Daily Watch – 34 illegal refineries destroyed in Delta, Ghana’s debt crisis deepens

29th September 2023

Troops of Operation Delta Safe said they have uncovered and destroyed 34 illegal refining sites and apprehended 59 suspected oil thieves in two weeks. Director of Defence Media Operations, Edward Buba, said the troops also destroyed 38 dugout pits, 21 boats, 57 storage tanks, 10 vehicles, three tapping hoses, four drum receivers, 89 cooking ovens, six pumping machines and three outboard engines and recovered 696,250 litres of stolen crude oil, 54,400 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil, 1,200 litres of petrol, two motorcycles, four weapons and 78 assorted ammunition. In the Southeast, troops of Operation UDO KA conducted raids in Abia, Enugu, Imo and Anambra, killed 11 IPOB/ESN terrorists, arrested 20, rescued 15 kidnapped hostages and recovered arms and ammunition.

Telecom operators are considering jettisoning uniform tariffs, especially on voice services in the country. The implication of the move, if implemented, is that subscribers would be charged differently for telephony services depending on their locations. Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the Nigeria eGovernment Summit 2023, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said telcos have spoken to the NCC about the issue, saying they think the new move is the only way to mitigate the issue of multiple taxation and levies across state and local government levels.

Ghana’s debt stood at GH₵575.5 billion in June, representing 71.9 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the Bank of Ghana (BoG). This is a GH₵27.7 billion increase, compared with the GH₵547.8 billion debt in January 2023. The external component of the debt was GH₵315.8 billion in January, representing 39.4 percent of GDP, but reached GH₵328.6 billion in June, which is 41 percent of GDP. The domestic component of GH₵232. billion in January, which is 29 percent of GDP, increased to GH₵246.9 billion in June, representing 30.8 percent of GDP. In a related economic development, China has become the country’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade between the two countries reaching $10.2 billion in 2022, a 7.3 percent year-on-year increase. Of that, China exports to Ghana are almost $8 billion while Ghanaian exports grew almost 60 percent.

At least a dozen Nigerien soldiers were killed following an attack by hundreds of armed insurgents on motorbikes in the country’s southwest on Thursday morning, the defence ministry said in a statement. Seven soldiers were killed in combat while five others died in an accident while driving to reinforce the unit that had come under attack, the statement said. The attack took place about 190 km (118 miles) from the capital Niamey in Kandadji, near the tri-border zone of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The defence ministry statement said around a hundred insurgents were killed and their motorbikes and arms were destroyed. Two security sources said the army responded to the attack with ground troops as well as helicopters, one of which was hit but was able to return to its base.