Fitch downgrades Ghana to ‘CC’ from CCC
Fitch Ratings has downgraded Ghana’s Long-Term Local- and Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘CC’, from ‘CCC’. Fitch typically does not assign Outlooks to issuers with a rating of ‘CCC’ or below.
Increased Probability of Debt Restructuring
The downgrade reflects the increased likelihood that Ghana will pursue a debt restructuring given mounting financing stress, with surging interest costs on domestic debt and a prolonged lack of access to Eurobond markets. There is a high likelihood that the IMF support programme currently being negotiated will require some form of debt treatment due to the climbing interest costs and structurally low revenue as a percentage of GDP.
Fitch said: “We believe this will be in the form of a debt exchange and will qualify as a distressed debt exchange under our criteria. The government has not confirmed or denied press reports that Ghana is preparing to negotiate a restructuring. Interest costs on external debt are lower than for domestic debt and near-term external debt amortisations appear manageable. However, we believe there could be an incentive to spread a debt restructuring burden across domestic and external creditors and therefore do not have a strong basis to differentiate between Foreign- and Local-Currency ratings at this time.”
High Debt Service, Financing Constrained
Interest costs reached 47.5% of revenue in 2021 and 54% in 1H22. Interest payments on domestic debt comprise around 75% of total interest costs. This reflects high yields on domestic debt, which have climbed following a 34% yoy spike in inflation as at August 2022 and monetary tightening, with the Bank of Ghana hiking its policy rate to 22.0%, from 14.5% in February. Yields on the 91-day treasury bill reached 27.0% in August, up from 12.5% in August 2021, and 10-year yields have spiked to above 35% in September, from around 20% in 1Q22.
Limited Access to External Financing
The rating agency observed that access to external financing environment would still be closed to the West African nation until the country finally ties down IMF programme.
“We expect external financing access to stay limited until at least an IMF programme is agreed, as Ghana is likely to remain locked out of Eurobond markets, which had been the country’s regular source of external financing. The government obtained a USD750 million term loan from African Export-Import Bank (BBB/Stable this year and USD250 million in syndicated loans from global commercial banks. It can also use its sinking fund. We estimate Ghana faces around USD3 billion of external debt service costs in 2023, including amortisation and interest.”
Continued Reserve Pressure
It continued:”We expect persistent downward reserve pressure in the absence of an IMF programme. Official reserve assets fell to USD7.3 billion in June, from USD9.8 billion in 2021 and gross international reserves, excluding oil funds and encumbered assets, totalled USD7.1 billion in March, the latest figure available. The exchange rate has weakened by 40% year-to-date against the US dollar, reaching GHC10:USD1 in September, potentially made worse by the drop in non-resident investment in local-currency debt. Non-resident holdings were GHC23.1 billion at end-August, or 4% of Fitch-forecast 2022 GDP.”
IMF Programme Pending
The government reversed its long-standing position against seeking IMF support in July 2022. Fitch said it believes a deal with the IMF is likely within the next six months.
Ghana has indicated it could request USD2 billion-3 billion and the programme could unlock budget support from other official lenders. However, it said: “we believe a restructuring will be deemed necessary, with local-currency debt treatment potentially included prior to IMF approval, as the IMF is unable to provide financing where it assesses a country’s debt to be unsustainable.”
The most recent IMF debt sustainability analysis, conducted in 2021, found Ghana at a high risk of debt distress and vulnerable to shock to market access and high debt servicing costs. Interest costs have risen substantially since then.
Limited Space for Fiscal Consolidation
There is currently tight space for fiscal consolidation in the fragile economy.
“We expect high-interest costs and low revenue to impede fiscal consolidation. The medium-term fiscal framework in the 2022 budget envisaged narrowing the deficit to below the 5% of GDP ceiling by 2024, based on the expiry of pandemic-related expenditure and higher domestic revenue, driven by new taxes, including an electronic transaction levy. However, implementation delays led to lower revenue and a larger nominal deficit in 1H22 relative to budget forecasts. The government’s slim majority in parliament could frustrate attempts to raise tax rates or implement new taxes.”
Partially Guaranteed Note Could Be Excluded
“We affirmed the rating on Ghana’s partially guaranteed note backed by the World Bank’s International Development Association as the note may be excluded from a debt restructuring even if other Eurobonds are included,” Fitch said
ESG – Governance
Ghana has an ESG Relevance Score (RS) of ‘5[+]’ for both Political Stability and Rights and for the Rule of Law, Institutional and Regulatory Quality and Control of Corruption. Theses scores reflect the high weight World Bank Governance Indicators (WBGIs) have in our proprietary Sovereign Rating Model. Ghana has a medium WBGI ranking at the 53rd percentile, reflecting a recent record of peaceful political transitions, a moderate level of rights for participation in the political process, moderate institutional capacity, established rule of law and a moderate level of corruption.
Ghana has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘5’ for Creditor Rights, as willingness to service and repay debt is relevant to the rating and is a rating driver for Ghana, as for all sovereigns Ghana’s restructuring of public debt in 2006 has a negative impact on the credit profile.
Global Citizen Festival raises $2.4 Billion to end extreme poverty
Pledges totalling $2.4billion were announced as part of activities to mark the Global Citizen Festival in New York City and Accra on Saturday, September 24, 2022.
Key commitments were announced to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the festival’s impact and advocacy, through the hard work of many partner organizations.
A statement issued by Global Citizen said the 2022 Festival saw “more than US$800 million announced to end extreme poverty NOW and US$1.6 billion announced by the European Commission and Canada as part of the seventh replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria on Sept. 21, in addition to the announcement of five companies signing on to the UN-led Race to Zero initiative to reach net-zero emissions by 2050”.
Of this funding, more than US$440 million was earmarked exclusively to initiatives to end extreme poverty on the African continent, with the remainder intended to reach people around the world, including across Africa.
The Global Citizen Festival campaign announced commitments by world leaders and governments in support of ending poverty now, including Canada, Belgium, Denmark, the European Commission, Germany, Ghana, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, United Nations, and the United States.
From around the world, messages of support for Global Citizen’s End Extreme Poverty NOW campaign were received by President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, President of France Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez, COP27 Youth Envoy Dr. Omnia el Omrani, Taoiseach of Ireland Micheál Martin, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros, COP26 President Alok Sharma, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, US Rep. Jamie Raskin, US Rep. Ann Wagner, and US Rep. John Curtis.
Financial and policy announcements were also made by many corporate, philanthropic, and NGO partners including Accenture, Cisco, Citi, Delta, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, Ford Foundation, Gavi and Girl Effect, the Global Menstrual Equity Hygiene Accelerator, Lego Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Rotary International, Verizon, WWT, YouTube and Google.org.
“Amidst all the doomsday messages we hear today, hope lies in the fact that millions of citizens are rising up to take action, more than any other point in history. 10 years ago, Global Citizen was just an idea – and 10 years from now we’ll see a generation of Global Citizens running for office, starting companies, and transforming communities,” said Hugh Evans, Co-Founder and CEO, Global Citizen.
In support of the Global Citizen campaign to defend the planet and take climate action NOW, five businesses officially signed on to the Race to Zero campaign to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as a part of Global Citizen Festival, including American Eagle Outfitters, Betterfly, Harith General Partners, Juan Valdez Café, and WWT.
Global Citizens have taken more than 2 million actions with Global Citizen in 2022 to help achieve Global Citizen’s mission to End Extreme Poverty NOW, more than doubling the record previously set by the international advocacy organization.
“With 43 days to go to COP, we need countries to move from pledges to implementation — as youth we have a critical role to play in making sure our nations do not backtrack on their promises,” said Dr. Omnia el Omrani, COP27 youth envoy, in a video message to Global Citizens at Global Citizen Festival.
With stages in Accra and New York, the event captured the Global Citizen ethos, channelling an eclectic array of musical talent in support of our efforts to End Extreme Poverty NOW and build momentum ahead of the G20 summit and UN Climate Conference, COP27, both in November.
BOST profit: State-owned enterprises can deliver value with right leadership – NAPO
Minister of Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has commended the Bulk Oil Storage and Distribution Company Limited (BOST) for the turnaround in its operational and revenue fortunes.
This comes on the back of the state-owned firm, increasing its profits to GH¢161million in 2021 after it recorded a loss of GH¢291 million in 2020.
Speaking at the first Annual General Meeting of the company, Dr. Opoku Prempeh said the development demonstrates that state-owned enterprises can deliver value through the right leadership and management to boost national development.
“The transformation is indeed massive, as evidenced in improved operational efficiency. This is the path to go if we should attain the path of State-Owned Enterprises contributing to the fiscal policy of government for its national growth and development agenda. Imagine if 100 SOEs each made GH¢150million net income,” Dr. Opoku Prempeh said.
The Minister disclosed that the improvement in BOST’s revenue was due to a core business strategy and an increase in petrol and diesel sales revenue of about 83 percent.
He added that an amount of US$611 million paid from the US$624 million debt accumulated in 2017 was generated from BOST’s internally generated funds.
The sector minister also lauded the management of the state-owned firm for the effective utilisation of revenue generated from the nine pesewas BOST margin on petroleum products.
He explained that proceeds from the petroleum levy were used to undertake renovation and repair works on fuel depots, decommissioning of tanks, revamping four river barges for fuel transportation on the Volta Lake, and the upgrade of the Akosombo jetty.
“The rest are upgrade and replacement of loading arms, pumps and valves across all the depots at Buipe-Bolgatanga-Petroleum-Product-Pipeline; Tema-Akosombo-Petroleum Product-Pipeline; and Bolgatanga Petroleum Export Depot among others.”
He continued, “Comparing figures, I also saw BOST reducing its administrative expenses from as high as GH¢538 million in 2016 with a staff strength of 349 to GH¢212 million in the year 2021 with a staff strength of 487.
The energy minister also commended BOST for deploying cost-cutting measures in its operations.
“Genuine administrative costs grow upward and not downward due to factors like inflation among others but I would like to commend management for the prudence that resulted in these massive reductions in the cost of operations.
The company is spending less while achieving more for the government and people of Ghana; from the face of the record, this is an impressive performance that the company’s board and management need to be commended for,” the energy minister stated.
Dr. Opoku Prempeh in his concluding remarks reaffirmed BOST of government’s commitment to make the entity an effective and profitable one.
“I am aware of recent developments in the mass media on BOST, but I am also aware of the political economy around operations of the company. Government is also aware of the turf-war to get the company derailed, and we are not falling for those who seek to engage the reverse button,” he emphasised.
Silver Star loses benz dealership deal in Ghana
Silver Star Auto Limited, a popular automobile firm in Ghana has lost its deal as the authorized distributors of Mercedes benz in Ghana.
A Press Statement issued on Thursday, September 15, 2022 by the Company said Mercedes Benz Germany has decided to engage a new multinational dealer for the Ghanaian and West African market at large albeit leading the market share by far in Ghana for luxury vehicles.
“We have tried our level best to make a case with Mercedes-Benz in Germany without luck, all appeals failed to have produce any response from them leaving us no choice but to seek redress from the courts,” the company said in its statement.
Despite the separation, SSAL assured its customers that it will still remain an independent trusted partner for Mercedes-Benz advice, support, and aftersales service.
Below is the full statement
England defender Harry Maguire gets roasted in Ghanaian parliament (Video)
Ghana vs Switzerland (2-0) Full Highlights Goals, Pre-Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Friendly Match (Video)
StorONE is transforming software-defined storage
ICANN Boost Africa Internet Access with New Root Server
Parliament to begin implementing no scanning, no entry directive today
PIAC, GNPC expected at Ofori-Atta censure hearing today
Public university workers remain on strike after continued stalemate
- England defender Harry Maguire gets roasted in Ghanaian parliament (Video) December 4, 2022
- Ghana vs Switzerland (2-0) Full Highlights Goals, Pre-Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Friendly Match (Video) November 18, 2022
- StorONE is transforming software-defined storage November 17, 2022
- ICANN Boost Africa Internet Access with New Root Server November 17, 2022
- Parliament to begin implementing no scanning, no entry directive today November 17, 2022
- PIAC, GNPC expected at Ofori-Atta censure hearing today November 17, 2022
- Public university workers remain on strike after continued stalemate November 17, 2022
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