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Finance minister says no sector will play second fiddle to oil and gas

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Dr. Kwabena Duffuor

Government would ensure that sectors such as agriculture and mining do not play second fiddle to oil and gas in the development of the Ghanaian economy, Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor reiterated on Monday.

Speaking at the opening session of the high level session of the consultative group meeting, he said government was taking steps to avoid the real risk of oil and gas dominating the economy to the neglect of everything else.

“That is not the economy we envisage, and government is determined not to let this happen,” the Minister said, adding that government was developing an appropriate legislative framework to govern the oil and gas industry and the management of petroleum revenues.

Two bills, the Petroleum Exploration Bill and the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill, that provide for clear assignment of institutional responsibilities for the assessment, collection and management of revenue are important pieces of legislation to help govern activities of oil and gas.

Dr Duffuor said the prudent and transparent use and management of oil and gas revenues and enhancing local content would be a priority to build the platform for economic growth and the structural transformation of the economy.

He said the country’s economic growth had been impressive in spite of the world economic crisis and the associated recession, and expressed the hope that the coming of oil and gas would help build capacity for higher and sustained growth.

Central Bank Governor Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said given the stable environment, the Bank of Ghana was seeking in the medium term to develop the bond market to play a central role in the financial system.

He said a developed bond market would add to the sources of funding investment in the Ghanaian economy and further deepen the financial intermediation process, adding that the Bank was fine-tuning the process for the issuance and trading of government securities.

In addition, the Bank intends to revamp the primary dealership arrangements with clear and unambiguous policies and investment guidelines including the revision of licensing requirements, among others.

Mr Amissah-Arthur said as the Bank set the stage for deepening the financial sector, monetary policy would continue to be guided by the objective of price stability and the Bank would aim at keeping inflation within the single digit.

“Currently, underlying trends in headline inflation indicate that inflation expectations are firmly anchored downwards, at least for the rest of this year,” he said.

Source: GNA

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