Lower Pra Rural Bank makes gains?

The Lower Pra Rural Bank made considerable gains from its investments in Government and Bank of Ghana securities before the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).

Specific policy reforms, which enhanced the bank’s performance were interest-rate liberalisation, decontrol of credit allocation, and the removal of non-performing assets to the Non-Performing Assets Recovery Trust.

However, major financial regulations that depressed the banks performance were the high level of secondary and primary reserve requirements. 

Also loan recovery generally appeared to remain a problem even though loan applications were better appraised.

‘It is clear that a lot of work has to been done in this area through more pro-active monitoring and supervision of borrowers,’ Ms Aba Dawood, the Board Chairperson of the Bank, said during the 36th Annual General Meeting on Friday.

The bank, she noted, was adopting tech-tools to advance its operations as E-banking was being introduced to transact banking business across the country

During the period under review the bank’s total deposits increased from GHc 183.89m in 2022 to GHc 236.1m in 2023, representing an increase of 28 per cent.

It offered advances to its numerous customers in the form of sundry loans, group loans, loans to salaried workers, overdrafts, consumer goods, and vehicle and building loans.

The advances outstanding under the lending programme in 2023 totalled GHc 101 million as against GHc 93,42 million in 2022, representing nine per cent increase.

The Pra Rural Bank made a provision for bad and doubtful debts amounting to GHc 1,855,514.00 for the year under review.

Ms Dawood said the bank would not relent on its effort in recovering all advances, as a result of which some ‘recalcitrant loan defaulters’ had been sent to court.

‘We wish to assure our shareholders that other more drastic measures will be put in place to recover our overdue loans,’ she said.

‘The bank is continuously pursuing its policy of prudent investment to maximize returns on shareholders fund

The total investment in near cash securities as at December 31, 2023, was GHc 110.3 million as against GHc 67.6 million in 2022 representing 93 percent increase.

The demand for the bank’s shares had also increased due to its enhanced corporate image, while the good returns on shareholders’ funds was contributing to the high demand for its shares. 

The Board Chair encouraged shareholders whose shareholdings were small to endeavour to buy more shares to earn increased benefits from their investments. 

The total assets as at December 31, 2023, amounted to GHc 255.9 million as against GHc 201.9 million in 2022, an increase of 26.75 percent. 

The growth in the Total Assets conforms to the Bank’s sustainable growth rate policy.

Its profitability increases by 113 percent over the previous year.

On social investment for operating areas and elsewhere, the bank reported of investment in school, health and other community-initiated projects.

Its scholarship scheme had benefitted some 2,380 with a total invet
erate package of 4, 760,000 cedis.

Mr Isaac Afful, the Out-going Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, entreated the workers to hold high the pillars of discipline and proper internal control measures that had sustained the organisation’s fortunes.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Govt institutes monthly stakeholder dialogue to ease doing business?in Ghana

The government has instituted a new monthly stakeholder dialogue with both local and foreign businesses to fast-track the processes of doing business in Ghana more conducive.

The engagement would feature a survey, which will track the progress made on the implementation of measures to ease doing business in the country, as well as ways to improve the business climate in the country.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Finance Minister, announced this initiative over the weekend, when he met some members of the Diplomatic Corps as well as captains of trade and industry.

The programme is to ensure that the concerns of both local and foreign businesses in the country are addressed to ensure that they thrive, and contribute more to revenue generation to the government through the payment of appropriate taxes.

At the meeting, it became apparent that high inflation, depreciation of the Cedi, non-uniformed Value Added Tax (VAT) systems, tax harassment, and power instability remained topmost concerns of many businesses.

r issues were, unfavourable local content conditions, land tenure system and property rights, which the captains of trade and industry said were setbacks to the ease of doing business in Ghana to maximising revenue generation.

Acknowledging the concerns raised, Dr Amin Adam said, ‘we’re not going to sleep on this… but ensure that the government deepens partnerships to chart a path to grow the economy sustainably by meeting each other half way.’

Regarding the survey on the ease of doing business, the Minister said, ‘we want to request your support and cooperation to have an index to inform decisions to get to the destination we want to get as a country.’

He charged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to make its complaints unit effective and more responsive to the plight of businesses, intensify public education, and bring an end to the harassment of businesses.

Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, Minister of Trade and Industry, said, ‘as partners, we must continue to build continuous consensus to share the burdens inh
erent in the process of doing business.’

He said the government remained committed to further strengthening effective coordination of reforms on a more sustainable basis with a Business Regulatory Reform Act to be laid before Parliament soon to that effect.

The Act would, among others, promote an improved business environment with creditable rules, provide mediation between government and the business community, and enforce the use of regulatory tools and risk mechanisms.

That, he said, he was optimistic would help lessen the challenges that both local and foreign businesses faced in the country, and encouraged that businesses also pay appropriate taxes to the government and on time.

Mr Irchad Razaaly, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, reiterated the international community’s support to the country despite the current economic hardship and business climate.

He indicated for example that EU members are part of the country’s ongoing external debt restructuring, with businesses from EU area wanti
ng to invest and buy more from Ghana.

‘We’re here to support the local value addition scheme and we want to be given the opportunity to do more,’ Mr Razaaly said, while encouraging the government to double up efforts to make the business climate in the country, friendlier.

Madam Julie Essiam, Commissioner-General, GRA, pledged the Authority’s resolve to collaborate to fix all the problems facing both local and foreign businesses pertaining to revenue collection.

‘There’s no excuse for any sense of harassment, but we must collect the taxes,’ she said, adding, since 2019, digitalisation has advanced with filing of taxes and payment being made online.

Source: Ghana News Agency

World Vision, stakeholders launch Fifth ‘Triple S’ Challenge

The World Vision Ghana (WVI-G), a child-focused Christian humanitarian organisation, and some partners have launched the Fifth Edition of the School Sanitation Solutions (Triple S) Challenge competition to unearth solution-oriented ideas from children to tackle Ghana’s sanitation issues.

The competition is open to pupils in both public and private schools from primary Six to junior high school in all the 16 regions of Ghana.

For the first part, contestants would be expected to write a 1500-word essay on a topic soon to be announced in the media.

They would be asked to describe how sanitation problems are adversely affecting teaching and learning in their communities.

Shortlisted winners would then be quizzed on sanitation issues on the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s programme: ‘What Do You Know’ to determine the overall winner, to be declared; ‘Child Sanitation Diplomat.’

The diplomat, apart from prizes from the organisers, would also be involved in the identification and implementation of sanitation p
rojects in his or her school and communities.

Since September 2019, when the Triple S Challenge was launched, each child sanitation diplomat had worked to influence children to become sanitation conscious and agents of change, challenging them to co-create sustainable solutions to sanitation challenges around them.

The children also advocate the removal of barriers and increased access to improved sanitation, particularly in basic schools.

They have addressed the Mole Water, Saintation and Hygiene (WASH) conference, a civil society organisation multistakeholder platform aimed at reviewing sector performance, influencing policies, removing barriers, and promoting access to sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene services.

Some of the winners have also benefitted from trips abroad.

Mr NoahTumfo, the Chief Director, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, in a speech read on his behalf at the launch, described sanitation as a driver of development and said the youth and children must be encouraged to
do more in WASH activities.

Resolving sanitation issues in the country would result in significant resource savings, he said, and stressed the need to involve the youth in national decision-making processes, as they had brilliant ideas to help solve the country’s WASH problems.

‘Let’s encourage children to do more. Let them advocate… Let’s create the enabling environment for them to express more,’ Mr Tumfo said, and commended World Vision for granting children the platform to unleash their creative ideas.

‘May the best win this year,’ he added.

Mr Yaw Attah Arhin, the WASH Technical Specialist, World Vision Ghana, lauded the active involvement and support of relevant stakeholders to make the challenge unique.

These include the Hall Media, the Sanitation Ministry, School Health Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service, the GAMA Sanitation and Water Project, and Zoomlion Foundation.

‘I am happy to announce that tremendous progress has been made towards the achievement of the following objectives of t
he Triple S Challenge: Influencing children to become sanitation conscious and agents of change, Challenging children to co-create sustainable solutions to sanitation challenges around them and advocating the removal of barriers and increased access to improved sanitation, particularly in basic schools,’ Mr Arhin said.

‘The first, second, third and fourth child sanitation diplomats – Neriah Tettey of Silicon Valley International School, Ofankor, Accra; Naziru Mawadatu of Damongo Girls Model JHS; Maame Akua Ohenewaa Gyimah of Dawhenya Methodist ‘B’ Basic School; and Adjoa Gyakoa Appiah-kubi of Efutu MA Basic School, have all been worthy ambassadors in the effort to defeat poor sanitation.’

‘Adjoa’s project has just begun, and from all indications, she’s off to a great start.’

The reigning Child Sanitation Diplomat, Adjoa Gyakoa Appiah Kubi, had hosted several activities, including an executive breakfast conversation in Cape Coast, as well as a visit to the Sanitation Minister.

She is being supported to imp
lement the rest of her one-year sanitation project till a new diplomat is crowned

Adjoa Appiah-Kubi said her campaign had been structured around learning, sensitising peers, and advocating better sanitation practices.

As part of her peer sensitisation campaigns, she had visited Ganaa Memorial JHS in the Upper West Region, facilitated by CONIWAS.

The challenge is being organised jointly with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA-SWP), Zoomlion Foundation, and Kings Hall Media.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Step up law enforcement against open defecation – M-CODE to Assemblies

The Media Foundation Against Open Defecation (M-CODE) is calling on the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to step up the enforcement of regulations against open defecation by empowering environmental health officers to perform better in their inspection roles.

‘We need enforcement to change this negative attitude. The M-CODE is coming up with joint programmes with the assemblies for people to change their attitudes and be more responsible towards the environment,’ says Mr Francis Ameyibor, the National Convenor of the Foundation.

He said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the third executive breakfast conversation on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), organised by the child focused Christian religious organisation, World Vision Ghana, partnered by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, among others.

The conversation, held recently in Accra, on the theme: ‘Repositioning Water and Sanitation as a Key Driver of National Development,’ dis
cussed the catalytic role of WASH in accelerating growth and wellbeing of society and why the country should prioritise it in the development agenda.

He stressed the enforcement of by-laws to hold people in check against discharging faecal matter into drains.

According to the 2021 National Housing and Population Census of Ghana, about 18 per cent of households do not have access to a toilet facility, with the proportion being over three times as much among rural (31.3%) as against urban (8.9%) households.

Rural households (5.1%) dominate the use of unimproved toilet facilities relative to urban areas (1.1%) and show wide disparities across the regions ranging from Upper West (21.9%) to Greater Accra Region (3.4%).

Mr Ameyibor noted that the M-CODE was also engaging with traditional rulers against open defecation and described as irresponsible the discharge of faecal waste into drains, which could cause diseases like cholera among other infections.

‘This is never a good practice. Apart from the stench tha
t emanates from the drains due to such a pratice, it creates an ugly sight and diseases,’ he said.

He called on Ghanaians to individually and collectively rise against open defecation and report households engaged in discharging effluent into drains to the law enforcement agencies.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Afri-Youth, EMCEP organise debate on climate change for SHS students

Afri-Youth and Empowerment Centre for Peacebuilding (EMCEP), both youth advocacy organisations, have organised a debate competition on climate change for selected senior high schools in Tamale.

The debate, dubbed: ‘Innovative Challenge and Creative Solutions on Climate Change,’ was in partnership with the Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency (SWIDA-GH) with funding support from the Denmark Embassy and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP).

The Northern School of Business, Kalpohin, Ambariya, and the Tamale Girls’ senior high schools took part in the debate.

Also in attendance were stakeholders from the Forestry Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Youth Authority.

Prior to the debate, each school was tasked to identify and develop an innovative approach towards addressing climate change issues in their communities.

The debate was, therefore, to afford them the opportunity to present their findings and the recommended measures to safeguard the environment.

h school received GHc500.00 and a certificate among other packages as part of measures to encourage them to be advocates against climate change.

It formed part of the implementation of the ‘Building Bridges: Empowering Youth as Green Champions for Climate Change Resilience in Northern Ghana’ project, which seeks to benefit 25 youth groups and 1,000 individuals within the Tamale, Sagnarigu and Savelugu municipalities.

Hajia Alima Saeed-Sagito, the Executive Director, SWIDA-GH, said the debate was to encourage young people to lead in the fight against climate change with the concept of climate action, adaptation, mitigation as well as introducing climate smart practices for sustainable development.

Mr Mohammed Gadafi Mandeya, the Executive Director of Afri-Youth, said the initiative was to enhance inclusivity in the fight against climate change and improve the academic and practical knowledge base of the students.

Mr Abdul-Muhsin Mohammed Shani, Executive Director, EMCEP, appealed to other youth groups in t
he country to take up the challenge on climate change as it affected the overall wellbeing of the youth.

Mr Sayibu Jato, a Programmes Officer, Northern Regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency, lauded the initiative and gave assurance of collaborating with the youth on such issues.

Miss Hafsah Hassan, a student of Ambariya SHS, said the competition had exposed her to practical tips on how to protect the environment.

Source: Ghana News Agency

FDA engages stakeholders on combating drug abuse

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has engaged stakeholders in the Wa Municipality to chart effective ways of combating the drug abuse menace in the Upper West Region, especially tramadol.

Members of the Wa Municipal Assembly, representatives of Bahas Foundation, Hope Foundation, Department of Social Welfare and Narcotics Control Commission, among others, attended the meeting at the weekend to contribute towards fighting the canker.

Mr Kelvin Sunkpal Dafaari, the Upper West Regional Head of the FDA, noted that the failure of people to report drug peddlers in their communities impeded the fight against the menace.

‘We are looking at collaborating with local authorities and traditional leaders to intensify public education and sensitisation at the community level,’ he said.

‘We also want to strengthen our collaboration with the relevant state agencies and institutions to fight the canker.’

Mr Dafaari observed with worry that tramadol was now sold in the communities by unauthorised vendors including mobile
money vendors and provision shops.

Mr Yahaya Mohammed Hafiz, the Upper West Regional Manager of the Pharmacy Council, said the Council deemed it necessary to collaborate with the FDA to check the alarming rate at which the youth were abusing tramadol in the Wa Municipality.

He stressed the need to ensure that every player in the drug value chain worked according to the dictates of the law to help reduce the canker.

He explained that most of the drugs people abused in the Municipality were not registered in Ghana but came into the country through unapproved routes.

Mr Issahaku Tahiru Moomin, the Wa Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), observed that drug abuse was a national security concern attributing the high crime rate in the municipality to drug abuse and needed concerted efforts to tackle.

He emphasised the need for the Assembly members to support the FDA and serve as its ambassadors against drug peddling and abuse.

Mr Yahaya Jiga, the Assembly Member for the Bamahu Electoral Area, recommended the produ
ction of injectable tramadol, which would be difficult to use by any person than a health personnel.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Third Made-In-Ghana Bazaar ends in Accra

More than 2,300 patrons and over 150 exhibitors took part in the just ended Made-In-Ghana Bazaar in Accra, the third in series, which is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

The products on exhibition ranged from traditional crafts and artisanal works to manufactured products with innovative technology.

The three-day event was on the theme: ‘Promoting Made-In-Ghana Goods and Services for Economic Prosperity,’ organised by the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

It was in collaboration with institutions like the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Investment Promotion Centre, the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Gas Company and the Association of Ghana Industries.

The Made-In-Ghana Bazaar seeks to promote Ghanaian products internationally, using the network of Ghana’s diplomatic missions.

It was launched in 2018 following the Government’s decision to re-establish the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau of the Ministr
y in 2017, pursuant to its economic and industrial transformation agenda.

Mr Ramses Joseph Cleland, the Chief Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, in his closing remarks, the bazaar had been filled with exciting moments and activities, providing exhibitors (small and medium-size enterprises) with the requisite platform to showcase and sell their products to the public.

It had been successful in all aspects, created the needed platform to promote and increase Made-In-Ghana products, and achieved its objectives.

‘I’m confident that this will contribute to increasing export volumes of non-traditional Ghanaian products and services abroad,’ he said.

‘Ghana embassies abroad are well positioned to assist Ghanaians startups and existing businesses with trade and consular related advisory services, and this will also facilitate the resolution of business-related conflicts that may arise with foreign business counterparts.’

Mr Cleland said Ghana was keen on the successful implementation
of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to provide the unique opportunity for intra-African trade to expand the market base of locally produced goods and services.

He expressed the hope that the private sector, particularly the SMEs, would take full advantage of the AfCFTA, especially the Guided Trade Initiative, to expand trade on the continent.

The Guided Trade Initiative was launched in Accra on 7th October 2022, which seeks to allow commercially meaningful trading and test the operational, institutional, legal and trade policy environment under the AfCFTA.

‘I am glad to know that the public, exhibitors, the business community and students had an exciting time with the side-events and other activities.’

Mr Cleland, who commended the three panel discussions, also applauded the students and staff of the Accra Technical University, particularly students of the Textile and Fashion Department, and the Wisconsin International University College, for the full participation.

The discussi
ons, he said, brought to the fore the need for coordinated and concerted efforts to help the youth in their entrepreneurship drive.

He said the Ministry was considering rotating the bazaar among the 16 regions as part of efforts to take it to the doorstep of all Ghanaians.

During the event, the unending debate on which country has the best jollof, was concluded as Ghana emerged the winner in the ‘Jollof Wars’ competition.

Nigeria had the second best Jollof, while The Gambia took the third place.

Mr Samuel Nortey of Brass Handicraft, told the Ghana News Agency that his company’s participation opened new avenues and contacts for its brass products and commended the Ministry for the successful organisation of the Bazaar.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Corruption, greed are the cause of our suffering – Rev Dr Ampadu

The Reverend Dr Christopher Ampadu, a Lecturer at the Pentecost University College, said God has given Ghana more than it needs to develop yet ‘we are getting poorer by the day.’

‘This is due to the corrupt, selfish, greed and wicked practices of our leaders, some of whom are Christians.’

Rev. Dr. Ampadu said this at the just ended National Pastors conference of Compassion International Ghana (CIGH) at the Pentecost Conference Centre at Gomoa Feteh in the Central Region.

The four-day conference, on the theme: ‘Transformed to Build,’ was attended by about 400 pastors from CIGH frontline church partners.

He noted with concern the failure of the Church to give hope to the world, with some pastors losing their integrity but pretending to be spiritual and prayerful.

He said the Church was supposed to disciple the nation, but the nation had rather discipled the Church as immorality had taken root in it.’

People were interested more in their religious denominations than in Jesus Christ, hence the rise in corru
pt practices, Rev. Dr. Ampadu said.

‘It is only the biblical ethics that can transform Ghana and its people,’ he said, and reminded Christians of the need to transform their minds rather than having a warfare with supposed witches and demons.

‘Instead of attacking corruption, disease and poverty, Christians continue attacking Satan who is a conquered foe.’

Rev. Dr. Ampadu called on pastors to be in the forefront of the fight against corruption and indiscipline to bring transformation to all spheres of society.

He said every form of their teachings should be geared towards obedience to God rather than prosperity, adding; ‘Your actions and sayings should also glorify God.’

Some topics covered at the conference were data protection, programme cycle adoption, human resource management and programme updates and initiatives.

Source: Ghana News Agency