Minister cuts sod for ultra-modern bus terminal

Tamale, March 24, GNA - A sod has been cut to commence the construction of an ultra-modern bus terminal at Datoyili, a suburb of Tamale to help decongest the Tamale Metropolis as well as make it a gateway to the Sahelian Region.

The project, which is also to increase business opportunities for the people in the metropolis, especially at Datoyili, would cost GH¢ 1.933.666.00 and its expected to be completed by February next year.

It is being undertaking by the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TAMA) with funding from the World Bank under the Urban Development Grant, and upon completion, all buses that load at various points within the metropolis for various destinations outside of the metropolis will be relocated there.

Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, the Northern Regional Minister assisted by Mr Abdul Hanan Gundadow, the Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive and chiefs of the area, cut the sod at Datoyili on Tuesday.

Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru said the commencement of the construction of the ultra-modern bus terminal was yet another demonstration of the government's commitment to improve the living conditions of the people.

He said the project was a clear manifestation of the government's transformational agenda and commended TAMA for pursuing and promoting development programmes and projects geared towards achieving local economic growth.

He said 'All of us gathered here should be very happy about this project because it will not only provide us yet another opportunity for more jobs to be created as well as engage in economic activities that will leverage our well being, but most importantly situate Tamale as the gate-way to the Sahel Region'.

Alhaji Mohammed Muniru said Tamale occupied a very strategic position in the region and its development would provide leverage for the development of all other districts in the region, assuring that, the government would not relent in its efforts at bringing development to the region.

He said it was on that basis that the government sought to position the Tamale Metropolis to serve as an economic hub which would stimulate investments and businesses to promote development in the region.

He also emphasized the need for continued peace in the region to accelerate development and condemned the rising trend of youth indiscipline in the metropolis, and urged all to support efforts to deal with the situation.

Mr Hanan Gundadow said TAMA would continue to pursue all avenues to bring development to the metropolis.

GNA

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Cedi fall hits petroleum importers; fuel shortage imminent

The  Cedis' depreciation is taking a heavy toll on the operations of lot of  businesses in the country. The latest are firms that import petroleum products into the country.

According to the  Chamber  of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBDCs),  the development has made it difficult to secure new credits from banks to fund its imports.

Some banks have even cut credit lines to them, say importers of the commodity.

This is because most of the banks are not satisfied with the dollar rate government buys the products from distributors.

Chief Executive of the Chamber, Senyo Hosi, told Joy Business, this could result in serious shortages in petroleum products in the coming weeks.

"If [banks] in the country would not be allowed to contractually engage BDCs operate at their own FX rates or rates that are more reasonable and they are going to have government still set the FX rates in the price build up, rates which they [banks] may consider uncomfortable, they are not likely to fund us", said Mr Hosi.

He added the cedi volatility makes the prospect of funding BDCs a difficult task for creditors, especially when the forex rates are regulated by the government.

Meanwhile, the current total  debts owed  the  Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors by government has hit 2 billion Ghana cedis.

Also, checks by  Joy Business indicate that, government has spent some 20 million Ghana cedis in attempts to cushion consumers from paying the actual price of  petroleum products at the pumps.

According to the chamber, the decision to subsidise or not is the sole preserve of Government.

It must, however, have the capacity to budget appropriately and fund them timeously.

Nonetheless, the review of the 2015 budget which allotted 50 million Ghana cedis only to petroleum subsidies, as well as the Minister of Finance's suggestion that no further FX under-recovery will be entertained suggest Government lacks the commitment or capacity to sustain subsidies on petroleum products.

With about 2 billion Ghana cedis owed to BDCs for 2013 and 2014 FX under-recoveries as well as the cost of bearing price under recoveries, importers of petroleum products are concerned that Government will pursue a policy to compound the debt.

"We are concerned that this will dampen the funding confidence to the industry", said Hosi.

The CBOD has always maintained that the pursuit of subsidies as a social intervention is mostly misplaced or ill-targeted.

The pursuit of mass transportation and the facilitation of refinery investments will better mitigate the impact of petroleum pricing on the ordinary citizen.

BDCs incur losses because Government more often than not delays in paying the importer who have to pre-finance these subsidies.

BDCs end up having to pay extra interest on facilities from the Commercial Banks who fund their activities.

This creates a very adverse effect on banks, their capital, and consequently the wider financial system in the country.

In the long run, the consumer who enjoys the subsidy ends up paying even more in taxes in order for the government to generate extra revenue to pay these debts and a disruption in economic activity and growth.

In a  related development,  government says a lot  is being done on the fiscal side to complement  efforts  by the Bank of Ghana to stabilize the local currency.

The Ghana cedi has depreciated by a little over 10% against the dollar from January. A dollar currently sells at 3 Ghana cedis, 76 pessewas at forex bureaus.

However, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mona Quartey, told Joy Business government committed to halting the cedi fall.

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