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The World Bank has approved Ghana’s Forest Investment Programme to pave way for the accessing of a $50 million package from the climate investment funds to implement strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), the lead National Implementing Agency for the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) in Ghana, said the facility would roll out a number of projects targeted at reducing pressure on the natural forest through integrated landscape approach.
The Climate Investment fund, the statement said, would facilitate government’s efforts to effectively engage local communities in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degraded (REDD+), enhance carbon stocks as well as enlist the active involvement of the private sector in reducing the afore-mentioned emissions.
Endorsement for Ghana’s Programme Investment Programme was given at the just-ended Climate Investment Funds 2012 Partnership Forum in Istanbul, Turkey where similar packages were approved for two other countries namely Burkina Faso and Indonesia.
Musa Abu Juam, Technical Director for Forestry at the Ministry, who represented Ghana at the meeting, made the revelation during an interaction with media personnel.
The Forum held under the theme, “Deepening Global Understanding of Linkages Between Climate Change and Development” brought together over 400 representatives worldwide from government, civil society and private sector, among others.
Efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions have hitherto been bedevilled by numerous problems including insufficient incentives to conserve or plant trees in off-reserve areas, illegal chain saw milling menace and the illegal harvesting of trees as a result of poor management of forest reserves.
Imbalances in domestic timber demand and supply, rapid extension of cocoa farms, especially the shift from shaded to open cocoa farming as well as poor inter-sectoral co-ordination to address cross-sectoral issues are some of the challenges confronting implementation of REDD+ programmes in Ghana.
Abu Juam, who was delighted at the approval for the $50m facility, explained that the facility will help strengthen institutional capacity in forest resources management, expand and diversify management options, improve governance as well as enhance regulatory framework to streamline tenure and tree rights.
According to the Technical Director, the funds will also assist the country to address holistically the alarming decline in the nation’s forest stock which he attributed to the colossal increase in demand for timber, inappropriate regulatory mechanisms resulting from weak institutional capacity and the growing demand for agricultural land.
He intimated that the FIP will not only improve local livelihoods and support mitigation and adaptation to climate change but will also help maximise the social, cultural, religious and recreational benefits derive by local communities from the nation’s forest resources.
The Technical Director noted that other contributory factors to forest degradation including existing arrangement for land ownership and administration, especially tree ownership and user rights would also be addressed under the FIP programme.
By Emelia Ennin- Abbey
Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA), in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI), has launched a research project on the negative effect of climate change on agricultural productivity in Ghana.
The project, which started on November 1st, 2012 and ends on May, 31 2015, is aimed at improving food security and reducing income volatility for smallholder farmers by enhancing their adaptation to climate change and variability in the breadbasket regions of Ghana.
According to AGRA, the issue of climate change “is exacerbated by policy gaps and low awareness levels both within government officials, policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders.”
It however noted that a few interventions have been put in place to enable smallholder farmers adopt best agricultural practices that improve their adaptation strategies to climate change.
At the launch of the project, Dr. Nelson Obirih-Opareh, the National Policy Hub Coordinator, AGRA stated that “government’s strategies have, in the main, failed to set priorities, interventions and targets which respond to climate change. This is evidenced by the fact that sectoral policies such as agricultural policies have not to date prioritised smallholder farmer adaptation to climate change.”
This, he said, highlights the need to improve inter-sectoral integration in the interest of climate change adaptation.
In addition, the country’s climate change policy framework does not adequately inform agricultural policy and other sector strategies comprehensively nor does it consider a broad range of impacts as well as the interrelationship between a range of factors such as social exclusion, environmental damage and structural scarcity.
“Given the fact that the impact of climate change on the livelihoods of the smallholder farmers has particular consequences for rural women, policy provisions that do not pay sufficient attention to the situation of women in the face of the debilitating impacts of climate change and weather variability are problematic,” Mr. Obirih-Opareh.
The project will take place in identified four breadbasket regions of Ghana, which are Afram Plains, Northern region, Accra Plains and the Volta region.
By Esther Awuah
The Director-General of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Richard Anamoo has paid a day’s working visit to the Pioneer Food Cannery (PFC) Limited at Tema.
PFC produces Starkist tuna, quality tuna products as well as fishmeal.
Mr. Anamoo, who was accompanied by Kingsford Nii Otoo, the Fishing Harbour General Manager, toured the factory to familiarize themselves with the operations of PFC and obtain knowledge of its projections, challenges facing the company and how best GPHA could be assisted.
The GPHA team toured the fish receipts platform, the newly-setup Fishmeal Plant, where the fish waste are converted into meal for Ghana’s livestock and poultry industry, the Oil Extraction unit, where Omega 3 is extracted from the eyes of the tuna fish, the warehousing section and the Waste Water Treatment Plant site, currently under construction.
Mr. Anamoo was highly impressed with the working conditions at the factory and commended management for employing a large work force, especially women.
Nichol Elizabeth, the General Manager of PFC, said the company’s current volume of operations of 47 percent i.e. 50,000 tons of raw tuna fish per year would be raised to 53 percent by 2015 at 55,000 tons and thereby create additional 400 – 500 jobs in Tema, Ghana.
He thanked the GPHA officials for their interest and continued support and pledged to uphold the company’s ethics and values to drive their current expansion programmes.
A Business Desk Report
Ghana’s next Parliament is set to witness a number of players in the country’s business sectors.
Top on the list is the current Minister of Trade & Industry, Hannah Tetteh, who won the Effutu-Ewutu Senya seat on the ticket of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
Deputy Minister of Finance & Economic Planning, Fiifi Kwetey, who also represents the people of Ketu South in the Volta region got the nod while the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotions Council, George Kwame Aboagye, who contested the 2012 parliamentary elections on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress at Ahanta West is also billed to represent his constituents in Parliament.
With 21,143 votes, he ousted the sitting Member of Parliament, Samuel John Fiah of the New Patriotic Party, who had 20,099 votes.
Alex Kyeremeh, Chief Executive of Shelalou, a construction company, will also be in Parliament to represent constituents of Techiman-North in the Brong Ahafo Region.
He missed the opportunity in 2008 when Joses Asare-Akoto was elected on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Mr Osei Ameyaw, a former Minister of Tourism during the NPP administration, would now join his colleagues as well as make new friends.
In the Abetifi Constituency of the Eastern region, Peter Wiafe Pepra of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was retained.
The 58-year-old industrial consultant, who was once the Managing Director of Paramount Distilleries, has been given another four-year mandate to represent his people.
However, some bigwigs-Samia Nkrumah, Moses Asaga and Mike Hammah lost their seats in Parliament.
By Emelia Ennin Abbey
“We are customer maniacs,” said Ashok Mohinani, Executive Director of Masco Foods at a brief ceremony to open the third branch of KFC restaurant at Sakumono.
“No stone is left unturned in ensuring the best food is served to our customers,” he stated while speaking to a group of journalists shortly after the opening of the state-of-the-art restaurant.
He said the company has resolved to take the KFC brand to more neighborhoods in the country to provide Ghanaians with tasty foods.
He noted that KFC is part of Yum Brands, the parent company of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell Brands, which has brought a truly international eating out experience to Ghanaians.
With the opening of the Sakumono Drive-Thru restaurant, which is the first of its kind in Ghana, Mr Mohinani said it would provide “an experience that values the time of our customers.”
The Sakumono KFC Drive-Thru restaurant, located at Spintex Community 18 junction, will enable clients to avoid the hassle of parking their cars to walk into a restaurant to buy food.
The start-of-the-art restaurant offers patrons the opportunity to sit in their cars and place orders which they can pick in two minutes while they drive out.
Customers can also relax and eat in the comfortable restaurants.
In line with the expansion plan, the Sakumono branch is the third to be opened in two years since the opening of the flagship restaurant along the Osu Oxford Street in Accra in August 2011.
Mr Ashok Mohinani noted that health and safety are paramount in the operation of its services, adding, “Our standards of health and safety are the highest and best in class world over.”
In line with this, he mentioned that physical, chemical and microbiological tests are conducted on vegetables.
The occasion was also used to recognize Frank Cudjoe, who joined the KFC as a shift manager but progressed to occupy the position of Assistant Restaurant Manager.
By Emelia Ennin Abbey
Ghana’s cocoa production has dropped from a record 1 million tonnes to 820,000 tonnes.
Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, who revealed this at Pankrono last Friday, said the country’s cocoa sector had been mismanaged, adding that the country failed woefully to sustain the 1 million tonnes production.
According to him, the sharp decline in cocoa production indicates the level of mismanagement of the sector by government.
Additionally, he bemoaned the increase in the importation of maize under the present administration.
The Suame MP appealed to the electorate to vote massively for the opposition NPP to take the necessary steps in the agric sector.
He urged the electorate to shun falsehood being peddled by the government appointees.
He said such unpleasant situation should be a wake-up call for all Ghanaians to vote out the current NDC administration.
The Suame lawmaker said he was not surprised about the seeming collapse of the NHIS programme introduced by the NPP, saying “even they kicked against it in parliament when we brought the idea so if they collapse it now you should not be surprised.”
The Minority Leader said government had intentionally neglected all developmental projects started in the Ashanti region by the previous administration and implored the people of Ashanti region, particularly Kumasi to vote for the NPP.
Producer price inflation rate recorded 19.6 percent in October 2012 year-on-year, representing an increase in producer inflation of 2.8 percentage points relative to the rate recorded in September 2012.
The month-on-month change in producer prices between September and October was 1.1 percent.
The producer price index (PPI) measures the average change over time in the prices received by domestic producers for the production of their goods and services.
The PPI for Ghana reports the producer price changes since September 2006, as well as the annual year-on-year and monthly inflation rates for all industry (mining and quarrying, manufacturing and utilities) for the last twelve months.
In October 2012, the producer price inflation in the mining and quarrying sub-sector increased by 11.3 percentage points over the September 2012 rate of 19.5 percent, to record 30.8 percent. Manufacturing, which consists of more than two-thirds of total industry, increased to 22.2 percent, from a rate of 20.5 percent in September 2012.
The utilities sector, which recorded 3.0 percent inflation rate in September 2012, decreased slightly to 2.9 percent in October 2012.
In the 12-month period (October 2011 to October 2012), all industry recorded the highest inflation in October 2012 (19.6 percent) and the lowest inflation in December 2011 (13.6 percent).
From January to May 2012, the producer inflation fluctuated between 15.0 percent and 16.6 percent. However, in June 2012, the rate rose to 19.1 percent but declined slightly in July 2012 to 19.0 percent and further dropped to 17.8 percent in August.
The declining trend continued in September 2012 to record an inflation rate of 16.8 percent.
In October, six out of the 16 major groups in the manufacturing subsector recorded inflation rates higher than the sector average of 22.2 percent. Publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media registered the highest inflation rate (42 percent) while manufacture of machinery and equipment recorded negative inflation (-0.3 percent).
The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) also noted that during the last 12 months, the producer inflation in the petroleum industry exhibited a downward trend. The highest inflation rate in the industry was recorded in October 2011 (26.6 percent) while the lowest in October 2012 was (16.6 percent).
Self assessment would soon be the norm for all taxpayers in the country under a new tax regime.
It would allow taxpayers to decide how much they would pay as taxes to the state.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday told journalists in Accra that it would roll out a self assessment practice from January 2013 for some selected companies ahead of the full implementation of the new regime for all taxpayers in the country by 2015.
At a media interaction in Accra, George Lamptey, project manager for self assessment, noted that it would enhance efficiency in the nation’s tax system.
He explained that self assessment assigns the responsibility of computing and reporting tax liabilities to Ghana Revenue Authority to the taxpayers.
The new tax regime is to replace the old practice of administrative assessment under which tax administrator were solely responsible for assessing taxpayers and billing them.
The taxpayers would be required to estimate their taxable income for the year of assessment which they report to the revenue authority.
“In the past tax administrators determined how much the taxpayer paid and this resulted in a lot of conflicts but the new regime allows taxpayers to determine, declare and pay their taxes within specific periods,” said Mr Lamptey.
He stated that though taxpayers would be required to fulfill their tax obligations by computing their own liabilities and submitting the self assessed returns to the tax administrator, they would be subjected to verification for accuracy through risk assessment.
“The taxpayer is expected to make a truthful declaration while the administrator is also expected to deal with it in all fairness,” said Mr Lamptey
The Self Assessment Project Manager pointed out that taxpayers are allowed to estimate their chargeable incomes before the beginning of the year which could be revised in the course of the year if it is detected that the initial estimates were incorrect.
Even though proposals received by the Skills Development Fund (SDF) under its second call are estimated at GH¢182.5 million, it has announced plans to award only GH¢23 million.
Ato Simpson, Grant Specialist of SDF, disclosing this to the media in Accra, said the programme would continue till the end of this year, stressing that the highest number of applications (241) was recorded from the Greater Accra region while the lowest (10) came from the Western and Upper East regions respectively.
According to him, his outfit would soon announce the outcome of proposals submitted to the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) for evaluation under its second call by the end of this month.
The World Bank and Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) jointly provided a GH¢114 million financial support to the Government of Ghana last year towards the establishment and implementation of SDF.
The five-year fund (2011-2015) is an initiative of the Government of Ghana and managed by COTVET.
From August to September, this year, the fund invited applications from small, medium and large-scale industries, as well as science, technology and research institutions as part of its second invitation.
Mr. Simpson said evaluation of proposals received under the Second Call was underway, adding that a total of 428 proposals have so far been processed by his outfit for evaluation.
Under the second call, SDF received applications from industries in horticulture, livestock, agro-processing, aquaculture, the media and also Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
It also received applications from oil and gas, cosmetics, textiles and garments, construction, welding and fabrication, mining, furniture, forestry and the hospitality industries, among others.
SDF has sent letters to applicants with a tracking code to be used in monitoring the progress of their applications on its website.
By Samuel Boadi
Oil continues to fall. Analysts and industry experts have their opinions about why. History, however, tells us that sometimes nobody really knows. Everyone is making his or her best educated guess but, in the end, it is all theory and difficult to quantify.
On September 14, this year, crude oil closed at a high of $98.94, leading market analysts to believe that it was poised to reach the $100 mark. At the time, economists, as well as Washington politicians in the midst of an election year, worried that higher prices would put a damper on economic growth as prices at the pump would continue to rise.
On that day, Reuters reported that rising crude prices were the result of actions in the currency market as well as reaction to the federal government’s announcement of end of the third quarter.
Since that time, however, oil has retreated. As of Oct. 31, it was down to $86.23, a nearly 13% decline since the September highs. Why has oil dropped so dramatically in such a short period?
Super Storm Sandy
Super storm Sandy made landfall on Monday, October 29, 2012. From the Friday before landfall to the Friday after, the spot price of oil dropped just over 1%. Sandy has only served to place additional pressure on the commodity causing supply and distribution disruptions. While reports of two-hour waits for gasoline amid short supply flood the media, some analysts expected a sharp rise in both oil and gas prices.
Because two refineries in the northeast, responsible for processing more than 300,000 barrels of oil per day, are shut down, and others are operating at reduced capacity, the supply of oil was decreased. Demand, however, was affected more than supply. As repair to the infrastructure takes place and consumption returns to normal, prices should stabilize.
Oil traders, anticipating intervention by the world’s banks to stimulate economic growth, drove the price of oil up. As some anticipated, however, the euphoria has to end sometime. When traders realize that intervention has done little so far, they rethink their outlook. ITG Investment Research theorizes that the stimulus hope bubble burst, sending prices plummeting.
On Sept. 17, oil dropped more than $3 in less than a minute, leading some to describe the fall as something similar to a flash crash. Experts disagree about the reason such an irregular drop took place but some blame algorithmic trading for the fall. Other theories include a fat-fingered trader and pending expiration of the October contract.
Too Much Supply
When it comes to oil, not only is there too much supply, there is not enough demand. World economies are struggling. When the economy slows down, so does the demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. People travel less, companies ship less and consumers curtail their driving habits to save money.
The Middle East
Tension in the Middle East often takes the blame for oil market volatility. Rising tensions in the late summer months created fears of supply shortages, causing prices to rise. As those tensions proved to be mostly unfounded and the Middle East remained relatively quiet, traders may have covered their commodity hedges.
Theories abound about why the oil market rises and falls. Energy traders know that commodities markets are volatile by nature. To look at a long-term chart of oil, investors find rises to $146 a barrel in 2008, which then fell sharply soon after.
The oil market is a worldwide market and sometimes the cause of a rise or fall in price has no clear, discernible, single reason.