8 February 2013

Ghana: Debt-Ridden Trade Fair to Be Revived - Haruna Iddrisu

The Minister-designate for Trade & Industry, Haruna Iddrissu has given an indication to immediately look into the operations and management of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited and see how best to revive it into a profit generating venture.

According to Mr. Iddrisu, the state-owned company with the full support of Parliament could be turned into an International Conference and Exhibition Center through Public-Private Partnership where more revenue would be generated to support various governmental projects.

"We will take immediate look at the operations and management of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited. We can turn it around and convert it into an International Conference and Exhibition Center through Public-Private Partnership," he noted.

This, he noted, is critical in seeing the future success of the ailing company which currently is indebted to the tune of about GH¢2million.

Mr. Iddrisu made this observation yesterday when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament to answer to questions relating to his newly assigned ministerial role by the President.

His comments were in response to a petition addressed to the Appointments Committee over the state of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited, by Mr. William Duworkpor.

The petitioner had informed the Appointments Committee of Parliament that the State-owned company has not been able to meet its financial obligations and as a result, stands the risk of being sold to defray its debts.

The Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited is in serious crisis following its failure to meet its financial obligations to both public and private companies. As a result of this, series of court actions have been taken against the company by disgruntled public and private institutions the company is indebted to.

This has led to the frozen of its accounts and therefore, could not generate any revenue to run its operations. Should the government fail to bail out the company, the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited stands the risk of being sold to defray its

debts.

Commenting further on how to revive the ailing company, Mr. Iddrisu said his outfit would also make sure that some compensation package are paid to the original landowners, since to the best of his knowledge, the State has not honoured its obligation in that regard.

Going forward on the matter, Mr. Iddrisu said he would make sure the landowners are given some equity "so that there will be some self-belongingness in the company."

The nominee also addressed issues bothering on trade, especially, on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) and retail business in the country. On the issue of the EPAs, he noted that "Ghana will not sign onto an economic agreement that will be inimical" to Ghanaian businesses.

He said in dealing with the EPAs, he would need to collaborate with his counterparts in neighbouring Nigeria and La Cote d' Ivoire.

On the issue of retail trade in the country, the nominee conceded that it was major stumbling block to contend with but assured that through legislation and revival of the GIPC laws, that hurdle would surely be crossed.

"Retail trade is a major challenging issue. In Ghana, we are not protecting our own indigenous businesses. We can only achieve protecting our indigenous businesses through legislation," he noted.

According to Mr. Iddrisu, retail business should be an exclusive reserve for Ghanaian businesses and would do his possible best to ensure that when given the nod as a minister for Trade and Industry.

Businesses like hairdressing saloons, barbering shops, selling of scratch cards among many others, he noted should be exclusively for Ghanaian businesses.

He said in protecting Ghanaian businesses, his outfit would make sure that any business entering into the country registers with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and other tax institutions for the purpose of monitoring their activities and tax collection

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