Board Chairman of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) Albert Kofi Essien, is on a campaign to encourage multinationals, especially those in the telecommunication industry, to list on the Ghanaian bourse.
This, he believes, will ensure forex retention and help to stabilize the cedi as some percentage of their profit will be retained in the country.
Out of the 43 companies listed on the stock market, only a fraction of multinational companies, including Unilever and Tullow Oil, are listed.
Essien has thus drawn a correlation between the cedi’s depreciation and the repatriation of the huge profits of these multinationals.
“Some of the companies, when they have to remit dividends, it shakes the currency front. But if we do encourage them to list, Ghanaians will have say 10 to 30 percent stake. We can be sure that this amount can be retained. We should encourage them to list, so that we can all participate in their success and ensure that they hold some of their monies here.”
The GSE Chair expressed this position at a breakfast meeting organized by the Canada Ghana Chamber of Commerce in Accra.
The need for companies to list on the bourse in order to raise relatively less expensive capital while diversifying its ownership have been articulated by experts. The move is also to help grow the stock market to a level that will attract other investors unto the market.
Essien explains further, “It serves a dual purpose. It gives Ghanaians opportunity to also participate in these companies that we have allowed to do business here. The company makes a lot of money and they are allowed to repatriate all their dividends. It means that when the time comes for repatriation, it puts pressure on the cedi. It also gives us the chance to ensure forex retention.”
He counseled investors to be more interested in the growth of companies they hold stocks in rather than focusing on receiving dividends making reference to the collapse of UT Bank which was listed on the stock market to illustrate his point.
The Chairman revealed that there are currently talks with MTN ongoing to have the company listed adding that,
The exchange is also advising shareholders to pay more attention to the general growth of the companies they invest in to know the state of their investment.
By Nana Oye Ankrah