Ghana will soon have a say in the determination of prices for commodities such as cocoa, gold and perhaps crude oil on the world market, as feasibility studies are set to begin into the establishment of a Commodities Trading Exchange in the country.
To this end, the National Resource Institute (NRI) of the Greenwich University in the United Kingdom has been appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), regulator of the capital market, to conduct studies into the possibility of establishing a commodity exchange for soft or agriculture commodities, Emmanuel Ashong Katai, Head of Research and Marketing at SEC informed CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE in an exclusive interview.
The NRI has been tasked to draw the comprehensive business plan for the exchange between the next four and six months as it begins work by the end of this month, he explained.
Other commodities such as metal where the nation boasts of gold, bauxite and manganese, as well as crude oil would be looked at later after the agriculture products have been dealt with, he added.
According to him, NRI will conduct studies for crops such as cocoa, and cotton among others which will enable it to come out with a grading or standardization system for the crops that will be traded on the exchange.
Subsequently, a business plan will be drafted for the setting up of the exchange.
The move comes as a huge break-through for the country which recently discovered about 3 billion barrels of crude oil at the Tano Basin and Cape Three points, all in the Western region.
Mr. Ashong Katai pointed out that sensitization workshops would also be held to solicit ideas from stakeholders after which an appropriate model would be drafted.
Prices of commodities are mostly traded in countries that have commodity trading exchanges such as the US Mercantile Exchange, London Commodity Exchange among others.
NRI was short-listed ahead of seven other companies to conduct studies into the establishment of the commodity trading exchange after a competitive bidding process.
Two local firms were among the eight companies that bid for the job.
Industry players are expected to welcome the move by the government to establish the commodity trading exchange to deepen Ghana's financial sector which is gradually becoming a hub in the West Africa sub-region.
The Ghana Stock Exchange which was established in 1993 with about seven companies has seen the number of listed companies increase to 35.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah