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Government To Borrow Less From Domestic Market
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Growing feud between the private sector and government over the latter’s dominance in borrowing on the local market is expected to end soon.

It follows assertions from Finance Minister, Seth Tekper that government will now hit the international market more to raise cash.

Over 55% of the money government borrows comes from the local market and this means that government has been competing with the private sector for money domestically.

This causes interest rates to rise thereby making it more difficult for domestic businesses to borrow.

According to the Association of Ghana Industries, business barometer for the fourth quarter of 2012, difficulties in accessing credit and high interest rates topped the list of challenges hampering the growth of businesses in the country.

Mr. Tekper speaking to journalists on the country’s second Eurobond issued last month said as part of efforts to free the local financial market for the private sector, government will shift attention to the external bond market.

“There are a number of counterpart funds which we have contracted and we are going to use part of the loan to provide the financing that is needed for them because they are long term loans. This is so we do not put pressure on the domestic market, when we do that you put pressure on interest rates, you do what is called crowding that is you take more money that should go to the private sector and others. If government mixes its sources of financing well it would not have to put a lot of pressure on the domestic market.”

He also downplayed reports that the coupon on the Eurobond could have been lower if the country’s budget deficit was less. Ghana’s second Eurobond was oversubscribed by over 100 percent.

Despite its over subscription some financial analysts say the coupon on the Eurobond could have been lower if the country’s current macroeconomic problems including its high budget deficit were low.

But finance minister Seth Tekper disagreed saying, “investors do not look at one indicator even if they have concerns about deficits or current accounts. This is a ten year bond so they are also looking at the outlook for Ghana and as we said Ghana has a well diversified economy the fundamentals as far as growth, inflation and others are strong.”

“And when you look at it in terms of outlook which is which is a major point they take into account we know that the gas processing plant is back on stream, they also know that some of our gas fields and the TEN field will come on stream in 2016 these are all factors that will strengthen the economy,” he added.

Ghana’s coupon rate of 7.875 percent on the bond was well above that of Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia who have also issued Eurobonds in the last 12 months.

Government in the 2013 budget said it will cut the deficit to 9 percent of GDP this year from the 12 percent recorded last year.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is projecting the country’s fiscal deficit will rise by 10 percent of GDP this year about one percent higher than government’s projections.
Source: Citifmonline.com

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