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15.02.2006 Business & Finance

Let's strengthen our domestic capital market - Baah-Wiredu

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Accra, Feb. 15, GNA - Finance and Economic Planning Minister Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu on Wednesday urged State financial and revenue collecting organisations to be innovative and to build a strong domestic capital market as basis to attract foreign inflows.

"Without a strong domestic capital market, nobody will respect you when you go out seeking financial assistance," Mr Baah-Wiredu said. Mr Baah-Wiredu made the point in Accra when he opened the first meeting of State organisations in the financial sector and the revenue collecting agencies to discuss the role of divestiture and privatisation of Government Assets in Capital Market development.

Among the attending organisations, which would hold series of discussions on the development of the domestic capital market within the first quarter of the year, are the Ministry of Finance, the Internal Revenue Service, the VAT Service, the Ghana Stock Exchange, Bank of Ghana and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said there had been foreign submissions for capital during the past year, but for trafficking and other reasons it was necessary it was to be sure of their sources, adding that much as foreign inflows were fine they came with conditions.

Also, debt cancellation also came in streams depending on domestic means of inflows, the Finance Minister said.

He said the chunk of remittances from Ghanaians living abroad went into estate development, with attendant need to develop other social infrastructural services.

This necessitated the raising of more domestic capital to finance Government projects and social services.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said submissions from all Government agencies amounted to four billion dollars, and a total of an additional 720 million dollars were needed out of the Budget to develop the Accra - Cape Coast and Accra - Kumasi roads, adding that 250 million dollars were also needed for recent housing projects that Government was recently undertaking.

The Finance Minister said the Government was working with the Growth and Poverty Reduction Facility and the next phase of the facility was to be within the framework of the Policy Support Instrument and Policy Signal Instrument (PSI), and the nation expected to have a window in which it had a cup of borrowing about 100 million dollars. The Minister called on the Ghana Stock Exchange and other State revenue mobilising agencies to prepare themselves in the current framework on the PSI, which would end in October 2006.

Mr Baah-Wiredu said Government policy was to dispose off many shares within a proper regulatory system, and added that a team would start inspection to ensure that District Budget Officers incorporated non-traditional sectors in their revenue generation plans. Mr Ekow Afedzi, General Manager of the Ghana Stock Exchange, said it was time to raise long-term bonds. 15 Feb. 06