A mutual fund designed to enable average Ghanaians invest in the country’s growing oil and gas industry has been launched in Accra.
Weston Oil and Gas Mutual Fund was set up by a group of young Ghanaian fund managers to raise a minimum of GHC50million selling 500,000 shares at 20Gp per share within the next three weeks, and another 250,000 shares over the next few years.
It would afford Ghanaians the opportunity to invest, through shares purchase, in the upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors and help grow the local SMEs in the industry to become profitable.
Nana Yaw Korankye is a board member of Weston Mutual Fund, and he has been telling Adom News currently all of Ghana’s oil fields put together are producing just about 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day in total, which is lower than the 250,000 barrel that just one oil field in Nigeria produces in a day.
“We have oil fields but not yet an oil industry because the needed human resource capacity and the funding needed to realize the provisions of the local content policy in the oil and gas sector is seriously lacking,” he noted.
He said there were lots of local Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), which lack the capital to expand across the country, and several other local agencies who also need funding to do more capacity building so that Ghana would move from being just “rent collectors” in the industry, to becoming real owners of the industry.
“So this is the first specialized fund which has been set up for the two noble purposes of giving the larger public the opportunity to invest in the industry so we can raise local funds to fund the growth of local players in the industry,” he said.
Nana Yaw Koranteng believes in the next four to six years, the oil industry in Ghana would see a significant growth and so this is the time for Ghanaians to invest against that bright future.
He said the fund is targeting state and private institutions as well as individuals to buy the shares offered and make the fund a fully Ghanaian-owned one.
“We look forward to investing 100% of the money to be raised into the industry in Ghana as we are required to by regulation and we trust the moving forward the fund would grow bigger and bigger,” he said.
Director-General of industry regulator, Securities Exchange Commission, Mr. Adu Anane Antwi the fund presents an opportunity for government and other institutions, which hitherto invest in conservative and non-performing instruments outside of Ghana, to invest locally.
“It would be good to see SSNIT and the managers of the government’s Heritage and Stabilization funds invest some of those money into this fund so it would help the local industry grow and benefit for the country’s oil resource,” he said.
He was however worried that fund managers, academic institutions and others are paying so much attention to the oil and gas industry, even though that resource is finite, but none paying that much attention to agriculture, which has and would also way be here.
“It is about time fund managers set up agricultural mutual funds and raised money to invest in the agricultural sector also because when the oil gets finished within the next ten to 15 years we would have to fall back on agriculture,” he said.
Mr. Anane Antwi was worried that the focus of the Agricultural Development Bank was, for instance, changed from a purely an investor into the agricultural sector, to a mainstream commercial bank, which now does a myriad of commercial activities.
“We need to go back to a strong focus on the agricultural sector and secure a future beyond oil and gas,” he said.
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