Business News of Wed, 30 Sep 200934

Govt to set up fund to manage oil revenue

Washington DC, Sept 30, GNA - Government is to set up a Growth Fund to manage oil revenue to ensure that the oil find makes a positive impact on Ghanaians and bring about a better standard of living. President John Atta Mills said this when he met World Bank President Robert Zoellick at the bank's headquarters in Washington DC on Tuesday. Briefing journalists after the meeting Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, said the World Bank President expressed admiration for the economic reforms that government had pursued to tighten up and stabilize the economy.


Their discussions centred on agriculture, infrastructure, gas and oil and the utilization of the oil funds.


The Bank pledged its support to the private sector through the International Finance Corporation.


President Mills said government was committed to creating jobs and deliver on its message to improve the living standards of Ghanaians and to ensure a better Ghana.


At a meeting with Mr Darius Mans, Acting Chief Executive of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), issues relating to the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) were discussed.


The meeting took stock of the challenges government had been facing with the implementation of the compact and the success chalked so far. While expressing his admiration for the success so far chalked and the implementation of the compact out of which Ghana had achieved half of all the 19 programmes, Mr Mans assured Ghana of the corporation's readiness to assist government to implement the programme successfully. Mr. Mans said a second programme would be launched and Ghana would be one of the first to be considered due to its outstanding performance. He said out of the 300,000 contracts awarded, 90 per cent had been awarded to Ghanaian contractors but the difficulty these local contractors faced was the size of their firms and their capacity to successfully implement the contract.

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Mr. Mans suggested merging of such Ghanaian firms with other local firms or even enter into partnerships with international firms. President Mills and Mr Mans discussed the options available for the contribution of extra $40 million to finance the gap for resettlement programmes and provision of utilities that had caused some delay in the full implementation of the first phase of the compact. President Mills said despite the challenges, government was ready to fully cooperate with the corporation.


Dr. Duffuor raised concerns about the exclusion of Ghanaian contractors from the programme, especially for projects in the Afram Plains.


He said government would be grateful if Ghanaian contractors were considered and allowed to partner foreign firms to undertake some of the contracts.


Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, said government appreciated the work done in the pineapple sector and that the programme had not only built capacity but also improved the living standards of the small scale farmers in that sector.


The President also met Mr Steven Hayes, President of the Corporate Council on Africa, ahead of the Seventh Biennial US Africa Business Summit in Washington DC.


The three-day Summit would provide comprehensive information on the latest trade and investment opportunities across Africa's most promising sectors including agribusiness, natural resources development, financing, health, infrastructure and tourism. 30 Sept 09

Source: GNA

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