Warehouse Receipt System launched for farmers in Ghana

A Ghana Warehouse Receipt System has been launched to increase farmers’ access to credit, storage and market facilities.

The system allows farmers to deposit their agricultural products in a public or private warehouse where operators will evaluate and grade the commodity, and agree to maintain and insure it.

A detailed receipt reflecting the quantity and quality of the deposited commodity is then issued to the farmer.

It can be used by the farmers as a negotiable item—they can trade it, swap it and use it as collateral to access credit facilities.

The Warehouse Receipt System is being implemented by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group in collaboration with the Ministries of Trade and Industry and Food and Agriculture, as well as the Ghana Exchange Commodity.

It is being financed by the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana.

The system is expected to address major challenges facing farmers such as access to credit facilities, markets and storage facilities and make the sector attractive for more people, particularly the youth, to venture into.

Launch

In a statement read on his behalf to launch the initiative in Accra on Wednesday, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen, said agriculture remained one of the key sectors the government intended to use to increase exports and to promote a sustained approach to poverty reduction.

“Ensuring agricultural commodity produced are stored properly and traded in a structured manner to avoid chaos in the market is very key to the successful implementation of these policies,” he said.

Mr Kyerematen was of the opinion that without an adequate warehousing system, there would be a disjoint between agricultural production and the needs of industry.

He described the warehouse receipt system as an integral part of agricultural trade and financing and said the system would improve storage, promote structured trade and enhance financing for farmers.

Improvement

In his remarks, a senior Country Officer of the IFC, Mr Joseph Akwasi Kuma, reiterated that the initiative was designed to improve access to credit and market for the agricultural sector.

“Some of the constraints facing farmers in Ghana are low collateral value of inventories, post-harvest losses and quality deterioration due to lack of storage facilities, sub-optimal prices of goods due to early selling, non-availability of quality assurance and access to credit,” he said.

He was optimistic that a well-regulated warehouse receipt system and collateral management would help improve these issues and improve the business environment for the small-scale business sector for Ghana.

For his part, the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Markus Dutly, said the project was expected to greatly contribute to improving the competitiveness and diversification of the economy.

 

Source: Doreen Andoh | Graphiconline

https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/warehouse-receipt-system-launched-for-farmers.html

 Picture credit: Graphiconline

Business Registration eased with e-Certificate

20th October 2017

RGD Logo.fwIndividuals and businesses can now patronize any service from the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) via online.

The development follows the launch of the E-Certificate on Thursday, October 19, 2017.

The situation at the RGD hitherto was often chaotic as business owners who patronized various services from the department could not find their way around, getting them frustrated.

But in a bid to curb the inconveniences, the RGD has introduced a new system known as the E-online portal.

This portal is to help individuals register their businesses, marriage, estate administration as well as make payments via the platform.

By reducing the face to face interaction, the individual is also given the opportunity to transact business in the comfort of his or her office or home.

Although the platform was created in 2014, it was not until this year that it gained momentum when the registrar general’s department increased its sensitization and subsequently its revenue by up to 50%.

The RGD has however upgraded this system.

The new E-Certificate enables new businesses access their commencing certificates online without going to the RGD offices.

The Registrar General; Jemima Oware says this is part of measures to move completely into the digital world.

She explains the platform has since attracted over twelve thousand users.

“My intention to make the majority of our contact with the public more electronic instead of manual was what we hoped to achieve and reduce the human interface as well”.

Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, whose outfit oversees the Registrar General’s Department, believes the new system should reduce or if possible eradicate corruption completely from the system.

“I am hopeful that this new system will reduce drastically the corruption which has inundated doing business at the Registrar General”.

Businesses have also expressed their excitement about the e-certificate.

National Council Member of the Association of Ghana Industries, (AGI) Ralph Aryeetey admits the development will aid their operations.

“With this electronic approach, I believe that we can retrieve data and information in real time”

Communications Minister Ursula Owusu assured that the system has come to stay adding that the system will rank Ghana among the smart nations in the world.

“It will not be a nine day wonder for adequate measures have been put in place to ensure the sustainability of this initiative”.

In the meantime, the Registrar General’s Department is seeking to scrap all manual processes by 2018.

“We believe that after it has been used for a very large extent we will stop the scanning of document and allow the full online process.

By 2018, we are hoping to scrap all manual, walk-ins, scanning of documents as we beef up the system to the process we want it to be” Mrs Oware said.

Vice president Dr Mahamadu Bawumia has also hinted of plans by government to speed up passage of the company code bill.

He explains that there will no longer be a requirement for a commencement certificate when this bill is passed.

He also adds that the move is part of government’s plans to make Ghana the most friendly business country in West Africa.

“Once the new companies act is passed, which should be soon, there will no longer be a requirement for a commencement certificate to start a business, once you obtain the incorporation certificate”.

Source: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee /citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

http://citibusinessnews.com/index.php/2017/10/20/biz-registration-blues-cleared-with-e-certificate/

 Picture credit: http://rgd.gov.gh/

Swiss Embassy: 2016 & 1st half 2017 Ghana Economic Report

16th October 2017

After a sharp slowdown of growth in the last three years and mixed developments in 2016, Ghana’s economic fortunes appear to finally turn around.  Following the worst performance in over two decades, with growth dropping to a mere 3.5% in 2016, the economy gained steam in the first half of 2017 and growth is projected to reach close to 6% in 2017 on the back of stronger oil and non-oil sector performance. Click here for the full report.

Ghana to generate US$10 billion from Non-Traditional Exports

7th September 2017

Logo GEPA.fwGhana is set to generate US$10 billion from Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) in the next four years, Madam Gifty Klenam, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), disclosed on Wednesday, 6th September 2017.

To achieve the target, she said, the Authority was developing and promoting exports vigorously, by identifying additional products with significant export potentials in the various districts in the country.

The Export and Import Act, 1995 (Act 503) defines Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) to include all export products with the exception of cocoa beans, lumber and logs, unprocessed gold and other minerals, and electricity.

Madam Klenam said this in a speech read on her behalf, at a meeting on the implementation of the National Export Strategy, vis-à-vis the One-District-One-Exportable-Product in Sunyani, in the Brong Ahafo region.

It was organized by GEPA and attended by District Chief Executives, Coordinating Directors and other stakeholders in the export sector and aimed at identifying new export products in the various districts of the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The National Export Strategy was launched in 2013 for implementation after extensive consultation and its key tenets advocate the identification, development, and promotion of at least one exportable product per district.

Madam Klenam indicated that the nation had all it took to be the export hub of the sub-region, and underlined the need for stakeholders in the sector to help tap export products to transform the fortunes of the country.

She said currently GEPA was undergoing certain structural and fundamental realignment to be able to handle new responsibilities adding that very soon regional offices would be established for the full implementation of the one-district-one-export-product.

“This programme would compliment as well as feed the implementation of the government’s overarching policy initiative of the One-District-One-Factory industrialization concept”, she explained.

Madam Klenam observed that the Brong-Ahafo region was vast and endowed with immense potentials for agribusiness, services and related export value chains.

“The region has been touted as the food basket of the country and the onus lay on us to translate this positive accolade into meaningful exports”, she told the participants.

 

Source: GNA | Dennis Peprah

http://www.ghananewsagency.org/economics/ghana-to-generate-us-10-billion-from-non-traditional-exports-121991

 

Picture Credit: http://gepaghana.org/

Paperless ports transactions take-off successfully

4th September 2017

Tema Port Aerial view.fwThe paperless ports reforms took-off successfully from September 1, 2017, aimed at reducing the cost of doing business, enhance transparency and improve the country’s trade competitiveness.

The roll-out of the paperless ports followed Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s Directive during a Port Efficiency Conference organised in May 2017.

Dr Bawumia’s three-points Directive include; the removal of all customs barriers on the country’s transit corridor, a joint inspection by all regulatory agencies and a hundred percent paperless transactions at the ports from September 1, 2017.

He followed up with an official unveiling of a road map of the paperless process to guide the operators and agencies in the port clearance chain.

Ahead of the implementation of the Directive, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), the Ghana Community Network, the West Blue Consulting, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ghana Shippers Authority, the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and a host of other stakeholder institutions embarked on several engagements with importers and freight forwarders, to educate them on the changes that would occur on their systems.

On Friday, September 1, 2017, although the ports delivery unit, which required clearance transactions did not function because it was a statutory holiday, the ship side was functional.

According to the ports authorities, two persons made requests online, which the GPHA’s operational team were able to respond appropriately.

“We received two requests for services from the GICCS platform, one being a reefer container and the other a dry container. When the request was received we were able to generate an invoice and sent it back to the GICCS platform for the agent to have access,” Madam Josephine Gyima-Akwafo, the Corporate Planning and Monitoring Manager of the GPHA, said.

She, however, said on Saturday, September 2, 2017 the Revenue Centre was a bit slow, but pockets of clearing agents came to the Centre to make enquiries on how to make their requests online.

Madam Esther Gyebi-Donkor, the General Manager in charge of Marketing and Corporate Affairs of GPHA, said the ports authorities provided a Customer Service Centre to assist agents to use the online systems without any difficulties.

“We were able to put our customer service in place. We ensured that all the people who came to the Revenue Centre to process the old forms were given detailed exposure on how they have to start making their requests in the system from Monday.

“The number of people who came around to do clearance had started the process already with the old system so we let them to go through a transition period in order to clear those ones through the old system,” she said.

Mr Paul Asare Ansah, the Director-General of the GPHA, Mr Edward Osei, the Director of Tema Port and the General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Marketing at GPHA, toured the various centres to ascertain the number of requests made by agents including the Golden Jubilee Terminal.

The port authorities expressed the belief that the successful take-off of the paperless operations would continue in the days to come and any challenges that may be encountered would be worked out gradually to perfect the system.

The West Blue Consulting Limited and the Ghana Community Network Services are mainly the Information Technology (IT) systems reliability and sustenance providers for the paperless processes and both expressed satisfaction with the successful roll-out of the transactions.

They said traders, who hitherto complained about delays, would benefit greatly.

The paperless ports reforms would ensure that transactions such as customs release, port requests for delivery, terminal payments, waybill, loading and exiting were done within four hours.

Source: GNA | Godwill Arthur-Mensah

http://www.ghananewsagency.org/economics/paperless-ports-transactions-take-off-successfully-from-september-1-121877?utm_source=gna&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=sitesearch&utm_term=keywords&utm_content=

Picture credit: http://ghanaports.gov.gh/default

885 SMEs lost GHS250m to ‘dumsor’

24th August 2017

A study on the impact of the four-year power crisis that hit Ghana has established that 885 small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi lost GH¢250 million within the period.

Additionally, the power outages, to a large extent, led to a 10 per cent fall in monthly productivity of those firms, with as many as 55 of such businesses folding up in the four locations of the country.

Findings

Presenting the results of the study at a workshop at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Wednesday, 23rd August 2017, a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the university, Dr Charles Ackah, said one extra day of outages each month resulted in about one per cent reduction in labour productivity.

The theme of the workshop was, “Counting the Cost: the Impact of Power Crisis on Manufacturing Sector Productivity.”

The survey, commissioned by the International Growth Centre (IGC), was conducted by ISSER.

Dr Ackah stated that the energy crisis had significant negative effects on labour and total factor productivity in the manufacturing sector.

He indicated that though output fell following the outages, there was no significant impact of the crisis on the number of workers in those firms, but added that the crisis led to a reduction in raw materials and some level of reduction in the firms’ stock of machinery.

“The findings suggest that while firms may flexibly alter inputs such as machinery and raw materials in response to electricity outages, some inputs such as labour tend to be less flexible, potentially owing to rigidities in the labour market,” he explained.

Firms surveyed

Dr Ackah pointed out in particular that the reduction in labour productivity might have stemmed from the reduction in the amount of capital available to workers.

According to the researcher, out of the 1,244 eligible firms, 885 were surveyed, with 73 declining to participate in the survey where 55 had collapsed at the time the survey was conducted between August and September 2016.

Touching on the method of research, he remarked that the survey collected information on the characteristics of the firms, their level of production, employment, capital, investment, raw materials, electricity consumption, and generation as well as financing.

Coping strategies

A lecturer at the Finance Department of the University of Ghana Business School, Dr Patrick Asuming, a co-researcher, said the objective of the study was to understand how the affected firms managed to cope and the strategies they adopted to stay in business.

He submitted that while the most common strategy adopted by majority of the firms was to operate fewer hours, many others depended on generators, with some also changing their working hours to operate when power was available.

Dr Asuming posited that overall, firms appeared to cope with the electricity outages by producing their own electricity through generators, reducing the amount of time they operated and reducing their reliance on electricity by changing their production processes and dropping products.

“We find that none of the coping strategies were effective in reducing the negative impact of outages on output. Indeed, we find that total factor productivity fell for firms that used generators as a coping strategy,” he posited.

Recommendations

The researchers recommended that additional investment be made in power generation and distribution of power to guarantee reliability.

The Director of Technical Regulations and Renewable Energy at the Energy Commission, Dr Nii Darko Asante, said the coping strategies adopted by the firms were not effective in preserving their productivity.

He, however, observed that many firms were currently using generators by choice due to high electricity tariffs.

 

Source: Classfmonline | http://m.classfmonline.com/1.11253375 

Picture credit: Classfmonline