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04.06.2004 Business & Finance

Government strategizing to access international Bond Markets - President

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Akosombo (E/R), June 4, GNA - Government and the Central Bank are strategizing to access the international and domestic bond markets in the light of the favourable credit rating by internationally acknowledged rating agencies.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, who announced this, said with the various market-driven reforms taking place within Ghana's business regulatory framework, the investment climate would continue to get even better.

He was addressing the opening session of the two-day Fifth Ghana Investors' Advisory Council (GIAC) Meeting at Akosombo. The Council, which was inaugurated and held its first meeting in Accra in May 2002, is a small high level and informal advisory group, chaired by President Kufuor.

It comprises top-level Corporate Executives, who assist to increase understanding between the Government and companies driving investments.

President Kufuor said the Bank of Ghana Act, the Banking Act and the Labour Law had been passed. The Insolvency Bill, Foreign Exchange Bill and long-term Savings Bill would soon be passed into law while the Company's Code is being reformed.

He said the National Medium Term Private Sector Development Strategy, which had been the over-arching strategy for private sector development, had also been developed and would be launched soon.

"These should go a long way to obliterate the vestiges of obstructive bureaucracy and red-tapeism, which have hitherto frustrated investors and the business community alike" he said.

On Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), President Kufuor said the Government was currently in deep discussions with investors on how to fully seize and maximize the benefits that might arise from the Management's closure offer to Ghana, which the Government considered to be a worth-while investment.

He said the Government was looking for the investment of capital and technical expertise because with proper management Ghana would be able to have a fully integrated aluminium production industry.

"This may be the one great opportunity which will help provide the quantum leap from a per capita income of 400 dollars to 1,000 dollars which is our medium term target", he said.

President Kufuor said the Cedi had continued to enjoy relative stability and from January to date, its depreciation against the dollar had averaged 1.81 per cent.

He said this explained why Ghanaians resident overseas continued to demonstrate great confidence in the economy and their transfers hit a record high of 1.5 billion dollars in 2003 and by the end of the first quarter of this year about 611.5 million dollars had been transferred into the Ghanaian economy.

Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development, said the enhanced collaboration between the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and the Inspection Companies had led to improved turn around time at the ports.

He commended the various Ministers of State for their hard-work that ensured the implementation of the recommendations of the Council and the Consultative Groups continued to collaborate with the Sector Ministers in the implementation processes and in some cases even playing leading roles in mobilizing funds for the implementation of some of the recommendations.

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