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Bawumia must use ‘State of the Economy’ speech to boost investor confidence – Economist

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Ahead of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s speech on the State of the Economy later today [April 7, 2022], Economist Professor Ebo Turkson has urged Dr. Bawumia to use the occasion to reassure Ghanaians and investors on important measures taken by government to revive the economy.The Vice President is expected to speak at a National Tertiary Students Confederacy [TESCON] Training and Orientation Conference at Kasoa in the Central Region.

Dr. Bawumia’s address comes after the Finance Minister,  Ken Ofori-Atta, recently announced stringent fiscal measures aimed at cutting government expenditure for the 2022 fiscal year and reviving the economy.

Speaking to Joy Business, Professor Turkson outlined some key issues that must be addressed by Dr. Bawumia to bring back confidence to the private sector and investment community.

“We have had so many issues in the last three months. We’ve had issues such as the downgrade of Ghana’s economic ratings by the rating agencies, the sharp depreciating of the cedi, and the issue about the approval of the e-levy,” he said.

Professor Turkson maintained that there are many economic challenges that have in recent times negatively affected ordinary Ghanaians and businesses, hence outlining government’s short term plans aimed at reducing the challenges will be welcome news.

According to him, Dr. Bawumia, who is also the Chairman of Government’s Economic Management Team must seize the opportunity to reiterate measures embarked upon by the government to attract more investors in the face of the uncertainties in the global economic space.

“When people call on the Vice President to speak it is in the right direction because he is one of the best economic brains in the country and in government. His speech can send a good signal to Ghanaians and the investment community,” he stressed.

Touching on the impact COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the economy, Prof. Turkson stated that it is imperative for Dr. Bawumia to demonstrate how government intends to weather the storm.

“It is true that COVID 19 and the Russia-Ukraine issues are affecting the world and Ghana is no exception but, I expect him to tell us how the Economic Management Team intends to solve Ghana’s problem to improve the lives of Ghanaians,” he said.



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Banks register ¢2.9 billion in 4-months of 2022

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Banks in the country registered ¢52.9 billion in the first four months of 2022, signaling a healthy industry, the Bank of Ghana has revealed.

This represented a 26.3 % growth, compared with 39.6% growth for the same period of last year.

The banks’ earnings were influenced by growth in net interest income and net fees and commissions. However, the growth margins went down, comparatively to last year.

Net interest income grew by 12.2% to ¢4.6 billion, compared to 18.4% growth a year ago. Net fees and commissions grew by 17.7% to ¢1.1 billion, compared with 26.5% growth last year, due to decline in trade finance-related activities in the economy.

Other income increased to ¢1.0 billion, representing 117.5% growth, relative to the contraction by 7.9% last year.

Banking sector assets remain strong

Also, developments in the banking sector also indicated strong performance, despite the reversal of the COVID-19 regulatory relief measures in March.

Total assets rose to ¢194.3 billion at the end of April 2022, about 24.8% annual growth, relative to 16.4% growth in the previous year.

The growth was underscored by increased deposits and borrowings.

Total deposits grew by 21.3% to ¢127.2 billion, while borrowings recorded a strong growth of 66.2% to ¢25.9 billion at the end of April 2022.

Financial Soundness Indicators robust

According to the Bank of Ghana, the key Financial Soundness Indicators also remained strong, with the Capital Adequacy Ratio at 21.3%, well above the regulatory minimum of 13.0%.

Importantly, Non-Performing Loan ratio eased to 14.3%, compared with 15.5% the previous year.

These developments resulted in a 22.1% jump in operating income to ¢6.7 billion, compared with 16.8% growth in the corresponding period of 2021.

Operating expenses recorded 23.0% growth compared to 1.7 % growth in the previous year.

Credit to private sector shows considerable improvement

The Bank of Ghana said credit to the private sector showed considerable improvement, almost back to pre-pandemic levels and broadly in line with the uptrend in economic activities.

In nominal terms, private sector credit recorded a significant annual growth of 26.5% in April 2022, compared with 6.9% in April 2021.

In real terms, however, private sector credit grew by 2.3%, due to sustained price pressures, relative to a contraction of 1.5% recorded for the same comparative period.

In terms of new advances, the data shows that credit growth continued to improve, reaching ¢16.4 billion, representing a 56.5 percent year-on-year growth.

Meanwhile, the latest credit conditions survey revealed that banks are however beginning to tighten credit stance on loans to enterprises and households. Despite the tightening of credit conditions, demand for credit by households and firms continue to remain strong.



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Women in timber set agenda to drive afforestation for the survival of industry

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The Association of Women in Timber-Ghana (WiTG) has called for gender equity in timber processing factories.

The Association laments women have lost opportunities in the timber value chain due to the under-representation of women in forest governance.

A study conducted by the Global Timber Forum (GTF) revealed the ratio of men to women in timber processing factories globally is about 73% to 27%.

The Association of Women in Timber-Ghana (WiTG) has been launched in Kumasi to help build and increase the participation of women in the sector.

President of the group, Ernestina Owusu Banahene, says the Association will join forces with research institutions to tackle issues of reforestation for future supply of raw materials.

Women in timber set agenda to drive afforestation for the survival of industry
President of the group, Ernestina Owusu Banahene

“Considering the role of women in this male-dominated sector, I believe we deserve the needed recognition, it was prudent for women in the sector to come together to project their importance and contributions in the forest sector, hence the Women in Timber-Ghana (WiTG) Association. 

What the WiTG platform offers is a tailored solution to addressing industry challenges that are affecting women,” she said.

 The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, believes the Association will help women in the forest sector to showcase their abilities to improve activities in forestry.

He was represented by Edith Abruquah, the Acting Executive Director of the Forestry Commission.

“Participation of women in the sector is arguably often overlooked. 

I was elated when I received a briefing on this laudable initiative of establishing a Women’s Group to serve as a platform to promote the contributions of women in the sector while offering opportunities for building their capacities to ensure that they manage their businesses viably.

I am convinced that this Association, in addition to other ongoing initiatives by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will prove useful in addressing gender inequality for every Ghanaian woman in the forest sector to showcase their abilities and capacities in order that society at large will be beneficiary,” Mrs. Abruquah read on behalf of the sector minister

Women in timber set agenda to drive afforestation for the survival of industry

The launch of the Women in Timber-Ghana Association in Kumasi was on the theme: “Strengthening Women’s Participation in Forestry and Wood Industry in Ghana”.

The association currently has 150 registered members.



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Major players in capital market across West Africa push for speedy integration  

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Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh

Major players in the capital market across West Africa have intensified efforts to integrate their operations, to enhance cross border trading.

According to the stakeholders, the move to integrate, which began about five years ago was distorted due to uneven regulations among capital markets in the sub region.

Speaking on the first day of the two-day West Africa Capital Market Conference 2021, in Accra, the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rev. Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh stressed that countries with stronger capital markets have decided to start the integration and later allow others to join.

He stressed the need to move faster towards integration since it will enhance the capital market performance in the sub-region.

“Capital markets are key areas for development because they provide funds for long term capital investment. The interesting bit about having integration in the sub-region is that it will enable an issuer to have access to more fund in the region for capital expenditure”.

He stated for example that an integration will provide an opportunity for Nigerians to invest in Ghana and vice versa.

The West Africa Securities Regulators Association (WASRA) is the regional association for Capital Market Regulators in West Africa with the mandate of facilitating corporation and consultation among Capital Markets in the West African region.

As a flagship programme of WASRA, the conference is a biennial event that seeks to present the West African region and indeed Africa as a whole the opportunity to address important issues related to the orderly growth and development of the regional and continental capital markets.

The conference brought together relevant stakeholders and experts including but not limited to regulatory agencies, market operators, inter-regional economic bodies, and stock exchange managers.

The Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) Ekow Afedzie emphasized the need for a quick integration of the capital market on the continent.

“The processes have delayed for a while and for some observers the integration can start gradually so that other countries can join later,” he said.



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