Despite listing only four companies on the Ghana Alternative Exchange (GAX) since its launch in 2013, managers of the exchange have targeted listing some 50 companies by 2020.
GAX is an equity market launched by the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), to enable companies especially Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, (SMEs) to raise long term capital to grow their businesses.
However four years down the line the targeted companies are yet to take full advantage of the platform which David Tetteh, manager of GAX at the GSE explained to Goldstreet Business as the lack of awareness of its existence which has hindered its growth hence the low numbers in the listing.
“A lot of people are not aware that the GAX exists and they can raise capital. They are not aware of the benefits they stand to gain when they get listed, they are not aware of the incentives that we have put in place. So now we are sending out the message to entrepreneurs, owners and founders of businesses: you have an opportunity to raise capital to grow and expand your businesses,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of a workshop organized by the USAID and Institute of Financial Journalists, (IFEJ)
Tetteh also cited the challenging economic environment as a factor for the low number of companies on the market.
“The second challenge is general, that the economy itself did not favour equity investments so people are putting more funds into money market investments, so it wasn’t good timing to bring companies onto the GAX. Now it looks like things are stable that is why the GSE is the best performing market in the world this year.”
The GSE is however optimistic steps currently being taken will boost the alternative market.
“One of the new things we are doing includes creating of awareness, and relaxing the requirements, making it cheaper and putting in some incentives for the companies to get onto the market. It also includes investor education as well as education for both entrepreneurs and the companies. So being aggressive and seeing the avenues we have created, we should be able to list a good number of companies,” Tetteh noted.
Companies seeking to be listed on the GAX would have to raise at least, GHS250, 000 to go on the market.
However as part of incentives to get more companies listed, initial processes including underwriting and advisory services have been made free.
Two companies including Digicut Production & Advertising have already been approved for listing, whiles three more companies are undergoing processes to be listed by the end of this year.
By Nana Oye Ankrah