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Regional News Fri, 30 Jan 2004

GREL and Landowners discuss differences

Busua (W/R) Jan. 29, GNA - The Management of Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL) and owners of lands on which the company has hundreds of hectares of rubber plantations, met at Busua on Thursday to evolve and discuss policies for better understanding of each other's role in the partnership.

High on the agenda was the issue of the payment of ground rent and other monies, which the farmers said they were entitled to, but had been denied them since the State Farms Plantation was taken over by GREL through divestiture in 1996.

The forum, which was organised by GREL on the theme: "Interaction for the creation of prosperity partnership", was attended by Chiefs and Queen Mothers from six traditional areas, District Chief Executives from the Mpohor-Wassa East; Ahanta West and Nzema East, Assembly Members and other opinion leaders.

Speaing at the forum, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, said GREL had taken the right initiative by organising the forum that would help to iron out any misunderstanding between the two parties.

He said the economy had "entered a new orbit", and there were enough indications that more investors in agriculture would be attracted into the Region, adding that nothing should be done to scare away the potential investors to the detriment of the national economy and the well being of the people.

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Mr Aidoo announced that plans were far advanced for the re-opening of the Bonsa Tyre Factory and the Aboso Glass Factory.

Mr Aidoo urged both GREL and the Landowners to take advantage of the opportunity provided to find lasting solutions to any differences between them to enhance the Company's operations and enable it to meet challenges that would posed by foreign competition.

Mr Kwesi Binney, District Chief Executive for Ahanta West, said differences over the payment of certain monies to the Landowners continued to create genuine concerns among the people.

Mr Patrick Berny-Tarente, GREL Managing Director, said the Company had acquired the services of a consultant to explain issues at the meeting. Awulae Agyefi Kwame II, Paramount Chief of Nsein Traditional Area, called on the Government to extend the President's Special Initiative (PSI) to cover coconut production, the main occupation of many communities in the Nzema area.

Source: GNA
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