11.10.2006 Business & Finance

Ghana to become Africa's financial hub

Ghana to become Africa's financial hub
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The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu has disclosed that the government is working to position Ghana as the financial hub in the sub-region before it's term of office ends.
Kwadwo Baah Wiredu was speaking at the launch of the “securities week” in Accra yesterday.
He said for the government to achieve this aim, viable government agencies would be encouraged to “source part if not all their financing needs on the local bond or debt market in Ghana and floated on the Ghana Stock Exchange”.
This he said would enable Ghanaians to participate in it and create wealth for themselves.
“Ghana Cocoa Board which recently raised over US$800million from the international financial market through a syndicated loan facility is one such government agency with a high international credit rating grade to be encouraged to do so”, he said.
The Finance Minister noted that the government is also looking at reviewing the existing local government law to encourage viable municipal authorities in the country to borrow from the capital market by issuing municipal bonds.
“This will reduce the over-dependency of local government authorities on government budget which is already over-stretched, thereby promoting financial independence among viable government units”, he said.
The Chairman of the Board of the Securities Industry, Prof. G.K.A Ofosu in his address expressed his dissatisfaction at the way the media “black out the good news in the country”, but rather concentrate more on sensational news and politics.
Prof. Ofosu said Ghana is now enjoying a lot of good things that need to be told.
“Talk of the food prices that have gone down, the health insurance scheme and other good things the country is enjoying now. Have you ever found out why all these are making great strides for us? If they were sensational news or politics, your interest would have risen”, he said.
He dismissed the notion that the current load shedding is breaking our industries and said, “no company that strategizes well would be affected”.
“ As media personnel instead of talking about the negative aspects of this load shedding, you can also teach people how to conserve electricity”, he said.
He noted that whatever the media would do or say would either bring investors into the country or drive them away.
“You must help us to cultivate and encourage well-informed investors…as journalists, and social commentators, we expect you to take complicated events and concepts, and translate them into language that people from different walks of life can easily grasp”, he said.
The aim of the “securities week celebration is to increase the awareness of the role of the capital market in wealth creation.
The programme would begin on the 14th of November 2006 and end on the 18th of the same month.

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