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New ¢100, ¢200 notes cost $8.9m to print – Finance Minister

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The Finance Minister has told Parliament that $8.9 million was spent to print the new ¢100 and ¢200 notes.

Responding to questions on the Floor of Parliament on Tuesday, Ken Ofori-Atta said $5.39 million has already been paid.

“Information obtained from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) shows that the cost of printing the ¢100 and ¢200 notes is $8.97 million.

“This is made up of $4.45 million and ȼ4.53 million for the ¢100 and ¢200 notes respectively. An amount of $5.39 million of the total contract sum has been paid,” the Minister said.

Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament, from where Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo reports, that once the BoG finalises its 2019 financial statements, “details of the cost of the currency management will be provided in the bank’s financial statements.”

The central bank introduced the new high-value denominations in November 2019.

According to the Central Bank, the high levels of inflation and the currency depreciation in the past have eroded some of the gains from redenomination, a reason why the new notes were printed.

“The deadweight burden, reflected in high transaction cost has re-emerged. This set of higher denominations will address this increased transaction cost, especially in high-valued transactions in a cash-based economy.

“Also, the structure of the banknote’s denomination has changed resulting in a shift in demand for higher denominations (GH¢50 and GH¢20 accounts for about 70% of the total demand), reflecting the expansion in income and prices.

“Introduction of the higher value denominations in circulation is, therefore, necessary to ensure customer convenience, reduction in the costs of printing and other currency management processes,” the BoG said.

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Covid-19: Kumasi Central Market To Be Closed Down From April 7, 2020

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The Kumasi Central Market will be closed down according to a statement released by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly(KMA).

The closure which begins tomorrow, April 7 has become necessary as traders and buyers have refused to comply with the social distancing measure prescribed by health officials to combat the deadly coronavirus.

A statement from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly said whoever flouts the new directive will be dealt with severly in accordance with the law.

The statement, however, added that the leadership of the market have been asked to organise the traders into groups to avoid congestion after which the market will be opened.

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COVID –19: Effect on Ghana’s Cashew Sector

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The industry players in the Cashew Value Chain have expressed concern that the industry is under severe pressure as a result of restrictions on the globe by the Covid-19.
They say the shutdown of export markets like Vietnam and India is having a devastating impact on the livelihood of thousands of cashew farmers locally.

They observe that early this year, the international market price of cashew was about US$1,500 per tonne but it is now pegged at about US$950, a 43% fall.

In an exclusive interview with Reuben, a reporter on Ghana’s agricultural sector, on challenges smallholder farmers are facing and how policymakers are responding, the sector players said, a lot of them are struggling to breakeven after contracting loans to invest into their productions.

General Secretary of Cashew Buyers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Alhaji Justice Mahama Ansomah said the situation is heartbreaking. When asked if it’s an opportunity for local exporters to take back the trade, Alhaji Ansomah whispered: “where are we going to sell it?” “Our local processors have shut down all their machines because they are not getting buyers… It is time for farmers and other players within the value chain particularly exporters to tie the knot and fix our indifferences”, he advised.

Member of the Cashew Council of Ghana and President of the Association of Cashew Processors Ghana Mr. Ed-Malvin Nii Ayibonte Smith said its time government turns his attention to local processing and preservation.
“Government must invest in the building of modern processing machinery whiles financial institutions help with credits; this is our way out from this kind of crisis we have found ourselves in today,” he noted.

The secretary of Ghana National Cashew Farmers Association, Clement Anane clarified that the cashew sector had its own challenges but the Covid – 19 pandemic has exacerbated matters. “100kg bag of Raw Cashew Nuts has reduced from GH¢700 to between GH¢350; we are forced to sell the fruit at a profit-less price,” he grieved.

The Director for the Department of Food and Agricultural for Jaman North District Mr. Emmanuel Kwabena Afful advised Cashew farmers to embrace the enactment of the Tree Crops Development Law, which is in the offing.
“It would regulate and ensure the production, pricing, and marketing of tree crops, including cashew,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Augustus, Mainoo Project Manager for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and also Project Manager for the Bono-Asante Atea (BAAT) Project indicated that there is the need to support one another in these trying moments.

“Our cashew farmers are in crisis and this is the time they need more of our support; ADRA will soon begin talks with some financial institutions and individual investors and see if we can find a way of buying the raw nuts and storing whiles waiting for the pandemic to normalize across the globe adding that Ghana alone contributes 43.8% Cashew to the global market,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Agribusiness, Mr. Anthony S.K. Morrison called private sector players in the country to invest more into the cashew value chain at this critical moment.

“The Chamber as soon as possible will start having a conversation with other international players about what we can do to aid our cashew farmers. Under one umbrella we can fight for reforms,” he said.

A farmer and legislator for the Kintampo North Constituency Kwasi Etu-Bonde revealed that the cashew sector is constrained by weak value chain linkages due to uncoordinated policies.

“Ghana has a comparative advantage to process more raw cashew nuts to the global market yet the non-existence of key agricultural infrastructure and high utility bills makes it impossible for local processors and exporters,” he pointed out.

Story by: Quainoo Reuben

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Coronavirus: Dome market closed down for non-compliance

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The Dome market in the Dome Kwabenya Constituency in the Greater Accra Region has been closed down over the inability of traders to observe the lockdown arrangements and protocols.

The government has restricted movement in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions as well as Kasoa for two weeks.

It took effect from Monday, 30 March 2020 to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

However, essential service providers are exempted from the restrictions.

Markets are also allowed to operate.

The Ga East Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Janet Tulasi Mensah, who ordered the closure of the market, noted that it is part of efforts to prevent further spread of the virus as the traders have failed to adhere to certain arrangements.

The market was closed down on Saturday, 4 April 2020 and will be reopened on Tuesday, 7 April 2020.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama has indicated that the ministry may have to close down some markets in the locked-down areas if they get crowded.

She told Accra-based Citi FM: “There are a bit of complications. Sometimes, you see that they are not really practising the social distancing but it’s just about sensitising them and hoping that they’ll comply. They complied in the initial days. It’s getting a bit more difficult now. On the other hand, too, if we find it getting crowded in some areas, we will close those markets. We may close a few so that we guide them through and if they comply, then we can let them come back.

“So, we are telling them that they should practise these directives given. If you don’t, we may have to close the markets for a day or two so that they know we are serious and need to comply. But let me add that the market leaders are very cooperative and we get along with them. And, sometimes, they are also in line with us that if the directions given are not complied with, then the market should be closed for a day or two.”

Source: classfmonline.com

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