15 February 2011

Ghana: GSE Council Wants Legislation On Foreign Firms Listing

Government must adopt a proactive listing legislation that would ensure that companies in the banking, telecommunication and mining sectors are listed, Mr. Frank Adu, Chairman of the Ghana Stock Exchange Council has said.

Speaking at a press soiree to mark the 20th anniversary of the Exchange, Mr. Adu said a deliberate government policy to get foreign firms listed was the only way Ghanaians would benefit from the operations of the overseas companies.

The Ghana Stock Exchange was officially inaugurated in January 1991 and operated from the Kingsway building in the Business District of Accra, with three brokerage houses and 11 listed securities.

Mr. Adu said the Council would do all in its power to ensure that the necessary support was given to the Exchange to enable it become the preferred choice for corporate institutions in raising long-term capital for investments.

Besides, the Council will liaise with the Ministry of Finance and the Securities and Exchange Commission and other policy makers to adopt the necessary measures to enhance market efficiency and improve incentives for players in the market.

While acknowledging government commitment to facilitating the development of the bourse, Mr. Adu, however, expressed disappointment about the decision of the Executive to trade AngloGold Ashanti shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange instead of the local Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE). He said the action had deprived the country of the benefits that would have accrued from the trade.

Mr. Adu said the Exchange would utilise its new trading platform and settlement system to bring about greater efficiency and liquidity, raise professional standards and bring more companies to the market.

Mr. Kofi Yamoah, Managing Director of the GSE, said the Exchange had created significant wealth for individuals and funds that have been invested in the market from capital gains and dividends received over the years.

He said companies have raised GH ¢1.6 billion on the market for expansion, technology improvement and meeting capital requirements of regulators while more than 2.25 billion shares valued at GH ¢1 billion were traded on the bourse in the last 20 years.

Mr. Yamoah said the Stock Exchange had made significant contribution to the country's attraction as an investment destination, leading to many investors from US, Europe, Africa, Asia and Middle East participating in the market.

Besides, the stock market has created a pool of professionals such as dealers and investment advisors, fund and asset managers, research personnel and analysts and custodians and registrars.

He commended the media for the support in providing coverage for stock market activities, which had helped keep the investing public abreast of issues and developments on the market.

Mr. Yamoah said the main focus in the future, included repositioning the Exchange as a preferred choice for raising long-term capital, influencing policy around the stock market and utilisation of the depository services to the full.

In addition the Exchange would help grow existing businesses and develop new ones in line with the commercialisation goals to achieve greater financial sustainability.

Mr. Yamoah urged the media to impress on entrepreneurs to take their companies to the market and put pressure to bear on policy makers to adopt a local content listing policy or legislation by which many more companies in other sectors would list on the market.

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