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TELCOS Given 26th November Deadline To Stop CST Deductions- Ursula Owusu.

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The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful has stated telecommunications companies have been given November 26th as the deadline to stop the upfront deductions of the Communications Service Tax (CST).

She stressed that this is the final time that has been given to the telecommunication companies to rectify the charges being given out to consumers.

There has been a huge public outcry over the upfront 9% CST charges by Ghanaians after the government taxed the telcos which began a few months ago.

Speaking at the Meet the Press series of the Information Ministry in Accra, Mrs. Ekuful noted that, ”the telcos pleaded with the government for enough time to be able to rectify the anomalies of upfront charges on the consumer thus the decision to extend it to the said date.”

The Minister stressed that the telcos have until November 26th to refund all deductions made on-call credits and also scrap the expiring dates on bundles as well.

Background

The Communications Ministry directed the mobile telecommunication companies to stop deducting the tax upfront, stressing that it was making the government unpopular.

The Communications Ministry recently gave directives to telcos on the implementation of the 9% CST.

The Chamber in its statement said despite this arrangement to stop upfront deductions, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will still calculate and account for the CST as an upfront charge.

“The price increase will take effect by November 26th, 2019, as the industry requires a number of weeks to complete the reconfiguration of our systems to accommodate the commercial and technical requirement that the exercise necessitates ensuring an even smoother experience for customers,” the statement explained.

According to the Chamber, the telcos will rather apply the tax through a tariff adjustment program which will take effect on November 26, 2019.

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Business

Government Release GHC6.49 Billion To Settle Depositors Of Defunct Microfinance Companies

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The Government of Ghana in statement has revealed that it has released GHS6.49 billion in cash to fully settle depositor claims of 347 defunct Microfinance companies, 23 Savings and Loans firms and Finance Houses.

According to the statement from the receiver of the defunct firms the money will be ready for the depositors from Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

Find below the full statement

IN THE MATTER OF THE BANKS AND SPECIALISED DEPOSIT-TAKING INSTITUTIONS ACT,2016(ACT 930)

AND

IN THE MATTER OF THE RECEIVERSHIPS OF 347 MICROFINANCE COMPANIES AND THE 23 SAVINGS AND LOANS AND FINANCE HOUSE COMPANIES

AND

NOTICE OF CONVERSION OF GOVERNMENT BACKED NON INTEREST BEARING COMMERCIAL PAPER (“BONDS”) INTO CASH AT NO DISCOUNT IN RESPECT OF PAYMENTS TO AFFECTED DEPOSITORS OF RESOLVED MICROFINANCE, AND SAVINGS AND LOANS AND FINANCE HOUSE COMPANIES WHOSE CLAIMS HAVE BEEN VALIDATED IN THE RESOLUTION PROCESS

In line with Government’s commitment to protect depositors funds and to shore up public confidence in the financial system, Government made available to the Receiver of the above resolved companies, as well as the Official Liquidator of the Micro Credit Companies in official liquidation, a combination of cash and Commercial Paper totalling approximately GHS6.49billion to fully settle the valid depositor claims on these institutions.

As the Receiver/Official Liquidator brings the processing and payment of valid depositor claims to closure, a total amount of approx GHS6.07billion has been paid to some depositors of these resolved companies, leaving an amount of approx. GHS402million to be paid to the remaining depositors, to fully settle all valid depositor claims in the resolution process. It should be noted that these claims include validated claims previously assessed by the Receiver/Official Liquidator as Late Submission claims owing to the fact that they were submitted after the extended deadline for the submission of depositor claims in the resolution process.

Of the total amount of approximately GHS6.49billion required to fully settle all valid depositor claims in the resolution process, about GHS3.56billion of these claims in value representing approx 55% of total claims payable are being settled with Government of Ghana backed Non-Interest bearing Commercial Paper (“Bond”), with the remaining approx. 45% in value of claims payable, worth approx. GHS2.93billion being settled with Cash.

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Fuel Prices to Rise Slightly in The 1st Half of September

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The Institute of Energy Security (IES) is predicting a slight rise in fuel prices in the first half of September 2020.

The IES explained that this is so because “taking into consideration the appreciation in the prices of International Benchmark – Brent Crude (2.45%) and refined product – Gasoline (6.23%) as well the 0.17% depreciation of the Cedi against the U.S. Dollar; it foresees prices of fuel on the local market losing stability and going up marginally.

However, competition between Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to control and gain market shares could result in the selling price of fuels remaining unchanged within the first pricing-window of September 2020.

IES said fuel prices on the local market remained stable in the pricing-window under review.

Petroleum product prices within the second pricing-window of August 2020 saw majority of the OMCs maintaining the prices of gasoline and gasoil.

The current national average price of fuel per litre at the pump is pegged at GHS4.80 for both gasoline and gasoil.

Over the past two weeks, Santol, Benab Oil, Nick Petroleum, Radiance, Champion and Cash Oil, joined Zen Petroleum as the OMCs spotted by IES’ market scan, as trading with the least rates for gasoline and gasoil within the downstream oil market.

In the world oil market, Brent crude price remained above the $44 per barrel mark for the pricing-window under assessment.

On 25 August, Brent crude rose to $45.86 a barrel, the highest since March 6th.

This steady gain, according to Raymond Nuworkpor, Research & Policy Analyst of IES, can be attributed to declining inventories, recovery on the stock market and the continuous easing of restrictions on economic activities around the world.

Following this, he said Brent crude appreciated by 2.45% from $44.13 per barrel recorded at the end of the first pricing window of August to close at $45.21 per barrel on average terms at end of the second pricing window in August 2020.

“S&P’s Platts benchmark for fuels shows average gasoline price appreciated by 6.23% to close at $407.86 per metric tonne, from a previous average of $383.94 per metric tonne. Meanwhile, gasoil declined by 0.11% to close trading at $370.55 per metric tonne, from a previous average of $370.96 per metric tonne.”

Touching on local forex, data collated by IES Economic Desk from the Foreign Exchange (Forex) market shows the cedi depreciated by 0.17% against the U.S. Dollar, trading at an average price of GHS5.74 to the U.S. Dollar over the period, from a previous rate of GHS5.73 recorded in the first Pricing-window of August 2020.

Source: adomfmonline

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Government set to increase price of Ghana’s cocoa

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Deputy Agriculture Minister in Charge of Perennial Crops, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, has hinted of a rise in the price of cocoa from October in a bid to offset low exports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The government currently buys one bag of cocoa beans from farmers at ¢515.

COCOBOD CEO Joseph Aidoo said since the cocoa sector was the backbone of Ghana’s economy they have taken ‘a bold decision that will protect the welfare of the 1.2 million cocoa farmers in Ghana’.

Addressing the audience at the NPP Akyem Swedru Constituency campaign team launch, Kennedy Osei Nyarko indicated that government has earmarked an incentive package to increase productivity.

“By October, we will announce a new price. Government is also saying that if you are a farmer and your cocoa trees are diseased or no longer bear fruits, then at the beginning of the new cocoa season, should COCOBOD be allowed to cut them down, they will pay for every tree.”

He also explained that “the total amount will be divided into three and paid over some time. Also, the government will replant all the trees that had to be cut down and will also plant other crops on the land for you for free”.

Ghana’s cocoa sector employs some 800,000 rural families and produces crops worth about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually – considering the ravaging effects of the Coronavirus on economies, COCOBOD fears the future of small-holder cocoa farmers could be bleak.

According to COCOBOD, the fall in cocoa prices due to the Covid-19 crisis has cost the country so far $1 billion.

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