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6% increase in wages inadequate but bear with us – FWSC

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, (FWSC) Dr. Edward kwapong has admitted that, the 6% increase in wages may not be adequate but workers should bear with the commission as it expects a rebound of the economy to turn things around.

The commission says it took into consideration the sustainability of jobs to prevent mass redundancies.

The National Tripartite Committee made up of employers, organized labour and government increased the minimum wage from 11.82 % in 2020 to 12.53 %. The review took effect on Friday, 4th June, 2021. The committee also negotiated for the 2022 salaries which is pegged at 13.53 % and takes effect on 1st January, 2021.  

Dr. Kwapong said “We took into consideration the constraints of all the partners to prevent tension. Ability to pay is the golden rule. Do you have the ability to sustain your business?  And you know cost of labour as a percentage of total operating cost is a major consideration for every entrepreneur so much as you see it as insignificant we are doing this to sustain jobs in this country”.

He told Host of the Sunrise Morning Show on 3FM Alfred Ocansey.

According to Dr. Kwapong it is true cost of living is going up but it is a matter of two options that are really difficult to handle so the commission chose the better of the two margins.

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Finance Minister asks IFC to increase private sector funding

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Ghana has asked the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to increase the funding it offers private enterprises in Ghana from the current $5 million to between $15 million and $20 million per business.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, who made the call, also asked the corporation to raise the level of investment committed into core sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing, agribusiness, financial markets and housing.

The minister made the call in Accra yesterday when he opened a two-day strategy retreat between the government and the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group (WBG) with focus on funding private enterprises.

The retreat will enable the government and the IFC to look at ways to align the government’s post-COVID-19 response plan with the IFC’s country strategy.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the increment in the amount invested per firm was needed to raise critical enterprises to drive sustained transformation in the economy.

He said the devastating effects of the COVID-19 on the local economy required that global bodies, such as the IFC, refocus their support to help revive the economy and protect livelihoods.

Given that key sectors, such as manufacturing, housing and agribusiness, had the potential to increase exports and expand job creation, the minister said, increased investments in enterprises operating in such sectors would help accelerate economic growth and development.

Urgency

Mr Ofori-Atta noted that the fallouts from the pandemic had opened an era of profound urgency for economic transformation in Ghana, and that Ghana now needed to readjust to be able to confront the uncertain times.

He said it was on the basis of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo directed the ministry to lead the development of a response and recovery programme.

“The GH¢100 billion Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (CARES) ‘Obaatan pa’ programme, of which GH¢70 billion is expected from the private sector, is the outcome which enables us to respond effectively to this pandemic and beyond.

“This is consistent with our resolve to create the most business-friendly and people-centred economy in the African region,” the finance minister said.

“We do this, knowing that the private sector sparks the innovation necessary for Ghana to thrive; delivering close to 90 per cent of the jobs (of which about 80 per cent are from the informal sector), and most of the goods and services needed,” Mr Ofori-Atta added.

He said the CARES ‘Obaatan pa’ programme provided a mechanism to attract higher levels of private investment into the most productive sectors to create a dynamic national and regional economy.

Increased investments

The minister said the goals of the programme, coupled with the renewed sense of urgency to address challenges that had been amplified by the pandemic, required that the government and its partners become more inventive and embrace all actors.

“It requires that we expand and deepen our financial and investment partnerships and increase knowledge sharing to fuel and lubricate the engine of growth – the private sector. It is in this light that we are seeking to re-set and strengthen our partnership with the IFC – a partner with considerable capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.

“Indeed, the IFC has a history in Ghana. It committed in excess of US$4.3 billion to support the private sector between 2008 and 2018,” he added.

The finance minister said recent developments required that the IFC use its unique character to expand and achieve inclusive private sector development by making investments that expanded opportunities, helping businesses improve standards and establishing business-enabling systems that promoted prosperity.

Consequently, he said, Ghana would be seeking to strengthen its partnership with the IFC to enable the government to provide decent jobs for the youth and improve the livelihoods of the people.

He said the partnership must be repositioned to optimise the potential of the over 8.5 million Ghanaian youth, aged between 15 and 34 years, for economic transformation.

Commendable efforts

The Vice-President of the IFC for Middle East and Africa (MEA), Mr Sérgio Pimenta, commended Ghana for the admirable efforts to manage the pandemic and the economy.

That, he said, had resulted in the economy growing at 0.4 per cent last year, at a time when most economies had contracted.

Mr Pimenta said he was reassured to see that the government had put in place a clear plan for economic recovery, even before most vaccines were announced.

“That shows Ghana knows where it wants to go. For us at the IFC, such a clear vision makes it easier for us to come in as a partner to support your efforts to power the private sector to drive the recovery,” he said.

He said the workshop was historic and timeous, as it provided the corporation the opportunity to go deeper into the Ghana CARES plan to understand the government’s top priorities.

Total portfolio

M Pimenta disclosed that Ghana was home to the IFC’s biggest programmes in Africa.

“In the last decade, the IFC has committed about $4 billion to help Ghana improve health care, provide energy, unlock its natural resources, expand trade, leverage the new digital economy and finance micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Our current portfolio in Ghana is nearly $2 billion,” he added.

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Asantehene charges banks to support businesses

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The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has urged banks in the country to support small and medium enterprises to expand and grow their businesses.

He said this was the only way the country could solve the growing unemployment challenge.

During a courtesy call by the Managing Director of FBNBank and his team, he said when businesses grow, there would be a corresponding growth in employment opportunities.

He said banks have a major role to play in engendering the growth of businesses particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Confidence in FBNBank team

The Asantehene said he was confident that the Managing Director of the bank and his team will bring success to the bank.

He therefore encouraged all staff of the bank to support the team in achieving the goals of the Bank.

He advised the banks to come up with innovative ways to engender trust among the populace in order to attract companies and individuals who have shied away from using the services of banks as a result of the situation which led to the recent financial sector clean-up.

Leading socio economic agenda

In his response, the Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Victor Yaw Asante thanked the Asantehene for his advice and congratulated him for leading the socio-economic development initiatives in Asanteman and Ghana as a whole.

He also congratulated Otumfuo Osei Tutu II on the occasion of his 71st birthday anniversary and wished him God’s blessings and a successful reign.

“We consider the Ashanti Region as a critical market for our activities as a Bank and we are keen to maintain a high level of stakeholder interaction and relationship building in that region. A few weeks ago, we engaged our customers in the same region and listened to their issues with the aim of delivering better support to their business activities. Today, we have engaged the Asantehene and we appreciate every bit of our interaction with His Majesty particularly his advice.

“For us at FBNBank this is what we mean when we say we put you first. Our brand promise enjoins us to place our stakeholders first and at the heart of what we do. That is what we have achieved with this visit,” he stated.

The FBNBank Ghana MD was accompanied on the visit by the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Semiu Lamidi, Group Head, Business Development, Azubike Obi, Treasurer, Mrs. Grace Isaac-Aryee, Country Team Lead, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Enoch Vanderpuye,

Head, Public Sector, Hayford Danso, Area Head, Northern Ghana, Philip Afari and Manager, Suame Branch, Charity Kissi.

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Dangote Oil Refinery to start operations in 2023

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Dangote Oil Refinery has indicated that Ghana remains a priority as it works to fully complete the facility in two years.

The refinery, which has been described by managers as the biggest in Africa, has the capacity to refine more than 600,000 barrels of crude a day.

Speaking at a virtual event on the refinery and opportunities for the country organized by the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors, officials of Dangote said they were working out flexible purchasing requirements for firms from Ghana.

Aliyu Suleiman, Group Strategist of Dangote refinery, said the overall project is 88% complete.

According to him, “the engineering aspect is 100% complete, procurement 99%, material delivery 96%, and construction 76%.”

“It will be ready for oil production in January 2022, whereas the stabilisation of production is expected to be in September, or October 2022”, he added.

When the refinery begins, Ghana and other West African countries, will cut down the importation of petroleum products, 

Dangote Petroleum Refinery 

Dangote Oil Refinery is primarily 650,000 barrels per day integrated refinery project under construction in the Lekki Free Zone near Lagos, Nigeria.

It is expected to be Africa’s biggest oil refinery, and the world’s biggest single-train facility.

The Pipeline Infrastructure at the Dangote Petroleum Refinery is the largest anywhere in the world, with 1,100 kilometers to handle 3 Billion Standard Cubic Foot of gas per day.

The Refinery alone has a 400MW Power Plant that is able to meet the total power requirement of Ibadan DisCo.

The Refinery will meet 100% of the Nigerian requirement of all refined products, and also have a surplus of each of these products for export. Dangote Industries Limited invested about $12 Billion.

Dangote Petroleum Refinery will create a market for $11 billion per annum of Nigerian Crude.

It is designed to process Nigerian crude with the ability to also process other crudes.

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