General News of Wednesday, 25 July 2001

Source: GNA

"Home comers" call for attitudinal change at missions abroad

Discussants on relational dynamics at the ongoing Homecoming Summit called for a radical attitudinal change by officials working in Ghana's missions abroad as well as those at the entry points.

They expressed the hope that people assigned to handle visitors at the various frontiers would work with an orientation that would give meaning to the objectives of the Summit, which primarily is to woo Ghanaian expatriates back home for nation building.

Leading the discussions were the Foreign Minister, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister of the Interior, Alhaji Malik Alhassan Yakubu, and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Kofi Apraku.

Each of them gave an overview of what their respective ministries were doing to reduce the cumbersome procedures travellers face when visiting and doing business in Ghana.

Most of the problems identified hinged on the operations of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Immigration Service and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, whose chief executives were present.

Mr Owusu-Agyeman told the session that some 40 newly appointed heads of missions with a fresh orientation would soon start work to meet the aspirations of the nation abroad.

He said the Council of State has already approved 25 out of the number and they would announce them as soon as government receives acknowledgement from their host countries.

The Foreign Minister said government's priority is not only to satisfy the increasing demands of Ghanaians abroad but also to respond swiftly to the dynamics of the global economy.

Alhaji Yakubu said after several years of neglect, the Ghana Police Service was undergoing restructuring to ensure that it provided quality and professional service.

"The Police are being strengthened so that they do their work professionally and effectively."

Alhaji Yakubu appealed to them to contribute to the Police Fund to help give the police service the new look that it deserves.

Dr Apraku said business plans were being drawn up for all the missions to help in reshaping their focus.

"The missions should be the best conduit for business promotion outside the country with the support of the Ghanaians there."

Dr Apraku said Ghana currently has only three trade attaches in London, Washington and Geneva, noting that this is stifling the nation's ability to attract maximum trade and investment opportunities.

"I have put a memorandum before Parliament and Cabinet to seek their approval to enable the appointment of new trade consulates. I will be counting on Ghanaians abroad to help in this direction," he said.