Saturday, 27 February 2021

BoG issues new guidelines to regulate inward remittances

 


By Elorm Desewu

The Bank of Ghana, (BoG), the statutory regulator of the banking industry has issued new guidelines for the regulation of inward money transfer services provided by Dedicated Electronic Money Issuers (DEMIs) and Enhanced Payment Service Providers (EPSPs) with Mobile Transfer Operators (MTOs). 

This is pursuant to Section 4(1)(e) of the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612) as amended, Section 2(3) of the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006 (Act 723) and Section 10(2)(i) of the Payment Systems and Services Act, 2019 (Act 987).

These guidelines seek to provide a framework to guide DEMIs and EPSPs in partnering with MTOs to deliver inward remittance services to beneficiaries; stipulate the minimum standards and requirements for providing inward remittance services; provide competitive market conditions for the inward remittance industry through the use of innovative digital payment channels; ensure adherence to Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Law and Guidelines; and promote compliance with consumer protection and recourse mechanisms.

The guidelines cover inward international remittance services provided by DEMIs and EPSPs in partnership with MTOs that are terminated into beneficiaries’ bank accounts, mobile money wallets and any other electronic account or wallet approved by the Bank of Ghana, and applies to the following entities: dedicated Electronic Money Issuers and enhanced Payment Service Providers.

Remittance is a significant source of external financing and a major contributor to national income. Many Ghanaian families depend on remittances from relations living abroad to cater for various expenses including education, health, rent, housekeeping, and utilities. Ghanaians in the diaspora also send money home to fund the construction of residential and/or commercial buildings.

Remittances therefore contribute to the economic well-being of Ghanaians. Over the years, Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) and banking agents have facilitated funds transfer from abroad to beneficiaries in Ghana, which are accessed largely through banking halls. Mobile money and other digital channels which have been made available by payment service providers are now providing extensive, affordable, convenient, and flexible alternative means for accessing remittances by beneficiaries.

In furtherance of its commitment to creating an enabling environment for remittance without risking the stability of the financial system, the Bank of Ghana publishes this Guideline for Dedicated Electronic Money Issuers (DEMIs) and Enhanced Payment Service Providers (EPSPs) that intend to partner with MTOs to terminate inward remittances.

World Bank must speak on conditionality it gave for 'Take or Pay' PPAs - Mould

 


Adnan Adams Mohammed

A Former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has expressed shock at the wide-silence of the World Bank over the 'Take-or-Pay' Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs) debate.

The current government has accused the former Mahama-led administration for signing unproductive PPAs under 'Take-or-Pay' agreements which is causing financial loss to the state as the country is paying for unused power.

Reacting to this accusation, the former CEO, who was part of most of the PPAs signed under the previous administration, explained that the Mahama government gave World Bank-backed guarantees to four independent power producers (IPPs) to be built in Ghana to be off-takers of the ENI-Sankofa-Gye Nyame gas. This was because the Bretton Woods institution saw the need for them at the time

“What people don’t know is that the World Bank supported the government of Ghana to support four IPPs to be built mainly because they needed guarantees for the off-takers of the ENI-Sankofa-Gye Nyame gas”, Alex K. Mould in an interview last week.

"World Bank had given Ghana US$750 million in terms of guarantees to guarantee the ENI-led Sankofa-Gye Nyame gas project, one of the conditions were that we would either build a pipeline or do the convertibility so that the gas can go from the west to the east and we would have off-takers – IPPs that are ready to take the gas”.

 “And, as such, they supported Ghana to give what we call a Government Support and Consent Agreement to these IPPs for them to be able to take to their financial institutions to say that: ‘We have a guarantee from the Ghana government which is backed by the World Bank; and, as such, they were able to get the financial decision to build these plants”, he explained.

 

“That is what we have to understand; that there was a reason for these plants to be built”, he argued, noting: “It wasn’t like these guys came willy-nilly, they had a PPA, they went to their banks, they got financial [support] and now we are saddled with that. No”.

 

The Daily Guide newspaper recently reported that a source at the Finance Ministry said the government of Ghana has, so far, had to pay GHS12 billion as the cost of excess energy capacity charges inherited since 2017 by the Akufo-Addo government from the Mahama administration due to the ‘Take-or-Pay’ PPAs signed by the Mahama government in dealing with the dumsor.

 

The government says the country pays over US$500 million a year for unused electricity, since most of the PPAs were an ‘uncoordinated and hasty’ attempt to end dumsor.

 

In April 2019, Danquah Institute founder Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) inherited “financial and legal burdens” in the power sector, “as a result of National Democratic Congress’ strange decision to agree to over 7,000 of excess capacity contracts”.

 

According to the cousin to President Nana Akufo-Addo, the NPP government “saved Ghana over $7 billion that we otherwise would have paid because John Mahama decides to sign us on for power we had to pay for even though we would never get to use”.

 

In his write-up, Mr Otchere-Darko said as of the end of 2016, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) “had signed 14 Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), which were operational with a combined capacity of 1104MW”.

 

He said another 18 PPAs were signed by ECG with a combined capacity of about 6,000MW and 8 PPAs were under discussions with a total capacity of 2116MW.

 

“This, in addition to existing generation capacity from hydro, the VRA plants at Aboadzi and Tema; and the TICO plant, will result in a total installed capacity of about 11,000MW if the committed capacity were all deployed. This will by far be more than the current peak demand of 2400MW. Even at an annual growth in demand of 10%, our country will not be able to utilise this capacity in two decades”, Mr Otchere-Darko wrote.

 

In his view, “the over-contracting of capacity imposed serious financial and legal obligations on the government and power consumers”.

 

To address these, he said the Ministry of Energy tasked a Committee led by the Energy Commission to review all PPAs signed by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for conventional thermal power projects.

 

The Committee, he noted, “reviewed 26 out of 30 PPAs ECG had initiated. The other four were not reviewed because they were already operational. The combined generation capacity of the 26 PPAs reviewed amounted to 7,838MW”.

 

Mr Otchere-Darko said the “review noted that the projected capacity additions from the PPAs were far in excess of the required additions inclusive of a 20% system reserve margin from 2018 to 2030 and would result in the payment of capacity charges for the dispatched plants”.

 

The review recommended that:

 

I. 8 PPAs with a combined capacity of 2070 were to proceed without modification;

 

II. 4 PPAs with a combined capacity of 1,810MW were to be deferred to 2018-2025;

 

III. 3 PPAs with a combined capacity of 1,150MW were to be deferred beyond 2025; and

 

IIII. 11 PPAs with a combined capacity of 2,808MW were to be terminated.

 

He noted that the government stood to make “significant savings from the deferment and/or termination of the reviewed PPAs”.

 

“The estimated cost for the termination is $402.39 million, compared to an average annual capacity cost of USD 586 million each year or a cumulative cost of $7.217 billion from 2018 to 2030. This yields an estimated saving of $6.8 billion over the 13 year period”, Mr Otchere-Darko asserted.

 

The International Court of Arbitration recently awarded a cost of $134 million against the government of Ghana in connection with the termination of one such PPAs – GPGC Limited.

 

The court, in its ruling, ordered the government to Ghana to pay to “GPGC the full value of the Early Termination Payment, together with Mobilisation, Demobilisation and preservation and maintenance costs in the amount of US$ 134,348,661, together also with interest thereon from 12 November 2018 until the date of payment, accruing daily and compounded monthly, at the rate of LIBOR for six-month US dollar deposits plus six per cent (6%).”

 

The Government of Ghana will also pay an amount of “US$ 309,877.74 in respect of the Costs of the Arbitration, together with US$ 3,000,000 in respect of GPGC’s legal representation and the fees and expenses of its expert witness, together with interest on the aggregate amount of US$ 3,309,877.74 at the rate of LIBOR for three-month US dollar deposits, compounded quarterly” to GPGC.

 

In his interview, however, Mr Mould insisted that the Mahama administration did not just enter into PPAs for their sake. “The Ghana government supported these IPPs because it was one of the World Bank’s stipulations and for the World Bank to stipulate that they put their money where their mouth was, they backed these IPPs to be built in Ghana, I am surprised that the World Bank is so quiet about these issues”.

 

“When people raise issues that the John Mahama-led government were at one time giving out PPAs and gave out PPAs and got these plants built when we did not need the electricity; will the World Bank guarantee if we did not need the electricity? That is the fundamental question and what surprises me is how quiet the World Bank is when this government talks but when the NDC is in power and we are talking, the World Bank is very vocal”, he observed.

 

“I am surprised and I’m just hoping and I know, when we come back, we will be able to deal with them so they deal with us the same way they are dealing with the NPP”, he noted.

 

“They [World Bank] should come out and tell the people of Ghana that: ‘Yes’, they were behind us getting these IPPs built. They supported us because they did the analysis and they realised that we needed this power in the country”, he argued.

 

“They supported it not only with their mouth, but they supported it by giving government the requisite support we needed, financially, to get these plants built. There were more than four plants which applied, maybe about eight plants that applied but the World Bank said: ‘We would only give approval for four’. Amandi, Trafigura one and two others”.

 

Mr Mould also disputed the claim that Ghana has been paying some $500 million per year for the excess capacity.

 

PIAC releases 2020 semi-annual report; check full findings

 


Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has released its 2020 semi-annual report in Accra, last week, at a media training workshop organized by IFEJ and PIAC to aid in productive dissemination of the findings.

The 2020 Semi-annual Report is in fulfilment of PIAC’s statutory obligation under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), as amended by Act 893, to publish Semi-annual and Annual Reports.

This Report is a reconciliation of data supplied by stakeholder institutions, and an independent assessment of the collection, management, and use of the country’s petroleum revenues for the period January – June 2020. This year’s delay in releasing the 2020 PIAC reports was largely due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which disrupted work activities of reporting entities. The delay in the release of data by some institutions was also a factor.

However, it is the expectation of the Committee that the general public will meticulously read the Report and provide feedback especially during public engagements to be held following the release of this semi-annual Report.

Below is the full list of findings captured in the 2020 PIAC semi-annual report: 

Petroleum Production and Sales

1. Cumulative raw gas production increased significantly by 65 percent; the highest recorded half-year volume of gas produced since 2010.

2. All the three producing Fields (Jubilee, TEN and SGN) recorded an increase in gas production, with the SGN Field recording a 130 percent increase attributable to stable production operations.

3. The average unit price achieved by the Ghana Group in all three Fields (US$42.49/bbl) were significantly lower than achieved unit prices in H1 2019 (US$65.08/bbl), representing a 34.71 percent decline.

 

Revenue Collection and Management

4. Total petroleum receipts in the PHF for the period stood at US$322,571,265.64, indicating an 11.32 percent decline.

5. CAPI contributed the highest portion of 40 percent to total receipts.

6. Even though GNPC received GH¢110.96 million under the Cash Waterfall Mechanism, there was no payment into the PHF in respect of raw gas supplied. Consistently, the non-payment of gas revenue denies the PHF of its due entitlement.

 

Petroleum Funds Distribution and Utilisation

7. Total petroleum funds distributed since inception till end of June 2020 was US$5.32 billion, of which approximately 39 percent went to the ABFA, 31 percent to GNPC, 21 percent to the GSF, and 9 percent to the GHF.

This suggests that about 91 percent of the petroleum revenue is available for spending by the current generation.

8. For the fourth time, the Ministry of Finance failed to provide ABFA utilisation data for the compilation of PIAC Reports. This makes it difficult to reconcile disbursements and expenditure, and undermines the spirit of accountability as envisaged in the PRMA.

 

Performance of the Ghana Petroleum Funds

9. There was a 24.09 percent reduction in the GPFs reserves at the end of June 2020 compared to H1 2019, as a result of the lowered cap and subsequent withdrawals from the GSF. Consequently, the GSF yield reduced by 68.08 percent from that of H1 2019.

10. The net profit on investment of the GPFs was US$8.58 million, as against US$11.20 million in H1 2019. This represents a reduction of 23.39 percent.

11. At the end of the period, an amount of US$33.34 million, being the excess over the cap of US$100 million placed on the GSF, was not transferred into the Sinking and/or Contingency Funds, as required by Law.

 

Allocation and Utilisation of GNPC’s Share of Petroleum Revenue

12. The Corporation’s receipts in H1 2020 (US$80.41 million) represents a 31.25 percent reduction from that of the same period in 2019 (US$116.96 million).

13. Budgetary allocation to the GNPC Foundation decreased by 11.7 percent in 2020 as against that of 2019. However, an amount of US$12.31 million, being financial obligations outstanding at the close of 2019, was brought forward, and honoured in H1 2020.

14. The Corporation budgeted US$41.93 million as Equity Financing for the Jubilee Field for H1 2020. However, it spent US$7.33 million, representing 17.5 percent of the budgeted amount.

15. GNPC spent only nine (9) percent of its total receipts on Jubilee equity financing. This is as a result of the re-phasing of work programmes, as well as disputes surrounding the Cash Calls submitted by the Operator. The disputes are currently under negotiations between GNPC and the Contractor Party.

 

Operations of GNGC

16. Revenue realised from the sale of LPG and Condensates decreased by 31.13 percent and 48.45 percent respectively. The Covid-19 and its associated effect on crude price on the world market affected revenue from Condensate, due to the benchmark with the PLATTS Index (Global Crude Market).

17. Out of the invoiced amount of US$93,547,640.50, US$10,185,922.57 was paid for the sale and transportation of lean gas.

18. Cumulative indebtedness to Ghana Gas continued to increase, totalling an amount of US$942,260,510.63 at the end of the period.

19. The policy of Government to make GNGC the national gas aggregator will likely qualify the Company to receive petroleum revenue funding as a National Oil Company, as well as make payments into the PHF.

 

Recommendations

1. PIAC reiterates its earlier call on Parliament to bring its oversight mandate to bear on the Ministry of Finance. This is because the Ministry’s persistent failure (fourth time) to provide half-year data on ABFA utilisation is not only adversely affecting the work of the Committee, but also eroding gains in the fight for transparency and accountability in the management and use of Ghana’s petroleum revenues for the benefit of citizens.

2. The Committee recommends the continuous monitoring of CSI expenditure by GNPC in order to ensure value for money for the remaining half of the year, and to minimise carryovers into 2021

3. Although negotiations are ongoing between GNPC and the Contractor Party, PIAC recommends that a contingency amount should be set aside by the Corporation in anticipation of the eventual outcome of the dispute, as it could go either way.

4. GNPC should ensure that appropriate lodgments into the PHF are made once the Corporation receives payments from the Cash Waterfall Mechanism for raw gas supplied.

5. Government’s clarification of the roles and mandates of regulatory institutions in the gas and power sectors is important for coordinated planning and improved management capacity. Government will need to design effective institutional arrangements with clear mandates for the institutions in the energy sector, including conducting technical studies on the electricity and gas sectors, to improve sector performance and to provide incentives to prospective investors.

CSOs and media urged to sustain advocacy on deepening local content in mining sector

 


Adnan Adams Mohammed

A legal and policy advocate on natural resource governance has tasked Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and media practitioners to continue with their watchdog role to help sustain the progressive advocacy on expanding the local content in the Ghanaian mining sector.

The expert wants the media and CSOs to leverage on their strategic watchdog role to lead, define and shape further reforms “the mining local content regime we want”.

To increase and sustain advocacy to ensure that, the country and citizens get the best of deal and development in terms of local content from the mining sector; CSOs and the media could coordinate key stakeholders and lead in the organization of series of dialogue on the mining local content regime. The natural resource governance expert believes this would provide the platform for broader national dialogue on the subject to inform government’s future policy direction as well as aid Parliament in the discharge of its law-making and oversight functions.

“Media and civil society oversight is required to hold government accountable on Local Content commitments, but also to ensure future improvement in the regime”, Nasir Alfa Mohammed, Policy Advocacy Officer at Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRG) suggested during a virtual training for CSOs and the Media on the newly passed Minerals and Mining (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations, 2020 (L.I. 2431), last week. 

“Regular engagement with MinCom and other government actors to deliver tailored capacity building trainings to prospective indigenous Ghanaian citizens/investors on the opportunities available to them in the mining sector”, he added.

The training was to empower CSOs and the media to hold the government to account in respect of the requirements of the L.I. 2431 under the theme: “Evaluation of L.I. 2431 Against Pre-enactment Proposals by Civil Society: Options for Sustained Advocacy.”

Prior to the passing of the new L.I. 2431 in December 2020; the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRG) and the Minerals Commission (“MinCom” or “the Commission”) convened a consultative forum for civil society on the government’s proposal for amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and related sector reform efforts. These include a proposed law dedicated to local content in the mining sector in February 2020. The Policy Advocacy Officer at NRGI in presentation evaluated that, the new L.I. provisions are generally good.

“The proposals are generally good: Sits well with the constitutional architecture dealing with the ownership and governance of natural resources: articles 267(6); and 268(1)”, Nasir Alfa Mohammed said during his presentation on key improvements identified in the new enactment. “Gender mainstreaming also enhanced”

“Weaknesses and gaps that have arisen from obsolete or irrelevant provisions have been remedied; Aligns with the national minerals and mining policy and other national and sectoral strategic plans; Aligns with contemporary regional and international LC policies and best practices; and the requirements of local beneficiation, including local procurement and employment have significantly been enhanced.”

He, however, indicated that; “Despite these strengths, there is significant room for further reform.”

He enumerated some outstanding issues that stills need attention of law maker and the regulatory agencies. The issues include: “L.I.2431 does not provide for a local content committee that will oversee day to day implementation and monitoring of local content provisions in the mining sector.”

“Given the broad powers of the Commission, NRGI and our civil society partners urged on the Commission to have introduced a local content committee or assign a dedicated office within the commission to be responsible under the law to focus on local content implementation.

“In some respects, L.I.2431 is an elaboration of requirements that existed under L.I. 2173. For example, the whole of Reg. 6 (Procurement of Local Products), except with minimal changes is a verbatim reproduction of Reg. 2 of L.I. 2173. Similarly, Regulations 4 (Recruitment of expatriates) and 5 (employment and training of Ghanaians) are substantially a verbatim reproduction of Reg. 1 of L.I. 2173.

“While some of the Regulations are clear, specific and measurable, others are broad, vague and incapable of measurement.”

In February 2020, the Minerals Commission (“MinCom” or “the Commission”) collaborated with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRG) to organize a consultative forum for civil society on the government’s proposal for amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and related sector reform efforts. These include a proposed law dedicated to local content in the mining sector.

The forum discussed some issues and concerns raised by some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) against the previous L.I.

Some of the key issues in the previous L.I. which CSOs had problems against  the definition for “local”. They thought it was broad and covers imported products sold in Ghana and has encouraged importing and led to decline in local manufacturing in some categories.

Also, they had problem with the first local procurement list which mainly included categories already supplied by local companies which they thought led to little increase in local goods and services.

They then sought for answers on the matter that; in the absence of clarity on existing capacity, potential for increased local supply, and a prioritized/strategic approach to developing capacity, is there a risk that the same will continue? Or that the categories in the list are way too ambitious?

The CSOs also suggested for the need for overarching government led strategic approach to build Ghanaian capacity, with linkages to other sectors of the economy.

Over US$322mn received in oil revenues for H1 2020


  

Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee’s (PIAC) data indicates that, total petroleum receipts into the Petroleum Holding Funds (PHF) for the first half (H1) of 2020 stood at US$322,571,265.64, indicating 11.32 percent decline as against the previous period.

According to the data as contained in 2020 semi-annual the report, the Carried and Participating Interest (CAPI) of the Government of Ghana and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) contributed the highest portion of 40 percent to total receipts.

The report further indicated that, even though GNPC received GH¢110.96 million under the Cash Waterfall Mechanism, there was no payment into the PHF in respect of raw gas supplied. However, the Committee showed worries at the situation of the lingering institutional shoulder-rubbing between the GNPC and Ghana Gas Company leading to the accumulating non-payment of raw gas supplied to Ghana Gas from the oilfields.

“Consistently, the non-payment of gas revenue denies the PHF of its due entitlement”, the report signed by Noble Wadzah, PIAC Chair, and released last week agitated.

Despite, this unfortunate development, cumulative raw gas production increased significantly by 65 percent; the highest recorded half-year volume of gas produced since 2010.

The reported noted that, all the three producing Fields (Jubilee, TEN and SGN) recorded an increase in gas production, with the SGN Field recording a 130 percent increase attributable to stable production operations.

The average unit price achieved by the Ghana Group in all three Fields (US$42.49/bbl) were significantly lower than achieved unit prices in H1 2019 (US$65.08/bbl), representing a 34.71 percent decline.

For almost a decade of production, Ghana’s petroleum industry has developed steadily despite the drop in international oil prices since late 2014. The petroleum industry continues to attract key global industry players on the back of sustained investor interest, as well as significant de-risking of the Western Basin. This was evident in 2019 Licensing Rounds Bids and Negotiations. Despite these gains, the first half of 2020 proved to be a challenging period.

The 2020 Semi-annual Report is in fulfilment of PIAC’s statutory obligation under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011 (Act 815), as amended by Act 893, to publish Semi-annual and Annual Reports. This report is a reconciliation of data supplied by stakeholder institutions, and an independent assessment of the collection, management, and use of the country’s petroleum revenues for the period of January – June 2020.

This year’s delay in releasing the 2020 PIAC reports was largely due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which disrupted work activities of reporting entities. The delay in the release of data by some institutions was also a factor. However, it is the expectation of the Committee that the general public will meticulously read the Report and provide feedback especially during public engagements to be held following the release of this semi-annual Report.

Since its establishment in September 2011, the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, (PIAC), has effectively exercised its oversight responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the management of Ghana’s petroleum resources by the government and stakeholder institutions.

In compliance with provisions of the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA), the Committee prepares statutory Annual and Semi-Annual Reports, which aim at keeping Ghanaians and other interested stakeholders constantly informed of how the country’s petroleum revenues are managed and utilised. The Reports also provide the basis for public engagements and the collation of citizens’ feedback, which is subsequently shared with the duty bearers.

The Committee since its inception has published a total of 18 reports – nine (9) Annual and nine (9) Semi-Annual Reports - covering the period 2011 to June 2020, with information and data from the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, Petroleum Commission, Energy Commission, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana National Gas Company and International Oil Companies.

Cedi to gain stability throughout 2021 - economist projects


 

Adnan Adams Mohammed

Ghana’s local currency, the cedi, is expected to remain stable against major trading currencies throughout 2021 according to the expert's projection.

 

Economist with the Databank believes the stability of the local currency will be a result of measures set in place by the Bank of Ghana to prevent a cedi depreciation.

 

The cedi, which began the year selling at 5 cedis 76 pesewas, has remained strong so far against the US dollar. However, there are concerns that it could come under pressure when the global economy fully recovers from COVID-19 and imports pick up.

 

“First of all, it is based on the performance we saw last year and typically this financial asset turns to move along with the sentiment of the market. Given the performance that we saw last year, which was very impressive, the expectation and the credibility of the monetary policy framework to continue to anchor policy stability was already gained,” Courage Martey explained at a Pension Strategy conference held in Accra.

 

“When we started this year, the Bank of Ghana also published the forex forward issuance calendar. They indicated that for the first quarter of this year the FX forward auctions will be allotting US$50 million per weekly auction and after the first quarter they will revert to a US$25 million allotments per by weekly the auction,” he pointed.

 

The Databank the economist added, “Now, one thing to note is that this allotment is higher than what will be happening after Q1 and it’s a recognition of the Bank of Ghana’s commitment to currency stability in a typically difficult period for Ghana cedi.”

WB is twisting the facts on IPPs PPAs guarantees – Mould


 

Adnan Adams Mohammed

Alex Mould has challenged the rejoinder of the World Bank which sought to twist a portion of a news article by Accra based radio after granting an interview to the station.

Mr Mould corrected the misleading aspect of the rejoinder which sought to suggest that, Mr Mould had said in the interview that, World Bank provided a direct guarantee to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in setting their Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).  He said the IPPs he referred to was not those emergency power barges (‘Dumsor’ power barges) that were signed between the periods of 2014 to 2016, the four IPPs which are yet to start producing power including the Amandi, Early, Ghana Power Generation Company (GPGC) and one other which the WB was directly involved in their selection.  

The interview of Mr Mould was premised on the accusations of the current government against the former Mahama-led administration for signing unproductive PPAs under 'Take-or-Pay' agreements which they claim causing financial loss to the state as the country is paying for unused power. But, the World Bank seemed not happy for it to be linked to the IPPs PPAs and thereby issued a press statement to clear itself which also got Mr Mould to counteract to the statement.  

“I never said the WB gave guarantees to the IPPs”, Alex Mould, former CEO of GNPC corrected. “I said they supported Ghana government by giving guarantees, that is, backing the GCSA that Government of Ghana had to give to the IPPs.”

In the said news publication being referred to by the WB, Mr was quoted to have said, “What people don’t know is that the World Bank supported the government of Ghana to support four IPPs to be built mainly because they needed guarantees for the off-takers of the ENI-Sankofa-Gye Nyame gas”, Alex K. Mould in an interview last week.

"World Bank had given Ghana US$750 million in terms of guarantees to guarantee the ENI-led Sankofa-Gye Nyame gas project, one of the conditions were that we would either build a pipeline or do the convertibility so that the gas can go from the west to the east and we would have off-takers – IPPs that are ready to take the gas”.

“And, as such, they supported Ghana to give what we call a Government Support and Consent Agreement to these IPPs for them to be able to take to their financial institutions to say that: ‘We have a guarantee from the Ghana government which is backed by the World Bank; and, as such, they were able to get the financial decision to build these plants”, he explained.

“That is what we have to understand; that there was a reason for these plants to be built”, he argued, noting: “It wasn’t like these guys came willy-nilly, they had a PPA, they went to their banks, they got financial [support] and now we are saddled with that. No”.

From the direct quotations, it is clear Mr Mould did not in any way indicated otherwise as the WB press release tried to twist the facts the former GNPC said in the interview.

The WB in its release said; “Following recent media reports, the World Bank wishes to clarify that it has not provided any financing or guarantees to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that signed Power Purchase Agreements with the Government of Ghana or the Electricity Company of Ghana during the (Dumsor) energy crisis in 2014-2016.”

“To secure Ghana’s energy future, the World Bank supports the Energy Sector Recovery Plan (ESRP) of the Government of Ghana for affordable and reliable electricity supply and enhance the accountability in the energy sector.”

Consequently, the WB did agree to the facts Mr Mould said during the interview on how the WB’s financing and guarantee supported Ghana in the Sankofa Gas Project translated into helping Ghana to be able to partial risk guarantee to IPPs which, the WB was practically involved in their selection since they were going to be off-takers of the Sankofa gas.

 The WB statement stated; “The World Bank Group provided financing and a guarantee to the Sankofa Gas Project, which since 2019 has increased the availability of natural gas for power generation by leveraging private capital investment and promoting a cleaner energy mix.

“The World Bank is committed to supporting Ghana in its efforts to sustain economic growth, accelerate poverty reduction, and enhance shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.”

Mr Mould in his comment reacting to the WB release posited: “Yes, the WB supported Ghana with a “CREDIT Program” - involving loans Grants and credits - and part of that program was used by GoG to support the Partial Risk Guarantees (PRGs) given to IPPs that acts as a credit derivative and lessens the risk of default by the counterparties.

“So, they provided support in the form of credits which was given to GoG as part of the WB Program to Ghana so that GoG could provide a credit-backed PRG to enable these IPPs to raise the financing.

“The WB was not only aware but also involved in the discussion of the selection criteria to be used (since we had more than 8 IPPs that qualified) for the PRG to be given to these IPPs.

“The WB lent support to Ghana government via their program as the PRG without a credit enhancement from a multilateral development institution, such as the WB, was not acceptable to the lenders to the IPPs.”

 

 

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Full Statement: Coalition of Muslim Organisations Speaks Against LGBTQI+ in Ghana


 

COMOG PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE ACTIVITIES OF LGBTQI AND EUROPEAN UNION DELEGATION IN GHANA’S PROMOTIONS OF ITS ACTIVITIES: OUR CALL FOR IMMEDIATIATE ACTION.

Wednesday 24th February 2021

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media fraternity, we welcome you to this press conference with the Islamic Salutation;

Assalaamu Alaikum

We have respectfully invited you to this Press Conference to address the Ghanaian Public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Security Agencies and Diplomatic Missions in Ghana through your esteem media regarding our position on the infamous Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) activities in Ghana.

Momentarily, a lot of discussions regarding the freedoms and rights of members of the LGBTQI+ community has taken prominent space in the media with some well-meaning Ghanaians including His Eminence the National Chief Imam, the Conference of Catholic Bishops, and some Traditional Leaders clearly articulating their stance against the commissioning of an office in Accra for the coordination of activities of the LGBTQI+ community.

We, of the Coalition of Muslim Organisations, Ghana (COMOG) and as a member of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, wish to indicate that we unflinchingly support the position of the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values on the abhorrence of the activities of the LGBTQI+ community as unambiguously articulated by our Executive Secretary and Spokesperson at the recent press conference at the Calvary Methodist Church.


In a united voice with the National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, the Office of the National Chief Imam, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Traditional Leaders, we unequivocally and in no uncertain terms call for the permanent closure of the LGBTQI+ office in Ghana, immediately.

Chapter 7 verse 80-84 of the Holy Qur’aan narrates the story of how Almighty God punished the people of Lot for the men satisfying their lust with men of their kind, in preference to women (i.e., practicing of homosexuality). Various quotations from the Holy Bible including Genesis, Leviticus, Judges, etc., explicitly show how Almighty God abhors the act of homosexuality and other deviant immoral acts.

 

OUR RIGHTS AND OUR VALUES.

In the 1992 constitution of Ghana, Articles 2b(1), 34(1) and Articles 39(1) and (3), enjoin “…the state to encourage the integration of appropriate customary laws and values in the fabric of National life…”

The United Nations Convention on Human Rights which has been ratified by our dear country Ghana protects the rights of Ghanaians to promote our valued socio-cultural rights, etc. In view of this, we cannot agree with some Human Rights activists who argue that the activities of the LGBTQI+ are pivoted on Human Rights.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, we strongly disclaim the activities of the LGBTQI+ as a Human Rights issue so far as their activities remain inimical to the culture, traditions, values and religious dispositions of this country just as polygamy is inimical to the culture, traditions and values of the West.

 

On this note, we take this opportunity to strongly caution the Leader of the EU Delegation in Ghana, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana and all other diplomats who are attempting to induce our society with their abominable and reprehensive values to refrain immediately or face the wrath of Ghanaians instead of our notable hospitality which they want to take for granted.

LEGALITY OF LGBTQI IN GHANA

Under Section 104 of the Ghanaian Criminal Code of 1960, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, are provisions that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual acts between males. Under Section 104(1)(b) “unnatural carnal knowledge with consent” is considered a misdemeanor. What is not too conspicuous is the female act, which we are teaming up with all religious bodies including the Traditional bodies to sponsor a comprehensive bill on sexual behavior and activities to Parliament.

Many countries including Chad as recent as in 2017 have criminalized the existence of LGBTQI+ in their countries. Is it about time Ghana emulated same step?

 

Our Call

Ladies and Gentlemen, the attendance of the launch of the LGBTQI+ Community in Ghana and the strong support to that community by the European Union, Denmark and Australian reps in Ghana must not only be condemned but be sanctioned by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus the sector Minister must be summoned by the Parliament of Ghana on the issue.

The High Commissioner for Australia, the Danish Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation to Ghana must come out within 7 days to apologize to Ghanaians and assure us of their respect for our values, traditions and cultural and religious beliefs that vehemently abhor the practice of LGBTQI+.

The failure to adhere to the above call will spur the good people of Ghana to exhibit our wrath at them through a mammoth demonstration.

We call on the Security Agencies to arrest and prosecute the promoters of LGBTQI in Ghana.

We also call on the Presidency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to call the Foreign Missions and Agencies supporting the inimical LGBTQI+ agenda in Ghana to order.

We call on government to support and work with various religious, traditional bodies and health agencies to establish an outfit that serves as a Centre to help LGBTQI+ persons to provide them with the needed holistic treatment to curb their deviant feelings and unorthodox sexual tendencies.

We call on the Parliament of Ghana to condemn the involvement of the above named foreign missions in Ghana for promoting this LGBTQI+ agenda that the Ghanaian society frowns upon and considered illegal by our statute books.

Finally, we wish to call on all Ghanaians to rally behind the National Coalition of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values to stop this alien culture in our country.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Let us purge our country of this LGBTQI+ menace to merit and receive the pleasure and blessings of the Almighty God, instead of His anger and punishment.

As we urge Ghanaians to pray for God’s intervention in this matter, we call on all Imams to use their pulpits to educate our youth and enjoin them to stay away from these abominable LGBTQI+ acts.

 

We desire and want Halaal (Lawful) cooperation and partnerships with the world for the protection of life and the preservation of human dignity.

 

Thank you for your attendance and attention.

 

Address by:

Hajj Abdel Manan Abdel Rahman

President, COMOG

Tel: 024 447 0505

Monday, 22 February 2021

MinCom and NRGI train media and CSOs on new Minerals and Mining Regulations

 


 Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRG) and the Minerals Commission have jointly organized a virtual training for CSOs and the Media on newly passed Minerals and Mining (Local Content and Local Participation) Regulations, 2020 (L.I. 2431), last week.

The training was to empower CSOs and the media to hold the government to account in respect of the requirements of the L.I. 2431 under the theme: “Evaluation of L.I. 2431 Against Pre-enactment Proposals by Civil Society: Options for Sustained Advocacy.”

Prior to the passing of the new L.I. 2431 in December 2020; the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRG) and the Minerals Commission (“MinCom” or “the Commission”) convened a consultative forum for civil society on the government’s proposal for amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and related sector reform efforts. These include a proposed law dedicated to local content in the mining sector in February 2020. The Policy Advocacy Officer at NRGI in presentation evaluated that, the new L.I. provisions are generally good.

“The proposals are generally good: Sits well with the constitutional architecture dealing with the ownership and governance of natural resources: articles 267(6); and 268(1)”, Nasir Alfa Mohammed said during his presentation on key improvements identified in the new enactment. “Gender mainstreaming also enhanced”

“Weaknesses and gaps that have arisen from obsolete or irrelevant provisions have been remedied; Aligns with the national minerals and mining policy and other national and sectoral strategic plans; Aligns with contemporary regional and international LC policies and best practices; and the requirements of local beneficiation, including local procurement and employment have significantly been enhanced.”

 

New L.I. Deficiencies

He, however, indicated that; “Despite strengths, there is significant room for further reform.”

He enumerated some outstanding issues that stills need attention of law maker and the regulatory agencies. The issues include: “L.I.2431 does not provide for a local content committee that will oversee day to day implementation and monitoring of local content provisions in the mining sector.”

“Given the broad powers of the Commission, NRGI and our civil society partners urged on the Commission to have introduced a local content committee or assign a dedicated office within the commission to be responsible under the law to focus on local content implementation.

“In some respects, L.I.2431 is an elaboration of requirements that existed under L.I. 2173. For example, the whole of Reg. 6 (Procurement of Local Products), except with minimal changes is a verbatim reproduction of Reg. 2 of L.I. 2173. Similarly, Regulations 4 (Recruitment of expatriates) and 5 (employment and training of Ghanaians) are substantially a verbatim reproduction of Reg. 1 of L.I. 2173.

“While some of the Regulations are clear, specific and measurable, others are broad, vague and incapable of measurement.”

 

Sustaining Advocacy

To increase and sustain advocacy to ensure that, the country and citizens get the best of deal and development in terms of local content from the mining sector, Mr Alfa Mohammed suggested that; “Media and civil society oversight is required to hold government accountable on LC commitments, but also to ensure future improvement in the regime.

“Leverage media/civil society’s Strategic watchdog role to lead, define and shape further reforms: CSOs and the media could coordinate key stakeholders and lead in the organization of series of dialogue on “the mining local content regime we want”. This would provide the platform for broader national dialogue on the subject to inform government’s future policy direction as well as aid Parliament in the discharge of its law making and oversight functions; and

“Regular engagement with MinCom and other government actors to deliver tailored capacity building trainings to prospective indigenous Ghanaian citizens/investors on the opportunities available to them in the mining sector”

In February 2020, the Minerals Commission (“MinCom” or “the Commission”) collaborated with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRG) to organize a consultative forum for civil society on the government’s proposal for amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and related sector reform efforts. These include a proposed law dedicated to local content in the mining sector.

The forum discussed some issues and concerns raised by some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) against the previous L.I.

Some of the key issues in the previous L.I. which CSOs had problems against were: the definition for “local”. They thought it was broad and covers imported products sold in Ghana and has encouraged importing and led to decline in local manufacturing in some categories.

Also, they had problem with the first local procurement list which mainly included categories already supplied by local companies which they thought led to little increase in local goods and services.

They then sought for answers on the matter that; in the absence of clarity on existing capacity, potential for increased local supply, and a prioritized/strategic approach to developing capacity, is there a risk that the same will continue? Or that the categories in the list are way too ambitious?

The CSOs also suggested for the need for overarching government led strategic approach to build Ghanaian capacity, with linkages to other sectors of the economy.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Job availability drop by 27.5 percent

 


By Elorm Desewu

Job availability growth in the country has declined significantly in the third quarter of 2020 relative to what was observed in the third quarter of 2019.

For the third quarter of 2020, a total of 6,880 jobs were advertised compared with 9,485 for the third quarter of 2019, indicating a decline of 27.5 percent year-on-year. Similarly, the number of job vacancies advertised dipped by 28.2 percent from 9,582 recorded for the second quarter of 2020. The decrease in the number of jobs advertised reflects the difficulties faced by businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Services Sector maintained its dominance as the leading job-providing sector in the economy, accounting for 80.2 percent of total job adverts recorded during the third quarter of 2020. This compares with a share of 82.2 percent recorded in the third quarter of 2019.

Industry followed with a share of 16.1 percent up from 15.2% in the third quarter of 2019, while the Agriculture Sector accounted for 3.7 percent of the job adverts during the period, compared with 2.7 percent of total job adverts recorded for the corresponding quarter of 2019.

Further analysis revealed that the main requirements for skilled employees were tertiary education qualification(s) and a minimum of three years’ working experience. This category, classified as Professionals and Technicians, collectively accounted for 52.3 percent of total jobs advertised during the third quarter of 2020, relative to 41.5 percent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

This was followed by the categories classified as Sales & Other Service Workers (29.5% in Q3:2020 vs. 38.0% in Q3:2019), Artisans & Machine Operators (11.0% vs. 10.6%), Secretarial & Clerical Staff (5.0% vs. 6.6%) and ‘Others’ (2.2% vs. 3.4%).

AfCFTA: GSA wants government to bear cost of standardization of local goods

 


Director General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Professor Alex Dodoo has called on government to bear the full cost of facilitating the improvement in the standard of goods produced by Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

 

According to him, MSMEs will gain little or nothing from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) if government fails to support them.

 

MSMEs which make up about 80% of the country’s economy often struggle to meet the operational cost of getting their goods to meet international standards making it difficult for them to compete favourably on the market. The MSMEs however will also be the main drivers of the AfCFTA on the part of Ghana.

 

Currently, the AfCFTA constitutes the 5th biggest economy in the world with a US $3.4 trillion economy, consumer and business spending at US4 trillion annually, while covering a consumer base of 1.35 billion people.

 

A majority of MSMEs in the country may however miss out on the benefits of the trade agreement if they are not able to meet the necessary requirements. Not only do standards ensure consumer protection, but they also promote and protect economic interests of consumers, industry and businesses.

 

In an interview with Citi Business News at the sidelines of the Intra African Trade Conference organized by the Association of Ghana Industries and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Ghana, Professor Alex Dodo said government must be willing to invest its resources to fully build up MSMEs to international standards.

 

“Ghana has the human resource and the companies to grow however about eighty percent of our companies are small and medium-sized companies. The only way they can compete and win under the African Continental Free Trade Area is if their quality requirement are in line with the best on the market. That will need investment in standardization in testing and in certification, and I am happy that all stakeholders at this meeting agree that the important thing is for the state to support SMEs by meeting the cost of these issues because for them to develop they will need some help and its cross-cutting”.

Gold Fields to improve on 2020’s strong performance

  


 Adnan Adams Mohammed

Mining giant, Gold Fields, hopes to improve on its performance as announced in 2020 for the current financial year.

 

Gold Fields announced a profit of US$879 million for last year, according to its 2020 Financial Results. This represents US$1.00 per share and is compared with normalised profit of $343m (US$0.42 per share) for last year.

 

Indeed, the company benefited from the windfall of gold prices, following the covid-19 pandemic which compelled investors to invest in gold, considered as a safe haven in periods of economic uncertainties.

 

A final dividend of 320 South African cents per share (gross) will be payable on 15 March 2021, giving a total dividend for the year ending 31 December 2020 of 480 South African cents per share (gross)

 

In what would be his last message as Gold Fields CEO, Nick Holland said the company had experienced the most unusual year in that Covid-19 had changed life as he knew it, but that the company managed to adapt to what appears to be a new normal.

 

“Despite the challenges and disruptions experienced during the year, the integrity of our operations has been maintained, while putting our people first.

 

“Overall, Gold Fields has delivered a strong set of results for 2020, with production and costs both within the revised guidance. The impact of Covid-19 on the operations was 80 000 oz, or 4% of total production,” he stated.

 

Gold Fields posted 2.23-million ounces of attributable gold production, a 2% increase on the 2.19-million ounces produced in the prior year. The company set its revised guidance range at between 2.2-million and 2.25-million ounces.

 

A strong operational performance, combined with an increase in the gold price during the year, drove a significant increase in cash flow from operating activities to $868-million, excluding project capital costs.

 

At the end of the year, the company’s core net debt stood at $640-million.

 

While the company remains cautious of the ongoing impact of Covid-19, it expects this year will be another strong year for Gold Fields, particularly as there is much hope being placed on the roll-out of vaccines globally.

 

Among the operational highlights for the 2020 financial year was the Damang mine, in Ghana, delivering a strong performance in the second half of 2020 as mining moved into the heart of the main orebody, while the Gruyere mine, in Australia, is starting to hit expected targets.

 

Total production increased by 3% year-on-year to 862 000 oz in 2020 at Damang, while gold production from the Australian region increased by 11% year-on-year to 1.01-million ounces.

 

Gold Fields is in the process of trialing electric-powered vehicles underground at its Australian mines, which may well be the blueprint to roll out these vehicles to more operations.

 

The South Deep mine, in South Africa, has achieved continuous improvement through 2020 and, had it not been for Covid-19-related disruptions, the mine would have exceeded its original production guidance. Gold production at South Deep increased by 2% year-on-year to 226 000 oz, while it generated net cash of $34-million – more than double that of 2019.

 

Holland said South Deep has the potential to expand production output by between 20% and 30% over the next five years, which the company will look into unlocking.

 

Construction activities at the Salares Norte mine, in Chile, remain relatively unaffected by Covid-19 and the project remains on schedule, with construction of the plant having started in January this year. The company aims to be at 70% completion by the end of this year.

 

The Cerro Corona mine, in Peru, was most impacted by Covid-19 from a production perspective, reporting decreased equivalent gold production of 29% year-on-year to 207 000 oz.

 

At the end of the year, the company’s attributable gold equivalent reserves stood at 52.1-million ounces, compared with attributable gold equivalent reserves of 51.3-million at the end of 2019.

 

Since 2015, the company has put five-million ounces back after depletion, which indicates a 9% reserve growth over the last six years.

 

In the year under review, Gold Fields increased its strategic shareholding in Canada-listed Chakana Copper Corporation from 16.8% to 19.99% for $2.3-million through its participation in a wider private placement equity capital raise by the company.

 

Chakana is advancing the prospective Soledad copper/gold/silver project, in Peru, with proceeds from the raise being used to accelerated exploration at the project.

 

Holland said 2021 would be a big capital expenditure (capex) year for the company, given peak spending at Salares Norte and an increase in sustainable capital for the group.

 

This increase in sustaining capital will allow the company to spend on key projects toward sustaining its production base of two-million to 2.5-million ounces for the next eight to ten years.

 

Total capex for the group for the year is expected to be $1.177-billion. Sustaining capital is expected to be $538-million, with non-sustaining capex expected to be $639-million.

 

The largest component of the capex budget for the year is Salares Norte, with $508-million earmarked to be spent on this project alone. 

 

The company also plans on expanding the processing plant at the Agnew mine, as well as developing a second decline at the Granny Smith mine for de-bottlenecking purposes.

 

Gold Fields has set its 2021 attributable gold-equivalent production guidance at between 2.3-million and 2.35-million ounces.

 

As announced previously, former Anglo American CE Chris Griffith will be taking over as Gold Fields CEO, effective April 1.

 

Holland during a conference call discussed his industry view, pointing out that there is not enough exploration going on, while mines have been strangled in terms of earning growth capital, as well as sustaining capital, which is worrying.

 

"Companies are now trying to use the high gold price to catch up on capital they have not spent, but the trend will remain for mergers and acquisition to happen for survival. Either big companies will continue buying up smaller companies, or big companies will continue merging."

 

Panoro Energy to purchase some of Tullow Oil West Africa Assets for up to $180mn


Panoro Energy ASA is an independent E&P company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and based in London.  They have exploration and production assets in Africa with oil production from fields in Tunisia, Gabon and Nigeria.

On the 9th February, 2021, Tullow Oil signed two separate sale and purchase agreement for some of its non-operated offshore oil fields in Equatorial Guinea (The EG Transaction) and the Dussafu assets in Gabon (The Dussafu Transaction), with Panoro Energy.  This agreement is a strategic business decision to enable both companies execute their respective business growth plan.

Tullow Oil has keen interest in Ghana and boost immensely of the flagship fields it operates in the West African Country.  The move will help reduce Tullow’s debt pile of about $2.4billion, which is about four times its current market cap of $577million.

An initial amount of $140million will be paid with an option of $40 million, which will be tied to oil prices and the performance of the acquired assets.

Tullow is already discussing with its lenders to restructure its debt to narrow its focus to the operating fields in Ghana.  Is this a move to push for more exploration activities in Ghana because of the high quality in the crude?

Panoro plans to finance with a $70million private equity placement and $90 million in debt underwritten by commodities trader Trafigura.  The marketing of the oil obtained from these acquired fields will be done by Trafigura.

 

The deal covers a 14.25% stake in Block G offshore Equatorial Guinea and 10% in Gabon’s Dussafu Marin Permit, in which Panoro already has some presence.  The fields are shown in the drawings in figure 1 and 2 below.

 

For Panoro, this deal adds 6,900bbl/d to their net production, which is quadrupling to their current production.  This projected production numbers will enable Panoro to start paying dividends in 2023.

 

According to the CEO of Panoro, John Hamilton, the company will continue to look at acquisition opportunities of this sort in the future.

 

During an interview with Reuters, Panoro CEO said, “There are a number of companies, including the oil majors, who are busy looking to rationalize their portfolios in some of these countries and we do see growth opportunities in these areas,”

 

United Kingdom to reduce carbon emissions from industries using Green Hydrogen projects.

 

The prime minister of UK, Boris Johnson, has plans to making UK the world leader in clean energy.  The focus is to invest in projects across the green sector, as well as upgrade infrastructure and facilities.  This will further push the government’s agenda towards a net zero emission by 2050.

 

According to the IEA, energy consumption will increase, and prediction on global energy demand will continue to soar by between 25% and 30% by 2040.  By this, there is the need to look at alternative sources of energy as well as taking into consideration its climate friendliness.

 

Swansea University in collaboration with Hanson UK are looking at innovative technologies to reduce industrial carbon emission.

 

A process of electrolysis is used to produce hydrogen, with the source of energy being renewable.  By this philosophy, a new hydrogen demonstration unit has been developed and installed at Hanson UK’s Regen GGBS plant in Port Talbot, South of Wales as part of the £9.2m ERDf funded RICE project.

 

The aim of this demonstration unit is to confirm that, the use of green hydrogen is cleaner than natural gas since rather than CO2 being emitted, the process emits water.  However, according to IEA, this method of producing green hydrogen would save the 830 million tonnes of CO2, emitted annually when this gas is produced using fossil fuel as the source of energy.

 

A typical target for this technology is in cement production since it is energy intensive due to the high temperatures required to produce the clinker (main Portland cement component).  However, even Regen GGBS, which can be used to replace about 80% of cement component in concrete; has carbon footprint of about one tenth of Portland cement.  Let us assume a Regeb GGBS plant is green hydrogen powered, using a renewable source of energy in the electrolysis process.

 

Marian Garfield, Head of Sustainability at Hanson UK, said: “It is estimated that cement is the source of just under 1.5 per cent of UK CO2 emissions. With demand for cement and cement replacement products predicted to increase by a quarter by 2030, researchers and industry are working hard to reduce the level of carbon emissions associated with production.”

 

He further stated, “As a leading manufacturer, we take our responsibility very seriously. In the UK we have already achieved a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions since 1990 across the business and have set an ambitious new target of a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 from the same baseline. We are constantly looking to improve energy efficiency and carbon reduction at our cement and Regen plants, so we are delighted to be involved with this innovative research project.”

 

Dr Charlie Dunnill, who is leading the team based at the Energy Safety Research Institute, added: “It has been a pleasure to work with the staff at Hanson and is amazing to see technology from our labs interacting in real time with local industry, actually producing hydrogen that can be burned in exchange for natural gas to lower their green-house emissions.”

 

The future looks greener as this technology is being developed and when careful infused into other sectors like industries, transportation and homes, the goal of reducing carbon will be less of a tussle.

 

Source: AFRICAENERGYTODAY