Ghana is not under HIPC – IMF clarifies
According to an e-mail responds sent to JoyBusiness, based on some questions sent to the Fund in Washington DC, it said any interpretation to that effect “may be deceptive.”
This follows claims by the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the country has been categorised back under HIPC due to what he believes is economic mismanagement by the governing NPP.
Speaking at a Professionals Dialogue series in Accra on Monday, John Mahama said the IMF forecasts Ghana’s current rate of borrowing and debt at 76.7 per cent debt to GDP ratio.
“The IMF in its Sub-Saharan African Regional Economic Outlook forecast the current rate of borrowing and debt at a frightening 76.7% debt to GDP ratio.
“Unfortunately, Ghana is back to HIPC status under Nana Akufo-Addo and Ken Ofori-Atta administration,” former President John Mahama said.
Government has already debunked these claims describing it as fake news which must be taken with a pinch of salt.
However, in correspondence with JoyBusiness, the Fund argued that the list on its website are for all countries that have been on the HIPC program since 1996 are regularly updated.
It added, “this must not be interpreted as a new HIPC list, any such interpretation is flawed and may be deceptive the IMF added.”
Read the full statement from IMF below.
We have been made aware of (social) media reports stating that Ghana has recently been added to the list of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As a result, we would like to provide the following clarifications:
- The HIPC Initiative is essentially CLOSED for countries that have already reached the Completion Point.
- As you may recall, Ghana successfully reached the Completion Point in July 2004.
- The list of countries that have qualified for the HIPC Initiative since its inception in 1996 is regularly updated on our website and MUST NOT be interpreted as a new “HIPC list”.
- Any such interpretation is flawed and may be deceptive.
- Also, the recent update of Ghana’s debt-to-GDP ratio has NOT triggered any decision or action by the IMF. For ease of reference, you can access the latest issue of the Fund’s Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa on our website.
We would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to seek clarification before giving credence to the rumor involving the IMF in Ghana. We reserve the right to issue a public statement to make such clarifications as needed.
Nigeria commits to pay off US$28.7 million capital arrears in Shelter Afrique
Abuja – January 11, 2022: The Federal Republic of Nigeria has pledged to pay the full capital arrear of US$28.7m in Shelter Afrique, Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed disclosed at a meeting with Shelter Afrique Group Managing Director and CEO Mr. Andrew Chimphondah in Abuja.
The Minister further disclosed that the payment will be made in four installments starting January 2022.
In September 2020, the pan African housing development financier received US$$9.4 million from Nigeria. The contribution moved Nigeria to become the second-largest shareholding in the organization with 13.27% of the shareholding, behind Kenya with 17.78%, and ahead of the AfDB at 12.83%.
Lauding the government of Nigeria for its show of confidence in the institution and a stamp of approval for the organisation’s financial turnaround, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah said, “This is a major milestone which is set to propel Nigeria to become the largest shareholder in Shelter-Afrique when the country meets its capital commitment. This is a strong testament of the strong shareholder commitment and support of the Shelter Afrique Board and Management.”
Shelter Afrique is planning to raise 250 Billion Naira Bond (US$500million) in 2022 to support its affordable housing projects in Nigeria. The Company is set to commence the road shows with prospective investors in January 2022 and is expected to conclude fundraising by end of February.
“Shelter Afrique has embarked on a defined strategy of developing and deepening local capital markets so that access to local currency which is competitively priced can be made available to Nigerian Developers from the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Large Developers and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Banks and Primary Mortgage Lenders. The significance of this is that Shelter-Afrique will have been successful in dealing with the foreign exchange exposure risks that have crippled many African countries caused by the weakening of local African currencies against hard currencies such as the United States Dollar and the British Pound Sterling,” Mr. Chimphondah said.
Thanking the Finance Minister Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed for supporting the Bond Issue by the approvals received on critical waivers from the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Chimphondah noted that Nigeria was a critical and strategic market for Shelter Afrique, adding that the fund realized from the bond issue will go a long way in address the affordable housing shortage in the country, now estimated at 17 Million Units against the continent’s 56 million units.
“As a response to addressing this housing shortage, Shelter Afrique will implement a transformative strategy that will crowd in additional capital funding into the low cost large scale affordable housing market in a commercially viable manner,” Mr. Chimphondah concluded.
International Open University (IOU) gets global accreditation for its degree programmes in the Gambia
International Open University (IOU) gets global accreditation for its degree programmes in The Gambia
The International Open University (IOU) has been accredited to offer a Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance, and Bachelor of Science in Psychology courses.
A statemnet from the university said the acrediation was confirmed by the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority, NAQAA, in a letter signed by the Chief Executive Officer Dr. Gibril Jaw.
“The IOU received its first letter in March 2021, granting provisional accreditation for one year for its Bachelor of Arabic Language Studies programme, making it the first tertiary institution to ever be granted programme accreditation in The Gambia. The IOU deposited its six other programmes for accreditation soon after,” the statement from IOU said.
Dr. Cherno Omar Barry, the President of the International Open University, was visibly elated by this breakthrough, and he commended the CEO and his team for their steadfastness in ensuring a conducive environment for the development of tertiary and higher education. The CEO’s relentless efforts are paying off as many institutions are now responding positively to the required standards set by NAQAA for harmonized and quality post-secondary education.
Dr. Barry was once the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, under whose purview the NAQAA was established. He feels that opportunities are now available to provide the best university education to needy students in The Gambia.
He says that the International Open University is the brainchild of Dr. Bilal Philips and it is a tuition-free institution that is set to support the government in achieving a higher education for all in the critical areas of national development. The IOU was first given a provisional license to operate in 2014 and granted a three-year provisional institutional accreditation in 2019.
The institute operates in over 229 countries with over 600,000 students worldwide, and it has its headquarters in The Gambia.
The IOU presently provides undergraduate training to teachers across the country to meet the policy needs of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education in strengthening the quality of education at the secondary level and increasing the pass rate at the WASSCE. It also provides scholarships to needy students through its One Million Africa Scholarship project, called 1MAS.
Dr. Gibril Jaw, the CEO of NAQAA, has confirmed that all the other remaining IOU programmes will be given due consideration for accreditation soon.
Source: International Open University
“My Government’s Record In Agriculture Is Impressive” – President Nana Addo
“My Government’s Record In Agriculture Is Impressive” – President Nana Addo
His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. President of the Republic of Ghana has described the record of his government in the growth and development of the agricultural sector as impressive.
Speaking at the 35th edition of Farmers’ Day on Friday, 3rd December, in Cape Coast, President Akufo-Addo stated that his government, since 2017, has set out to transform Ghanaian agriculture through investment in integrated and mutually reinforcing measures, that are yielding positive results.
With the central pillar of the Government’s transformative policy being the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, the President stated that “we have, through the Programme, achieved a yearly average growth of agriculture of 5.8%, from 2017 to 2020, compared to the 2.7% growth we inherited in 2016.”
To date, according to him, “a total of 1.4 million metric tonnes of fertilizers, and some ninety-one thousand metric tonnes (91,000MT) of certified seeds have been made available to farmers since 2017, with the number of beneficiary farmers now hitting the 1.7 million mark, taking off from the initial number of two hundred and seven thousand (207,000) farmers in 2017.”
Through Planting for Export and Rural Development, which was launched in 2019 to promote the rapid development of six (6) strategic tree crops, i.e., rubber, oil palm, cashew, mango, coconut, and shea, and, thereby, diversify and augment our export earnings, President Akufo-Addo revealed that some twenty-nine million (29 million) seedlings have been distributed to some two hundred and twenty thousand (220,000) beneficiary farmers.
Rearing for Food and Jobs, aimed at expanding domestic meat production, and reducing the huge annual import bill for meat and meat products of some three hundred million dollars ($300 million), he said, has seen thousands of different livestock species being distributed to seven (7) national livestock breeding stations in one hundred and sixty-six (166) MMDAs across the country.
“Vegetable production, under the greenhouse village concept, has also been promoted intensively, with three centres established at Dawhenya, Akumadan and Bawjiase for commercial production, and training of youth interested in establishing agribusinesses in the vegetable value chain,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo added, “To improve the efficiency of farmer operations, a total of eight thousand, nine hundred and eighty (8,980) units of various types of machinery and equipment have been imported to enhance access to mechanization services by farmers. Sixty-three (63) out of the proposed eighty (80) one thousand metric capacity (1,000MT) warehouses have been completed.”
This, he indicated, has increased the warehouse capacity owned by the Government to ninety-seven thousand metric tons (97,000 MT), with additional warehouses set to be constructed to handle the expected increased production of grains to enlarge storage, and reduce post-harvest losses.
On irrigation, the President stated that “the result of significant investment by my government in the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Progamme has resulted in the availability of a total of thirteen thousand, one hundred and ninety (13,190) hectares of additional irrigable land, through the rehabilitation of Tono, Kpong Left Bank and Kpong Irrigation Schemes, for rice and vegetable cultivation.”
To address the perennial challenges of access to credit for our farmers and fisherfolk, the President stated that the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending Scheme (GIRSAL), which was established in 2019, has approved and issued credit guarantees for agricultural loans to the tune of two hundred and seventy-three million cedis (GH¢273 million).
On reviving Agricultural Extension Services, President Akufo-Addo noted that Government has increased the staff strength from of the Services from 1,580 in 2016, to 4,280, following the recruitment of 2,700 more extension officers in 2019.
“I am happy to inform you that approval has been given by Cabinet for the recruitment of an additional number of one thousand, one hundred (1,100) veterinary officers into the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Fifty percent (50%) of this number will be recruited in 2022, and the remaining fifty percent (50%) progressively taken on board over a two-year period,” he added
Fisheries expansion, and cocoa pension schemes
Construction works on fishing landing sites and harbour projects, located in the Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions, President Akufo-Addo said, are progressing steadily, with the projects expected to facilitate the transformation of the fisheries sector, by providing modernised berthing, handling, processing and mechanisation facilities to fisher folk.
Cabinet, according to the President, has granted approval for the procurement of a research vessel and four (4) patrol boats for the fisheries sector, with the four (4) patrol boats set to strengthen enforcement capacity, to help address the issue of overexploitation and overfishing, as well as help curb the pervasive incidence of Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
On cocoa, President Akufo-Addo stressed that the sector has seen significant transformation since 2017.
“From an average production of eight hundred and eighty thousand (880,000) tonnes, the country hit an all-time record production of one million, and forty-seven thousand, three hundred and eighty-five (1,047,385 tonnes) in 2021, being the highest ever yearly production of cocoa, since it was introduced into Ghana in 1879,” he added.
This, he said, has been made possible by the introduction of productivity improvement techniques that ensure higher yields from the same acreage, the adoption of technology and practices that modernise cocoa production in an environmentally, socially and sustainable manner, the design of policies to address the inequalities in the international marketing system of cocoa by paying a Living Income Differential of four hundred United States dollars ($400) per tonne of cocoa to farmers, and the fostering of partnerships and collaborative actions of stakeholders towards greater investments.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the commencement of the provision of a pension scheme for farmers started in 2020 under his government, even though the law was promulgated in 1984, with successive governments being unable to bring it into being.
“The pilot pension scheme has, initially, covered some two thousand, eight hundred (2,800) farmers in the New Edubiase Cocoa District of the Ashanti Region, and a nation-wide registration of all cocoa farmers is on-going under the cocoa management system to speed up the process,” he added.
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