Ghana’s wages commission said on Friday it had approved a 10 per cent pay rise for public sector workers and that the potentially inflationary measure would be back-dated to January this year.
Falling inflation and a stable currency have since late 2009 given the Bank of Ghana scope to make a total 350 basis points of cuts to bring the prime rate down to 15 per cent, with further easing seen dependent on prices staying under control.
George Smith-Graham, chief executive of the Commission, told Reuters the pay rise would apply across the board to Ghana’s 470,000 or so public sector workers and complemented a planned reform of the wages structure later this year.
“They will receive the actual salary reflecting the 10 per cent (rise) in July but the arrears will be paid in the months of August and September,” he said by telephone.
“This is a way of cushioning those public sector workers who may not receive any enhancement under the ‘single spine’ scheme,” he said, referring to the planned new structure.
The so-called Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) is due from July to put all public sector workers on the same pay scale. It is seen as potentially inflationary because many will see their salary bracket revised upwards.
Smith-Graham declined to say how much the pay rise would cost public finances.
Ghana’s government, which is gearing up for the first revenues from its Jubilee oil field later this year, has been praised for bringing inflation to just under 12 per cent.
The Bank of Ghana has brought the prime rate down to 15 per cent in recent months and has said it could envisage cutting interest rates further as long as inflation kept easing.
“This latest news … will raise inflation risks somewhat,” said Standard Chartered regional head of research Razia Khan, noting it could also prompt the government to claw back revenue by cutting utility price subsidies, itself an inflationary move.
Ghana was also due to announce new utility tariffs later on Friday, with increases widely expected, but the announcement was postponed until next week.
Kobla Nyaletey, head of liquidity management at Barclays Ghana Treasury, said he believed the measure was compatible with spending already envisaged by the 2010 budget.
“There are some challenges ahead though, from probable upward (utility) tariff price adjustments and the implementation of the single spine salary structure,” he said.
The pace of inflation fell to 11.66 per cent in April and is seen dipping into single digits in the next few months before an expected rebound in prices later in 2010.
Analysts forecast a further rate cut in June and possibly one more after that.
Bank of Ghana Governor Kwesi Amissah-Arthur told Reuters in a May 14 interview the bank would cut rates further if compatible with the outlook for inflation and growth, which is set to more than double from around six per cent this year.
Farmer Cries Out Over Cattle Invasion
A farmer in Aluu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Nwo Nna, has cried out over cattle invasion of his farmland and crops.
Nna made this known in a chat with newsmen in Aluu recently.
He said that the most worrisome aspect of the development was the neglect by the herders of the Anti-Grazing Law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The farmer who discribed such as vexatious and provocative, appealed for intervention by relevant agencies in order to secure their future.
“I got to my farm on Saturday morning only to see my vegetables, cassava, yam and the entire farm devastated by cows”, he said.
He expressed regrets that his farm, which was not at the road had experienced such attack for the second time.
The farmer noted that it would have been a different ball game, if he had met the herders in his farm.
“The saving grace was that I did not meet them. They should be called to order to avoid problems”, he said.
He also sought for urgent intervention of the Rivers State Government, Myyetti Allah and other relevant authorities to warn the herders to keep off people’s farms in the interest of peace.
The farmer further explained that it was becoming a regular practice for herders to parade their cows along the roads, and such cows stray into farm lands and destroy people’s means of livelihood.
While declaring that Rivers people are hospitable, the farmer warned stranger elements, who do not have respect for the laws of the land as well as terrorise other people’s means of livelihood, to take their lawlessness elsewhere.
Other farmers who also responded called for the establishment of a system that monitors the activities of herders.
According to them, it will enable those who take their cows into farms to be identified and adequately sanctioned in the event of any invasion by the cows.
This, they said will bring a lasting peace and as well serve as a deterrent to others.
By: King Onunwor
EFCC Blames Frauds In Banking Sector On Insiders
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last Wednesday said most frauds in the banking sector were perpetrated by insider Information, Communication Technology employees.
Head, Cybercrime Section of the EFCC, Abbah Sambo, made the declaration at a national seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for judges in Abuja recently.
Sambo, who represented the EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, at the seminar, said that most banking sector frauds handled by the commission showed that bank employees aided the acts.
He also expressed regrets at the increasing rate of cybercrime in spite of efforts by the commission to tackle it.
Sambo observed that in years past, young people involved in cybercrime were not ICT savvy, but today, it was ICT graduates that are the champions in perpetrating the crime.
He attributed the increase in cybercrime to moral decadence and peer group influence.
“The rate at which young men are perpetrating cybercrime is seriously alarming.
“When we arrest these criminals, one major reason they give for going into the crime is peer influence.Their friends are into it and they want to run with guys that drive the best cars and have the best girls in town”, he said.
He hinted that most times when the criminals were arrested, a lot of assets on them, are registered in the names of their parents.
“Cars in the names of their mothers and houses in the names of their fathers. There is a fundamental issue relating to decay in moral coverage in the society,’’ he said.
Sambo said that the greatest challenge in fighting cybercrime was the knowledge gap, and noted that the criminals were getting more sophisticated.
According to him, the criminals had the ability to talk to one another seamlessly by sharing knowledge, unlike law enforcement agencies.
“A lot of the people trying to combat the crime in the field tend to lack the drive because they do not have adequate training,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for adequate sensitisation and engagement with youths, especially from secondary school level to let them know the ills of crime.
The two-day seminar was organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in collaboration with the National Judicial Institution.
SEC Frowns At Resurgence Of Ponzi Schemes
The Securities and Exchange Commission has frowned upon the resurgence of Ponzi schemes and illegal fund managers in the country’s financial sector.
The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, made the observation of the development at an enlightenment workshop with the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on in Abuja over the week.
Yuguda said that the unlawful schemes had continued to enjoy massive patronage of the populace and remained a source of concern for regulators in the financial sector.
According to him, the commission was poised to continue to apply measures and seek the cooperation of relevant stakeholders toward combating the activities of these Ponzi schemes.
He expressed regrets that the upsurge of the schemes had undermined the reputation of the financial markets and dampened investors’ confidence, among other things.
“SEC firmly believes that the country’s capital market can attain its potential if market operators and participants contribute their respective quotas to the growth”, he said.
He also explained that SEC was committed to always ensure and maintain an environment that was enabled by the appropriate regulatory framework, timely and affordable access to market.
“The commission is also committed to zero tolerance for infractions, heightened investor confidence and awareness, innovative product development and good governance practice”, he said
“There is the need to restore investor confidence and improve the participation of retail investors in the market.
He further pointed out that the demography of investors in the country’s capital market showed that the young population do not participate in the capital market, and only a few Nigerians invested in the capital market.
The situation, he said, created a huge challenge to the market growth and the commission and added that it was striving to change the narratives by instilling a fair, transparent and orderly market.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, represented by Mr Stephen Okon, Director Home Finance, urged investors to take advantage of the various initiatives in the market.
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