The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemanu Koney, said, “If we really want to change the structure of our economy, it is not just by shouting but the good signals should be there. One of the key signals has to do with power.
This will show that we are ready to do business and we are inviting business people to come.”
He explained that his call was not only for the mining industry, which his outfit advocates for, but in the larger interest of the entire business community in this country.
He was speaking at a media orientation workshop on coverage of the private sector organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), on the theme, “Using the media to raise comprehensive coverage of challenges facing the Ghanaian private sector”.
Mr Koney further explained that not only must the supply of power be regular, but it should also be affordable, especially in a regulated market where tariffs are determined by the Public Regulatory and Utilities Commission (PURC).
“Power must be affordable and regular, I talk about affordability and it has to do with pricing of power, particularly for the mining industry. We have a situation now when you look at the PURC tariff system; it is something we need to look at seriously.
If you have a tariff structure which is so inverted that industry is paying much more than residential customers, then we have a problem,” he said.
According to him, regular supply of power, especially for industry, is a key tool that can attract investments into the economy to spur the much anticipated growth.
“I keep saying that yes, we want to encourage diversification of our economy, we want to encourage more manufacturing in this country, more fabrications, more service provision, but if the signals are not right, then there is a problem,” he said.
He added, “If the signal is right that am offering investors and manufacturers cost competitive and reliable power, they will come,” he said.
Promoting local content
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, said plans were far advanced to widen the local content policy so that more Ghanaians could have adequate ownership in businesses.
“Local content is very important to us, there is an inter-ministerial committee working on it on how to widen the local content policy that we have in the oil and gas sector and which to some extent is also in the mining sector,” he said.
He explained that it was at the business registration level that Ghanaians could have some form of ownership and as such it was working with the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) in that regard.
Surplus economic growth
A deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Casiel Ato Forson, said the ministry was projecting that by 2016, fiscal deficit would be a thing of the past and rather the economy would record surpluses.
“The economy will see a primary surplus of 0.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2016 and by 2017 we will do 0.2 per cent surplus. Obviously, this will mean that as soon as you throw surpluses, you can pay your existing debt, and plough back to take care of existing projects,” he said. –GB