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Business News Fri, 31 May 2019

National investment must be raised to achieve Ghana beyond aid — Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has stated that the country will need to raise substantially the level of national investment from the current 12.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product to 30 per cent and above to achieve the Ghana beyond aid vision and above.

“Much of this will have to come from domestic and foreign private finance.

So the government will have to put in place the policy, regulatory and institutional environment that makes Ghana attractive for private investment and businesses,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta was speaking at the National Development Forum organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) on the theme: “Ghana @ 100: An Agenda Towards a Solidly Developed Nation,” in Accra last Wednesday.

The forum was held to engage the public on the country’s development policy and build a consensus around national priorities and aspirations.

National investment

The Finance Minister said the government would also have a substantial role to play in undertaking strategic public investments in human and physical capital by making carefully selected interventions to catalyse and facilitate the private sector to venture into new technologies, new areas of production and new foreign markets.

“To do this, we need to significantly raise public revenue and also raise the efficiency of public expenditures,” he stated.

He said the nation needed to double its domestic savings rate from under 10 per cent of GDP to over 26 per cent.

Mr Ofori-Atta emphasised that the Ghana beyond aid vision was very ambitious and required serious changes in the fundamentals of the economy, stating that the country needed to grow the economy very fast, around nine per cent on average over the next 10 years.

New initiatives

He said the Ministry of Finance was working on a number of initiatives to further strengthen the sector in order to increase domestic savings and ease access to finance, particularly long-term finance for those in business.

Mr Ofori-Atta mentioned some of the initiatives to include strengthening the pension system, strengthening the EXIM Bank, launching a loan guarantee scheme to encourage bank lending to agriculture, launching a new dynamic development bank to provide long-term lending to agriculture and manufacturing; and a mortgage-finance scheme to accelerate development of the housing market and also facilitate access of Ghanaian workers to decent housing.

“Parallel with these initiatives, we are also working on a plan to make Ghana a dynamic financial hub of the West African sub-region, and thereby attract significant amounts of external private capital to help accelerate our drive to the Ghana we want,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the recent clean-up of the banking sector, led by the Bank of Ghana, had already laid a good foundation and that the Finance Ministry was going to capitalise on that to transform the economy.

Ghana @ 100

In a keynote address, the Chairman of the NDPC, Prof. Stephen Adei, noted that Ghana at the age of 100 must be a solidly developed country which was beyond aid.

He said there was the need for a long-term plan to realise the national vision of Ghana at 100.

“Ghana will be 100 years in 2057 and by that time, the country must be a solidly developed one, this should be the vision to which we must anchor our hopes, aspirations and efforts.

"I think that the Ghana Beyond Aid document and the draft 40-year long term plan provide the key elements to do that and the NDPC intends to work with the Presidency and Parliament to do exactly that by the end of 2019,” he added.

Source: Graphic.com.gh