WAPCo defers decision to cut gas supplies to Ghana
The West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) has deferred the decision to cut gas supplies to Ghana, pending outcome of negotiations between a government delegation and Nigeria Gas (N-Gas).
Corporate Affairs Director for WAPCo, Harriet Wereko-Brobbey told Joy News Friday, the company received “verbal information last night” from N-Gas to continue gas supplies to Ghana.
“Gas is flowing through the pipeline as we speak”, she said.
The high level government delegation led by Power Minister Kwabena Donkor stormed Nigeria for talks after WAPCo threatened to cut supplies to Ghana by midnight Friday if Ghana fails to settle over $200 million debt owed the Nigeria-based gas supplier, N-Gas.
Reports indicate the VRA owes N-Gas more than $182 million while the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) also owe about $150 million.
On Wednesday, Managing Director of WAPCo, Walter Perez stated at a press conference that the debt owed N-Gas by Ghana was affecting WAPCo’s work.
Ghana has a deal with N-Gas to receive a contractual 120 million standard cubic feet (mmscf) of gas daily, and the government has in the past held several discussions with the gas supplier over the payment of the long-standing debt.
A cut in gas supplies to Ghana will result in a 400 megawatts power shortfall that will worsened the power crisis currently facing the country.
WAPCo owns and operates the West African Gas Pipeline that supplies gas to power producers in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast.
GNPC provides $100m guarantee for power barges
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC, has confirmed paying the 100 million dollar guarantee for the deployment of the Kar-Power barges from Singapore on behalf of the ECG.
The amount expected to be put in an escrow account is a requirement for the barges.
Speaking at a press conference, Chief Executive of the GNPC Alex Mould said ECOBANK is currently in discussions with its corresponding banks to confirm receipt of the amount.
He indicated that the GNPC has placed a 100 million dollars in an account with ECOBANK.
“There’s nothing else GNPC can do about it. We have given them the funds required to establish this guarantee” he added.
ECOBANK-Ghana according to him has opened a guarantee and has been finalizing the terms and the conditions with their corresponding bank – Standard Chartered Bank.
The 225 megawatts capacity barge is now expected to leave Turkey on October 25 and is expected in the country on November 10. The dates for the arrival of the barge has been shifted a number of times already, a situation blamed largely on the absence of the guarantee.
There is a second guarantee that GNPC is putting in place to guarantee the capacity.
Mr. Mould stated, “I even met with the ECG Managing Director and the bank, and my understanding is that by next week ECG and the bank would have finalized their terms and conditions and I’m hoping that would be issued.”
PURC benefits from tariff increases – Dr. Manteaw
The Campaign Coordinator of the Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC), Dr. Steve Manteaw has accused the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) of benefitting from tariff increases in the country. “I have always been skeptical about the PURC and the public consultations they hold. I am aware that PURC benefits from the tariffs it approves. There is a certain percentage that goes to finance PURC’s own operations,” he alleged. The PURC, following moves by government to export power ships from Turkey to improve the power situation in the country, held several consultations with the citizenry and stakeholders over the matter. It subsequently announced that Ghanaians are prepared to pay close to 75% more for power, if the current load shedding improves.
“…My information is that normally, utility companies know what they want but they know they won’t get it so in their proposals; they normally tend to increase it beyond what they actually want so that in their deliberations, when a lower tariff is approved, it comes back to what they actually would need.”
Amendments to ensure full implementation of deregulation policy undergoes maturity
The impending changes to the petroleum pricing law which should affect the pricing formula for the fuel sold at the pumps is currently undergoing the 21-day maturity period in parliament.
Energy Minister, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah who disclosed this explained the amendments are necessary for the successful implementation of the petroleum pricing deregulation policy.
“The purpose of the policy is to allow for competitive pricing, removal of government interventions, and elimination of forex losses faced by importers” he told journalists in Accra Thursday.
The amended policy would ensure a fully deregulated market for all products with the exception of residual fuel and premix fuel, the Minister said.
Mr. Armah-Kofi Buah stated “to strengthen the NPA to ensure that this price deregulation policy is fully enforced, some proposed amendments to sections of NPA Act and Pricing Regulations LI 2186 has been laid before parliament”. It is currently going through the 21 days as required by law.
The ministry has recommended amendments to sections 2, 37, 47, and 81 of the National Petroleum Authority Act, 2005 Act 691.
The amendment to section 2(2) is to reflect the change in the role of the NPA under the liberalized price regime where petroleum service providers will set their own prices in accordance with the prescribed petroleum product pricing formula which will be collated by the NPA for monitoring and publication purposes.
AFB deepens financial inclusion with Paperless Salary Loan
AFB Ghana, one of the leading financial services companies, has introduced a new channel that seeks to revolutionise the loan application process and thus deepen financial inclusion.
Dubbed ‘Paperless Salary Loan’, this new, innovative and time-saving service was born out of the need to always see customers experience the best of services from one of the biggest salary loan lenders in the country and Africa.
“We don’t want our customers to travel long distances before beginning the process of taking a loan at branch offices. We have put this in place to make loan application faster, easier and more convenient for our prospective customers,” Arnold Parker, Managing Director of AFB Ghana, told the media at the unveiling of the service.
Ghana remains major economy in Africa
Notwithstanding its challenges, Ghana remains one of the leading African countries that have achieved marked improvement in various sectors of their economies, especially on human development indicators.
The country is among several African countries that have made progress in reducing extreme poverty, having reduced poverty to 25.2 per cent as of 2005/2006 from 47.3 per cent in 1991/92.
As of 2012, the number of poor people had further reduced to 21.1 per cent, according to the sixth Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) conducted in 2012.
Those living in extreme poverty, whom the World Bank defines as people who live on less than $1.90 a day, also reduced from 37.6 per cent in 1991 to 27.1 per cent in 1992 then to 18.1 per cent in 2005 and to 9.6 per cent in the latest survey in 2012.
This has been made possible indeed due to the unprecedented cumulative performance of the local economy in the past two decades.
2016 Budget:Avoid spending cuts to poor …CSOs tell gov’t
Civil society organisations (CSOs) are urging government not to cut expenditure on social interventions as the country enters a crucial phase of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) economic reform programme.
There are huge expectations on government to maintain fiscal discipline, especially as the country enters the 2016 fiscal year which happens to be an election year when Parliamentary and Presidential elections will be held.
Having excelled in the first two reviews of the Fund’s programme, the Finance Ministry has insisted that it is determined to pursue its fiscal consolidation programme irrespective of the 2016 elections — prompting fears among CSOs that government will pull the plug on some social interventions, notably subsidies.
Speaking to the B&FT on the sidelines of a CSO dialogue on the 2016 budget, Mrs. Chris Dadzie — Coordinator at the Institute for Fiscal Policy (IFP) — said it is common practice for governments to cut expenditure of social intervention programmes whenever there are austere times.
Ghana unattractive for foreign investment – Swiss Ambassador
The Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gerhard Brugger, has said the high cost of doing business in Ghana continues to make Ghana an unattractive spot for foreign investors.
He, therefore, called on the government to remove any barriers, including the difficulties in clearing goods at the country’s ports, since it prevented foreign nationals from doing business in Ghana.
Speaking at a business breakfast meeting in Accra yesterday, Mr Brugger said the cumbersome nature of doing business in Ghana, particularly when one wanted to establish a business and the high cost of production discouraged many businesses from coming to the country.
“It should be the responsibility of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other stakeholders to facilitate a framework in which businesses need to operate. The system should be made leaner, smaller and less cumbersome,” he said.
Credit: Joy Online, Citi Online, Graphic BFT