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Court grants ¢1m bail to MD and Chairman of company that evaded tax of over ¢21m

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A tax court has granted a ¢1million bail each to Akoliya Vinodkumar Maganbhai and Akoliya Visarambhai Naranbhai, Director and Chairman respectively of BGC International DMCC Ghana Limited for evading tax.

The two accused persons have pleaded not guilty.

The bail term is accompanied by two sureties, one to be justified. They are to deposit their passport with the Registrar of the Court.

The Counsel for the accused persons earlier told the Court that they were opposed to the amount quoted in the charge sheet as being paid.

The Counsel said they would reconcile with the Prosecution on the figures.

The accused persons had been in the country for over 20 years and had established seven businesses during the period.

A Tax audit conducted by officers of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on BGC International DMCC Ghana Limited, a precious mineral refiner and exporter, for the period 2016 to 2018 established a total tax liability of ¢21,948,165.45.

The tax liability was made up of withholding tax, Directors PAYE, Corporate income tax and accrued interest.

Madam Rebecca Edufo-Abraham, an Assistant Revenue Officer told the Court that the Company in a letter dated February 19, 2020, authorized the national security coordinator to pay to the GRA the sum of ¢1,070,415.79 for the company’s outstanding corporate tax and PAYE.

She said the Company had so far paid an amount of ¢64,000.00 leaving an outstanding balance of ¢21,884,165.45.

A garnishee order served on the bankers of the Company yielded just over ¢2,000.00.

The Assistant Revenue Officer said several demands were made on the accused persons to get the Company to pay the outstanding tax.

However, the accused persons have failed to honour their obligations to the State.

“The accused persons were consequently served with the criminal summons to appear before the court to answer the charge preferred against them,” she said.



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Mobile Money transactions register 9.99% year-on-year growth in 4-months of 2022

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Mobile Money transactions recorded 9.99% year-on-year growth to ¢331.2 billion in the first four months of 2022.

However, in the first four months of 2021, Mobile Money transactions stood at ¢301.1 billion.

According to data from the Bank of Ghana, transactions via Mobile Money grew consecutively until April 2022 when it dipped slightly.

The Electronic Transaction Levy (E-levy) was implemented from May 1st, 2022 and that could have accounted for the slight dip in the April 2022 number.

However, it’s early days to determine whether the implementation of the E-levy will significantly affect Mobile Money Transactions or not.

The Mobile Money transactions in the first four months of this year were January 2022 (¢76.2bn), February 2022 (¢76.8bn), March 2022 (¢90.5bn) and April 2022 (¢87.7bn).

Comparatively to the same period in 2021, Mobile Money transactions were estimated at January 2021 (¢67.1 billion), February 2021 (¢67.9 billion), March 2021 (¢82.3 billion) and April 2021 (¢83.8 billion).

During the whole of 2021 even with the announcement of E-levy, there were month-on-month fluctuations in Mobile Money transactions.

In terms of Mobile Money Interoperability, ¢10.51 billion were recorded in the first four months of 2022. This is compared with ¢4.59 billion during the same period in 2021.

Undoubtedly, Mobile Money remained the biggest payment solution in the country with an estimated ¢905.1 billion transactions recorded in 2021.

According to data from the Bank of Ghana, the value of mobile money transactions in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December 2021 were estimated at ¢67.1 billion, ¢67.9 billion, ¢82.3 billion, ¢83.8 billion, ¢86.5 billion, ¢89.1 billion,



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Average lending rate rises to 21.6% in April 2022 – BoG

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Average lending rate of commercial banks rose to 21.6% in April 2022, from 20.57% in March 2022, the Bank of Ghana has disclosed.

This is equivalent to 1.8% interest on loans per month.

However, the average lending rate varies among the banks and the respective sectors.

For instance, some banks will offer loans as low as 17% per annum, whilst others will charge rates as high as 29%. Overall, it will depend on the risk profile of the customers.

Again, some perceive lending to the agriculture and construction sectors as riskier, and therefore credit to these sectors are expensive.

According to the BoG Summary of Economic and Financial Data, cost of loans have been rising but marginally due to increasing inflation rate and other factors.

It rose from 20.16% in January 2022 to 20.52% in February 2022.

But average lending rate fluctuated in the first quarter of the year, and then fell consecutively till December 2021.

In January 2021, average lending rate stood at 20.97%, but shot up marginally to 21.02% in February 2021, and then fell to 20.96% in March 2021. After that it consistently dropped to 20.04% in December 2021 and later rose in January 2022.

But with the expected increase in the policy rate once again from its current 17%, lending rate is expected to go up further.

The Bank of Ghana will however hope the monetary policy measures to be announced on Monday May 23, 2022, will help bring down the rising inflation rate and consequently help reduce cost of borrowing going forward.



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Ghana’s public debt hits ¢391bn as of quarter 1, 2022

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Ghana’s public debt stock remarkably shot up by ¢40.1 billion to ¢391.9 billion as of the end of March, 2022, the Summary of Economic and Financial Data by the Bank of Ghana has revealed.

The increase in the debt is due to largely exchange rate fluctuation and to some extent borrowings from the domestic market. In the first quarter of 2022, the cedi assumed a free fall to the dollar, but its depreciation was halted in April 2022, following monetary measures by the Bank of Ghana.

However, in relation to the Gross Domestic Product of the country, the debt was estimated at 78%. This is slightly lower than the 80% recorded in December 2021.

According to the figures, the debt inched up by ¢20.5 billion in January 2022 and subsequently ¢19.7 billion in February 2022.

In terms of the domestic debt, it went up by ¢8 billion in the first quarter of 2022 to ¢189.9 billion in March 2021. This is equivalent to 37.8% of GDP.

Also, the external component of the total public debt shot up to $28.4 billion (¢201.9 billion) in March 2022, from $28.1 billion in December 2021. From the figures, clearly one can deduce that there were no borrowings from the external front in the first quarter of this year.

The debt-to-GDP ratio of the external debt is however approximately 40.2% of GDP.

The cedi component shot up by ¢31.9 billion in the first three months of 2022, primarily due to the decline in the value of the cedi to dollar during the period.

On the other hand, the financial sector resolution bond went down to ¢14.6 billion in March 2022, from ¢14.9 billion recorded in December 2021. This is equivalent to 2.9% of GDP.



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