Cocoa farmers and miners are the two main groups that are keeping the Ghanaian economy on its feet by way of foreign exchange, Mr Seth Emmanuel Terkper, the Minister of Finance, has alluded.
He said it was mainly through the export of cocoa and minerals that the Ghanaian economy got its supply of foreign exchange.
“Today, the cocoa farmer and the miner remain the main suppliers of forex to the economy,” he stressed, adding that some foreign exchange was also coming in on account of crude oil.
Speaking at a forum on: “The economy and prospects for business confidence”, jointly organised by the Graphic Business and the Fidelity Bank in Accra, Mr Terkper said Ghana, however, needed to work on the seasonality of the inflow of foreign exchange.
“There are peaks. Towards the end of the year, as happened last year, cocoa revenues come in. Now the bond revenue is also coming in and we are now going to see donors contributing. And so towards the end of the year, Ghana normally has relatively better supply of foreign exchange.
“It is the drying up of foreign exchange in the first half of every year that is the problem. So the issue is how to smoothen this, so that we remove the volatility that has affected this economy,” he said.
Stressing the need for a medium-term perspective to deal with foreign exchange issues, Mr Terkper emphasised that the issue should be addressed by both the government and the private sector.
He lamented that Ghana had become so dependent on imports that it affected its foreign exchange reserves.
Explaining why many export and import (exim) banks from the USA, China, Turkey and Korea were coming into Ghana, he said, “They were here to make exports, while Ghana imported their products.”
He tasked the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) to intensify their export activities to generate increased foreign exchange.
Ghana Infrastructure Fund
Mr Terkper stated further that the government launched the Ghana Infrastructure Fund as a medium-term measure to address the major issue of the central government having to fund all projects, as the balance sheet of most state-owned enterprises (SOEs) was not strong enough to handle major development projects.
He, nonetheless, lauded SOEs such as the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), the Ghana Cocoa Board, among others, for consolidating and borrowing on their own balance sheets.
The minister said although SOEs were the only government entities allowed to make profit, the government still had to pay debts owed by those SOEs which could not service loans contracted for them.
He questioned why the rainy season, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) could not generate revenue from property taxes to at least level roads in their jurisdictions.
“How come our MMDAs are not able to do this? How come it is the central government that has to do all of these?” he asked.
Source : http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/Cocoa-farmers-miners-sustaining-economy-Terkper-366958