Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ECOWAS steps up cooperation with China

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, has assured China and its private sector operators of a stronger, mutually-beneficial and sustainable partnership that will build social and economic development now and in the future.

“ECOWAS is ready and prepared to work with China in the context of the Community’s vision for 2020, so that together we can take our relationship to the next appreciable level that will be sustained with more actions and mutual benefits.”

Mr. Ouedraogo was speaking in Accra at the opening of the second ECOWAS-China Economic and Trade Forum, aimed at encouraging the Chinese business community and investors to consider developing partnerships in ECOWAS member-countries.

Key projects expected to attract Chinese interest are infrastructure development -- taking into account roads, railways, housing, construction and transportation -- health care, mining, agriculture, power, pharmaceuticals, and information and communications technology.

Mr. Ouedraogo, speaking under the topic ‘Institutionalising the Strategic Economic Partnership Between ECOWAS and the Republic of China’, said: “ECOWAS is fully aware that this forum, which is a follow-up to the first one in Beijing four years ago, requires that we jointly review implementation of several agreements entered into and signed since 2008, and chart a new course for further investment aimed at boosting local consumption and realising progress in the areas of industrial development and export.

“We certainly will gain new heights in the next few years of our [regional] development cooperation if it is pursued in strong partnership with our friends.”

In a speech read for him, Vice President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, said: “Partnerships that will emerge from this forum must be aimed at enhancing production capacities to address supply-side constraints and other trade-facilitation infrastructure in order to enhance intra-West African trade and engage better in global trade.

“The outcome must be a landmark in the ECOWAS-China development agenda, providing useful insights, strong business contacts, and realistic and firm solutions to our business challenges.”

He said the forum is an expression of the determination of ECOWAS leaders to strive for the promotion of integration and the simultaneous economic development of ECOWAS member- states, which would create a favourable environment for sustainable economic growth through a strategic partnership with China.

Outlining some expected achievements of the ECOWAS-China Economic and Trade Forum, Mr. Mahama explained that the forum seeks to maximise inflows of foreign direct investment from China into ECOWAS countries, and attract long-term concessionary funds for developing public infrastructure.

“The forum will as well promote ECOWAS-China trade and, by extension, intra-ECOWAS trade to create a conducive framework for private-sector institutions and entrepreneurs of the ECOWAS zone to meet with their Chinese counterparts for the purpose of forming joint ventures that will lead to re-capitalisation, re-equipment and enhancement of production capacities.

“The overall goal is to promote Chinese investments in West Africa by forging strategic partnerships in leading sectors of the regional economy,” Mr. Mahama stated.

The second ECOWAS-China Economic and Trade Forum is an assembly of business executives, private-sector operators, investors, policymakers, government officials, investment-promotion agencies and entrepreneurs from the two sides.

This year’s forum, being hosted by the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industy, is targetted at attracting additional Chinese investments into the power sector, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, agro-food and allied services, mining, as well as information and communications technology.

The maiden event held in China in 2008 saw over 1,000 participants from West Africa, with 200 private-sector operators and 150 government officials attending.

Obuasi mine’s greatest challenges

Over-age equipment, illegal mining, poor security and inadequate power supply are major challenges impeding AngloGold Ashanti’s (AGA) Obuasi mine operations, Peter Anderton, Senior Vice President of the mining giant, has said.

“These challenges are worrying and are our greatest challenges in the operation of the Obuasi mine,” he told participants at the company’s town-hall meeting held in Obuasi and attended by social and business partners, members of the diplomatic community, banks and financial institutions, chiefs and people in the host communities as well as government representatives.

Once the biggest gold mine in the country and the leading employer in the industry, Obuasi is a high-cost producer and have never produced beyond 400,000 ounces since the merger between the former AngloGold of South Africa and Ashanti Goldfields Company of Ghana.

Outlining “strategic” plans to revamp the Obuasi mine, Mr. Anderton said AngloGold plans to invest approximately US$200million next year in the mine, which he reckons is still worth more than 20 years of mine-life with 9 million ounces of gold reserves.

“Our core responsibilities for 2012 will comprise modernising and expanding the underground processes with new equipment targetted at significantly improving safety, expanding development of ore reserves and speeding up ore extraction -- as well as improving recoveries to increase gold production, which is currently just over 300,000 ounces,” he said.

“AGA has strong, experienced and knowledgeable leadership; therefore even though transforming the underground mine will not be easy, with support from the stakeholders including the chiefs, government and the communities, Obuasi will be revived in the next three to five years.”

Mr. Anderton revealed that a high-level special taskforce, ‘The Obuasi Taskforce’ formed last year with a core mandate to fast-track the transformation of the Obuasi mine, has started yielding tangible results.

The taskforce has the responsibility to raise additional corporate funding and external resources to support and define the long-term turnaround strategy for the mine.

The taskforce is also looking to ensure that the work done falls in line with the long-term strategy for Obuasi, and that the outcome will provide sustainable results for Anglogold’s Ghanaian stakeholders.

Speaking on the company’s Iduapriem mine, he said: “The Ajopa pit is in its final stage of optimisation and forms part of the 2012 business-plan. The conceptual stage for Iduapriem’s expansion option has been completed and will be proceeding to pre-feasibility.”

Commenting on its global performance, Mr. Anderton indicated that AngloGold Ashanti posted record full-year adjusted headline earnings of US$1.3billion and boosted its dividend to further improve cash returns to shareholders.

“With record earnings of US$1.3billion and stronger cash flows than we’ve ever seen, we’ve laid an exceptionally strong foundation on which to grow the business. Our focus is on pushing our projects through the pipeline and ensuring continued stronger returns for shareholders.

“Anglogold Ashanti eliminated the industry’s last remaining major hedge book in late 2010, improving cash flow and profits by increasing exposure to the rising gold price.

“Bullion remains well underpinned by strong demand from emerging markets like China and India, central banks diversifying reserves, and investors seeking a haven from global economic turmoil. Amid rising prices, the company is implementing a new operating model to improve productivity across 20 mines and a portfolio of growth projects.”

He added: “The Continental Africa region’s strong performances came from Geita in Tanzania which produced 494,000 ounces, and from Obuasi which managed a four percent increase in production and cash contributed to the group.

“Full-year 2012 production is estimated to be 4.3million ounces at a total cash cost of US$780-805 ounces. Capital expenditure for 2012 is forecast at US$1.1billion on growth projects and US$1.1billion to US$1.2billion on projects to sustain the business, which includes implementation of an enterprise resource planning system across the group. Exploration and feasibility studies will cost about US$380million.”

Kwesi Enyan, Managing Director of the Obuasi Mine, said efforts are being made to tackle the company’s social and environmental problems head-on.

“The 116 housing units and all other infrastructural facilities completed at the New Dokyiwa site will be handed over to the landlords as part of the relief package for re-settlers this year.

“AGA is consistently demonstrating itself to be a responsible corporate citizen in the country and around the world. AGA will engage to an even greater extent to ensure that all its stakeholders are fully aware of the real positive contributions to the communities and the country,” Mr. Enyan said.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Foreign gold seekers are nothing new in the country, but a new wave of prospectors -- notably the Chinese -- at the small-scale level are now making their presence felt.

The Country’s laws stipulate that foreign companies are only allowed to work on large, open-pit mining operations.

But there is evidence -- which is confirmed by activists -- that Chinese entrepreneurs are also illegally controlling small-scale operations behind the scenes, typically through a local intermediary.

The influx of these Chinese immigrants into the country’s small-scale mining sector, hitherto reserved for Ghanaians, has now become a national crisis.
Approximately 30,000 Chinese nationals now live and work in Ghana, according to immigration data.

Dr. Benjamin Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, told the Business & Financial Times (B&FT): “The situation has necessitated the establishment of a national task-force -- comprising National Security, Ghana Immigration Service, Minerals Commission, Chiefs, and the Municipal and District Chief Executives of the mining communities -- which has been tasked to monitor what is happening and try to stem it as quickly as possible.

“We are working with the security agencies, but beyond them we are as well collaborating with the local authorities and the Assemblies because they are the key stakeholders in this since the problem has now become a national concern.”
He noted that the Chinese are all over the place, and even for immigration it is now a challenge.

“They have arrested and deported a few of them, but it is simply the sheer size of it that is bothersome,” Aryee said.

DCOP Dr. Peter Wiredu, Director of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), revealed that over 70 illegal Chinese miners in the Western Region were arrested last year.

A recent Wassa Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) study showed around 120 Chinese were living and working in Dikoto, a village near Wassa Akropong and three surrounding villages in the Western Region; just one of many pockets of activity whose legality is hard to ascertain.

Reactions from Chiefs and others

Peter Kofi Owusu-Ashia Junior, Municipal Chef Executive Officer of Upper Denkyira East, told the B&FT in an interview that, currently, the Municipality has almost been taken over by the Chinese nationals illegally operating in the small-scale mining sector -- and that the Offin River is also totally under siege.

He explained that the situation is now a big challenge: “We tried to flush them out, but our attempts failed. We prosecuted 19 of them; after just one week, they came with reinforcement and now it is very difficult to deal with them. Now we have been overwhelmed.”

Ogyeanoho Yaw Gyabi II, Omanhene, Sefwie Awhiaso, in the Western Region, confirmed to B&FT that the Offin River Basin is full of Chinese nationals.

“They are even in the position to shoot back if you attempt to drive them away. This cannot happen in China, It is so because we are unable to enforce our bye-laws. How can Chinese come and operate in our small-scale mining sector?

“At the end of the day, the community blames the Chiefs and Elders for conniving with the Chinese nationals for their involvement in the small-scale mining operations.

“They come into the country without any working permit, but you find them working and operating illegal mining in the small-scale sector.”

He called on the nation to bury its political differences and wake up to flush them out from the small-scale sector. This, he said, cannot happen in Botswana’s mining industry.

Nana Nteboah Pra, IV, Divisional Chief of Heman Prestea, Western Region, explained that the illegal small-scale mining operations must be tackled holistically and be solved with a multifaceted approach.

“We should take a multi-disciplinary approach to help salvage the situation.”
He disclosed that more than 5,000 people are involved in the illegal mining operations in and around the Heman Prestea community, and there are both indigenes and foreigners.

He said that government loses huge sums of revenue from the operations because they are not covered by the tax net.

He called on the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the national security agencies to give a hand in addressing this problem.

Chinese Cartel

An increasing number of small-scale mines are presently owned by Ghanaians on paper but controlled illegally by Chinese entrepreneurs.

Last year, Dikoto's village chief was brought before the Minerals Commission and warned about hosting illegal Chinese miners. In separate police moves, some 25 Chinese nationals have been arrested this year for illegal mining.

The Chinese nationals in the country’s mining sector increasingly rely on Chinese equipment and capital, and the locals say their share of the profits is shrinking in comparison to what the Chinese make.

The Western Regional Police command recently arrested eight suspects, including five Chinese, for engaging in illegal mining activities at Wassa Akropong in the Wassa Amenfi West District of the region, a mining community.

Items retrieved from the suspects at their mining site included a pump-action gun, a double eagle

pistol, 17 (BB) cartridges and six (AA) live ammunition rounds, and some equipment used in the illegal mining activities.

The eight suspects are being processed for Court. The Regional Police Commander, Moses Ransford Ninso, disclosed this after a joint Police and Military team had embarked on an operation at Bonsaso to clamp down on activities of the illegal miners.

He stressed that drastic actions will be taken against all illegal small-scale miners in the region, who are polluting the water-bodies and degrading the forest reserves and environment in the region.

More than 100,000 Ghanaians work in the small, dark mine shaft of these illegal operators. Together, they produce about 20 percent of the country's gold.

Some have welcomed the Chinese because they claim they bring in critically-needed capital and equipment.

An indigenous small-scale miner said: “The Chinese people bring their equipment, which makes the work easy for us, and they know the work too; but when you are sick they don't pay your hospital bills you, have to use your own money.”

Last month the police arrested 25 Chinese miners said to be working illegally around the village of Wasa, a popular mining community in the Western region.

The association of communities affected by mining says Chinese companies have built networks of local people including miners, local chiefs and security agents to give them cover for illegal mining.

Last year, gold production from the activities of small-scale gold mining from both legal and illegal sources totalled approximately 800,000 ounces, representing 23 percent of the total gold production in the country, available data has shown.

Daniel Owusu-Koranteng of WACAM, a local advocacy group for mining communities and the environment said: “Once the gold price starts rising, that's the motivation.

“People will do anything to extract the gold on the blind side of the law in much-marginalised areas,” he said.

“Illegal mining in Ghana -- whether large or small-scale -- is not acceptable, and the law is clear about that,” Koranteng added.

Impact on Society and Communities

It is clear that the operation of Chinese immigrants in the small-scale mining sector has a national dimension.

However, until recently there was ambivalence on the part of government, NGOs, politicians and local communities in defining and taking a position on the invasion of Chinese immigrants in this sector.

Because they are unregulated and operate outside the law, illegal miners often cause major environmental damage, use mercury for processing and do not conduct reclamation of trenches and pits.

Though the local communities sometimes appreciate the cash-flow that illegal mining may bring, they generally experience increased levels of social and health deficit and disregard for the rule of law.

Some schools of thought argue that illegal mining provides livelihood opportunities for poor people and therefore must be approached as a developmental issue, not only a security problem. This is the challenge that all stakeholders in the sector, government and civil society face.

While on the one hand these activities have bred social, economic, and environmental problems, on the other hand they then to absorb more employment than the formal mining sector and are accessible to the lower strata of the population.

Industry watchers have observed that illegal small-scale mining activities have always resulted in the encroachment on large tracts of communities land, depriving poor and marginalised communities of their land surface rights. This has deprived many communities of their sources of livelihood.

The appropriation of local communities’ land for mining has often engendered social upheavals and adversely impacted on the routine livelihood activities of these communities.

Such social upheavals are commonplace in communities affected by mining projects in the country. The growing incidence of conflict between mining communities and their chiefs on one hand, and the mining companies on the other, echoes the growing concerns about mining sector effects.

Gov’t, stakeholders act now

Stakeholders have urged government security apparatus such as the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Ghana Police Service to intensify their protection and monitoring mechanism on the mining lease-sites belonging to multinational firms to minimise the impact of illegal small-scale mining operations and the activities of the Chinese nationals on the country’s mineral reserves.

Multinational mining companies as a matter of urgency need to improve on their corporate social responsibility programmes in the communities where they operate. Their activities need to be visible and orderly to the appreciation of local inhabitants.

Access eyes top-five

The newly-appointed Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana, Dolapo Ogundimu, says his strategic vision is to position the newly-merged Access-Intercontinental Bank within the top-five banks in the country’s financial sector in the next five years, with a strong balance sheet.

Outlining his strategic corporate vision at a media interaction in Accra, Mr. Ogundimu assured the over-150,000 customers of the combined bank to expect enormous benefits from a product-range that blends the very best of the two entities.

Customers will also benefit from an expanded network of branches, along with a network of 43 ATMs across the country. The Access-Intercontinental Bank merger creates a formidable financial services franchise with clear market leadership in trade finance and cash-management, he said.

“We are a very ambitious bank and a formidable financial institution with enough capital that can spearhead the acquisition and use of robust technology. The successful merger is currently at its final stage, with the rebranding of the bank officially commencing today with promotions and mass-marketing campaign strategies.

“All the 32 branches and seven agencies of the combined entity will unveil their Access branding today. This follows all relevant regulatory and shareholder approvals. Customers of both banks can now transact business in all the rebranded branch outlets.”

He said the two banks had envisaged that the merger process would take between six and eight months, but thanks to the enormous support from all stakeholders the merger has been completed ahead of time.

“This acceleration has also been made possible by the high level of commitment and cooperation from employees of both banks, especially from staff. This is a significant milestone for the Ghanaian banking sector; it brings together the prudent management and robust risk- management framework of Access Bank and the extensive geographical footprint of Intercontinental Bank Ghana, with one of the highest number of branches and ATMs.

“We can only progress upwards from strength to strength,” he said.

uniBank unveils uni-Mobile platform

uniBank Ghana Limited has officially unveiled a new product christened ‘uni-Mobile Savings Accounts’ to allow customers make payments and undertake other financial transactions through their mobile phones.

uni-Mobile is a mobile-commerce service designed in partnership with Airtel Mobile Money and Star Micro Insurance Services Limited to deepen the Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) strategy of making the country a cashless economy.

The product allows the depositing of cash into uniBank savings or current accounts, transfer of money to and from the uni-Mobile saving account -- known as the e-wallet -- and cash withdrawals.

Users can also pay bills, top-up their mobile credits and make payment through merchants who will be drafted onto the platform soon.

Currently, the service can be used by subscribers of the Airtel mobile network.
There is no charge for opening the account, and the product is expected to bring banking services to the doorsteps of both the banked and the unbanked -- where monies deposited on the handset can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

Mr. Owusu-Ansah Awere, Executive Director of uniBank, explained that the product is in line with the bank’s vision of offering comprehensive financial solutions to its customers.

“With our tag line ‘Caring for Customers’, we always believe in going the extra mile to ensure that our clients are given the desired service through innovative banking,” he said.

To subscribe to the product, potential customers have to undertake three simple steps, including activating an account on their registered Airtel SIM and sending the word ‘uniBank’ via SMS to the short code 3131, after which they will receive a confirmatory message.

Dedicated uniBank executives will follow up with a call to complete the process.
Apart from convenience, uni-Mobile provides customers the chance to gain a free life-insurance policy for themselves and their next of kin, earning monthly interest on deposits above GH¢100.

Account holders will also enjoy free renewal of their National Health Insurance policy.

Kola Sonola, a representative of Airtel which has over 1,500 outlets across the country, welcomed the partnership with uniBank to provide banking services to the unbanked.

“People can enjoy banking and engage in other activities through their mobile phones without necessarily travelling to the bank,” he said.

Staff of GT Bank support Ridge Hospital

Staff of Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana Limited (GT Bank) has presented assorted Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment to the Ridge Hospital in Accra.

The equipment, which comprises scanners, computers and other accessories, were donated to enhance data storage at the Reproductive Health Unit of the Hospital.

Mr. Ben Ackah-Mensah, Head of Corporate Affairs at GT Bank, presented the items on behalf of the staff and said they saw the need to give back to the society through the donation to the hospital.

He said the staff deemed it a privilege to show support to the community in which the bank operates, adding that the bank’s corporate social efforts involve investing resources with the goal of creating long-term social value for the bank and the community.

“We will continue to develop and assist underprivileged communities as a vehicle for growing and improving lives and motivating people,” Ackah-Mensah said.

Mrs. Juliet Amewu, Senior Nursing Officer, Reproductive Health Unit of the Ridge Hospital who received the equipment, welcomed the gesture and promised that the equipment will be put to good use to help the hospital improve its data-storage capabilities.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Inflation drops back to 8.6%

Headline consumer inflation fell back to 8.6 percent in February, after a marginal increase to 8.7 percent in January, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) said on Wednesday.

Both food and non-food inflation dropped in the month, touching 4.3% and 11.2% respectively, the GSS said. Inflation rates in the two groups were 4.5% and 11.3% respectively in January.

“The food and non-alcoholic beverages group has been recording single-digit inflation since January 2011, while non-food inflation has remained stable between 11.1% and 12.4% since February last year,” said Dr. Philomena Nyarko, acting Government Statistician, at a media briefing in Accra.

The latest inflation reading shows weaknesses in the cedi since the year began have yet to have any significant impact on inflation, with most prices -- especially foodstuffs -- remaining stable.

Last month, the Bank of Ghana hiked its policy lending rate by a percentage point to 13.5% to avert further cedi weakness and keep prices in check.

The International Monetary Fund said this month that the hike notwithstanding, Ghana’s economy is exposed to upside inflation risks from currency depreciation and high domestic demand, as well as to a possible deterioration in the external position should a deeper global slowdown weaken foreign inflows.

Ghana’s trade deficit widened by 8% in 2011 to US$3.2billion, confounding expectations that new oil receipts would narrow the gap from the previous year. An estimate by investment bank Renaissance Capital said the current account deficit soared to 8.5% of GDP from 7.2% in 2010.

“The government’s main challenge for 2012 will be to maintain the hard-won stabilisation gains – strong broad-based growth, single-digit inflation and fiscal consolidation – in the face of resurgent global risks,” the IMF said.

The Fund said the government should guard against actions that would jeopardise 2012 fiscal targets, and warned rising world oil prices will have to be passed on to consumers at the pumps to avoid the re-emergence of costly subsidies.

Fuel subsidies cost the government GH¢365million in 2011, according to Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor, and their removal in late December caused hikes of 15% in petrol and diesel prices, and 30% in the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG.

The subsidy-bill had not been budgeted for, and the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) said the government should not have provided them without parliamentary approval.

Meanwhile, strong revenue collection by state agencies helped lower the budget deficit to 4.3% of GDP in 2011from 6.8% of GDP in 2010. The government had forecast a fiscal gap of 5.1% of GDP, later revised to 4.8%.

This year, it has targetted a fiscal deficit of 4.8% of GDP, but analysts have warned the limit could be breached over pressures to spend during the elections.
Renaissance Capital has forecast a deficit of 5.1% of GDP in 2012, and expects the current account gap to increase to 8.7% of GDP from 8.5% in 2011.

“We think the budget will come under pressure in 2012, given that this is an election year and the government is planning to step-up capital spending to 8.2% of GDP from 7.6% of GDP in 2011,” Renaissance said.

2012 revenue targets challenging-GRA

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says though the Authority’s revenue collection target for the 2012 fiscal year is challenging, it is hopeful that with appropriate strategies, hard work and resilience of the staff it is achievable.

Commissioner-General of the GRA Mr. George Blankson said: “Even though challenging, it is my hope that with the support and understanding of our taxpayers and the hard work and resilience of its staff, achieving the target is not beyond the GRA.”

The GRA has been tasked to collect GH¢11. 66billion for the 2012 fiscal year -- which is 28.3 percent above the 2011 collection.

B&FT has gathered that this year the GRA is seeking to improve performance through a number of interventions including: audit of large taxpayers, quick examination of submitted returns, recovery of tax arrears, and effective tracking and interception of smuggled goods.

Other strategies are enhancing operations of the rapid deployment force, regular external inspection to ensure payment of taxes by operators in the informal sector, and conscious monitoring of undervaluation and under-declaration of importers.

Mr. Blankson made this statement in Accra at the Authority’s maiden awards ceremony aimed at, among other objectives, motivating corporate taxpayers and encouraging other taxpayers to emulate their example. It was also to encourage GRA members of staff who had excelled not to rest on their laurels.

“It takes ingenuity, hard work and dedication to mobilise huge amounts of tax revenue. Therefore, as we in the GRA performed so well last year, it is appropriate to celebrate the persons, staff and taxpayers alike who contributed to the success chalked up,” he said.

Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, in a speech read on his behalf, commended the GRA for exceeding its 2011 revenue target by 15.4 percent.

GRA in 2011 collected GH¢8.7billion, exceeding the target by GH¢1.16billion, given a positive variance of 15.4 percent. The 2011 collection performance is 46.6 percent over the actual collection performance for 2010.

Dr. Duffuor said: “This remarkable achievement by the GRA in 2011 enabled country’s tax revenue /GDP ratio -- which dropped to 12.7 percent in the wake of the re-basing of the economy in 2010 -- to grow to 15.9 percent in 2011.

“Business owners in the informal sector who were outside the tax net but made reasonable income must voluntarily comply by filling their tax returns and paying their taxes.

“Similarly, importers and travellers should ensure that they put in genuine declaration and pay their custom duties to contribute to the country’s development.”

Dr. Duffuor remarked that the GRA must continually engage all taxpayers and potential taxpayers, particularly informal sector operators including importers and travelers, to as well honour their tax obligations.

The award ceremony saw 11 corporate bodies and 14 employees of Authority been honoured for distinguishing themselves in the payment and collection of taxes in the country.
Out of the 10 companies who were awarded, Newmont Gold Ghana Limited and Ghana Cement (GHACEM) emerged as the best taxpayers and were presented with prizes and citations.

The Most Improved Taxpayer’s award went to Plant Medical while Diamond Cement as well received the Best Taxpayer in the customs Division with GCNet and GIZ winning the Taxpayers/Stakeholder awards.

Other award winners were Olam Ghana Limited, Guinness Ghana Breweries, Nestle Ghana Limited, Vodafone Ghana Limited, and Scancom Ghana Limited.

Staff members who received awards included, Alhaji Yusif Ibrahim as the Best Manager (Customs Division); Abdul Rahim Swala, Best Manager (The Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD Indirect); and Nana Esi Adade Amankwah won the Best Manager DTRD Direct with Best Manager, Support Services Division going to Ernest Asare.

Others are Best Senior Officer Custom Division, Mark Ambrose; Best Senior Officer, DTRD Indirect, Deidu Abudu; Best Senior Officer, Support Services, Gad Kojo Baah; and Best Senior Officer, Commissioner-General’s Secretariat, Millicent A. Wormegah.

The rest are Best Junior Officer (Custom Division) Joseph Eshun; Best Junior Officer, DTRD Indirect, Victoria Fynn; Best Junior officer, DTRD Direct, Yvonne Osei; Best Junior Officer, Support Services Division, Joseph Asubeye; and Best Junior Officer, Commissioner General’s Secretariat, Patrick Ampofo.

PHC appoints Joselyn Dumas as face of Evoque

PHC Motors Limited has unveiled Ms. Joselyn Dumas, an actress and a television presenter, as an icon for its latest luxurious Range Rover Evoque 4×4 vehicles.

Ms. Dumas, the brand Icon, who was the television personality of the year 2011 in the country, officially becomes the face and ambassador of the Range Rover Evoque in the country.

She has the responsibility of exposing, promoting and marketing and deepening the Evoque in the country’s automobile market segment.

“The Evoque is an iconic brand which symbolizes beauty, youthfulness, rugged and stylish, hence the selection of the brands personality, which epitomizes the Evoque brand,” Mr. Paul Kwabena Pepera, Managing Director of PHC Motors, said at the ceremony in Accra.

“PHC Motors pledges to offer customers the best, as the Range Rover Evoque vehicle is ideally suited to urban driving, with its agile handling, compact size and green performance, and it’s fitting that our Pulse of the City campaign is focused on capturing the spirit of city life.

“The luxurious, stylish and sporting appearance vehicle comes with an engaging blend of dynamic handling and refined engineering. The Range Rover Evoque's compact footprint and advanced technology delivers exciting performance, together with the lowest fuel consumption of any Range Rover to date.”

Mr. Pepera explained that the cabin of the Range Rover Evoque is lavishly done up with premium quality materials, and an elegance befitting of a Range Rover interior. “The Evoque is a new kind that has core brand values of luxury, performance and all terrain capabilities,”

He said customers can specify soft, premium leather and beautifully tailored, twin-needle stitching, providing a luxurious finish to almost every surface of the instrument panel, doors and seats.

Ms. Dumas expressed gratitude to PHC for believing in her brand, pledging to ensure maximum promotion of the Evoque brand.

Mr. Peter Jones, British High Commissioner described the Range Rover Evoque as not only an addition to the Range Rover brands but also a promotion of British excellence. “This is a quantum leap in the evolution of the Range Rovers designs.”
The first to be launched in sub-Saharan Africa, the car joins the Range Rover Sports, Discovery Freelander and the Defender.

Uniquely in the compact SUV segment, the Range Rover Evoque allows customers to specify a lavishly appointed cabin, with soft, premium leather and beautifully tailored, twin-needle stitching providing a luxurious finish to almost every surface of the instrument panel, doors and seats.

Rather than using a traditional trim hierarchy, the Range Rover Evoque gives customers the choice of three design themes: the cool and contemporary ‘Pure’, the luxurious ‘Prestige’, and the bold and sporting ‘Dynamic’.

Customers can further tailor these themes with different designer interiors, option packs, standalone and accessory items, providing even more freedom to specify the car of their choice.

Both active and passive safety technologies on Range Rover Evoque are state-of-the-art. The high strength safety cell, airbags and advanced restraint systems provide an exceptional degree of safety for you and your passengers.

The powerful all-disc braking system is complemented by the latest generation of active electronic safety systems, while the advanced traction and stability technology is configured to maximise performance and safety in the widest range of driving conditions.

Tigo, IL Florilegio entertain fans

It was overwhelming with fun and excitement when the Italian circus group, IL Florilegio entertained patrons who thronged the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park to watch performances by the group.

The two hour intense and spectacular show afforded the audience the opportunity to witness acrobatic and clown displays and performances from animals like tigers, crocodiles and snake.

The tour, in collaboration with Millicom Ghana Limited operators of Tigo is under the auspices of the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture.

The show which started last week and expected to run daily until April 22, 2012 and will be performing in Kumasi and Takoradi is being sponsored by Cowbell, Power Malt, Sandra Ice Cream, LG, Polytank, Universal Motors, and Auto Parts Limited.

Each show has a running time of two hours, each full of breath-taking, enchanting and spectacular performances.

A statement from the group said: “IL Florilegio is set to meet its audience’s entertainment requirements with its clowns, acrobats, jugglers and animals: tigers, crocodiles, and snakes among others”.

The shows comprise a magical fairy tale story, that is encapsulated in the most aesthetical and exceptional performances with an International appeal.

IL Florilegio said: “A special attention has been paid to the creation of clothes and the choice of music and choreographies to excite both the Italian, Ghanaian and other communities in Ghana.”

The group has brought in artistes and technicians from four continents of the world – they include Georgians, Iranians, Brazilians, Colombians, Italians, Venezuelans, French, Mexicans, Turkish and Albanians, to ensure the audiences got the best value for their money.

“We also tailor-make the charges for every country we tour to make it affordable for the citizens of each country to attend and see our performance,” the statement said.

IL Florilegio combines a mixture of great classic performances of the circus and strong sensational ones in its final act to wow audiences, and the take out for guests is usually a delightful experience as they will laugh and become emotional.

IL Florilegio belongs to the Togni family in Italy, and has been the National Circus of Italy since 1950.

The circus has carried a heritage inherited from Togni dynasty from 1870 when the first circus was created till date without any interruption.

IL Florilegio has won worldwide acclaim with various artistic circus presentations in countries such as Italy, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Ireland, Turkey, Hungary, Greece, Iran, Algeria, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, and Morocco. The Togni family also owns Cirque Amar (registered in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Miners anticipate boost to gold output

The Ghana Chamber of Mines expects a rise in 2012 gold production, after full-year gold production in 2011 declined by marginally.

“Gold output last year came down 2 to 3% compared to the year before, and the decline could have been deeper but for the fact that Australian miner Adamus Resources poured its first gold in January last year.

“Two more mines are expected to come on-stream this year and we also anticipate that Adamus will increase its production. So we are going to see production go up this year,” Ghana Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Dr. Toni Aubynn, said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Daniel Owiredu, President of the Chamber, predicted a mixed outlook for the country’s mining industry this year, expecting gold to sustain its good performance in the global market while bauxite and manganese exports could fall as a result of a decline in demand.

“The coming year looks promising for the mining industry. Additional production from new mines and the prospects from the Owere Mines are expected to bring in increased production.

“The expected higher volumes of mineral production and the strengthening of gold prices are expected to result in increased mineral revenue, with a corresponding increase in mineral royalties and corporate-tax payment to government,” Owiredu said.

In the first half of 2011 the country produced 1,497,023 ounces, up 3% over the same period of 2010 -- with revenues jumping 31% to US$2.2billion on the back of higher gold prices.

Output was originally rising in 2011, but in the end shrunk since a number of firms focused on longer-term maintenance and expansion projects rather than maximising existing production.

According to the Chamber, the total investment inflow into the mining sector in 2010 was US$770million -- up from the US$762million which was recorded in 2009.

Cumulatively, the investment inflow into the sector from 2000 to 2010 stood at approximately US$6.2billion. Total mineral revenues rose significantly from US$2.93billion in 2009 to US$3.73billion in 2010, representing an increase of 27% -- mainly on the account of healthy prices of gold.

The country’s largest mine --Tarkwa Gold Mine owned by Gold Fields Ltd -- operates six open pits, two heap leach facilities, and a CIL plant.

Tarkwa has a mineral resource of 15.3 million gold ounces and a mineral reserve of 9.9 million ounces. In 2010, Tarkwa produced 720,700 ounces of gold. For the 12-months to end-June 2011 the outlook for Tarkwa was to produce between 720,000 and 760,000 ounces of gold.

Gold Fields also owns the Damang mine, located in south-western Ghana, about 300 kilometres west of Accra. The Damang Gold Mine has a mineral resource of 4.7 million gold ounces and a mineral reserve of 2.1 million ounces.

AngloGold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine operation produced 383,000 ounces last year. The company expects the mine to produce around 400,000 ounces of gold in 2012.

AngloGold also owns the Iduapriem Mine, which produces an average of 190,000 ounces of gold per year.

Bibiani Gold mine, owned by Noble Mineral Resources, is located in the Western Region and operates an open-pit mine that was brought into operation in 1998 in the Sefwi-Bibiani belt.

This contains more than 17 million ounces of gold. The Sefwi-Bibiani belt is the second most significant gold- bearing belt in the country. Noble Resources plans a US$9million drilling programme over the next three years.

Golden Star Resources, which has two operating mines, poured its two-millionth ounce of gold from the Bogoso/Pretea and Wassa mines in 2009.

The Bogoso/Pretea project, in which Golden Star has a 90 percent interest (Ghana government owns the remaining 10%), consists of approximately 85km in mining and exploration concessions.

Keegan Resources, another miner, has two premier gold assets in the country. Keegan's flagship property is the Esaase gold deposit. Updated resource calculations indicate 2.025 million ounces of gold buried in the deposit.

Development studies are currently underway that will enable the project to be brought quickly to production stage. Keegan is also exploring a second project, the Asumura gold property, expected to be the largest and most productive gold structure in the country.

STC cries out to SSNIT

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the majority shareholder of Intercity STC Coaches Limited (STC), has been told to inject equity into the ailing transport company to salvage it or sell it off.

The company, whose debts stand at GH¢40million, has not seen any significant capital injection since SSNIT acquired an 80% controlling stake from VANEF STC in 2001. Government owns the remaining 20%.

“Nobody bothers about STC anymore; it is only the management. SSNIT is not interested in this company; government is not interested, too. In my view, SSNIT needs to recapitalise the company or sell it off to someone interested in running a transport business,” a senior official of the company said in an exclusive interview with the B&FT.

The troubles of STC, which was valued at GH¢7.2million as at 2000, began with acquisition of the company by VANEF.

VANEF, unable pay fully for the stated value of the company by the Divestiture Implementation Committee (DIC) approached SG-SSB bank for a loan to enable it acquire the largest public transport company at the time. SSNIT acted as a guarantor for the loan. Subsequently, the name of the entity was changed from STC to VANEF STC Limited.

Though VANEF operated the entire fleet of the transport company, it failed to pay the loan. This left SG-SSB with no choice but to recoup the loan from SSNIT, the guarantor.

SSNIT in turn, activating a clause in an initial agreement with VANEF, re-possessed the company and re-named it Intercity STC Coaches Limited in 2001.

However, since the acquisition SSNIT has neither injected any significant capital into the company, nor re-structured its finances, operations and administration. This has led to a steady decline in the company’s fortunes and eroding of the company’s working capital, plunging it into a mountain of debt.

The situation is compounded as the minority shareholder -- government -- virtually runs the company with SSNIT assuming a secondary role. In 2008, when the President directed the dissolution of all boards of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), the board of Intercity STC Limited -- a private entity -- was also dissolved. Subsequently, government appointed a new board for the company.

“SSNIT does not run the company; government rules. [But] SSNIT is not an extension of government. Government appoints board-members and the board chairman. SSNIT has not shown much interest. As a company it owns, auditors of SSNIT do not come around to see the availability of the assets before incorporating them in their books,” the source said

The source added: “It is only when management runs into dire financial straits that SSNIT supports us and treats it as a loan for the company. For instance, we contracted a loan of about GH¢5.5million from National Investment Bank (NIB) to purchase Eicher buses. We could not pay the loan when it was due, so a court ruled that NIB should sell the Takoradi and Kumasi terminals of the STC to recoup the loan. That was when SSNIT intervened and paid GH¢2.5million out of the total sum.”
Direct interference by the board has also led the company down the path of decline, the source alleged.

“The purchase of 45 Faw buses in 2005 is what has brought STC to its knees. We borrowed so much money to purchase the FAW buses, but they did not last for two years. Those buses were not tested and no prototype tried. Under the normal procedure, we were supposed to be given at least two to try out. The company’s engineers were not involved in the purchase of the FAW buses.

“In 2005 when the FAW buses were acquired, STC used to make about GH¢45,000 from the Accra branch alone, and could do 16 services from Accra to Kumasi. For the entire country, we used to make GH¢100,000 per day. Now we cannot do a single service to Kumasi and make around GH¢35,000 for the entire country.”

The fortunes of the once-vibrant transport company now hang in the balance. Its net worth dwindled from GH¢10.9 million in 2000 to negative GH¢6.2 million in 2009, and will continue to remain in the red if not salvaged, the source said.


Olam receives top tax-award

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has presented a plaque and a citation to Olam Ghana Limited, a global agriculture commodity company, as the best taxpayer for 2011 in the country.

The award was in recognition of Olam’s tax compliance policies and effective filing of tax returns to the GRA towards the national development.

Mr. E. E. Kwesie, Chairman of the Board of the GRA, presented the awards to Bikash Prasad, Regional Head of Finance, Olam Ghana in Accra at an awards ceremony under the theme ‘Rewarding Tax Compliance and Excellence in Nation Building’.

Receiving the award on behalf of the company, Mr. Prasad said: “It feels good to be recognised by the GRA for our commitment and integrity on high standards of corporate governance.

“Getting recognition is a huge encouragement towards our commitment on complying with high standards of book-keeping and maintaining transparency.

“We are hopeful that the award will spur us on to be more responsibly as a good corporate entity operating in the country.”

Bikash added: “We have demonstrated clear leadership in developing and implementing this platform by pioneering a reciprocal approach through investing in assets, education, financing and developing business skills in the communities where we are active.”
The award comes days after the company officially unveiled its US$55million wheat-milling processing plant in Tema.

The plant is situated at the Kpone Industrial Area and has eight large silos for the storage of wheat, two warehouses, and spacious loading grounds comprising a laboratory facility that will achieve annual flour production of 115,000 metric tonnes within three years, and will position the country as the third-largest flour mill.

He told B&FT that the company is establishing and supporting raw materials plantations such as oil palm, wheat and rice across Africa and expanding processing of flour products.

It is engaged in export of agricultural commodities including cocoa, cashew, shea-nuts and wood products. It also imports and distributes rice, sugar, dairy products, tomato-paste and edible oil through its extensive countrywide sales network.

“Olam has worldwide experience in using innovative solutions and responsible practices that contribute to profitable growth in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner, with the ultimate goal of building end-to-end sustainable supply chains.

“Olam works hand-in-hand with farmers and their communities to improve livelihoods through providing pre-finance and agricultural inputs, together with comprehensive training programmes for improved yield and environmental stewardship. The company is committed to paying transparent and fair market pricing while building community infrastructure to support social welfare. In Ghana alone, Olam touches the lives of half-a-million farmers,” he said.

Olam is among the country’s leading licenced buying companies for cocoa, sourcing cocoa from a network from more than 1,000 suppliers and delivering to Ghana Cocoa Board.

Olam Ghana, a subsidiary of the Singapore based Olam International, has a 15-year track-record in the country as a major supply-chain manager of agricultural products.

Total Petroleum engage dealers

Total Petroleum Ghana Limited has held its fourth dealer convention aimed at developing strategic plans to guide the company’s growth agenda in the ensuring years.

The convention was also used to create a platform for exchange of ideas between dealers and management and also to deepen human resource capabilities to ensure consistent delivery of quality standard in the oil marketing industry in the country.

The two-day programme themed: ‘Sankɔfa 2012’ was also used to discuss various interventions concerning health and safety standards in the oil marketing business and other related disciplines.

The Managing Director of Total Petroleum, Guillaume Larroque explained that dealers need to be equipped periodically to ensure quality customers service delivery and to help meet the health and safety standards in the country.

He said “Total is good and we are trying to be better in all our operations worldwide.
“All our actions and plans are clear and are measurable plans to attain future good result, on our investments.”

Mrs. Marina Perez, Sales and Marketing Manager, Total Petroleum Ghana Limited expressed appreciation for putting up good performance last year, and encouraged participants to expect an exciting year ahead.

The programme brought together over 220 Total Petroleum’s distributors and dealers operating in the country, as well as customer attendants, and the management and staff of the company.

The event was used to awards best performing dealers, customers, attendants, and marketing staff. Winners were presented with various citations, gifts, and cash prizes.

The best dealer award of the Year 2011 was presented to Mr. Isaac K. Brewu of Koforidua, GCB Service Station. Incidentally, Gideon Addae, of the Koforidua GCB Service Station also won the top award for the customer attendant of the Year.

New system to track food security

An agricultural data and information-monitoring software system -- aimed at helping decision-makers to have and use reliable data and updated analyses to better formulate and monitor strategies for agricultural development -- has been developed for ECOWAS member-countries.

The system has been designed to be a dynamic instrument for monitoring agriculture in West Africa, to help effectively manage food-security issues and promote the trade of food products in the sub-region.

Christened the ‘ECOWAS Agricultural Information System’ (ECOAGRIS), the new system is a tool to reinforce the analytical capacities and interventions of public and private stakeholders in the West African community, based on reliable and up-to date indicators and information.

The tool was designed in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, International Fund for Agricultural Development, European Union, and partner institutions at the inception of the Agricultural Policy of ECOWAS and Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme.

Nii Amoasah Namoale, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, launching the concept in Accra, said: “With the advent of the common agricultural policy of ECOWAS member-states, and considering the limitations of existing information in member-countries, the ECOAGRIS will become a genuine tool for regional integration.”

He expressed satisfaction with the project and commended ECOWAS and its development partners for their immense contribution toward combatting food insecurity in the sub-region.
Mr. Namoale urged ECOWAS to establish a common commodity-exchange trading platform in the sub-region to facilitate the movement of goods and services and ease trading activities among member-countries.

“Indeed, the introduction of this system aims to establish a strategic vision for a federation initiative in the sub region, while at the same time serving as a tracking mechanism for future interventions.”

Mr. Pape Sy, Assistant Programme Coordinator of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), in making a presentation on the ECOAGRIS concept observed that due to the lack of agricultural data and information in West Africa, ECOWAS with partner institutions took advantage of the agricultural policy’s advent in the sub-region and the comprehensive Africa agricultural development programme to put in place the regional agricultural information system.

The ECOWAS regional food-security programme is made up of three components aimed at increasing productivity through access to and availability of improved seeds for rice, maize, groundnut, cassava and other tubers.

The pilot phase of the programme is currently being implemented in seven ECOWAS member-states including Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

The project has been through implementation phases such as assessment of information systems in the ECOWAS countries, distribution of Information Technology equipment to national bodies in charge of agricultural information systems, setting up interconnection of local networks in ECOWAS countries, and commissioning of the regional system to all stakeholders.

In 2007, the process of conceptualisation of the project started and followed different steps including definition and validation of the conceptual note at regional and national levels (Ouagadougou-2007), adoption of global objectives (Contonou-2008), adoption of specific objectives and expected results of ECOAGRIS (Dakar-2009), validation of the orientation (Abuja-2009), and compilation of the final terms of reference for role of implementation ECOAGRIS (Cotonou-2008).

Fidelity pledges innovative banking

Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited has pledged to sustain its pursuit of bringing banking closer to the doorsteps of Ghanaians by rolling out innovative and technology- driven products and services nationwide.

Head of Marketing, Terrence Atta-Sonno disclosed that the bank’s target is to become one of the top five banks in the country by the end of next year.

“We have enormous strategic plans to roll out in the country’s banking landscape; we have a big plan for the market.

“This year we plan to extend our technology range of products in the form of visa products and other transaction banking interventions that are supposed to bring convenience and speed to our customers.”

Atta-Sonno speaking in Accra at a brief ceremony aimed at recorgnising the significant contributions achieved by the bank’s sales agents, the Fidelity Sales Ambassadors (FSAs) said: “The Bank will in this year provide more avenues for the FSAs to contribute more to the growth agenda of the bank.

“With a clear and consistent delivery of an aggressive growth strategy through the FSAs, the Bank added 15 branches to its branch network to end the last year with a total of 40 branches in nine regions of the country.”

Atta-Sonno explained that last year the consumer banking group organised a competition amongst the sales ambassadors to motivate them to perform better with the additional opportunity of winning some very attractive prizes.

The competition was open to the hundreds of field sales ambassadors across the branch network of the bank from July to December 2011.

Paulina Aggrey won a brand new Hyundai i10 saloon car valued at US$ 13,500 representing Managing Director’s special award to the best performer of the FSA in 2011 financial year.

Aggrey, receiving the prize expressed delight at the gesture of management and promised to perform better to improve the growth of the bank and also position herself to win other awards in the coming years.

Miner’s local content hurdle

The country stands to gain maximum revenue from the mining sector, if a comprehensive national vision and policy document on local content is developed to guide procurement processes in the sector.

The World Bank, the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other Schools of thoughts believes that when mining companies buy more local goods and services than they are presently doing, the country will gain manifold of revenue it is garnering from royalties from multinational miners.

Dr. Toni Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, blamed the country’s inability to devise a comprehensive vision on local content for its failure to derive maximum benefits from mining.

“We need to develop a national vision on local content in the mining industry if we want to derive the full benefits from mining.

“This comprehensive national vision will spell out and promote local participation in the mining sector. You cannot blame the current government or the past government [for not developing one]. Maybe as a nation we have failed,” he told the Business & Financial Times in an interview.

He said about 70 per cent of mining expenditure goes into the supply chain area, hence the need to support the growth of local businesses to provide some basic materials to mining companies.

“We need to develop a national vision on local content in the mining industry, if we want to develop the full benefits from mining,” he said.

He advocated a strengthening of local participation in the extractive sector, especially in the different ends of the supply chain, since it is an avenue that can boost the economic advancement of the country. But he maintained any such effort should be situated within a policy framework and vision.

“The best way to keep the mining industry as an integral part of the country’s economy is to put in place deliberate and sustained local content and capability-development policies, backed by legislation and enforcement mechanisms -- and not just resorting to appeals or pleas to mining exploration and production companies.”

He disclosed that as a major step towards incorporating local content in mining, the Chamber of Mines, Minerals Commission and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), wherein 29 key areas have been identified to deepen local participation
Extractive industry watchers have observed that the sector is fully taken over by foreigners, though locals have equal capabilities in many areas of the industry.

Many reckon that if the necessary support had been provided, there are Ghanaians who would have ventured into the sector and raised capital from within to manage their own operations.

An estimated 34 percent of the value of annual mineral exports currently enjoyed by foreign firms and expatriates providing mining services in the country could revert to locals if they were able to provide these services.

Estimates by the Minerals Commission show that these services procured by the mining firms in 2008 alone came to US$680million, and they continue to go to foreigners because the locals have not positioned themselves to take advantage of these opportunities in the sector.

The procurement expenditure-royalty revenue by Newmont Ghana shows that the company spent over US$100 million on procurement since 2006 but paid royalties less than a quarter of that amount. In 2007, Newmont Ghana exhausted about US$101 million on procurement and paid less than US$9 million as royalties.

In a recent interview, Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources Minister Mike Hammah said new regulations have been finalised to boost participation of local contractors in the mining sector.

These regulations, which constitute subsidiary legislations for the industry, are targetted at giving effect to the new policy on local content introduced by government to enhance the development of Ghanaian enterprises. It seeks essentially to confine the provision of specific products and services in the mining sector to local contractors.

“Apart from creating jobs and economic opportunities for locals, this is an effort to enhance the outcome of mining operations on indigenous populations -- a vexed issue that has been a source of strife between mining companies and inhabitants of mining communities,” Hammah said.

Mr. Daniel Twerefour, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana told participant at a recent symposium in Accra that the failure of the country's mining sector to contribute meaningfully to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the is a clear indication of the weak local content of its mining policy, resulting in ineffective management of mineral resources.

Industry observers are in disagreement with the Chamber's local content policy decision because it allows the multinationals a flexibility to outwit local companies by giving contracts to expatriate enterprises which they favour, and using compromising indigenous businesses as fronts for the foreign mining companies.

In a recent World Bank report, the Bank has urged West African governments including Ghana to enact and implement appropriate policies and regulations to encourage mining companies to procure more equipment, supplies and services from local companies while providing a supportive enabling environment for enterprise development and investment.

“Governments can require mining companies to develop and submit local procurement plans, review concessions on targetted import tariffs and duties, promote linkages and investment along the mining supply chain and allocate revenues from mining to support local supplier development,” the study said.

The study, under the theme ‘Increasing Local Procurement by the Mining Industry in West Africa’ and focused on Ghana, Guinea and Senegal, recommended that West African governments work with mining companies, suppliers, and civil society to strengthen definitions and indicators for measuring local procurement.

It again suggested that regional organisations can help develop a harmonised list of products across the region that may be exempted from customs duties, promoting linkages and investment along the mining supply chain, developing a regional list of suppliers, and continuing to facilitate regional trade.

“Mining companies need to ensure that local companies have full, fair and reasonable access to opportunities. They should share information on their procurement needs, helping to identify and assess the viability of suitable products and services for local supply, and broadening access to tenders and requests for quotation.

The World Bank revealed that raising the share of local procurement by mining companies will spread the benefits of mining more evenly across a countries’ economy, creating jobs and stimulating the sustainable development of local enterprises.

“Increasing local procurement by the Mining Industry in West Africa would spread the benefits of mining more evenly across a country’s economy, creating jobs and stimulating the sustainable development of local enterprises.”

The report revealed that few mining companies in West Africa have established policies to support local procurement, although some efforts had already been launched to seek a more consistent, formal approach.

“There are important potential opportunities for expanding local supply in areas such as camp management, civil works, construction and transport, as well as drilling, mining, and equipment maintenance.”

The WB said local procurement by mining companies could bring significant benefits to a wide range of stakeholders in resource-rich countries, due to the large scale of current and potential mining activity in West African countries.

The World Bank's Vice President for Africa, Obiageli K. Ezekwesili, said: “Buying local goods and services would serve as a catalyst for private sector development and lead to sustainable growth.

“Mining companies should not only extract wealth, they must inject opportunity, mining served as an economic engine for West Africa, supplying about nine percent of the world’s bauxite, and eight percent of its gold.

She said: “This contribution is expected to grow, with large gold, iron-ore, and bauxite projects in advanced planning stages, along with unexploited uranium, copper and diamond deposits across the region.

“Even if those levels of mining activity involved significant procurement spending, both in capital investment and operational costs, there has so far been only limited participation in mining supply chains by companies based in West Africa.

“This situation endures despite existing capacity and the potential to expand the capacity of local small and medium enterprises.”

Mining sector accounts for 5% of the country's GDP and minerals make up about 37% of total exports, of which gold contributes over 90% of the total mineral exports.

Ghana is Africa's second largest gold producer, producing 80.5 tonnes in 2008. The country is also a major producer of bauxite, manganese and diamonds.

The country has about 23 large- scale mining companies which produce gold, diamonds, bauxite and manganese. The sector contributes to government revenues through the payment of mineral royalties, employee income taxes and corporate taxes.

Meanwhile, government’s Local Content and Participation Bill for the oil and gas sector is expected to be submitted to parliament by the first quarter of 2012. Cabinet has approved the draft bill and parliament has started studying it.

Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Deputy Minister of Energy said the policy stipulates that all regulatory authorities, contractors, sub-contractors and other entities involved in any project or transaction in the oil and gas sector should consider Ghanaian companies and operators first in the award of contracts.

The Minister said the policy, if implemented, will increase Ghanaian participation in the oil and gas industry to 90 percent by 2020.

“Under the policy, operators will be required to give priority to the purchase of local products and services from Ghanaian entrepreneurs, even if their prices are up by 10 percent,” said the draft policy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Ghana is 55 years, but there is still obvious economic controversy about the strength of mining and the national development as well as the cost of socio-environmental damage to the mining communities, writes Ekow Essabra-Mensah

Mining companies and their umbrella-body, the Ghana Chamber of Mines, are trying hard to convince Ghanaians that the companies are contributing significantly to the development of local communities within their operational areas. Various mining companies are carrying out community development projects in mining communities that are delivering measurable results.

However, there is increasing evidence to suggest the contrary. Positive economic impacts of mining activities on communities affected by mining activities are not particularly visible.

There is much disagreement about the importance of the contribution of mining to the nation’s economic development. The issue has always been made that over-bloated tax concessions and incentives to investors in the mining sector leave little in the way of retained earnings for visible national development efforts.

Ironically, the incidence of poverty is quite high in mining areas -- apart from the fact that social infrastructure is very poor.

The Wassa West District of the Western Region of Ghana has the highest concentration of mining and exploration companies in a single location on the African continent, hosting eight of the 16 mines currently in operation in the country.

Although poverty is higher at the national level than in the Western Region using all the different poverty indices, taking into consideration that the majority of the gold exported from this country is produced in the Wassa West District one would have expected that the poverty levels and income distribution would be lower compared with other districts in the region.

The Mining Code is silent on measures that might be required to effectively deliver benefits to local communities directly impacted by mining to protect the physical environment and, particularly, the rights of vulnerable segments of the population.

To ensure that mining is carried out in a manner that will cause little or no damage to the environment, government has over the years enacted laws and regulations to ensure that mining is carried out with due regard for safety and the environment.

Strength of the industry
The mining industry in the country provides employment and social benefits, generates foreign exchange and internal revenue and produces raw materials for local industries.

The industry may be categorised into two, large-scale mining and small-scale mining, depending on the size and mode of operation. So far, the large-scale mining companies have concentrated on mining gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese.

It is estimated that the large-scale mining companies have 27,000 direct employees made up of professionals like engineers, scientist, accountants and administrators, artisans like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, machine operators and drivers, and some unskilled labour. The mining industry directly employs about 527,000 people.

The Chamber of Mines projects a promising future for the country in the coming years, expecting gold to sustain its good performance on the global market while bauxite and manganese exports could fall as a result of a decline in demand.

Daniel Owiredu, President of the Chamber, explained: “The coming year looks promising for the mining industry. Additional production from new mines; Adamus Resources and the prospects from the Owere Mines will bring an increased production beyond the marginal output arising out of existing mine projects.

“The expected higher volumes of mineral production and strengthening of the gold price are expected to result in increased mineral revenue, with a corresponding increase in mineral royalties and corporate tax payment to government,” Owiredu said.

According to the Chamber, the total investment inflow into the mining sector in 2010 was US$770 million, up from the US$762million that was recorded in 2009.

Cumulatively, the investment inflow into the sector from 2000 to 2010 stood at approximately US$6.2billion. The total mineral revenue rose significantly from US$2.93billion in 2009 to US$3.73billion in 2010, representing an increase of 27 percent -- mainly on account of the healthy price of gold, although the other minerals also recorded increases in price during the period.

The mining sub-sector grew remarkably; by 11.2 percent compared to the 6.8 percent it recorded in 2009. By this growth performance, the industry came second behind the electricity sub-sector which grew by 16.7 percent in 2010. In 2010, mining companies retained about 68 percent of the US$3.7billion mineral revenue to the country through the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the private commercial banks.

An average of 20 percent was repatriated to the country through BoG and the remaining 48 percent through private banks. This ensured that the country receives considerable foreign exchange from the mining sector to support the nation’s foreign currency transactions.

Though the mining industry has been successful in attracting foreign capital, it has also been subjected to criticism from the government, environmentalists and human rights activists. Foreign players have been known to exploit legal loopholes and abuse both human rights as well as the environment. Among other critical issues to be considered by policymakers and governments is included:

Industry issues to be tackled head-on

Mining tax-hike

The announcement of new mining and mineral taxes was received with mixed reactions; sector operators describing them as too high, and having the potential to impede future investments in the sector.

Dr. Toni Aubynn, CEO Ghana Chamber of Mines, told B&FT: “Uncertainties must be looked at carefully. The new reforms could deter the mining companies from making further investments in the sector.”

Government in its 2012 budget statement announced that the corporate tax rate for miners is being increased from the current 25% to 35%, while a windfall profit tax of 10% will also be imposed.

The proposals announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, in the 2012 budget include -- in addition to the hikes in corporate and windfall taxes -- the reduction in capital allowance tax from 80% to 20% for a period of five years for all mining companies, as in the case of the oil and gas sector.

But indeed the reactions have so far been mixed -- with mining firms fretting over the impact the measures will have on their earnings and investments even as groups such as the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union celebrate the changes.

Seeking solace in the stability agreement

Questions of equity are beginning to emerge over tax-hikes in the mining industry as companies wielding so-called stability agreements appear to be protected and less aggrieved. At least two miners, Anglogold Ashanti and Newmont, have signed such agreements with the government that freeze taxes, royalties and other conditions over 10-15 years, and have said they do not expect to be immediately affected by the new rules.

Meanwhile, there are more than 20 large-scale companies that cannot seek solace in any stability agreement, and are subject to any changes or new rules that come into effect in the industry.

Gold Fields, which operates the Tarkwa and Damang gold mines, said in the wake of the tax-hikes that planned investments worth about US$1billion at the mines could be dealt a deathblow by the new development.

But shedding light on these initial comments made by chief executive Nick Holland in Johannesburg, the company’s head of corporate affairs in Ghana, Mrs. Pamela Djamson-Tettey, said the miner is having to reassess its plans because, unlike others, it is “directly exposed” to the hikes.

Dealing with illegal small-scale mining

There has been evidence of the growing involvement of some foreigners, especially the Chinese and Indians, in illicit mining; by either providing support to the illegal miners or directly engaging in the activity.

The practice of illegal mining, popularly called galamsey, is a dangerous venture. Hundreds of diggers are killed each year. Because the practice is illegal, corruption flourishes and is deeply rooted in areas known for illegal mining.

There is revenue leakage in terms of tax payment and proper accounts of the quantum of mineral receivables among others.

This deprives government of valuable revenue in the form of taxes and royalties. The unregulated activities of galamsey operators also have a damaging effect on the environment.

The Ghana Police Service recently arrested 25 illegal Chinese diggers said to be engaged in galamsey activities around the village of Wassa -- a mining community in the Western Region.

This unfolding development has prompted the Vice President John Dramani Mahama to call for a holistic approach toward the fight against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) to protect the environment and increase government revenue.

“Let us all stop the blame-game as to who is encouraging or not encouraging galamsey operations on our lands and forge ahead to fight the canker,” he said.

The Ghana Chamber of Mines also proposed that government strengthen its resolve in tackling the nuisance of illegal miners.

“Illegal mining should no longer be considered as business as usual.” And while we support the participation of Ghanaians in the mining value chain, the illegality around a large number of their operations and the negative impact on the environment is totally unacceptable, said Dr. Toni Aubynn, the Chief Executive Officer.
Fast-tracking CSR guidelines for mines.

Chiefs and opinion leaders from various host mining communities made a case for the speedy implementation of laws to define parameters and guidelines for carrying out corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in the mining industry.

Agyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II, Omanhene of Sefwi Wiawso, speaking on behalf of the chiefs argued that development of the national framework on corporate social responsibility for mining companies has been long overdue, and that political leaders and stakeholders need to help make the necessary inputs toward full adoption of a national guidelines to encourage effective support for improving the socio-economic lives of mining communities.

He noted that a CSR module has been used at the Ahafo Mine of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, and it appears to be working successfully -- adding that this needs to be replicated in other communities.

“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,” he 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 minerals and mining sector regulator, Minerals Commission, is currently spearheading the development of a national framework to define parameters and guidelines for carrying out corporate social responsibility programmes in the industry.

The guidelines are currently at the draft stage and are drawn on policies, codes and principles issued by the industry, government, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.

The new rules are expected to serve mining companies, the government, local communities, stakeholders, and other groups with interest in or who are affected by mining activities.

Mr. Ben Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said: “It is important to address the integration of all aspects of economic, social and environmental benefits and impacts during and beyond all phases of life of a mining operation.

“This is to guarantee that benefits can be sustained to ensure the rehabilitation of disturbed lands, and for the continuous improvement of environmental, social and economic conditions.”

He explained that the guidelines were designed to serve as benchmarks for development and assessment for CSR programmes and activities by mining companies.

They are also intended to complement applicable binding national and international regulations on CSR and provide principles and guidelines for mining companies where these are absent, or could be improved upon within the context of the country’s development agenda.

Developing local content

Dr. Toni Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has blamed the country’s inability to devise a “comprehensive vision” and framework for local participation in the industry’s value-chain for its failure to derive maximum benefits from mining.

“The best way to keep the mining industry as an integral part of the country’s economy is to put in place deliberate and sustained local-content and capability-development policies, backed by legislation and enforcement mechanisms -- and not just resorting to appeals or pleas to mining exploration and production companies,” he said.

Meanwhile, the World Bank said both governments and companies need to do more to expand the benefits of mining to communities. It reckons the industry would have a bigger impact on economic growth if companies purchased more equipment, supplies and services from locals.

Countries have to enact policies that encourage local procurement, while helping locals to be able to utilise the opportunities, the bank said. For their part, companies will have to give fair access to locals to opportunities and provide information to communities on their procurement needs.

The bank said, also, that regional economic blocs could promote cross-border procurement by harmonising incentives and taxes linked to activities in the industry’s supply-chain.

Outlook for 2012 and beyond

The long-term outlook for the country’s mining sector is bright, but requires the acceleration of both political, economic and industry reforms to ensure that the mining communities and the indigenes derive the full benefit from earnings generated by the mining and the extractive sector.

The country has the right blend of prospectivity, strength of leadership, political stability, professional talents and an attractive social and cultural environment for mineral investments.

In assessing the implications of the proposals enumerated, no-one can question the positive strides relating to increased productivity in the sector when fully implemented.

An evaluation of the contribution of the sector to employment creation, to government revenues, net foreign exchange retained in the national economy, and the social and environmental impacts of the upsurge in mining activities, paints a quite gloomy different picture.

In spite of concerns raised about governance of the mining sector in favour of the poor, the country is still very far from obtaining optimal benefits from its mining sector.

Legalisation of small-scale mining was and remains a laudable policy objective. Yet merely legalising the activity without adequately capturing its fast-evolving and complex social dynamics may prevent the attainment of other social objectives -- such as enhancing the potential of the small-scale mining sector to contribute to better livelihoods and poverty alleviation.

In this way, the economic controversy about the mining and the national development, as well as the cost of socio-environmental damage, can be resolved and the question of whether after 55 years of nationhood the mining industry has proved to be an effective vehicle for poverty alleviation and sustainable national development can be answered.

ECONOMY : Still hopeful

The country’s hopes at independence have yet to be realised, but 55 years on Ghana still remains the country to watch in Africa.

It’s been a remarkable run of turnarounds for Ghana’s economy in the last five years. It has moved from low-income to (lower) middle-income; from groping for oil to actually producing and exporting the resource; and from wandering in the shadows of Nigeria and Côte D’Ivoire to become the richest country per capita in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

But Kwame Nkrumah and his contemporaries would be underwhelmed by all this if they lived today. Nkrumah would have preferred to see Ghana richer than all of Africa and most parts of the world. And he would have it that cities in Ghana had become by now “the metropolis of science, learning, scientific agriculture, industry and philosophy,” that he envisioned.

Last year, thanks to the bonanza of oil, the economy grew at 13.6%, the fastest in Africa. This boosted GDP per capita to US$1,500, raising the figure by half in just four years. Growth is expected to normalise in 2012, but at the 9.4% projected it will still be 3 percentage points better than the average per annum between 2000 and 2010.

Oil may not have created many direct jobs, but the revenues have offered a window to pursue the big-ticket projects that Nkrumah had in mind. Sometime this year, the US$850million gas-development project, the biggest single public-infrastructure investment in the country’s history, will take off in the Western Region where because of the closeness of the oil fields, expectations about the possibilities of oil are greatest.
The government’s plan is to develop an industrial enclave in the west, using hydrocarbons as fuel, literally, to power other industries. The gas that comes out with the oil is the real boon, many have said.

Gas can be used as a substitute for expensive crude-oil to fire the thermal plants that generate about a third of Ghana’s electricity. And because the gas is closer to home than what is currently imported from Nigeria, it will be a more reliable energy-source.

Part of the grand vision around hydrocarbons is to kick-start a revolution in energy-intensive manufacturing, much like Kwame Nkrumah started with the Akosombo dam project and the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO). Already, there has been talk of factories for fertiliser, petrochemicals and cement-manufacturing.

Because of the underinvestment in power since Nkrumah’s monumental effort, VALCO today is not able to operate at maximum capacity; but that would change when Ghana boosts electricity production to 3,300 megawatts by the end of 2013 from 1,800 megawatts in 2009.

About 400 megawatts of the additional generation is expected from the Bui hydropower facility, which like the gas project is being paid for with Chinese credit.

Agriculture is still important to the country, not least because more than half of the labour force still depend on crops and livestock for a living. But there haven’t been substantial productivity gains for many years because farming relies mainly on old methods and tools. Again, oil is a godsend: legislation passed last year requires part of the revenues to be spent on agricultural mechanisation.

In the first nine months of 2011 agricultural output grew at 9.5% year-on-year, according to official figures, driven by cocoa and food crops. Cocoa production exceeded 1 million tonnes in the last harvest season, a record for the country.

At the beginning of the current season, government raised the regulated price paid to about 800,000 farmers for a bag of beans by 2.5%, on top of a 33% increase during the previous harvest. That should keep output within 0.85-0.9 million metric tonnes, Cocobod has said.

Construction activities continue to boost growth, with upscale developments proliferating. The deep pockets of middle- and upper-class spenders have stimulated the property market, pushing up house prices and making land scarcer. Public spending is also propping up the industry.

Between 2000 and 2008, the network size of roads expanded at an average annual rate of 8%; and in 2011 about US$460million was spent by public-sector agencies on new roads, and the rehabilitation and routine maintenance of the existing network. The government’s plans to increase capital expenditure by 54.8% this year should also be a strong fillip to the industry.

Meanwhile, manufacturing has been trailing the rest of the economy. In the first three quarters of 2011, while the economy’s total production jumped by 15.9% year-on-year, manufacturing output slumped by 5.7%. During the first republic, manufacturing was the pivot of Nkrumah’s industrialisation policy; but the many state-owned factories he set up were inefficient and mismanaged.

Today, few people believe the state should run factories; but there is a feeling that too much has been left to the market to decide. Tracing the roots of the problem, some have cited the unbridled liberalisation that happened in the 1980s as a reason for the decline in manufacturing.
In a sense, the services sector has picked up some of the pieces from this fall.

Gradually, it has overtaken agriculture as the biggest part of the economy, providing more than half of GDP. Ghana is not the only developing economy that has leapfrogged manufacturing into services, but the difference is that unlike the prominent example of a country like India, it is traditional services like commerce, hotels, restaurants and public administration that dominate.

These activities cannot be exported and often do not add much to productivity. If Ghana can get its education right, it could in the future benefit more from exportable modern services such as software development, business-process outsourcing and professional consulting activities. These perhaps would make it possible to enjoy some of the advantages a strong manufacturing base would have offered.

It is impressive that the brisk growth of the economy in the past half-decade has been underpinned, for the most part, by a stable macro-economy. Price-growth has been contained since annual consumer inflation peaked at 20.7% in June 2009.

In fact, inflation has been stable and below 10% since June 2010. In the government sector, growth has been reflected quite well in wages. Last year, nominal wages increased at more than twice the rate of inflation, and between March 2008 and January 2012 the national minimum wage increased by 41% in real terms.

The challenge presently is to stay on the path of fiscal prudence as the country prepares for elections in December. In three of the five democratic elections held since 1992, the government’s budget deficit widened significantly in the election year, and was often associated with a large external deficit that set off high inflation and a steep fall in the currency.

There’s now a realisation that stability, both political and economic, is a sine qua non for growth and development. Across the political divide, people are hopeful that the polls will be free, fair and peaceful, and that the collateral damage to the economy will be kept to a minimum.

Source: B&FT

GT Bank’s growing business

Within the past six years of GT Bank’s existence in the country, it has grown from a lesser-known financial institution to become a strong reference point in the industry, contributing enormously to the growth of the country’s economy, Ekow Essabra-Mensah writes.

Guaranty Trust Bank (Ghana) Limited (GT Bank) has warmed itself into the hearts of Ghanaians, and has now become a household name, creating value for its customers, shareholders and the economy at large.

It has become one of the most respected banks in the country, spearheading the use of technology in the delivery of services to the public and leading in product innovation.

The bank has also exhibited leadership and superiority in the provision of banking products towards the growth of business, trade and commerce -- all targeted at ensuring that the country positions itself in global business operations.

With an array of esteemed professionals, the bank has made huge contributions and chalked successes in the area of trade finance, human-capital development, energy financing and product innovation to promote business.

The bank, which now operates from 22 branches spread across the length and breadth of the country, employs over 525 Ghanaians. Out of this figure, 390 are permanent staff with only two Nigerians, confirming its belief in the principles of local content.

It prides itself as the only banking institution with its own modern training centre located in Accra, educating and training personnel. Small woner the bank was awarded the best bank in personnel training at last year’s Ghana Banking Awards.

Awards so far and counting

It was named Bank of the Year 2010 and emerged Best Bank in three key awards categories, namely IT/Electronic Banking, Corporate Banking and Product Innovation. The bank was also adjudged 1st runner-up in three major award categories -- Customer Care, Advisory Services and Competitive Pricing.

Prior to this achievement, GT Bank had also won Bank of the Year 2009, together with eight other major category awards -- namely Best Bank, IT/Electronic Banking; Best Bank, Retail Banking; Best Bank, Short-Term Loan Financing; Best Bank, Medium-Term Loan Financing; Best Bank, Product Innovation; Best Bank, Advisory Services; Best Growing Bank; and 1st Runner-up for the Best Bank in Customer Care Award.

The bank was also named by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the Most Market- Responsive Global Trade Finance Programme (GTFP) Issuing Bank in Africa for 2010.

Corporate social programmes

GT Bank has within the past six years of its operations helped in a number of good causes, such as in the care of orphans with HIV, the refurbishment of the Ridge Hospital Maternity Unit, treatment of children with heart diseases, and the education of underprivileged children among other endeavours.

In the area of educational support, the bank has contributed in many ways, the most notable being its contribution to the Otumfour Education Fund, aimed at assisting needy school-going children in the country.

The bank again has been supporting the development and growth of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Customer-focused products

The bank, having grown its visibility and presence through the combination of a strategic branch- expansion programme, delivery of superior customer service, and the practice of best corporate governance and good corporate social responsibility programmes, has ensured the utmost in customer satisfaction through the provision of convenient products and services.

GT Bank offers a wide range of electronic banking products/services differentiated for specific needs and developed with the goal to provide superior ease and convenience for customer transactions. This wide range of electronic products is proportionate to the bank’s branchless retail banking strategy, which does not limit banking services to normal banking hours or the branches only.

With its electronic banking offering, customers are equipped to carry out several transactions on their mobile phones, manage accounts on the internet, or use any of the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) on the bank’s branches or offsite networks across the country.

The Internet Banking service, an online and real-time banking service, offers individuals and businesses a range of banking services and account-management tools that are timely, accurate, reliable and flexible.

The facility has been developed with superior features such as Account Balance & Transaction Inquiry, Own and Third-Party Transfers, Cheque Confirmation, Cash-in-transit, Bank Drafts Request, Cheque Book Request, etc.

It enables clients access their accounts from anywhere in the world, view and verify transactions on accounts, check balances and account activity, and transfer funds between own and other GT Bank customer accounts. Clients can also print statements of accounts and confirm cheques or request cheque books, make standing orders, request for drafts etc.

To subscribe, clients only need an account with GT Bank, a reliable email address, internet access and telephone line. With these they can begin to gain operational and financial control over their personal or business accounts - either from the comfort of their offices, homes, or anywhere else in the world.

The Guaranty Trust Slip-Free process is a service that offers convenience. It is an innovative process that takes the burden of filling withdrawal or deposit slips away from the customer. It therefore reduces the time customers spend in the banking hall.

The bank’s SMS products enable customers monitor their accounts with a GSM phone anytime, anywhere.

With the SMS products, clients are able to view account balances, track transactions on account(s), transfer funds between accounts and transfer funds to other accounts.

It comes with enormous banking benefits including safe and convenient transaction, is saves customers’ time and effort of going to branches, and is cost-effective as well.This service is available 24 hours a day.

GT Bank Automated Payment System

GT Bank’s Automated Payment System (GAPS) is a web-based solution that facilitates the processing of payments in batches, using a secure connection over the internet.
GAPS provides an efficient means of effecting payments to contractors, vendors, suppliers, employees of companies, etc.

It’s an excellent information resource that provides real-time online account-monitoring and instant value to GT Bank’s beneficiary account-holders. This comes with an improved transaction-processing time.


The GT Bank Debit MasterCard is an international payments card, issued in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide to enable the bank’s customers withdraw cash from over 1.5 million Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), pay for goods and services at MasterCard-labelled Point of Sale (POS) Terminals worldwide as well as make payments directly linked to a customer’s current or savings account on the internet.

Thus all transactions done using this card are reflected on the account instantly in real time.

Guaranty Trust Bank, with its strategic alliance with the world’s leader in payment brands, is able to also accept other MasterCard brands including Maestro and Cirrus Cards on all its ATMs and POS terminals across the country.

Online Cheque Confirmation

The GT Bank Online Cheque Confirmation service allows customers to confirm all cheques above GHS3,000 issued from the comfort of their offices and homes.

The service is accessible via the bank’s robust Internet Banking platform. It only requires customers to log on to its secure Internet Banking site and provide the details of the cheque and then submit it. This is then transmitted immediately to the bank, alerting the officials of the confirmation, thus allowing the cheque to be paid immediately upon presentation.

This innovative solution protects the customer against cheque fraud while ensuring faster customer service delivery throughout its banking halls.

International products

Guaranty Trust Money Transfer (GTMT)

As part of GT Bank’s “Orange Convenience, Anywhere, Anytime, Banking Services”, the bank has introduced the Guaranty Trust Bank Money Transfer (GTMT).

This a web-based platform on which customers and non-customers can receive or send money from GT Bank subsidiaries in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Plans are underway to bring GT Bank subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and Liberia onto the platform.

With this product, the public can now transfer money conveniently at trusted locations with superior service levels to all GT Bank locations in the West African sub-region. This would increase mobility for trade, leisure, education and personal purposes within the various countries in West Africa.

Clients and the general public can now conveniently transfer money from about 144 locations with ease and speed.

China Union Pay Cards

Guaranty Trust Bank can presently boast of smooth business transactions with its Chinese customers and the general public, with its ATMs now accepting China Union Pay Cards.

Chinese residents in Ghana, travellers, students and businessmen and women with China Union Pay cards can now use them on any GT Bank ATM at all times to withdraw cash and check their account balances.

GT Bank Visa Cards

Guaranty Trust Bank Visa Card is a range of Visa Classic and Visa Electron Chip Debit Cards tailored to suit every lifestyle. Visa Gold Card, Visa Electron International, Visa Electron Domestic and Students Discount Visa Cards are the four main types of cards.

GT Bank Visa Cards are widely accepted in over 11,000 Visa ATMs and 22 million Visa Point of Sale Terminals worldwide for payment of goods and services (excludes Visa Domestic Cards).

Cash withdrawal and other ATM transactions can be made at any time of the day offering 24-hour access to cash. It is simpler than writing a cheque or making payment with cash.

Transfer of money can be made from one GTBank Visa card to another or in between accounts if the card is linked to two or more accounts.

Each purchase or withdrawal is recorded automatically on the client’s monthly bank statement, helping cardholders track and manage their expenses.

Guaranty Trust Bank (Ghana) Limited was registered in 2004 as a limited liability company in the country, and licensed by the Bank of Ghana in February, 2006 to provide universal banking services to the general public.

It is one of the five international subsidiaries of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, a foremost bank in Nigeria with a Triple A rating and the first indigenously-owned sub-Saharan bank to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. GT Bank is also the first new-generation indigenous African bank to obtain a banking licence in 2008 to carry out fully-fledged commercial banking activities in the United Kingdom.