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23.10.2008 Business & Finance

Businesses Rush To Capitalise On Oil Boom

The Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) has received more than 20 applications from companies and businesses to construct ultra-modern office complexes within the metropolis to position themselves for the oil business.

The assembly is yet to approve the applications.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Philip Kwesi Nkrumah, announced this in an address read on his behalf by the Presiding Member of the assembly, Mr Edwin Philips, at the launch of the e-zwich smart card national roadshow campaign in Takoradi.

Mr Nkrumah said Sekondi-Takoradi had been experiencing unprecedented influx of businesses since the announcement of the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the Western Region.

"As a result, new office complexes and warehouses are being built, existing buildings are being refurbished and converted into offices, warehouses and stores," he said.

This development, he said, posed a great challenge to the banking and financial institutions in the metropolis and required of them to design a wide-range of products and services to meet the specific needs of the emerging businesses in the metropolis.

"The assembly has positioned itself to play the leading role in facilitating the provision of infrastructure in various sectors to further improve the investment climate within the metropolis," he said.

Mr Nkrumah gave the assurance that the assembly was ready to offer any possible assistance to all existing and new businesses.

He said the government had recognised the need to modernise the banking and financial sector as major catalysts to attract the needed foreign direct investment for rapid economic growth.

Before the introduction of the new currency, he explained, the economy was significantly over burdened with a note regime.

"The re-denomination has undoubtedly enhanced the way we do business today," he said.

He further explained that the re-denomination of the cedi had helped to reduce the burden of carrying large volumes of money, reduced time in transactions, made easy entries into accounting books and eased statistical records.

The metro chief executive said the launch of the e-zwich smart card was another innovative product from the Bank of Ghana.

Mr Nkrumah said the e-zwich smart card provided a common platform for various banking and retail functions such as cash withdrawals, payment for goods and services, money transfers and the payment of salary and wages.

"The e-zwich enables the public to benefit from a more convenient, safer and easier way to spend and receive money by using a smart card," he added.

He said it was the expectation of the government that the introduction of the e-zwich smart card would result in the transformation of the predominantly cash payment systems in the country and bring monetary transactions up to international standards.

Also, he said, it would bring major improvements in the financial and payment systems of the country with the domination of electronic transactions.

Story by Kwame Asiedu Marfo.