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Business News of Saturday, 4 November 2006

Source: GNA

Remittances hit 8 billion dollars

Beijing, Nov. 4, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has acknowledged the significant contribution Ghanaians abroad are making towards the sustenance of the national economy through their remittances, which is now estimated to hit an all time record of between 7-8 billion dollars by the end of 2006.
As of the first three months of the year, they had sent home a total of 2 billion dollars. Their total remittances in the year 2001 was 400 million dollars.
In all, there are about two million Ghanaians resident abroad. President Kufuor, who was addressing a meeting with the Ghanaian Community in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Friday, said the country's macro economy was doing so well with the national currency, the Cedi, now quoted on the Euro bond market.
"We are putting meaning to our desire to become the gateway to the West Africa sub-region. The efficient performance of the economy has made Ghana the country of choice."
President Kufuor was in Beijing to attend the China-Africa Heads of State Summit, which was meant to create a forum to define the investment and trade relations between Africa and China, an emerging economic power, in the coming years.
He was accompanied by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Foreign Minister, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister of Energy and other senior government officials.
Issues that came up during his meeting with the Ghanaian nationals included among others the need for efficiency in the tax collection system, nationalism, food security and the implementation of the Representation of the People's Act.
President Kufuor shared the concern among some members of the Community that Ghana was not generating enough revenue internally and identified bureaucracy in the tax collection system as a major cause. He said it was to help to cut down on the bureaucracy that a Public Sector Reform Ministry, had been set up.
In 2001, total revenue of 4 trillion cedis was collected internally. This went up to 26 trillion cedis last year and in 2007, it is targeted at 37 trillion cedis.
President Kufuor repeated the government's total commitment to ruling by law, saying, "We are sometimes accused of allowing too much freedom."
He said that was not in the least to suggest that they were weak adding that they would not sit back for anyone to take the freedom for licence to kill. The security system is strong enough.
The President conceded that even though multi-party democracy had strong and good points, it sometimes generated dangerous opportunism, citing the situation where some people lost their sense of nationalism, doing everything to discredit the government in power just to win over voters.
President Kufuor said it was important to ensure that the opportunism of partisanship was not allowed to threaten the national interest.
He said it was this that informed the government decision to redesign the Ministry of Information by adding to it national orientation.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the decision as to whether Ghanaians abroad would be able to participate in the 2008 presidential and parliamentary polls rested entirely with the Electoral Commission, the body charged with the conduct of elections. 04 Nov. 06