac conditions, body-pain, sex and reproductive health, sickle-cell, and infectious diseases. The show also features specialists who discuss the various topics featured on the show.

The show will be in two parts, with education and information forming the first part of the show. In the second part, viewers will be privy to real health cases being treated by doctors in various hospitals.

Vodafone Ghana has worked with health superintendents in regional hospitals -- finding patients who need urgent medical care but cannot afford it, and paying for their treatment. Viewers can watch the life-changing surgeries.

Healthline will be broadcast on Sundays on Metro TV, Wednesdays on GTV, and Thursdays on TV3 at 8.00pm each day.

IBM sharpens local IT, business skills

An international team of consultants from IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) programme has assisted three institutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness through utilising the latest technologies and business processes.

The 11-member team spent a month working on projects ranging from Information and Technology governance to website management and accounting solutions.

The team was made up of IBM employees from around the world who were carefully selected to perform community-driven economic development, working at the intersection of business, technology and society.

Beneficiary institutions were Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Tema Technical Institute, and Tema SOS Children’s Village. They worked with Tema SOS Children’s Village to develop a website to enable it interact better with current and prospective students, alumni, parents, teachers and members of the public.

They also trained the SOS teaching and administrative staff on website management and development of an e-learning platform.

Mr. Joe Mensah, Country General Manager, IBM Ghana, in an interview with B&FT in Tema at a ceremony to mark IBM’s 100-year anniversary, said: “The team’s activities were a demonstration of IBM's desire to offer expertise to the benefit of local communities.

“IBM Ghana is proud to host the 100th team of the Corporate Service Corps initiative. IBM is committed to supporting the public sector in Ghana to leverage advanced technologies and processes to transform the delivery of services in the country.”

Mr. Mensah added: “IBM’s inventions are the underpinnings of today’s technology industry. They illustrate how IBM has consistently adapted to remain relevant to the changing needs of the modern world while touching the lives of people in Ghana.

“IBM has made substantial investments in Ghana over the past year in terms of skills development, and we see opportunities for further development as business and government leaders capture the potential of information technology to transform their enterprises and work smarter.”

IBM has an active programme of citizenship in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa. One of the programmes is IBM’s Corporate Service Corps initiative – a corporate version of the Peace Corps, through which over the past two years IBM has deployed teams of IBM employees to Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa to work on projects key to increasing local and national competitiveness.

Ghana became one of the first countries in the world to host IBM’s newly-created Corporate Services Corps in July 2008. Since then, IBM has deployed four Corporate Service Corps teams in Ghana, working in key areas such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT), business development, tourism, finance and academia.

IBM has supplied products and solutions to the country since the 1970s, and already works closely with a number of business partners in the country including CFAO, Infotech, IPMC, Micro Warehouse and Sunnet.

The CSC is a global IBM initiative designed to provide small businesses, educational institutions and non-profit organisations in growth markets with sophisticated business consulting and skills development to help improve local conditions and foster job-creation.