Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance, says the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) must continue to be run in the right way, with strong corporate governance and without undue political interference in its operations.
Ofori-Atta made these remarks when he inaugurated a nine-member, reconstituted board of GIIF, with Philip Addison as its chairman and Solomon Asamoah as chief executive officer.
GIIF is a US$325 million infrastructure investment vehicle established by the government to invest and develop infrastructure assets in Ghana.
Ofori-Atta said the government would continue to provide oversight and strategic direction for the Fund, but day-to-day oversight would rest with the chairman and the board.
The minister encouraged the board to be bold and proactive without acting recklessly, so GIIF can make things happen in the infrastructure space for Ghana with creativity and purpose.
He called on board members to help unlock new sources of finance and investment for the country and to work closely with other Ghanaian institutions, both public sector and private, to raise the skills levels needed to boost infrastructure investment and create more jobs.
The minister said a lack of fully developed infrastructure was one of the biggest impediments to economic activity and development in Ghana.
“It also negatively affects the quality of life of our people,” he said.
He said by creating Ghana’s own infrastructure investment vehicle in GIIF, which will mobilize and invest alongside the private sector, the country will create a Ghanaian- owned entity to help drive the national infrastructure agenda.
Ofori-Atta said GIIF has had a very productive first four years and now holds a portfolio of 12 investments worth $290 million in total. For each $1 invested, he added, GIIF had brought in $10 of outside money, so $2.9 billion will have been invested in Ghana.
It has invested in seven sectors – transportation (airport and seaport), power, ICT, tourism, mining, oil and gas, and affordable housing.
“It is also a profitable institution providing a financial return to the government. Furthermore, we are increasingly using GIIF to drive the government’s infrastructure agenda,” he said.
He said the government was using GIIF’s technical and private sector skills to drive state initiatives such as the refinancing of the expensive debts in the power sector (through Power-GIIF), Agenda 111 (Health GIIF), and PPPs (the Accra-Tema Motorway).
The minister said it helped to ensure that key infrastructure assets remain in Ghanaian ownership and under Ghanaian control and reduces reliance on foreign investors.
Philip Addison, the board chairman of GIIF, said the importance of helping Ghana address its infrastructure deficit is a vital part of the government’s agenda.
He recalled that both the president and the Minister for Finance have frequently said that unlocking private sector sources of funding for investment in Ghana’s infrastructure is a priority area for them.
He said, “I have seen that GIIF is an important vehicle through which the government can drive this agenda.
“We pledge to do our part to help ensure that this institution is well-governed and productive in achieving these ends,” Addison said.
The chairman said board members understand that infrastructure projects by their nature usually take a long time to develop, finance, and build, and yet the institution has made excellent progress.
Approximately 12 new infrastructure projects have been undertaken by GIIF, attracting over $2 billion of outside funding to complement GIIF’s investments.
Addison said it was clear that the new board of GIIF had been given a solid platform on which to build and help take GIIF to the next level for the benefit of the Ghanaian people.
He said the board will work closely and productively with the management and staff to make GIIF a world-class institution, and assured the minister that members would strive to do their best to help President Akufo-Addo achieve his government’s vision for GIIF.