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Full embargo on oil could stop war – ex-Putin aide

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The war in Ukraine could be ended if western countries stopped buying Russian oil and gas, says President Putin’s former chief economic adviser

A “real embargo” on Russian energy by Western countries could stop war in Ukraine, President Putin’s former chief economic adviser has suggested.

Dr Andrei Illarionov said Russia “did not take seriously” other countries’ threats to reduce their energy usage.

Despite trying to reduce its reliance on Russian sources, Europe is continuing to buy oil and gas.

Last year, soaring prices meant oil and gas revenues accounted for 36% of Russia’s government spending.

Much of that income comes from the European Union, which imports about 40% of its gas and 27% of its oil from Russia.

This week, its top diplomat Josep Borrell said “a billion [euros] is what we pay Putin every day for the energy he supplies us”.

Dr Illarionov said if Western countries “would try to implement a real embargo on oil and gas exports from Russia… I would bet that probably within a month or two, Russian military operations in Ukraine, probably will be ceased, will be stopped”.

“It’s one of the very effective instruments still in the possession of the Western countries,” he added.

While the oil and gas trade has continued during the conflict, widespread sanctions mean that a lot of other economic activity has stopped, many foreign companies have pulled out and exports have been disrupted.

One recent survey by Russia’s own central bank even forecasts the economy will shrink by 8% this year, while the International Institute of Finance says it could fall by as much as 15%.

Dr Illarionov suggested that President Putin was prepared to endure a hit to the economy that shows where his priorities lie.

“His territorial ambitions, his imperial ambitions, are much more important than anything else, including the livelihood of the Russian population and of the financial situation in the country… even the financial state of the his government,” he said.



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Loyalty Insurance MD raises concern about unhealthy competition in industry

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The Managing Director of Loyalty Insurance Company Limited, Ernest Frimpong, has expressed worry about some unhealthy practices in the insurance sector.

According to him, even though Ghana’s insurance market is highly competitive, characterised by a lot of innovation, some unethical practices like premium undercutting could hamper growth of the industry.

“The Ghana insurance market is a highly competitive and dynamic marketplace,” Mr. Frimpong said.

“There is a dichotomy; on one hand, the market is characterised by innovation, and on the other hand, there is also some unhealthy competition in the market. The issue of undercutting premiums has been around for a while. We need to change this narrative; we need stronger cooperation among ourselves for the benefit of our industry”. He added.

The Loyalty Insurance MD spoke at the company’s fifth anniversary celebration launch themed, “Growing through digitalisation.”

The company unveiled four new digital applications which it believes will place it at the forefront of technological innovation in the insurance sector.

The Managing Director also expressed gratitude to shareholders of the company for raising capital to meet the National Insurance Commission’s minimum capital requirement of ¢50 million.

The Commissioner of Insurance, Dr. Justice Ofori, commended the management and staff for embracing technology as part of their operations.

He urged them to re-strategise and remain customer-focused in order to remain relevant in the industry.

“Let me congratulate management and staff of Loyalty Insurance Company Limited for the attainment of five years of growth and consistent success and express my gratitude to all who have contributed to making the company what it is today,” he said.



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Most Ghanaians unaware of oil funded projects – PIAC  

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Most Ghanaians are unaware of projects funded with oil funds, a public fora held by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) in the Western North and North East regions have revealed.

In both regions, the Committee held regional public fora on the 2021 PIAC Annual Report, which brought together stakeholders from the traditional council, religious groups, security agencies, traders, educational institutions, among others to deliberate on the management and use of petroleum revenues.

The participants also called for more projects to be executed with petroleum revenues.

PIAC therefore recommended the labelling of Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA)-funded projects for identification.

Most Ghanaians unaware of oil funded projects – PIAC  

It again reiterated its commitment to carrying out its mandate to ensure the prudent management and use of petroleum revenues in Ghana.

PIAC commends some oil funded projects but unhappy about some

In terms of the projects funded with petroleum funds, the Committee expressed satisfaction about some, whilst critiquing others, calling for urgent steps to complete them.

The inspection of the projects took place from Sunday, 24th to Friday, 29thApril, 2022.

Most Ghanaians unaware of oil funded projects – PIAC  

In the Western North Region, the Committee inspected the construction of a 3-storey Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) Administration Block in Sefwi Wiawso, construction of three Senior Staff Bungalows at Sefwi Wiawso and a rural market in Amoaya in the Bodi Constituency. The construction of the RCC building received ₵10.5 million from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) in 2020 and 2021.

Members of the Committee expressed satisfaction of the project which had been completed, commissioned, and was in use.

The Committee also expressed satisfaction with the senior staff bungalows which received a total of GH₵1,779,660 from the ABFA in 2020.

The project was reported to be 90% complete with bungalows erected and roofed, internal finishing virtually completed, and external works ongoing.

Most Ghanaians unaware of oil funded projects – PIAC  

Again, the Committee welcomed the upgrading of the Nalerigu – Gbintri road, in the North East region which was allocated ₵20 million from the ABFA in 2020. It was also inspected by the PIAC team and officials of the Ghana Highway Authority.

In terms of project that the Committee called for urgent action to be completed, they included the rural market, situated in Amoaya, in the Western North region which received ₵107,327 from the ABFA in 2020, but work had stalled and the construction of a 3-Storey Administration Block for the Council, located in Nalerigu in the North East region.

Construction commenced in 2019, and the project was expected to have been completed in 2021. Outstanding works include painting, tiling, electricals, and furnishing.

PIAC was established under Section 51 of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), to among others, monitor and evaluate compliance with the Act. The Committee was inaugurated and commenced work on 15th September, 2011.



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Manufacturing, Petroleum sub-sectors push Producer Price Inflation to 31.2%

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Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim

The manufacturing and petroleum sub sectors pushed the Producer Price Inflation (PPI) high to 31.2%, signaling increasing price of goods and services.

According to the Ghana Statistical Services, the month-on-month change in the producer price index between March 2022 and April 2022 was 1.1%.

Indeed, the producer inflation for the Manufacturing sub-sector, which constitutes more than two-thirds of the total industry, increased by 2.6 percentage points to 38.6%.

That of the Petroleum Price Index also went up to 76.1% in April 2022, signaling the rising fuel prices at the pumps.

The PPI in the Mining and Quarrying sub-sector increased by 1.6 percentage points over the March 2022 rate of 33.6% to 35.2% in April 2022.

The utility sub-sector however recorded a 1.1% inflation rate for April 2022.

In April 2022, two out of the 16 major groups in the manufacturing sub-sector recorded inflation rates higher than the sector average of 38.6%.

Manufacture of coke, refined petroleum products and nuclear fuel recorded the highest inflation rate of 76.1%, while the publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media recorded the least inflation rate of 2.6%.

For month-on-month, the manufacturing sub-sector recorded the highest monthly inflation rate of 1.6%, followed by the mining and quarrying sub-sector which recorded a rate of 0.4%. The utility sub-sector recorded no inflation in the month of April 2022.

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