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19.11.2005 Business & Finance

Venture Capital Fund's Board sworn into Office

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Accra, Nov. 19 GNA - An eight-member Board of the Venture Capital Fund had been sworn-in at the Castle, Osu, to pave way for the take-off of the Fund, a crucial intervention by Government to support the private sector with long-term loans.

Dr S. Nii Noi Ashong is the Chairman. Ms Abena Amoah, Mr E. Safo Kwakye, Ms Frema Mensah. Mr S.S. Saaka, Paa Kofi Ansong, Mr D.K. Acolatse and Mr Daniel C. Gyimah are the other members.

They took the Official Oath and the Oath of Secrecry, administered by the Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu. The Law establishing the Fund makes it mandatory for the Board to be put in place before the appointment of its Chief Executive. Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, in brief remarks, said if Ghana was to achieve significant economic headway it was important to pay more attention to the development of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs).

This is because even in the developed countries, it were these enterprises that employ most people, he said, adding that, it was on the basis of this that the Government over the years had been devising several means to improve and make the SMEs become more vibrant. Mr Mpiani expressed the hope that the Government could trust the Board, made up of experts in finance, banking, the securities and private sector captains to prove equal to the challenge. Mr Baah-Wiredu said 200 billion cedis had been accumulated from the National Reconstruction Levy for the Fund, set for implementation in the first week of next month.

He said the promotion of the private sector was a major thrust of Government's development agenda and this informed the reduction of Corporate Tax as announced in this year's budget. The Minister said though the take off had been long in coming, he was sure there would be full co-operation from the Board to achieve results.

Mr Gyimah, who is the Managing Director of the National Investment Bank, on behalf of his colleague Board Members, said they would look at ways of getting more money into the Fund and ensure its efficient operation so that it could compare with those of South Africa and Kenya that had made the private sector of these countries soar to greater heights.

He recalled an earlier attempt in 1990 to establish a similar Fund under the Commonwealth Development Co-operation but which collapsed because re-payment commitments were not met. Mr Gyimah hoped the Fund's beneficiaries would not see the loans as gifts but would be truthful and honest to meet repayment schedules.

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