Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant, has said Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to Ghana in the first quarter of 2020 increased to 400 per cent prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Making the assertion in an interview on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show monitored by norvanreports, Mr Grant posited that on the back of the surge in FDIs for the first quarter of 2020, the Centre anticipated the year to be an exciting one for FDI inflows, but their expectations were almost dashed by the pandemic.
Mr Grant in his interview, commented on a number of issues which included the trade tensions between Ghana and Nigeria in the retail space leading to the proposal for the creation of a Ghana-Nigeria Business Council, investment opportunities for the country even amid covid-19 and awards received by his outfit during his tenure.
The Nigeria-Ghana Trade Tensions
The Government of Ghana (GoG) in the implementation of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act 2013, Act 865 and other retail laws and regulations, closed down some three hundred (300), six hundred (600) and two hundred and fifty (250) shops belonging to Nigerians in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.
This led to government being accused of targeting Nigerians in the retail space, which Mr Grant asserts is a complete misconception of the matter. According to him, a market surveillance by the relevant authorities revealed a gross non-compliance of trade laws and regulations of the country.
“The impression that Nigerians were being targeted was erroneous and fallacious, it was simply an issue of compliance with the law and nothing else,” he stated.
The matter however, escalated eventually causing a diplomatic row between the two countries as the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila led a high-powered delegation to Ghana to discuss the fast escalating trade issues.
At the end of Mr Gbajabiamila two day visit to Ghana, a business council to oversee trade related issues involving both countries was agreed to be set up.
The Ghana-Nigeria Business Council according to Mr Grant will help resolve a lot of trade issues between the two countries before they get out of hand.
Foreign Direct Investments
Speaking on Foreign Direct Investments accruing to the nation, Mr Grant posited that the country since 2016 has seen a tremendous increase in FDIs.
“In 2016 total FDI was about $2.4 billion but in 2017 it doubled to $4.9 billion and the following year it was $3.6 billion then in 2019 it was $3.4 billion,” he said.
Mr Grant attributed the surge in FDIs to the Centre doing things differently.
“My first year as CEO saw a sudden surge in FDI because we changed how things were been done, we became a bit more aggressive, did more investment targeting and selling more opportunities,” he noted.
Prior to Ghana recording its first Covid-19 case in March, Mr Grant asserts some 47 investments projects with a FDI value $108.9 million was to be undertaken.
“The first quarter was very encouraging and we were very optimistic for the rest of the year, because that was like a 400 per cent increment for the same period the previous year, then Covid hit,” he noted.
“In the second quarter our expectation was that everything will dry up but interestingly it didn’t and we saw FDI rise by the end of June from $180 million to $207 million despite the decline in FDI projects from 47 to 21,” he added.
Ghs19 billion spent to sustain businesses
Mr Grant speaking further in the interview applauded government for the measures taken to save businesses in the country which were at the mercy of the pandemic.
Mr Grant asserts that government in total has spent roughly Ghs 19 billion through the provision of stimulus packages for businesses and ‘freebies’ to citizens to minimize the impact of the pandemic.
“Government so far has done tremendously well with how it has managed the impact of the pandemic on businesses as well as on citizens, but it’s been a challenge because when covid hit and there was a major disruption to demand and supply chains and value chains and because of the nature of the disease, the priority then and still is, to save lives and livelihoods which government has done. And till date government has spent in excess of Ghs19 billion in a number of ways,” he stated.
“Through the Ghs 600 million stimulus package for MSMEs through the NBSSI, monies to the pharmaceutical and textile companies, relief packages for persons out of jobs, subsidies in electricity and water consumption among others,” he added.
Investors’ eyes set on Ghana
“A lot of investors are looking to invest in Africa particularly Ghana, and that is evident from the number business webinars and virtual conferences I participate in on almost a daily basis. I don’t think I have had this number of conferences even pre-covid,” he noted.
“Investors are interested in Ghana because of what the GIPC is doing, they see the efforts we are making even during covid and want to come to Ghana to invest and I’m talking about investors from across the world,” he noted.
Mr Grant speaking further stressed on the importance of FDIs to the growth of the country. He is of the view that no country has all the resources it needs to develop and in one way or the other needs FDIs as they are necessary to growth.
“Some people don’t really understand the real impact of FDI, there is no country in the world that I know of that has developed without FDI, there is none. And it is so because, very often countries do not have all the resources to drive their development agenda, the biggest pool of capital is from the private sector where the investors are. They are the ones that come to invest in the country and so your only job as a country is to become attractive either through doing the things that makes you a great investment destination or naturally having the needed natural resources to attract investors and luckily Ghana has both,” he stated.
GIPC in 2018, according to Mr Grant was adjudged the most Attractive Investment Destination in West Africa and Africa at large in the World Investment Report and by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
GIPC has also been awarded twice as the Best Investment Promotion Agency by CFI.com – a reputable financial journal. The Centre has also been awarded the Best Promotions Agency in Africa two years running.
The Annual Investment Meeting in Dubai – the biggest gathering of investors and investment companies in the world – has for 5 times adjudged GIPC as the Best Investment Promotion Agency in West and Central Africa.