Business News of Friday, 16 November 2018



Ken Ofori Atta

In connecting Ghana through digitisation and communication, the Government has established 400 telephony sites to provide voice signals to 2,000 unserved communities to bridge the digital divide and ensure nationwide coverage by 2020.

Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, said in 2019, the Government would deploy an additional 600 telephony sites to provide voice signals to 1800 communities where coverage was limited or non-existent due to the inability of existing license operators to expand their networks.

He said the construction of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Park to provide multi-tenant infrastructure at Dawa through a Public Private Partnership arrangement was ongoing and was expected to be completed in 2019.

Mr Ofori-Atta made these remarks in his presentation of the 2019 Budget Statement and Financial Policy of the Government to Parliament on Thursday.

“A Concessionaire has been selected to assume responsibility of ECG’s core business of power distribution and shall be required to invest half a billion dollars in the network to improve efficiency and reduce commercial and technical losses,” he stated.

He noted that the rural electrification programme would be continued in 2019 using electrical conductors and cables, exclusively from local manufacturing companies.

He said the move was to support the local manufacturing industry and boost employment.

“Government undertakes to complete the extension of electricity to the whole country and is committed to working with local banks and entrepreneurs that are ready to invest in the energy sector,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said in line with the Government’s belief in investing in human capital, education was about to witness the largest capital expenditure in the sector for any single year in the last 50 years.

He said the Government would continue to ensure that those investments led to an increase.


With Daniel Lippman, David Beavers and Sarah Cammarata

FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL TOUR INCLUDES TRUMP HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: The Family Research Council’s “Washington D.C. Christian Heritage Tour & Summit” in March is the latest conservative confab scheduled to take place at the Trump International Hotel. The three-night jaunt includes accommodations at the hotel and the possibility of a briefing at the White House, plus a day at the Museum of the Bible and a private tour of Capitol Hill, POLITICO’s Lorraine Woellert reports. Tickets start at $2,498 for a double-occupancy room. Evangelical conservatives helped propel President Donald Trump into office and Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council’s president, has been a staunch defender of the administration. Trump, in turn, has delivered on promises to nominate conservative judges and this week endorsed a prison-reform plan backed by religious groups.

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— Perkins didn’t respond to requests for more information about the trip, nor did the White House. But government watchdogs had plenty to say. “It stinks,” said Norm Eisen, chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a frequent critic of the president’s. “It’s bad enough when there’s a tacit quid-pro-quo and people using the Trump hotel or other Trump properties to curry favor with the president,” Eisen continued. “Here you have something that breaks new ground because it at least raises the question of whether there’s a direct sale of access.”

— The junket is another example of why Trump should have divested from his businesses, said Delaney Marsco, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center. “We shouldn’t have to wonder if the president might give special treatment or consideration of policy ideas to folks who frequent his hotels,” Marsco said.

HOW TO SURVIVE A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION: K&L Gates is out with a new memo designed to give companies some guidance into a subject that’s the talk of K Street these days: the congressional investigations that Democrats are expected to launch once they reclaim the House majority. “Two themes will govern their actions: (1) greed — whether companies treated the public fairly; and, (2) potential corruption stemming from dealings with the Trump administration,” the firm writes. “They have already targeted pharmaceutical, oil and gas, chemical, financial services, technology, mining, and transportation companies. For-profit educational institutions, banks, and other lenders are not far behind. Recent oversight investigations on opioids, oil spills, privacy protections of tech giants, and universities involved in the university gymnastics assault scandal all demonstrate how companies and their executives can be drawn into these controversies.” Here’s the full memo.

Good afternoon, and welcome to PI. We only get what we give. Tips: and You can also follow us on Twitter: @theodoricmeyer and @marianne_levine.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: PI will not publish on Thursday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 23. Our next PI newsletter will publish on Monday, Nov. 26.

FACEBOOK FIRES DEFINERS: Facebook has terminated its contract with political communications firm Definers Public Affairs following a New York Times report that described Facebook as hiring consultants there who spread negative stories about rivals and questioned its critics’ funding,” POLITICO’s Steven Overly reports. “The Times found as part of a six-month investigation that staff at Definers and an affiliate wrote negative articles about Google and Apple that were frequently shared on conservative news sites. Facebook has clashed with both companies in various policy debates, including on privacy.” Facebook has spent $9.8 million on Washington lobbying this year and retains more than a dozen outside lobbying firms, disclosures show, although Definers wasn’t one of them, presumably because the firm’s work didn’t qualify as lobbying. Full story.

AHEAD OF THE FILINGS — INVARIANT SIGNS TWO: Heather Podesta’s Invariant has added two new lobbyist clients: 3M and Emulate, a Boston biotech company. It’s the first lobbying registration for Emulate. 3M also retains Baker Donelson, FTI Government Affairs, Gregory Cohen and Schumacher Partners International. The company’s health information systems division also retains Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas.

KOCH INDUSTRIES TAKES A SHOT AT TAX EXTENDERS:Koch Industries wants Congress to drop so-called tax extenders once and for all, including those that could help its own business, according to one of its lobbyists,” POLITICO’s Aaron Lorenzo reports. “Lawmakers are looking at renewing several dozen temporary tax provisions that direct benefits to select industries in the lame-duck session that began Tuesday. Supporters are encouraging Congress to revive the raft of extenders, which Philip Ellender, president of government and public affairs for Koch Industries, criticized as government favoritism. ‘Before this Congress adjourns, we strongly encourage lawmakers to reject the renewal of tax extenders,’ Ellender said in a statement that singled out a tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles and other energy-related tax benefits.” Full story.


Chad Griffin will step down as president of Human Rights Campaign next year, the group announced this morning.

Chris Grimm is now executive director of Air Travel Fairness, a coalition that represents travelers and online travel companies.

Michael Bloom, a former senior adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, has been promoted to vice president of federal government affairs at the Internet Association.

SPOTTED: At the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel Wednesday night for a reception supporting a recount in the Florida Senate race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott, according to a PI tipster: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer; Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Tom Udall (N.M.); Joe Trahern of Comcast; Peter Jacoby of AT&T; Heather Podesta of Invariant; former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) of the Lincoln Policy Group; Jessica Straus of Dish Network; former Rep. Jim Slattery (D-Kan.) of Wiley Rein; and Jose Ceballos of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

— At a Global Strategy Group party at Hill Country on Wednesday night, according to a PI tipster: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.); Rep.-elect Max Rose (D-N.Y.); Fred Hochberg, the former chairman and president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank; Guy Cecil of Priorities USA; Karen DeFilippi of EMILY’s List; Pete Maysmith of League of Conservation Voters; Todd Schulte of; Navin Nayak of the Center for American Progress; Dan Turrentine of H&R Block; Jessica Mackler of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Amanda Anderson of Uber and Paul Tencher of Sen. Ed Markey’s office.


Angry Nasty Democrats (PAC)
Catalyst PAC (PAC)
The Virginia Victory Fund Inc. (Leadership PAC: Rep.-elect Denver Riggleman)

AJW, Inc.: Ingevity Corporation
Baker & Hostetler LLP: Cardinal Health, Inc.
Ballard Partners: iAccess Technologies, Inc.
Ballard Partners: The Florida International University Board of Trustees
Bellevue Strategies, LLC: Cheyney University
Capitol Point Group, LLC: Infineon Technologies Americas Corp.
Freemyer & Associates P.C.: Hycroft Mining Corporation
Freemyer & Associates P.C.: Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
GuidePostStrategies, LLC: Honeywell International
Invariant LLC: Emulate, Inc.
K&L Gates, LLP: Stephen Kalayjian
Monument Policy Group, LLC: Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.
Nathanson+Hauck: Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
Ports America Group, Inc.: Ports America Group, Inc.
Principal to Principal, LLC (P2P): Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.
Team Hallahan LLC: Capitol Point Group (On Behalf of Infineon Technologies Americas Corp)
The Roosevelt Group: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld on behalf of Bloom Energy
The Roosevelt Group: Balfour Beatty Communities
The Roosevelt Group: Bay Defense Alliance, Inc.
The Roosevelt Group: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on behalf of Tetra Tech, Inc.
The Roosevelt Group: Legation Strategies on behalf of Industrial Realty Group
Thompson Coburn LLP: Trellis Company

Bellevue Strategies, LLC: Philadelphia International Airport
Bellevue Strategies, LLC: Smith Memorial Playground
HCM Strategists: Dexcom, Inc.