Business News of 2014-02-17

GCNet presents dividend to govt

The Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) has presented an interim dividend of GH¢4 million to the government for the 2013 operational year.

This payment brings the total dividend paid to the government to GH¢67 million over the past decade.

The government, through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), holds equity stake in GCNet, which started operations in 2004 and improved collections from customs duties at the county’s entry points.

Besides the interim dividend, the government has also received indirect dividend through its agencies which hold stakes in GCNet. They are the Ghana Shippers Authority, which received GH¢2 million and the GH¢1 million paid to the Ghana Commercial Bank.

The Deputy Managing Director of GCNet, Mr Emmanuel Darko, presented the interim dividend to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson.

Mr Darko said the 2013 dividend payment was relatively lower compared with the previous years, but expressed the hope that the declaration of a final dividend would augment the total dividend paid so far.

He also pointed to the fact that GCNet had over the past two years invested nearly US$25 million in the automation of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the GRA and the Registrar-General’s Department.

“As this investment has been funded largely from GCNet’s internally generated funds, this has affected the distributable income available for payment to its shareholders as dividend,” Mr Darko pointed out.

He also stated that the completion of the development of the new GRA automation project and its operational acceptance at the end of 2013, as well as the expected full roll out of the system in 2014, especially for the Large Tax Offices (LTOs), would greatly enhance the efficiency of domestic tax collection by the GRA.

For his part, Mr Forson expressed regret that some state-owned enterprises and public-private partnerships often performed below expectation.

He, therefore, commended GCNet for being alive to its responsibilities and making regular dividend payments to the government.

The deputy finance minister also indicated that a revenue target of GH¢57 million had been set in 2014 as non-tax dividend contribution from SOEs and the PPP companies to the Budget, saying close monitoring would be made in their operations during the year.

He, therefore, urged GCNet and GRA to collaborate effectively for the realisation of the 2014 revenue targets.