Wednesday, 11 January 2017

My Kinda Love (By MissCeeci)

I have been unlucky in love.

No. It is not what you think.

I have never been broken hearted because of a man (well except that one time but not for the reasons you imagine).

I have been unfortunate in love because (apparently) I have a knack for making people (yes, both men and women) fall in love with me but I fear I may have never loved someone enough to let all of my hair down (figuratively of course).

Sometimes I feel like this thing called love is really not for me. But those times pass really quickly because I have too much love to give and I love the idea of being in love.

I know I have met my soulmate (if there is anything like that), but he is busy being with someone else and missing out on all this awesomeness (yes, I do say so myself). Maybe he knows we are soulmates, but he will most likely never know we are (or maybe we really aren’t and it is all in my imagination).

I really do want someone to share all my love and all my life with. I really want to share my kinda love with someone who wants to share his kinda love.

My kinda love is where we argue about the different waves of feminism and debate on what is being achieved by the feminist movement and why it is all not working, but we ultimately agree that everybody should be a feminist;

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A Rice Christmas!

Christmas is a period where lots of cooking go down, but cooking itself became a very important topic in my circles on social media when Muhammadu Buhari chose to tell the whole world that his wife belongs to the kitchen (like the blender and rice cooker, just to name a few items that actually belong to the kitchen). Well common sense will tell anyone who wants to eat to go to the kitchen to cook, buy food at a restaurant and/or (for those who can afford it) pay for the services of a cook. 

The love of my life likes rice so I decided to make her Christmas all about rice. Luckily for me, a friend added a bag of Cindy rice to the hamper he made for me. I nearly gave the rice out just because it wasn't a brand I'm used to but my rice aficionado Bae insisted I keep it (it was good new; I was on a budget. Once she said I should keep it means "problem solved". The money for rice will be used to purchase more mutton). Truth be told, I would have regretted giving out the bag of Cindy rice if I had to taste it somewhere else after. 

For breakfast I prepared her rice porridge (Bae doesn't like broken-rice porridge, and the full grain Cindy rice didn't disappoint), fried some eggs, toasted bread and served it in bed (you should have seen the grin; she had very little idea how her 25th was going to be lit). I asked her to stay in bed all she wants and rest (nah she didn't ... she had episodes of Orange is the New Black to watch) as I did the laundry and prepared mutton vegetable source. That afternoon my kitchen was lit; you can imagine how I wouldn't even hear my phone ring as the washing machine (could only find space at the kitchen) and blender were singing their own Feliz Navidad! Oh, she loved my mutton vegetable source when I served it with rice for lunch.

We prepared groundnut soup the previous weekend so I knew I had to take it out of the freezer around noon to stand any chance of a defrost so it could be used for an "Omo Tuo" supper. Ha! Cindy rice saved me from that "one-hand on a cooker" stress. It was smooth and soft. All I did was just to add some extra water and voila! I enjoy cooking, especially for her, but I learned how to cook from my father who also enjoyed cooking for his family. 

Men who cook don't have two heads and women don't belong to the kitchen.  

Monday, 8 February 2016

The New Income Tax Act (ACT 896) Reduces Your PAYE Burden


Amendments to The Income Tax Act, 2015 (ACT 896) was published by the Daily Graphic on Thursday February 4, 2016. This comes shortly after utility tariff hikes, fuel prices hikes and increases in other withholding taxes. Fortunately, the new PAYE (which is also a withholding tax), does not increase the tax burden of the Ghanaian income earner. For salaried workers, it actually increases their Take Home salary, other things being equal ... and of course, this has always been the case whenever there's an amendment to the Income Tax Act, just that most Ghanaians were not so certain if the rates on each threshold will be maintained in these "perilous times". The nontaxable chargeable income was increased from GHS 132 to GHS 216, and even though the subsequent thresholds on the table above sees increases, the rates are maintained.

Consider this example ... Koo Manu was employed by Abrabo Y3 Hard Company Limited on February 14, 2015. In his appointment letter, his gross monthly salary was stated as GHS 5,310.40 (subject to deductions for SSNIT contributions and income taxes). Under the old Income Tax Act, Koo Manu's take home salary was GHS 4,000, with a tax burden of GHS 1,018.33. This new income tax means that Koo Manu's income tax has reduced to GHS 948.96 ... his new Take Home salary should then read GHS 4,069.37 on his February 2016 payslip! What this means for Abrabo Y3 Hard is the obvious; SAME wage bill, but a reduction in the monthly statutory payments to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on behalf of Koo Manu IFO PAYE.

Demand a payslip from your company's accountant today! Make sure you're seeing some upward adjustment in your Take Home and if you have doubts, send me an email and I shall calculate your new PAYE and Take Home for you (for free). Times are hard Chaley, make every pesewa count!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Annus Horriblis: Ghana's Economy in 2015 & 2016

Thomas Sowell could not have said it any better … “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” If this year the economy continually drifted from showing so much promise when Mills was in charge, then I cannot sincerely expect any better from our government - one which shows little commitment to administer any form of retribution to corrupt officials - in the coming year … an election year! I comment and predict those aspects of the economy which affected me the most. 

  •  Power & Fuel

Karpower’s 215.22MW addition to the national grid has stabilized the supply of electricity to my area for the past five days. I expect this to continue throughout the first quarter of 2016. Paying more for power is obvious now; mismanagement beckons, but the sight on elections will probably ensure that power supply is sustained. Why this government scrapped off subsidies on fuel when commodity prices were falling still baffles me (IMF can side-eye me all they want). It wouldn’t surprise me though if we see a sudden drop in fuel prices somewhere next year.

  •  Exchange rates

There were reports early this year that investors were not enthused about our bonds. Well, if anything at all, macroeconomic indices have worsened. When my best friend wanted to sell me some dollars somewhere in the third quarter of this year, our negotiations on rates turned out to be a full blown economic dialogue; I was firm about the depreciation of the Cedi by end of year even though we witnessed what seemed like a miraculous gain by the Cedi against the Dollar. I expect the Cedi to continually depreciate in 2016!

  • Inflation

“Inflation is taxation without legislation” we all know who said that, but taxation with or without legislation is still doom for us. The recently read Budget Statement forecasts some tax hikes, worse so in withholding taxes. I completely agree with Reagan … "we don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much" and this coming year will probably witness an all-time high inflation in this country!

*drops mic*

[*thoughts* I'm no right-wing, not even low-key *pensive*]

Friday, 6 November 2015

Risky Sex: Shadow Banks & Conventional Banks

If you were born in the late 80's, then your childhood was inevitably garnished with the infectious "susu box savings" culture. Some of us though, preferred perforating an empty milk tin to serve the same purpose; we left the susu box for the dadabees. Adults around that period did their susu in groups: each member agreed to contribute a fixed amount monthly and a simple ballot determined who took the accrued sum each time the contributions were gathered.

Speaking of "susu," literature suggests that the term originated from Nigeria, but then in 1955, Canadian Catholic missionaries formed what became known as the first credit union in Africa in the Northern part of Ghana. The formalization of micro-finance in Ghana began in the 90's and since that period, the commercialization of MFIs (Micro-Finance Institutions) and other financial institutions (collectively referred to as Shadow Banks in recent times) red-blooded the growth of small businesses and sole proprietorships. However, when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, it brought the horrors of recession on the global economy, and fingers were pointed at shadow banks.

Financial experts bemoaned the improperly regulated shadow banking industry, cautioning and reminding the global economy of how they bait growing economies with their undeniable advantages and their role in the fight against poverty. Then of course, CHINA! In 2013, more than half of all lending in the pork-eating capital of the world came from shadow banks. Relative to their share of the global economic pie, they have the biggest regulatory arbitrage when it comes to shadow banking. Simply put, they spoon-feed shadow banks. This is done by restricting banks from lending to specific industries and offering higher returns on savings. That technically opens the backdoor of the restriction to banks: it encourages them to lend more to the shadow banks. Because shadow banks are not properly regulated, losses are prevalent. When that happens, their inability to payback obviously hurts the lending banks. The good news for China though: conventional banks have kicked aside shadow banks and have established themselves as the go-to guys for corporate funding. A laudable achievement, and a huge turnaround from mid 2014.

In Ghana, shadow banks and commercial banks are also complements, call them Kim and Kanye, or better kokonte and groundnut soup, but unlike China, these two keep having risky sex. Banks have acknowledged how pleasurable it is to lend to micro-finance and financial institutions are doing it vigorously. As of October 2014, the country had a staggering amount of registered and active MFIs and Financial Institutions: 92 and 7 respectively. Reviewing the list made me realize that most of those I see around and in major markets are not in fact registered, even though they have intimidating signboards with "Company Limited" next to their names. The shadow banking industry in Ghana has "kume preko" interest rates and most accept every electrical appliance common to Ghanaians as collateral. Truth is, they process loans faster (some now give loans in less than 45 minutes), establishing themselves as the go-to guys when individuals are hard-pressed. The paid-up capital required to incorporate a MFI is no child's play, but those who pose the major risks are the new ones or those with little working capital to absorb losses resulting from individuals who default (recovery rate of the industry is still abysmal).

Soon, some will drown and that will cast a shadow on the books of commercial banks who have either lent them money or supported/financed their incorporation. That phenomenon beckons, as the shadow banking industry still remains an improperly regulated one, but the two will keep indulging for a long time until one obviously gives the other an incurable STD.