Mob dropped lighted polythene bags on me – Kasseh genital disappearance victim

Mr Abubakar Tanko, an Ivorian, has been attacked by a mob for allegedly causing the disappearance of two men’s private organ at Kasseh in Ada.

He said his attackers dropped lighted polythene bags on him to burn him to death.

The incident happened after he approached Tayabu Eliazu and Assan Gariba, both Nigeriens, to seek help when travelling to Cote d’Ivoire from Benin.

Mr Tanko, narrating his ordeal to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said he pleaded with the mob to involve the Police, but they refused, stating; ‘I even told them to call on the chief of the area so I could explain myself better, but they molested me instead.’

He recalled how he ran to a man for rescue, but he pushed him to the attackers, who subjected him to beatings before the Police came to his rescue.

The GNA noticed that Tanko was struggling to open one of his eyes, and there were multiple scars on his body.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Joseph Atsu Dzineku, the Ada Divisional Police Commander, has disclosed that bo
th the victim and the suspects have been granted Police inquiry bail and would be reporting to the Police until investigations into the matter are completed.

He called on citizens to restrain themselves from putting the law into their own hands, noting that instant justice and mob attacks could lead to the killing of the wrong person.

He also reaffirmed that the law would not spare people apprehended as part of mob attacks.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Illicit Financial Flow: Ghana loses $1.4 billion per year – First Deputy Speaker

According to a Justice Network Research, Ghana loses $1.4 billion per year because of illicit financial flows and taxation, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, first Deputy Speaker has mentioned.

He stated that the lost funds could do a lot for the country, ‘If we allow so much illicit outflow when our public needs, need to invest in public infrastructure, unfortunately, we will borrow and not provide services,’ he said.

Mr Osei-Owusu said on Tuesday at the official launch of the African Parliamentary Network on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation (APNIFFT) Ghana Caucus in Parliament House, Accra.

APNIFFT is a flagship programme coordinated by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) with an overall objective to provide an opportunity for its members, the African legislators, to strategise, learn from each other and build their capacities in tackling illicit financial flows (IFFs) and tax injustices in the continent.

APNIFFT was first conceptualised in 2015 and eventually launched in 2017 by TJNA. Since its inception, APNIFF
T’s operational strategy has focused on national-level legislative interventions to combat the continent’s IFF issues.

This has been operationalised through country-based (National) parliamentary caucuses that now serve as a basic unit of engagement and mobilisation of Members of Parliament (MPs). These basic units then combine to form regional caucuses, based on membership of regional economic councils, to form the continental caucus.

The network currently boasts a total of 702 members from 41 countries in Africa.

It meets with MPs and members of Civil Society Organisations through capacity-building sessions and meetings to fast-track Africa’s conversation and action around illicit financial flows.

Mr Osei-Owusu, also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Bekwai said laws were not the weakest thing but their implementation.

He expressed concerns at the high level the continent was experiencing financial outflows which were perpetuating the kind of damage the slave trade had had done to Africa.

financial flow is a global phenomenon, but a dire situation in the country not because of the staggering figures,’ he said.

He urged the members to develop interest to follow up on laws made to implement illicit outflow.

Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the Majority Leader, urged executives and members of the caucus to prioritise Ghana’s interests and work toward implementing policies that would reduce illicit financial flows and improve taxation practices.

Mr John Osei Frimpong, NPP MP, for Abirem Constituency, serves as the interim Chairman of Ghana’s Chapter, which has been active for two years.

He pledged the Caucus’ cooperation with like-minded legislators to combat illicit financial flows and tax injustice across the continent.

In all, 35 MPs have been entrusted with the responsibility of representing the Ghana APNIFFT Caucus.

The launch was a collaboration between the Parliament of Ghana and the APNIFFT.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Bono Minister calls on Burkina Faso to protect Ghanaians traders

The Embassy of Burkina Faso in Accra has been urged to do more and protect Ghanaian traders on the Ghana-Burkina Faso highways to deepen the bilateral relations between the two countries for mutual benefit.

Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Bono Regional Minister gave the advice when Mr David Kabre, the Burkina Faso Ambassador to Ghana paid a courtesy call on her in Sunyani.

The Regional Minister expressed concern about cases of recurring attacks and robberies on Ghanaians traders along the Ghana-Burkina Faso border lines and, therefore, underscored the need for enhanced security on the Ghana-Burkina Faso highway.

‘Both countries must do more to protect traders on the highway and to facilitate smooth economic activities between Ghanaian and Burkinabe traders,’ she stated.

She indicated that Ghana and Burkina Faso had long existing trade ties, saying protecting the traders would not only deepen bilateral relations, but also spur socio-economic growth and development of both countries.

Madam Owusu-Banahene
said she was optimistic that nothing could endanger the long-standing trade relations between the two countries and assured the government’s commitment and determination to protect Burkinabe nationals in Ghana.

Mr Kabre highlighted the objective of his visit, saying his two-day working visit would enable him to explore the economic prospects in the potential in the Bono Region.

Source: Ghana News Agency

FG committed to infrastructure development through PPP – ICRC boss

Mr Michael Ohiani, Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), says the Federal Government remains committed to infrastructure development through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Ohiani said this at the Second Quarter 2024 Public-Private Partnership Units Consultative Forum(3PUCF) Meeting in Abuja on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum provides a platform for PPP departments in Ministries Departments and Agencies(MDAs) and stakeholders to share ideas, success stories, and challenges on their PPP projects to drive economic growth in Nigeria.

The meeting was hosted by the Federal Road and Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

Ohiani said that within the second quarter, the commission successfully issued Outline and Full Business Case Compliance Certificates in respect of key PPP projects from several MDAs.

He said between April and June 2024, the commission issued 14 Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificates and two Full Business Case (FBC) Compli
ance Certificates.

Ohiani said the commission would continue to issue OBC and FBC certificates as the need arises.

He said some projects which had been issued OBC Compliance Certificates in the second quarter included the Infrastructure Development of Residential Buildings at the Federal School of Forestry, Jos.

Ohiani said others were the Design and Development of eight Hostel accommodations at the University of Lagos, Campus, Akoko.

‘Others are the development of 240 Housing Units of two and three Bedroom Bungalows at Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s land located at Jaba, Kano State.

‘The Operation and Management of Kashimbila Integrated Cargo/Agro-Allied Airport, Taraba, and Implementation of the Nigerian National Patronage Cash Reward Programme.

‘Also, the Implementation of Metal and Mineral Operational Audit and Export Certification programme, and the Implementation and Development of the Electronic Enforcement and Penalty Management (eTraffika).’

Ohiani said FBC Compliance Certificates were
issued for the following projects which included the Implementation and Development of the Electronic Enforcement and Penalty Management (eTraffika).

‘Also the Renovation and Upgrading of School of Nursing Student Hostel, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State.’

He said the commission had also continued to monitor PPP projects which were at the implementation stage.

‘Just last week, our staff and the relevant officers of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security visited 17 silo complexes across the Federation.’

Ohiani reiterated the commission’s commitment to continue to build PPP capacity across MDAs and PPP practitioners through its training arm- the Nigeria Institute of Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnership.

He urged the members of the forum to take advantage of the opportunities the training institute provided.

‘We also invite you to take advantage of the MBA in PPP and PhD in Management (PPP option) programmes which are being run in collaboration with the Malaysia
University of Science and Technology.’

Ohiani expressed his appreciation to members of the forum for their continued valued contributions to its sustenance and overall success.

‘I, therefore, encourage us all to continue to advance with the various projects across our MDAs up to implementation and possible hand-back, as these will have a direct positive bearing on the wellbeing of Nigerians.

‘ I encourage us to sustain the shared vision of a prosperous and infrastructure-sufficient country for the coming generations.’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NCS’ bold steps to ease trade operations in Nigeria

With its poverty rate hitting 38.9 per cent in 2023, Nigeria has continued to battle several social and economic problems, throwing up an avalanche of concerns for both the leaders and the populace.

The populous African nation has continued to battle food shortages, poor infrastructure, unemployment, while striving to make quality health care and education affordable.

It is also confronted with security challenges ranging from banditry, militancy, separatist agitations, among others.

With these challenges getting more serious by the day, experts say that the prospects of overcoming them may not be so bright with the nation’s monolithic economy that depends substantially on oil.

They say that short and long term measures must be initiated if the nation is to be salvaged from its many woes.

One recurrent suggestion has been the need to diversify the economy, especially with the global upsurge in energy transition, which is expected to reduce the demand for oil.

Relying on the oil sector, in spite of the t
ransition, will diminish the nation’s revenue base, the experts have always pointed out, while emphasising the need to build resilience to navigate the situation by leveraging opportunities in other sectors.

Sectors that provide such revenue options include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, among others.

In line with this, President Bola Tinubu’s administration has continued to focus on reforming the economy to deliver sustained growth that would have multiplier effects on all aspects of life.

To this effect, government has continued to develop and implement policies and initiatives designed to generate revenue from the non-oil sector.

One of such policies focuses on trade reforms.

The idea is encapsulated in the Trade Policy Of Nigeria(TPN) 2023 to 2027, designed to promote trade as a tool for economic growth and development. It aims at using trade as a catalyst to develop a diversified and competitive economy.

While it hinges on government’s commitment to an open and transparent trade policy, one of
its key objectives is to address constraints limiting Nigeria’s potential to participate effectively in international trade.

As part of efforts to address these constraints, the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), in 2022 embarked on a journey to reposition and ease trade operations in the country through its Trade Modernisation Project(TMP), which has three phases.

The project is a 20-year concession agreement signed on May 27, 2023 between the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the NCS Board, and the Trade Modernisation Project Ltd.

The TMP is the automation of the business processes of the NCS. It seeks to simplify and enhance the experience of stakeholders in the trade value chain.

It is aimed at making it easy to obtain export and import clearances. It will also ease the payment of duties and the release of goods.

Shortly put, it is a long term rescue plan aimed at ensuring predictable and transparent processes and procedures for imports, exports and transit trade.

According to the General Man
ager of the Concessionaire, Mr Ahmed Ogunshola, the project creates the basis for improving NCS’ services which include improving revenue generation, facilitating trade development and minimising corruption in trade facilitation.

The project is aimed at automating trade operation processes using a software described as the Unified Customs Management System(UCMS), to be deployed by NCS, which would soon be inaugurated by the Federal Government.

The UCMS is the core of the operational activities and underpins the decision chain and command of goods clearance for release, in line with the requisite taxes and waivers of the Federal Government.

The automation aims to address leakages in the revenue collection of customs duties and includes Electronic Cargo Tracking System.

This system gives traders access through the UCM to comprehensively monitor their transactions from the beginning of the process until the delivery of their goods, and act appropriate where they experience hiccups.

The system also facilitat
es Electronic Port System, Logistics Monitoring System, Mobile Enforcement System and Intelligent Gate System.

In addition to providing further ease of cross border trading, its major advantage is the significant long-term impact it would have on the social and economic development of the country.

At the end of the 20 year period, the project is expected to generate in excess, 250 billion dollars as revenue for Nigeria.

This is because automating the process helps to increase revenue collection due to improved trading experiences, which would increase trading frequency and, therefore, revenue from chargeable duties.

While Nigeria gets to use the revenue to fund its infrastructure development, create jobs, address its security challenges, it would also develop other non-oil sectors to ensure sustainable development.

On the current stage of the development of software to be deployed to drive the modernisation process, the Head of the Business Section of the Project, Usman Abba, a Chief Supritendent of Cust
oms, said that all internal sytems had been completed, and final touches were being made on stakeholders’ integration.

While this is the first phase of the process spanning year one to six, with two more phases to go, it is expected that at a stage, all systems must be deployed to hardware, software and technology services.

The reform, through the project, is expected to streamline customs processes, reduce delays and cut down on corruption. As a result, businesses can operate more efficiently, and government can collect more accurate and timely revenues from trade activities.

Additionally, aligning trade policies with international standards can attract more global partners and increase Nigeria’s share of global trade.

As the implementation of this project gets to its peak, excited analysts say that Nigeria can look forward to a more dynamic, efficient and profitable trade sector, driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Fidelity Bank reports impressive performance at 2023 AGM, announces innovative agribusiness initiatives

Fidelity Bank, Ghana’s largest privately-owned indigenous bank, recorded high profit and a strong financial performance across all businesses in the year 2023, officials of the Bank have said.

By the end of December 2021, the Banks operating income increased from GHS1.43 billion in 2022 to GHS2.03 billion, representing 40 percent increase year-on-year.

That and other performance records were announced at a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Friday, May 31, 2024, to review the Bank’s performance and provide update on other strategic initiatives.

Addressing shareholders, Mr James Reynolds Baiden, Board Chairman, Fidelity Bank, highlighted the Bank’s resilience despite ‘challenging economic climate’.

‘Notwithstanding the macro-economic challenges, 2023 was a year of strong performance and significant recovery for Fidelity Bank, evident in our record revenues and profits,’ he stated.

He attributed the Banks growth to strong performance across all segments, including Retail Banking, Corporate
and Institutional Banking, and Financial and Capital Markets.

Mr. Baiden reported that the Bank’s total assets grew by 25 percent, reaching GHS 17.22 billion at the end of 2023.

That, he said, was driven by a 28 percent increase in customer deposits, which closed the year at GHS 12.65 billion.

Profitability, according to the Bank, also saw ‘a dramatic shift, reversing a recorded loss of GHS518 million in 2022 to a profit of GHS1.17 billion in 2023.’

Loans and Advances Portfolio grew by 17 percent to GHS 3.21 billion and its Investment Securities book improved by 28 percent to GHS 7.70 billion in 2023.

Fidelity Bank again witnessed an increase in Shareholder Funds, reaching GHS 1.44 billion at the end of the year while its year-end Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) also improved with regulatory reliefs, from 16.8 percent in 2022 to 20.9 percent in 2023.

This implies that the Bank remains adequately capitalised, and with an improved Balance Sheet performance it remains the 5th largest bank in Ghana
by total assets.

Mr. Baiden said the Bank would continue to invest in technology-driven solutions to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction in the digital era.

‘The Bank is also forging partnerships with FinTech (financial technology) firms and sustainable development organisations to align our strategies with emerging growth areas in financial services and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) propositions for greater value creation,’ he added.

Julian Opuni, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, emphasised the Bank’s commitment to empowering local businesses and fostering economic growth.

‘In 2023, we provided over GHS2 billion in credit to businesses across key sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, services, and commerce. Over 10 percent of our loan portfolio is dedicated to supporting agricultural businesses, from established enterprises to small-scale entrepreneurs,’ he noted.

Mr Opuni announced plans to expand support for early-stage agribusinesses, particularly those led by fema
le entrepreneurs, and highlighted the Mastercard BRIDGE-in Agriculture programme, which aims to support smallholder farmers, impacting women and youth, and create jobs in the next five years.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Review mandates of some SoEs to inform action – Asantehene to SIGA

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has proposed to the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) to review the mandates of some State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) and make recommendations on whether to divest or recapitalise such entities.

The Asantehene expressed concern that contrary to the government’s rationale for the establishment of SOEs for the benefit of the nation, not much benefit had been received by the citizens.

The Asantehene made the call when the Management of SIGA, led by Mr John Boadu, Director-General, SIGA, paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace, a statement issued by the Corporate Affairs Division of SIGA, said.

The statement quoted Otumfuo as saying: ‘Government has invested a lot of resources into these entities to ensure that its citizens reap the rewards of these investments. SIGA must ensure the ultimate goal for setting-up these entities are fully realised.’

The purpose of the visit was to officially introduce Mr. Boadu as the new Director-General of SIGA and al
so update the Asantehene on the activities undertaken since his appointment in December 2023.

The visit also offered the team an opportunity to hold further discussions on areas where SIGA could collaborate with the Manhyia Palace to garner support for the implementation of its activities.

Mr. Boadu thanked the Asantehene for the opportunity to apprise him on SIGA’s achievements since the previous meeting with SIGA management.

He said that SIGA and the Ghana Revenue Authority were the two organisations in Ghana expected to generate revenue for the country per their mandates.

‘SIGA is collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure that the entities under our ambit are profitable and adhere to good governance practices. For the past five years since our establishment, we have improved on the financial reporting and compliance of our Entities and increased their contribution to the national accounts by a significant margin,’ Mr Boadu said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Banks urged to partner, invest in modern technologies

Ms Estelle Jacqueline Asare, Head of Digital and Innovation, Stanbic Bank, has asked banks to partner service providers and invest in modern technologies to help improve digital banking.

This, she said, would promote customer loyalty as banks provided ‘more personalized experiences.’

Ms. Asare said this when she joined a group of experts to discuss digital banking trends at the West Africa Digital Leaders’ Summit held at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Accra.

Sharing insights on the topic: ‘Making End-to-End Digital Banking a Reality’, she highlighted the importance of banks adopting ‘a customer-centric approach, learning from Fintechs’ agility and innovation’.

‘Customer centricity and agility is what is driving fintech growth. They focus on customer needs and pain points…It is important that banks learn from them to enable the provision of better digital services.’

‘If banks want to innovate and survive, we must look at how to partner complementary service providers and leverage each other’s streng
ths… ‘Integrating with platforms that enable us harness data, allows us to provide hyper customization to our customers and that is what makes them stick to us…,’ Ms Asare stated.

She urged the ‘securing of [banking] systems through ‘enhanced biometric verification’ and cybersecurity as digital banking evolved.

‘The growth of digital banking and AI calls for heightened focus on cybersecurity. If we don’t keep our eyes on the risks and ensure that the bank is secure, we will end up losing more than our digitally active customers. We will lose the bank itself,’ she noted.

The West Africa Digital Leaders’ Summit event was organised by technology firm, Temenos. It brought together specialists, experts and industry leaders to interact on diverse topics.

The discussions focused on digital banking trends, ‘leveraging cloud banking, opportunities and trends in the payments sector’, and ‘how digital transformation can increase revenue and grow a bank’s customer base’.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sanlam and Allianz Insurance Companies in Ghana receive final No Objection from the Regulator to merge

The SanlamAllianz Group is pleased to announce that it has received a final no objection from the National Insurance Commission (NIC) to proceed with the planned merger between Sanlam Life Insurance Ghana LTD and Allianz Life Insurance Ghana LTD, as well as Sanlam General Insurance Ghana LTD and Allianz Insurance Ghana LTD.

This follows the announcement in September 2023 of the closing of the SanlamAllianz joint venture, which covers 27 countries across Africa for a combined enterprise value of nearly US$ 2 billion.

An exciting new journey

The merger between Sanlam and Allianz will allow the Ghanaian market to benefit from the combined expertise of two major financial services groups, which are known and recognised on an African and a global scale and carry more than 200 years of cumulative experience in Africa and beyond.

‘We are confident that our merged businesses in Ghana will create significant value for our clients, shareholders and other stakeholders. The combined expertise and resources of our res
pective companies will enable us to provide innovative solutions and services to meet the ever-evolving needs of our clients,’ says Heinie Werth, CEO of SanlamAllianz.

The merger is also expected to contribute significantly to the overall development of the Ghanaian insurance market, thanks to an innovative range of products and services adapted to all market segments.

Given the SanlamAllianz Group’s growth strategy and diversified financial services capabilities, the organisation’s combined business in Ghana presents various opportunities for operational synergies, creating significant potential for value creation that will benefit the sector, its clients, agents, brokers and partners, as well as its employees.

The Sanlam Life Insurance Ghana is focused on providing specialist life insurance services leveraging on the capacity, expertise, experience, exposure and the financial strength of the biggest non-banking financial services Group on the African continent.

Sanlam General Insurance Ghana offers inno
vative insurance solutions, which cut across all segments of the economy. These include Motor Insurance, Asset All Risks, Marine Insurance, Home Insurance, SME Insurance, Fire and Other Perils among others.

Allianz Ghana, made up of Allianz Life Insurance Ghana LTD and Allianz Insurance Ghana Limited are subsidiaries of the Allianz Group. The Allianz Group is one of the world’s leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries.

Having launched its operations in 2018, Allianz Life Ghana LTD is currently a Top 9 life insurance on the market, offering various life insurance solutions for retail, corporate, SME, banks, and partners such as MTN and Société Generale Ghana.

Allianz Insurance, the general insurance provider, offers solutions and services in Motor, Home, Travel, Injury, and Disability Insurance to the Ghanaian market.

In addition, it underwrites SME, Public Liability, Asset, Construction, Transport, and Cyber Crime Insurance. Alli
anz Insurance has bancassurance partnerships with Société Generale Ghana, Ecobank Ghana, Consolidated Bank Ghana, and United Bank Africa.

Source: Ghana News Agency