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Ghana: Press highlights take off of National Development Bank in July, others

The announcement by the Finance Minister that the National Development Bank (NDB) will begin operations by end of July this…

The announcement by the Finance Minister that the National Development Bank (NDB) will begin operations by end of July this year and the report that BOST has begun the re-export of refined petroleum products to some landlocked countries are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Times reports that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has said the National Development Bank (NDB) will begin its operations by end of July this year.

The Bank, according to him, would provide long term wholesale financing to the private sector through Commercial banks.

The Minister said this at a press briefing on Sunday to address issues that have been raised through the “Fix the country” campaign, saying, “By the end of July, we will have a National Development Bank capitalised with over $500 million that will provide long-term wholesale financing to the private sector through the commercial banks.”

The government in 2017 hinted of the establishment of a National Development Bank to provide innovative and long term financing instruments for specific sectors of the economy, particularly, the agriculture and industrial sectors.

The move, the government noted would empower and grow many businesses in those sectors, making them vibrant and turning them into giant ones.

“The establishment of a National Development Bank under the Ghana Cares Programme is expected to provide support to businesses. As you might have heard, we have already raised US$500 million dollars for this,” he said.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors have approved $250 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to support the establishment of the bank.

The newspaper says that Ghana will become the hub of pharmaceutical production in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) on the back of COVID-19 vaccines.

According to Fitch Solutions, the country continues to work towards its aim of establishing itself as a pharmaceutical hub on the continent.

The creation of a pharmaceutical industrial park for pharmaceutical companies to establish large scale operations is therefore a testament

“Global vaccine demand has placed countries with local manufacturing capabilities in a stronger position to guarantee access. In this respect Ghana’s local industry is limited, however, on April 19, 2021, the Pharmaceutical Association of Ghana (PMAG) appealed to the government to strengthen local vaccine production,” it said.

The move the research arm of ratings agency, Fitch, said would help guarantee a reliable source of vaccines for the country and the SSA region, adding, the country has also started feasibility studies to manufacture its own vaccine for COVID-19 and also to reduce Ghana’s and Africa’s reliance on foreign vaccines in the long-term.

The Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy last September signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a construction firm for the creation of a pharmaceutical industrial park.

Furthermore, President Akufo-Addo in November tasked the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana to position the country to become the centre of generic drugs production across Sub Sahara Africa.

Since Ghana is one of the only two countries in Sub Saharan Africa which produces active pharmaceutical ingredients, Fitch Solutions, believe these initiatives will significantly help to bolster pharmaceutical growth.

To encourage pharmaceutical market growth, the Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy with funding from foreign and development organisation, have created a support package of $626,000. The fund will be used to provide grants to pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and consulting firms within the pharmaceutical sector.

The Graphic reports that the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) has begun the re-export of refined petroleum products to some landlocked countries.

Last month, the company delivered about 70-long fuel tankers of refined products to Mali and is on the verge of tapping into other markets of other landlocked countries.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Takoradi yesterday, the Managing Director of BOST, Mr Edwin Provencal, said: “I must say that the repair of the Bolgatanga Depot was critical to the success story.

“The Bolga Depot could be leveraged for re-export of petroleum products just like in Singapore where re-export contributes greatly to the country’s GDP.

“With the Bolga depot we can go beyond Burkina to Mali and other landlocked countries, and we can bring in about 20 times Ghana’s demand and meet the demands of landlocked neighbours, using Bolga,” he said.

Mr. Provencal is part of a team accompanying the Minister of Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, on a familiarisation tour of the Western Region.

The BOST MD said in a bid to meet in-country demands and the quest to satisfy the high demand from the landlocked countries, the company has revamped and doubled its storage capacity at the Bolgatanga Depot and has begun the re-export of refined products to Burkina-Faso and other countries.

He also said that in achieving success and ensuring that the country benefitted, the company set out to audit its asset base to guarantee petroleum product security and price stability across the country.

“In 2017, we found out that in terms of our infrastructure, available readiness to support our operations stood at 18 percent which is inadequate,” he said.

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