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BOST clears GH¢237m debt to banks – Denies claims of underperformance

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Transportation Company Limited (BOST) has cleared all of its GH¢237 million debt owed to some domestic banks in the country.

The money, which was owed GCB Bank, Fidelity Bank, UMB Bank and UBA Bank, was paid through government’s intervention, internally generated funds and the upward adjustment of the BOST margin.

In a release issued by BOST, the company noted that it had also paid $573 million out of its $623 million debt to suppliers and related parties, and successfully vetted the $36 million claims from products lost claims from Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) down to $14.8 million.

The company believed that was an indication that it had efficiently utilised the three pesewas increase in the BOST margin.

“In January 2017, the state of the company was as follows: a debt of $623 million to suppliers and related parties; $36 million claims by BDCs for products lost in the BOST system; decommissioned petroleum barges; non-operational Tema-Akosombo-Petroleum-Product-Pipeline since 2015; non-operational Buipe-Bolgatanga-Petroleum-Product-Pipeline; non-functional Bolgatanga and Maame Water Depots since 2015; old-fashioned pumps and meters across the depots; GH¢237 million debt owed a number of domestic banks; 15 tanks decommissioned out of 51 tanks.

“As we speak, thanks to the upward adjustment, continuous government support and the efficient management of BOST, the company now boasts of a functional Bolgatanga depot exporting products to the landlocked countries of the Sahel region; successful repair of nine out of 15 decommissioned tanks; payment of debts to suppliers and related parties down to $50 million; successful vetting of BDCs’ lost product claims of $36 million down to $14.8 million; fully repaired Buipe Bolgatanga Petroleum Product Pipeline; fully repaired Tema Akosombo Petroleum Product Pipeline; 90 per cent completed Bulk Road Vehicle Truck Park in Bolgatanga; outright settlement of debts owed domestic banks; successful repair of all petroleum barges; return to shipping 3.3 million litres of products per trip of the barges from Akosombo to Buipe, which is the equivalent of 62 trucks loading an average of 54,000 litres per truck; cutting down the operational expenses of BOST per year from a humongous GH¢453 million in 2016 to GH¢190 million in 2019 among others,” the release highlighted.

Disregard claims of underperformance

BOST, therefore, asked the public to disregard claims that the company continued to underperform despite the upward adjustment of the BOST Margin 11 months ago.

“BOST, which is the strategic petroleum storage and distribution company of the country, has never been better managed than now,” the release noted.

The company has, therefore, asked the public to have confidence in the current management and look forward to nothing but the best from the company.

Claims by IES

The Institute for Energy Security in a recent release asked for a withdrawal of the adjustment in the BOST margin.

It argued that the three pesewas upward adjustment of the BOST margin had not been properly justified by BOST and that the company continued to underperform despite the intervention.

Response from BOST

Responding to these claims, BOST indicated that the BOST margin was introduced purposely for the operation and maintenance of the petroleum storage and distribution infrastructure.

“Given the huge investments made in building these over the years, failure on the parts of successive governments to review the margin from 2011 resulted in massive dilapidation and in some instances, decommissioning of some of these strategic assets.

“The upward adjustment received was a decision in time to stem the tide of dilapidation and bring these assets back to life and into use. The twisted interpretation is, therefore, unfortunate and should be disregarded with the full force of every meaningful appreciation of the need to keep strategic stock of petroleum products for the nation,” the release from BOST explained.

Primary Distribution Margin

The release further indicated that the Primary Distribution Margin (PDM), the tax in the petroleum price build-up utilised in the distribution of petroleum products across depots in the country, was targeted at ensuring uniformity in petroleum product prices across the nation.

It said that tax was under the management of BOST until 2012 when the responsibility was transferred to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

“The categorical statement that BOST is still managing this margin is simply false and should be disregarded.

“On the three pesewas upward adjustment in the BOST margin, our initial request was nine pesewas to restore the value to the 2011 dollar value. Despite our unsuccessful attempt, the increment of three pesewas has been efficiently utilised by the company,” the release stated.

Source: laudbusiness.com

BUSINESS

Merck Foundation and First ladies recognized winners of “More than a Mother” Fashion Awards

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Merck Foundation and First ladies of Ghana, Namibia and Zambia recognized winners of “More than a Mother” Fashion Awards with the aim to raise awareness about infertility and breaking its stigma in their countries
The 21 winners of 2020 across the three countries have been recognized for their extraordinary creative designs that deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women
WINDHOEK, Namibia, June 18, 2021/ — Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, announced the winners of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother FASHION AWARDS 2020 from Ghana, Namibia and Zambia. The awards are by Merck Foundation in partnership with the First Lady of Ghana, H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO; the First Lady of Namibia, H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS and the First Lady of Zambia, H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, who are also the Ambassadors of ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother emphasized, “Big congratulations to the 21 winners of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Fashion Awards 2020. We launched these awards in partnership with our long-term partners and my dear sisters; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDOThe First Lady of Ghana; H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia; and H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia. I am thankful for their support and contribution as Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother. In 2021 we have launched the fashion awards in partnership with 20 Africa first ladies to give opportunity for these countries however the awards are open for all countries. The 21 winners of 2020 across the three countries have been recognized for their extraordinary creative designs that deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women and say ‘No to Infertility Stigma’ and create meaningful fashion trends to educate their communities that ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility.”

Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Fashion Awards 2020 winners are rewarded with $500 each to execute and showcase their winning designs so that people can have the opportunity to wear them and build advocacy to break the Infertility stigma for women and men.

Merck Foundation appreciates the creativity of winners and considers it to be instrumental to break the silence and be the voice of the voiceless in the communities, hence, Merck Foundation additionally rewarded all the winners with one year of access to an online educational training program called “MasterClass”. The MasterClass is an immersive online experience and self-paced learning course in English that can be accessed anywhere within the Internet network.

“I encourage the winners to be the ‘Merck Foundation More Than A Mother Advocate’ to further empower infertile women and all women and girls in general and to eliminate infertility stigma. I also welcome them as valuable members of ’Merck Foundation Alumni’”, added Senator, Dr. Kelej.

Here is the list of Award Winners:

Here are the winners from Ghana in partnership with H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana and Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.

GHANA

  1. Leticia Ashie Owusu
  2. Gifty Amonu Essel
  3. Kizito Ronald Jr
  4. Placid Leke
  5. Anuja Bharti
  6. Paul Akrofie
  7. Desmond Nhyira Amankonah

Here are the winners from Namibia in partnership with H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia and Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.

NAMIBIA

  1. Linrico Humphries
  2. Stephany-Lee Schmidt
  3. Aina Shigwedha
  4. Hope Gowera
  5. Ndara Immanuel
  6. Eugenia Benard
  7. Paulton Luciano Witbooi

Here are the winners from Zambia in partnership with H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia and Ambassador of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.

ZAMBIA

  1. Nelly Banda
  2. Ruth chimbala
  3. Cecilia Njobvu
  4. Linda Ngwira
  5. Naomi Soko
  6. Gibstar makangila
  7. Kasonde Makangila

“Together, with the fashion industry, we would continue to play an instrumental role in eliminating the infertility stigma and empowering women in education and at all levels. I hope to receive many such outstanding entries from all African designers and students for our Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021, announced in partnership with 20 African First Ladies”, explained Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Details of Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2021

Who can apply?

All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about Infertility Prevention, Breaking Infertility stigma, and/or Empowering Girls and Women through Education.

Last date of submission:

30th August 2021

How to apply?

Entries can be submitted by sending the original sketches as an attachment(s) on:

[email protected]

The Subject line of the mail should mention: Merck Foundation FASHION AWARDS “More Than a Mother” 2021

Please specify your name, institution name, country, and contact details in the mail.

10 winners will be granted $500 each to execute their designs.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

Join the conversation on our social media platforms below and let your voice be heard:

Facebook: bit.ly/2LdbD8F
Twitter: bit.ly/2LesKH8
YouTube: bit.ly/3sdHMxm
Instagram: bit.ly/2LC26rm
Flickr: bit.ly/2XqzQdU
Website: Merck-Foundation.com
Download Merck Foundation App: bit.ly/2MmNvAU

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign:
“Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child.

The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI,
The First Lady of Botswana
H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana H.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE,

The First Lady of Burundi

H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry H.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Liberia H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville H.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of Malawi H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo H.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
The Former First Lady of Burundi, H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DÉBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
• ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards
• Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
• Children storybook, localized for each country

About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.  Please visit Merck-Foundation.com to read more. To know more, reach out to our social media: Merck Foundation (Merck-Foundation.com); Facebook (bit.ly/2MU6Fht), Twitter (bit.ly/3scVf8t), Instagram (bit.ly/3boJ0jr), YouTube (bit.ly/3sf4aWX) and Flicker (bit.ly/3snPHZ8).

SOURCE: Merck Foundation

 

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Ghana resolving EU threats over illegal fishing

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The Fisheries Commission says with the help of the European Union, it is strategizing to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Ghana’s territorial waters.

Mr Emmanuel Kwame Dovlo, Deputy Director of Fisheries at the Fisheries Commission in an interaction with the media at Tema said over the past four weeks, the Commission had embarked on tours to sensitize fisher-folks on the consequences of engaging in IUU fishing.

He said Ghana-EU IUU working group would be activated to draw some timelines to tackle the identified shortcomings as part of broader measures to avoid a ban.

Mr Dovlo would add up to existing initiatives such as reactivation of the vessel monitoring system, deployment of observers on industrial vessels, and the collaboration with the Ghana Navy and Marine Police to strengthen monitoring of fishing activity on sea.

He said, “We are trying to gather intelligence to ensure that wherever illegal fishing is going on, we move in. We are monitoring the canoes, and we have already put in measures to control the trawl fishing.”

He said the Fisheries Commission would issue a directive to enforce the use of prescribed trawl gear in order to end juvenile catch.

He added that the Commission would help fisher-folks to manage their resources to make compliance easier as part of ongoing sensitization programmes across coastal areas.

This the Commission say was aimed at restoring the fisheries sector to conform with internationally acceptable practices following a threat of the EU to sanction Ghana on IUU fishing in her waters.

The EU on June 02, 2021, issued Ghana with warning (Yellow Card) indicating that it had identified some shortcomings including; illegal transshipments at sea of large quantities of undersized juvenile pelagic species between industrial trawl vessels and canoes in Ghanaian waters.

It also identified deficiencies in the monitoring, control and surveillance of the fleet, and a legal framework that is not aligned with the relevant international obligations Ghana had signed up to.

It added that “The sanctions imposed by Ghana to vessels engaging in or supporting IUU fishing activities are not effective and not an adequate deterrent”.

It, therefore, advised Ghana to ensure effective monitoring and control of the activities of its fishing vessels and adequate implementation of its enforcement and sanctioning system.

Source: GNA

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GRA to tax E-commerce businesses

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The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is in the process of developing mechanisms and modalities to tax e-commerce businesses by the end of the year.

The move, which formed part of measures to widen and increase the tax net, had become necessary because of the emerging e-commerce business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nana Egyirba Aggrey, Head of Taxpayer Services at Cape Coast made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a multi-stakeholder business integrity forum organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative in Cape Coast.

The forum would promote accountability, transparency and integrity in businesses, brought together 50 SMEs who were enlightened on Ghana’s tax regimes and the service charter of the Registrar Generals Department.

‘There is a project to tax e-commerce businesses before the end of the year and a unit at the head office is working on the modalities’, she said, adding that it was GRA’s expectation to generate more revenue when the tax was enforced.

She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, had brought a lot of e-commerce business opportunities which was generating a lot of profits that needed to be taxed.

Nana Egyirba Aggrey hinted that there was a five-year tax holiday for young entrepreneurs below 35 years who were into manufacturing, agro-processing and Information Technology.

The aim, she said was for them to grow their businesses and therefore encouraged eligible young entrepreneurs to apply for the tax incentive.

Mr Michael Okai, a Coordinator for GII explained that the forum sought to strengthen the integrity of doing business in Ghana by creating a quarterly platform for the private sector, selected public sector institutions and media to meet and discuss emerging challenges faced by the private sector in doing business in Ghana.

He underscored the need to provide the needed support for SMEs to thrive, saying SMEs were the engine of growth of the country contributing between 85 and 95 percent of private sector businesses.

Corruption, he said increased the cost of doing business and thereby reduced the profitability of SMEs, negatively affected business growth due to low profitability and ultimately affected national development.

He mentioned incident of corruption in the business setting to include; demand for facilitation or unapproved fees during business registration, unwarranted payments in order to circumvent customs, licenses, taxation, court cases and public procurement, bribery during the clearing of goods from the port among others.

To deal with corruption in SMEs, Mr Okai encouraged businesses to instill the culture of integrity in their workers, report corrupt officials to the appropriate authorities, reward or motivate outstanding workers and punish offenders.

Mrs Stella Ackwerh, Registrar General for Cape Coast and Takoradi who took participants through the changes in the new company’s Act, said the new changes were to ensure that the Registrar of companies became efficient in the performance of its duties of registering and supervising companies.
She advised businesses to duly inform and update the Registrar of Companies on the various changes that had transpired in their businesses within 28 days including; changes made to the beneficial ownership.

She encouraged them to file their annual returns with financial statement after the first eighteen months of incorporation.

Source: GNA

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