Britain warns Ghana over inconsistent investment policy

The British High Commissioner in Ghana, Dr Nicholas Westcott, has said that the practice where incumbent governments disregard agreements signed with foreign investors by previous administrations can scare investors from coming into the country.

Dr Westcott said this in Accra on Wednesday at a public lecture organised by the Public Affairs Directorate of the University of Ghana.

It was on the theme, “Governments, Growth and Migration: Britain and Ghana Compared.”

“It’s not just telling foreign investors they are welcome,” the High Commissioner said adding that “we have to prove it, demonstrate a consistent policy and an open economy.”

“These days, there is intense competition for investment throughout the world. The same applies to Ghana as to the UK. Consistency, not just over four years but over ten or twenty years, will be vital for the foreign investors, and contracts, once signed, should be respected,” he added.

Dr Westcott called for a coherent and consistent long-term economic policy to guide the country’s development agenda.

The High Commissioner also urged the government to consider the public sector reform seriously to ensure that the tax payers had good value for money, stressing that Ghana had not only what was one of the proportionately largest public sectors in Africa, but one of the largest public deficits.

Dr Westcott argued that trade liberalization underpinned the growth of Britain and the other emerging economies under state ownership, saying that British car manufacturing had for instance, plunged into the doldrums until it was privatized into foreign hands, adding that “under foreign ownership, the UK still makes cars and sells them at profit.”

Ghana, he said could also follow suit to develop her economy. “Privatisation enhances competition,” he added.

Touching on the new oil find, he urged the government to look for the right investors to invest in the industry.

He said when Britain struck oil in the 1960s; it lacked the domestic capacity to develop the oil resources but relied on foreign investors, saying the “risk was borne by others, the revenue still came to us”.

Dr Westcott said Ghana could follow the example of Britain to develop her oil resources.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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  1. Onua says

    The agents of neo-colonialist are doing it again! This time they are given public lectures in our highest institutions where future leaders of this nation will emerge!
    Why on earth should a high commissioner be given chance to lecture future leaders? Will a Ghanaian high commissioner be given same opportunity at any prestigious learning center in Britain?
    This Nicholas Westcott guy is here telling us to honor ANY disastrous agreements even if is against national interest! That any passed governments made with any other country without RE-view? And eventually NULLIFICATION?! in the name of foreign investment? What kind of thinking is that? Why do we acquire knowledge? So Nicholas Westcott is telling Ghanaians not to make RE-search for advancement? Will Britain practice what he is proposing to GHANA? will he say that when those agreements were made with let’s say: countries like Zimbabwe, Russia, China, Myanmar or Brazil for a supply of inter-continental missiles or any other equipment that turns GHANA into a macho country? ACCRA should tell LONDON agreements are void when we are not winners!!

  2. Joseph Kwasi Dzitse says

    What is the British High Commissioner in Ghana, Dr Nicholas Westcott trying to tell us? What he says is not a new thing to us as Ghanaians. We are above such talks and we need people who will bring investors to the country and not people who talks to scare potential investors away.

    For God sake, does it mean that Ghanaian businesses can break the laws of the British? Can a Ghanaian company bribe the whole of British Parliament with 5000 dollars each and which will be accepted?.

    My advice to Dr Nicholas Westcott is that, the days of bribing Parliament are over. We will grow what we will eat and eat what we grow. We will not sit down in the name of foreign investors to set our country back. Apart from providing employment to few Ghanaians, where does the bulk of the profit goes?

    Companies such as Total and Standard Chartered banks do not own assets but preferred to stay in rented buildings. They always afraid of cup-de-tat. They make huge sums of money from Ghana and send the profit to develop their country of origin.

    With the tax system, because they know that we will charge them high, they have decided to sign a treaty with us. Only God knows when Africa for that matter Ghana will leave the hands of the so called ANGELS.

    They should give us a break and allow Africans to do their own form of Government.

  3. Qamar Ashraf says

    The BHC is correct up to a point – agreements must be honoured by future administrations but that does not mean that they cannot be renegotiated – especially if it is later discovered that the agreements were made based on inaccurate or misleading information – something that the British have much experience in. History teaches us much and should be ignored at your peril but ex-colonialists always have a separate agenda…..always.
    Nevertheless the BHC is correct in the general statements re trade-liberalisation; public sector reform; privatisation in select areas – all these can bring massive benefits to Ghanaians if managed correctly.
    And i disagree with the comment from Joseph Dzitse – it is allegedly possible to buy up lots of parliament for 5000 dollars each as recent scandals in the UK show

  4. Didi says

    What the BHC is saying is very true. The first two guys’ submission makes me feel they are NDC guys. This issue is not a matter of who is in and who is out. It is a national problem. NPP and NDC are all found of this non sensical act. It is true that some agreements may not be in favour of the nation’s development but can some one tell me chest out that ALL the agreements and contracts signed were to the detriments of the nation. Of course not, so its high time politicians and all of us begin to think for the country and not our own political agenda. All political parties must be pressured by us to stop putting away contracts and agreements made before their coming into power.These behaviours are part of the reason why many projects like road construction have been abandoned and yet we all complain we were stuck in traffic. For once, BE A GHANAIAN and not an NPP or NDC. We all have to support the BHC’s input. God bless Ghana

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