The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah has sent a strong message yet to critics of government that government through several social intervention programmes and skills development initiatives has provided economic empowerment to beneficiaries.

The Minister noted that President Mahama is putting money into people’s pocket through programmes which are enabling Ghanaians to generate income, and making people more economically productive and self-dependent.

Taking his turn at the Meet- the – Press series, last Wednesday at the Information Services Department conference room, Accra, Dr. Spio-Garbrah reiterated the President’s position that hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians are taking advantage of the economic opportunities created by government to put money in their pockets.

According to Dr. Spio Garbrah, through the National Export Promotion Development Programme, over 1,120 horticultural farmers received skills training in good Agricultural Practices and Export Quality Management. 1, 750 groundnut farmers were also trained in the prevention of aflatoxin which has enhanced their competitive advantage into the EU market.

Two-Hundred and Forty (240) craftsmen and 714 exporters were also given skills development to enhance their operational activities. A total 946 beneficiaries including 140 graduates have also received skills training through GRATIS technology transfer services support programme and are into gainful businesses.

Dr. Spio Garbrah also noted that government, through the EDAIF fund, has supported ninety-one (91) farmers to cultivate 2,645.85 acres of mango plantation. The fund further extended support to the tune of GHC 8.6 million to over 1000 farmers to cultivate about 4,000 acres of cassava with financing to establish three cassava processing factories to enhance the cassava value chain.

The Minister also mentioned that an amount of GHC 11 million was disbursed as business loans under the Rural Financial Services to support 3, 077 rural Micro and Small Enterprises, with 2,162 of recipients being women. Beneficiaries, he said, are now in gainful employment in agro-processing, agro-industrial, pre & post-harvest services, carpentry, welding and fabrication, animal and fish farming and traditional craft.

Amongst others, the Minister mentioned that government through the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) facilitated the organization of 2,800 business development support programmes for 56,224 entrepreneurs.

“All these beneficiaries are taking advantage of the enabling environment and opportunities created by President Mahama so this is what the President means by putting money into people’s pockets. They are in gainful employment and the profits made on the loans are going into their pockets,” Dr. Spio noted.

“The President cannot go around distributing money to people but through these social interventions, he is putting money into people’s pockets. Those who are criticizing government need to understand this; government has created the economic opportunities which are putting money in people’s pockets” he stated.

Addressing the media on a wide range of issues relating to the Ministry, the Minister noted that the Single Window Port clearance system has improved trade facilitation at the ports and has significantly reduced revenue leakages.

He said, the President would soon commission the Komenda Sugar factory, which was 99% complete and is expected to provide thousands of additional industrial and outgrower jobs for Ghanaians.

He announced that the Ministry has completed work on the development of a Consumer Protection Policy to protect the health and economic interest of Ghanaian consumers. Dr. Spio Garbrah also affirmed government’s determination to protect the interest of Ghanaians and Ghanaian businesses under the conditions of Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU.

“Let me reaffirm the commitment of government to Ghanaian exporters into the European Union (EU) market that government will take every necessary step to protect Ghana’s exports within the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement”.

Source: Kwame Frimpong

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