6,000 new jobs to be created
...with 3.7 billion dollars investment in VALCO Akosombo (E/R), March 31, GNA - The Government with its private sector partners is to inject 3.7 billion dollars into the operations of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) to create additional 6,000 jobs, President John Agyekum Kufuor has announced.
This investment, to span a four-year period, would enable Ghana to use VALCO to anchor an integrated aluminium industry, he said. Opening the Seventh bi-annual meeting of the Ghana Investment Advisory Council (GIAC) at Akosombo on Friday, President Kufuor said the success of the venture would lead to the realisation of the country's goal of achieving middle-income status.
The GIAC provides, among other things, feedback on policy reform and their impact on the investment climate; identifies priority areas for change or improvement and suggests solutions based on practical investor experience.
The three-day meeting would provide the platform to evaluate progress and recommendations and determine the future of the country's private sector.
President Kufuor said to open up the economy for accelerated growth; the Government was seriously considering accessing the capital fund market internationally.
He said this would be done with all due caution to ensure that it would yield positive results for the economy.
He made reference to the World Bank Study - Doing Business in 2006 - that rated Ghana first, as the easiest place for doing business in West Africa, 9th in Africa and 82nd in the world.
Additionally, the Ghana Business Leaders' Confidence Index undertaken during the last quarter of 2005 by the Steadman Group showed that business confidence was high.
Some 73 per cent of business executives interviewed said the current economic conditions were better than six months before while 87 per cent were confident that conditions would be better still in the next six months.
President Kufuor identified the link between capital and investment as crucial to the achievement of sustained economic growth.
He, therefore, welcomed the growth in mutual funds and other capital produce, the decrease in secondary requirements from 35 per cent to 15 per cent, decline in interest rates and the drop in inflation to 12.1 per cent in February 2006.
He said the vision of middle-income status was backed by viable policies, premised on hard gains, adding that the almost seven billion dollars debt cancelled by bi-lateral and multi-lateral creditors had provided economic space and focus on Government's priorities.
Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (PSI), said last year was the best for President Kufuor's Government citing reaching the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completing point with its subsequent debt cancellation and qualifying for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA. 31 March 06