Diasporian News of Sun, 2 Oct 20164

Foreign Minister briefs Ghanaians with UN on the home front

Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister Hanna Serwaa Tetteh has briefed Ghanaians working with the United Nations headquarters in New York on the situation at home.

The meeting held on the side-lines of the 71st UN General Assembly was attended by members of the UN Social Recreation Club (UNSRC), an association of Ghanaians with the UN and officials of Ghana's Permanent Mission to the UN. It afforded the Minister the opportunity to give them a vivid picture of the situation at home and to respond to various questions agitating their minds on the Ghanaian situation. The issues discussed ranged from the single spine policy, diaspora engagement, economy, elections, job creation, and investment opportunities among others.

Ms.Hanna Tetteh underscored the need for all Ghanaians to appreciate the peace and stability they were enjoying in the country and to make various suggestions that can enrich government policies and programmes.

On the December elections, the Minister gave an assurance that the EC, together with the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the government have been able to put all the relevant measures needed to ensure smooth and peaceful elections in place. In this vein, she stressed the need to respect the credibility and independence of the Electoral Commission. To a question, Ms.Tetteh indicated that Ghanaian diplomats abroad, Ghanaians working with international organizations and Ghanaian students qualified to vote by proxy.

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On roads, she indicated that the government had invested a considerable amount in the sector to modernize, expand and particularly to boost economic and other business activities. This is to make it easy to bring food from the hinterlands, adding that we have worked on the major trunk and urban roads including those in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Sekondi-Takoradi.

Regarding youth employment, the Minister mentioned various positive interventions by the government like the Youth in Agriculture, National Vocational and Technical Training, Integrated Centres for Employable Skills, Trades and Vocation Module, Graduate Business Support scheme run by the Employment Ministry and numerous partnerships with the private sector to create mostly self-employed jobs.

On energy, the Minister explained that the growth in the Ghanaian economy had resulted in an increase in people's electricity power consumption saying that "Our government has therefore taken adequate steps to permanently fix the perennial shortfalls in power generation which resulted in the load shedding. With the positive measures taken, she said the country hoped to be a net exporter of power, having acquired a number of Independent Power Producers like the Sunon- Asogli, Ameri Power Plant, Karpower barge, Cen Power, Jacobsen, Amandi, GE, Kpone Thermal Plant, and the 110 megawatts steam component of the T2 Power plant at Aboadze to provide power. Added to these are the Bui and the Atuabo Gas Plant that supplies gas to the Aboadze Thermal Plant.

On roads, she indicated that the government had invested a considerable amount in the sector to modernize, expand and particularly to boost economic and other business activities. This is to make it easy to bring food from the hinterlands, adding that we have worked on the major trunk and urban roads including those in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Sekondi-Takoradi.

Regarding youth employment, the Minister mentioned various positive interventions by the government like the Youth in Agriculture, National Vocational and Technical Training, Integrated Centres for Employable Skills, Trades and Vocation Module, Graduate Business Support scheme run by the Employment Ministry and numerous partnerships with the private sector to create mostly self-employed jobs.

On energy, the Minister explained that the growth in the Ghanaian economy had resulted in an increase in people's electricity power consumption saying that "Our government has therefore taken adequate steps to permanently fix the perennial shortfalls in power generation which resulted in the load shedding. With the positive measures taken, she said the country hoped to be a net exporter of power, having acquired a number of Independent Power Producers like the Sunon- Asogli, Ameri Power Plant, Karpower barge, Cen Power, Jacobsen, Amandi, GE, Kpone Thermal Plant, and the 110 megawatts steam component of the T2 Power plant at Aboadze to provide power. Added to these are the Bui and the Atuabo Gas Plant that supplies gas to the Aboadze Thermal Plant.

Aside these, Ms Tetteh said that the government had fully included renewable energy into the system whereby a number of solar, wind, tidal wave and biomass projects were under way.

Commenting on the improvements in the internet infrastructure, the Foreign Minister noted that the Mahama-led administration had invested a lot in that area. For example, she mentioned the completion of the Eastern Corridor fiber optic project that serves communities along the route from Ho to Bawku with a link from Yendi to Tamale.

Responding to a question on diaspora engagement and contributions, Ms.Tetteh encouraged Ghanaian diaspora to form partnerships with local experts to do business in the country. "With their financial muscle, they should be able to team up with locals to bring in the needed products and services as investors", she added.

Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, UN Special Representative for West Africa who was present said from the conversations on the international circles, Ghana continues to get plaudits for her enviable political stability, freedom of speech and movement among the people.

On the preparations for the elections, he was particularly happy that all outstanding issues on the elections like the Voter's register which went to court, had been ironed out by the Electoral Commission (EC) together with Civil Society Groups, political parties and the government.

"There Is consensus that the Electoral Commission Chairperson and her team will ensure a smooth, credible and peaceful election", the UN Special Representative for West Africa stated. Furthermore, Dr. Chambas said it was very assuring when President Mahama reiterated at a meeting with the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon earlier in the day that his (President Mahama) government will do everything possible to ensure a free and peaceful elections.

"You can count on the UN to support you always" the UN representative stated.

Earlier, Mr. Ben Dotsei Malor, president of the UNSRC welcomed the Minister and particularly the newly promoted and appointed Ghanaians to senior positions in the UN system.

Present at the interaction which was the third, was the Secretary to the President, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, and Ghana's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mrs. Martha Pobee, Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, Director Africa Two Division, Department of Political affairs and Mrs Charlotte Nana Yaa Nikoi, Assistant Director for Human Resource, UNICEF and Mr. Philbert Johnson, Deputy Permanent Representative.

Pictures by R. Harry Reynolds

Source: Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations

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