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Economic stability will attract investments — Ofori-Atta

Aug. 24, 2017, 1:39 p.m.

Government is convinced that a national fiscal policy that seeks to cap the deficit at 3-5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will help stabilise the economy and attract investment into the country, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has said.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Ghana Investment Summit in Accra, Mr Ofori-Atta said a kind of partnership with the private sector, whether local or international was required to ensure fiscal consolidation by containing deficit, boot out corruption, ensure interest rate is reasonable among other things, irrespective of whether “we go to the International Monetary Fund or not.”

“Until we get a stable and consolidated macroeconomic environment, we will be building on a quick sand but if we continue to be decent, we will get the type of response so we must hold onto the macroeconomic issues,” he said.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the goal of goverment’s investment agenda was to be the most business friendly on the continent through a deliberate orientation to attract the needed human and real capital expertise to be able to realise the type of economic transformation expected.

In the mid-year review of the budget, the government announced a downward review of the fiscal deficit target from 6.5 per cent of GDP to 6.3 per cent.

The fiscal deficit for last year was 9.3 per cent of GDP.

Managing the economy

Earlier in a speech during the summit, the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, said the challenge in investment promotion was the reversibility of the management of the economy which demanded that steps be taken to correct it.

He said maintaining a macro-economic stability was a compulsory prerequisite for attracting investment into the country.

“Nobody will invest if your economy keeps dancing. We must think through a way to put discipline on deficit by setting ourselves to certain limits. Ghana can become the obvious hub for investment for ECOWAS with a market of about 350 million if we do things right,” he said.

Mr Osafo-Maafo urged foreign investors to come in with their capital and know-how while assuring them of positive returns on their investments in the country than they would have earned in Europe.

“We are looking at not only one-district one-factory but developing the huge deposits of high-quality bauxite and iron ore, and which require capital and technical know-how,” he said.

Ghana best place for business

In an interview, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr Yofi Grant, said the centre was engaged in significant reforms aimed at removing the front cost of investment that were coming in, even from indigenous people so that the government could access its revenue.

He said there exist priority opportunities in energy, infrastructure, agro-processing and tourism.

“You know a lot of our people are in the service industry today and a lot in agriculture. We need to really upscale and move from an economy that is predicated on the export of raw materials to one of value added and processing and agric presents a great opportunity,” he said.

The summit

The two-day summit was under the auspices of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the Ministry of Finance.

Its objectives included showcasing Ghana as the premier investment destination in Africa; help government attract strategic and development funds for key projects; and match local business with investors and partners.