Restore incentives for Capital Market

MensahThe Ghana Stock Exchange has called on the government to reconsider and restore the market incentives that were previously granted both local and foreign investors.

The Exchange said the introduction of the Income Tax Act 2015 had taken away all tax incentives that made the capital market attractive to investors.

The Chairman of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) Council, Dr Sam Mensah, speaking at the GSE’s 26th annual general meeting in Accra, said the idea to tax capital gains during the period that  companies were struggling due to the macro economic instability was a setback to efforts aimed at making the GSE attractive.

The incentives included capital gain tax exempt status for listed securities, a three per cent rebate that companies listing on the Exchange enjoy for the first three years of listing and the GSE’s own corporate tax exempt status even though the GSE is a company limited by guarantee.

“We are respectfully again asking the government for these market incentives to be reconsidered and restored to the status quo ante,” he said.

On market performance, Dr Mensah said the GES Composite Index, which measures the performance of the entire market, fell 11.77 per cent in 2015 compared to the positive return of 5.4 per cent in 2014.

He attributed the negative out-turn to the difficult economic conditions in 2015, including the energy crisis and the depreciation of the cedi, which took a heavy toll on the listed companies on the bourse.

Dr Mensah said the subdued performance was also reflected in the market turnover.

The volume of shares traded for 2015 stood at 246 million shares valued at GH¢247 million compared to the volume and value of 207 million and GH¢346million the previous year.

The Market capitalisation of listed securities at the end of December 2015 was GH¢ 57.1 billion compared to GH¢ 64.4 billion around the same period in 2014, representing a decrease of 11 per cent.

Also, domestic market capitalisation fell by 19 per cent at GH¢11.2 billion compared to GH¢13.9 billion in 2014.

Despite the difficult economic and market conditions, the Exchange recorded a surplus of GH¢ 2.55 million.

On the Integration of the West African markets, Dr Mensah said the programme was making sustained and steady progress as seen in the number of online real-time cross-border trades between Ghana and Nigeria under the sponsored Access Phase.

He said the West African Capital Market Integration Council had decided that the second phase of the project, the common passport and Mutual Recognition, would be implemented in March 2017.

By David Adadevoh


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