Government plans to make Ghana centre for financial services in West Africa

Ken Ofori-Atta – Finance Minister

The government of Ghana in its 2018 budget statement is considering the possibility of making Ghana the centre for financial services in West Africa.

In the statement read by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in Parliament Wednesday November 15, 2017 the government announced plans to establish a taskforce in 2018 whose responsibility will be to draw out a strategy to ensure that major international banks and financial technology companies would be headquartered in Ghana.

According to Ofori-Atta, “positioning Ghana as an international financial services centre is intended to make it the preferred headquarters for all international banks operating in the sub-region. Ghana also is becoming the hub for the financial technology and payment systems for the region,” he said.

“The Hub is also intended to host the international private equity and venture capital firms to support entrepreneurship and access to long term capital by the private sector in the sub-region,”he added.

The government will be banking on Ghana’s democratic credentials and stability in the midst of a chaotic sub-region to woo major financial corporations to set up shop which would in turn lead to the creation of local jobs and associated benefits.

The government is hoping that Ghana will join an elite league including Mauritius, Singapore and London as a hub for massive financial activity.

Currently, Dakar (Senegal), Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and Lagos (Nigeria) serve as hosts for major financial institutions. It remains to see what incentives would be proposed to attract these institutions to relocate to Accra.

Touting the government’s economic achievement, the Minister indicated that Ghana was in crisis to the extent that the government was expected to do little more than  borrow more to incur more debt but not for the purpose of growing the economy but rather for servicing a fast-increasing debt. 

“Thankfully, President Akufo-Addo came into office with a positive mindset and inspired us all to see the invisible, feel the intangible and achieve the impossible.

“I am happy to note that we have turned the economy around and our policies are yielding results, restoring hope and bringing relief to Ghanaians. Personally, it is heart-warming when a parent runs up to you and says “thank you” for putting money in her purse, because she did not have to pay Gh¢2,000.00 for her two children in SHS; or when an excited teacher trainee shows you the text message notification of her allowance received. Yet, these are just two examples of the promises some said were impossible to fulfill,” he said.

According to him, the government has resolved to be fiscally disciplined and respect the limits set for government by Parliament.

“Again, I am glad to report that we are well on course to end the year with a fiscal deficit of 6.3 per cent; in fact, lower than the 6.5 per cent contained in the budget. If I may add, Mr Speaker, this is only the second time in a decade that a government has managed to stay within its budget deficit target,” he said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu

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