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19.10.2005 General News

SEC calls for more funds

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Accra, Oct. 19, GNA - The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday asked government to make available adequate funding to enable it to perform the policing functions of the capital market. Speaking at a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Nii Sowah, Acting Director General of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), said there was no way the Commission could carry out its regulating activities in the market with the current low level of budgetary allocation.

"Giving the task to be performed, the Commission cannot operate in an environment of serious resource constraints both financial and human," he told the meeting called to provide the officials with the general direction of the capital market.

Top senior officials of the Ghana Stock Exchange and the SEC attended the meeting.

Dr Sowah said finance was critical for the growth and development of the economy and that an active capital market was needed to play a catalytic role in the growth process.

However, the investing public must have the confidence that their interest would be adequately guaranteed by the regulator, who ensures that everyone in the market plays by the rules. Dr Sowah said the Exchange was the source of long-term funds for companies to explore to get the needed funds to carry out various levels of investment.

He played down the current bearish sentiment being experienced by equities on the Ghana Stock Exchange and asked investors not to worry about the downward trend of the market since stock markets all over the world went through such cycles of falling prices. He said the current trend where about 70 per cent of issued shares on the Exchange were in the hands of non-resident foreign investors, who held on to them, was slowing down active trading in shares on the floor. Dr. Sowah said more Ghanaians must be encouraged to develop interest in investing in shares on the stock market, adding that only about 0.005 per cent of the country's 20 million people are participants in the market.

"This means that more public education needs to be carried out to get massive involvement in the market and that is the only way to develop."

He urged the government to adopt a deliberate but conscious policy of diversifying state owned enterprises through the stock market to enhance the viability of the market. Mr. Kofi Yamoah, Managing Director of the Stock Exchange, said the bearish sentiments experienced this year had impacted negatively on listings of equities on the bourse.

He said new listings were essential to excite activities on the market.

He added that the Exchange was in discussion with potential companies to list.

Nana Juaben-Boaten Siriboe, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, said government had made the passage of all the Bills necessary to enhance the operations of the financial market a priority.

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