Business News of Thursday, 7 December 2017
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, has called for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in development projects as Ghana would need approximately 10 million dollars annually to develop the infrastructure sector.
He said this had led government to adopt alternative sources of funding, especially the PPP, to fast-track the process.
Mr Ofori-Attah was speaking during a conference of investors on the Boankra Inland Port and Eastern Railway Line Project at the Alisa Hotel in Accra.
He said the International Development Association of the World Bank Group was supporting the Government through the PPP project and the Ministry of Finance was leading that effort to build capacities in all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
He said the PPP had assisted the National Designated Authority to identify and prepare projects under the Partnership, of which the Eastern Railway Line and Boankra Inland Port are a part.
Mr Ofori- Attah said feasibility studies being undertaken suggested that the above mentioned projects, among others, had the potential to attract over six to 15 billion dollars of capital to the economy.
He said: “It is quite clear to us that given the nation’s saving rate of 17 per cent, and to actually go at that rate, we expect to grow beyond the Ghana without Aid to accrue foreign capital to achieve our goals.”
Mr Ofori-Atta said the effective implementation of the PPP would promote the use of private sector resources, create an enabling environment to attract investors, deliver efficient infrastructure services, promote efficient institutional arrangements and establish a framework for the management of commitments to the PPPs.
He said the PPP Bill, currently in Cabinet, made provisions for some guided principles, which include compliance and safeguards, risk allocations, affordability and sustainability, fairness and transparency, stakeholder consultations and application of relevant procurement procedures.
The Finance Minister said, in addition to the Bill, appropriate regulations and guidelines were also being prepared to assist the implementation process when the Bill was passed into law.
He said both the Boankra Inland Port and Eastern Railway Line projects would attract an investment of over two billion dollars during the implementation phase.
The Eastern Rail, which is 330 kilometres, would assist in opening up the enclave around Kumasi and contribute to the railway system to the northern part of the country to enhance Ghana’s trading activities with neighbouring landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.
This forms a total rail network of over 1400 kilometres that needs to be modernised.
Mr Ofori-Attah said the activities of the inland port would contribute effectively to make the Kumasi enclave a major trading hub in line with government’s policy of making Ghana the preferred business hub in the West African Sub-region.
“We are not requiring local partnership for local partnership sake. We had about 945 kilometres of railway between 1927 and 1958. We currently have under 100 kilometres and the facts remain that in linking the Ghanaian ownership to this important infrastructure, we stand the risk of repeating that. Caution, therefore, needs to be taken,” he said.
Mr Ofori-Attah said Ghanaian participation would be key to the Partnership and careful structuring would ensure its sustenance.
He encouraged investors to invest in Ghana to enjoy incentives such as peaceful environment and high level human capital.