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24.03.2006 General News

No government decision on Private Remittances - Ministry

By GNA

Accra, March 24, GNA - Government on Friday denied media reports that it was considering retaining a percentage of inward remittances, saying no such decision had been made. A statement from the Ministry of Finance, signed by Nana Juaben Boaten Siriboe, Acting Chief Director, said government's intention was to promote discussion and debate on how the consequences of private inward transfers could be addressed.

These transfers, mainly to NGOs, religious bodies and individuals through the banks and finance companies for January to November last year amounted to 4.25 billion dollars, representing a 60.1 percent increase over the same period in 2004. The statement said while these inflows of foreign exchange shore up the economy by helping to stabilise the local currency, they did not offer any revenue at all to government. "However, these inflows go into private projects such as estate developments and capital projects that eventually call for the provision of related social services by government," the statement added.

The statement said it was necessary to highlight the problem with a view to promoting discussion on what measures needed to be put in place to correct this. He said Ghana could learn from the experiences of countries such as India, Pakistan, which had devised ways of mobilising resources from their money transfer industries. The Ministry said there was the need for broad discussion with all major stakeholders on the matter before any policy was issued and assured the public that no policy would be formulated before the required discussions were concluded.

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