GHANA'S DOMESTIC receipt is expected to go up significantly during the Africa Cup of Nations competition which span from January 20 to February 10, 2008, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu has indicated.
According to the Finance Minister, the hospitality industry, especially hotels which have been heavily booked by the about one million visitors, will stimulate the economy, with the services sector being the greatest beneficiary.
Though he did not predict the total amount benefit to the country, Mr. Baah Wiredu said Ghana will gain so much from the competition than the about $150 million spend on the construction and renovation of the four stadia and training pitches by government.
“It is not only the services sector that will make positive gains from this competition, but also the agriculture and industry sectors where construction had already benefited immensely from the hosting of the competition,” Mr. Baah Wiredu explained.
According to the 2008 budget, government has targeted a GDP growth rate of 7 percent for this year and it is expected that the Ghana 2008 competition will influence the services sector much.
The services sector is expected to grow at a target of 8.2 percent for this year.
“We incorporated this competition in the 2008 budget and knew Ghana was going to rake in more cash since revenue was going to surge within the period.”
Mr. Baah Wiredu urged the use of the stadia and facilities provided for the competition for other economic gains, calling on the nation to bid for more games since it stands the chance of benefiting significantly from such events.
Several currencies particularly the Ghana cedi had already changed hands as various paraphernalia including jerseys, hats and clothes designed in the national colours of red, yellow and green had been sold to interested people. Some are still being sold.
During the last World Cup held in Germany, the retail sector appeared to have benefited from the soccer championship, with preliminary figures suggesting that shopkeepers saw additional revenues of $2.6 billion during the month-long competition. Sportswear maker Adidas also sold 1.7 million football shirts bearing the German national team's colors.
The World Cup also improved the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the short-term.
In a related development, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Paul Acquah has said that it is too early to capture the foreign exchange inflows that the cup of nation's competition has brought or make projections in that regard.
Answering questions at the quarterly meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Acquah said the indirect attention of the international market on this competition will trigger immense foreign investor participation.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah