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13.11.2004 Regional News

Ratify country agreement with NGOs for more support - Government urged

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Accra, Nov. 13, GNA - Government's continuous delay in ratifying the country agreements with recognized international affiliated non-governmental organisations was denying Ghana a lot of assistance. Mr Samuel Asante-Mensah, the Country Director of the Adventists Development and Relief Agency, Ghana (ADRA-GH), who expressed the concern, said the situation was affecting a number of organisations, since they were constrained in their operations due to the imposition of high custom duties.

The ratification of the country's agreement would enable international affiliated organizations like ADRA-GH to enjoy some tax exemptions on specific items it imports into the country for the promotion and implementation of its activities.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Saturday, Mr Asante-Mensah said, "ADRA-GH, on many occasions had had to reject relief items from its mother and sister institutions in the United States for needy organisations in Ghana, because of the high duties on them.

"Our country's agreement was initiated in 1995, but as of today, it had still not been ratified, likewise other sister genuine organizations," he said.

He appealed therefore, to government to expedite action on the ratification process, especially, considering those recognized NGOs with good track records to enable them effectively contribute their quota to the development of the country.

"If we get that assistance from government, there is no need why we would not do more to lobby for better and more assistance.

"It's true there are many quack NGOs out there, but there are also good ones, whose work and contributions so far to the country are commendable and must be helped to grow," Mr Asante-Mensah said.

He announced that, through ADRA-GH's initiative, the United States government had donated a sophisticated new heart machine to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, worth 14.7billion cedis, the first of its kind in the West African region.

The machine, a biplane Angiogram, is use to efficiently diagnose all heart and blood disorders. It would also be used to train cardiac surgeons from the sub-region.

Mr Asante-Mensah said interestingly, the equipment arrived at the time when the hospital's heart machine, which served not only Ghanaians but also other nationals from neighbouring nations, had broken down.

"Indeed this machine has come to put Ghana 1000 years ahead of its compatriots, because, throughout African such an equipment can only be found in the north and South Africa.

"No wonder, Professor Frimpong Boateng, Chief Executive of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital described it as 'the centre piece of all heart diseases," he said.

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