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Unibank takes over ADB

In an unexpected move that could be the beginning of a restructuring of the local banking space, a consortium of financial institutions that control majority shares in agric-focused bank, Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), have pledged their shares, proceeds, entitlement and voting rights to uniBank, a leading local bank.

The consortium, led by Belstar Capital–a turnkey project finance and implementation institution–also includes Starmount Development Company Limited, EDC Investments Limited and SIC-FSL.

These institutions took up a substantial stake in ADB’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2016 that paved the way for the bank to go public.

A source close to the deal has confirmed to the B&FT that the shares pledged to uniBank, which totals 51 percent, means uniBank now holds a controlling stake in ADB and with the additional majority voting rights, can now determine the strategic direction of ADB.


Cedi Slides Amid Polls Uncertainty

The cedi has had a fairly stable year in which, as at end of November, it had depreciated just by a 4.7 percent, bringing year-to-date depreciation to 6 percent. But its performance in the last week is a cause of concern for managers of the economy, especially the Central Bank which has battled to keep the Cedi afloat with dollar auctions.

The ruling party is facing prospects of losing power as results of the Wednesday December 7, 2016 polls put the main opposition party on course to recapture power after an eight year absence. The Electoral Commission has been slow declaring results leading to heightened anxiety among the two main parties.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) late last month told investors that while it expects the NPP to win the general elections, it would not rule out possibilities of electoral dispute.


Gov’t Completes Investment Deal With Newmont

Government is hopeful that its new partnership with Newmont will not only transform and improve mining in the country but will help introduce best practices in the country.

It follows government's negotiations of its Investment Agreement with mining giant Newmont, guaranteeing improved benefits for Ghana.

A statement from the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry says the new deal will also ensure long term sustainability of the mining industry.

The objective of the re-negotiation Is to ensure that all major stakeholders, including Ghanaians, mining companies and their investors equitably share in the benefits that mining brings.

The proposed changes are expected to improve benefits for Government and economy and increase revenues while assuring a fair, predictable and beneficial long term basis for Newmont’s business in Ghana.


GIFEC Targets More Fishermen

The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) is to train more fishermen under its fish-finder programme, as it looks to increase the volume of fish harvested from the Atlantic Ocean, Kwabena Owusu Akyeampong-Administrator of GIFEC, has said.

“We will continue with the fishing programme, because we think that there are a lot more fishermen that we haven’t reached along the four coastal areas. So we will do more fish-finders and this time introduce the Global Positioning System (GPS) which allows fishermen to go to a particular site do their fishing and come back.

“The fish-finders programme allows us to help fishermen try and locate fish. This requires some training before the fish-finders are eventually given out to them,” Mr. Akyempong told the B&FT.

With an about-521-kilometre coastline, the country is currently a net importer of fish. In 2013, half of the domestic fish requirement of 900,000 metric tonnes was imported.


Agric Attracts Telcos’ Attention

Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) companies are increasing their offering to the agriculture sector to help address the myriad challenges bedevilling the sector.

Mobile service provider Airtel and Zeepay -- a Mobile Financial Services (MFS) aggregator, have developed an innovative platform that allows members of farmer-based organisations that are registered on the platform to buy agro-inputs on credit and also access credit to improve their farms.

Under the Zeepay-Airtel programme known as Akuafo Nkosuo being piloted in the Ashanti Region, recognised farmer-based organisations will be registered onto the Zeepay-Airtel platform. They will then be able to buy farm inputs from other agro-chemical shops registered on the platform on credit, and later pay for the inputs when they harvest their produce and sell at the nearby grain council or warehouse.


‘Set Up Separate Body To Regulate Microfinance’

A retired educationist, Mrs Patience Ayele Ayesu, has called on the Bank of Ghana to set up a separate bank or body to regulate the activities of microfinance companies in the country.

She said microfinance companies played a very important role in the socio-economic development of the country so all efforts must be made to assist them in their operations.

Speaking at the fifth anniversary celebrations of Delta Microfinance in Accra yesterday, she urged the media to be circumspect in their report of the activities of microfinance companies in order not to create panic among their clients and the general public.

Mrs Ayesu noted that rural and community banks had a parent company, the Apex Bank, which regulated and controlled all their activities, and which could also supported them when necessary.


Power Minister: Era Of Cheap Power Over

The Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor, has asked power consumers to adopt greater efficiency in energy use in order to contain the increasing cost of power provision nears its end.

He said in the current energy generation mix the contribution of hydro sources – the cheapest source of energy generation – is diminishing, which requires consumers to brace themselves for a tariff regime that will reflect the cost of power supply.

“If you look at the generation mix, we are going to have less cheap sources of generation and more of the expensive sources of generation, and this must be reflected in an appropriate tariff. As at the moment, this is not yet fairly reflected. So going forward, Ghanaians must develop greater efficiency in energy use. A household can maintain its present payment obligations by reducing the waste in power use.


Dredging Of Takoradi Port Begins

Dredging Takoradi Port has started as part of the expansion project authorities are embarking on, and it is expected to be completed by the middle of March this year.
Dredger “Nicolo Machiavelle” arrived at the Takoradi Port on January 2, 2015 and started dredging on January 7, 2015.
The few days delay was due to unsettled sea conditions and poor visibility, Captain James Owusu-Koranteng, Acting Director of the Takoradi Port, said.
Already, some 80,000 cubic metres of gravel, soil, sand and ore have been drilled, he told the media.
“We expect to dredge a total quantity of 770,000 cubic metres. The first dredging will be up to 14 metres minus. We believe by the time we are done with the first completion it will be increased to 16 metres minus.”


Emirates Offers Reduced Fares On Routes

Dubai-based Emirates airlines is offering the public a special Business and Economy class fares to a wide range of cities across six continents.
These cities include London, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, as well as Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Perth and Abidjan.
To enjoy the attractive discounts, bookings have to be made from now to the 24th of January for travel between 1st February and 30th June 2015.
“Many people make travel resolutions for the New Year, and as a global connector of people and places we’d love to help our customers fulfil their travel aspirations,” said Hendrik Du Preez, Country Manager, Emirates Ghana.


Steel companies threaten shut-down

Major steel producing companies in Tema will soon shut-down their factories to protest what they term as the “harsh and unfavorable economic environment” in the country.
Directors and managers of major steel companies like Sethi Brothers Ghana Ltd, Special Steel Limited, Ferro Fabric Limited, Steel and forging Limited and Wahome Steel Company Limited last Friday held a meeting to plan a protest-march schedule -- which will possibly take place by close of this month.
A source close to the steel companies told the B&FT the present economic situation is not helping their businesses to thrive, adding it would be better to shut down their factories until things improve instead of operating at a huge losses.
“We want government to address the situation as early as possible", the source said.

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