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Mills’ visit to Equatorial Guinea creating more export opportunities – Trade Minister

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The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has facilitated exports worth $890,000 and pharmaceutical and plastic products valued at $124,000 in Equatorial Guinea partly due to trade deals made during President John Evans Atta Mills’ visit to the country in 2010.

GEPA’s organised Solo Exhibition late 2010 also created export opportunities and currently discussions are far advanced for a Ghanaian firm to supply fruit drinks for the CAN 2012 football tournament to be jointly hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in 2012.

Miss Hanna Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, made the disclosure on Tuesday when she took her turn at the “Meet the Press” series organised by the Ministry in Accra.

She said the first half of 2011 saw non-traditional exports increasing by 38.24 per cent from $792.87 million in the first half of 2010 to $1,096.10 million in the same period of 2011.

Ms Tetteh expressed hope that GEPA’s target of $1,865 million for 2011 would be met though she had set a five-year goal of $5 billion for the Authority.

On industrial data, she disclosed that the World Bank had approved the release of $30 million under the Ghana Statistics Development Plan, which the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) was a beneficiary.

“Part of the Ministry’s share of the facility will be used to conduct an industrial survey to gather and collate the required data for the establishment of a reliable industrial data base for Ghana.”

Ms Tetteh said her Ministry had developed and enhanced the Aburi Craft Village at the cost of GH¢700,000 to generate employment and enhance livelihoods as well as promote trade in artefacts and crafts.

On pirated textiles, she stressed that the Government was not preventing importation of textile but rather discouraging unfair trading practices where some importers took undue advantage of holders of intellectual property or infringed on their property rights.

Ms Tetteh said MOTI had developed model markets to provide adequate market infrastructure with the purpose of helping improve service delivery for both sellers and buyers and to offer better security to users of the market facilities and to prevent current spate of fire outbreaks in markets.

She said MOTI was in the process of implementing a project meant to build capacities of small and medium scale entrepreneurs to enable them win contracts.

Speaking on the development on the revived Ayensu Starch Company Limited, Ms Tetteh, said the government had invested GH¢883,194.05 adding the company was expected to become a key contributor to Ghana’s export revenue and a “major vehicle” for job creation and poverty reduction in rural communities.

She said MOTI had provided the Northern Star Tomato Company Limited with the necessary funds to enable the company purchase tomatoes from farmers for processing.

“During the 2011 harvest season which ended in April 2011, the factory was able to purchase a total of 17,640 crates of fresh tomatoes, equivalent to 705.60 tonnes which more than 400 per cent increase over that of 2010,” she said.

Ms Tetteh said she was hopeful that production of tomatoes would increase progressively in the coming years to ensure adequate supply of the raw material to meet huge production capacity of the factory.

She said the Ghana Standards Authority had certified 410 locally manufactured products of SMEs adding, it had issued 2,223 export and health certificates to exporters to enable them gain access to foreign markets and to enhance Ghana’s trade and industry position.

Ms Tetteh lauded management of GRATIS Foundation for their contributions towards poverty reduction, job creation and improvement in livelihood particularly of rural folks.

She said efforts to reduce high operational costs attributed to spoilage due to inadequate and improper storage facilities was bearing fruit due to the establishment of two cold storage facilities by MOTI at Apam an Awutu Beraku, all in the Central Region, to support operations of the seamen and fish mongers to improve on their livelihoods.

Source: GNA

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