Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has reaffirmed government’s commitment to prioritising access to competitive financing for the private sector, in order to stimulate economic growth and create more jobs for youths in the country.
Presenting the mid-year budget on the floor of parliament on Monday, July 31, 2023, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the private sector is the main stimulant of economic growth and job creation; hence, government has allocated substantial resources to critical institutions to provide financial intermediation and support to the private sector.
“Mr. Speaker, government remains committed to promoting access to competitive financing for the private sector. Over the course of the past five years, government has established critical institutions that are able to provide financial intermediation to the private sector,” the minister said.
Among the notable institutions established by government are the Ghana Incentive-based and Risk-Sharing Scheme for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL); Development Bank, Ghana (DBG); the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX); and the Venture Capital Trust-Fund (VCTF).
To propel the economy’s recovery, the Finance Minister said government has outlined specific measures to support these institutions and enhance their interactions with the private sector. The focus areas, he said, include the disbursement of approximately GH¢1billion in loans from the Development Bank Ghana (DBG) by end of the year.
He explained that this move seeks to provide the much-needed financial support to private sector businesses – especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enabling them to expand their operations and contribute to economic growth.
Secondly, the minister said to mitigate risk and attract more private sector actors to invest in the agriculture value chain, government through the Ghana Incentive-based and Risk-Sharing Scheme for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) and DBG Co-Guarantee will provide co-guarantees to the private sector. This collaborative effort will encourage increased investments in the agricultural sector and contribute to food security and employment opportunities.
Also, he said, government is seeking to operationalise a US$11million fund in partnership with private sector investors. This fund will augment the existing capital available for SMEs, supporting their growth and expansion. SMEs are critical drivers of economic development and job creation, and this financial boost will enable them to thrive.
Lastly, government will support the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) in executing commercially sustainable solutions: including the Agenda 111 initiative, aimed at improving healthcare infrastructure; the Accra-Tema motorway project; and the development of affordable university hostel accommodation. These projects, he said, are strategic for economic growth and national development.
During the presentation, he also outlined the upcoming Ghana Mutual Prosperity Dialogues as a public-private partnership to crowd-in foreign and local investment, and promote shared growth anchored on job creation, exports and import substitution.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said government aims to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, encourage innovation, and boost productivity with strengthened financial intermediation and support from critical institutions – for the private sector to play a pivotal role in driving economic recovery, job creation, and sustainable development in Ghana.