Business News of 2014-05-20

BoG directed to revise foreign currency measures

Government has directed the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to review parts of its foreign currency regulations to safeguard foreign direct investment flow.

This is supposed to reverse the suffering and unintended consequences of the regulations, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry said on Monday.

The Central Bank announced measures in February aimed at shoring up the falling local currency especially, against the dollar, triggering panic within the business community.

But, the Trade Minister at a meeting with a team of US Energy Business Development experts assured investors of adequate security and government’s determination to revise the BoG decisions.

The Central Bank had said the measures which had long been flouted with impunity were simply aimed at enforcing existing guidelines to halt dollarisation in the country, and check wrongful lodging of funds.

Mr Iddrisu said: “Recently the BoG issued some directives and regulations that sent some shivering and panic to many of you investors.

“The president has requested the Bog to review some of those decisions so that the unintended consequences of those decisions do not affect you (investors).”

The United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker is leading a powerful Energy Business Development Mission to West Africa with stops in Ghana and Nigeria.

The Trade and Industry Minister said the challenges facing Ghana’s energy sector centred on power generation, transmission and management efficient bordered on energy delivery.

“Our industries are underperforming due to inadequate and unreliable power supply… consumers cannot have 24- hour power supply,” and that is a worrying development, he said.

The current power supply in the country stands at 280,000 megawatts but government hopes to raise the figure to 500,000 megawatts by 2016.

Mr Iddrisu called for renewal of Ghana-US relations by moving beyond signing memorandum of understanding to doing the real work.

Government is committed to improving peace and security as well as providing incentives of five to 10 years tax rebate to companies ready to invest in agriculture focusing on the rural areas.

The trade minister also calls on the US to review the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.

The Act is a legislation approved by the US Congress in May 2000 to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve economic relations between the United States and the region.

Mr Haruna said renewing mandate of the Act would help the development of Ghana’s textual industry.