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Mills: This is a new Ghana   
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President John Atta Mills said on Monday that Government was building on the macro-economic gains achieved in the past nine months, in addition to other progressive reforms, to make Ghana an investment destination of choice.

He debunked allegations that Government was anti-growth, explaining that Government had to make payments.

With an assurance of no Government interference in genuine private investment, the President said there was now a new Ghana and invited local and international business communities to partner Government for investment for mutual benefits.

In a keynote address at the Second Business Roundtable of the Economist Conferences of business moguls and captains of industry with the Government of Ghana in Accra, President Mills said Government was interested in fair partnership that would inure to the benefit of the investor and help build a better Ghana.

He expressed worry about distortions in the international trade systems such as unfair subsidies and dumping, and stressed the need for international trade laws to be respected by Ghana's trade partners.

Multi-nationals, he said, must also live up to their social responsibilities.

President Mills said Government was interested in technical and technology transfer, and a partnership that did not neglect or lead to the exclusion of local people.

He repeated Government's determination to make Ghana's oil discovery a blessing rather than a curse.

President Mills said Ghana had taken a cue from lessons from other oil producing nations, and he had therefore directed the Ministries of Finance and Energy to fashion out a Petroleum Revenue Bill to regulate the use of proceeds from Ghana's oil exploitation.

President Mills reassured investors that Government would create the necessary environment to facilitate the participation of the private sector as a major ally in business growth and development.

Mr Philip Walker, a Senior Editor of the Economist magazine, said Ghana had been ranked the seventh best place of doing business in Africa and the best in West Africa. It is also the easiest place to register business in Africa.

Moreover it has a strong political stability, stable democracy with progressive business reforms.

The country was, however, challenged by low level infrastructure, high import bills and fiscal deficits, Mr Walker said, adding that transparency would be the watchword in the next two years.

Trade and Industry Minister Hannah Tetteh, said a new regime for legal reforms was underway in the second phase of the Trade Sector Reform since the first one initiated four years ago had not had any far reaching effects.

The Second Business Roundtable is organised by the Economist Conferences, a division of the Economist Intelligence Unit of the Economist Group, and publisher of the Economist magazine.

Issues to be debated at the Roundtable include "Managing the Impact of the Global Recession: The Next Step", "Setting Priorities for Ghana: New Initiatives and Directives", "What Will the Government do to Stimulate the Economy?" "Should the Government Protect Ghanaian Industries?" and "Tackling Corruption and Vested Interest- how High on the Agenda".

Others are "Managing Revenue Inflows from the Emerging Oil Sector", "Moving Away from the Reliance on Aid" and "What is the Government Doing to Maintain Investor Confidence?"

International business consultants, bankers and ministers of state in Ghana would be speaking at the forum.
Source: GNA

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