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Use GH¢1 billion to stimulate economic growth – Akufo-Addo to MSMEs

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged potential beneficiaries of the GH¢1billion loan support scheme set aside for businesses to endeavour to invest the monies in their work and bring the economy back on track from impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the president, the outbreak of coronavirus has affected global economies, including Ghana, which has since witnessed a drop in productivity, job losses, revenue loss of businesses and individuals, as well as a steep decline in government revenues.

However, among those worst-affected, he said, are Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which account for 70 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while also forming about 92 percent of businesses in the country.

It is against this backdrop that he said the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) was introduced, “with an objective to protect households and livelihoods; support micro, small and medium-scale businesses; minimize job losses; and source additional funding for promoting industries.

“Out of the GH¢1.2billion earmarked for this programme, GH¢600million will be disbursed as soft loans to MSMEs with up to one-year moratorium and a two-year repayment period. The rate of interest on government’s GH¢600million facility is 3 percent.”

President Akufo-Adddo was speaking at the launch of the ‘CAP Business Support Scheme’, and disclosed that selected participating banks will provide negotiated counterpart funding of GH¢400million.

He explained that the scheme is meant to engender compassion and hope, “the pillars on which we will build post-COVID-19 Ghana. I’m confident that the proper application of these funds will help our nation to bounce back stronger and better than before,” he stated

He observed that the business support programme is an integral part of the resilience and recovery plan that is being instituted by government to ensure the renewal of economic activities and sustenance of livelihoods. “We are determined to protect as many jobs as possible, and to help as many businesses as possible get back on their feet.”

It came up that disbursement of the funds, to be done by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), will be supervised by a ‘Loan Committee’ that will be constituted by a representative each from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade, NBSSI and the participating banks. The world-renowned auditing firm KPMG is expected to act as technical advisor to the scheme.

The president said: “Transparency and accountability will be hallmarks of the scheme’s operation.” The scheme targets MSMEs in both the formal and informal sectors which have been affected by the economic downturn resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19.

MSMEs in growth sectors that require additional capital to expand their business to meet growing demand for COVID-19-related goods and services can also apply. These include agri and agro businesses, manufacturing, water and sanitation. The others are tourism and hospitality, education, food and beverages, technology, transportation, commerce and trade, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and textiles and garments.

Application for the loan is made online and other portals for businesses, as well as offices of the NBSSI. Beneficiaries are required to be either self-employed, sole-proprietors engaged in a limited liability partnership or joint venture arrangement among others. Smaller enterprises are entreated to access funds from Adom Micro Loans, whereas larger businesses can apply to the ‘Anidasuo Soft Loans’.

The Executive Director of NBSSI, Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey- Ayeh, acknowledged that the introduction of this initiative will bring hope and relief to Ghanaians businesses which have been worst-affected by the pandemic. She noted that as part of activities leading to creation of the scheme, over 70 sector associations and trade groups were engaged.

She said among other things that the disbursement will be made by mobile money transfers or directly into accounts. Mrs. Yankey- Ayeh also said: “The associations and financial institutions which own the credit risk will monitor those that are their clients’ with support from NBSSI.”

The NBSSI, through its Business Advisory Centres – in total 178 as well as private business development partners, is expected to work assiduously on engaging the MSMEs to build their capacity and resilience in these times, she added.

Source: B&FT Online

 

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Business

Ghana doing well with anti-money laundering measures – FIC

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The Head of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), Kwaku Duah, has noted that Ghana is scaling up its fight against money laundering in the country.

He said Ghana is performing well per the reports of the Financial Action Task Force, (FATF).

Recently, the European Commission cited Ghana as one of four African countries listed by the European Union for money laundering breaches, a claim the Ministry of Finance dismissed.

The Ministry in a statement described the development as unfortunate because in their view, Ghana has instituted measures to fight money laundering

Mr Kwaku Dua, Head of the FIC said “It is the Financial Action Taskforce that would access Ghana. In fact, that is the world body that sets standards in the fight against money laundering and so the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, has been identified like it’s been explained in the statement that the Finance Ministry came out with.

“The Financial Action Task Force, (FATF), has identified some deficiencies in our Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime,” he said.

He added “…That is our money laundering regime and therefore they have drawn some action plans for us which we are following.

“They have given us up to December 2020 to address them. Then, the EU also comes out with this, meanwhile, per the standards Ghana is doing well.

“They access us periodically. We send reports to them and we do face to face meetings with them. So, per their report, Ghana is doing well, we have not faulted as far as the timelines given us is concerned so they are waiting till December.

“If by December we have not been able to address all the action items that is where they themselves will blacklist us,” he told Citi FM.

Source: laudbusiness.com

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Ghana returns to investors to raise funds via three-year bond

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The government of Ghana is back to the investing public to raise some funds to pay off maturing debts.

To this end, the government, through the Bank of Ghana, will, on Thursday, 28 May 2020 issue a 3-year bond.

The debt instrument, which is expected to mature in 2023, will be opened to both resident and non-resident investors.

It is unclear how much the government is seeking to raise but the central government may accept all the funds that will be bid by the investors.

This is because the COVID-19 pandemic might prevent many investors from subscribing to the bond due to liquidity challenges.

Analysts are, however, hopeful that the yield will not go beyond 19%.

The minimum bid for the bond is GHS50,000 and multiples of GHS1,000 thereafter.

Each Bond will, however, have a face value of one Ghana cedi.

Absa, Databank, Fidelity, IC Securities, Stanbic are joint lead managers for the issuance of the debt instrument.

The government of Ghana, on 8 May 2020, accepted all bids of a 2-year bond, amounting to GHS668.76 million.

The yield on the debt instrument, which is expected to mature in 2022, was 18.75%.

A chunk of the money was used to settle maturing debt (principal and interest.

Source: Class FM

 

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Coronavirus: GCAA, Airports Company waive landing charges indefinitely

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The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Ghana Airport Company (GACL) have waived landing charges indefinitely for all flights that use Ghana’s airports.

The move is to help alleviate the plight of airlines and other stakeholders in the aviation space due to the effect of COVID-19 on their operations.

Managers of the country’s aeronautical and non-aeronautic space say considering the loss of revenue to the airlines, the decision was a no-brainer.

The Director General of the GCAA, Simon Allotey, told the B&FT in an interview that: “As at now, we do not know when the COVID-19 will ease; so we have taken a decision that until the situation improves, landing charges have been waived. The important thing is sustainability of the domestic industry.

“We realise that it is important to operate in a safe and efficient manner, and at the same time abide by the Ghana Health Service’s COVID-19protocols so that Ghanaians will be transported safely to do their business and go about bringing whatever will lead to sustainable economic development. So, we cannot give a time limit for the waiver on landing charges.”

He was quick to add that the situation is being keenly monitored and decisions will be made per changes that occur in the industry as time goes on, and as measures are being put in place to ensure the country’s readiness to open its air for full operations.

Even before this decision, the GCAL had announced a three-month waiver for rent, parking, lighting and also royalty payments from April to June. Due to the fact that the Kotoka International Airport has been partially closed except for domestic airlines, tenants of restaurants, gift shops, forex bureaus and others have also had their rent waived for the same period.

According to Mr. Allottey, the move by the two agencies is coming at a great sacrifice as their revenue flow is running into the negatives. “It is a difficult situation for everybody, but as the agencies involved we need to offer some support to the service providers and the industry even though we are also hurting so badly.

“We have a responsibility as state agencies responsible for the industry to make sure airline operators and other service providers can recover as early as possible from this COVID-19effect on the industry.”

The move, industry players believe, will provide some respite for domestic airlines who have had to cut down their passenger numbers and also invest in the implementation of some safety protocols amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

The Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, told this Paper that his ministry will be holding a forum with major stakeholders in the sector next week; to draft measures in the bid to get prepared for the commencement of full commercial operations.

The current pandemic has pushed the global aviation industry almost to the wall, with major international airlines cutting thousands of jobs and asking governments for bailouts. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the pandemic could cost the industry about US$250bn this year.

According to IATA, worldwide flights were 70 percent lower at the start of the second-quarter this year. The association predicted a further decline as restrictions rise in a number of regions. It projected that though airlines have little or no revenue coming in, they have to spend about US$60billion in the second-quarter, as “some costs cannot be avoided and ticket refunds [are] also burning cash”.

Source: B&FT Online

 

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