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‘Put measures in place to off-load shares to raise development fund’ – NDPC Chairman

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The Chairman of the Economic Policy Committee at the National Development Planning Commission, (NDPC),  Dr.  Nii Kwaku Sowa, has urged Government to off-load some of its shares in State-Owned Enterprises and use the funds so raised for development. 

Dr. Sowa indicated that there had been a remarkable enhancement on the Ghana Stock Exchange, stating that from a humble beginning, the Ghana Stock Exchange now had 34 equities listed on the Exchange with total market asserts of almost 60 billion Ghana Cedis as at the end of June. 

Dr. Sowa in his address suggested that remittances by Ghanaians in diaspora could also be mobilised as development finance. 

“In 2018, Ghanaians in the diaspora are said to have remitted home about $3 billion. This is a huge flow of resources into the country. However, most of this goes into home construction and other consumption activities,” Dr Sowa expressed on Wednesday at the NDPC’s Third National Development Forum (NDF) held at the British Council, Accra.

The theme of the forum was “Innovative Financing for the Ghana@100 Development Agenda”, this is a continuation of the NDPC’s dialogue on national development, its financing, and how the Ghana @100 agenda would be attained. 

The Commission instituted the monthly forum to both inform and canvass the views of individuals and manifold stakeholder groups. 

Dr. Sowa said experts in finance had suggested the introduction of diaspora bonds as debt instruments by governments to raise development finance from it’s diaspora communities was a viable alternative to borrowing from the international capital market, multilateral development finance institutions (DFIs) or securing bilateral loans. 

“Again, the experts advise that securitization of remittances from Africa’s Diaspora can be another valuable source of development finance essentially as long-term funding through the sale of assets to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that then incurs debt secured (remittance-backed bonds) by the assets, which are collateralized by the future income stream,” he said.

He said development projects were mostly of medium to long term projects; stating that borrowing from banks and the public through the sale of Treasury bills, while a good way to plug a short-run budgetary gap, could be a costly way to finance a meaningful development project. 

He said with the reorganisation of the Pension Scheme in Ghana the portfolio of Assets Under Management has increased substantially. 

Dr. Sowa said by the close of 2018, Fund Managers reported total AUM of about 19.4 billion Ghana Cedis, of which Pension Funds alone contributed almost half. He said the establishment of the Ghana Fixed Income Market (GFIM) in 2015, had also gradually build the culture of secondary trading, thus making the Bond Market more active. 

Currently, there were several government securities of maturities ranging from 91 days to 15 years listed on that market with a total outstanding value in excess of GHC72billion. He added

It was significant to note that Corporate Bond issuance had also picked up on the GFIM. 

He said by the close of 2018 a total of 10 companies had raised a total of GHC7.3billion from the market, adding that this was only with four years into the commencement of trading on GFIM. 

Dr. Sowa said finance flows where the market was fair and efficient; “no investor will give up his or her funds where there are doubts about recouping the investment when it is due”. 

He said it was important for government to establish credibility beyond doubt that it was managing its resources well.

“This will mean a demonstration of a sturdy macroeconomic system; well-functioning institutions, particularly, those of law and order and the financial sector, and well-regulated and efficient financial system,” he said. 

“Once, these conditions are satisfied, finance is bound to flow in; only that special purpose vehicles would have to be established to source and direct the funding to the appropriate development projects. 

“I believe our goal of a high middle-income country is within reach, we only need to organize our house properly to take advantage of the occasions available.” 

By: Stephen Kojo Tetteh

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