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17.09.2002 General News

Ghana can't make it - Osafo Marfo

By Ghanaian Times
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The Minister of Finance, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo, has said that Ghana cannot meet the deadline for the convergence criteria for the West African Common Currency. He named the criteria as five percent inflation by 2003, budgetary discipline; reduced inflationary financing; and healthy reserves position.

He explained that Ghana, could not achieve five percent inflation by 2003. Mr Osafo Maafo was speaking in Accra at a three-day Africa Financial Sector Conference for Bankers and Finance Practitioners in West and Central Africa.

He said none of the five countries namely The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone could meet the deadline. Osafo Maafo said that the problem with the West African financial systems was that they had no defined roles and he therefore called their identification and definition.

The Minister stressed that it should be possible to determine the type of financial system Ghana needed and the ways to use it to promote business. Dr Paul Acquah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, condemned the lack of interest on the part of banks to grant credit to small and medium enterprises due to perceived risks.

He noted that the small and medium enterprises had been forced to rely on micro-finance and informal means to access credit. Dr Acquah therefore suggested that instead of dealing with only blue chip companies, the banks should design more innovative means to provide credit to small and medium enterprises.

He said the capital markets in most African countries had been left untapped, adding that it would require major fundamental and structural changes to develop them. The Governor urged the participants to provide solutions to problems affecting the growth of small and medium scale enterprises.

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