22.03.2005 Business & Finance

Government bent on reducing borrowing - Minister

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Accra, March 22, GNA - Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu on Tuesday said the Government was working to reduce its borrowing and the high cost of capital to attract more private investment.

He stated that interest rates and inflation had reduced drastically and the Government was working to reduce the macro-economic indicators further to facilitate the acquisition of capital to facilitate investment growth.

Mr Baah-Wiredu, who was answering questions from a visiting Swiss investment and trade delegation at a breakfast meeting in Accra, said the Government would solve the problems of the indicators of the macro-economy to attract more private investment.

The 20-member delegation led by Mr Oscar Knapp, Swiss Government Delegate for Economic Development and Trade Agreement, comprises officials and business people. It is in the country to strengthen and deepen existing bonds beyond governmental level and forge partnerships at the private level.

Private sector operators in construction, engineering, fruits, textiles and electricity were among the delegation. Switzerland's direct investment to Ghana amounts to 70 million dollars in about 50 projects.

In 2004, exports from Ghana to Switzerland amounted to 28 million dollars whereas imports from Switzerland to Ghana were about 21 million dollars.

Traditionally, Ghana has a positive trade balance with Switzerland, a document from the Embassy of Switzerland said.

Mr Baah-Wiredu stated the three pillars of government development strategy of human resources development, good governance and private sector development, and acknowledged the support of the Swiss Government in harmonising the budget.

He said Government had established schemes to attract private sector participation in the economy, pointing out that the Capital Venture Fund created to support and service industry had so far pooled 135 billion cedis.

He expressed the hope that Switzerland and Ghana would continue to have fruitful bilateral relations for their mutual benefits. Mr Knapp said the state could provide a good framework, but it was necessary to bring in more private sector participation to engineer economic growth.

He said Ghana was a relatively peaceful country, with political stability and good democratic culture, and reiterated that Switzerland was looking forward for private economic co-operation with Ghana. Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister for Private Sector Development, said the Ministry was a one-stop customer service centre, a focal point to address private investors' concern and invited the Swiss delegation for concrete investment in the provision of social services.

Deputy Minister Trade and Industry, Mr Kwadwo Affram Asiedu announced that an Export Trade House with agents had been established in the Ministry to ensure effective marketing of made in Ghana goods.

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