The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah has said the government through several social intervention programmes and skills development initiatives has empowered the beneficiary communities economically.
The Minister who was reacting to critics of the ruling government, noted that President Mahama was putting money into peoples pockets through initiatives which enabled Ghanaians to generate income, and made people economically productive and self-dependent.
He was taking his turn at the Meet the Press series in Accra, Wednesday.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah reiterated the Presidents position that hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians were taking advantage of the economic opportunities created by government to put money in their pockets.
The President cannot go around distributing money to people but through these social interventions, he is putting money into peoples pockets. Those who are criticizing government need to understand this. Government has created the economic opportunities which are putting money in peoples pockets he stated.
He said through the National Export Promotion Development Programme, more than 1,120 horticultural farmers received skills training in good Agricultural Practices and Export Quality Management.
Furthermore, about 1,750 groundnut farmers were also trained in the prevention of aflatoxin which has enhanced their competitive advantage into the EU market, whiles 240 craftsmen and 714 exporters were also given skills development to enhance their operational activities.
Additionally, a total of 946 beneficiaries including 140 graduates have also received skills training through the GRATIS technology transfer services support programme and are into gainful businesses.
Dr. Spio Garbrah noted that government, through the EDAIF fund, had supported 91 farmers to cultivate 2,645.85 acres of mango plantation. The fund further extended support to over 1000 farmers in the tune of GHc8.6 million for the cultivation of 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 11 million was disbursed as business loans under the Rural Financial Services initiative to support 3,077 rural Micro and Small Enterprises, with 2,162 of the recipients being women.
Beneficiaries, he said, were 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 peoples pockets. They are in gainful employment and the profits made on the loans are going into their pockets, Dr. Spio emphasised.
Addressing a wide range of issues relating to the Ministry, the Minister noted that the Single Window Port clearance system had improved trade facilitation at the ports and had significantly reduced revenue leakages. He said the President would soon commission the Komenda Sugar Factory, which was 99 per cent complete and was expected to provide thousands of additional industrial and outgrower jobs for Ghanaians.
He announced that the Ministry had 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 governments 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 Ghanas exports within the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement.
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