Oil Proceeds To Be Directed Into GIF To Address Infrastructure Deficit

Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has participated as an observer in a roundtable discussion in Accra on the Ghana Investment Fund (GIF) which was announced in the 2014 Budget Statement last year.

The roundtable discussion focused on investment objectives, legal and governance and operations of the fund.

Officials of the Ministry of Finance, the World Bank, financial institutions, Parliamentary Select Committee on finance and Members of the Ghana Infrastructure Fund Committee, headed by Mr Ato Ahwoi, participated in the discussion. Also present were Mr James Klutse Avedzi, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance and Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Ranking Member on Finance.

In a remark, Mr Seth Terpker, Minister of Finance said Ghana’s move to a lower middle income status had made some international finance institutions to revise their requirements for accessing its facilities.

He cited as an example, a reduction of the grace period for the repayment of some facilities from 40 years to 20, where such nations could still borrow.

Mr Terkper said it is the intention of Government to channel the oil proceeds into the development of infrastructure, and that, the Ghana Infrastructure Fund is meant to address the country`s infrastructure deficit and also focus on strategic projects that will lead to job creation.

He said the Government would consolidate the use of commercial facilities to finance projects that can repay commercial loans government contracts directly.

Furthermore, a number of other sources will be explored, including amending the Petroleum Revenue Management Act to channel money into the fund.

Mr Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission and Senior Presidential Adviser, said in spite of Government setting up the fund, it will continue to facilitate business and also partner the private sector to deliver the country’s needed infrastructure.

Dr. Akoto Osei expressed support for the setting up of the fund.

President John Mahama last year initiated the Fund to tackle the huge annual infrastructure deficit of about US$1.5 billion, which was first announced in the government’s budget statement and economic policy for 2014.

When fully established, the GIF or Infra Fund will be a quasi-fiscal body chaired by the Minister of Finance. It will pursue its own ratings on the domestic and international financial and capital markets, and mainly focus on strategic infrastructure that will lead to job creation and the growth of the economy.