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07.02.2009 General News

2009 budget expected in March

By GNA

The first budget statement of President John Evans Atta Mills' Government that is expected to address the challenges of Ghana's macro economic stability would be read by the end of March.

The country now has problems of steep deficit in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and bilateral trade as imports exceeds exports.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama made these announcements when a delegation from the Ghana-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Ghana-China Friendship Association paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, in Osu, Accra, on Friday.

The Vice President said the Government welcomed assistance from international groups to finance projects that had been stalled for lack of financing.

Mr. Mahama commended China for its assistance to Ghana, especially the development of the Bui Hydro Dam, expected to produce additional 400 megawatts of power to make Ghana a net exporter of energy.

He said Ghana should be able to use the two associations as a vehicle for investment financing, with an assurance that the nation would protect foreign direct investment.

The Vice President, however, appealed to the two bodies to adopt measures to restrict their participation in marketing of goods to wholesaling.

Mr. Mahama explained that restricting their involvement in trade on the local market to wholesaling would reduce tension for better relationships between the two groups.

He said Ghana had an unfavourable balance of trade with China because her (Ghana) level of export to China was very low.

If the associations were able to reduce the level of participation in the retail trade it would be favourable to Ghana in terms of trade, the Vice President said.

He praised China for her development assistance to Ghana, and commended the associations for fostering close partnership between Ghana and China at the grassroots level through the initiation of development of projects that affected ordinary citizens.

The leader of the delegation Ambassador Kojo Amoo-Gottfried commended Mr. Mahama for rising to the position of Vice President.

Ambassador Amoo-Gottfried gave the assurance that the associations would intensify their activities to enhance Ghana- China relations, and announce that this year would be the “Year of the Cow” to give more attention to agricultural activities.

A joint delegation of the Japan Overseas Co-operation Volunteers and Senior Overseas Volunteer in Ghana, led by Mr. Kawachi Katakami, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, also paid a courtesy call on the Vice President.

The Vice President commended the cooperation between the Ghana and Japan and praised the volunteers for rendering services in the areas of teaching, nursing, and HIV/AIDS in Ghana.

Earlier the AhlsunnaWal-Jama'a Muslim Group paid a courtesy call behind closed doors on President Mills.

Mr Yakubu Shuaib Adam, General Secretary of the Group, at a press conference, said the group appealed to the President to solve once and for all the nagging problems of changes in Ghana's education system and duration at each stage of education.

The Group attributed poverty in Muslim communities to low level of education and call for increased educational access to those areas to help reduce poverty.

The delegation from the American Chamber of Commerce also paid a courtesy call on President Mills.

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