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24.06.2005 Business & Finance

Companies in the News

Public Agenda

GHACEM launches Super Rapid Cement

GHACEM has launched re-formulated Portland Limestone Cement, ''Super Rapid Cement'', a more environmentally friendly product. The Super Rapid Cement, which is packaged in 50-kilogrmamme bags and supplied from the company's factories in Tema and Takoradi, is expected to enhance early strength development and better water retention. The product also has high bonding properties to ensure quality construction. According to the Managing Director of Ghacem, Mr. Morten Gade, the company's aim was to supply quality cement to the public. ''We in Ghacem believe in constantly improving our products to satisfy the requirements of our targets markets such as p[private developers, local contractors, block makers, gold mining companies and the general public'', he said. He added that the company used local raw materials in the manufacture of the cement adding that it would gradually reduce the consumption and dependence on imported raw materials, particularly clinker, which adversely affected the cost of production and the subsequent increases in the price of cement.

BOG reduces reserve requirement

With effect from July 1, the secondary reserve requirement for commercial banks will be 15 per cent instead of 35 percent. Also the requirement that banks hold 15 percent of their deposits in the form of medium term securities has been abolished. The new policy initiative is expected to free capital for the productive sectors of the economy. However, the primary reserve requirements will continue to be 9.0 percent. According to the governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Paul Acquah, the high level of reserve requirements of nine percent of the bank's eligible deposits as primary reserves, and 35 percent as secondary reserves in the form of treasury bills and medium term government securities, is the legacy of high fiscal deficits and the need for the government to have a captive market to finance deficits. Primary reserve is a percentage of a bank deposit it keeps with the central bank while the secondary reserve is the percentage of bank deposit set aside in instruments like treasury bills, cocoa bills and Bank of Ghana bills.

Consumption of fuel drops by 5%

Fuel consumption has dropped by five percent after the hikes in the price of petroleum products in February. From a weekly production of 11,500 metric tonnes, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) now produces 11,000 metric tonnes. Although fuel consumption slows down anytime there is price change, this year's drop has been dramatic. Further more, the drop has been erratic since it had refused to follow the normal cycle. The General Manager responsible for Commerce, Mr. Bert Hornsby Odoi, attributed the drop to a fall in demand by consumers.

New stevedoring directive deferred indefinitely

The proposed liberalization of stevedoring companies at the Tema and Takoradi ports, which would have allowed ship owners also to freely choose which stevedoring company to do business, has been extended indefinitely. The decision by the Ministry of Ports, Harbours and Railways to extend the deadline is to allow the companies to restructure their operations at Ghana's Seaports and operate individually as independent companies. Sources say this extension is a relaxation of the ministry's earlier resolve not to extend deadline any further after it had done so on two different occasions. It is also believed that the extension is meant to allow the Ghana Maritime Authority to advice the Ports and Harbours ministry on the best approach to the directive considering the various complexities that the move is likely to degenerate into. Known as ''free for all'', the policy, which should have been re-introduced last April after two attempts in January 2005 and last year 2004 had been fraught with difficulties.

ADB to channel ¢1.4 trillion into agro-business sector

The Agricultural Development Bank, (ADB), is to channel ¢1.4 trillion into the agricultural sector. The programme is to focus on the agro-based industrial and agri-business sub-sector, as the bank's contribution to enhancing national food security and create employment and incomes in the rural communities. According to the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. S.M Koranteng, the two programmes under active consideration are special maize production scheme and the youth in agriculture. The programme is to help build adequate capacity for the production of broilers for the poultry sub-sector and help check rural-urban drift. He indicated that the programme would be integrated into that of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for a nationwide coverage. Additionally, ADB will provide the youth with training support as well as involving the chiefs to ensure easy access to land for the project.

¢30bn dividend paid to Gov't

Government has received ¢30 billion as dividend for 2004 from three companies. They are the Ghana Commercial Bank, (GCB), which presented ¢19.1 billion, Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) ¢7.5 billion and Ghana Reinsurance Company limited ¢3 billion. Finance and Economic Planning Minister Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, received the cheques on behalf of government. The Board Chairman of GCB, Mr. Kwabena Gyimah Osei-Bonsu said the resilience of the Bank coupled with pragmatic measures employed by its management ensures an impressive performance during the period last year. GCB's direct contribution to national revenue amounted to a total of ¢135.1 billion for 2004. This included the National reconstruction Levy, corporate and dividend tax amounting to ¢116.7 billion. According to the Board Chairman of ADB, Mr. Paul S.M.Koranteng, the bank has survived the harsh environment in which it operates and had maintained a path of good financial performance since 1993.

WAICA conference to be held in Abuja

The West Africa Insurance Companies Association, (WAICA) Annual General meeting and education conference has been slated for July in Abuja, Nigeria. WAICA is an association of insurers, brokers, and loss adjusters in West Africa with a primary objective of promoting co-operation in every aspect among its members. The 2-day meeting will dwell on the theme ''Risk Management and Insurance for Value''. It would be recalled that this years conference was postponed because of problems which culminated in the leaving of office by the Vice President Mirinlla who was then managing Director of Nigeria reinsurance Company.

Compiled by Ama Achiaa Amankwah