Daily Watch – AKK financiers pull out over contract inflation, Ghana’s economy grows 3.1%

20th April 2023

Eight schoolgirls have escaped from kidnappers in Kaduna State two weeks after they were abducted on their way to school, Samuel Aruwan, Kaduna Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, said in a statement. All the hostages escaped from “a thick forest” on the border between Kaduna and central Niger State and walked for several days before reaching a location where they were given shelter, said Aruwan. In a related development, the Kaduna State Government has said that no fewer than 214 persons were killed because of attacks by terrorists, communal clashes and reprisals across the state from January to March 2023. The commissioner disclosed this in the first quarter of the 2023 security report he presented to the state Security Council. Aruwan explained that 196 males, 14 females and four minors were killed, while 746 citizens were kidnapped during the period under review. He also said that Kaduna Central Senatorial District remains top with 115 deaths.

Financiers of the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano pipeline have pulled out of the project, citing an alleged 570 percent inflated contract sum, far above the global threshold. The Guardian gathered that the companies — Infrastructure and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Infrastructure Bank of China and China Export Credit Agency (SINOSURE) – were to provide 85 percent or $2.38 billion funding requirements. Their Nigerian counterparts, Oilserve and Oando, were expected to shoulder the balance, 15 percent or $420 million. The project has been stalled with the development, as there is no funding to cover the cost of the second and third legs from Abuja to Kaduna and Kaduna to Kano. It was learnt that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), through the Nigeria Gas Transport Processing Company (NGTPC), had attempted to bridge the funding gap but lacked the needed liquidity.

Provisional estimates from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) indicate that Ghana’s economy expanded by 3.1 percent in 2022, 0.6 percent lower than the 3.7 percent forecast by the government. Industry recorded a GDP growth rate of 0.9 percent. But the Manufacturing sub-sector (-2.5 percent), Electricity (-3.3 percent), Water and Sewerage (-4.9 percent) and Construction (-4.0 percent) sub-sectors contracted. The Mining and Quarrying sub-sector recorded the highest year-on-year annual GDP growth rate of 8.1 percent for 2022. Also, the Agriculture sector expanded by 4.2 percent in 2022. The Fishing sub-sector recorded the highest year-on-year growth rate of 8.8 percent, while the Forestry and Logging sub-sector recorded the lowest at 1.7 percent. The Services sector recorded the highest GDP growth rate of 5.5 percent for 2022. The Information and Communication sub-sector recorded the highest year-on-year GDP growth rate of 19.7 percent. Meanwhile, the size of the economy was estimated at ¢610.2 billion in 2022, while Producer price inflation fell to 43.7 percent in March 2023 from 50.8 percent recorded in February 2023.

On Wednesday, the Russian private military, Wagner Group, denied it was operating in Sudan and said it had nothing to do with battles rocking the giant impoverished African state. Western diplomats in Khartoum said in March 2022 that Wagner was involved in illicit gold mining in Sudan, among other activities. Sudan denied this was the case. “Due to a large number of inquiries from various foreign media about Sudan, most of which are provocative, we consider it necessary to inform everyone that Wagner staff have not been in Sudan for more than two years,” the group wrote on Telegram. Wagner has not had contacts for a long time with either Sudan’s military ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, or paramilitary, Chief General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, whose forces are at the heart of the current conflict, it said. Companies associated with Wagner founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, have no financial interests in Sudan, it added, saying the conflict was a purely internal Sudanese affair.