02.11.2011 Business & Finance

Trade Minister: UK Prime Minister can't dictate to us

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh - Ghanaian Chronicle
Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade amp; IndustryMs. Hannah Tetteh, Minister for Trade & Industry
02.11.2011 LISTEN

The UK Prime Minister's threat to withhold aid from developing countries, including Ghana, that do not reform legislation banning homosexuality, has generated marathon controversies among Ghanaians.

Though, the Government of Ghana has not made any clear-cut position on the UK Prime Minister's unpopular remarks, Ghana's Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hannah Tetteh says it is not right for UK to dictate to Ghana to accept gays and lesbians in the country.

According to her, every society has norms and values which are acceptable to the people. In western world, gays and lesbians are allowed to operate freely, while in Ghana, our society does not accept the practice of gays and lesbianism.

Ms Tetteh made this known when she was commenting on the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron's last week anti-gay aid cut threat to some senior journalists and editors in Accra yesterday.

Mr. Cameron told the BBC in London, UK, that 'We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights.' Some 41 nations within the 54-member Commonwealth have laws banning homosexuality. Many of these laws are a legacy of British Empire laws.

UK is Ghana's biggest bilateral aid donor and the country enjoyed some 85 million pounds from Britain last year, and risk losing a total of 375 million pounds over the next five years, if Ghana and other anti-gay nations remain adamant and allows Britain to go ahead with its decision to cut aid.

Addressing journalists later at the Meet-The-Press series on the programme and activities of her Ministry, she announced that through funding from Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF), they have developed and enhanced the Aburi Craft Village to generate employment and improve livelihoods as well as promote trade in artifacts and crafts in the country.

The village Ms Tetteh noted comprises, the main administration block which houses the showroom, offices, and the restaurant. The facilities include 10 blocks of 120 shops, carvers' hall, polishers' hall and machine room.

The total cost of the rehabilitation of the village is over GH¢ 700,000 and is expected to be completed and handed over by the end of the year, she told the journalists.

According to the well-spoken Minister, with the support of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Ministry revived the operations of the Nyanyano Salt bank, to ensure adequate iodisation of salt for human consumption for enhanced livelihood and higher life expectancy.

Ms Tetteh further revealed that: 'We intend to continue to work with these agencies in order to encourage adequate iodisation of salt and its consumption'.

In pursuance of the goal of improving Ghana's export trade competitiveness, a National Export Strategy (NES) has been developed for implementation in 2012.

The overall objective of the NES, she indicated was to develop the potentials of the Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) sector and maximize export earnings to achieve a strategic growth target of $5 billion within five years.

The strategy, Ms Tetteh noted, was expected to create about 1000 formal decent job opportunities and ensure high standards of living for the people.

MODEL MARKET DESIGNS                                                                                                                 As part of efforts to promote domestic trade, the government has undertaken some activities such as the design of model markets to provide adequate market infrastructure, the sector Minister emphasized.

The project will help improve service delivery for both sellers and buyers in the markets, offer better security to users of the market facilities and also prevent the current spate of fire cases in markets.

To this end, Ms Tetteh disclosed that the designs for Metropolitan, Municipal and District capitals have been completed and copies distributed to all assemblies in the country.

Road shows to sensitise the public, the assemblies and prospective investors have been undertaken in four regions-Central, Western, Eastern, and Northern and will continue in the remaining regions next year, she added.