Ghanaian press zooms in on $1.1bn loss through unaccounted gold exports, others

The report that Ghana lost a total of $1.1 billion through unaccounted gold exports between 2019 and 2021, according to…

The report that Ghana lost a total of $1.1 billion through unaccounted gold exports between 2019 and 2021, according to investigations by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Wednesday.The Graphic reports that Ghana lost a total of $1.1 billion through unaccounted gold exports between 2019 and 2021, investigations by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) have revealed.

The Head of Organised Crime and member of the Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning¸ Abdulai Bashiru Dapilah, said the defaulting companies concealed the funds in gold exports without remitting proceeds into the country.

They did that through breaches of the Foreign Exchange Act, money laundering, tax fraud, among others, he said.

Mr Dapilah was speaking at a forum on the role of the media in the fight against IFFs in the country.

It was organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), in partnership with EOCO, and funded by OXFAM, an international confederation of independent charitable organisations.

Gold exporters in Ghana are required to pay a three per cent withholding tax to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA); 0.5 per cent to the Minerals Commission for the Small-Scale Mining Sustainability Fund and a 0.118 per cent tax to the Precious Minerals Marketing Company.

The newspaper says that Ghana will have to pay more for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme after the Bretton Woods institution recently hiked its interest rate on Special Drawing Rights (SDR) from 0.8 per cent to 2.99 per cent.

The increase means that Ghana and all member countries of the IMF who seek to contract a loan from the fund will now have to pay more.

The new rate took effect on January 6, 2023.

Ghana is currently seeking an IMF-support programme to the tune of $3.0 billion that will span about three years to revive its struggling economy.

This means the nation will pay an interest of 2.99 per cent on the $3.0 billion over a period that will be determined by the terms and conditions of the Fund.

Already, the country is seeking debt cancellation via the G20 Common Framework programme, despite only poor nations being eligible for it.

Ghana’s outstanding loans to the IMF fell slightly to $1.68 billion as of the end of October 2022.

According to the Fund’s Quarterly Finances, the country was still ranked as number one in Africa with the largest outstanding debt to the IMF.

The outstanding debt represents eight per cent of the total number of African countries indebted to the Fund.

Ghana has been to the IMF sixteen times already. The country has been pushed to go to the IMF for a 17th time for a bailout as its debts have reached unstainable levels.

This has forced the country to undertake a Debt Exchange Programme from this year as part of the conditions to access the IMF fund to balance its budget and give it a briefing space.

The government has announced the extension of the deadline for expriration date of debt Exchange programme to January 16, 2023, initially pencilled to have ended on December 30, 2022.

It also announced the decision to modify the invitation to exchange to include individual bond holders.

The Ghanaian Times reports that the implementa­tion of the revised Electronic Transfer Levy (E-Levy) rate of one per cent on electronic transac­tions by Airtel Mobile Commerce (Ghana) Limited, GCB G-Money, Mobile Money Limited, Vodafone Mobile Financial Services Limited and Zeepay Ghana Limited will begin today.

According to the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, this follows the directive from the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

This was contained in a state­ment issued by the Ghana Cham­ber of Telecommunications and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.

“As captured in the Electronic Transfer Levy (Amendment) Act, 2022, Act 1089 which has been passed by parliament and assented to by the President, the levy on electronic transfers has been re­duced from 1.5 per cent to one per cent, while the GH¢100 threshold remains unchanged,” the statement stated.

As such, the Chamber assured the general public that its members were working assiduously with the GRA and other key

institu­tions, to ensure a seamless imple­mentation of the revised levy.

The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunication is an industry and a private initiative by the mobile network operators.

It is an advocacy institution established to help direct telecommu­nications policy, legislation and regulation, and pursue research towards the development of tele­communications industry.

It works through direct en­gagements with government institutions, civil society and other stakeholders as well as consumers to shape the mobile ecosystem and maximise the socio-economic benefits of mobile money in Ghana.

The Chamber was registered in 2010 and inaugurated in 2011.

The newspaper says that a total of 2,373 deaths resulting from motor accidents across the country were recorded for the year 2022, the National Road Safety Authority (NSRA) has said.

The figure is against the 2,970 deaths recorded in 2021 represent­ing a 20.10 per cent decrease.

The Board Chairman of the NSRA, Jermaine Nkrumah, in a report by the authority copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday stated that a total of 14,960 crashes were recorded in 2022 as against 16, 182 crashes in 2021, representing a 7.55 per cent decrease.

He said that 27,616 vehicles were involved in the crashes last year as against 25, 754 vehicles in­volved in the crashes in 2021, rep­resenting a 6.74 per cent change.

Mr Nkrumah also indicated that 15,690 injuries were documented as against 15,935 injuries noted in 2021, representing a 1.54 per cent decrease.

For pedestrian knockdowns, he said a total of 2,680 pedestrians were knocked down last year as against 2,973 pedestrians knocked down in 2021, representing a 9.86 per cent change.

Mr Nkrumah commended the Director General, NSRA, David Adonteng and the amazing team at the National Road Safety Author­ity, as well as all our partnering stakeholders for this phenomenal achievement.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO), NSRA, Pearl Adusu, in a telephone interview in Accra yes­terday revealed that there had not been any decrease in road crashes and its attendant consequences in the past six to seven years, adding that “if there was a decrease, it could either be in injuries or deaths.”

She said the authority’s “Stay Alive Campaign” had been a major contributory factor in the reduc­tions seen in road crashes recorded last year.

“We draw a lot of stakeholders in the campaign through the pro­grammes, activities and interven­tions. The campaign also gave us large reach through the media.

“Our coordinated enforcement actions with the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) shows and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) also played a huge role,” she stated.

The PRO of the NSRA used the opportunity to urge duty bearers to up their game and live up to task and also entreated road users to obey road traffic regulations to save more lives.

Meanwhile, data available from the Ghana Police Service (GPS), Motor Traffic and Transport Department shows that Ashanti Region leads with 448 deaths; Eastern follows with 426 deaths, then Accra with 378 deaths; Tema had 160 deaths and Central had 153 deaths.

Western Region follows with 97 deaths; Bono East with 91 deaths; Western North with 87 deaths; Volta had 84 deaths; Ahafo with 82 deaths; Bono with 71 deaths; Northern with 68 deaths.

The Central East and the Savan­nah regions recorded 51 deaths each; Upper East had 42; Upper West had 40 deaths while the Oti and the North East recorded 22 deaths each.

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