Business News of 2014-06-20

Dutch business delegation calls on Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama says the economy has started recovering and the mid-term prospects, especially in growth and revenue generation, look very bright. He said the positive signals were mainly due to the homegrown measures introduced by the government and, therefore, urged Ghana's development partners to support the government to implement them successfully.

Receiving the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms Elisabeth Maria Josepha Ploumen at the Flagstaff House yesterday, the President said, "We are growing at an average of about seven per cent, which is showing in certain sectors of the economy, especially, in oil and gas”.

The country, he said, was also witnessing a decline in the deficit which reached 11.8 per cent in 2012. The Dutch minister is in the country with 50 business men and women to explore investment opportunities.

President Mahama said although the deficit was coming down, it was not as fast as expected. "But we are determined to bring it back to single digit and as low as possible" he said.

On energy, the President said demand was outstripping the ability to produce power. "Exactly a year ago, our total power consumption was 1,670 megawatts. One year on, this has jumped to 1,920 megawatts. "This means we should be adding more than 200 megawatts of power every year to be able to match up to the demand," he said.

He added that The Netherlands had a lot of comparative advantage in renewable energy production and urged them to explore that sector. President Mahama said Ghana was looking to utilise the advantages it had in agriculture under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Ms Ploumen said The Netherlands had enjoyed fruitful relations with Ghana, and that was being taken to another level. "We are moving from aid to trade," she said, and added, “that is a win-win affair.”

She said the fact that she was in the country with 50 entrepreneurs was a testimony that her country wanted to deepen its investment and trade relations with Ghana. Ms Ploumen said the Dutch government had set aside $700 million to support small and medium enterprises in her country but with opportunities for other countries such as Ghana to access the fund.

While congratulating President Mahama on his election as ECOWAS Chairman, the minister noted that he had been elected as Chairman at a time that the sub regional body was going through challenging but promising times.

She said looking at Ghana’s economic growth; energy was one sector that needed all the support to enable the country to further advance. The Dutch team was accompanied to the Flagstaff House by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrissu, and Ghana's Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dr Tony Aidoo.

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