Business News of Saturday, 1 July 2017
Ghana will soon issue a $2.5 billion energy bond to retire the country’s debt in the sector and to create space for increased investment in energy, the President has said.
By the end of 2016 Ghana was saddled with a $2.4 billion energy debt.
He noted that the government is working to move Ghana from dependence on thermal to renewable energy.
Speaking at the opening of the Development Finance Forum (DFF) in Accra, today May 31, 2017, President Nana Akufo-Addo encouraged Ghanaians to participate in the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG). The ECG is being privatized under a US government Millennium Challenge Account $500 million facility. The Private Sector Participation programme is expected to come to financial close by early September 2018, and the Concessionaire would commence the management of, operation of and investment in ECG by October 2018.
President Akufo-Addo said his government is working on a macro-economic framework that will enable private sector participation in the Ghanaian economy.
He indicated that the government is working on a long term agenda for Ghana beyond aid, adding that “Ghana is a land of opportunity.”
The President indicated his government’s commitment to addressing corruption by appointing a Special Prosecutor to prosecute corruption.
The President pointed out that the infrastructure needs of Ghana can’t be met without private sector finance, noting that his government, while working to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit from nine per cent in 2016 to 6.5 per cent in 2017, is instituting a number of tax reforms.
He said the government will grant capital gains tax exemption on stocks traded at the Ghana Stock Exchange, adding that all internal customs barriers in the country will be removed.
He said the government is working to promote investment in the agriculture and industrial sectors, he called on the development partners to consider risk reallocation instruments to trigger investment from the private sector.
“To mobilize finance, we need to cooperate more, we need to cooperate smart,” he said.
In his remarks, the World Bank Group Managing Director and CFO Joaquim Levy noted the importance of this year’s DFF is particularly special because it is the first one in Africa.
“It is notable that half of the participants represent the private sector, while the rest come from the public sector, think tanks and the NGOs. This kind of diversity provides a great setting for success in the DFF,” he said.
He called on participants to work together to uncover issues and innovate solutions to complex challenges that hinder private investment.
“Since 2015, this forum has played a critical role in shaping the development finance dialogue. For example, in Rotterdam, collectively, we laid the groundwork for the Multilateral Development Banks’ commitments in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
In Dublin, your comments and feedback helped us refine the design of a Private Sector Window – “PSW”- in the groundbreaking IDA18 replenishment. In the next two days you will hear about the PSW and how it can increase the development impact of private finance and economic growth in Africa and beyond,” he said.
The purpose of this year’s DFF is to come up with creative and concrete ideas to unlock and spur private investment in the African markets. This will not happen without alignment of public and private interests, he said.